What Men Need in a Relationship: 13 Keys to a Healthy Connection

Men are from Venus. Women are from Mars. This is just one of many stereotypical statements that exist regarding the differences between men and women. But when it comes to what men need in relationships, the results are not much different from what women need.

Broadly speaking, men want to find their needs being met in several distinct ways within relationships. Security and fidelity, praise, and respect are just a few of the key demands within the male perspective. Once a connection is made these factors need to be maintained to deepen the bond.

These crucial necessities can make or break a relationship and could cause a man to withdraw if they are not fulfilled.

Connection Is Key

Expert, author, and professor of male psychology, Christopher Blazina, Ph. D.,  examines the inner world of male thought, in his work The Secret Lives of Men: What Men Want You to Know About Love …. He argues that “contrary to popular belief, men really do want to be understood, not cast aside as unemotional, backward thinking, desensitized, or ‘clueless’– and that they desire to connect with others”. This research sheds light upon the equally important need for companionship among both genders and navigates male psychology to do so. 

Although typically men are not as vocal about wants or needs in a relationship, that does not mean they are devoid of them. They crave a healthy relationship as much as women do, and appreciate a loving partner to share it with. Fulfilling each other’s needs and meeting each other’s expectations make the relationship flourish. These simple in theory but difficult in practice concepts strengthen the connection within the relationship.

According to a 2005 research study conducted by Janet Shibley Hyde, she concludes that based on many factors, men and women are very similar in personality and other psychological variables.

However, when communicating their feelings, men have been pre-programmed within gender norms to suppress the emotions that make them feel vulnerable. “These emotions, (explained by clinical psychologist  Jill P. Weber Ph.D. | Psychology Today), are the very emotions required for emotional intimacy with a romantic partner.”

So, although men may not as freely state their needs and expectations within a relationship, they do require several. 

Respect

A man’s need for respect in a healthy relationship is an integral part of his feeling loved.

If a man’s path in life is not respected by his partner, then he will find it very hard to ever feel fully loved. Love and respect are highly interchangeable in the male mind. A disapproving partner will result in an unfulfilled man.

Criticism must also be used sparingly with a man. Likewise, openly comparing him with other men must be avoided. If a man feels belittled, he will begin to question if he is being sincerely loved.

Trust cannot be built when a man feels unsure that his partner wants what is best for him.

Communication

Open, honest communication is not just important for men, it is vital. Most men are categorized as being less likely to discuss feelings. Whether or not the case, if a man is talking about how he is feeling, he wants to be heard.

If a man is opening up to his significant other, he is expressing a need for support. To the same effect, he also wants to give support to his partner and be included in solutions to her wants and needs.

Communication is absolutely a two-way street, whether used by a male or female participant.

Vulnerability Acceptance

Once a relationship has communication, what is expressed by the man needs to land in a place of acceptance. If a man is showing vulnerability, he needs to be nurtured.

Society has drilled into men that weakness should not be expressed publicly. Unfortunately, this same falsehood applies to the confines of an intimate relationship. But when a man opens up and cries in front of his partner, for example, he needs reassurance.

A man needs to know that his significant other will not judge his emotional shortcomings, but rather help him express and work through them. A deeper connection will follow when this takes place.

Security

Men will find it very difficult to commit to a meaningful relationship if he is uncertain of the future of it. He needs to feel that his partner is in it for the long haul and that she acts accordingly.

Reassurance and plans for the future help in this instance to cement the feeling of security. He wants the trust to be built between himself and his partner so the relationship can grow in a healthy, predictable way. 

Knowing a future with his partner exists makes a man invest in the relationship unapologetically.

Dependability

No different from a woman’s wants, men need to know that they can depend on their partner. When a man is let down or support isn’t solid, the relationship weakens in the man’s mind. 

A man is a rational being, and he wants reassurance that what is agreed upon will be done. Losing faith in his significant other is a very serious grievance to a man. It comforts him to know that his partner has his back.

When a woman is reliable, the man can relax. A deeper relationship is being formed upon trust in her.

Honesty

“I’m a man of my word”. This phrase is almost a currency among men. It is a guarantee in the mind of man that what is being said is 100% true. Men do not want to second guess what their partner is saying to them.

Being honest is the cornerstone of building trust in a relationship. Men want complete transparency from their mate. The development of the relationship cannot occur if there is any doubt in what is being communicated.

Even seemingly insignificant white lies can erode the security felt within a relationship. If a man suspects something is being hidden from him, he will not feel safe in opening up and freely expressing himself. He will start to lose trust instead of working on building it.

Fidelity

Being faithful to him, and only him could arguably be the most vital of a man’s needs in the relationship. Loyalty is almost always non-negotiable for the majority of men. When a line is crossed, it is very hard for a man to recover faith in his partner.

There is a fine line when it comes to the emotion of jealousy. This natural emotion comes about when something is at risk of being lost. Small amounts of jealousy are usually harmless. It expresses how much you do not want to lose your partner. But intentionally making a man jealous is a no-no.

A man needs to feel that he is the only one for her. Provoking a man in this manner of gameplay will erode any trust that was formerly built. It is imperative he feels that he is her one and only choice. 

Hero Instinct

The hero instinct theory was made popular by James Bauer, a relationship expert. He states that men want to feel like they are impressing their partner at times, much like a superhero would.

Not feeling humiliated and being praised for his accomplishments go a long way in the mind of men. There are numerous ways to promote this feeling. This is a hard-wired instinct in men that can make them feel cherished within the relationship when triggered. The Hero Instinct: How Can You Trigger It In Your Man? – Hack Spirit 

Make a man feel like a hero. He will respond with unwavering devotion.

Encouragement

Men need cheerleaders. Not just in sports arenas, but also in relationships. Men need support when striving for goals or taking risks for challenging achievements. 

Chasing dreams can be unfamiliar territory, and having a committed partner’s belief makes this easier for a man. Men deal with self-doubt and wavering confidence in their own abilities, and often a cheering and supportive mate can be the edge that determines success.

The bond will only be strengthened when a man has a companion right beside him, pushing him to make his dreams a reality.

Intimacy

Being physically intimate is very important to a man. It is an evolutionary need in relationships for both sexes, however, men connect better physically. Men want their needs to be met, and when done physically the relationship is strengthened.

The intimate bond between a man and a woman goes beyond sexual acts. Simple acts such as holding hands, hugging, or even playful kisses are valued by men as much as by women. 

These romantic acts, when performed physically, reaffirm the intimate nature of the companionship in ways words cannot. The physical connection should be strong and constantly maintained, as it is very important to a man’s sense of confidence.

Adventure

Being able to have fun and be easygoing is important to a man. It is how he chooses his male friends, and applies to his significant other as well. Laughing, joking, and play-fighting will only strengthen the bond between a man and his woman.

A man doesn’t want to take himself too seriously. And being able to laugh and joke with his partner will ultimately make a man more comfortable and laid-back. Authenticity grows from this atmosphere and deeply strengthens the bond.

Men need time to decompress from their stressful lives. They always appreciate a partner that promotes this carefree refuge. 

Privacy

Men, as well as women, need space within a relationship. Neither sex wants to feel smothered by their partner, and time away can work wonders. Men are more prone to going off alone with their problems when women typically need consultation from others to deal.

Craig L. Boucher has a great article describing the tremendous amount of stress men feel day to day. Some stubbornly keep pushing forward until they are afflicted with serious physical issues. He examines the importance of allowing men quiet time to gather their thoughts and reflect. 

Within the context of a relationship, space and time away is very important. This time away will allow him to reflect and appreciate the healthy, trusting relationship he’s in.

Keep a man fulfilled and faithful by meeting his needs in a relationship.

A relationship takes work. This is obvious. And although men and women share many of the same wants and needs, a man has a particular set of needs that must be met. Honest communication must take place for the relationship to grow.

Men want to feel a strong, meaningful connection. And the ability to communicate how they feel is of vital importance to the relationship.

From research done in her book, UNTRUE: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free, author Wednesday Martin illustrates the issue of fidelity. 

While it is commonly believed that women want loyalty and fidelity in relationships more than men, she found this to be untrue. In fact, she points out that in some cases women are more unlikely to be unfaithful. Man’s need for fidelity is strong.

The long-held gender norms that have held up for so long have put men at a disadvantage when it comes to communicating their true feelings. Most boys grow up with the advice to toughen up and bottle their emotions, but this training carries on into adulthood.

When in a relationship, a man can often find it very difficult to express his wants and needs. For the union to grow he must learn to express these needs and build trust in himself as well as his partner.

In Summary:

Men in relationships need:

  • Respect
  • Communication
  • Vulnerability acceptance
  • Security
  • Dependability
  • Honesty
  • Fidelity
  • Hero Instinct
  • Encouragement
  • Intimacy
  • Adventure
  • Privacy

*******

Keeping a man happy in a relationship is not much different than keeping a woman happy. Fundamentally, they both want the same things. The expression of these needs is where the differences are exposed. 

When these needs are met, a man can fall deeply in love with a woman. He truly wants a woman to love him for himself, and when she does, he will cherish their time together.

The connections I have felt with women within relationships were always stronger when my needs were being met. I believe love grows from this give and take. 

Fidelity has always been a deal-breaker for me. If I begin to question the woman’s loyalty, I cannot move forward authentically. 

This is where honest communication and dependability come together to build trust.

 All of these needs are important, but there are ebbs and flows to every relationship. After reading this article, ask yourself what needs do you require your partner to meet?

Jason Peterson
Jason Peterson
Discipline coach and content creator Jason Peterson was born, raised, and resides in Milwaukee, WI USA. His life’s mission statement is “To empower men to live to their fullest potential, by embracing fear and feeding off of it.” When he is not studying or writing, he enjoys living the good life, relaxing with his wife and son.

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