A man’s relationship needs may just be a world apart from a woman’s. But, at the core, there is a basic need that must be fulfilled. The need to feel appreciated. Nicola Beer, a relationship and divorce coach, breaks down why ‘Treat them mean, keep them keen!’ might just be the worst advice you’ve ever received
Dr. Harley, in his book ‘His Needs, Her Needs’ states that many of us fall in love with our partners partly due to the compliments they bestow upon us. Some of us love being told that we are appreciated, attractive and admired. Through his research he found that more men than women listed admiration as one their top five needs. To add to that, he said that any form of criticism is likely to drive them away with harsh words hurting deeply. This research is supported by Gary Chapman’s work ‘The Five Love Languages’, where ‘words of affirmation’ come up as one of the main ways a large percentage of the population feel loved. But to not have some complaints about the person you live with is unrealistic. John Gottman in ‘The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work’ argues, “There is a world of difference between a complaint and a criticism. A complaint focuses on a specific behavior or event. In contrast, a criticism expresses negative feelings about the other’s character or personality.” Baring all of this in mind, what is it that men need to stay fulfilled in a relationship? These are the needs that Dr. Harley lists out:
1) PHYSICAL FULFILLMENT:
Men find it easier, he argued, to be physically intimate without an emotional connection, compared to most women. He argues the reason more men than women listed it as a need is down to hormonal differences. He states that wanting to be intimate with someone because you love them and want to enhance the connection, is different from doing so as a need. You will know it’s a need if you get very frustrated when it is not being met. It is important to note, that whilst this was the average, these needs can vary.
2) RECREATIONAL COMPANIONSHIP:
Doing joint activities together was the second most important need on the list. Men tend to get very involved with their hobbies, whatever it may be. The activity they are into becomes a main focus and passion they follow. Women, on average, by contrast care more about whom they spend time with and what the topic of conversation will be, as opposed to the activity they do when they see their friends. If you love doing activities and your hobbies bring you a great deal of happiness, it can be very rewarding to share them with those you love.
3) DOMESTIC SUPPORT:
The need to have a clean home, meals cooked and children looked after is important to men. For many couples that I’ve worked with, where both have full time careers, getting family to come in and assist or hired help has helped in this area.
4) PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS:
Through my years of coaching, many think that this is a shallow need and that a man should love them for who they are, no matter what. Yet, in reality, when someone changes their weight, hair or hygiene regime, both men and women can be turned off.
So how can you find out what you man needs? The easiest way to figure that out is to communicate. Tell them your own desires and needs and talk to them about what they expect. Whether you are together for five weeks or 50 years, expecting your partner to know what you are thinking and what you want is a recipe for disaster. Observing their behavior and noticing how they show care, love and attention is another way. Needs are important because they are what increase connection. Lastly, a need many of us have is to be of value and to be needed. Part of this means allowing your partner to influence you. This is one of Gottman’s principles for a successful marriage; he stated that ‘wives of men who accept their influence increase the odds their marriage will thrive’. So, the next time you go to make a decision ask their opinion or, better yet, make it together and allow them in to see your relationship