By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
MYTH VS. REALITY IN MAN BRAIN
I’ve seen a lot of articles written by women about what men want and I usually find them eyebrow-raising. Let’s face it, that’s the kind of info a man is much more qualified to dish out. However, even though I’m female, hear me out.
I get the bleacher seats inside the heads of a lot of people and a lot of those people are men. Man brain is fascinating to me. I like working with men for some of the obvious reasons. They are pretty straightforward. When they hire a coach, they usually take their marching orders pretty well. They’ve been programmed to do that since high school football. After years of listening to hundreds of men talk about women, I’m pretty convinced men are generally misunderstood when it comes to love, romance, and their expectations.
Women often mistakenly take their cues from advertising and media when they are trying to figure out what a man wants in a woman. And making that mistake can lend itself to some painful and costly outcomes. What I’ve learned from working with men over the years is there are more good guys out there than most women tend to believe. The assholes and takers get a lot of airtime and take up a lot of our attention. However, at the end of the day, most men are fundamentally good at heart and want to do what’s right by the women they love.
Here are ten things I’ve learned about men, love, and romance after more than a decade of talking to men about women:
1. Sure, there are some men out there who want to date younger women, but it’s not as many as you’d think.
For a woman in her forties and beyond that man will self-select himself out of her world and that’s good news. If you’re older than twenty-five and some guy is only interested in twenty-five-year-olds, he’s probably not your guy. That kind of status dater doesn’t make a good mate, even for the twenty-five-year-old he manages to seduce. She’s not going to stay twenty-five forever.
Most men want to date a woman who makes them feel alive. That is usually why a younger woman might appeal. However, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a man revel in the beauty of dating an adult, a woman who knows herself, and knows what she wants. Men like experience and they like a woman who’s emotionally mature. A balanced healthy man is looking for interesting over young every day of the week, every week of the year.
2. A man might like to look at a size four model in yoga pants, but he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with her – unless she’s naturally stick thin and stays that way without efforting.
Many studies show the body type most men find attractive isn’t size four or even a six. Studies show the vast majority of men prefer bodies ranging between size eight and size fourteen. 78% of men say they’d rather date a confident plus sized woman than an insecure super-model. A lot of men really dig curves and love the body of a sexy woman size fourteen and beyond.
Many men perceive a woman who obsesses about being thin as someone who’s going to be high maintenance. Again, a man might like to look at a woman who’s done up perfectly and picture perfect from head to toe, fit for the cover of a magazine. However, they don’t want to be in a relationship with her because they know that’s not real and that they know that kind of not real costs a lot of time and money. The vast majority of men I talk to say they prefer a “natural” woman.
Men are most attracted to a woman when they think she’s enjoying life. If they get a feeling she’s withholding from herself to be thin that is a red flag for most men. Yes, they want her fit and healthy. However, that doesn’t mean thin. That means healthy and active.
3. The thing that raises immediate red flags for a man is a woman who is hot mess financially.
That doesn’t mean your finances have to be in tip-top shape to attract a man whose finances are in tip-top shape. However, exactly no man ever wants to feel like a meal ticket or the lottery in the dating game.
For men how a person manages money is a litmus test for a lot of things. Men, just like women, want to be in relationships with someone who is responsible. While not every man is responsible financially, men are used to being judged by their income in ways women aren’t. So, they aren’t generally excited about getting into a committed relationship with someone who can’t handle their money.
I have learned a ton from talking to men about the many ways women “subtly” fish for income information and how sensitive men are to that. They don’t like it and they won’t trust a woman who does it.
4. Smart is sexy and passionate is just about every man’s kryptonite.
When a man is talking about a woman he’s in love with inevitably he will gush about how smart she is or how passionate she is about something she cares about.
Good men do not enjoy the company of a boring woman and smart is the antidote to dull. Men like to be challenged intellectually. Men tend to be drawn to women that have some fire for something and they are very drawn to women who have a fire for life in general.
Men read passion as sexiness. They are drawn to a woman who is excited about something. Passion about anything is seductive and men are more likely to find themselves attracted to a woman who is passionate about her life than they are a traditionally really hot woman who’s flatlined in her life.
5. Men want a woman they can take home to meet their mother AND they want a woman they aren’t worried will turn into their mother.
A man is unlikely to get serious about a woman he is concerned can’t pass muster with his family or might embarrass him at his company Christmas party. While that might seem obvious, for a lot of women, it’s hard to balance that with feel like she needs to be sexy to keep his attention.
On the flip side, while men do like a woman to have some maternal instincts, they don’t want a woman who too easily fits the role of the soccer mom. Mary/Madonna complex might be a real thing. Which means too much Mary is a turnoff and too much Madonna might prevent a man from getting serious in a relationship.
6. Stating the obvious, men like a woman who takes care of herself.
You don’t have to be all made up every day. However, men will notice when a woman cares about her appearance. Men aren’t nearly as picky as we think they are. A shower and some mascara go a long way. However, when a woman is putting no effort into taking care of how she shows up in the world, a man will lose interest, not because he thinks she’s not pretty, but because he thinks she doesn’t care about herself or him.
Men can smell confidence or the lack thereof from miles away. Too much makeup and upkeep smell like insecurity to a man. Too little upkeep falls very flat because a man likes a woman who invests in taking care of herself and her needs. This goes for everything from wardrobe to workouts.
Every man I’ve ever talked to has secretly feared the woman he marries will “let herself go”. That has much less to do with gaining weight than it does with giving up. Even as I write that, I don’t like the implication given the things a woman goes through in a relationship, especially if children enter the picture. However, it’s the truth. It terrifies a man to think the woman he thinks is super hot might one day quit trying.
7. Very few men want to be the center of your universe – no matter how much they care about you.
Balanced men like women who have a life. They are attracted to women who are interested in things they aren’t. Healthy men want to be around women who spend time around other people. If a man doesn’t want you to have a life of your own with friends and interests of your own, run for your life.
Men like interesting women who have interesting things going on ranging from careers to hobbies. They like a woman who makes them feel like the only person in the room when they are together, but aren’t overly clingy or even engaged when they aren’t. A text or two during the day is probably ok. More than that is probably going to set an expectation that many men aren’t comfortable with.
Healthy men like an independent woman, but more specifically, an independent woman that makes them feel uniquely noticed and seen when they are with you.
8. Men are very attractive to a woman who’s comfortable naked – at any size.
I know fashion models who can’t have sex with the lights on and won’t get out of bed without a robe. Any woman can have body image issues and men do not find that attractive.
Men love a woman who is comfortable in their own skin.
Men love the female form in all its uniqueness and glory.
A man loves watching his woman walk away, particularly naked.
More than anything, men love confidence and ease.
Body insecurity makes men uneasy. They feel like they need to try to fix it for their insecure partner and they can’t. So, then they feel like they are failing. Physical nakedness requires vulnerability and intimacy. Men like to be with a woman who trusts them with that vulnerability.
9. Yes, men want sex.
That said, most don’t want sex all the time the way many of us think they do.
Men want to know a sex life will be a priority for their partner. A man wants to know his partner isn’t going to shut him out physically. He wants to know his partner wants him sexually. Men will be perfectly happy with less sex than they might think they want as long as they know their partner desires them and is still attracted.
Most of all, men want to know their partner isn’t going to use sex as a bargaining chip or a weapon. They worry about this because a lot of them have experienced it. Nothing will break the intimate bond between a man and his partner faster than weaponizing sex. Any hint of that kind of transactional behavior coming from a woman is an immediate red flag.
10. Men are attracted to women who can take care of business – but will let them take care of her.
I can’t tell you how many men I’ve heard say, “If something happened to me, I need to know she can handle things.”
This goes beyond just managing money. Men are attracted to women who don’t need to be in charge all the time, but when the ball falls in her court, they trust she can handle things and get shit done.
Men like a woman who has her house in order – literally and metaphorically. They don’t want to have to be Mr. Fix Everything. He wants to know she can take care of herself and him if she needs to.
That said, men are not attracted to a woman who feels like she has to do it all. They especially do not enjoy being around a woman who wants to do it all because her way is the right way or only she can do it right. Every man I know has a story about a woman like that.
A balanced healthy man loves to open a door, carry the groceries, fix the plugged sink, and generally take care of his woman. Strong men by their nature are caretakers and providers. When a woman can’t lean into that masculine energy and receive a man will be turned off and he may not even know why.
More by Lisa:
Lisa is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.
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