Sunday, March 15, 2009

what girls really want in their relationships

The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud once asked, “What do women want?” and, famously, he was never able to answer it. But what women want isn’t such a mystery. Relationship experts, sociologists and therapists have been studying the interactions between the sexes for decades, and they tend to agree on five basic things that woman require in a relationship.

1. Faithfulness.

It goes as far back as the cave-dwelling times, social archeologists say, when women were stuck tending the fire and raising the babies while their mate spent the day out hunting down dinner with a spear and a rock.

To stay safe and protect her young, she wanted the father of her children to come home at night, and it was nerve-wracking if her didn’t.

Now, you may use a computer keyboard and a Rolodex to keep food on the table instead of rocks and spears, but the same emotional concerns apply – she wants to know that you’ll be there when she needs you. It speaks to her most fundamental feelings about safety, and if she can’t trust you, it’s scary.

2. Kindness.

Forget the tough-guy act – women want men who are considerate, thoughtful and, above all, kind. They want someone who’ll put an arm around them when they cry, who’ll bring them a cup of soup when they’re sick, who’ll pet their dog and play Legos with their child.

They want to know that you’ll listen to how they got into a fender-bender and help them to feel better, not yell at them for wrecking the car. Women spend a lot of time nurturing others, and when they’re in a relationship they want to get a little nurturing in return.

Most women who have extramarital affairs report that it wasn’t sex that led them to stray, it was attention and understanding – they had affairs with men who listened to their problems and treated them with kindness. If they’d been getting that attention at home, they wouldn’t have felt the need to cheat.

3. Equality.

Women want to be a partner in a relationship, not a father or an overgrown child. In surveys about relationships, women overwhelmingly say that they want a partner who’ll stand by their side, be their best friend, and really listen to what they say – celebrating their successes and commiserating with their failures.

They want a man who will recognize and appreciate what she brings to the relationship, and not denigrate them to keep them in a lesser, secondary role. They want someone by their side who’ll encourage them to grow, and to achieve their dreams, knowing that being with a successful woman doesn’t make them any less of a man.

4. Helpfulness.

When asked what they’d most like to hear their husband or boyfriend say, most women answering surveys say they want to hear, “What can I do to help?”

As much as men hate being nagged by women, women hate nagging men – they really do. An offer to do some chore that isn’t usually your job, like laundry or the dishes, will make you a hero in a woman’s eyes.

While researchers have established that women have an ability to multitask that’s far superior to men’s, that ability makes many women take on more than they can comfortably handle.

Even if she doesn’t have children, the average woman’s day includes everything involved with her job plus cooking, cleaning, laundry, remembering birthdays, planning get-togethers, paying bills, mediating fights between family members ... and those six little words, “What can I do to help?” is like throwing a rope to a drowning woman. And remember, women are taught from childhood to see helpfulness as a sign of caring, so by offering her help you’re offering her emotional support, as well.

5. Respect.

Romance is all well and good, but in a long-term relationship, a woman wants your respect. She’s very likely holding down a full-time job, just like you, and maneuver her way through a world that still, no matter how smart and successful she may be, judges her by the thickness of her waist and the style of her shoes.

Women handle the bulk of the emotional work in their relationships (and, often, on the job, too) and studies show that they still do most of the housework even if they work full time.

And yet, almost every day they meet at least one man who thoughtlessly demeans them, whether it’s by saying, “You’d look much prettier if you were smiling!” or by calling them “sweetheart” and speaking to them as if they haven’t a brain in their head. Women want to be respected for the enormous amount of work they do, for how hard it is to juggle everything that they have on their plate, and how much emotional support they give the people around them.

If you genuinely like the woman in your life as well as love her, respecting her shouldn’t be difficult. Just treat like the special, unique and beautiful person that you know her to be, and your relationship will flourish.

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