What Do Women Want? Here’s the Answer, Guys!

bald-guy-scratching-his-headI was two weeks shy of 22 when my daughter was born. I was naïve and blissfully immature. My wife was five years older than me and an outspoken feminist. Not surprisingly, she often became exasperated with me because I just “didn’t get it.” And though I didn’t much like the way she expressed her frustration at times, I disciplined myself to pay attention to what she said rather than how she said it. And so I learned.

I also received quite an education simply by keeping the lines of communication open with my daughter as she grew older. She shared virtually every detail of her life with us, which afforded me the opportunity to get an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at how teenage girls viewed boys and life in general. I paid attention when she said things like, “Dad, I don’t want you to solve my problems, I just want you to listen.” And so I learned.

What I learned is the answer to the question, What do women want? If you’re one of the three billion men on this planet who claim to have no clue, the answer is very simple: Women want to be cherished.

But you already knew that, didn’t you? You’ve just been pleading ignorance because you think becoming a true life partner with a woman requires too much work. After all, looking out for number one is a full-time job and then some for most men.

It’s all about perspective. Women liken a relationship to a plant that needs daily watering. Men liken a relationship to a cactus that only needs watering every few months.

Guys, it really is simple. A woman wants to know she’s your number one priority. When you hold her in your arms and tell her that you love her, she wants to feel your words coming from your heart, not from your head. Yes, she wants to know what you’re thinking, but more importantly, she wants to know what you’re feeling. Women crave intimacy. And when you grow up, you will, too.

When women don’t feel cherished, they feel an aching in their soul that manifests itself in all sorts of ways, from acting “irrational” during arguments (much to men’s amusement) to losing themselves in romance novels. As novelist Susan Sussman wrote, “You show me a woman who hasn’t fantasized getting in a car and leaving home and I’ll show you a woman who doesn’t drive.”

So what do men want? Well, the easy answer is beer, football and sex, although not necessarily in that order. Actually, philosopher Immanuel Kant nailed it when he said, “The desire of a man for a woman is not directed at her because she is a human being, but because she is a woman. That she is a human being is of no concern to him.”

Men routinely protest that their motives are far more noble than Kant would suggest. And while it’s true that there are many good-hearted men who genuinely love their mothers, wives and daughters and certainly think of them as whole human beings in every sense of the word, there is undeniably a part of them (guess which part?) that views other women as nothing more than a collection of body parts they would like to have their way with. Be honest now. Have you ever paged through a Playboy or Penthouse? Ever? I rest my case.

Fortunately, guys, there’s hope, even if you don’t have a clue that you don’t have a clue. But you have to understand and accept that there are no shortcuts. Enlightenment requires a heightened awareness, a fierce dedication to honesty at all costs and a willingness to admit that you still have a lot to learn. It may take years, but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, the chances are good that someday you’ll “get it.”

You can start by recognizing the difference between being self-centered and centered in your self. (Tape these five words to your bathroom mirror: “It’s not always about me.”) This may sound odd at first, but get to know yourself. Pick up a few books on spirituality. Try meditating. Look within instead of focusing all your attention on the external world. It’s one of life’s greatest truths that love is for people who know who they are. Until then, it’s just practice.

As you become more enlightened, you will become more capable of genuinely loving and cherishing a woman. And you will see that the purpose of a relationship is not to find someone who completes you, but to find someone you can share your completeness with.

By the way, when you cherish a woman, really cherish a woman, guess what? The complaining about all the time you spend away from her stops. You may even stop hearing the four little words that strike fear into every man’s heart: “We need to talk.” Why? When a woman knows she is truly cherished, she won’t act out of insecurity and fear. She’ll know she’s deep within your heart and that she can trust you with her life.

Are you ready to begin? Good. You can start by turning off the TV and asking what the two of you can do together today.

Click here to view all my posts about romantic relationships.

Click here to view all my posts about the importance and power of listening.


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51 Responses to “What Do Women Want? Here’s the Answer, Guys!”

  1. Kim Wencl Says:

    Wow! You are a peach Phil. My guess is that the majority of men are clueless that they are clueless. How do you even begin to change that!
    Have a fabulous Christmas!

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Therein lies the challenge, Kim!

  3. becky Says:

    So true! I am grateful to be married to a man that I feel so cherished with! I’m going to put a link to this one on my business website: http://www.resilientsolutionsin.com – is that okay?

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    It’s more than okay, Becky. I’d love to have as many people read this as possible!

    Very nice to hear from you again!

  5. Mrs.Flam Says:

    Its so true …

  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. F.!

  7. Kim Says:

    I’m still on your site. Oh, this one is brilliant. You get it and most men don’t. I am going to forward this to my son-in-law (he’s been married to my daughter two years) and he gets it – he’s wonderful. You should get this published as an editorial in the Star Tribune or something!

  8. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks, Kim! Actually, that’s how it started out—as an essay in the Single Slices section of the Star Tribune. The editor of that section told me it received the most reaction of any essay she’s published, which certainly surprised me!

  9. Lindsay Says:

    What? Are you serious? I can’t believe what I am reading, this is amazing. I just spent three hours last night trying to explain this to my boyfriend in an email last night and still no victory. He will be getting this shortly in an email and if this doesn’t do it then I don’t think anything will. You are the man! I would really love to put this on my blog with a link to your website, let me know if that’s possible ;)

  10. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Glad you liked it, Lindsay! I wrote it with the hope of helping other guys “get it.” Absolutely, you can link to this post. That would be great! By working together, maybe we can wake up a few chowderheads! Ha!

  11. Marlene M. Linke Says:

    There is a reason there’s a saying that goes “No man was ever shot while he was doing dishes” LOL I don’t want diamonds or pearls or material things. I want my husband to show how much he appreciates me by the little things he does. On some occasions, he hits it out of the park. But, sadly, it takes constant “coaching” on my part to remind him of what is really important.

  12. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yep, women look at a relationship like a plant that needs to be watered daily. Men look at a relationship as a cactus that only needs watering every few months!

  13. The Dating Dr Says:

    Phil- You are TOTALLY right on. I think you hit the nail on the head with: Women want, above and beyond all, to feel cherished.

    When a woman feels cherished, there is nothing she won’t do for you.

    I’d have to say I’m super lucky, because my husband Greg, got it, right out of the gate. There hasn’t been a moment in the 4 years we’ve known each other that I HAVEN’T KNOWN, deep in my soul, that he cherishes me.

    Making someone feel cherished isn’t an angle we talk that much about, but before you go thinking it’s just too hard. Know it’s the little things that make women feel most cherished.

    Like the way Greg bought me a bottle of Downy fabric softener, my favorite, a few weeks after we met; the way he picks up Cadbury’s Mini Eggs as soon as they are out for the season, because he knows I’m totally addicted to them; or the way he fed the horses for me this morning because the snow was blowing.

    That’s all it takes folks. Little acts over time accumulate to a rock solid bond that lasts. You can see how it works in the real world, over at the Happily Ever After Gratitude Blog Greg and I write about the little love lessons that we keep learning, day in and day out: http://www.soulmatecelebration.blogspot.com.

    I read this idea of being cherished in a book one time and they called it “being delighted in.” It’s what every little girl needed to feel from her father, and every grown woman craves from her man. It can heal old wounds quickly! I wrote about what it’s like to be delighted in a while back: http://tinyurl.com/dzo62v

    It’s the best gift you can ever offer your partner!

    So keep up the cherishing Phil, your wife is a lucky lady, and no doubt, a happy one!

    Want to come over and do an expert interview for my single members?

  14. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Well said! Glad you found a keeper in Greg!

    Alas, I am wifeless at the moment. Ha!

  15. Trudy Says:

    Great Article Phil. Thanks for the tweet. I think the experts in the film will agree with many of your points.

    Watch the trailer and enjoy the pre-release offers.

    Love, Trudy

  16. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks, Trudy!

  17. Suzanne Says:

    To paraphrase the Association (I know, I’m dating myself!) “Cherish IS the word.” While I am choosing to learn from and delight in my current single state, I know that if/when I choose to have a partner again, it will be a man who cherishes me, and I will settle for nothing less.

    And yet I suspect that much of the problem in some relationships is that women do not cherish -themselves- first. I know I’ve certainly been guilty in the past of wanting a man’s opinion of me to substitute for my own self-image. Understandably, this results in a man who feels obligated and overwhelmed. It’s hard enough to hold up your own self-esteem without feeling like you have to carry someone else’s, too!

    IMHO, the key is to get to the point where you don’t -need- or -expect- to be cherished, but you -appreciate- it, and cherish in return.

    Great blog post – thanks for sharing it via Twitter!

  18. Phil Bolsta Says:

    WIse words, Suzanne. Yes, women (and men!) have to cherish themselves before they can genuinely cherish others. And, yes, I remember the Association. The good news is, if you’re not dating anyone else, at least you’re dating yourself!

  19. Kath Says:

    Great article. I think the bad thing is that one can be cherished but not fully in the way a woman wants. My partner shows in all his caring, for me and the kids, and work about the house that he cherishes me but in fact I’d love a bunch of flowers or just something silly that has no other meaning than “I cherish you” . Sometimes I hate the sentimentality of women but other times I have to admit I’m one myself and money/power is a powerfull aphrodisiac but flowers work almost as well!

  20. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, a good partner will sense when and how to cherish his or her partner. Those needs and desires change over time and even day to day. That’s why you need to be in tune with each other!

  21. Colin Allomes Says:

    Great words of truth. A lady once made a lot of money. She wrote a book called > What Men Know About Women. She sold it on line and made Millions. It was a big thick book and inside there was nothing. This is a true story.

  22. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, I know it’s true, Colin, because the woman who “wrote” that book is my friend’s sister!

  23. mel Says:

    Mr. Phil Bolsta,

    You nailed it, big time! As for me, I’ve experienced four failed relationships already. I always thought that there’s something wrong with me. Now I know that each of my partners failed to understand me and vice versa. I felt guilty not trying to. Its just that, it’s hard for me to open up and talk about what I want and what I really feel. Call it paranoia, I guess. Yes, I’m really scared, really really scared to take risk when it comes to lovelife, realtionships and commitment, of being hurt and not be able to bounce back.
    My friends rely to me as their ‘shock absorber’. I can give sound advices but I can’t apply it to myself. A case of a doctor who can’t cure himself.
    I harbor thoughts like how would I know if this person really mean what he said. I tend to cocoon myself with walls of doubts.
    Sometimes I thought about going to a psychiatrist or psychologist whomever is applicable to treat me of this pessimism and negativity but I can’t. I’m much of a coward to do just that.

  24. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Just because a relationship ends does not mean it was a failure, Mel. Every relationship, no matter how long it lasts, expands our self-awareness and clarifies what we do and do not desire in a partner. In time, your grief gives way to understanding and acceptance. Your broken heart heals and becomes stronger than it ever was. Do not allow the fear of heartbreak to stop you from pledging your love to another.

    When love beckons to you, follow him,
    Though his ways are hard and steep.
    And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
    Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
    And when he speaks to you believe in him,
    Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north
    wind lays waste the garden.
    Kahlil Gibran

    By protecting your heart, you may end up losing it.

    To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your
    heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you
    want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your
    heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully
    round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements;
    lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
    But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will
    change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable,
    impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or
    at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.
    C. S. Lewis

    Trust in God and dive headlong into the ocean of romantic love. The waters may be choppy from time to time, but an exhilarating world of unimaginable beauty awaits.

    To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception;
    it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either
    in time or in eternity.
    Soren Kierkegaard

  25. Norma Says:

    Can’t believe how long it took me to understand that what your Kant quote says about men is true! And with the pervasiveness of porn and general sexual objectification now it’s only more so. It’s hard for some of us to understand that you really never will be like us, and very few of u take us on our own terms. But only the kind of communication you are talking about can bridge the gap. Keep spreading the word, you’re doing a great job.

  26. Norma Says:

    Great responses, Phil. I have often resisted the gender stereotype phenomenon but what my evolution required was to let go of that resistance and see what I actually saw and try to understand that. Having a son and really observing the nice men that I love in my life non-judgmentally is what ullitmately made me realize what u said is true. It … See Moredoesn’t make them bad, it doesn’t make us better inherently, but we are hormonally, culturally conditioned and perhaps within our brain wiring itself given certain communication advantages. We have mostly through history adapted ourselves to men without getting more of what we want emotionally from them but,thank God, a lot of conciousness has been raised on both sides in the last and present centuries.

  27. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yep, Norma, unfortunately Kant’s observation is indeed true. But as you said, the gap between our cultural and genetic biases can be bridged. And it’s really not difficult to do. All it takes is intention and effort.

  28. maria elena Says:

    if only my ex boyfriend knows how to handle the relationship Phil, i wouldnt have had broke up with him. he should have read your blog prior to having- us…. whew! would have saved me nearly seven years of heartaches and patience……

  29. Phil Bolsta Says:

    That’s why i wrote the blog post, Maria Elena. Sad to say, but most guys are clueless. Good luck with your next relationship!

  30. Char Says:

    Wow. I’ll sum up my thoughts on this in seven short words, Phil; you hit the nail on the head! I need to share your article! Many Thanks!

  31. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks, Char! By all means, share the link. The more men who read it the better!

  32. Serena Says:

    Thank God there is a guy who gets it! Listening and making others feel cherished is key to all relationships, not just romantic relationships. I wish more of my male friends realized this. It might have saved some lost friendships.

  33. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Amen, Serena!

  34. The Exception Says:

    I linked here from the Renegade Oracle – and wow… You put into words what I attempted to communicate for years to a man – You put into words the way that I would want my daughter to be treated (and me) over the example she is being given now. Thank you for such an eloquent post – Thank you for stopping and listening to your daughter and the words of your wife over her tone.
    I am not sure that this is something we can make men learn – but it is something that men can learn if they desire to do so… and I am sure that we, as women, can learn to communicate and express ourselves too – It isn’t all about us either (But then again, how many of us make it all about someone else?)

    Wonderful writing. Looking forward to exploring this site more.

  35. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, T.E. Is this something that men can learn? Sure. I learned it so there’s proof right there!

  36. A.S. Says:

    Wow…what an excellent article, Phil. I am going to post to several web groups that I subscribe to, the URL to this and other articles in your blog. Every guy and woman out there should read this. It is VERY helpful.

    Of course, only those who want to behave the right way will put your words into action, and those who want to remain self-indulgent will disregard them. However, sometimes there are people “on the fence,” so to speak, and this is the type of eloquent article that can benefit them.

  37. Phil Bolsta Says:

    I greatly appreciate that, A.S. The more people who read this post, the better. Good point about fence-sitters; there are men out there who are open to getting a clue and simply don’t know where to find it. Unfortunately, as you so perceptively noted, the men most in need of reading this are the ones least likely to. *shrugs*

  38. Mica Says:

    I didn’t read all the comments above, but I did read the article. So, I apologize if someone wrote this already. For years I have told my male friends that usually all a women really wants is to feel cherished and chosen. You write about cherished. What do you think of the chosen part of the equation?

  39. Phil Bolsta Says:

    In my view, Mica, “chosen” is an inherent element of “cherished.” The heart cannot cherish unless it has first chosen to do so.

  40. Barb Says:

    Great stuff Phil but we women already know this.. unfortunately guys don’t and they don’t really expend much effort to find out. Given the fact that all your responses have been from women how do you get through to passing the message onto guys.?..its not like they read books on what women want! (Only women seem to try to find out about what guys want)

  41. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Good question, Barb. Seems to me the answer is for women to read this and then send it to guys with a strong recommendation!

  42. Jusme Says:

    I’m a guy and came across this article. It really supports what i was thinking and offers a simple substantiation to how we treat each other.

    For the record too, as a guy i think to have this kind of attention reciprocated from a girl would be wonderful.

    So i guess all the small things I try and do each day maybe do mean something. :-)

  43. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, small things are often the biggest things, Jusme.

  44. Bob Gainey Says:

    You know, it goes both ways. Men also want to be cherished.

  45. Phil Bolsta Says:

    True, Bob. But it looks and feels different for men than it does for women. There’s just a different quality to it. That’s a whole different article!

  46. Mark Says:

    I just don’t understand why women need to be cherished. I look at myself, and I know I have value and don’t need any external reward, recognition or cherishment. Seriously, I can’t figure this.

  47. Phil Bolsta Says:

    With all due respect, Mark, your inability to understand why women need to be cherished is at the heart of why women get so frustrated with men. It’s all about emotional intimacy and absolute trust. Many men live in their head and can’t fathom how or why anyone can lead with their heart; men (and women) who live only in their head live impoverished lives without ever realizing it. I recommend that you read “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” by John Gray. It’s a good starting point.

  48. Sue Snyder Says:

    How do you know all of this? This is exactly what I need. I’ve just never been able to put my finger on what it is. I’m almost crying because what you are saying is so right and its very difficult to find. I don’t like that I need to be cherished but for some reason I do.

  49. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Of course you need to feel cherished, Sue. Everybody does. I sincerely hope that you find the happiness you’re longing for.

  50. John Says:

    Phil, while what you say is true, I notice that almost all the replies are from women. However, being ‘cherished’ is only part of a larger package of requirements/conditions women have. A man knows women fall in love within a framework. A man might genuinely ‘cherish’ a woman, but he has to live up to other conditions before a woman will accept him. In other words, this is only in additon. Often what women say they want, and the message a man hears are two different things.

  51. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, of course, John. Even if a man truly cherishes a woman, he also has to be a responsible, decent human being.

    You wrote, “Often what women say they want, and the message a man hears are two different things.” Absolutely. John Gray has made a fortune out of writing about that disconnect!

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