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Not every man needs every one of these things, but most men need most of them. Hopefully he communicates his needs to you, but if he hasn’t, there’s always a reason. Maybe he’s afraid of the reaction or thinks he shouldn’t have to.
Men aren’t always the best communicators, but here is what they need, why they need it, and how you can help them get it.
If he hasn’t told you yet, here are 10 things men want but won’t ask for:
1. Let Him Lead
Why he needs it. I know what you’re thinking — what kind of 1950’s anti-feminist crap am I trying to advocate here.
But look, this isn’t about some sort of power or control over you. It isn’t even about letting him be the only leader.
If that’s where your relationship is, if the type of guy you want is one who leads while you follow, that’s fine.
But even in egalitarian relationships, you should allow him to at least co-lead.
What it comes down is that he wants to know his opinion and advice mean something to you. Leading gives him confidence and lets him show he loves you and feels like he’s protecting you.
If he’s a good guy, it’s not about power or control. He wants to empower you.
Why he won’t ask. Chances are he'd rather not want to come off as some sort of anti-feminist. He doesn’t want you to think he wants to control or manipulate you.
He also may not know how to approach the conversation without sounding accusatory.
How you can help. Make a habit of asking for his advice. This lets him know you care about his opinion and makes him feel like he’s helping lead you through life.
You should also let him know you really appreciate the examples he sets for things like hard work, integrity, financial management, etc.
For some things, like financial decisions, parenting, or other important decision, you may want to set a precedent for making them together.
Most men, even the ones who are rather passive, need to be leadership in some area of their lives.
At the very least, know who’s in charge of which decisions and which ones you should always make together.
Have weekly check in meetings as a couple, talk about these important choices, and affirm how well you are each doing.
2. Maintain Your Independence
Why he needs it. You may be wondering why this is one of the things men want but won’t ask for. In any relationship, both people need space at times.
He doesn’t want to feel smothered and wants to enjoy his own interests. He wants to know that you’re maintaining your own identity and staying happy doing the things you love.
Any guy who doesn’t want you to be independent probably wants to control you. This is a need you both share so thriving in your independence helps both of you!
Why he won’t ask. He doesn’t want to make you think he doesn’t want to spend time with you. He’s doesn’t want you to think having his own interests means he’s not interested in you.
He is interested, but he knows that there’s a such thing as spending too much time together!
How you can help. Engage in your own interests and hobbies and talk about them with him. Go out with your own friends sometimes but keep lines of communication open.
3. Hang With Your Friends
Why he needs it. Just like maintaining your independence, this is a good way for you both to be happy. If you have halfway decent friends, he should want you to hang out with them.
This is perfect time for him to have space and engage in his hobbies even if it’s for an hour or two, plus it keeps you happy!
Why he won’t ask. He doesn’t want to seem like he’s kicking you out of the house for a bit… but really, you both need space!
He also might be worried that if he gives you an inch, you’ll take a mile. Work out a system where you can see your friends, but not to the extent you neglect him.
How you can help. Go out with your friends and talk to them so you have someone else to emotionally ground you besides him.
Come back to him happy and tell him how much appreciate him. It’ll do wonders for your relationship!
4. Hear Him Out
Why he needs it. It’s often hard for men to express their emotions and needs. If you don’t listen, it’s harder for him to communicate with you.
This isn’t necessarily about listening to or taking his opinions, though that’s important. It’s more about letting him express his emotions (anger, fear, and sadness included), without invalidating or dismissing them.
Why he won’t ask. Why is this one of the things men want but won’t ask for? Because he shouldn’t have to.
But if you have a history of interrupting him, ignoring what he says, or not even asking him in the first place, why would he bother?
He may also think it’s not appropriate for him to express his emotions or has been told anger is bad. This can make it hard to communicate.
How you can help. Actively ask him to communicate with you, especially when he’s indicated he wants/need to. Follow these active listening tips:
-Make eye contact.
-Be present. Don’t think about how you’re going to answer or prove him wrong while he’s talking. Focus completely on his words.
-Use phrases like “I understand how you’re feeling.” and “I see why that might be hard.”
-Ask him how you can help him and what he needs from you. Have him repeat the process for you.
-Keep an open mind and seriously consider what he says. Treat his emotions and opinions how you want him to treat yours. They may not be rational or well thought out, but he needs someone to listen.
5. Recognize His Value
Why he needs it. We all need our value recognized, but men in particular have been conditioned to believe that their value is based on other people’s recognition of that value.
Even if this isn’t his love language (see below), he needs to know what he does matters.
Why he won’t ask. He doesn’t want to come off as needy. Or he thinks you should recognize it without him asking, and if he has to ask, he’s obviously not doing enough to be recognized.
Finally, maybe he just resents you for not noticing and, in a bad feedback loop, doesn’t want to ask any more so he can make the problem worse. He’ll convince himself it’s your fault.
How you can help. Recognize his contributions to your life, to his job, and to the world, and thank him for them. Having trouble recognizing the good things he does, try these tips:
-What does he do that he doesn’t have to, or doesn’t like?
-How does he make you feel good or thankful for him?
-What first attracted you to him?
6. Identify His Love Language
Why he needs it. Whether it’s in a romantic relationship or otherwise, everyone needs to feel loved. One of the easiest ways for us to give and receive love is through our love languages.
Affirmations, Service, Gifts, Touch, and Quality Time — we all give and receive in different ways and knowing yours and his will be the best thing you’ve ever done for your relationship.
This is one of the biggest things men want but won’t ask for, because they probably don’t know they need it!
Why he won’t ask. He might not know what a love language is, and even if he does, he feels it’s a bit inappropriate to ask you to love him in a specific way.
He probably has some ambiguous feeling of not feeling “really loved” but can’t put his finger on it.
How you can help. Look into the five love languages, whether through the original book or reading about it on the internet.
You can learn both of yours by taking one of the quizzes, which can be fun to do as a couple! Talk about your answers together.
Once you know your languages, practice speaking them. If you’re lucky, you’ll speak the same one, but that’s not likely.
Go out of your way to speak his and help him remember that he needs to speak yours, as well!
7. Desire Him Sexually
Why he needs it. Sex is important to him and he needs to feel attractive.
Since men are predominantly physical rather than emotional, physical connection is often more important to him than emotional connection, at least as far as brain chemistry works.
This isn’t to say he doesn’t want or need an emotional connection from you.
But sex is the fastest way to open that emotional gate, and even if you’re not having sex for good reasons, if he doesn’t feel desirable, he’s going to wonder why you’re with him.
Why he won’t ask. Hopefully he realizes your sex drive isn’t something either of you can control. He can’t ask you to be attracted to him, you either are or aren’t.
He also might believe that you shouldn’t have sex with him if you don’t want to… but he might not realize that doesn’t mean you’re not attracted to him.
To him, bringing this up feels like a no-win situation.
How you can help. Hopefully you’re sexually attracted to him, because if you’re not, I’m not sure why you’re together.
Even if you’re not a woman who likes sex a lot, make a point of telling him you’re attracted to him, and give specific examples (arms, smile, hair, etc.)
8. Embrace His Flaws
Why he needs it. Hopefully he’s aware he has flaws, if he’s not then you probably need to walk on eggshells around him anyway.
Embracing his flaws ensures he’ll feel secure in your commitment to him, and that you’re not trying to change him. It also tells him you’re not a hypocrite, because you have flaws too.
Why he won’t ask. Talking about flaws is a sensitive topic for just about anyone. No one likes to be that vulnerable and we’d all just prefer to enjoy it.
He also worried he might not like the answer, if you can’t love him despite his flaws, can you really love him? Best to just ignore the issue as long as possible in his mind.
It may seem contradictory that this is one of the things men want but won’t ask for, but it really is good for you to embrace his flaws!
How you can help. It’s OK to bring up mistakes he’s made but try to avoid framing them in the context of them being flaws. At worst, they’re bad habits he can work to change.
Actively forgive him when he makes a mistake and when appropriate, give him tangible and actionable steps he can take to avoid the mistake in the future.
Be open about your flaws and be an example about how you can grow and change as a person. He’ll want to do the same, but probably won’t be inspired to change for you if you’re not willing to change yourself.
9. Love His Family
Why he needs it. His family is important to him and he doesn’t want to be in the position to choose between you and them.
Unless he’s completely aware of his family’s toxicity and doesn’t want anything to do with them, he needs you to get along with them — even if you’re just faking it.
Why he won’t ask. He cares about you both and doesn’t want to put you in the position of liking someone you don’t like.
How you can help. If his family is functional, go out of your way to find the best things about them and focus on those. You can learn to love people, especially if you don’t see them too often.
If his family admittedly has some problems, or a certain member of his family makes life miserable for you, at least do your best to exist civilly with them.
Try your best to find things in common with them and hold your tongue whenever possible.
10. Have Belief In Him
Why he needs it. He needs support and to know that you think he can succeed in anything he can do. Some men have dreams, some men just want to keep their head down and work.
Why he won’t ask. He’s afraid you might not actually believe in him, which could potentially destroy him. He’d rather just assume you do and not risk his hopes being dashed, or maybe he doesn’t think he’s worth believing in.
How you can help. Express how much you believe in him. Tell him you really appreciate how hard he works and encourage him to have dreams and goals, even if they’re silly to you. Affirm his talents and his gifts, and that he’s really good at what he does. Don’t lie or allow him to be reckless, but always be positive about his dreams.