What do women want in a relationship?

September 16, 2014

what-women-wantPull up a chair, pour a glass and let’s get right to it, because this is the kind of discussion best had around a table with something wet and wild.

I SWORE I wasn’t going to do this, but I really can’t deny my misguided male friends an opportunity to right their thinking, even if I believe their minds are closed.  Hope springs eternal. So here’s the back-story:

Today’s question is “What do women want in a relationship?” and I really want your input.

My Dear Friend of almost 20 years standing insists  that women are not interested in “good men.”  That they would rather be with “bad-boy-rogues” they can try to change.  That the “sensitive man” doesn’t have a chance.

Now, I should point out that Dear Friend has been married more than 20 years, so his own dating history is, well, dated. However, he is friends with a NEWER DEAR FRIEND of mine who IS significantly younger than we are, single and is a rockin’ cool guy who has had some of the same dating experiences.  As in “nice guys finish last.”

I say that nice guys do NOT finish last, and men who find women like this have a “picker” dysfunction.  Yes, with an “i.”

Dear Friend and I have been arguing about this (ok, maybe “argue” is too strong a word) for years and he wanted me to open up the topic up here for  your input. I have been reluctant, because he’s nothing if not stubborn and he does not seem open-minded on this topic (cringe, oh, I’ll hear about this soon as he reads it).  But hope springs eternal, I’m a cock-eyed optimist (more likely delusional) and maybe we can educate him.

So, whether you are 25 or 65, male, female or something else, I hope you will weigh in below, in the Comments section.

Riddle me this:

What do women want in a relationship?

Do we prefer bad boys? Do nice guys really finish last?

Help me with this, because I’m getting nowhere.

(Oh, and if you happen to be a cool, 30-something woman in the San Francisco Bay area, I have a fabulous man I want you to meet.)

27 comments on “What do women want in a relationship?
  1. Carol Graham says:

    I think the key word here is “relationship.” I’m one of your over 65 readers but certainly can remember dating decades ago. It was fun running around with ‘bad boys’ but that’s all it was – fun. It wasn’t a relationship. I have counselled women for years and the ones that seem to be the most unhappy, are the ones who married the bad boys. They never seem to grow up. They tend to ‘play’ outside the relationship and they hide from responsibility. I firmly believe that no matter how independent we are, how strong or self-sufficient we are — we want men who are kind, sensitive and strong.

  2. Laura Kennedy says:

    I have never wasted more than five minutes on a bad boy. I get a whiff of that, I’m outta there. Life is too damn short. I like nice men who can hold a conversation and spare at least a little time to wonder what things are like from my perspective.

  3. Hmmm…at first glance, my husband was a tough – ass bad boy. But he also had the most amazing hazel green eyes…and they kept me around long enough to realize there was a lot more to jim. He was fiercely loyal, amazingly smart and funny, and really a lover wrapped in a fighter facade. Bad Boys are often good boys in disguise.

  4. Laura says:

    Alpha male please. But that doesn’t make him a bad boy, just assertive and knows his own mind.

  5. kim tackett says:

    Hmmmm, I haven’t dated in 37 years (except for my husband, and I do try to date him). But I think we want someone who will show up with love, in all ways. I was just thinking about this really nice thing Steve did last night. I heard him get up (it was 1:30 am) and I asked him if he was ok. He said (after hesitating) that he was getting earplugs. I asked him if I was snoring. He said “there was a little snoring.” Not “yes, you were”…just that it was happening. This was after watching our two best friends try to compete by showing us their iPhone recordings of each other snoring (we didn’t have to listen, they just wanted us to see whose snore had the biggest blip on the screen). I’m not really answering your questions, but if I were on the market, looking for love, love looks like someone who will quietly put in his earplugs, and not tell you that you’re snoring (and also, not tell others).

  6. Nora says:

    I want a “good” guy who is man enough to care for others and to treat them kindly. Lucy me–I found him many years ago, and I’m sticking with him!

  7. Michelle says:

    After 3 horribly failed relationships I found that ‘nice’ is king. Sharing common interests is also key.

  8. Age has a lot to do with a relationship. My hubby and I are going though a change. The oldest son got married last year and youngest one is getting married next year…So our relationship is on a change and I’m comfortable with that.

    Coffee is on

  9. TJ says:

    I like Type A, dominant, take control types with a big presence. No wussies. Doesn’t mean they’re bad boys. I don’t want to have to be a guy’s mother and tell him how to live. I want him to be opinionated, smart and passionate. But, of course, he must be loving, generous, nice and have an open mind. Oh, and he must have great manners!!!

    When I dated I had a couple tests when I first met a man. First, does he like pets? You can’t say animals- everybody like some kind of wild animal, doesn’t mean they want to raise, care and live with one. If he said no I checked out. Second, how does he drive? Like a grandma? Hesitant and slow to make a decision? No, thanks- I didn’t want those hands on me. Sounds like a silly thing, but if you don’t own the road as a dude, it’s a sign of other things that bug me.

  10. I dated a few bad boys when I was younger, then married an asshole (my first husband). The first thing that struck me about my husband when I met him was what a gentleman he was – and still is. Being kind to each other is THE most important thing my husband and I do in our relationship – the world is tough enough without having to battle a bad boy in marriage.

  11. I think at first we’re more interested in bad boys. But that novelty gets old really fast. After a few relationships filled with drama and let downs, I learned to look for lasting quality traits.

  12. Robyn says:

    I have three siblings in the 20-30 range. Both of my brothers where recently shown the door by young women that I can only guess haven’t been in enough bad relationships to know when they’re in a good one (the classic “I love you. I’m just not IN love with you.”). My sister insists on staying in a bad relationship because “it’s going to get better”.

    I have to kinda agree with your friend here – young women seem to enjoy the drama of hot/cold/on/off/love you/hate you craziness. Women like me, who have seen more than their share of the nonsense of “bad-boys” are very happy to have a “boring” nice guy who opens car doors, can have a conversation about something other than himself, knows who he is now that’s he’s a grown up and does his own laundry rather than screaming that he doesn’t have any clean clothes. Oh and finding a guy who enjoy the same hobbies as you – bonus!

  13. One thing that no one is commenting on is whether it’s a “picker problem” — selection bias–for these nice men who date girls who want bad boys.

  14. Janie Emaus says:

    I want someone who makes me laugh, along with good communication.

  15. I think we want different things at different stages in our dating life. Every relationship not only grows and changes us, but helps shape what we want next. I’m so glad that I dated every person that I did, they made me ready to recognize exactly what it was that I wanted.

  16. I want a good Christian Man who lives a God centered life and cares for me, my family and my children. Nerds and Brains rock over Looks and Brawn (but Looks and Brawn are certainly appealing). Character and Integrity hold their own over time. Teach our girls to value this and they will.

  17. I think very young girls/women want the bad boys essentially. Then when they grow out of that phase (a few never do), then they want a stable, interesting guy with a good income.

    This precludes the idea I have now that all relationships have an expiration date on them… but I think that’s a wholly different topic.

  18. Diane says:

    The nice guys in my life (and I have a few) all expect to be rejected by women. I was horrified when I discovered this. But they honestly expect women to pass them over for the bad boy in the back row. The eye candy.
    That being said, I was raised by one of those ‘nice guys’. And married one as well. We have raised four ‘nice guy’ sons. And have two ‘nice guy’ sons-in-law. What do I look for in a man? The quote from St. Francis de Sales says it all, “Nothing so strong as gentleness. Nothing so gentle as real strength.”

  19. Toni McCloe says:

    Okay I stole this from someone on Twitter but I could not have agree. What I want ( and had once) is a guy who has a sense of humor, smells divine and gives good hugs. No bad boys please. oh, and if you know a guy like this send me an email please.

  20. Myke Todd says:

    I would think, girls wants guys who can make them laugh at a time they do not want to, but let them have a sad, uninterrupted, when they need to… If a fellow is a really good cook, that helps. If he cleans the kitchen afterward… oh, who am I kidding? This man does not exist.

  21. Life is too short to waste on bad boys. I want someone who makes me laugh, is a good listener, a good kisser, who makes me feel special just by looking into my eyes — oh, that’s my husband! No wonder we’ve been together for 33 years!

  22. A sense of humor is huge. Not a “nice guy” like a doormat and not a”bad boy” like a felon. Somewhere in the middle. Sometimes Bad boys make great men! It’s all in the training!

  23. I wasted DECADES on bad boys! DECADES! Cheaters, liars, etc. Maybe the definition of Maturity is realizing those kind of guys are not going to change. I finally got it right and married a great guy in my forties.. some of us are a little slow.

  24. Donna says:

    great timing…I just had an enormous disagreement with my husband…right now I would like some space.

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