Sunday, April 5, 2009

What Women Want

I have the impression that many people who find my blog may be interested in learning how to initiate romantic relationships. While I write about relationships more generally, I think much of the advice is also very useful for those working on romantic relationships. However, in our culture, and especially on television and in magazines, there is a lot of emphasis on superficial qualities, and it leads many people to assume that if they don't have these qualities (like good looks, a sleek new car, quick wit), there's at a serious disadvantage in the relationship "market". I don't think that's true at all.

Maybe young people, who are still dependent on their parents for support, have the luxury of focusing on the more superficial qualities. But a woman who has been out on her own for any serious length of time, and has experienced the ups and downs of life, generally has a more well-thought out list of "desirable" qualities. Of course, I am married now and have been for eleven years, but when I was looking for love, these were the top eight qualities on my list:

1. Being open-hearted: being deeply in touch with his own emotions, and able to express love in a generous and unselfish way

2. Being honest and trustworthy

3. Being on my intellectual level: able to have a conversation with me that I find stimulating, and able to rationally challenge me to think about things in different ways

4. Being responsible and reliable, especially with money and household chores

5. Having a good sense of humor, and not taking life too seriously

6. Being even-tempered: not getting too upset or moody over life's little setbacks, able to "go with the flow"

7. Being emotionally supportive: having good listening skills

8. Not being controlling or overly possessive

As it turned out, I married a man who has every one of those qualities. It is entirely possible to get what you want in a partner, if you are willing to really work at finding the right person, and not just sit back thinking you should wait for destiny to send someone your way.

Please help out (whether you're a woman or a man) and comment with your list of most desired qualities in a partner, so that all those readers here who are looking for love can get a realistic idea about what personal qualities are likely to have the greatest appeal.


  1. Hmm, some of my most desired qualities in a girl? Self-confidence, open mind, sexy, good in bed, popular/lots of friends, intelligent.

  2. Glowing Face Man--Thanks for commenting. I’ve always understood why self-confidence is so prized; it has the effect of making the other person feel very comfortable, like no effort is needed to make the connection. Open-mindedness is a quality I should have thought to add to my list, since that was very important to me too.

    I have the impression that men are much more visually-oriented when it comes to sexiness, while women are more into the feeling of being desired. By good in bed, I would assume you mean passionate and enthusiastic. I should warn you that can be difficult to keep up for the long-term. Once you have young children in the house, it’s tough to sustain any kind of energy after 9 pm, and sometimes you will consider yourself fortunate just to get “awake and willing”. I’m guessing your desire for someone who has a lot of friends is for the enjoyment of having an abundance of people around to socialize with.

  3. I wrote a post along these lines from a guys standpoint trying to understand women. Yes its true men are visually stimulated at first. However I agree that isn't everything. If I cannot have an intellectually stimulating conversation with a woman forget it. Funny thing though it seems quality #1 is just as hard to find in women these days as men. A quality I run from is a woman is who materialistic.I like nice things too, but if it is the center point of a her existence it is such a turn off. So Someone who is into living and not "things" to make her happy.

  4. ~K--Thanks for your comments & I did also read your longer post on the topic. I think you have a pretty good understanding of the paradoxes of the female mind. Here’s another one for your dichotomies list: we want a man who is willing to travel to the ends of earth and walk through fire for us, but he mustn’t come across as desperate. In the final analysis, you probably realize you may as well just be yourself, it will save you a lot of effort in the long run. Hang in there, I have a strong feeling that things are going to work out quite well for you.

    As far as honesty is concerned, sometimes I think I got more than I bargained for. Last year, I lost 10 pounds, and I asked Hubby if he had noticed. He looked at me quizzically, and said, “Well, I haven’t seen you naked for a while” (and I’m thinking: Geez, I really gotta find out who that other fellow is, cause I think I owe him a big thank you card—maybe a dozen roses…sure did look like my husband), and then he said, “But it seems like you haven’t been snoring so much lately.” He’s honest all right.

  5. well what can I say,
    1.she should have gr8 hair.
    2.should have gravity defying "you know what".
    3.should have a bottom to kill for.
    4.should be incredibly hot while still maintaining the 'girl next door' charisma.

    I can go on and on....(Oh wait.something which is not superficial!!.OOPS!)

    All that matters is she should should make me happy.Well it's a tall ask.To put the other way, she should be happy with the idea of herself.

    Definition of love:
    ""The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.""--scott peck

    Love cannot be sustained by mutual dependence; rather, love between two parties is made stronger when they are completely independent of one another.

    She must be with me not because she needs me.She must be independent and not require anybody to survive;and yet she chooses to be with this one person she loves.This is the purest form of love as per me.

  6. Desperado--Thanks for sharing. I can understand how you feel. I have always believed that if you want to know if what you’ve got is true love, don’t ask yourself “How do I feel about this person?” (because desire can easily masquerade as love), instead ask yourself, “How do I feel about myself when I’m with this person?”. When someone truly loves us for who we are, we feel uplifted at the core of our being, and we know that it’s enough just to be ourselves--nothing more is required.

  7. This was a very interesting post and the comments were fun to read. For me, my top qualities are:

    1) good sense of humor
    2) very open-minded about life and spirituality
    3) is the kind of person who does what he says he'll do
    4) enjoys talking about and exploring a wide range of subjects
    5) has a kind and caring heart
    6) fun to be with
    7) trustworthy and honest
    8) likes animals
    9) not very temperamental, but more easy going
    10) is a positive person

    This was fun and a bit harder than I expected, even though I was thinking of my boyfriend. Thanks for post:~)

  8. Back when I was "single" & dating, I kept a tiny sign on the back of my door. It read "Is he smart? Is he funny? Does he kiss like fire?" After a date with someone new, I'd read those questions & answer myself. Eventually I answered yes, yes, yes! Almost 25 years ago & we are still together. That said, I will add that being like-minded politically is an important thing for me. Plus, as sexist as it sounds, I want a man who understands the inner workings of a car & can fix plumbing problems. :)


  9. The only thing I could add would be a person who is willing to wade through the muck when things get tough rather than running for the nearest exit. Many relationships start out with feelings that we have found the perfect match and that the other person is everything on our list and more.

    As time goes on I have heard rumors that there are times when perfect is not the word most would use. Someone who is willing to work through the times when the feeling mind is thinking of being single is what sets most long term relationships apart.

    After 29 years, I am becoming more convinced.:)

  10. I feel like I’ve been absent for a long time. My father-in-law is very ill right now, so I haven’t been able to give the blog much attention lately. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by to visit, and I do hope to be posting again soon. Clarissa

    Sara--Glad you stopped by. I can really see you’ve given some serious thought to your list.

    Debi--I wasn’t concerned at all with the repair skills, but did end up getting that as a bonus. I often wonder how I got so lucky!

    Roger--Wow, that was refreshingly honest. Every relationship comes with its share of struggles, and I’ve always said there are relationships that are right for one time in our lives, but not right for another time. I guess when the going gets rough we each have to make our own call about whether it’s worth it to keep on working at it. Blessed are those who are willing to hang on when hanging on is the right thing to do, and blessed are those who are willing to let go when letting go is the right thing to do.