I had a very rude awakening when I was 22 years old.
I had been dating this guy named Kurt for a few months. It wasn’t so serious but things were going well. I really liked him and that wasn’t a common thing for me!
Then he ghosted on me. He was gone, vanished without a trace.
Granted I kind of saw it coming, he had been pulling away for weeks and I knew his interest was waning, but I didn’t think he would just fade to black. But then when I least expected it, he reemerged! I was ready to forgive him before I even picked up the phone, I was just so relieved!
He was being sweet, sexy, charming, and about 30 seconds into the conversation it was all crystal clear … he thought he was talking to someone else!
That’s right. He called me by mistake thinking he was calling the new girl he had started seeing.
He hung up the second he realized his mistake and I was left stunned and aghast. I sent him a text saying: “That was really weird. Can you call me? I think you owe me an explanation …”
But I never heard from him again.
While my jaw was still on the floor, trying to understand what the hell just happened, my male roommate burst through the door with a few of his friends. They invited me to go to some party with them but I said I would much rather stay home and feel sorry for myself.
They told me to brush it off and stop being such a girl, and I told them to shut up and go away. But then they presented me with an offer I couldn’t refuse…
They told me to tell them the full story, well they gave me five minutes to tell the story. And they promised they would explain everything. And after that, I had to go out with them and wasn’t allowed to talk about this for the rest of the night.
Hmm, now this sounded interesting.
I gave them as much detail as I could squeeze into my allotted 5 minutes and they broke it all down for me. They let me know, in the bluntest of ways, exactly what I did wrong and why he lost interest so suddenly. They told me exactly what my behavior felt like to a guy, and gave me a whole new lens with which to see things through. And in the end I felt enlightened, I felt clear, I felt empowered, and I felt … better.
So we went out, had a blast, and I didn’t talk about the breakup (if you can even call it that!) for the rest of the night as promised. I wasn’t even tempted to because there was nothing more to say and nothing left to analyze.
That night I had an epiphany. Women need this information. I want to create a website one day where I explain male behavior to women so they are no longer tortured by the what ifs and what did I do wrongs.
A year later, I got back in touch with my college ex-boyfriend and we started a website and long story short, my dream came true! (How that all came to be could be a whole novel in itself!)
The point is, women don’t understand men. We make situations so complicated when they aren’t, and then we say it’s because men are so complicated.
I used to be a dating disaster. I was just naive and clueless and never knew where it all went wrong … until suddenly I did and it all made sense. Once I understood how men operate, everything was just easy and effortless. There was no confusion and no analyzing and no driving myself crazy trying to figure out what whats and whys.
And with that, here are the five biggest things men wish women knew.
1. They like the chase … kind of
I had to include this because there is so much confusion and misinformation about this concept.
I used to be a classic case of the chase gone wrong. I was great at playing the game. I could capture a man’s attention and intrigue easily. I knew how to flirt, how to present an aura of confidence, and how to be just unavailable enough.
But eventually you have to be caught, and as soon as things deepened just a little bit, I would drop the facade like a heavy winter coat, one swift plunk onto the floor. And what was underneath was an emotionally sloppy, insecure, needy girl who desperately wanted a man’s love.
Suffice to say, this wasn’t much of a turn on and one by one they would ghost or call me by accident or whatever it was and I would be left devastated and baffled. What did I do wrong?
The reason the “chase” works is because it creates the illusion of confidence, and that’s what men like, not necessarily the chasing part. If you aren’t actually a confident person, then the real you will creep in eventually, and then what? What happens when he catches you?
Men do enjoy the pursuit, men are goal oriented and competitive by nature, and pursuing a woman feeds into those drives. Men want a high-quality woman who chooses him because he’s the best, not because she’s desperate and he’s a guy giving her attention. There is a huge difference there. He wants to feel like he won you, not that you need him in order to feel OK.
The chase is about seeming like a confident, busy woman who has a ton going on in life and doesn’t need a man to make her happy. Sure, this can be faked, but not for very long. Guys know when a woman is intentionally trying to make them chase her and they don’t find it sexy, they find it annoying.
What men want is a woman of high value, not a woman who has to play games to get a guy because her real self isn’t good enough.
2. They also have emotional needs
From the media’s portrayal of men, you’d think all they need was beer and sex to be fully satisfied in a relationship. But here’s the thing: men also have emotional needs, they just aren’t the best at expressing what those needs are.
Men enter the world of emotional disclosure later in life. Boys don’t sit around at sleepovers sharing their deepest secrets and feelings. They hang out and play video games. Men don’t really enter the realm of emotions until they start having relationships with women, so they are years behind! A lot of the time a man doesn’t even have the language to express how he’s feeling. Or maybe he does but he’s just ashamed to talk about it because of societal expectations of what a man should be.
A man’s strongest need is for appreciation, this is the real way to a man’s heart. But no man is going to come out and tell you this. Instead, you’ll just see him withdrawing and eventually withering away until there’s nothing left of him.
It’s not just about appreciating what he does, although this is important. It’s about appreciating who he is.
Everyone wears a mask in the world. We don’t show our true selves. We hide behind facades in real life and filters in digital life. It’s not about appreciating his surface-level accomplishments. It’s about seeing his true core essence and appreciating that person.
Connecting with a man at his emotional core is about appreciating who he is and taking the time to really discover what he’s about. This can’t be faked though, it has to come from a genuine place. If you are showing appreciation in order to get something out of him it won’t work. This is why it’s so important to be emotionally healthy before you enter into a relationship. It is only when you’re able to step out of your own wants and needs that you can truly see another person and connect.
3. Men move toward what feels good
Here is a simple yet groundbreaking revelation about men: Men move toward what feels good and away from what feels bad.
As I said earlier, men are uncomfortable navigating the realm of emotions. It’s complicated and overwhelming and messy. If a man had his choice, the only two emotions he would ever feel are calm and content.
Here is the secret to what makes a man commit. When it feels good to be around you, he wants to be around you, a lot!
Commitment isn’t the goal for most men. Men don’t often date seeking a commitment. They date around and see what happens without an agenda. A man doesn’t even realize it when he’s deeply committing himself to a woman, it just happens naturally. It happens because his life is better with her than without her. It happens because he’s just drawn to her and wants more.
There is this idea that men are commitment-phobes or anti-relationship, but this isn’t true. Men aren’t afraid of relationships, they’re afraid of being trapped in bad relationships. Every guy has that one friend who can’t go anywhere without checking in with his girlfriend every five minutes, lest she have an absolute meltdown, and as I said, men are terrified of messy emotions.
Now I am not saying you’re never allowed to have a bad day and you need to plaster on a smile and pretend life is all sunshine and roses. But there is a way to confide in your partner about your problems with our using him as your emotional dumping ground and making him the problem. When you lean on a man because you’re having a hard time, it feels good to him. When you lash out at him because your life is a mess and you’re taking it out on him, then it doesn’t feel so good.
4. He needs to feel like a winner
This is the biggest most life-changing revelation in my 10 years writing about relationships, and it’s the one thing most women have no clue about!
Men need to feel like they’re winning. This doesn’t mean he’s killing it at work (but that certainly helps). He needs to feel like he’s having a positive impact on the world, like his efforts mean something. This could be winning at his job, winning at making you happy, or just pursuing his mission. Every man has a mission in life, and what determines his happiness level and overall satisfaction is if he’s pursuing it.
A man can be out of work and perfectly content as long as he’s working toward something meaningful. It is painful to a man to feel like a failure. And this is where a lot of relationship problems arise…
Men want to make their woman happy, but most of the time they don’t know how. A woman may drop clues for him to pick up on, and when he doesn’t, she gets furious and he feels like a failure. Don’t set him up to fail. Set him up to win. If you want him to do something, just tell him! Yeah yeah, I know it’s more romantic when he figures it out on his own but you’re just paving the way for problems when you expect him to pick up the crumbs you sprinkle around and expect him to figure out where they lead.
A man wants a woman who can happily receive what he has to give. That’s really it. If a man feels like he can’t “win” at making you happy, he won’t want to be in the relationship.
5. He’s not trying to hurt you.
If you want to have success in your love life, you need to eliminate the idea that all men are evil scumbags. This doesn’t serve you and it also just isn’t true.
There are very few all around “bad guys” out there. And most of the time, we can spot them from a mile away, we just create our own heartbreak by pursuing them anyway and deluding ourselves into believing it will be different with us.
Most men are not intentionally trying to hurt you. In fact, they’re terrified of it. It is actually their aversion to hurting you that causes them to do the things that end up hurting you the most, like fading away and “ghosting.”
Men don’t like feeling like the bad guy. That’s not a very “winner” feeling. So he convinces himself that you also know the relationship isn’t working and this lets him make a clean break and be able to sleep at night.
I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just telling you what is.
Men also have flaws and insecurities and fears, and they also just aren’t as good at navigating through the realm of emotions as women, so they don’t deal well with confrontation or heavy emotional discussions.
But they are not heartless and evil. I know because I was always the girl who as best friends with all the guys and I saw what it looked like from their perspective. And I could also understand what it was like from the female perspective because I lived that many times over!
The point is, people do bad things but they aren’t bad people and a little empathy can often go a long way!