Understanding a man has been a quandary for women in general, and the editors of Cosmopolitan Magazine in particular for decades. We receive plenty of very specific questions from our Love On Purpose Community™ about a man’s behavior and why he did or did not do something, or what this or that may mean about him.
We feel your struggle and want to help you better understand a man and what his behavior really means.
It’s difficult to write about men or women as if every individual person fits into a box. We are all unique snowflakes, however, there are some general rules that apply to most men or women. Please remember this as we share these 7 tools for women to better understand a man. We’ll be using some broad brush strokes and highlighting some of the differences between the sexes, hopefully giving you some peace of mind that you can actually understand a man’s behavior and what it means for you and the possibility of a relationship.
Focusing on gender differences has nothing to do with men and women being equal. What it does mean is that they behave differently in similar situations and have different strategies. Understanding some of these differences goes a long way towards creating healthy, happy, lasting relationships.
If you’re attempting to understand a man the top tool we can give you is this:
Don’t Overthink A Man’s Behavior
Men are not subtle – they aren’t giving you some secret messages under the radar. If he likes you, he’ll make a move and ask you out. If he’s interested in you he’ll find the time. Most men are what you see is what you get.
Many women spend their time dissecting a man’s behavior through some kind of “Guy Morse Code” to discover what his intentions are. In reality, men only hunt when they’re hungry. So if he wants a relationship he’ll go out on a mission to find a woman he wants to claim for his own.
If his behavior is ambiguous and you don’t know if he is interested or not, then you have your answer: He is not looking for a commitment.
The key to understanding a man is looking at his behavior, as this will enlighten you to his feelings for you. If you need to analyze him you’re in danger of filling in the blanks and making things up because you have feelings for him.
If you have to justify and rationalize why he is or isn’t taking a particular action you could find yourself risking with a man who is not an ideal match for you. You might be wishing for him to be different, but you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache by nipping things in the bud and moving on.
He Will Pursue You Regardless Of His Age
Dating hasn’t changed all that much. Certainly, there are new tools for connecting like apps and online dating, but the actual pursuit of a committed relationship through the dating process has not changed for a few hundred years.
A man finds a woman he likes and pursues her for a relationship. Things have become confusing in this modern digital age because many women have started behaving more like traditional men.
Men have always desired intimacy with no strings attached, and recently women have decided they too can hook up, and move on with no commitment. This can create a confusing situation for many women because they begin to bond with a man through sex. Whereas a man will bond with a woman that he believes understands him.
Sleeping with a man will not cause him to fall in love with you. Men don’t fall in love with the woman who is the best at pleasing him in bed (although he’ll continue to hang around to get more action in the sack).
If a man wants a relationship with you, he will pursue you for a commitment and want to take you off the market. You won’t ever have to ask him where the relationship is going because he’ll be showing you his devotion to you every step of the way.
It’s only confusing if you’ve misunderstood his desire for companionship and intimacy even if he’s not ready for a committed relationship. These men play the role of a woman in the dating process hoping that they can find a woman to do all the heavy lifting for them by being proactive, pursuing, and paying the check.
You’ll waste a lot of time with a hot guy who wants you to be the man in the relationship while you spend your time hoping, wishing, and praying that he’ll step up to claim you.
Understanding a man, no matter what generation he is in will help you know who wants a relationship and who is just looking for something easy and convenient. The guys who belong to Generation Z will pursue when they’re ready to settle down, just like the Baby Boomer men. What has changed is that Millennials and Generation Z men are getting settled in their careers later in life than the typical Generation X and Baby Boomers. This delay means fewer younger men are ready to settle down.
Attraction Does Not Come With Mindreading Powers
In our love by accident world where it’s expected that long-lasting love will just happen with the “right” person, it’s important understanding a man who is attracted to you (or even flat out in love with you) cannot read your mind.
He won’t instinctively know whether or not you like the door opened for you or for him to occasionally buy you flowers. Understanding a man includes knowing his limitations as a human being, and that he doesn’t know about you until you share what makes you tick.
You teach someone how to treat you, and this begins the moment you start communicating with him. If he does something you like – tell him so that he continues to do that thing. If he does something you do not like – tell him and give him another option.
Women tend to be stingy with important information and hold their cards close to their chest hoping the right guy will magically know how to please them. Express how you feel in the moment and share authentically so that you can evaluate if the two of you are a match or not.
Men Want To Provide For You
Understanding a man comes down to knowing how he is wired. He will want to provide something for you – ideally something no other man can. If you don't need him for the most obvious of reasons, like financial security, then let him know what he can provide for you.
Imagine what would be different about your life if you lived day to day alongside your beloved. Is it emotional support that you require? Is it someone who cheers you on? Is it a feeling of safety in the world? What do you want a man to provide for you?
Once you know the answer – tell him!
Share your dreams and goals through the dating process so you can partner with a man who shares your values. Being a values match is what creates longevity in relationship.
If you want to be the primary breadwinner and you want a man who will stay home and be Mr. Mom, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just have the conversation about what you want him to provide long before you’re making wedding plans.
Your Man Will Behave Differently Than You
The key to a successful relationship is to remember that the other person is not you. Your guy will have a different perspective than you, as well as different strategies to deal with the exact same stimuli.
Understanding a man means you can give a man the space to be different than you. He has different parents than you, different experiences, and different beliefs than you.
Be curious about him. Ask him what makes him tick. Ask him what keeps him up at night. Ask him and be interested in finding out where you two are similar as well as how you are different from each other.
Having complementary strengths can make for an awesome team – especially if you’re going to raise children together, or run a business together. Honor the differences between you and your guy because it’s true that opposites attract.
He Will Communicate Differently Than You
Many women want a man who can be everything for them, not only filling the role of husband and lover but a best friend as well. Your man will probably be your friend but he won’t speak with you like your best female friend.
He will want you to get to the point, and share less information. It overwhelms him and he may lose the point you are trying to make. He will want to give you advice and attempt to solve your problem. It makes him feel useful to you.
Understanding a man who communicates differently than you will help bring more peace and harmony to your relationship.
If you need a man to just listen and not try to help you, tell him upfront. Don’t take his advice as evidence that he doesn’t think you are capable. He is showing up as a man who wants to prove to you that you need him.
Share with him how you feel and ask him what he thinks. Talking across the brain in this way will be easier for him to understand. Besides, if you ask him how he feels he may not be able to identify his emotions or even label them.
Understanding a man often speaks slower than women do. He may have some awkward pauses or need more time to formulate his thoughts. Allowing him some time to speak with you and not jumping in when he takes a breath shows a man that you respect him.
Ultimately, He Wants To Make You Happy
There is an old saying “Happy wife. Happy life.” For men, this is probably the most important thing in their relationships. Ask any man who has been happily married for a long time and he’ll tell you that his wife’s happiness is the most important thing to him.
Understanding a man wants to make you happy gives you the freedom to tell him how to do it.
A man likes a woman who knows what she wants and is able to communicate that to him. That way he knows how he fits into her life and his role in providing for her happiness.
We’ve spoken to many men who are divorced after a long marriage and they are feeling frustrated and confused. Most of them tell us that they never felt like they could please their wives. All that they heard from their wives was what they did wrong and it seemed like they could do nothing right.
One man told us that his soon to be ex-wife would complain about the order that he did the yard work, instead of being appreciative that he was doing it at all!
Express gratitude to your man when he does something that brings you joy. Acknowledge and appreciate his efforts even when they aren’t exactly what you want. You’ll see your man feel more confident in himself and in the relationship. And he’ll do those things you like even more.
We get that understanding a man can seem confusing, especially when you attempt to make sense of his behavior through the subtle lens of the feminine. The masculine energy is more direct, less nuanced, and focused on solving problems.
If you want to explore more deeply how to find a man who wants a relationship with you, and is actually an ideal match for you, then get our complimentary eBook “Recognizing Mr. Right.” You can download it in pdf form as well as listen to the audio by clicking here.
We are here to be your guides to long-lasting, soul-satisfying love!