You may want to tell him just how much you love him, but this is what really makes him feel loved.
By Jane Garapick — Last updated on Nov 21, 2023
Photo: G-Stock Studio / Shutterstock
We all know what we want our significant other to do for us when we’re in a serious relationship — those things that make us feel loved.
For most women, it may be him saying “I love you,” making themselves look attractive, and doing anything they can to show their love. But instead of making him feel loved and cherished, this can cause a man to pull away. While these expressions of love may be what she wants from him, it’s not necessarily what he wants or needs from her.
There are many things most men wish women would do to show their love. Unfortunately, many of those things don’t come nearly as naturally to most of us. But these are the long-term connectors that are going to make him want to be yours forever.
Here are 4 ways men want to be loved in a relationship.
1. Men want to maintain their sense of independence — to be able to feel good about it.
This is one of the main reasons men pull away when they start to feel like the relationship is getting serious. It’s almost like a subconscious test he’s giving you. The good news is that when this happens, you can feel good knowing you’re progressing to the next level of the relationship… if you can pass the test, that is.
He may pull away because he’s feeling like he’s losing himself in the relationship. He wants to know he’s still himself and he wants to still do some of the things he did when he was single and on his own.
Yes, it can be scary because it means you must trust him. This can be difficult, especially if you’ve had men in your past who’ve strayed and cheated on you. But this is a new relationship, not one to be compared to your previous ones.
When he starts to pull away like this, you may be tempted to tighten your grip on him and never let him out of your sight. Maybe you start peeking in his phone or checking his e-mail when he’s not looking. These are all signs of mistrust and will push him away further.
As long as he hasn’t given you any reason to mistrust him (and really, if he has, why are you still hanging around?), loosen up on the leash a bit and let him have some time to himself. He is his own person, after all, and you don’t want your relationship to define his identity.
Men need their cave time and their guy time. They need to spend some time with their buddies. Give him the space he’s looking for, without any guilt, and his love for you will only grow stronger.
2. Men want you to maintain your own sense of independence, too.
This is the other side of number one above — he wants to know you can handle yourself when he’s out on his own. If you fall to pieces when he’s out doing his own thing or if you just sit at home waiting for him to get home or call or text you, he’s going to feel that pressure.
Even if you don’t overtly give him any grief about it, he’s going to feel like you’re just waiting for him to get back to you and he’ll feel controlled and smothered. And that’s not the way to make him feel loved.
Instead, he needs to know you’re okay on your own and you have your own life separate from the relationship. He wants to know you’re owning your own happiness. This takes the pressure off him and takes the stress off the relationship, all of which makes him want you more.
It’s kind of like the old saying: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” And really, to be in a healthy relationship, you first need to have a healthy relationship with yourself, so this is a win-win, any way you choose to look at it.
The next time he’s out stretching his independence, take that opportunity to do something for yourself, something you love doing. Then he’ll know your happiness doesn’t hinge on what he’s doing (or not doing). After all, your relationship should not be your sole identity.
He’ll love hearing all about your adventures when you come back together. And while he might not even realize it, he’ll be drawn to you on a much deeper level.
3. Men want the woman in their life to know her worth.
This is such a tough one for so many of us, especially when we fall into the trap of needing external validation.
We want our man to validate us, to make us feel like we have worth and are valuable. But the problem is, it doesn’t really work that way. It’s actually something you need to bring with you to a relationship, not something you should expect your partner to be responsible for.
You show him that you know your worth by letting him know you have standards and won’t be a doormat. He may test you on this, maybe without even realizing it.
Men find confident women extremely attractive, and part of that is showing him that you find your happiness within. If he feels like you’re letting him walk all over you, he’ll start to lose his attraction to you and he’ll feel like you just can’t stand up for yourself.
If, on the other hand, you show him by your words and actions that you do, in fact, have high standards for yourself, he’ll look at you as having high worth and value as a person. And that’s the kind of woman he wants to commit to for life.
4. Men want to be kept on their toes.
This goes back to the differences between men and women. Women want their guy to put them up on a pedestal, profess their undying love to them, cherish their very essence, and make it known they are the only woman they’ll ever love. If you do this to most men, they’ll start to lose interest.
Yes, men love a heartfelt compliment here and there, and they love knowing you’re thinking about them and care about them, but make sure to keep that little playful distance so he knows he could lose you at any time. What is a good relationship without a few ups and downs, anyway?
He needs to feel there are plenty of other men out there who would scoop you up in a heartbeat if he’s not careful. This isn’t meant to be a jealousy thing, so you have to be careful here.
The mindset you need to have is that you’re more than worthy, very desirable, and he’s lucky to have you. He also needs to know he must continue winning you over just to keep your beautiful heart.
If you have this mindset, it’s going to come through in everything you say and do, and the effect will be him continuing to chase after you. And guess what? This is exactly what he wants to do.
If you can master these 4 things, it’ll go a long way towards capturing his heart forever. He’ll recognize you’re the prize — and you’re a prize worth winning over and over again.
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Jane Garapick is a dating and relationship coach, author, and founder of Getting to True Love. She provides inspiration, support and empowerment to women on their journey to find true love.