What Women Want
FHM Magazine South Africa|September 2019
What Women Want
Women want to feel heard… but really, truly heard
Catriona Boffard

The age-old, stereotypical statement overheard in a group of women often goes something like “he just doesn’t get it” or “why can’t men just understand what we need?” Unfortunately, men (and women) aren’t mindreaders, but the fundamental differences between men and women can get in the way of happy and successful relationships. So, how exactly do we overcome this and what is it that women REALLY want? We try to find out!

The general consensus is that “men are from Mars and women are from Venus.” Men and women are inherently different, yes, but when it comes down to it, we are actually all ‘made up of the same parts, organized in different ways’ [to really get a thorough understanding of women sexually, read more of Emily Nagoski’s work. You won’t regret it!].

So, let’s break it down on what women really want, right from relationship dynamics to sex:

Women want to feel heard… but really, truly heard

Active listening doesn’t just involve nodding and responding with an ‘uhhuh’ while you keep watching TV. The first step in active listening is eye contact (basic right?). Then, it requires verbal and non-verbal cues of acknowledgment. The next step is something that actually doesn’t come easily to men or women – validation and empathy.

What this means is that instead of the usual ‘how do we fix this’ approach that is inherent in most men’s wiring; it’s an approach of listening and trying to really come to grips with how she might feel. For example, if she tells you she’s having trouble with a co-worker, it’s unlikely that she wants you to fix it. What would probably make her feel a lot better is if she heard things from you like “that sounds tough” and “I would also feel that way.”

This means you give her patience, understanding and kindness too. You let her feel her feelings (even if you don’t get them) and you acknowledge them and try to put yourself in her shoes. Unfortunately, this is not a skill we’re taught at school, and in my work with men and women, I often spend a lot of time teaching men how to offer empathy to their girls.

Women want to feel like they matter

This one may require a little detective work, as every woman is different in the way that she feels that she matters to a man. So, what worked for your ex may not work for your current lady. For example, one woman may feel like she matters to you when you tell her you’ll do the washing up after dinner, and another when you tell her that you’ve canceled a late work meeting so you could spend the evening with her instead. Ask her what makes her feel appreciated and that she matters to you, and then do it consistently! It might be something you can say rather than do.

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September 2019