10 Things Men Wish Their Partners Appreciated More
What goes on in guys’ minds can be somewhat of a mystery for their partners: Characteristically not ones to pour their hearts out, some men allow their emotions to remain unprocessed and their needs unmet. They may not fully express that they’re longing for acknowledgement from the person they love most. “With men, it all comes down to validation,” says sex and relationship expert Dr. Sadie Allison. “They want to be recognized for their good qualities and thoughtful actions, know that they’re doing a good job and that their efforts are noticed.”
Guys’ needs to hear that endorsement may often be overlooked — likely because most men don’t exactly ask for it. But everyone deserves to feel supported and understood. Here are 10 things for which men in particular crave to be championed.
For many couples, especially those with young children, one partner may earn more, while the other tends to take on more of the household tasks and child care. When men are the earners, they long for recognition for the solid foundation they provide for their families. “I’m reminded of the old Chris Rock joke: Nobody ever says, ‘Hey, Daddy, thanks for knocking out this rent!’ It would be nice if men were recognized more by for being good providers,” says male-focused podcast host Jeff Beck. Stability can be easily taken for granted, whether it’s providing financially or being a consistent partner and caregiver. But being able to help their families thrive shouldn’t go unrecognized.
2. Work Ethic
It’s easy to get annoyed with your partner for coming home late and missing dinner yet again because he got stuck at work. But having the drive to put in extra time, especially if he’s working toward a bigger career goal, is a quality that men would like appreciation for, not admonishment. “In no way is this meant to negate their partner’s role and efforts, but when this male quality is stroked, it is often the validation they need to feel good about themselves in the relationship,” says clinical psychologist Paul DePompo. Instead of nagging your guy about burning the midnight oil, express your appreciation for his hard work — and then work together to carve out some quality time with each other.
Many men enjoy being problem solvers. In fact, they’ll often get quite creative to try to find a solution, even when the issue at hand lies outside their skill set. "They thrive when you are able to see the beauty of their ‘imperfect’ fix-its around the home as well as their problem-solving advice,” DePompo says. While you may not always agree that duct tape is the solution to a given problem, if it does the job, let your guy take pride in his handiwork.
Read more: 10 Signs Your Partner Is About to Dump You
4. No-Drama Attitudes
“Many men could care less about the small stuff,” sex and relationship expert Dr. Sadie Allison says. Even though it’s easy to get frustrated when your partner doesn’t want to hear the recent work gossip or examine every nuanced detail of your frenemy’s latest passive-aggressive text, try to revel in the fact he’s able to let these things roll off his back. Who knows? You may learn a thing or two from his example by appreciating it. Getting steeped in drama only means more negativity for you to deal with.
5. Communication Skills
Most men aren’t exactly known for their communication skills. But licensed counselor Monte Drenner says that men actually want to be acknowledged for opening up and being vulnerable. “This type of communication does not come naturally for most men,” he says. “They often seek validation from their significant other for how difficult it is for them to attempt to discuss their feelings.”
Dr. Allison agrees. “If you’re fortunate enough to have an open communicator who’s not afraid to share his feelings, take the time to not only listen — but really hear — what’s he’s sharing with you,” she says.
Read more: 9 Signs Your Relationship Is in Trouble
6. The Little Things They Do
Many men show their love in strange ways, and you may not always realize your partner’s seemingly mundane actions are actually coming from a romantic place. “Acknowledge the tasks he does like changing the light bulbs or checking the tire treads on your car,” Dr. Allison says. “While it may not be flowers or a new purse, it’s his way of caring.” Let him know you’re thankful for him and that all those little things really do mean something big. Stereotypical gestures like lavish presents are nice in theory, but performing household tasks — especially ones that could help keep you safe — can pack the same emotional punch.
7. Generosity in the Bedroom
Strong bedroom communication and positive reinforcement is the key to maintaining a vibrant, spicy sex life for years to come. A guy who knows his way around his partner’s body — and is eager to learn what turns you on specifically — deserves ample praise. “If you’re lucky enough to have a man who knows how important your sexual pleasure is, let him know you fully appreciate it,” Dr. Allison says. “Not only does he love his ego stroked, but you can also show him your gratitude by returning the favor.”
8. Enthusiasm for Sex
For most men, sex is more than just a fun way to pass the time. In fact, getting intimate is how they show their love and feel loved in return. “Orgasm for a guy releases a dopamine rush, which is highly addictive and a feeling he associates with you and wants to repeat — a lot — with you,” says relationship expert J. Hope Suis, author of “Mid-Life Joyride.” “Of course, the experience cannot be one-sided, but it is their most basic expression of emotion and intimacy, and it is important that we understand and appreciate it.”
9. Physical Appearance
It’s not just women who feel pressure to look perpetually young, sexy and fit. Perhaps more than ever before, there’s increasing stress on men to keep up their appearances. “Men’s self-esteem is now often wrapped up in feeling attractive,” clinical psychologist Paul DePompo says. This means that many men are more body-conscious and need to feel appreciated physically by their partners, says relationship coach and international matchmaker Isabel James. So don’t forget to throw compliments in your guy’s direction about how hot you think he is. While he may not say it outright, he’ll appreciate these comments more than you’ll know.
10. Getting in Touch With Their Feminine Side
There’s still a great deal of pressure on guys to “man up” and “be a man,” which typically means rejecting everything feminine and being careful not to say or do anything that could be considered weak. “We can’t admit to any weakness, fear, doubt or hesitation about anything. We can’t be ‘soft’ or ‘too caring.’” says psychotherapist Jeffrey Von Glahn, Ph.D. When men do break the mold, he says, it can feel like all of society is watching, and there’s even a fear of being shamed for it in public — especially from fellow males. Therefore it takes serious strength for men to break out of these societal confines, and men who do should be applauded for it.
What Do YOU Think?
What qualities should men get appreciated more for? Do you feel appreciated by your partner? What do you do to make your partner feel appreciated? Let us know in the comments!