The Difference Between A Man Who Wants You & A Man Who Values You

Seven key ways to tell if your guy is going to value you for years, or if he's just in it for the chase.

Couple in camper Jannet Trofimova | Canva

Ranks of women have learned by experience how to tell between the man who merely wants you — and the one who genuinely values you. For some, the lesson came after heavy soul-searching alongside a trusted therapist to guide them through the confusion.

Selecting Mr. Right demands clarity and laser focus on the attributes of the guy who will bring lasting value to your life.

Many women haven’t examined the difference between the man who values her and the one who wants her, like Kim, who began online dating a few years post-divorce.


Here, I'm sharing seven ways to choose a man who truly values you for who you are — but first, an example of someone who had to make this choice in real life. 

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Kim & the two men who liked her

Kim is a spirited woman who met two men, one of whom she believed could be her one love.

She had spent months writing and rewriting her list of must-haves, manifesting, visualizing, and working on herself for The One, the partner she made space for in her closet, dusted the other night table, and opened her heart, which had been closed for years by heartbreak and grief.

Kim was ready to tuck the past under a rock and walk to a new field of dreams. She wanted a forever love to grow old with, cherish, and be “Her Beloved”.

After a scant three months on Bumble, Kim was in a predicament any romantic person would envy. She had two potential suitors, each capable of sweeping her off her feet.


She was ecstatic and having fun despite the stress of making such a life-altering choice. Determined to do this right, she embarked on a quest to discover Mr. Right by seeking weekly therapy sessions and diligently jotting down each moment that had left a mark.

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Exciting John was an irresistible force.

He exuded passion and charisma, unafraid to speak his mind. They were destined to be a formidable team, and his compliments flowed freely. Kim barely heard his subtle corrections and criticisms when she skipped the gym or stopped at the french fry truck while accepting his explanation of “just thinking about you”.


John knew the better restaurants, the taste of a good bourbon, and wore his three-piece suit like a second skin. He gleamed when she described her promotion to a corner office and made it clear her upwardly mobile city style and career were part of “the package”.

John’s winning smile, style, and swagger sent Kim’s heart racing. She was ready to tie the knot while jumping the broom the second he asked. She repeated his manifesto aloud, "I have a lot to offer you, Kim".


Simon had no problem taking Kim's lead on the where, when, and what of many dates.

He was rarely in a rush with the time to shift from suit to street, and he bought the fixings for a picnic on their third date. The riverside lunch of smoked salmon and vegan cheese was from her favorite deli. She was surprised Simon had checked the weather in advance and listened to her request for alone time later that evening.


In their short time together, Simon knew her favorite authors, most ambitious dreams, and abject failures. Kim remembered the kind smile that teased a painful memory and the gentle touch that caught a rolling tear before it landed.

She confessed, “I love Johns's style. We are both ambitious and driven, and I feel honored he has chosen to be with me, but I don't think I could give up Simon. Simon makes me feel amplified”.

She admitted never being in a relationship with someone so kind and thoughtful.

Who valued Kim most?

On paper and social media, John was the catch.

On a closer check, it was clear the balance sheet was stacked in Simon’s favor. Kim’s personality and activities were in line with John’s. However, Simon’s values and goals were aligned with Kim's. More significant was his respect for and interest in her.


As Kim's affection for both men grew, a pivotal moment approached and demanded a choice. It was time to unravel the qualities that would lead to enduring happiness.

We followd the list I made above, and it became clear which man Kim would hav the happiest life. 

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Here's the "red light, green light" list for navigating the treacherous waters of love.

1. Red light: He treats you like a trophy.

Kim loved the excitement of being sought, caught, and won but sometimes felt like the window dressing to John's status and influence, even worrying that she would lose him if she had too many bad hair days, put on a few pounds, or scuffed her shoes. This was a fair assumption, as John was overly invested in her appearance and indifferent to her interests and hobbies.


Their connection felt superficial, and gifts seemed more about enhancing her or making him feel like a star than heartfelt thoughtfulness.

2. Red light: You have become a “yes woman.”

Kim wasn’t sure when it started, but she had already adapted to John’s restaurant preferences and political opinions and neglected her need for downtime, afraid to stoke his disdain. He had not openly asked for this, but it was hard to miss body language that screamed: “Don’t disagree”.

Past the initial few dates, he took her agreement for granted, so Kim silenced her inner and outer voices in the hope he would understand her unspoken words.

The slippery slope of his fulfilling needs left no room for valuing her wishes and needs. With this validation of the discomfort she was already feeling, Kim was ready to speak up regardless of the consequences.


3. Red Light: He doesn't know and respect your boundaries.

John’s early conversations about their future life together were thrilling and startling to Kim. They were appealing because she wanted to live beside this vibrant and exciting man. They were also scary because he assumed she would continue to work long days, grow a demanding career, maintain her rigorous fitness schedule, and entertain his friends and family.

Kim was tentatively negative when he spoke of his plans to spend every weekend at his family’s summer cottage. With the words barely out and hardly missing a beat, he commented, You will love the North. You will fit in perfectly.

4. Red Light: He is so focused on his needs and life he doesn't see yours.

Kim soon accepted John was committed to John first and sometimes to John alone.

She couldn't recall conversations when his "How are You?" wasn’t immediately followed by a lengthy story of his day, challenges, fears, or accomplishments.


Their relationship imbalance was amplified when Kim got the flu and was laid up with sniffles. John sent flowers. But it was Simon who arrived with the famously curative chicken soup.

5. Green Light: He is kind and compassionate — and not just when he's trying to impress you.

Alone and feeling sorry for herself, Kim had time to enjoy Simon’s relaxed, undemanding style of friendship that made no assumptions beyond kindness and compassion. He called on most days and stopped by when he could with supplies or to watch a movie and listen to Kim’s complaints. She soon discovered his quick wit and humor, so the couple spent time laughing their life lessons away.

6. Green Light: He cares about your thoughts and feelings.

In her week of recuperating, Kim learned more about herself from her discussions with Simon. He was a good listener who asked questions and encouraged her to share hard and light-hearted stories. He was also open about the challenges he had to overcome, and Kim developed a trust based on mutual vulnerability.

7. Green Light: He expresses his own healthy boundaries.

Simon asked questions. He listened and respected Kim’s opinions and preferences while sharing his own. He described a hardworking ethic, career goals, desire to have children, and inclusive relationships with extended family while listening to her hopes for the future. Kim’s fears of judgment melted away as she discovered the joy in being herself.


This journey of self-discovery and discernment ultimately revealed the path to happiness. Making the right choice about a lifetime partner is no trivial task. Your partner will shape your future and impact your life and those of your family and children.

Remember, the man who treasures you, who genuinely values your thoughts and feelings, is the one who will nurture your growth and well-being. Kim's story reminds us that love is not about fulfilling someone else's desires.

Love is about genuine connection, compassion, and the celebration of your true self.

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Reta Faye Walker is a therapist who specializes in healing relationships. She offers one-on-one sessions, couples retreats, and courses to help couples get back on track.