How To Make A Man Feel Needed (Without Being Needy)

Photo: (Roman Samborskyi /
How to make a man feel needed (Without feeling needy)

My boyfriend stormed into my office last Saturday with the biggest I told-you-so face. He just watched a news clip about a study that cites neediness as a top reason relationships fail.

As he explained to me the horror that is a needy woman (as if he was describing the symptoms of traveler's diarrhea), I looked at him and said, "What are you talking about? I'm the neediest woman you know!"

His eyes grew big and his mouth closed. He got up and left the room because he knew I was right. This was coming from the man who calls me the love of his life.

Even my boyfriend doesn't understand his love for needy women.

The fact of the matter is, studies have shown that men actually prefer women who make them feel needed.

Though more and more women are self-sufficient and the completely dependent housewife trope has all but disappeared, men still feel like they should be the provider in the relationship in some key ways.

RELATED: What Men Need From Women Before They'll Put In Any Effort

"There was recent Pew research that looked at what men and women thought the societal pressures were for men and women. The vast majority put being a provider and career success at the top for men. Women are showing that we can be that equal provider. But there are still these ingrained gender roles," Jenna Birch, author of The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love, told The Washington Post.

Here are six ways to make a man feel needed without giving up your independence and/or coming across as needy.

How to make a man feed needed

1. Let him help you.

Men are providers. They want to help, to save the day.

Ever heard of the wounded bird syndrome, where men flock to damsels in distress who can't get their lives together? There are thousands of men in this country who, every day, leave their competent, devoted wives of twenty, thirty years for these women.

Nothing makes a man feel more like an instant hero than a sweet-faced woman who needs his competency to fix her life. She becomes the soft, sexy victim in the action movie in his brain. It's the closest he'll ever come to a Stallone role.

RELATED: 17 Tiny Things Women Do That Make The Man They Love Feel Big & Manly

2. Let him know he is appreciated, even when he doesn't live up to specific expectations.

Men don't want to feel like doing something to help their woman will result in being berated and micromanaged. When do you that, it makes men feel like failures.

As much as men feel empowered when they're needed, they feel humiliated when they can't please a woman. It hurts their manhood more than anything.

But with great strength comes great responsibility. Men who want to be needed sometimes can't stand up and be the provider for a woman.

Sometimes her needs are too great, or it may feel like nothing he does is good enough. She wants too much together time, constant affection, and attention. She wants him to know when the dishes need to be washed and the trash needs to be taken out. She expects him to be on top of her needs all the time.

Be sure to let him know that what he does for you is appreciated, even if it isn't perfect (because It won't be).

RELATED: What It Means When A Guy Says You're 'Too Needy'

3. Don't overdo the nagging.

I used to nag my now ex-husband until I was blue in the face. He couldn't do anything right. The more I nagged and berated him, the more I just wanted him to hold me, soothe me and make things better in our relationship.

I followed him around the house like an imprinted duckling. I was the definition of annoyingly needy. I was clingy and, at the same time, unwelcoming. I had one hand beckoning him to be with me and the other putting up a "stop" gesture.

I was completely confused about what I really needed and wanted from him. And I was taking every little thing he did wrong, personally.

It was only after my divorce and years of therapy that I started to realize that in my marriage, the things I really needed were so scary to me that I pushed my husband away. I was blaming him for not doing the small things that I really didn't need him to do.

I didn't really care if he left the wet towel on the bed or clipped his toenails on the sofa. Yes, I cared that his habits were gross, but I wasn't going to risk losing him because of a few flying nails.

What I did care about was intimacy. I felt starved of it. I needed it so badly that I was angry, bitter, and hollow inside. I was hurting and I didn't know why or how to fix it. I didn't know that a hug, a love-tap on my fanny in the morning, and soft kisses in bed before sleep would have saved my marriage.

I was totally out of touch with my need for physical intimacy and sweet talk that I raged at him, made my lack of self-awareness his problem, and pushed him so far away from me that the last thing he wanted to do was give me those things I needed so badly.

4. Be affectionate and vulnerable.

A soft, caring, feminine woman who can effectively share her feelings and intimate needs with a man will entrap him faster than a spider does a fly. Be open, honest, and available to be loved by him. Bring a softer, more playful energy to the relationship than he's used to.

Give him sweet kisses, giggle with him in bed, and cry on his shoulder when you're in pain. Your expressed vulnerability allows him to feel his, which makes him feel safe in the relationship.

And that's what men want in a long-term relationship: to feel safe. Our need for them feeds their ego, but our acceptance of them feeds their soul.

And don't just be available for his love — openly ask for it. Tell him that you love it when he listens to you and caresses you.

RELATED: Guys Explain What Men Really Want In A Relationship

5. Tell him what makes you happy.

Even if you currently chase him around the house during football games, try to crawl into his lap at any given moment and whine when he goes out with the guys, the truth is that if you were emotionally "fed" by him in the proper way, you'd leave him alone more often. You won't appear needy.

If I had better known my needs when I was married, I would have been able to tell my husband what kinds of things made me happy, he would have tried his best to provide them, and I would have left him the hell alone the rest of the time.

The modern woman has a life. We have things to do. Households and jobs to hold down. We don't want to constantly feel needy for affection and attention. We want men to be like gas stations where we fuel up and then move on with the rest of our day.

The problem is just that many of us don't know where to insert the pump.

RELATED: 5 Lies You've Been Told About What Men Really Want

6. Set boundaries and be yourself.

It's a woman's job to be confident. You have to own your neediness and not let men make you feel ashamed of wanting affection, attention, and time together. You have to know when to work on a relationship and when to cut your losses — where your limitations end and his begin.

If you are having trouble communicating your needs or even understanding your feelings and needs, you owe it to you and to him to spend time getting to know who you are and how to share your most intimate self with him.

But if you feel confident in who you are, understand your intimate needs, are loving and caring about expressing those needs to your man, and yet are shamed by him for being "needy," it might be time to solve his issues with you once and for all by showing him the door.

RELATED: 4 Brilliantly Subtle Ways To Bring Him Emotionally Closer To You

If you do these things and he calls you needy, it's because he may not be capable of caring for you properly.

There are men who have no tolerance for a woman's intimate needs. The beta man doesn't want to hear about how much you want more of his kisses and he sure doesn't care about how your day was. He doesn't know how to please women, doesn't think he has the power to please women, and wants to be a victim of women.

This kind of man will play the feminine role in all his relationships. It will be all about his needs and feelings. He'll run around chasing unavailable women and then dump them when they are emotionally invested.

You'll tell this kind of man how you feel, ask him for intimacy, and all he'll do is call you needy and keep his distance.

Maybe he has intimacy fears, maybe he's selfishly wasting your time by being too career-driven to realistically have a relationship, or is just not that into you. Maybe he's sadistic.

Whatever the reason, the important thing to know is that him calling you a needy woman is more about his inability to get in touch with his own needs than it is about your attachment style in a relationship.

RELATED: 5 Good Questions To Ask A Guy To Make Him Loved

Kristina Marchant is a relationship and dating coach who helps women gain confidence.