What Women Really Want In A Relationship

Consider this the ultimate relationship cheat sheet. (You're welcome.)

Last updated on Feb 23, 2023

woman riding piggy back on her boyfriend Getty

Besides the meaning of life and the ingredients of hot dogs, many a man has questioned what women really want from men.

We're not playing coy here; we know we're complex creatures. And true, we operate on a different wavelength than men, especially when it comes to relationships.

But while yes, women are different from men in some ways, we aren't exactly the great mystery that men often make us out to be.


So, what do women really want not only in a man, but in a relationship? We polled a group of women we know and compiled their answers in the list below to help you guys.

RELATED: Things Women Say... And What They Really Mean

Note: you won't find diamond rings or other fancy things anywhere on this list.


While many women would love to receive gifts of luxury goods from men when you break it down, those things are just physical representations of some of the points on this list — we promise.

10 Things Women Want in a Relationship

1. Respect

Show us that you respect our opinions, careers, interests, friends, bodies, and minds through your actions. You don't have to agree with everything we say or do, but try to honor our opinions as valuable contributions.

Follow the golden rule and treat us as you would like to be treated: Be honest, fair, kind, and considerate.

2. Affectionate touch

Yes, we love sex. But remember that there are four bases to cover in the bedroom, not just one. Try stopping at each base instead of being so focused on the home run — believe us, we'll thank you for it!


Likewise, remember small physical touches like massages. One can never, ever have too many shoulder rubs. And scratching our heads is pretty great, too.

RELATED: 7 Rare Types Of Intimacy Only The Happiest Couples Have

3. Romance

Is it another night on the couch with take-out and TiVo? Just because we're staying in doesn't mean the evening can't be romantic. Light a few candles and see where the night leads.

Treat us like your girlfriend, even after we become your wife. It's one of the many simple things women want in a relationship.

Date nights, making out in the car, kissing like when we first started dating — all of the things that made us fall in love with you don't have to stop just because now there are bills to pay, a house to be cleaned, and kids that need to get bathed.


Bring home flowers for no reason. We're not talking $100 bouquets of roses here; even the $10 bouquets from the supermarket are enough to make us smile.

4. Time

We understand relationships can't be all wine and roses; simply making the time to be with us and treating us like your top priority says "love" more than all the fancy gifts and lovely letters ever could.

This includes helping around the house.

The realities of a 21st Century relationship are that both partners probably work. If you happen to get home before we do, why not vacuum the living room or throw in a load of laundry? If you take the garbage out without being asked, chances are you'll get a big ol' smooch when you return.


5. Dinner

Of the homemade variety. You may not be good at cooking or know how to boil water.

But greeting us at the door after a long day with fish sticks (or whatever you can pull together) makes us swoon because it shows that you've been thinking about us and our hectic day.

What women want in a relationship

RELATED: 5 Ways To Make The Woman In Your Life Feel Truly Loved


6. Communication

Women are vocal creatures. We know you love us, but it's nice to hear you say it, too. We can also be insecure. We wish we weren't, but the reality is that we often notice our wobbly thighs and forget about our gorgeous eyes.

So let us know when you think we're hot. Tell us we're beautiful. It helps us feel good. Plus, when we feel sexy, we're more likely to act sexy.

Words of appreciation aren't half-bad, either. Tell us you love the lasagna we made. Thank us for driving the kids to school. Notice that we cleaned the bathtub.

It doesn't have to be over the top; just let us know that you see the effort we put in and are grateful.


7. Consistency

This doesn't mean being boring and predictable. It means that we know you will (usually, no one is perfect) give us the love and support we need.

Knowing that you're coming at this with the same desires and energy as we are, goes a long way to making us feel secure.

8. Engagement

Of the mental kind, not the "I'm getting married in the morning" kind. You don't have to like everything we like (we might be a little concerned if you do), but showing interest in your passions, whether career-related, a sport, or a hobby, goes a long way.

Listen when we talk to you. We're not speaking just so we can hear our own voice; we want to connect with you, which is one valuable way we do this.


This also means paying attention to the little things. Whether it's the name of our best friend's husband or the fact that we hate Nicolas Cage movies, the little things you remember about us are so endearing.

RELATED: 10 Stereotypes About Men & Women That Keep People From Finding True Love

9. Humor and humility

These two tend to go hand in hand. This doesn't mean you have to crack jokes or entertain us, but just being able to laugh at yourself is enough. Guys who take themselves too seriously bring everyone down.

10. To be challenged

Not the kind of challenge that makes a relationship feel draining, but the good kind that surprises and motivates us to do, be or achieve what we desire.


Studies show that partners who prod each other to meet goals — in other words, don't support lazy or bad habits — are ultimately happier than those who don't hold each other accountable.

RELATED: 5 Things Wives Need From Their Husbands Every. Single. Day

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