Figuring Out What You Want in a Relationship

What do men want in a relationship? Ask ten different men and you’re going to get at least four or five different answers. We’re kidding, of course, but the important point is that different men want different things. While we might not be quite as complicated as women, we’re also not a monolith. In fact, a lot of men that we talk to at The Art of Charm aren’t even totally sure what it is that they’re looking for in a relationship. Here’s our official guide on how you can figure it out for yourself.

Figuring Out What You Want, Step 1: Looking Back at Old Relationships

Think about relationships you’ve been in in the past. Why did they not work out? More to the point, what did you find unsatisfying about them at the time when you two were together? One place to begin thinking about what you want as a man in a relationship is what you don’t want.

At the same time you want to think about the flip side: What worked? What did you love about that relationship? What do you miss about it? You can’t replace people, but thinking about what made a relationship work for you in the past can provide clues about what you’re looking for in the future.

Figuring Out What You Want, Step 2: Considering Your Goals

What are you looking to get out of life at this point? Are you just starting a career and not looking for anything serious? Alternately, are you at a place in your life where you’re looking to settle down? Somewhere in between? The thing about what you want is that it can change from one week to the next, let alone months and years. Evaluate where you’re at in life and use that as a guide for figuring out what it is that you’re looking for.

Figuring Out What You Want, Step 3: Getting Real With Yourself

A lot of guys make the mistake of confusing what they actually want with what they think they should want. Just because your mom wants you to settle down doesn’t mean that’s the right thing for you at this time — or the thing that’s going to make you the happiest. So be honest with yourself: What do you really want? What type of relationship would you be looking for if you didn’t fear the judgment of others? What do you want when the voice inside your head telling you what you “should” want isn’t screaming at you?

Because that’s what you actually want out of a relationship. So go for it.

Figuring Out What You Want, Step 4: Test Driving

As stated above, what it is that you’re looking for in a relationship can change over time, especially once you actually experience what it is that you think you want. So play the field a bit. Try dating different women who have the qualities that you think you want in a relationship. Do these qualities make you happy? Do they make for a sustainable and stable relationship? Are they all they’re cracked up to be?

If not, you wouldn’t be the first guy in history to think that he wants something only to find out that he totally doesn’t want it when it comes right down to it. Which leads to our last step.

Figuring Out What You Want, Step 5: Changing What You Want

This is sort of just revisiting step three with your new information. Get honest with yourself about what works for you and what doesn’t. Then change your priorities. We could philosophize all day about what men want in a relationship, but in the end, it all comes down to you.

AJ Harbinger - author of 1146 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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