In the age of online dating, finding love has never been more accessible. It can be as simple as filling out a compatibility quiz, or swiping right if that's more your speed. But online profiles don't always tell the full story, and meeting up with someone you connected with online can lead to some surprising discoveries. Getting to know the real person behind the profile is an important step, and before you can decide whether or not to commit to a person, you need to know what you're actually looking for and what they themselves are looking for in a partner.
"Any good relationship is built on some basic, down-to-earth qualities," says licensed counselor Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D. While superficial qualities like good looks and sexual chemistry are some of the early indicators of compatibility, there are a few more significant, must-have characteristics women look for in the man they hope to spend the rest of their lives with—characteristics that aren't as likely to lessen with time.
While no two women are the same, we rounded up eight of the essential qualities that experts say all women want in a man. Read on if you need a few pointers.
When a man believes in himself, knows who he is, and knows what he wants, it's very appealing to a woman, and is usually something she can tell simply from the attitude he exudes.
It’s important to note the key distinction between having high self-esteem versus an over-inflated ego. While women want a man who is confident and self-assured, they don’t want a man who is overbearing, has to be the center of attention, and thinks he’s the most important person in the world.
Being confident means being comfortable with who you are and believing in yourself and that you’re worth taking the time to get to know. Women respond to the positive and upbeat energy a confident man is putting out in the world, so long as that confidence doesn't overextend into egotism. When a man doesn't feel the need to compete with or belittle others to lift himself up, it will go a long way in winning a woman's attention.
When a man is honest and trustworthy, he instantly becomes more appealing and desirable to a woman. If he’s dependable, truthful, genuine, and speaks from the heart, he's a guy who is worth pursuing, as people can take him at his word. "Trust and trustworthiness allow relationships to deepen," says Degges-White. After all, a woman needs to know that, if a relationship is to last long-term, she'll be able to rely on her man just as he should be able to rely on her.
Having integrity means acting virtuously and having a strong moral character. Women desire a man who is honorable, fair, and ethical. In terms of relationships, having integrity can help strengthen the bond a man has with a woman, as his moral principles will guide his behavior and help him to be the best partner that he can be. Bonus points when that integrity extends beyond the relationship and a man can treat others with fairness and kindness.
A man who is compassionate and empathetic is one step ahead when it comes to attracting women. Women want a man they can open up to, whether it’s about a bad day at the office or in regard to their deepest hopes and fears. Having empathy means that you’re able to understand another person's point of view and can sympathize with what they are going through. Women are highly interested in a man who has the ability and desire to show care and concern for others, too.
Women desire a man who is emotionally honest and forthright rather than a man who is cut off and emotionally unavailable. While fully and openly expressing feelings may seem strange or awkward at first, it’s important to be able to show a vulnerable, emotional, and human side of yourself in order to build a lasting relationship. Women prefer a man who isn’t afraid to show their true feelings and discuss them openly, instead of a man who keeps everything bottled up inside of him. And yes, sometimes this means talking about previous relationships and sharing parts of your past.
In order to have a healthy, happy, and successful relationship, both partners have to treat each other with respect. If a woman feels taken for granted, dispensable, or treated poorly by a man, she'll likely drop him in order to avoid a broken heart. "When a person is made to feel disrespected or patronized, the relationship is likely to end sooner rather than later," Degges-White says. A woman will be more drawn to a man who shows her care and gives her the respect she deserves.
A woman will be paying attention to your ability to show respect not just to her, but to others as well, especially her friends and family. A man who can show respect to others is ahead of the pack, and that won't go unnoticed.
A Sense of Humor
You don’t need to be a stand-up comedian or a comedy writer to capture a woman's attention, but having the ability to goof off, joke around, and have a sense of humor is highly appealing. "When two people are laughing at the same thing, they are basically saying, 'I share your perspective, your values, and I certainly share what you think is amusing'," says Jeffrey Hall, Ph.D., associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas. Hall's study into the relationship between humor and romance found that the more times a man tried to be funny and in turn the more times a woman laughed at his jokes, the more likely she was to be romantically interested. It's simple science that a man who exudes a happy, lighthearted, and positive energy into the world will make a woman want to be around him.
Odds are that if the above traits apply to you, you've probably already got the maturity part down. It's important to show a woman that not only are you emotionally mature and able to keep an open line of communication, but also that you're mentally mature and capable of behaving like a grown-up when it's time to do so. You can show this by thinking rationally, not overreacting, and solving problems together after careful discussion. That's not to say you can't have fun and be silly together, as allowing that vulnerable side of yourself to show is a sign of maturity in itself.
Hall JA. Sexual Selection and Humor in Courtship: A Case for Warmth and Extroversion. Evolutionary Psychology. 2015 Sept;13(3). doi:10.1177/1474704915598918.