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8 Things Men Need—That Many Of Us Aren't Giving Them

We've got needs. Men do too.

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There really is no tellin' how much happier most of us would be if we spent more time in the pursuit of what we need than what we want. Personally, I think part of the reason why we struggle in this particular area is the lines tend to blur far too much between the two. Do you need more money or do you want it? Do you need another car or do you want it? Do you need a man or do you simply want to be in a relationship with one?


Wait. Before you answer those questions, let's define the difference between a need and a want. A writer by the name of Erin Huffstetler breaks it down pretty darn well. According to her, a need is something we have to have while a want is something that we would like to have. In other words, a need is something that is essential while a want is merely a preference.

OK, with that kind of foundation laid, let's get into some things that I've heard a lot of men say that they need. I've heard it in counseling sessions. I've heard it from male friends. I've heard it on YouTube videos and podcasts. I've read it in books and on blogs. Not only have I heard men consistently say that they need the things that I'm about to share with you, I've also heard that the source of their frustration in relationships is the fact that they keep not getting them. Even when they express them.

As you check out this list, continue to keep in mind that 1) a need is not a desire; it's more like a requirement and 2) it's really hard to remain in a relationship, let alone satisfied in one, if a person is not getting what they need.

Is your man getting these following needs met? If you're not sure…ask him.

Confidentiality

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Something that I deal with in marriage counseling sessions a lot more than I would've ever thought I would is husbands who wish their wives would stop talking so much. I don't mean talking in the sense that, reportedly, women use more words than men do (for the record, some say that's the gospel truth while others say it's a myth). I mean they wish their wives didn't think that everything that happens within the four walls of their home was something their mom and/or sister and/or bestie had to hear about.

Something that is beautiful about exclusive relationships is there should be a sense of confidentiality in them. One definition of confidential is "having another's trust or confidence; entrusted with secrets or private affairs" and another is "indicating confidence or intimacy". It's kind of ironic that a lot of women wish their men would open up more, while their man is like, "I would if you quit telling so much of my business and our business." Hmm.

Respect

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If you've never heard of Dr. Myles Munroe, please do yourself a favor and Google him when you get a chance. Tragically, he and his wife died in a plane crash back in 2014 but, while he was alive, he was a powerhouse; especially when it came to helping people to discover and understand their purpose in life.

Anyway, there's a YouTube video that starts out with him saying, "Men don't want respect, they need it. A man does not need love. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that a woman should love a man." And you know what? He's right. We as women need love and so we tend to spend a lot of time giving what we need rather than what the men in our lives need. Then we resent them when they don't respond in the way that we do to our acts of love when it's respect that they are after…more.

Remember, a need is something we have to have. A definition of respect is to esteem someone. When I've asked some of the men that I know to define respect from their perspective, things like—valuing their views and decisions; not talking over them while they're speaking; not airing their flaws and vulnerabilities in public; not nagging them to death or talking to them like they're children; not chiming in on conversations and jokes that degrade men and not telling them how to feel or think are forms of respect.

If a lot of us were honest with ourselves, we'd have to admit that we could stand to get better in this area. For real, for real.

CLEAR Communication

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One of my favorite things—that is sometimes also one of the most annoying things—about most of the men in my life is they are extremely literal. Literal when it comes to what they say and how they process what I am saying. I'll give you an example of what I mean via a counseling session I was recently in.

As the wife was sharing with me that she had it up to here with her husband not listening to her, she shared with me that she asked him to go to the store to get some veggies for a salad. When he came back, she was irritated when she saw he didn't bring home any salad dressing. The husband said just what I thought he would: "If you needed salad dressing, you should've said that." The wife's response was, "You should've known that if we needed salad, we needed dressing."

Should. Ugh, it's one of those words that causes all sorts of unnecessary drama. It implies that just because we think a certain way that others "should" do the same thing. If you really stop and think about that, it's a very arrogant way to approach matters and situations.

I can't tell you how many men have told me that they wish more women would say what they mean and mean what they say, that they would stop expecting them to read their minds and—most of all—they would not say "nothing is wrong" if something actually is.

Poor communication continues to be a leading cause of divorce. For both men and women—albeit for different reasons and in different ways—clear communication is a definite need.

Tone-Sensitivity

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If you ask a man to talk to you about what he likes most about some of his favorite songs, I'm willing to bet that he's gonna talk about the music more than the lyrics. Women? Usually, it's the opposite. Keeping this in mind, to me it makes sense that science has discovered that men oftentimes have a difficult time processing the tones in our voices. It has to do with the vibration and sound waves that we have, making it challenging for them to decipher everything that we're saying.

A lot of men have told me that they can talk about almost anything the woman they love has to say if she's not yelling it or screaming it. However, when she's doing that, they automatically check out. Hey, don't shoot the messenger. I'm just telling you what's been told to me. Don't get too mad at your man either. He's just acting like science says men do.

Acceptance

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Think about what our men—and by "our", I mean Black men—go through on a daily basis. If anyone is under constant attack and scrutiny, it's them. A lot of us know this and will even address this fact on Black Twitter, only for them to come home and hear from our own mouths all of the things we want them to change about themselves.

Personally, I think that healthy relationships consist of two people who want to IMPROVE not CHANGE one another. I also believe that with love, comes acceptance. Acceptance in the sense of affirming our partner, forgiving our partner, being intentional about making them feel heard, felt and appreciated, and letting them know that they are special and valued.

I can't tell you how many times a man has said to me, "If she's never satisfied with me, why is she here?" No one wants to be with someone who doesn't make them feel good about themselves. Yep, I totally get why, for men, acceptance is a need.

Space

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Some of y'all ain't gonna want to hear this but it still needs to be said. Some of us can't keep a man because we're trying to hold on to them so tightly that it's like…they can't breathe (the hilarious #FreeTristanThompson hashtag from a while back immediately comes to mind).

Men aren't looking for someone to take over their life or even to be all up in every detail of it; they want someone who will be a good complement for them. Women who are constantly calling and texting; women who have a problem with their man spending time with other people; women who are distrusting and semi-paranoid and even women who are ALWAYS available—these are examples of women who don't know how to give a man some space.

For guys, this is so much of a need that if a woman doesn't grant it, no matter how much he digs her, he'll probably let her go. (Don't try and test this one out. Just accept it for what it is.)

Non-Bartered Affection

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"Coochie coupons". This is a term I invented for wives who barter sex rather than give it simply as an act of love. Want some new shoes? Give him some. Dead in the wrong and too prideful to apologize? Give him some. Purchased something that was totally out of the family budget? Give him some.

Another Myles Munroe video worth checking out is "Men Don't Want Sex, They NEED Sex". I'm referencing that video simply because it's my personal belief that men—especially men in long-term commitments—don't just need sex, but the physical affection and emotional connection that comes right along with it. Call it lame if you want to, but I've sat in countless sessions with husbands who are upset that their wife won't cuddle with them on the couch or who won't initiate sexual activity (not just or solely intercourse, either).

As women, we don't want to be objectified. Men? They don't want to feel that sex—or again, even just affection—has strings attached to it. Yeah, only women who have books of coochie coupons in their arsenal got offended when they read this part of the article. The rest of us are just…taking notes.

Reciprocity

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C'mon true hip-hop heads. What's the name of the song that has these lines in it? "Tell me, who I have to be/To get some reciprocity/No one loves you more than me/And no one ever will." I don't think I've heard a song with the word "reciprocity" in it before or since Lauryn Hill sang this. And man, it has to be one of the biggest things that men and women need in a relationship and don't seem to get enough of.

I can't tell you how many times a man has told me that he needs to be affirmed, appreciated and felt like he is truly adored. Meanwhile, in his relationship, his woman thinks that these are the kinds of things that she should receive more than she gives.

The couples I know who are the healthiest and happiest are the couples who pour into their partner the very things that they want to receive from them. So, if you're in a relationship, do you and it a favor and ask your man if he feels that he's getting what he's giving. If he says "yes", pat yourself on the back. If he says "no" or nothing, try and remove your ego out of the way and figure out how to make some adjustments.

A huge key to a successful relationship is not giving someone what you want to give, but to really hone in on what they say they need. Amen? Amen.

Featured image by Getty Images

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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