When this piece was originally published at The Good Men Project, it received hundreds of comments and was shared by thousands. But the reaction was not all positive. One writer even described Adam Sheck’s post as a “nutty nutbag piece of nutbaggery.”
by DR. ADAM SHECK
It’s really not that complicated. From both personal and professional experience, I can tell you that what men want in relationships is pretty basic.
Hint: It’s not about having a “trophy” partner or someone to feed us and take care of us when we’re sick. It’s certainly not about having someone to “process” feelings with. It’s not even about sex, though sexuality IS an important part of relationships.
What men REALLY want in a relationship, is a safe place to recharge and renew themselves in order to go back out and face the world and “fight the good fight.” What men want is a safe, secure, STRESS-FREE environment where we can recover from dealing with the “rat-race” and just relax.
What men want is a place where we can be ourselves, without putting on the facade that the world sometimes demands. We want a place where we don’t have to be on our best behavior, where we don’t have to walk on egg shells and where we don’t have to pretend that we’re something we’re not.
We want a place where we can be accepted for who we are and for who we are not! What men want is consistency and routine, because that is what relaxes us. ”Same place, same thing” calms us down. Yes, we like change and excitement from time to time, but what we really want in our primary relationship is a place where we can be at peace, where we don’t have to have our “fight or flight” response triggered. We’re activated enough in the work world, we don’t want our relationship to be like a second job!
Why is this what men want? Why do men want to recharge in relationships? I believe it goes back to our early childhood development (I’m a psychologist, of course I’m going to go there!). Attachment theory tells us that one stage of childhood is that time where we have started to break away from mommy and become more independent.
We play with our friends and have fun, but every once in a while we take a look back and connect to mommy, maybe just eye contact, to make sure that she is there and that everything is okay. And then we can get back to play. We need a “secure base” to launch from in order to explore our world and when necessary we need a “safe haven” to seek comfort from that world.