Although most won’t admit it, men love to be in love. In fact, many men need to be in a relationship more than women do. This is because a good relationship is settling for a man, a place where he can share feelings that he might not be able to talk about with anyone else. In our society, women are permitted to have close, bonded relationships with their girlfriends. They talk to each other openly, and turn to one another for support easily, but men don’t. Believe it or not, for many guys their love relationship is the one place where they can allow themselves to be truly intimate.
As a therapist in New York City, I’ve counseled many men in relationships who agree. And after interviewing men to write my first two books, Why Men Leave and What He Can’t Tell You…and Needs to Say, six reasons emerged that explain what they really like about relationships. You might be surprised by what these guys say!
1. Feeling free enough to really be himself
“When I’m in a relationship, I’m a different man than when I’m not,” Bob said. “When I’m out there running around with the guys, I feel part of a pack, on the hunt. Sure, it can be fun for a while. But, believe me, every one of the guys in the group is hoping to meet someone each night. And I don’t just mean someone for sex. I mean someone for everything, the ‘real thing.’”
When asked what “the real thing” meant to him — and his friends — Bob grinned. “It means someone who will take you for what you are. Who likes you that way. Who isn’t going to start finding fault, but instead, start finding all the things about you that are terrific.”
When a guy is in a relationship where he is allowed to be himself, he feels more confident. He feels loveable and worthy. Just by being there, the woman he is dating or married to reminds him that she chose him out of all the others. This kind of feeling is hard to get in any other way. It helps all aspects of his life.
2. Being inspired to be a better man
Andy said he loves the challenge of relationships. He knows he has to work at it in order to make a love affair last. “Relationships make me keep myself up, work out, look good, stay sharp, keep my eye on the competition. After all, I don’t want her running off with some other guy. When things work out, I feel like a winner. I feel proud showing her off to my family and friends too. It’s like I’m saying, look what I have. Look who I am.”
For many guys like Andy, relationships are a big ego boost. They keep them on the sharp edge of life, and force them to be the best they can. In ‘As Good As It Gets’, Jack Nicholson’s character says to Helen Hunt’s, “You make me want to be a better man,” and it is indeed a compliment.
3. Simply having a partner who he will see at the end of the day
For Tim, it’s slightly different. Tim loves the rush of looking forward to spending a romantic weekend with the woman of his dreams. “When I’m in a relationship,” Tim said, “the woman becomes the woman of my dreams. She’s beautiful. She’s fabulous. I think about her all week long and can’t wait for us to be together on the weekend (or sometimes weeknights). It makes the whole day exciting. When things get boring or rough, I think of her and feel great.
“It’s something to look forward to. It reminds me that there’s a prize for me at the end of the road.” For a guy like Tim, being in a relationship fills his life with fun and joy. Seeing his girlfriend’s smile or hearing her voice becomes the reward for all of his hard work. His relationship reminds him that there’s more to life than the rough times, and he can enjoy himself every day.
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