• Sarah Yoo

The One Thing All Women Want In Relationships



With Valentine’s coming, many find themselves wondering what their partner or new person in their lives want and need.


As the relationship dynamic between a man and a woman has evolved over time, women’s needs have too. Years ago, women depended on their men for physical safety - food, shelter, and protection for her and her children.


But now, things have changed.


We no longer live in a world of life-threatening predators or the scarcity of food.


Modern women are more self-sustaining than ever to provide for themselves.

She no longer NEEDS a man to survive.

But she still has needs.


“What could that possibly be? And how can I provide this for her?” says the modern man.

Many are left confused as their desire to provide for their women still remains.


As a fellow woman from this generation, I’ve certainly had this confusion.


And what I’ve learned is this:


What the modern women really want from their men is emotional safety.



Her Biggest Need - Emotional Safety


Creating a space of emotional safety to authentically express one’s thoughts and feelings is a struggle to find today.


This space is what a woman deeply desires in her romantic relationship.


Often men think it’s what they’ve DONE that MADE their women happy. This inherently creates the belief that “it is our job to make her happy.”


However, this is not true. It isn’t anyone’s job to make anyone happy.


In a viral Facebook video, Will Smith shares his biggest lesson in his relationship with his wife.


"You cannot make a person happy.
You can make a person smile, feel good and laugh. But, whether or not a person is happy is deeply and totally and utterly out of your control.”
- Will Smith









Instead, men can provide emotional safety by listening, accepting, loving and encouraging their partner to fully express themselves. It is then up to her to create her own happiness.


John Gray, the author of Beyond Mars and Venus, shares a story that exemplifies this:


"My wife says to me one day,

John, you are not a perfect man or the perfect husband but you’ve given me the biggest gift that any woman could want."


“What’s that?”


“I know that I can say or do things that make you angry and when you get angry, you always stop talking, you pull away and then you come back and you are always more loving. I know there is nothing I can do to push you out of my life."


John Gray explains that this is what women experience deeply in their core as safety and ultimately what she desires - that they aren’t going to be rejected or abandoned when they express themselves fully or make a mistake that upsets him.




How Can Men Provide Emotional Safety For Their Women?



She needs to feel heard and understood.


When a woman sees problems, her emotions begin to surface.

Talking about this distress is the first step in dealing with her rising stress level.


As soon as she shares her feelings, her testosterone levels come down and her estrogen and oxytocin levels begin to rise. Her emotions begin to calm and her perspective clears.


Her mental position reverts back to a balance from one extreme spectrum.

Endorphins, logic, and ease are reintroduced allowing her to move beyond this point of distress.




What Can Men Do To Help Their Women Feel Heard & Understood?




1. Listen to Understand, Not To Respond:


A lot of us have the habit of listening to respond with our opinions, rather than with the desire to understand. This is to be shifted in order for open and authentic communication to occur.


When a woman is sharing her feelings, the best support men can provide her is by showing the genuine desire to understand where she is coming from.


When she shares, acknowledge her situation with any one of these practical responses:

  • “I can understand that."

  • “I can see why you would feel that."

  • "I’m sorry that today was tough for you.”

  • “I can see why you would struggle with that"

Show genuine interest and curiosity in what she has to say:

  • “Tell me more about that."

  • “What else is there?"

  • “Help me understand that better."


"It’s good to be loved but it’s profound to be understood. This is the best gift Portia has ever given me”
- Ellen Degeneres






2. Don’t jump to giving solutions or advice


No one likes unsolicited advice.

Instead of ASSUMING she needs solutions or advice, the best way to support her is by simply asking,

  • “Would you like my opinion about this or would you like to be listened to?”



3. Avoid judging or criticising her and instead, focus on validation.


Just as many men don’t like their women telling them what they should and shouldn’t do, women don’t like their men or anyone for that matter to tell them what they should and shouldn’t feel.


Avoid statements like,

  • “You shouldn’t feel sad”

  • “Oh...that was it? That was what you were upset about?”

  • “Why are you so sensitive to that?”

Remember, women’s deepest desire is to be accepted and loved as they are, with all of their thoughts and emotions.



Focus on ACCEPTING her as she is, through validation, followed by physical reassurance.


Validating a woman’s feelings is a powerful way to help her feel seen, understood and loved:

  • “You do so much for other people."

  • “You give so much yet they aren’t acknowledging you the way you deserve."

  • “You work so hard."

  • “You are so supportive and considerate, they are lucky to have you."

Add a genuine and warm hug to bring it full circle to truly show how supportive you are of her.


This hug is extremely important as her oxytocin and estrogen levels will rise, leading her to feel safe and protected.


Which leads us to the next point....





4. Hug her, despite the differences


A hug can say a million things. When we are upset with our loved ones, we often retreat while we lick our wounds or worse, give our loved ones the silent treatment.


Even though it can be difficult to re-approach our partners when we are upset, at times, all it takes is one simple hug to transform a person and therefore the connection.


"A hug is probably the simplest-yet-most-powerful way to connect with anyone, be it someone we deeply love or a complete stranger. It epitomises true give and take where both parties support one another. A warm, compassionate embrace is powerful—one that can heal, make you feel secure, transform lives, and help overcome toughest challenges."

says Scott Amyx in his article on the power of hugs.


As I reminisce how good it feels to be embraced by a loved one, I am reminded of a story.


In November 2014, a protest was held in Portland in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a white policeman, followed by a decision not to prosecute the officer.


In midst of an angry crowd, a tearful young black boy named Devonte is seen with a sign around his neck saying "FREE HUGS". The crowd watches as a white Portland police officer named Bret walks over, looks at Devonte’s sign and asked, “Do I get one of those?”


The pair hugged:

This shows us just how powerful it is when we let our guards down and come together despite our differences. It is beautiful how a hug can communicate love and compassion when words may fail us.





5. Show her that she’s important to you



When a woman feels like a priority in her man's life, she will feel safe because she feels like she can emotionally count on him.


When she can see that he is trying his best to create a safe space for her, she will feel supported and loved.


Create a consistent time and space (~20-30 min) for her to share of her ongoings, good and bad, with you. Lead with:

  • is there anything coming up for you this week that might create more stress in your life?

  • is there anything that I can do for you to make this week easier?

  • is there anything that you would like to share from this week that you didn’t have a chance to express?

Or, ask her directly what she needs from you:

  • “What makes you feel heard and understood?"

  • “What makes you feel important in our relationship?

  • “Is there anything that I’ve done or haven’t done in the past that made you feel unheard or unimportant?"



Whether you are a man or a woman in a relationship, I wanted to share these tips to remind ourselves that love is about service.


As I write this, I am reminded of a story.


A Japanese politician was publicly punished because he was caught committing money fraud. As most people across the country were busy shaming him, this little girl was upset to see him cry and attempts to provide condolence to her best ability.



Today, our definition of love can be so skewed.

Many people go into relationships thinking, “what can I get from this?”


Instead, I invite all of us to think and act from a place of -


“how can I serve this person to my best ability?”


Just as this little girl has shown us, I want us to remember that we are wired to experience the truest form of love and happiness through service.


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Next up, we will discuss what MEN really want and need in their relationships.


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