Whether she says it out loud, or not.

There’s a big difference between wants and needs.

We define the “want” and then we dig deeper to find the real need that’s being fulfilled by it.

I believe that every man who is in a relationship with a woman should be striving daily to meet her needs.

Needless to say, your #1 priority should be finding out what the specific needs are of the woman you are with. (See point #3 below).

That being said, here are a few that I’ve found to be true across the board.

1: She needs to be respected and treated as your equal.

First thing’s first — every happy and healthy relationship has respect as one of it’s most important building blocks.

Respect for someone’s accomplishments, viewpoints, opinions, input, and identity as a whole is non-negotiable when building a life with someone.

If you don’t respect her and treat her as such, there are many other problems that will arise. Feeling taken for granted or undervalued, feeling overlooked, being left out of decision making, building resentment…the list goes on.

Being respected, for any of us, isn’t just a “want” in a relationship. It is a deeply-rooted need. If you don’t respect her, you can never possibly love her.

2: She needs consistency.

Imagine trying to build a relationship with someone whose actions send different messages all the time.

Are you serious about building a future together? Do you want the same things? Are you kind and empathetic, or impatient and erratic?

If every day is a gamble and she doesn’t know whether you’re in or out, it’s going to be very difficult for her to bring her full self to the relationship and trust you with her heart, emotions, and her body.

She needs you to be consistent and authentic in order to be comfortable and confident that she’s making the right choice by being with you.

3: She needs to communicate WITH you.

Communication is a need because no relationship can thrive without it. We’ll always be left trying to read each others’ minds and then having our partner get upset because we didn’t do something we never knew we had to do.

What’s more — is that communication must be mutual.

I said WITH you in this point because some men think sitting around and allowing her to speak is communicating.

Active listening is part of communicating, but it’s active because it requires feedback. It means that you take the information you’ve gathered and do something with it, rather than just sitting there nodding your head and saying “mmhmm.”

Beyond her communicating her needs though, she also needs you to bring something to the table.

She needs to know what makes you happy, sad, anxious, scared, desired, loved…

She needs to know how you feel and why you feel it.

She needs to know when something is wrong, and she’ll love to hear when everything is right.

Lack of communication in a relationship will create both emotional and physical distance between partners, until the gap is simply too large to bridge.

4: She needs to feel safe.

I make this point a lot because it is very important.

When I talk about feeling safe, I don’t just mean physically safe.

I mean mentally, emotionally, and spiritually safe as well.

Safe opening up to you and being vulnerable. Safe sharing secrets. Safe sleeping next to you at night. Safety is rooted in trust, respect (ahem, point #1), and consistency. (Point #2), because a feeling of safety can be fragile and crumble instantly when trust is broken.

If she feels safe with you today, your next mission is to be sure she still feels safe with you tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…

5: She needs you to accept her strength without being threatened by it.

There’s a big misconception among men these days that a woman being “strong” means she wants to overpower us.

She doesn’t want to overpower you, dude.

She wants to bring her own individual strengths to the relationship in order to contribute and be an equal partner.

She wants her feminine strength to match your masculine strength, so you can create harmony together.

If you don’t fully accept this and shy away, or — heaven forbid — try to dim her shine, needless to say the relationship will never work.

A man who is secure in himself will always see a strong woman as a teammate, never as a threat.

6: She needs humor.

When it comes to keeping a woman’s attention: Manners are important, good looks are a bonus, but humor is a must.

Just don’t make jokes when you shouldn’t.

7: She needs you to trust her.

Yeah, you need to be trustworthy, but you also need to be trusting.

This means no snooping around, no glancing at her phone, no blowing her up all night if she’s out with friends…

Of course, she needs to earn this trust, as do you — but operating on the default setting that she’s not trustworthy is only going to create tension when there shouldn’t be any.

If she hasn’t done anything to raise red flags, then any insecurities you’re feeling are simply projections from within yourself, and that’s something you need to work on internally, my man.

8: She needs you to support her.

Not financially, but emotionally.

One of the big problems with relationships these days is that men are confused about what they bring to the table.

In generations past, the man was the provider, protector, supplier of moneys and giver of booty rubs.

With women outpacing men educationally and professionally, lots of men are confused about where they fit into the puzzle.

The biology of humanity hasn’t changed because our society has evolved, though. Which means, as a partner, you still have a duty to support and encourage the woman in your life mentally and emotionally.

Let’s say she does out-earn you, out-rank you, out-smart you…assuming that she’s choosing to be with you, it puts you in a position to be a support system for her, a sounding board, a trusted confidant that she can go to with anything.

It also (should) be an inspiration to you.

It doesn’t matter who makes more, or is more highly educated, or is physically stronger — what matters is that both people in the relationship are willing to stand behind and support each other when it’s needed most.

9: She needs to feel desired.

If you’re trying to make the woman in your life feel truly desired, then smacking her bum when you walk by in the kitchen is not the move.

Unless, of course, that’s your thing together.

But truly feeling desired is rooted in emotional connection and intimacy. It’s about how you touch her. How you speak to her. How you see her more clearly than anyone else ever has, and want her desperately because of it.

It’s not about the bum-smacks, but the held hands. The long embraces. The Soft caresses. The less animalistic actions that really get to the core of intimacy — which, in itself, is emotional.

10: She needs you to have your own life.

I have a friend.

On paper, he was a catch.

6’2″, good looking, fantastic job with high financial security, goodhearted and genuine…

Yet, he couldn’t figure out why women kept leaving soon into relationships.

He had a tendency to completely mold himself into her life.

He would stop doing things he was passionate about, spend all of his time with her, and essentially become less of the man that she’d fallen for in the first place.

He took the things that made him attractive, and threw them out the window.

A relationship needs to be made up of two whole, individual people who have their own passions, hobbies, and interests.

Yes! It’s fantastic to share in these things together!

But, if all you do is what she wants to do, she’ll start feeling like she adopted a puppy dog rather than got herself a boyfriend.

And if that’s what she wanted, that’s what she would’ve gotten.

11: She needs what matters over what is material.

Sure, she will appreciate gifts and nice things, but she also understands that they are no substitute for your loyalty, love, respect, and time. Those are the things she really wants.

12: She needs you to shut up sometimes.

Men have a tendency to be problem solvers, which means the moment a woman starts telling us about a challenge she is facing, we go into fixer mode.

It’s important to realize that just because she’s telling you about a problem, doesn’t mean she’s asking for a solution.

Most likely, she is simply talking through something and needing you to just listen while she figures it out herself.

That being said — if she asks you for your input or a solution — then put that hard hat on, Freddy Fixer.

13: She needs space.

There are going to be times in the course of your relationship where she needs to just…be left alone.

Not chased after, not checked in on every 5 seconds, and sometimes not even communicated with.

There’ll be times when she simply needs to turn inward and work through something herself.

If she wants you to know what it is, she’ll tell you. If she doesn’t, then don’t pry — you’ll just make things worse.

14: She needs you to keep working on yourself.

This is different than point #10.

This isn’t about what you do, it’s about who you are.

If she wants a real future with you, she wants it to be as long as possible. This means taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

It means continuing to work on and improve yourself in order to stay interesting and live a full life.

It means doing the inner work to be as emotionally healthy as possible. An emotionally unhealthy person cannot be a good partner.

This is a need because the emotional and physical health of each partner in a relationship plays a massive role in the life of the other.

It’s the difference between conversations and blowout arguments.

It’s the difference between a life of adventure and travel, or a life of stagnation and sickness.

It’s the difference between a long future together, and a short one.

It’s the difference between riveting conversations over dinner, and silence as you stare at your phones.

The better the “me,” the better the “we.”

15: She needs you to fully accept her as she is.

Every single one of us, with no exceptions, has a past.

Some are smoother and prettier than others.

Regardless of what hers looks like, it’s part of what made her who she is today.

The quirks, nuances, and idiosyncrasies are all what make her…her.

You might not love every weird habit, or every strange routine, or every sage-burning ritual on the 3rd Sunday of every month (shrug), but if you’re going to be all in on building a relationship with her, you need to accept it.

Doyou need to accept negative, toxic, abusive, or violent tendencies?Obviously not. Nobody ever should.

But, you do need to love and accept her as she is today, while she grows into the woman she wants to become.

That’s the beauty of the journey — you have the honor of watching someone’s journey of personal growth while you grow alongside of them.

That way, you get to fall in love with her over and over again. That’s what a lifelong relationship is made of.