Dear Woman without a Man:
I Spent a Weekend on Your Question
Before answering this question, I spent the weekend talking to some friends male and female to see what they thought about this question: about what it is that men look for in women.
The Age Approach
Now, your age and the age of the men you are dating really has a tremendous amount to do with the answer you are going to get, because just like women, at different ages, men want different things.
First, before we get to the men (or boys) in your life, let's talk about you.
You state that you are an independent, attractive, ambitious woman, yet you sign your letter as " a woman without a man."
Most women that I know if they are truly independent and ambitious are pretty secure in who they are and what they have to offer; if a guy doesn't like it, then let him be damned.
However, your choice of names really says a lot about where you are at. I wonder if perhaps you believe that you need a man in your life to be happy? I also wonder, just from what you've written, what type of men you are finding yourself attracted to and what you are pulling to yourself.
What It Means To Be Independent
If you are truly an independent woman of means, of self-worth and complete belief in yourself, then you should somewhere deep inside understand that a man in your life can COMPLIMENT your life not become your life. I would highly suggest that before you look at the men that you've dated to berate them for not being what you want, perhaps you should look a little closer to home.
As I once read somewhere, the only common thread in these relationships is you. Why are you drawn to men who can't give you what you need or appreciate what you offer?? What are YOUR criteria for a great relationship?
Make a List
Figure out what you want first and I'm going to make a suggestion on how to do that. Write a LIST yes, I mean a list of characteristics that you want ideally in the man you would like to share your life with. A complete list from the fact that his feet don't smell to the fact that he has a good relationship with his mother. Don't leave out a single detail.
I know many women who did this, sat down with their hearts and their heads and figured out exactly what their ideal man would be like, act like, look like, talk like, think like...and you'd be amazed at the success they had in finding a pretty close replica. (Of course, there was one who forgot to mention the AGE range she wanted, and the man she ended up falling in love with was 10 years younger than her, but everything else on the list matched.) Without figuring out exactly who it is that you ARE looking, you aren't bound to find him anywhere.
What Men Want
Now, on to my research about what men want. The men that I spoke to, funny enough, tended to lean a little more to the stereotypical guy: what women think a man wants is somewhere, deep down, quite true.
I was told they want a woman who is attractive, intelligent, and independent to a point. They want a woman who is capable of cooking, cleaning and doing the "wifely" stuff even if the duties are shared;.they want a woman who perhaps can run a company by herself, but maybe is still afraid of killing a spider.
Guys Kill Spiders for You
In other words, they want someone who is capable of taking care of herself, but not so capable that there is no NEED for him to be in your life. If you kill your own spiders, what good is a guy anyway? *smile*
They Want To Feel Needed
Mostly, what I understand is that men want to feel needed. They want to be taken care of, just like we do, but they also want to feel that they fulfill a part of your life. They are not talkers, they are doers. If you are so caught up in being your own woman and doing your own thing, where do they fit in? If they feel that you could live perfectly fine with OR without them, they aren't likely to feel needed. I think guys want a WOMAN, in every sense of the word and that includes understanding that there is still a little girl inside that woman who needs help occasionally and they want to know they can provide that for us. (Am I wrong, guys? Please tell me if I am!)
My Independence Is a Wonderful Thing
I myself believe that I am an independent woman who knows her own mind, and does for herself. But I also know that I don't like to kill spiders, and without calisthenics and a really long ladder, I'm not likely going to be able to change the light-bulbs on the ceiling in my living room. I am perfectly capable of doing it but do I really WANT to? :)
Men Also Have Needs
Believe it or not, a guy has needs too. They have wants, and desires, and parents they grew up with that led to ideas, thoughts, and beliefs about what they want in a mate. They want to be needed, but they also want someone to take care of them too someone who is physically and emotionally capable of doing both. Perhaps cooking isn't so important to one man, but to another, a home-cooked meal could be the sign of love. To another man, a woman who is willing to take him out to dinner could be the sign they need.
Make Time For His Life
But the point is, while being independent is great, if you are so caught up in your own life that you don't have time for HIS, then he's likely to leave and find someone who's a little more available.
The Age Factor
And of course, there is the Age Factor. Twenty-Something's want something different than Thirty-Something's. :) Again, back to my illustrious researching skills: I talked to a few men, some in their early twenties, late twenties, thirties, and each man had something different to say.
The "generalization" that one man made was that in your early to mid-twenties, you care what your friends think of your girlfriend. In your later twenties to thirties, you care what YOU think of your girlfriend.
The overview of what I learned:
The Early Twenty-Somethings: Here and Now
In their early twenties, guys are generally looking at the here and NOW, not the here and five years from now. They are less discriminating, perhaps, but that's mostly because they aren't concerned with the long run. They are looking to have fun, and be with the woman who provides the most fun.
They probably aren't all that concerned with finding a woman who can balance her own checkbook, read the stock market and manage her own life (and perhaps his). They want to have fun, they want to be admired by their friends for this amazing woman in their life, but the criterion isn't usually how independent she is. (And it must be said that not ALL men are like this; this is a generalization based on what I was told by a group of men.)
Later Twenty-Somethings: Considering a Future
In the later twenties, they begin to put up filters about the women they go out with; they begin to realize that the future is looming out there and perhaps they should start thinking about it. They are thinking about their own lives, careers, how much they have succeeded and where they are going. They will begin to look at women in a slightly different light.
Though they still want to look good to their friends, they are also wondering if this woman can fit into the life they are beginning to realize. At this point, I would guess they DO care if you can balance your own checkbook. They may not want you to balance THEIRS just yet, but they'd like to know that you are capable of it.
Thirty-Somethings: Living Long-Term
Now, in their thirties, guys are beginning to LIVE the life they've been trying to figure out. They are realizing the benefits of owning your own home, of having a solid career, a 401K plan, and all the trappings of the "rest of your life."
And in that "rest of your life" is usually included a significant other. They want someone who can balance a checkbook, perhaps cook a meal, share the household chores (and in some cases, take them over or hire someone to do so) they want a woman who can fill their needs and still have room to be NEEDED.
Generalizations and Stereotypes Aside
Now, do I know if I'm right about ANY of this?? Not really; it's just an overview of the conversations I had, the men I've met, the women I know who've met other men, and so on and so on.
Fulfilling and Being Fulfilled
But underneath everything, I believe the basic rule is the same for men AND women: People want to be with someone who is capable of meeting their needs, whatever those needs may be. They also want to be with someone for whom they bring something TO. People's needs will change for different people, at different ages with different relationships.
Don't Get Mad at Someone Who Can't Be What You Want
I think the important part of this is to figure out what YOUR needs are, and start looking at the people that you believe can fill them. But you have to know what YOU want. You have to know what THEY want. You really can't get mad at someone for not being what you want. You can only get mad at yourself for not being a little bit more aware of what that is first.
What do you think of Answer?