A strong, independent female friend of mine posed a question on her Facebook page, asking if guys actually want strong, independent women. The responses were mostly sympathetic to her position, saying things like “a real man does, stop dating boys,” or “keep searching, you’ll find one.” The question is a good one though, and I’d like to share my thoughts on it.
Most men… most people… want to feel understood more than anything else. We want someone who gets us. We want to share moments and learn and grow together. We want companionship. We want to feel appreciated.
A strong, independent woman is exactly that… strong and independent. By definition she can do things for herself. She doesn’t “need” a man (that’s in quotes because it’s something I’ve heard a lot of strong, independent women say… “I don’t need a man”). They pride themselves on being able to do things for themselves and not relying on anyone else to do things for them. Most modern men like being with this type of woman, but some old-fashioned men (who enjoy doing things for their woman) might feel like they are not appreciated or even necessary.
Most strong women want someone who can keep up with them. They seek out men who are also strong people. One of the challenges my wife and I faced is that we are both very strong people. When presented with a situation where both partners want to take the lead, it can be hard to make decisions. We both argue our points well and feel very strongly that ours is the right solution. I find that partners work together more fluidly when one takes the backseat and lets the other drive in certain situations.
As far as independence, each of us desire varying degrees of interaction with our partner. Just as some plants require more sunlight and water than others, each of us need a unique amount of attention.
As much as you do not want to rely on your partner too much, it can also be detrimental to be too distant. There are relationships where partners live far from work and spend Monday through Friday away from home to be closer to their job site. There are situations where partners try not to spend a single night apart. The best thing you can do is figure out the balance of interaction and attention you need, and ask your person to consider that question as well.
As a writer/artist, I’m a very sensitive guy. I realize my need for connection is higher than average. If I start to feel lonely I get anxious and my mind goes to bad places. It’s not enough to know that there’s a woman out there who loves me and will be there for me, I need text messages throughout the day and fun things to look forward to.
The best relationships are the ones that find balance… that happy place where both of your needs are understood and (mostly) met.
So when I am asked if men want strong, independent women… I would say some do, and some don’t. The important thing is that you find someone who loves you for who you are and with whom you can have mutual satisfaction and understanding.
– John Powers