What Men Think Women Want From Romance


They walk hand in hand. Their eyes meet briefly. Wistful smiles touch their lips. They sigh as one. When the couple reaches the park bench they sit and talk a moment. He grins. She giggles. Then he goes down on one knee, an unmistakable little box in one hand. With hope in his eyes, he pops the question and opens the box, extending it forward, waiting, holding his breath with his heart racing for her single word reply.


Romantic, isn’t it? Most people would think so, but how does one get from that first meeting, to this moment and beyond it to a long and happy fifty plus year marriage? What keeps the romance beating in the hearts of these two love birds?

I read an article recently about why women cheat. Based on the article, which seemed quite well researched, the main reason seems to be a lack of interest from their spouse or significant other. He pays more attention to work or sports or one hobby or another than to his wife. The woman feels neglected and taken advantage of. She feels she doesn’t matter anymore. He’s no longer romantic.

Romance, we ladies need it. No matter how much we may protest that we don’t, we do, in one form or another. Why would you deny the need to feel special to the person you have decided to spend the rest of your life with? Isn’t feeling special and loved a huge part of being in a relationship in the first place?

Gentleman, I am here to tell you what woman want when it comes to romance. Don’t be afraid. It’s not going to hurt and it’s not going to cost you a dime, unless you want it to. Trust me.


I gathered separately ten lady friends and ten gentleman friends and posed to each group the same questions.

In both groups the ages ranged from the mid-30 to the mid-60s. Some had been married only a few months, others for over 40 years, some not at all. None of them were married to each other. Most didn’t know each other.

That there would be a difference in the comments I got was not a question. What surprised me most was how the women gave very brief, specific replies, while the men tended to get into long-winded descriptions. Clearly, this is a subject these men have spent time thinking about before my inquiring mind came along.

Let’s start with the men. In general, the men felt they needed to impress us ladies somehow, mainly with gifts; flowers, chocolates, jewelry, trinkets and the like. Several even mentioned their lack of making romantic gestures stemmed more from a lack of money than anything else. “I see something that I think she’d like, so I buy it and hope she doesn’t yell at me for wasting money.”

Another added, “God, romance is such a pain in the ass. I wish she’d just say, ‘Hey, let’s get some pizza and beer and watch something on Netflix.’.


A fancy dinner out or buying their love a book they showed interest in, tickets to a concert, dressing up nice and being totally uncomfortable doing so, not just because the tie is too tight, but they are worried constantly if she’s doing to like any of these efforts. They are forced to be on their best behavior.

As one man put it so clearly, “This is the opening volley of romance. The ‘musts’ are impress, impress, impress.”  Another pointed out, “It takes a lot of work, and therefore is not always sustainable.”

But this wasn’t all the men had to say about being romantic. Others went a different route all together.

These men felt that romance differed from woman to woman and you have to be in tune with her specific language of love. Physical touch and affirmations are far more important than gifts. Romantic gestures in some of the relationships leaned towards doing odd tasks that he knows she hates or an unexpected kiss on the back of the head while she’s distracted doing something else.

In general, these men felt that the concept was simple; the man makes the woman the center of his attention.

As one put it, “In spite of all the distractions of life, he is deciding that you are the priority and he is actively seeing ways to show that.”  Another opined, “I think there needs to be a degree of something you wouldn’t do for anyone else or would feel weird doing it for them which implies a certain degree of intimacy.”

Next time we’ll look at what the ladies had to say.

Reposted from 

3 ways to deepen intimacy in any moment

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 14, 2016, in men, relationships, sex and sexuality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Well.. it is true in some way. However, as I can observe, the love birds around me are always involved money when talking about romance. (Most of the time) For example, many of my friends’ way to show romance is by buying YSL lipsticks. And it works out. According to what my cousin tells me, every time her boyfriend made her upset, there is nothing one YSL lipstick can not solve, if there is, than two. I don’t know if this is a cultural thing, but as I know, all my Chinese girl mates in high school define romance with substance. Solely blaming man on that is just unfair, woman also have responsibility on creating this stereotype thing (personal opinion)

    • I’m not blaming men. Too often the two sexes don’t understand each other and I am trying to create an understanding.

      The thought that lipstick it will make romance is something that I find completely incomprehensible though. What’s the big deal about lipstick? Hardly cost anything. Most women could by themselves. !!!!????

  2. I read both this post along with the one on how women think. I feel like all of this is just how society is shaping people and their fears. Here, we see men who want to (i think they seemed like they did) do nice things for their significant others, but were worried more so if society would deem it a nice effort or not. I think the saddest part is that most of the time women are very appreciate, like you have written, of small gestures. Making pizza would be great. It’s just the stereotype that women like nice, expansive gestures. I don’t really know how to change the typical male perspective, but the next time I have a relationship I will be sure to let him know that I do appreciate the small gestures just as much, if not more than the big gestures.

  3. It’s so interesting that somehow the idea of “romance” has become synonymous with big spending. Women want love and attention. Yes, spending money is a plus but that is because of the thought that goes behind it. “He thought of me when he saw this” that’s what makes the gifts special. Somehow companies and corporates have manage to completely pervert what loves is, and persuade their viewership that money needs to be spent in order for a relationship to bud and/or bloom. Of course, women loves the lavish gifts, but who wouldn’t? Especially when you know your loved one spent their hard-earned money on something they thought yo would like. For the most part, it’s the gesture that does the trick. I think it’s important that women articulate what it is they really want, to their significant other. It doesn’t take much to keep a relationship healthy and happy, it’s the communicating part that is severely lacking.

  4. Like the man mentioned in the article, most men often think it’s hard to ‘impress’ women or romance needs a lot of hard work. It’s not like that. In most of the cases, even a single rose or a book can do a lot… 🙂

  5. What Men Think Women Want From Romance:

    This article really caught my interest when I read the title because I’m currently going though a rough patch with the guy I’m dating. It isn’t that we have been fighting or have been annoying each other, but that the energy between us I’d different now. I can’t seem to figure out why this is. Part of me thought that maybe it was because we have been both so busy and haven’t really had the time to give one another, but that couldn’t be it because when we are together, something still isn’t right. I worry that maybe he is tired of me and only keeps me around because it’s better to have somebody then nobody. Another part of me think that maybe he feels that It’s too much work to impress me with flowers and expensive dinners as the men in this article felt. It seems silly to me that men think that gifts is what keeps us interested when that is not the case. They couldn’t be more wrong about that.

  6. Finding a man that is romantic is rare, but it’s definitely a plus. I don’t think expensive gifts or fancy dinner is always the key to making a woman feel special. What men don’t realize is sometimes it’s just small things that can make her smile. A card with a special hand written message that explains how much he loves her or handpicked rose on a walk came be more meaningful then spending money on a gift. I dated a guy for many years who did not believe in the importance of doing sweet this like this. It obviously didn’t work out. When I meet my husband, I realized how special these little things were. Of course, the nice dinner and gifts are nice too. The key is to find someone who does both from time to time. I think it is important for women to learn to enjoy things that their boyfriend or husband enjoys. You mentioned a man said he wished his girl would just want to watch movies, eat pizza, and drink beer. This happens to be my favorite thing to do. It’s a way to spend time together and keep your man interested.

  7. Romance could be defined as a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. Women want to feel and be loved. They also want to feel wanted and appreciated by men. This desire has been anchored in women’s mind since people could remember.

    As a matter of fact, they get their ideas of romance from views passed on from generation to generation, and images and representations observed in movies with a fairy tale ending targeting kids, teens and adults. Women have been conditioned from birth to think that their fulfillment comes from the pairing with the opposite sex. Therefore, they go through extreme measure to attract, be and stay in a relationship with men, in hope to become a wife one day. In Western societies, men and women have been accustomed to romance and love from an early age through avenues such cinematography. While women develop and cultivate this idea of love and glamour throughout their childhood and adulthood, men try their best to detach themselves from it from fear to be categorized as vulnerable.

    Men are torn between being devoted and loving – traits grasped from an early age; and being apathetic which is what society demand of them. Some men might be reluctant to show romance or affection as a symbol of emasculation. Although women want to feel reminded that they are loved and appreciated via random gestures of gratitude and affection, men might regard it as losing control and being irrational. In fact some men perceive the concept of romance as an unpleasant task which is necessary to the overall health of their relationship and use their money through gifts as a way to preserve their mastery and authority. Does changing the way women view themselves and their roles in society impact the way they love and view romance?

    • Unlike the author I suspect that romantic notions may be more learned than innate. But I think that the desire for romance is widespread, Given a culture that romanticizes romance. Mostly I was curious to see what men and women bought on the topic.

      That said, I value romance. I think it’s important to make people feel valued and loved. And mystery adds another wonderful dimension.

  8. What it’s interesting is that everyone is taking for granted that the men are the ones who are supposed to buy gifts and dinners and women are the ones who are supposed to receive the gifts.
    Imagine this:
    a woman with flowers and chocolate candies knock on the guy’s door. She picks him up with her car and drives to her favourite restaurant. She leads the way to the table she had made a reservation for and pulls the chair for him. She makes the order and selects the wine. She flirts with him and tries to impress him and compliments him about how good looking he is. And out of the blue she kneels, reveals a little box, she opens it and she makes him the question.

    Was that romantic or fictional?

  9. I believe that this can be so vital to the balance in a relationship because its centered around action and taking outward action to show affection. I think where it may get messy is when the ladies, men or whoever tend to think that if the outward affection stops for any reason then its gone all together. I also see with my friends that if it does stop then that is when minds start to wonder or jump to conclusions of all kinds. So I think if couples were to communicate more it can help balance affection and romance in a relationship

  10. I feel like romance comes in many different ways, like the article points out. And just like men want their date to do or like a certain thing, it also goes the way around. In my opinion, I think that romance works out when man and woman take turns doing what they love.

  11. I agree when men say that every women is different and that you would have to be in tune with her language of love in order for her to feel that you are making an effort in the relationship and doing things she likes. A lot of men think that the more money they spend the more romantic the date will be. That is not always the case. Romance can be achieved when two people are share intimate moments with each other no matter where they are or what their doing.

  12. Men want to go out and do things together and view that as incredibly romantic. Playing with their wives makes them feel close and loving and intimate; it offers an escape from the ordinary, a time to focus on each other—all things that women also want from romance.

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