How Men Feel Loved (2023)

Men Need Romance Too: How Men Feel Loved

“What does love feel like for a man?” As a couples therapist, I am often asked this question by people hoping to strengthen their connection with their most important guy. I was recently interviewed for a feature in about how “Men Need Romance in Their Lives Just As Much As Women.” I was happy to do it, because I’m so glad that men’s issues — particularly when it comes to healthy relationships — are getting more attention in the media. As I discussed with some of my male colleagues on a recent episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, “How to Understand Men,” and another episode with researcher Andrew Reiner on the secret desire for emotional intimacy in men, too often, the emotional reality of men goes either unseen, or is disregarded. This can create a barrier to men becoming fully self-actualized, or to having the kinds of high quality relationships that they deserve.

In my experience, one of the main issues when it comes to men in relationships is that their feelings or emotional needs aren’t often acknowledged or addressed. One mistake I often see women make is assuming that men should feel connected and romanced in the same way that they do.

It’s a common misperception that men don’t crave feelings of closeness, connection, and emotional intimacy just as much as women do. As a marriage counselor and couples therapist, I can’t tell you how many poignant conversations I’ve had with lonely men who want nothing more than to feel connected to and loved by the most important woman in their life. When they get the love and affection they crave, they’re like plants being watered.

It can be hard for many guys to put a voice to how they feel. As a result, sometimes their partners don’t fully understand them.

Men and Women Experience Love Differently

There are differences in the way that men and women feel connected and cared for, often having to do with their “Love Languages.” While there are no hard and fast rules that are true for all men, oftentimes men experience love through physical affection, quality time together, and words of affirmation, whereas women are more likely to experience feelings of love through acts of service, words of affirmation, as well as gifts. Another difference is that men often have a higher need for novelty and excitement than women do.

Men Need Love and Affection

In plain language: Men often feel most loved by the women in their lives when their partners hug them, kiss them, smile at them, and explicitly offer gratitude, praise, and words of affection. Men also feel loved and connected through sexuality, often to a greater degree than women do. Whereas women often need to feel emotionally connected as a prelude to sexuality, men often need to feel sexually connected before they can connect emotionally. Additionally, some men feel stronger feelings of attachment and connection when there is novelty and adventure in a relationship.

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Respect + Freedom = Love, Too

In my experience many men also long to feel respected, and supported in the things that are most important to them. For some men, having partners who support them in pursuing their hobbies or interests outside of the relationship is a very meaningful way of feeling loved. It may sound paradoxical, to love someone by setting them free, but many men feel an enormous amount of satisfaction in relationships where they are not just accepted, but prized, for who and what they are.

One mistake I often see women make is assuming that men should feel connected and romanced in the same way that they do: through conversation, time together, gift giving, etc. (Leading women to feel frustrated or rejected when they try to show love in the way they think their partner “should” experience it, and it’s not received well). This can lead to conflict, or even worse, men withdrawing in their attempts to show love by protecting the relationship from conflict.

One mistake I often see women make is assuming that men should feel connected and romanced in the same way that they do…

Men and Women Manage Stress Differently

One mistake I often see my marriage counseling couples make is that they expect each other to deal with stress in similar ways — and often judge each other ruthlessly when they don’t. For example, when men experience stress or challenging life situations they are more likely than women to internalize stress. They sometimes withdraw, distract themselves, or get busy doing other things rather than talking about how they’re feeling. (Or even feeling what they’re feeling, honestly). Women are more likely to externalize stress, meaning that they feel all the feels, and they talk about it. They want to reach out for connection in difficult times.

You can see where this is headed: When both partners are stressed out, if one of them copes by withdrawing and the other copes by talking…. both of them will feel like they’re not getting what they need from the other. Women feel shut down, invalidated or rejected by their partners in the moments when they need them the most. At the same time, men often feel harassed to talk about things they don’t want to (or even know how to) talk about, and then criticized when they don’t “do it right.”

I discussed this dynamic recently with a male marriage counselor to get his perspective on how to improve couples communication during times of stress. Here were his tips for couples communication during stressful times.

The Platinum Rule of Relationships

Never forget that while the golden rule we’re taught is, “Treat others as we’d like to be treated,” when it comes to having a great relationship the platinum rule takes precedence, which is “Treat others the way that THEY want to be treated.” (Learn more about the “platinum rule” from Dr. Helen Fisher, in the podcast episode we recorded together, Understand Your Relationship, Finally.) Often, more than anything, your man wants to know that you like him, you respect him, and that you find him sexually attractive. When in doubt, start there.

Never Assume What “Love” Means to Others

However, all men are different. Some men feel the deepest connection through sexuality. For others, the height of emotional connection is through conversation, time together, or acts of service. All romance starts and ends with paying attention to the other person’s feelings, and showing them that you love them in ways that are tailor made to be meaningful to them. Aren’t sure how your man feels most loved? Ask him!

But never forget that men crave romance and connection just as much as women do, even if they experience it differently. Take the time to figure out what’s most meaningful to your most important person.

If this sounds like a lot of work, consider that a wonderful side benefit of romancing your man is that when you do, you’re much more likely to have romantic energy coming back to you, too. It’s effortless to love when we feel loved, isn’t it?

Be the change you wish to see in your relationship!

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: A great way to get the conversational ball rolling about what you’re both needing from each other, and start taking action to change the dynamics in your relationship for the better, is by taking my “How Healthy is Your Relationship Quiz” with your partner, and discussing the results. It’s just a starting point, but it can open the door to great things for both of you. I hope you check it out! xoxo, LMB

How Men Feel Loved (1)

Lisa Marie Bobby, PhD, LMFT, BCC PhD, LP, LMFT, BCC

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Learn more about Dr. Lisa

How Men Feel Loved (2)

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How a man falls deeply in love? ›

Physical attraction, sexual compatibility, empathy, and emotional connection are key to making a man fall in love with a woman.

How a man's mind works when he's in love? ›

Researchers have scanned the brains of people who are madly in love and found a heavy surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain's reward system that helps people feel pleasure. Dopamine, along with other chemicals, gives us that energy, focus, and obsession we feel when we're wild about someone.

How do guys get emotionally attached? ›

Another factor that makes a man emotionally attached is when you become vulnerable with them. This subtly nudges the guy to become vulnerable, making him emotionally attached in the long run. Also, another answer to what makes men emotionally attached is when you show gratitude.

What keeps a man happy? ›

Clear communication, openness to new experiences, and respect for your partner are key if you want to build a lasting, loving relationship. 1. Make your partner a priority: Take time often to let your boyfriend or hubby know how special he is to you.

What are the 5 bonding stages for a man? ›

Appreciation, infatuation, attraction, impression, and conviction are the 5 bonding stages for a man.

What makes a man love a woman forever? ›

Emotional vulnerability

Research shows that by being emotionally vulnerable with each other, couples can bond with each other. It can deepen the love between them in a significant way. Emotional vulnerability can be the key to what makes a man fall deeply in love with a woman.

How does a man show his love without saying it? ›

For example, he holds your hand, has his arms around you, hugs you, always sit close to you, etc. 2- He puts a lot of efforts to make you feel loved. He brings random gifts for you, sings a song for you on a special day, makes time to talk to you anyhow, makes sudden plans, etc. 3- He always listens to you properly.

How do men show they are in love? ›

Maintaining close physical contact

If a man wants to show that he loves you, he will always want to stay close to you. However, when it comes to how do guys express their feelings, you will notice that they maintain physical proximity with you. He might hold your hand, hug you or wrap his arm around you.

What makes a man feel connected to a woman? ›

Men Need Love and Affection

In plain language: Men often feel most loved by the women in their lives when their partners hug them, kiss them, smile at them, and explicitly offer gratitude, praise, and words of affection. Men also feel loved and connected through sexuality, often to a greater degree than women do.

What do men want in a woman? ›

Like women, men want a life partner who will be trustworthy, faithful and reliable. They want a wife who will stand by their side and, considering divorce rates, it's no surprise that dependability would continue to be attractive.

How to make a man miss you? ›

10 proven ways to make a guy miss you
  1. Deliberately leave things behind. ...
  2. Give him some personal space. ...
  3. Make him wait before replying his texts. ...
  4. Take things slow. ...
  5. Wear a unique perfume. ...
  6. Add some mystery to your experiences together. ...
  7. Have adventures with him (and your friends)
Jan 18, 2018

How do you know if a man is emotionally attached to you? ›

One clear sign a man is emotionally connected to you is when he truly cares for you. When you reciprocate his feelings, there is a better chance of him getting emotionally attached. He also tries to show his romantic side in his way. He might do it by talking to you for hours or taking long walks with you.

What do men need most? ›

Men Crave Emotional Intimacy

Such vulnerability includes expressing concern, showing pain, divulging fears, etc. But some men do crave emotional support from their partners. They want to feel comfortable enough with their partner to share their secrets, their fears, and how they really feel if they are wired this way.

What 3 things a man needs in a relationship? ›

According to Steve Harvey, if you provide a man with these three things in a relationship, he won't leave: support, loyalty, and intimacy. Harvey says that men may hide behind their macho demeanors, but in the end they just want to feel special.

How do you satisfy a man mentally? ›

Creating an emotional connection is all about engaging and connecting in a way that stimulates him, not you.
  1. Keep it sexy. It's no secret that men like sex. ...
  2. The importance of physical touch. ...
  3. Remain a mystery. ...
  4. Take an interest in his life. ...
  5. Take an interest in his hobbies. ...
  6. Have an affirming attitude. ...
  7. Show respect. ...
  8. Surprise him.
Feb 1, 2021

How do you show a guy you really care about him? ›

7 Ways to Show Him You Love Him
  1. Let him be himself. Making him comfortable enough to be himself—all of himself—is the best way to let him know that you love all of him.
  2. Remember the details. ...
  3. Give him your undivided attention. ...
  4. Do your own thing. ...
  5. Anticipate his needs. ...
  6. Relinquish control. ...
  7. Compliment him.

How do you show a man you care? ›

Here are some ways to show you care:
  1. Write them a powerful letter full of love and hope.
  2. Take care of some of their responsibilities (for example, watch their kids, do their laundry, cook them dinner, or go shopping for them).
  3. Call often to remind them how much you love them and how you are always thinking of them.

How do you make a guy fall deeply for you? ›

Be polite and kind to the guy you have your eye on and show that you are also kind to others. Demonstrating your kind personality will increase his affection for you. Show him what makes you special. Letting a guy see what makes you such a catch is another great way to increase his affection for you.

How do I make him feel loved in bed? ›

Play with his nipples, sucking on them then blowing on them for extra stimulation; explore his chest and abdomen with your hands; squeeze his behind; and caress his skin from top to toe, to make sure all his nerve endings are on fire for your touch.


1. 6 Things a Man NEEDS TO FEEL To Fall In Love
2. How To Make Him Feel Loved | What 99.9% of Men Want You To Know!
(Alex Cormont - The French Relationship Expert)
3. 4 Things a Man Needs to Hear to Feel Loved
( Ballenger)
4. How To Make A Man Feel Loved And Respected: 10 Sweet & Simple Tips
(Think Aloud)
5. Men Feel Loved When Respected In Relationships
(Rickey Smiley)
6. How men feel loved
(Dr Azita Sayan)
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