Home Lifestyle It’s official: Men have no idea what women want

It’s official: Men have no idea what women want


Men think women want one thing when they want another, and vice versa (Picture: Getty Images)

The saying goes ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’, but actually it seems 2024 is the year both genders are sharing Earth’s common ground – they just don’t know it.

And while men think they’ve cracked the age-old question of ‘what women want’, they’re still way off (and women aren’t much better at deciphering how the opposite sex think).

There’s no doubt about it; dating is hard. In fact, 91% of men and 94% of women believe this, according to Tinder’s latest report which surveyed 8,000 people from the UK, the US, Australia and Canada.

But if you wade past the dating app fatigue, the ghosting, the bad first dates and the general feeling of uncertainty around ever being able to find ‘the one’, yes you’ll be exhausted, but you’ll also see that incorrect assumptions are being made about what women (and men) truly want.

While 53% of men admitted to wanting a romantic relationship, they believed fewer women were looking for the same thing, despite this figure actually sitting at 68%.

Guys also jumped to conclusions about what women are looking for in a potential partner. When it came to factors like height, 34% of men said this was important to a woman, while 31% felt women cared about their job title. However, Tinder’s study found that these traits certainly weren’t ‘make or breaks’ for women when it comes to ‘the one’.

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In reality, a survey of 68,000 people by The University of Göttingen found that, among every demographic, being kind was the most important.

Intelligence, education, and confidence were all important to women when looking for a partner, while having an attractive body, attractive face, and financial security, were only seen as moderately important qualities, in comparison.

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Paul Brunson, Tinder’s global relationships insights and match-making expert, claims these (factually incorrect) preconceived ideas can even make men less likely to approach women, furthering miscommunications.

He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Women are saying, “where are those men who want a relationship?” Those 53% who want that are not the men walking up to a woman at the party.

‘They’re not the man who, on average, is going to be proactive, because he is aware of the stereotypes around men wanting one thing. As a result of these stereotypes, he’s hidden.

‘Men believe women have these stereotypes about them, their appearance and career, and it impacts their behaviour. The narrative around what men want and women want, is false. It’s incorrect. It’s a myth.’

There are a range of additional reasons behind these misunderstandings. For example, while some people may have been indulging in casual sex and flings prior to the pandemic, Paul says lockdown was a ‘reckoning’ for singles.

‘It helped us to understand what our values truly were,’ he adds. ‘We realised that a key aspect of our humanity is, in our connection with other humans.’

During the summer lockdown, 71% of British daters said love was more important than sex, but despite the fact Covid left many singles seeking romantic companionship, many are still lagging behind in the belief that casual sex is top priority for others.

We would also be remiss not to mention social media as a contributing for these warped assumptions, as users can be sent down rabbit holes of fairly extreme views on relationships – Andrew Tate being the most obvious example.

Popular creators on TikTok and Instagram often promote the idea that women place a high value on how much money men make and how tall they are, while women are fed narratives around the importance of ‘respectability’ and men caring about how many people they’ve slept with.

Research by UCL found social media algorithms normalised ‘misogynistic’ themes such as this, with Principal investigator Dr Kaitlyn Regehr commenting: ‘Online consumption is impacting young people’s offline behaviours, as we see these ideologies moving off screens and into school yards.’

Women want chivalry on date but not in the old-fashioned sense (Picture: Getty Images)

But Paul says it’s not the apps themselves that are the issue – as he points out ‘echo chambers’ in the guises of gossip circles and town criers have always existed in some form or another. The problem is people are not thinking for themselves.

‘I never point the finger at at TikTok or Instagram, I point the finger at us,’ he explains. ‘I think that we are extremely lazy to allow ourselves to go down that breadcrumb trail without challenging ourselves by injecting counter opinions.’

And, at the risk of sounding patronising, it appears that men may not necessarily be clear within themselves about their personal values.

One in three men would not label themselves as a feminist, yet three quarters would date a woman who makes more money than they do – and the ability for a woman to earn a wage that rivals a man’s (or indeed exceeds it) is a core principal of equality and feminism.

Half of women would actively date a man who described himself as a feminist, and since 78% of men an 84% of women want an equal partnership, it seems guys will have a better chance of finding love if they clarify their principles when it comes to feminism and equality.

‘Feminism is one of the most polarising words, today,’ Paul says. ‘You have lots of people creating content of their opinions around this, lots of misunderstanding, and ultimately, very little critical thinking around the topic.’

What do women want?

Although men may be guilty of preconceptions that miss the mark, the ladies aren’t exactly innocent of it either, according to Tinder.

About 65% of women believe men are only seeking casual flings, massively underestimating men’s desires for companionship. In fact, just 29% of men don’t want anything serious.

More importantly, when it comes to dating, women want their partner to be chivalrous, albeit in a more modern sense than you may imagine.

In 2024, chivalry includes making sure your date gets home safely, which 59% branded gentlemanly, putting your phone away on a date (55%) and giving sincere compliments (50%).

‘Ultimately, what the new age of chivalry is just respect,’ Paul says. ‘I want to be around someone that I can respect and respects me, and this becomes more of the foundational reason for connection, rather than height or job title, which is what men still perceive are the leading desires.’

Essentially, for a chance at a successful first date and ‘talking stage’, we need to throw our assumptions out the window. Jumping to conclusions will never lead to a successful relationship.

When dating it’s important not to make assumptions about what that person is looking for (Picture: Getty Images)

However, what Paul says is even more vital when dating, and will lead to more successful dates for both men and women, is prioritising our own wellbeing – and that doesn’t just mean heading to the gym.

‘When I do Married at First Sight UK, and I’m interviewing the candidates, I’ll say “what do you do for your wellbeing?”,’ Paul explains.

‘They all say they work out, but then when you really dissect why they’re working out, for many people, they’re working out so that they will look better for the public to get the external validation from the public. Ultimately, that’s not high wellbeing.’

For Paul, looking after yourself means developing new skills, doing what you feel is right, removing yourself from toxic environments and accepting yourself.

This will attract others who are emotionally secure, making your dating life a whole lot less toxic. It also allows you to show your true colours, which Paul says is the primary reason for both men and women catching feels.

‘Particularly for Gen Z, it’s not physical attraction or social status that makes them want to go on a second date – it’s feeling like they can be their authentic self with the person they’re dating,’ he adds.

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