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The one thing women are looking for in a partner

Taken from 'The Man's Guide to Women'

John Gottman,Julie Schwartz Gottman
Monday 28 March 2016 18:49 BST
Getty Images
Getty Images (Getty Images)

What is the number one thing that women are looking for in a man? Six-pack abs? Six-figure bank account? A tall, handsome man riding a white horse? No, no, and no. The number one thing women look for is simply this: trustworthiness. That’s right, trustworthiness.

Now before you go patting yourself on the back and putting this book down because you know that she knows that you are trustworthy, think again. Trustworthiness isn’t just about whether or not you are a player or, if you’re in a long-term relationship, whether or not you’ve ever been unfaithful. Although those things are fundamental and important to trust-worthiness, they are not enough.

What trustworthiness looks like in dating and mating is this: You are who you say you are and you do what you say you are going to do. It’s about reliability, accountability, and showing up just as you are (but with good hygiene). Why is trustworthiness so important? Why is this the quality that makes a woman’s heart soar? Think about it. Throughout history, a woman’s safety and well-being, as well as that of her children, have been dependent on her parents' trustworthiness.

This is not just some antiquated issue from yesteryear, either. Fathers turn out to be the most critical factor in the health and success of children across a wide range of influences. When fathers are not involved with their kids, there’s a five times greater likelihood that the kids will live in poverty, a three times greater likelihood that they’ll fail in school, and a two times greater likelihood that they will have emotional and behavioural problems, use drugs, get involved in crime, or commit suicide. Men make a difference. And men matter immensely to women and to their children, so there’s a reason women are looking for men who are trustworthy.

Now you may be saying, “Hold on a minute, we’ve just met” or “I’m just looking for a date.” Well, knowing what her deep, evolutionary needs are will help you know how to win her heart for a night or for a lifetime. Just remember that she’s asking herself, even if she’s not consciously thinking about it, “Is he safe? Will he be there for me? Is he dependable? Is he trustworthy?” There is a reason that women think that firefighters are hot. (And it’s not the moustaches.) They are a symbol of all these qualities. Firefighters are Heroes. You can be, too.

This is why all of those symbolic actions of concern and protectiveness that your grandmother told you to do are actually so important. Opening a door for her, pulling out her chair, and walking on the traffic side of the street (yeah, really) all signal that you care about her and are willing to protect her. By showing up on time and doing what you say you’ll do, you tell her, “Hey, you can trust me.” People admire it or dismiss it as being chivalrous, but the truth is, you’re signaling that you are trustworthy.

But being trustworthy is not just about safeguarding a woman’s body or her children. It’s about safeguarding her heart, as well.

This extract was republished with permission from the authors. The Man's Guide to Women by John Gootman, PhD and Julie Schwartz, PhD is available now

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