What a woman wants from her lover–and where she’ll find it

What does a woman want in her romantic relationship? Flaming passion… not so much, by the time she’s old enough to know better. The Top 4 values sought by the grownups I know are more Scout-like than sexual:

  • Dependability.
  • Communication.
  • Attention.
  • Trust.

A dependable lover shows up when he says he will and does what he says he’ll do. A communicative boyfriend emails/texts/calls her with a frequency roughly equal to her own—a happy medium between silent and stalker—and initiates as well as responds.

An attentive spouse keeps track of her likes and dislikes, and comes up with related ideas, activities, and the occasional pleasant surprise. As for trust, that works both ways—neither he nor she snoops or gripes, because each is utterly confident in the other’s fidelity in realms ranging from romance to finance.

In sum, the ideal lover carries an equal load in the liaison. Somehow women ended up as the relationship Teamsters in American society, and we’ve held onto that job despite all the new ones we’ve taken on since the 1950s. It’s exhausting.

My pretty good marriage hit those marks early on, yet ran out of steam when parenthood overwhelmed our good intentions. I know of plenty of marriages, with and without kids, firsthand and through sitcoms, where the husband hasn’t come close since courtship ended.

Two of my relationships since widowhood never ran on all four cylinders, but I stuck around awhile for the gentlemen’s non-Scout-like qualities. A summer-long spree with a Scout, however, demonstrated recently that a man can treat upright behavior as natural, even enjoyable, and this performance has set a standard for future involvements.

Meanwhile, pity me not. Like most women, I have a batch of solid relationships that are dependable, communicative, attentive, and both trusting and trustworthy.

Where do we find them? Our girlfriends.

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