Why Doesn’t He Just Know What I Need?

Dear Karen,

I’m getting back out there and dating, after a painful breakup.  I have a question about something that was a big issue in my relationship, and I know it’ll come up again, when I meet someone I like: I believe that if a man really cares about you, he should know what you need.  Do you agree with me on this? – Holly

Dear Holly,

Actually, I couldn’t disagree with you more!  And I can’t tell you how many women feel the same way you do.

Let’s see what we can do about this, so you have a chance to be happier in your relationships with men.

The Fairy Tale Set-up

Many of us grew up reading and/or listening to fairy tales – and developed a belief that in a perfect world that was how things were supposed to be: perfect.

What a disaster!

How much time have women spent feeling disappointed by men for not living up to being the handsome, fabulous Prince, who does everything absolutely right, in the exact right time?


The man I fell in love with and married is not perfect – in fact, he’s quite human.  And I love that about him…it allows me to be human and imperfect, too.

Men Need Roadmaps

Men really appreciate knowing what they’re going for; they like to understand what “success” is going to look like.

Men are fairly risk-averse when it comes to their relationships with women, and tend to need to have a clear idea how to “win” with us.

When women come from a place where they expect men to “know” what they want or need, it puts men in the position of having to be mind-readers – and you’re probably aware that the jokes about that are everywhere!

The Real Issue: Worthiness

I’ve worked with lots of women over the nearly 20 years that I’ve been coaching, and there is one almost universal issue women are dealing with: feeling deserving or worthy of what they want.

Can you see how this would have a huge influence on women’s ability to ask men for what they want?

Just look at the dilemma this causes: men need for us to let them know what we want, and women need to have the men know (so they don’t have to be in that potentially painful place of asking, and being denied or rejected).

This is a bad situation for everyone!

The Solution

There are two things we as women need to do, and we need to keep doing:

  1. Learn to ask – even if in the early stages of asking it doesn’t come out as gracefully as we’d like…remember that practice makes perfect.
  2. When we do ask, trust him to do it the way he’s going to do it, without micromanaging, controlling or nagging.

In Conclusion

In order for us to be successful in our relationships with men – all the men in our lives, by the way, not just in our romantic unions, we need to learn how to ask for what we need in a trusting and respectful way.

It is a win-win, and the only way it’s going to work.  Prince Charming the Mind-Reader is a fairy tale.