It's a well-circulated stereotype that guys always want sex. While physical intimacy is important for a healthy relationship, guys are more complicated than that. What about all the other factors important to your boyfriend? There are things that make him happy, smooth over a conflict, make him feel included in your life -- all the elements that help build a strong relationship. Even if your boyfriend hasn't mentioned them, there are a few major life and relationship preferences that many guys want their romantic partners to know.
Guys Want to Feel Appreciated
While a quick compliment may seem small to you, your boyfriend loves to be praised. That's because your guy takes praise as a sign you respect and appreciate him, assurances many men crave. While guys enjoy compliments about their appearance, what they really want is something deeper -- praise that relates to character and personality. Try complimenting your boyfriend about something he has said or done, and link his action to a character quality. For example, you could say "Thank you for doing the dishes. I love how responsible you are!"
Guys Want You in Their Social Life (and Vice Versa)
Your boyfriend's group of friends is important to him as a source of support and identity. In fact, your guy may sometimes view his friends as more important than you. In a survey of 2,000 men conducted by "Men's Health" magazine, 83 percent of the respondents said that a girl's inability to get along with their friends was often a relationship deal-breaker. Your boyfriend loves it when you put effort and energy into meeting and impressing his friends, and he also wants to be included in your circle of friends.
Guys Want Honesty -- to a Degree
Guys love honesty, and it's a core component of any long-term romantic relationship. However, on the flip side, your boyfriend doesn't necessarily need your outspoken honesty on every issue and topic in his life. For example, if you don't like his outfit, he might prefer that you either don't mention it or keep your comments neutral. Your guy will appreciate you for choosing your battles wisely and respecting his space.
Guys Want Independence
Speaking of space, guys love it when their girlfriends give them the independence to occasionally do what they want. While it may seem cute or affectionate to demand that you spend every moment together as a couple, some men may find this stifling. Instead, try letting your boyfriend go out with his friends, hang out with his family or spend an afternoon alone doing a hobby he likes. In the end, time apart will make your time together that much more special.
Guys Want You to Forgive Them
Nobody, including your boyfriend, is perfect. While you may remember those times your boyfriend has messed up and wronged you, pointing out past transgressions can create bitterness and divide you as a couple. Guys want you to forgive them and not hold on to a list of grudges. Your forgiveness gives your man the freedom to be the best boyfriend he can be in the present moment instead of being held back by mistakes he's made in the past.
Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.