What A Woman Really Wants Isn’t A Man’s Money


Twice in my life, I have made a lot of money only to adventure it all away.

At 26, I had built up substantial savings as a young US Air Force Officer. I had a sweet pad by the Atlantic Ocean, a Sebring convertible and the means to properly entertain my Canadian girlfriend whenever and however I wanted.

But as I slipped deeper into a secret depression, I left the military desperate to save my own life. Like that movie Legends of The Fall, I broke my girlfriend’s heart and spent the next three years traveling the world, chasing dark shadows and seductive sirens, throwing myself into awful situations over and over until I was kicked out of France at age 29 by a future ex-wife.

During that brief misadventure, I gave my French wife money, took her on trips, paid the rent and bought her jewelry and cigarettes. Still, she booted me out less than a year after we started, fed up with the man she married. When I landed hard back in the USA, all I had left was a freshly broken heart, a few stories you wouldn’t believe, a few bucks in my bank account and no obvious future.

I went to heal in Miami at my dad’s place. I spent the next few years helping him grow a $50 million business from zero, accumulating another small fortune for myself.

With newly deep pockets, I moved in with a beautiful woman from Chile. I was able to offer her most anything money could buy. We had a nice home, a cat, money to travel and play with. We had all the makings of a good life. Unfortunately, my bank account refused to fund our happiness. If anything, it just poured miracle grow on our dysfunction.

At 34, I walked away from that company and its big paychecks. I left that passionate Latin woman, too, to tour and manage an independent music band. I had money and time, so I worked purely for the love of an otherworldly music that had infected me.

A few years and countless adventures later, I was 38, living in Los Angeles, and near broke. The band had split up and I had once again spent all my scratch. I was couch surfing through friends’ homes, hustling for work with Los Angeles’ vast world of artists and dreamers for often little or no money.

I was single and starting over for the third time.


A few years later, I’m now a published author, a well-read blogger and a impassioned coach to men and women. I’m still working to create a new fortune to provide for myself and a good woman.

I don’t have that fortune yet. Or that woman.

But I do have an invaluable lesson carved from the failures of my relationships passed.

It’s this: A modern woman doesn’t need me for my money or my resources. What she needs is my full, embodied masculine presence. She needs to know I’m actually here, that I see and feel her deeply, and that I’m not going anywhere.

Women don’t need men like they used to. We’re living through a pivotal moment in history when women are achieving social and economic equality with men. They no longer need us for access to resources – security, money, sustenance, social influence, etc.

Which is great! For humanity to thrive, women must have equal influence and access throughout society.

Still, it’s a disorienting time for many of us, particularly in intimate relationships.

There remains an inordinate amount of social pressure on men to be capable of providing tangible resources in exchange for a woman’s company. The ability to make things happen in the world is easily measured by dollars and cars and houses and things, which in turn remains presumed evidence of a man’s masculine prowess and vitality.

But none of that is a measure of his heart.

Most any modern woman – even one who energizes a lot of masculine energy in her life – yearns to know her partner cherishes her and will always show up for her. She wants to know he won’t check out and leave, which many men do even when we stay in the room.

Can he remain present when the relationship is strained? When she acts irrational and difficult, unknowingly presenting herself as an apparent problem he cannot solve, can he love her fully, anyway?

This is the true measure of a man’s heart.

A woman with a strong internal feminine essence aches to relax into her masculine partner’s strength and care. She wants to know she can trust him, that he genuinely cherishes her and will step up and do what must be done to ensure the safety of her world.

That’s why access to resources has long been a measure of his worthiness as a man. It’s an outdated measure.

devotion heart

I have seen this over and over in coaching men and women.

When a man is able to show up and be fully present with her – heart, mind and body – she knows she can relax and she will follow that man most anywhere, even if she has to ride the bus with him to get there. If he can’t show up for her (or doesn’t know how), even with all the money in the world she’ll ache for a man who can. She’ll either try to pull it out of the man she’s with, or she’ll switch off her heart (and body) – and she’ll look for that masculine presence elsewhere, in her kids, at work, in her own being.

That’s what I was doing when I was young, moneyed, and ignorant. I thought my partners would be happy there was money and entertainment. I got confused and resentful when they weren’t satisfied with the world I thought they wanted. I didn’t get that what they really wanted was to feel the full commitment of my love far more than mere access to my wallet and a nice home.

Sure, a nice home and money to pay the bills is important in the modern world, but so many of us men still focus primarily on pursuing material resources to make ourselves worthy of a woman’s love. In doing so, we overlook her deeper yearning. Even many women aren’t aware of this yearning in their hearts.

Not long ago, I pursued a woman when my resources were stressed. I knew I couldn’t (yet) provide things for her that other men could. She was a woman of means, anyway; she didn’t need mine. I decided instead that I could give her the gift of my incessantly curious mind, my laughter and playfulness, my relentless optimism, my kindness and my listening.

I knew I could show her that she is completely safe in my presence, and that I was a man who could fully cherish her feminine heart. By the endlessly beaming smile on her face in my presence, I knew I was onto something.

I can offer all that to any woman, anytime, no matter my cash flow. My painful past has proven that loving presence is far more valuable, anyway.

Any man can offer his loving presence to his partner. His money might affect where he lives or vacations, but it can never define his worth as a Man.

It also can’t buy him harmony in an intimate relationship.

I will create another fortune, though I can’t know how long it will take.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep fully showing up for whatever woman I am choosing, and who is also choosing me. Sometimes in life, that’s all I can do.

Fortunately, it’s what most modern woman these days are deeply aching for.

goethe heart

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How To Compliment A Woman

the right way to compliment photo by Marco Gomes

There’s only one right way to compliment a woman: freely, with no expectation that she’ll give us anything in return for it.

There’s only one place a genuine compliment arises from: genuine appreciation of whatever gift she’s giving to the world in this moment.

Whether that gift be her radiant femininity, her intelligence, her presence, her physical beauty, her smile, her cleverness, her strength, her love. Whatever she is offering the world in this moment, a compliment is well-suited to tell a woman that her presence is genuinely cherished.

When a man can offer a woman such an acknowledgment, freely and sincerely with no expectation of anything in return from her, everyone feels great. Acknowledging and appreciating beauty in the world is a pleasure, in and of itself.

Unfortunately, too many men only compliment women when they want something from her: a smile, acknowledgment, validation, a phone number, sex, feminine energy, whatever, anything.

That video of a woman walking through the streets of New York, approached, followed, harassed, catcalled, propositioned, objectified more than 10 times every hour … it’s only ugly to us because we immediately get that all those men want something from her that she doesn’t want to offer them, and they don’t care that she feels uncomfortable in their presence. Their selfish, narcissistic disregard for her well-being offends us.

Can you imagine being constantly approached by total strangers who want something from you, who are physically stronger than you and would almost surely take what they want if they thought they could get away with it?

It isn’t just city-street men who make women feel uncomfortable in public. I was in Starbucks yesterday when I saw a well-to-do 50-something-year-old man and a Starbucks employee start impishly elbowing each other in that way adolescent boys do when an attractive woman walked in the store. I felt nauseous, myself, just watching these two grown men mentally gang-bang her as she waited to order a latté.


Men, we have no idea how powerful we truly are, or where our authentic power resides.

We tend to think our power is in our sheer force of will. Our persistence. Our insistence. Our cleverness. Our anger. Our testicles.

Yes, there’s power in those places. We use them constantly to persist, coerce, manipulate, shame, berate, and cajole women into giving us what we want. Then we wonder why so many women have a hard time trusting most men.

But that’s not where we’re most powerful.

A man’s true power is in his heart.

How is he holding the world? How does he hold women?

Is he only holding the world and women as objects in his mind, in which case he’s going to use both as tools to enhance his ego stature? Such a man will use the limited battery power contained in his will, in his persistence and cleverness, anger and his testicles to get whatever he wants from the world and from women. Even if he has to manipulate, exploit, coerce, or oppress them. Such a man will tend to create a lot of collateral damage as he constantly maneuvers to sustain his flickering power.

However, a man connected to his heart is a man who radiates power like the sun. He will hold both the world and women with appreciation and respect for their beauty, their life-giving force, their innate mysterious wisdom and infinite gift of love energy. Such a man will treat a woman completely differently: he won’t expect her to return his gift of appreciation and cherishing, though he’ll certainly welcome it when she offers it freely. He’ll experience an authentic power beyond measure.


That may be a bit poetic, but consider that a feminine woman actually wants her beauty appreciated by men. She enhances her physical appearance with jewelry, make-up, perfume, and attractive clothing so that she will be noticed and appreciated.

A man in his heart will absolutely appreciate a woman’s beauty, and he can express that appreciation in all kinds of ways that won’t make her feel uncomfortable. He can even enjoy in her presence the sexual charge that rises in his body like that electric tingle in summer air before a thunderstorm—without making her feel like she has to do something about it. She may not want to do anything about it for him, and he’ll be ok with that because he holds her in his heart. Concern for her well-being is primary in his heart. And she’ll feel that. She’ll instinctively trust him because of it. A new world is born.

Because she trusts him, a woman may open to a man even more in the presence of a genuine compliment, like a beautiful flower opening to the sun, eager to offer its hidden gift to the world. She loves being deeply appreciated, cherished, and a genuine compliment communicates this to her. This is the power of real love. Only a man in his heart can access such power.

Still, a man in his heart doesn’t ask anything in return for his compliments, not even acknowledgment.

For he knows she might not give it, but only because we have a lot of collective work to do earn women’s collective trust back. And we men do have a lot of collective work to do to earn back women’s trust. Women have been mishandled daily for ages, in the streets, at the office, in their homes, by their friends and acquaintances and strangers, by too many men disconnected from their hearts and so challenged to see beyond merely the advantages a woman can offer them.

We men can be thoughtful about that.

We can still give women compliments, too, which they surely welcome as long as we don’t demand anything in return. When we offer a genuine compliment to a woman, we simply offer a gift: our pure appreciation.

As we feel great in the giving, everyone wins.

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The Sexiest 3 Words a Man Can Say to a Woman

sexiest 3 words a man can say photo by Sean Mcgrath

“I love you.” (nope)

“You look beautiful.” (nope)

“Let’s go shopping!” (depends how you say it, but still, no)

“How’s your mother?” (no, this will just make her suspicious of you)

Those are all nice to say, and many women want to hear them from their partner; they like to feel cherished. But none of those by themselves will necessarily have her soften all warm-putty-like into your hairy masculine arms.

The three sexiest words I’m referring to speak to primal forces within both men and women. An archetypal trip wire, these eight letters strung together can trigger a man’s spine to straighten and make a woman swoon.

I wish I could say I figured this one out by myself, but a lady friend had to point this out. Once she did, I looked back to my own intimate relationships and saw overwhelming evidence for her case everywhere.

We were having coffee when she started telling me about her new boyfriend. He was refined and kind, loving and intelligent. He was a creative artist, and an accomplished one at that. She felt him a good man and she was happy. Then she told me about the first morning they woke up together, and that’s when she really lit up during our conversation.

She has a dog. Normally the dog gets her up early to go pee outside when she’s still in comatose denial of an outside world. On this particular morning, when the dog woke her up as usual, her new beau opened his eyes, looked at her and with nary a hesitation, issued the most magical three-word spell she could recall ever hearing from a man. She said these words slid from his masculine mouth smooth as a river stone and strong as steel (that’s my interpretation of what she said). She swooned. She relaxed. Under his sudden spell she felt herself completely protected and cherished by this man’s love.

“I got this.”

That’s what he said.

“I’m going to take on this uncomfortable mission-oriented task because that’s how I can best offer my masculine gift right now while honoring your delicious gift of feminine energy to my life. I will demonstrate my deep commitment to your care by ensuring you can stay warm under the covers and linger in this moment of blissful embodied reverie.”

He actually only said the first three words. That whole second paragraph is my rough translation as I believe my friend heard it.

But first he said it. And then he actually did it.

She was so impressed you’d think he bought her the Eiffel Tower. All he did was walk her dog.


We live in an age when women are empowered to care for themselves like never before.


I grew up mostly thinking women were supposed to “I got this” for themselves. My two moms held strong while my two dads struggled to just hold on. It was my two moms whose strength and character were always saying, “I got this,” while my dads were unconsciously saying, “thank God you got this!”

I’ve always had so many messages coming at me that women are my equals in every way. That’s a good thing from a certain perspective. Women are equal to men, in terms of inherent human worth and value. They should have every legal right that any man has.

However, my understanding of sex equality completely overlooked certain ways my more feminine female partners and I were genuinely different. We yearned differently, meaning we experienced the world in rather different ways, even wanting different things from each other. For example, just holding a woman and making love with her is often a different experience for me than it is for my partners.

I don’t embrace a woman to feel safe in her arms. When I embrace her I feel strong in my body, masterful even, as though I’m living my purpose by wrapping her up safe and protected within my steady arms. My female partners, in contrast, have often expressed that’s what they love most about being in my embrace: the experience of feeling safe, physically and emotionally, that they can relax in knowing they’re protected in that one moment from the tiresome chaos of the world. It’s as if we both journeyed from very different worlds to secretly rendezvous in this one moment of exquisite embrace.

Failing too often to account for such differences, I have struggled in most of my intimate relationships with women. Clearly a contributing factor has been my inability to step up in all kinds of situations and say to my partners—often even to myself—“I got this.”


Before I wade too deep into controversial waters, let me clarify that what I’m exploring is less about man-woman and more about masculine-feminine. Any foray into masculine-feminine dynamics risks offending those who hear those terms being used synonymously. I don’t mean to do that. What I’m pointing at holds for all couples—hetero, gay, or otherwise—in which one partner carries more masculine energy and the other carries more feminine. Sometimes those energies can switch back and forth between partners. I invite you to see through to the deeper rhythms I’m exploring, beyond the details of who has what body parts.

I simply want to convey that when I look back through my life, I see far too often that I left my feminine partners to fend for themselves in ways large and small. From making them decide where we should eat to running away when they were stressed emotionally and I hadn’t the capacity to love them through it, I failed too often to step up and say, “I got this.”

Which just means I consistently failed to convey, “Baby, I invite you to relax and trust that all will be well because I have the strength, the discipline, the fortitude and the vision—and at the very least the unwavering perseverance—to hold us through this moment of discomfort and steward us safely to new ground where we will experience a brighter moment of ease together.

Ok, so that’s a bit poetic when we’re talking about walking the dog or deciding where to eat. And sometimes our partners will genuinely want to bear their own burdens, or bear them equally alongside us, or even bear ours for us. I’m painting in broad strokes here.


There’s something deeply compelling about the idea of being with a woman who can fully take care of herself, and who enjoys allowing me take care of her anyway.

I invite you to say to yourself a few times: “I got this.

How does that feel in your body?

Do you feel your chest rise a bit, your breathing deepen, your backbone straighten? Do you come alive and start looking around the room for some challenge to take on?
Or do you prefer imagining someone say it to you? Does the thought of your partner whispering it to you all sexy-like make your body soften and your heartbeat quicken? Does it set your yearning alight?

Truth is, I’ve always wanted a woman who can take care of herself. Which seems healthy to me, actually. Any mature adult should be able to take care of themselves in the modern world. I don’t want a partner who expects me to run around all day telling her “I got this” so she can stay in bed all day. That would just be exhausting for me and eventually frustrating for her. I’m not Superman. She’s not helpless.

Still, there’s something deeply compelling about the idea of being with a woman who can fully take care of herself, and who enjoys allowing me to take care of her anyway.

“I got this.”


photo: pavlo kolotenko

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— This article was recently featured on Good Men Project

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Posted in Conscious Relationships, Love, Mature Masculinity, Relationships, Take Action
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