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Do men and women really have different relationship goals?


Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert on

Generally speaking there's a stereotype that depicts men and women as having different relationship goals. Women typically are assumed to want commitment and security, while men are seen to want to avoid commitment and just have fun. But is this really the case? Do men and women really have different relationship goals?

I've seen many singles over my years as a psychologist, both men and women, and I've found that all of them tend to have different goals. At the end of the day, it doesn't come down to your gender, but rather it's more to do with your past experiences, values, beliefs and current stage in life.

You might be a guy in your early 30's and you want to meet someone special and have a family. You might be a divorced woman in her 40's who wants to play the field after a 20-year marriage. Or you could be a young female 20-something, university student who's too busy for anything serious and just wants to party and stay single.

Everyone is different. And your relationship goals will change as you change.

What's really important in all of this is to make sure that you're aware of your relationship goals at any one time. That way, you go into dating with an understanding of exactly where you're at and what you actually want.

If a relationship is going to work, then you're going to need to be compatible in terms of your relationship expectations. For instance:

Be clear about your relationship goals and expectations at all times. And if you find yourself in a situation with a new love interest whereby they want things that you don't, then be clear about this. Don't send mixed signals when they clearly have different needs to you.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (

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The information and advice provided is for general information purposes only. Whilst we endeavor to make the information useful, RSVP and John Aiken make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability to your personal circumstances. Any reliance on this advice and information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will RSVP or John Aiken be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with, the use of this advice.


Walking wounded.
GMOH - my experience has been that many women are angry, many men are bitter and lonely and the showstopper for both is any hint of financial security risk.

Do tell............?
AR - don't know about goals but there is one common characteristic I see in women my age and a common characteristic I see in men my age and a relationship showstopper common in both! Distilled, we're all quite similar.
Optimumesse (was cd58)
The expectations of men and women, their wants and needs in a relationship may differ substantially at first but scratch the surface and the inner view may reveal surprising similarities. The differences or similarities vary from person to person and then again may vary due to the couple attempting a relationship. If we are true to ourselves we invariably have a blueprint of what we want and need but with the introduction of another person into our lives comes compromise... it always does and the need to consider another. If you find the right 'fit' in a partner the differences may be minimal but if we attempt to hookup with someone for the wrong reasons the expectations may be poles apart. This issue is definitely a conundrum; perhaps it is the challenge of the hunt that intrigues us?

I agree with you, in particular, about the barriers people build.

It seems to me, though I do not understand it, that people (as individuals though they speak collectively) work to build barriers of prejudice, of misunderstanding. They categorise individuals into sets but then forget that sets intersect and particularly forget that each human being is an individual. That each of us are truly unique.

I am female (have been all my life) but I am, most of the time, confused by, or ignorant of, personality traits and mindsets that are assigned to women, both by other women and by men. In the same, I have the same reaction to similar comments about males. As a person, I can only state truthfully how I think, feel, react and interact with others.

When ever I see a question like the headline of this article, I cringe. It seems strange to me that any thinking person would ask such a question, let alone try to answer it. It is like dividing any number by zero. There is no answer because the problem does not make sense.

The question should be, "Can you make assumptions on 'relationship goals' based on a person's sex?"

I find it insulting to my intelligence, that the original question, tries to create a mindset that distracts people from the issue in hand and focuses on feeding people's prejudices. The article reads well but the headline is sensationalism.

Men and Women.........collectively,
just " people" !

We are seemingly, constantly referring to
the barrier / differences between the two sexes.......

Yet when considering a relationship "stance'',
the popular choice, yardstick, measure.....etc.
topping the list, ''mirroring''.

Are we similar, do you share my,
beliefs, and, values.........?

Supposing the answer is not what you hoped....
Do you dare to, ''colour outside the lines" ?

If you were to proceed with the above........
who knows ?

Potential, ''unleashing'', of long dormant magic......?

"She may be the ''mirror'' of my dream....
a smile ''reflected" in a stream...............

CJ. "Take A Chance On Me........".
This morning I noticed my neighbour,
gardening......with his kids - delightful.
A Sunday ''slice of life"........

Triggering a memory of some years ago.....
a large Shopping Centre, not so far from where
I live.

In the Centre Court a ''new display''.......
comprising a panoply of plants, and, flowers.

At the centre of the display, a gardener,
kneeling, tending to the requirements........

I decided I would investigate further......
As I drew nearer, I realised the gardener
was a ''statue'', yet so very lifelike !

I began to laugh, as I realised something or two men (bless them),
from my past, could play the role of the gardener,
with consummate ease........

CJ. ''This Heart Of Stone......" ?

Well it's not going to work is it ... if you just want a boyfriend and he wants kids/marriage.
You seem surprised that a 38 year old man would want to start a family, then you'd be shocked to learn there are many men in their 40's and early 50's who would gladly entertain the idea of having (more) children!

A hard one but you are expecting him to make in incredibly large sacrifice but it something that may fester and, ultimately, cause resentment in the future.
Goolwa (was WishGranted)
Cute - ask his Mum - she'll know him better than he does!
If he's 38 and wants the whole marriage/kids package still, and I'm 45 and already have kids(3 of em) and just want a boyfriend, can that work at all? ( he's REALLY cute and nice too!)
A thing I do appreciate is that a lot of guys my height come in very nice packaging and do look hot in a pair of cowboy boots .
LLTD , I respect your position , only you can know what's comfortable for your self . Unfortunately I don't have dangerous curves lol . I hope a tall and sexy is in your future :)
MissLinda is only 2 1/2 inches shorter than you, LLTD.

I would hope that MissLinda has high-heeled shoes with a heel greater than 2 1/2 inches to put you both at eye level otherwise they would be court shoes and not overly flattering for cruising all the great pick-up joints.

I have cowboy boots with heels greater than 2 1/2 inches (not that I cruise the pick-up joints).

But he does need to be taller than me, as it affects my femininity....I'm 175cm tall sans heels. That's 5'9 barefooted.
You could wear your highest heels and we'd be eye to eye.

I don't usually wear flats unless going for a bush walk, so with heels, that puts me around the 6' mark off the bat.

That's a formidable sight.

At 5'6, with all due respect, you would not have an inkling of what it feels like to be this statuesque. And I am not just tall, I am all woman, with dangerous curves.

I agree with you that there are many great gents who I may be missing out on, happy to befriend them.... And I know many have told me that it doesn't matter to them, what's important is that, it matters to me :)
"Has no issues " . Damm you autocorrect !
LLTD , I wasn't suggesting that you need to tower over your partner just that perhaps he doesn't need to be taller than you .I am 5'61/2 and have been seeing a man who is 5'7 who gas no issues with women in heels .if I had put in a height limit I would have missed out on meeting someone worth knowing .
You are right LLTD, it may be inexplicable, considering it's a cultural norm, at least in celebrity pics, to see a tall woman with a shorter man. Yet it does matter to many tall women. I've seen successful partnering of this 'ratio' all my life, but for me, I need that shadow to fall over me, it's an individual thing isn't it? I've often thought that many of the shorter guy's profiles are so much more interesting, individual and exciting. Gosh those shorter girls are lucky! Maybe tall guys are complacent ?
Not sure how tall you are, as your profile is hidden, but do be aware that some of us tall women feel very uncomfortable towering over gents. No matter if he's ok with it, we are not.

It is much much deeper than just a difference in height. It affects our feminine core.

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