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15 traits women find attractive in men until they are taken too far

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There are a lot of traits women find attractive in men—to an extent.

But too much of a good thing can be less than palatable.

Here are 15 traits that can be amazing, or off-putting, depending on how far they’re taken:

1. Mysteriousness.

Mysterious men are often incredibly attractive to women.

This is especially true if they don’t talk about themselves a lot. Getting them to open up can start out as an appealing challenge.

When they don’t, however, the intrigue turns to frustration.

You can’t have a close relationship with someone who disappears for days without explanation or remains emotionally unavailable.

2. Protectiveness.

Having a man stand up to defend you can be a wonderful experience.

A protective man shows he’ll step in to stop those who may cause you harm, whether it’s an assailant or an abusive parent.

That said, there’s a huge leap between being protective and being controlling.

While protective behavior can make us feel safe, controlling behavior has the opposite effect.

3. Assertiveness.

Most of us like a man who will stand up for what they believe in. Similarly, a lot of women like it when men take (respectful) charge in the bedroom.

Unfortunately, that same assertiveness becomes overwhelming if it turns domineering.

Relationships involve equal measures of give and take. So if one person is laying down the law and expecting the other to obey, that isn’t okay.

4. Rugged masculinity.

Rugged masculinity is a trait that’s made countless women swoon over the ages.

One quick look at the most rated male celebrities will show that the rough-and-tumble types with facial scruff and noticeable musculature top the charts.

Beyond aesthetics, we often fall for the strong, capable guys who can chop wood, build decks, and so on.

But ruggedness comes with side effects that some women may not enjoy.

An avid woodsman is great until he stomps mud through the house or sheds sawdust on the bed. And the gruff traits that are appealing in the forest may not translate so well to table etiquette or interpersonal skills.

5. Sensitivity.

Some women value gentle, sensitive men far more than the rugged types.

You may prefer a partner who gets weepy with you while watching romantic films, who abhors any type of violence, and who loves romantic picnics.

Problems arise, however, when there’s a crisis.

That sensitive man is a wonderful companion when everything’s going well. But he’s likely to crumble under pressure when things get difficult. He may run from confrontation instead of defending you and he can’t be relied upon to step up when you need him.

6. Chivalry.

Old-fashioned chivalry can be a lovely trait.

This man will open doors for you, walk on the roadside of the sidewalk to protect you from puddles, and won’t tolerate other people mistreating you in any way.

He behaves like a nobleman from ages past, which can be downright swoony.

Unless, of course, he also has antiquated views on gender roles, such as expecting you to take care of all the cooking, cleaning, and childcare instead of having a job of your own.

7. Adventurousness.

An adventurous guy can be exhilarating to be around.

He might pick you up for a date and surprise you with concert tickets, or introduce you to cuisines from every culture on the planet. He’s full of energy and enthusiasm, which can be inspiring and contagious.

That said, adventurous behavior can be detrimental if it becomes irresponsible and thrill-seeking.

You may not be able to rely on him to show up for an important event because he books an impromptu snowboarding trip. And worse still, he’s out of commission for months because he broke his femur on the slopes.

8. Competitiveness.

A lot of men are competitive, and that’s great in the right circumstances.

Maybe your man wants to outdo the neighbors in holiday decorations or has a lot of fun doing competitive sports with his friends.

But problems arise when he turns that competitiveness towards you. Things get tiring and stressful if the two of you end up pitted against one another all the time.

Maybe he tries to one-up your achievements or sees every discussion as an argument to be ‘won’, rather than worked through as a couple.

9. A strong work ethic.

Knowing we can depend on our man to work hard to help support the family is a wonderful thing.

A man who has a strong work ethic is responsible and diligent and will prioritize what needs to be done to make sure everyone he loves is taken care of.

But there needs to be a balance.

If he prioritizes work over his relationship, his lady ends up as a ‘work widow’. She’s low down on the totem pole after making money, brokering deals, networking, and so on.

10. A good sense of humor.

He’ll make you laugh when you’re feeling down and can keep the relationship in honeymoon mode almost indefinitely.

If you have kids, he’ll be the ‘fun parent’ and he’s always down for silly films and waffles for dinner.

The problem here is he may use humor to deflect from his problems and refuse to take anything seriously.

If you bring up an important topic that needs discussing, he might just brush it off, tickle you, and run away. Everything becomes a joke, and you’ll find yourself parenting your partner instead of sharing your life with an equal.

11. Intellect.

A well-read man, who can speak a few languages and hold conversations on just about any topic can be immensely attractive.

It’s wonderful to be able to have engaging discussions with your partner.

That said, intellect becomes far less attractive when it’s served with a dose of condescension or ridicule. Especially if a man implies you’re not bright enough to understand a concept, or that your interests are common and banal.

12. Creativity.

Dating an artist or musician can be an incredible experience.

They’re often passionate and dreamy partners who are likely to spoil and charm you by writing you songs, painting your portrait, and surprising you with intricate meals.

But they’re also generally too focused on their creativity to take care of boring responsibilities like paying the bills and cleaning the house.

A guy like this is usually under-employed and will lean on his lady to be the breadwinner and housemaid while he works on his Magnum Opus.

13. Strong focus.

A man who pursues something with relentless focus shows an immense amount of dedication and resilience.

Of course, a highly focused man can also be seen as stubborn, depending on the circumstance.

He may fixate on arguments, repeatedly bringing them up and lording them over you instead of letting them go and moving on.

14. Self-sufficiency.

A self-sufficient man won’t ask you where his socks are before looking for them himself. And he’s perfectly capable of operating the washer and cooking a meal on his own.

Unfortunately, he might also make meals for himself without asking if you’d like anything and will schedule appointments without consulting you.

When self-sufficiency goes too far, he functions like a single dude instead of part of a team.

15. Directness.

A direct man gets to the point quickly, avoiding unnecessary emotion or pandering. He deals with issues efficiently and effectively.

That said, directness can also involve a lack of tact and consideration.

For example, he might point out how your weight has changed recently without thinking about how hurtful his comment could be.

Always ‘telling it like it is’ works in some circumstances, but can be quite damaging in romantic relationships.


Ultimately, none of these traits are good or bad. The issue is whether they’re taken too far.

But it’s important to consider who gets to decide what ‘too far’ entails.

We don’t get to cherry-pick our partners’ traits so that they only behave in certain ways on our terms.

We would resent men who want us to turn our behaviors on and off like trained pets, and the opposite is also true.

In all partnerships, the goal is to find a middle ground that works for everyone, with healthy boundaries and mutual respect.

About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.