Last Updated on September 19, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester
You want your man to be there for your unconditionally. You seek steadfast commitment and a secure relationship that feels as exciting as it does stable.
With that in mind, what do you imagine when you think of your ideal man? Is he strong and unwavering? Brave and determined? Does he defend his values fearlessly and without question? Is he as compassionate as he is confident?
Many women fantasize about finding their version of Prince Charming. The hero instinct is the real-life form of this fantasy. It is the man’s evolutionary response to protect their loved ones in everyday life. This man is self-assured, confident, and intelligent- he takes care of himself and his family with ease.
His relationship with you is a top priority. He wants to keep you happy and safe, and he will do whatever he can to make that happen.
But what triggers a hero instinct in men? Does it all come down to biology? Are some men more apt to commit and stick around than others? Or are other psychological factors at play? And how does this instinct tie into romantic relationships? Let’s dive in.
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What Is the Hero Instinct in Men?
According to the dating and relationship coach, James Bauer, the hero instinct is a biological drive similar to hunger, thirst, and sex.
However, Bauer argues that the hero instinct drive, when activated, is much stronger than the other instincts.
So, what is the hero instinct? In its simplest form, it refers to a man knowing he is needed. Think of the classic damsel in distress scenario.
A man wants to feel heroic and strong- he wants to know he can rescue someone when needed. And when a woman allows her man to do this- when she creates opportunities for protection and love, he steps right into the action.
According to Bauer, once a woman activates this drive, the man essentially finds her irresistible. He can’t get enough of her. When this happens, he develops a secret obsession with her. She becomes the most important priority in his life.
Therefore, the hero instinct also refers to maximizing the benefits of masculine energy. Masculinity is a relatively broad concept, but it generally encompasses the behaviors, roles, and expectations associated with men.
In mainstream society, this often means being assertive, tough, and stoic. This kind of man can handle even the most stressful situations with ease. He is capable and competent. He knows how to help others effortlessly.
Some relationship experts argue that most (if not all) men have the hero instinct. It’s a part of who they are, and it’s a critical factor in the dating and commitment process. However, they need to be with the right person for it to be unlocked.
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How to Trigger a Man’s Hero Instinct
Activating the hero instinct boils down to knowing that the right man in your life wants to protect and support you. At the same time, helping him feel appreciated and special cultivates his self-esteem, making him more likely to want to stay in the relationship.
Here are some simple ways you can trigger the hero instinct. Remember that these are general guidelines and may not apply in all relationships. If you two are truly incompatible, the relationship may need more professional guidance if you want things to work.
#1 Compliment Him Often
Men love compliments, but emerging research shows they are less likely to receive such praise than women. Moreover, men are also more likely to compliment women than women are to compliment men.
This is unfortunate. We all want to be flattered. Compliments make us feel special and appreciated. When you’re dating someone, a compliment is an easy way to send the message, I think you’re really special, and I want you to know that.
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So, make a conscious effort to compliment your man. Be specific if you want this praise to make a meaningful impact! For example, instead of saying, You look nice today, narrow it down to, I love that shirt on you. It makes you look so muscular! Or, instead of saying, You’re such a good cook, try saying, I loved dinner tonight. That was one of the best steaks I’ve had in a long time.
As a caveat, always make sure that your compliments are genuine and appropriate for the context. It isn’t helpful to overwhelm someone with praise. Furthermore, you don’t want to pile it on when he’s having a particularly difficult day and wants to be left alone.
Excessive praise may come across as disingenuous. It can also make someone feel babied.
#2 Praise Him in Front of Others
Complimenting your man is important for making your man feel treasured. Therefore, you should actively strive to let him know how much he means to you often. Subsequently, when you praise him in front of others, he’ll feel like a million bucks.
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We all have egos, and we all want them to be stoked. So the next time you’re out with family or friends, think about how you can brag about your partner.
Of course, context is key. You don’t want to randomly insert praise when people are talking about an entirely different subject. This action can come across as awkward and desperate.
But if someone else starts mentioning a relevant topic, throw in a line about how proud you are of your man. Make it known that you value him in your life and are always impressed by his hard work and intelligence.
#3 Support His Goals
In a healthy relationship, both partners strive to be the best versions of themselves. You both should be working to grow and improve yourselves. The more you two focus on this task, the more satisfying your relationship will likely be.
It’s critical that you encourage and support his goals. Even if he doesn’t completely believe in himself, you need to show that you have his back. You need to convey that you have absolutely no doubt that he’s capable of achieving whatever he sets his mind to doing.
You can do this by asking questions and showing interest in his answers. Don’t assume you know what he wants to do in life. Make it a priority to check in regularly.
Finally, don’t judge or point out regressions. Progress isn’t always linear, and it’s normal to experience setbacks when working towards a goal. Shaming him will only exacerbate resistance and withdrawal- it also may trigger him to abandon his motives altogether.
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#4 Encourage Manly Moments
Even if you don’t conform to traditional gender roles, most men like to feel strong and protective. They want to be their own hero for you and the people who matter most to them.
You can activate this complex in simple ways like asking him to:
- Pick up or move heavy items.
- Open a stubborn jar.
- Fix something that breaks.
- Help with manual labor around the house.
- Grabbing something that is out of your reach.
You don’t need to go overboard on this one. But letting your man help you will likely bring him immense satisfaction and give his self-esteem a meaningful boost.
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#5 Ask for His Opinion
It’s a good idea to regularly ask your man about his thoughts or feelings on certain issues. For one, it shows that you value his input. Moreover, this action helps you become a more collaborative couple.
Men want to feel like their opinions matter. If you consistently make executive decisions without them, it can breed resentment and frustration. They may feel like you don’t really care about their needs. At the same time, they might default to assuming you always know what’s best.
So, focus on more inclusion. And with that suggestion, aim to actually implement his opinions when you do make decisions. After all, if you seek help and then never take it, that will only cause him to feel annoyed or confused.
#6 Embrace Old-Fashioned Moments
You are strong and capable of taking care of yourself. And while embracing your independence is crucial, there’s something to be said about letting your man be a gentleman occasionally.
Do you give him opportunities to act romantically your chivalrously? For example, are you willing to let him carry your bag or open the door? Can you give him the groceries to hold as you leave the store?
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These moments- even if they feel small or insignificant- can really matter. They help men feel like they are needed and that helps elevate their self-esteem.
#7 Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable
Many times, we put on a strong front to avoid being taken advantage of by others. You might guard your emotions if you’ve been hurt in the past. This act of self-preservation can stem from trauma, but it can also emerge if you’ve had relationship troubles.
That said, activating the hero instinct means allowing yourself to be authentic with your needs and feelings. To some extent, this requires courage- you must be willing to be vulnerable, even if it scares you.
Remember, the right partner will embrace you for who they are. If you feel shamed, rejected, or judged, it could indicate a serious red flag. You might be with someone who is childish or immature. In almost all cases, it’s much better to discover this earlier rather than later.
Vulnerability can be especially important if you’re normally strong and independent. If a man sees that you have it all together, he will even be more honored if he’s the one who gets to see your more human side.
#8 Embrace His Vulnerability
The hero instinct isn’t just about letting a man’s masculinity run wild. It’s about nurturing and respecting all parts of him- and this is especially true if he struggles with his emotions.
Think about it this way. Men often believe they must perform well to be worthy. Yet, at the same time, research shows that 86% of men feel pressure to be emotionally strong. And while many of them want to exceed your expectations and make you proud, they also have feelings!
So, if your man displays his emotions- whether that’s through crying, acknowledging fear, becoming embarrassed, or calmly expressing anger- it’s your job to support those emotions.
You don’t need to change how he feels. You don’t even need to have a solution to try to fix the situation. Remember that feelings are natural reactions, and we all have them. Let him know you’re there to support him however he needs.
#9 Don’t Be Too Needy
At first, this suggestion may seem counterintuitive. After all, you just learned about the benefits of letting your man help you, embracing vulnerability, and asking his opinion.
But everything must exist in moderation. You can’t come across as entirely helpless if you want to have a meaningful relationship. That creates an unequal, one-sided relationship. Instead of feeling empowered to support you, your partner will likely feel burdened.
That’s why it’s important to maintain your own independence. You should have your own activities, relationships, and priorities. Failing to maintain these- or neglecting them once you enter a relationship- causes you to lose your identity. And nothing is more unattractive than a person who has no sense of self.
Instead, it’s better to ask for support rather than ask for nonstop help. Choose when you need help selectively. Give him the right opportunities to step up and shine- don’t expect him to do everything for you!
#10 Make It Known That You’re Happy
In a healthy relationship, nobody needs to play games. You don’t need anyone to guess how you feel, and you certainly don’t want to manipulate situations to make people act a particular way.
So, be genuine. Let him know that you are happy with him and the relationship. Focus on your gratitude often. Be mindful of all that you appreciate about him.
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And don’t forget that happiness isn’t a fixed emotion. It’s a fluctuating state, but even in rougher moments, you can still try to find joy and meaning in what you two share.
#11 Emphasize Your Commitment
Don’t make it a secret about how you feel. If your man is the only one for you, let him know! Take opportunities to embrace your level of commitment.
Of course, you need to be mindful of going overboard with this one. For example, if you’re in the beginning stages of a new relationship, it probably isn’t appropriate to talk about how you feel like you’re soulmates. Likewise, you wouldn’t want to tell someone you’ve never connected with someone so well on a first date.
But once things start becoming more serious, it’s helpful to be honest with your intentions and feelings. When you love someone, let them know!
#12 Respect His Boundaries
Boundaries are an essential component of any healthy relationship. Everyone has personal limits, and you need your loved ones to respect them. Over time, if someone consistently violates your boundaries, their actions trigger anger and erode trust.
What does respecting boundaries mean when it comes to your man? First, it means accepting his needs. You may not always meet them (nobody is perfect), but you must be willing to listen to them with an open mind.
For example, if your partner tends to need some space after coming home from work, respecting his boundaries means you don’t bombard him with questions just as he walks through the door.
Keep in mind that every relationship also has its own set of boundaries. For example, some couples may find it perfectly acceptable to share social media passwords with one another. However, another couple might find that boundary restrictive and invasive.
It all comes down to consistent, healthy communication. You both need to be on the same page regarding what is and what is not acceptable. What works best for you may seem strange to another couple, but that’s not the point. The point is that you both agree on the limits and actively work to respect them.
#13 Be Enthusiastic
Some men may like chasing someone who plays hard to get. But that thrill is short-lived. Men stick around when women are eager to be with them!
We’re all at risk of acting on auto-pilot sometimes. But if this is consistently you, it’s time for a reality check. Show him why he’s special, and make a great effort to give him that attention!
If you both love physical affection, plan on cuddling him and making out tonight. Or, the next time you have sex, really psych yourself up for it. Get in the mood and try to pleasure him as best you can.
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Enthusiasm extends beyond physical needs. For example, consider planning out an elaborate date to a place you know he will love. Or, on your way home from work, pick up his favorite dessert randomly. Let him know that you were thinking of him!
Quality is usually more important than quantity. We’re all busy, and it’s unrealistic to be infatuated 24/7. But making genuine attempts to make him feel special will always be appreciated.
#14 Give Him Your Undivided Attention
You can’t expect to unleash the hero instinct if you’re always distracted or bored. Likewise, if you don’t really listen to him, he’s going to feel like he doesn’t matter.
As much as possible, make it a priority to be present in your relationship. If you’re pressed for time, schedule conversations in advance. Even just setting aside five or ten minutes to catch up with one another can make a significant difference.
Your man needs to know that you’re engaged, listening, and attentive to him. He needs to know he can count on you.
So, model active listening as much as possible. Put down your phone. Avoid interrupting. Limit external distractions.
If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. Reflect on what he says and integrate any feedback accordingly. The more you can show him that his needs matter, the more likely he is to want to stick with you!
#15 Know What Makes Him Feel Loved
Gary Chapman coined the notion of the Five Love Languages as a starting point for helping you strengthen your relationships with others. Your love language refers to how you most feel connected.
For example, some people value quality time together. Others prioritize acts of service, like doing the dishes or washing the car. Others feel most loved by receiving special gifts.
There are no right-or-wrong languages, but it’s a good idea to know your partner’s. You may be able to guess. If you aren’t sure, you can take the free quiz online.
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Once you have that information, consider how you can “play up” his love language as often as possible. For instance, if he loves acts of service, think about small, tangible steps you can take to make his life easier. Maybe it’s doing an extra load of laundry or filling his car with gas.
If he values physical affection, consider how you can implement more touch when you’re with each other. For example, maybe you’ll choose to hold his hand when you do errands together or scratch his back when you’re watching a movie.
Furthermore, there is a good chance that you already know some specific things that make him feel loved. Maybe he gets super excited when you make a specific recipe. Or, he gets really happy when you wear his favorite dress and do your hair. Make an effort to prioritize more of these feel-good activities into your routine- he will feel appreciated and special!
Does the Hero Instinct Improve the Relationship?
All relationships are different, so it isn’t fair to assume every couple benefits from the hero instinct. As humans, we’re incredibly nuanced, and we all have unique needs.
That said, both men and women like to feel needed and important. They value feeling special among their loved ones. They want to know their internal strengths matter.
Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to try to embrace the hero instinct. If you feel like it’s lacking in your relationship, it might be worth trying to trigger it. It could unlock a new set of motives for your man. It may also help you both feel recognized and important.
What Are the Hero Instinct 12 Words?
James Bauer cites a specific,12-word text as being key in helping activate the hero’s instinct automatically. But, of course, this is just one coach’s experience, and you must access his paid course to learn what this message entails.
But remember, you don’t need to overcomplicate things. In addition, quick fixes- even when they sound promising- rarely exist in the context of a real relationship.
Things take time, and instead of trying to fix everything overnight, focus on building slow, sustainable habits. Make your man feel appreciated. Acknowledge your happiness in the relationship. Stay faithful and engaged with one another. Make it a priority to let him be needed. Focusing on these goals will undoubtedly help your man feel special!
What is a Man’s Secret Obsession?
Although they won’t admit it, men are secretly obsessed with feeling irreplaceable. They want to feel like they’re the only person for you.
Sometimes, this need might get that need partially filled by other variables. For example, he may feel powerful in his job. He might have secure relationships with his friends or family. He might even have a hobby or passion that maintains tremendous fulfillment.
But these variables often pale in comparison to that of a woman. Paradoxically, instead of trying to learn his needs, you first start by sharing your own. You’re giving him an opportunity to please you, which allows him to feel like he’s earning and willing that love time and time again.
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When a man can feel like he’s consistently falling in love with you, you have activated his secret obsession. He won’t want to have anyone else. You have unlocked the hero instinct, and it’s an instinct that feels so good, he will want to treasure, rescue, and appreciate you without a second thought.
The secret obsession doesn’t just apply in the context of current romantic relationships. Some people find that that it becomes activated after a breakup. The man realizes that he doesn’t want to be with anyone else. Then, he often comes to his senses and tries to come back to the relationship. At that point, it’s up to you to decide how you want to proceed.
Now that you know how to trigger a man’s hero instinct, you hold power and direction in your relationship. You can unleash greater happiness for both of you.
As you may realize, activating the hero instinct isn’t challenging. It just takes insight and motivation. Whether you’re dating, just entering a relationship, or you’re in a long-term commitment, this instinct is important for keeping your dynamic strong and healthy.
Remember that men want to be the hero in your story. You’re doing them (and you) a favor by prioritizing that goal. It’s a win-win for everyone. And once it’s activated, you will likely feel even more connected, protected, and safe with your partner.
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