8 protective behaviors men display that make women feel safe

Masculinity is a tricky thing these days.

Many character traits and behaviors that were once seen as markers of masculinity, such as physical strength and courage, have fallen out of fashion. And some masculine behaviors are currently considered to be actively toxic.

At the same time, there are some behaviors men display that are welcomed by women.

I’m convinced that the reason men are, on average, bigger and physically stronger than women is not to dominate and control them, but to protect them. 

Modern men still have the urge to protect the people in their lives that they inherited from their great-great-grandfathers.

And those protective behaviors can still work to make the women in their lives feel safe around them.

There’s a huge difference between being protective and being controlling. A man can be protective over a woman without trying to control what she does and how she lives. Protecting a woman means being there for her when times are hard, without trying to control her behaviors when times are good.

Here are some of the more positive protective behaviors men display that can make women around them feel safe.

1) He will stick up for you

This is one of the more obvious signs of a protective man. But that doesn’t mean it’s not nice to encounter when it happens to you.

Luckily, most of us aren’t called on to physically fight other people very often. But sticking up for you can mean taking your side in an argument with friends or family, as well as ensuring your physical safety.

Not all men are fighters. In fact, most of them tend to overestimate their abilities when it comes to physical violence. But a man who cares about you should be willing to stick up for you, whether it’s physically or verbally.

That doesn’t mean he has to fight every battle for you. If he respects your independence, he knows that you can take care of yourself, so he won’t feel he needs to jump into every interpersonal issue you have.

But a protective man will not be able to tolerate seeing you be attacked. Even if he doesn’t necessarily agree with your point of view, he will defend you against others.

Because to him, you’re more important.

2) He will support you

Of course, there are more subtle signs of a man’s protective tendencies, too.

Sooner or later, we all need someone who has our back. We need someone in our corner, cheering us on, and supporting us when things don’t go so well.

For most of us, physical danger is a lot more rare than emotional pain. A protective man will want to spare you psychological suffering just as much as he does physical.

In other words, a supportive man is a protective man.

If he is always cheering you on and encouraging you to go after your dreams, and is always there for you to help pick you up when you fall down, it’s a sign that he’s not only protective, but also a great guy to be around.

3) He calms your fears

Suffering from anxiety and fear about the future is an unfortunate part of being human. However, there is research to suggest that it’s more common in women than it is in men.

I found that in my own life. It’s not that the men I know don’t worry about the future. But some women I know take it to a whole different level.

However, a good man will understand this and do his best to help.

My partner is definitely the calm one in the relationship. When I get too much inside my head and start worrying about things that are out of my control, he does a great job of reminding me that most of the time, things work out okay. 

And even if they don’t, he will be there for me to help make the best of any situation we find ourselves in.

Being protective of a woman sometimes means protecting her from herself. Shielding her from her own darkest fears is an important way a man can make a woman feel safe.

4) He encourages you to become stronger

Sometimes, it can be a fine line between protective behavior and controlling behavior.

And one of the best ways to tell which is which is to ask yourself if your man wants you to become stronger so that you can protect yourself.

That might mean literally, in that he encourages you to get in shape or take a self-defense class. Or it might mean more emotionally, as he tries to help you develop mental toughness and let go of anxiety.

Ultimately, a man who is protective instead of controlling knows he can’t always be there for you when you need him. If he truly wants you to be safe and happy in this world, he understands that you need to be able to rely on yourself sometimes.

A controlling man doesn’t want you to get stronger, because then you may be strong enough to leave him. 

But a man who is protective without being controlling doesn’t think that way. Instead, he only wants you to be stronger so that you can protect yourself.

5) He thinks of your safety

behaviors you didnt realize were driving a wedge in your relationship 2 8 protective behaviors men display that make women feel safe

It’s a dangerous world for all of us sometimes. But women have a whole other level of danger to consider any time they go out in public.

It’s easy for men to forget this. But a protective man will be aware that there is danger out there for women, and he will do everything in his power to protect you from it.

That can mean walking you to your car or to your apartment. It can mean helping you learn ways to defend yourself. It can mean suggesting safe areas for you to spend time so you can avoid danger.

Personally, I love to buy secondhand stuff from online classified sites. But no matter what I’m buying or who I’m getting it from, my partner insists on going with me. 

Even if I’m just buying something for $20 and meeting another woman to buy it, he will always accompany me – just in case.

He’s not trying to control where I go or how I spend my money. He just doesn’t like the idea of me meeting a stranger alone. And that protective side of him never fails to make me feel safe.

6) He asks you to check in – in a healthy way

This is another area where protectiveness can easily look like controlling behavior. But as always, it’s a question of how the behavior manifests itself.

A protective man may want you to check in with him when the two of you are apart. He might ask for text to let him know when you’ve arrived at a bar, or to let him know you’re leaving.

You may even ask you where you are and who you’re with. Not because he wants to tell you how you can spend your time, but because if anything goes wrong, he wants to have the best chance of helping you.

A controlling man may use your safety as an excuse to check up on you. But he will want to know where you are at all times and insist on detailed information about what you are doing and who you are with. 

Also, he may try to tell you you can’t spend time with certain people or do certain activities.

A man who is simply being protective won’t do that. He may want to know where you are, but he will never try to control it. 

That’s the difference between making you feel safe and making you feel imprisoned.

7) He takes care of little things

A little while ago, I was planning a road trip. 

A friend of mine who lives in a different country was coming to visit, so I was going to drive several hours to the capital to pick her up, and then we would make our way slowly back to my place, exploring the country as we went.

A few days before my trip, I headed to the car to do some grocery shopping and found my partner on his knees checking the tire pressure.

He had also replaced the windshield wipers and checked the washer fluid and the oil.

Honestly, it never even occurred to me to check those things. But it made me feel safe to know that he does.

8) He hates to see you in pain

Whether it’s physical or emotional pain, a protective man hates to see you suffer.

That’s why he does the things he does to keep you safe and happy. It’s also why you will often struggle when you are suffering.

Even the best man can’t always make everything right for you. But a protective man will do everything he can to minimize any pain you are feeling, no matter its cause.

Protective, not controlling

Unfortunately, many positive protective behaviors men display can easily become negative, controlling ones if taken too far.

That’s why it’s important to ask yourself why your man behaves the way he does.

The behaviors listed above are not toxic in themselves. Instead, they may be the signs of a man who wants to keep you safe in a world that can be dangerous.

Picture of Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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