A friend of mine is going through his second divorce. When we met almost two years ago, he was emotionally shattered - a shell of a man. He is a devoted father to his children and when his first wife left him, he was shocked - she simply decided that she no longer wanted to be a mother to their three adolescent children. Fast forward a few years, he married someone else, not knowing her that well (they dated a mere few months) and after raising their one child together for a few years, she decided that she, too, would leave, taking the child far away and having the one thing she always wanted - a child of her own - her very own, that is - and some padding in her bank account. Fortunately, he has weathered the storm and has rebounded and is doing nicely - in a few months, he will be ready to date and who knows what will happen in his life after that - I predict only good things will come to him in the world of relationships - he has learned a great deal about women and himself with the help of a great therapist - thank God for those!
I just read an interesting story on AOL Health about this same scenario - that is, women who give up their relationships for their children. I was in the opposite situation in my marriage of 15 years - my former spouse spent far more time with the children than he did with me - to the point that I became resentful of their movie dates, football games and wrestling on the living room floor (I have four sons). Looking back, it was his way of telling me that he didn't want a wife (he is gay), but wanted the package of children - no surprise that three of the four boys live with him by their own choosing.
What men want is a woman who is devoted to them above their children - they have no desire to be second on the totem pole, and frankly, nor should they be. They deserve to have that same love and desire that brought the couple together initially - granted, those levels change some with motherhood, hormones and such, but basically, they want to be needed.
Men also want a woman who has a life - she needs to have a focus - a career, school, hobbies, volunteer work - something that she does with no attachment to her spouse - something that makes her who she is in and of herself.
Men want a woman who is not afraid to be vulnerable - I heard about that book "Why men love bitches" and was told to read it and decided against it - The men I know don't love bitches, they love good and caring women.
Just one woman's opinion, but I know men really, really well......