How Google tells you what men and women want

An analysis of, "How can I get my boyfriend/girlfriend to..." Internet searches is very amusing. But nothing compared to "How can I get my wife/husband to..."

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Given that Mark Zuckerberg has explained to you that privacy is no longer a social norm, your first thought this morning was probably, "How can I get more of my information to be public on Facebook?"

Your second might well have been something to do with improving your current relationship with your beloved.

In a heartwarming analysis of Google searches, Dan Ariely, author of the beautifully named "Predictably Irrational," revealed just how different boyfriends and girlfriends are, when it comes to asking the Google oracle for ways to solve their relationship problems.

Taking the search "How can I get my boyfriend/girlfriend to..." structure, Ariely showed that girls most want to know how to get their boyfriends to propose. Truly, this is one of the most treacherous areas in human life, and I have many deep and forceful opinions on the subject.

Girlfriends are also very keen to know how to get their boyfriends to spend more time with them, love them, and generally be more romantic and less stinky.

Boyfriends, on the other hand, are most concerned to discover how to get their girlfriends to perform oral sex. This revealing bucket of angst is closely followed by the need to get their girlfriends to sleep with them, lose weight, and trust them. Shaving and forgiveness also make an appearance.

CC Ralph Bijker/Flickr

While Ariely's discoveries are, well, predictably rational, I decided to take things a step further and discover how these relationships change, once the girlfriend has learned how to get the boyfriend to propose. So I went for the "How can I get my wife/husband to..." paradigm. The last time I enjoyed this much simultaneous fun and tragedy was when I read a Russian novel in a Croatian bar.

You will be moved to tears, or perhaps St. Petersburg, when I tell you that husbands' most frantic search is, "How can I get my wife to love me again."

Before you reach for your handkerchief to dry your eyes, might I tell you that the next most popular googling suggestion is, "How can I get my wife to swing."

You will feel that your world has been temporarily righted when I tell you that the next two pleas involve losing weight and shaving. However, the list is completed with wanting to know how to get your wife to trust you again, love you and, that perennial source of friction, shut up.

What of the wives? Once they are betrothed, do they come to terms with their man's foibles and failings?

Well, the prime Google search for "How can I get my husband to..." is followed by the words "fall in love with me again." Yes, husbands and wives apparently want to be loved by their partners but have no idea how to achieve it.

This plea is followed by wanting their husbands to be "more affectionate" and "to love me again." Forget the "falling in love" part; just give me the basic love thing, these searchers seem to say--the one that involves a little thought and kindness.

Soon, though, the googling warts are exposed. For the next most popular is the need to know how to get the husband to help around the house. This is followed by more intimate needs, like romance and conversation. However, it is rounded out by a need to get husbands to leave the house and stop drinking.

What does this analysis tell us about the state of human relations? Well, there is little hope, isn't there?

Perhaps the planets Mars and Venus will, one day, be the homes of unisexual communities. Once men and women have finally stopped searching for answers even Google can't give them, that is.