When Women Want More “Alpha” Husbands

Author Avatar


Joined: Nov 2022

Photo: cottonbro studio | Pexels When Women Want More “Alpha” Husbands

Recently, or maybe not so recently, the terms “alpha” and “beta” to describe men and women have hit the mainstream (for more on this idea, read The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match), and I have had increasing numbers of clients who use these words to talk about themselves and their relationship.

An alpha is commonly thought of as someone ambitious and assertive, with a take-no-prisoners attitude. They are the leader of their pack and others defer to them. The term connotes the typical “power player” like Don Draper from Mad Men (for a man) or Hillary Clinton (for a woman). A couple comprised of two “alphas” may be considered a power couple.

A beta, on the other hand, is thought to be a softer type of person, who doesn’t command the same instinctive deferential response among others. These are caretaker types or those who try to get along with others instead of getting their way. They often end up being “the woman behind the man” (or vice versa) when they are married to an alpha, and many stay-at-home moms are criticized by their Type A husbands) who are married to alpha males and show more beta characteristics themselves.

What’s his name, the dad on Family Ties, and probably a majority of sitcom dads, are more beta. Every caregiving classic “mom” type on TV is beta, as she puts others’ needs above her own.

When Women Want More “Alpha” HusbandsWhen Women Want More “Alpha” Husbands

Photo: cottonbro studio/Pexels

Hopefully, by this point, you may be seeing the limitations of this paradigm.

For anyone to be entirely beta or entirely alpha would likely be impossible, and unhealthy. A complete alpha would be a huge narcissist and a complete beta would have Dependent Personality Disorder (which is an interesting lesser-known personality disorder for my psychology buffs). It is a useful shortcut to describe certain overarching aspects of a person’s character, though, within limitations (“My boss is a classic alpha male” allows others to quickly understand the image he projects, at least within the office). As a generalization, whoever has more “demands” out of life and from their partner is the alpha partner.

The problems come when women come in and say, “I wish my husband was more of an alpha male.” Generally, they are thinking of this as a more sexy and assertive guy, who gets paid more and and is deferred to by other males (and females). They are not thinking about what in their personality would be irritating to a more alpha person.

Alpha males tend to pair up with women who cater to their needs (and so do alpha females). If you’re complaining that your husband isn’t assertive enough, it is likely that you are the alpha in the relationship, and that it works mostly because your husband picks up a lot of slack in terms of giving you what you need, whether that means he does housework and childcare more than a classic “alpha” would, or he allows you to vent about tough things in your life for hours while supportively listening.

If an alpha woman was with a man as alpha as herself, there would likely be a lot of head-butting and jockeying for the position of leader within the family. Often, two alpha partners end up cheating on one another with fewer alpha partners who are more caretaking and less competitive.

Remember, too, that your “beta” husband may not be as beta as you think.

If you have been consistently disappointed in his lack of assertiveness or drive for years, you may have helped create a situation where he acts even more passive and depressed around you. At work, or with other people, he may come off a lot more alpha than you would expect. Being around someone who looks down on you is not conducive to being your best, most attractive, and confident self, and that goes for either gender.

Another important point to think about is why you feel contemptuous of more “beta” people. Often, people who feel this way were raised by alpha dads (or moms) who openly condescended to people who weren’t go-getters or leaders. Children often worship their alpha parents, and even prioritize getting their approval over getting the “easier” approval of their more “beta” (and consistently affectionate) parent. Yet, as adults, these children of alphas often have many insecurities related to being raised by alpha parents.

For example, classic alpha males often are absent from the home for long periods for their career, and, especially in earlier generations, alpha guys found it difficult, and maybe even unjust, to have to refuse all the women who found them attractive. Many women who had unfaithful but very charming alpha/narcissist dads grow up wanting this same “bad boy” type, even as they intellectually recognize that this would be a terrible choice for the father of their children.

(This can result either in marrying the same type of guy as dad and then yearning pointlessly for him to become, ironically, more of a beta caretaker who only focuses on them, thereby fulfilling their imago fantasy, or marrying the beta and yearning for the alpha; these are the women I’m mainly speaking to in this post).

When Women Want More “Alpha” HusbandsWhen Women Want More “Alpha” Husbands

Photo: Shalom Osezua/Pexels

Not everyone is meant to be partnered with the leader of the wolf pack.

Many women would find your more “beta”, attentive, supportive husband to be a real catch. While of course people cannot force themselves to be attracted to something that isn’t attractive to them, there are many times when deeper introspection can effect a paradigm shift that allows you to see your relationship in a new way.

If you find yourself longing for a more alpha male, it can be useful to write out an objective list of the things that your current husband does for you that a more alpha guy might refuse to do, and an objective list of your personality traits that may not appeal to the alpha of your dreams. If you still want an alpha after all of that, then work on trying to become the more beta helpmeet that such a guy would need. This might allow your current husband to act more assertive and proactive.

More for You:
Zodiac Signs That Are Terrible At Relationships (And Why)20 Little Things Women Do That Guys *Secretly* LoveThe Perfect Age To Get Married, According To Science5 Little Ways Men Wish They Could Be Loved — Every Single Day

Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Source: YourTango


0 %

User Score

0 ratings
Rate This

Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *