If You Want to Date A Confident Leader, You Have to Let Him Lead

As a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women, I spend a LOT of time talking to women on the phone about their love lives.

In fact, I’ve participated in so much girl talk, I’m like an honorary girlfriend at this point.

And the one thing that I consistently hear from women is this:

I want a man who is a leader.

I want a man who makes decisions.

I want a man who has a plan.

I want a man who can take control – start his own company, book his own vacation, and yes, even be dominant in the bedroom.

(My female clients tell me EVERYTHING!)

It’s really easy to see why this kind of guy is attractive.

Confident men inspire confidence in women.

Confident men inspire confidence in women.

And as much as we’ve evolved as a society in terms of gender equality, there’s still a primal urge where many women long for a taste of a traditional marriage.

ALL of my clients have careers, yet the majority still want to feel protected, preferably by a tall, broad, successful man who can bring home the bacon, wipe away the tears and beat up the bad guys, if necessary.

What’s not to like about that?

Who doesn’t want a man who is an equal?

After all… You’re a go-getter.

You’re as smart as most of the men you meet.

You work hard and make a comparable income.

You have close relationships with friends and family.

You have strong opinions and aren’t afraid to voice them.

And yet you often meet men who don’t mesh with you.

The attractive alpha males are egocentric commitment-phobes.

The nice guys are bland and wishy-washy and don’t turn you on.

You figured out what you really want – an alpha male who is nice! Or maybe a nice guy with balls! Someone to make you feel excited and safe simultaneously.

What nice guys don’t realize is that you’re not looking for a man to cater to your whims

Unfortunately, these men are very, very, rare. You’ve probably noticed.

So if it’s so hard to find one of these mythical beasts, what are you to do?

I’ve got a few ideas.

In fact, as one of those men, I’ve got a lot of ideas on that very subject, but before we get to those I have to give you credit for knowing one big thing: you can’t change guys.

Which is why most adult women have largely grown out of their bad-boy phase.

Except, of course, when you haven’t.

So instead of dating the rebellious teenage rocker, you date the 44-year-old guy who’s never been married. He’s not on the road 40 weeks a year, but he works 60 hours a week.

Both men claim to want to find love, but aren’t willing to sacrifice for it.

These guys are a waste of your time.

It’s not that they’re bad people, it’s that they don’t have much to give to the relationship.

Thus, you have two choices – get out of the relationship, or accept that you’ll always come in second to his work or freedom. You know what that’s like.

To be waiting on a guy, to have the strongest feelings for him… only to learn that he’s not willing to put forth the effort or commitment necessary to make you feel safe.

It happens all the time, and it’s a crushing feeling.

Then there are the nice guys. Oh, I know how you feel about nice guys…

Here’s the thing about nice guys:

They really want to please you.

Really. Really. Want to please you.

It’s the most important thing in the world for them.

Which is why they’re always asking you how to do it.

“Where do you want to go tonight?”
“Was there something that I did wrong?”
“What can I do to make you happy?”

What nice guys don’t realize is that you’re not looking for a man to cater to your whims.

You’re looking for a man to lead, to make sound decisions, to drive the car while you ride shotgun.

Yet the guys who do that – the leaders – are often the most arrogant, most difficult, most combustible ones around. Right?

How do you find a guy who puts you first, but ALSO can take the lead?

If the nice guy wants to please you, why should he even bother to make any decision that you’re just going to overrule anyway?

Well, if it’s not by trying to change the alpha male, what do you have left? The nice guy.

But there’s a problem. And, believe it or not, you may be at the root of it.

You want the nice guy to lead, but you refuse to let him do it.

Before you get angry, think about it for a second.

He suggests a bar. You tell him you’d prefer one in a different part of town.
He suggests a movie. You tell him that you weren’t crazy about the reviews.
He suggests a weekend trip. You tell him you had another destination in mind.
He suggests a new position in the bedroom. You say you don’t do that.

Your intentions are pure – you want what you want – but the message that you’re sending to him is unmistakable:

You can be a leader and make decisions, as long as I have final approval.

And if the nice guy wants to please you, why should he even bother to make any decision that you’re just going to overrule anyway? He might as well ask you that awful question:

“What do YOU want to do?”

Hey, at least he knows you’re not going to shoot down your own idea.

I remember the first time I brought this concept up to a private dating coaching client.

She’s mid-40s, attractive, vice president of a big company. Definitely an alpha female – a woman who can intimidate men but really wants a man who is stronger than she is.

She was explaining to me how annoyed she was with this new man she was dating.

“It was bad enough when he took me to a dive bar with live music. But then, when he sensed that I wasn’t happy, he asked me where I wanted to go instead! And I’m thinking, ‘Buddy, just make a decision and tell me what we’re doing. I don’t want to have to come up with everything.’

I told her that I understood why she didn’t like his choice of bars. I told her that I understood how she wanted him to make his own decision.

And then I told her what I really felt.

“It’s like you want him to be the President, yet you want to have veto power.”

She laughed, and then got very silent. I continued:

You can’t have two leaders. If you want him to lead, you have to be willing to follow. You can’t overrule him.

Strong-willed men – the kind that inspire confidence – are less likely to be “pleasers”.

However, if you, as a woman, want to be a leader, understand these two things:

1) You’re not going to attract an alpha male. Male leaders don’t partner with women who tell them what to do.

2) You’re going to attract less assertive men, and you can’t get upset at them for asking how to please you.

Hey, I don’t make these rules! I just observe them.

But it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Strong-willed men – the kind that inspire confidence – are less likely to be “pleasers”.

They’re going to march to the beat of their own drums and hope that you follow along.

The more you fight with them and try to rein them in, the weaker your relationship. You’ve probably seen this before in your own life. This is why strong men often marry easy-going women. It’s easier because there’s no argument about who’s going to lead.

Nice guys – the kind that you don’t respect as much – want only to please you, and will bend over backwards to do so.

They’ve learned that you’re going to assert your will no matter what they say, and they find it easier to ask directly how to make you happy.

And what’s the point of making a decision that’s likely to be vetoed anyway?

I can almost hear you steaming right now.

“I don’t tell men what to do. I don’t want to be boss. I just want an equal relationship!”
I hear you. And you’re right.

There IS a middle ground. All relationships are about compromise.

I’m not suggesting you let an alpha male make all the decisions while you keep quiet.

I’m not suggesting you make all the decisions for the nice guy either.

I’m just observing these important concepts in understanding men:

The alpha male is less likely to compromise. If you can’t handle that he’s got a strong ego and doesn’t want to do things your way, don’t date him.

The nice guy is more willing to compromise, so don’t hold it against him. It’s necessarily not a sign of weakness; it may be a sign of wisdom.

Nice guys just want to get along, which can be a good thing when you’re a strong-willed woman. After all, you’re going to have less conflict with a man who puts your needs above his.

Your other choice is to date the selfish and arrogant alpha male, who usually puts his needs first, as you can tell from years of trying to tame the charismatic types.

Want to find a man who can pull off the balance between nice and arrogant? Sorry. I’m already taken. ;)

But I know for a fact there are plenty more of us out there.

Just don’t keep on doing the same thing – chasing alpha males and waiting for them to change. Because, as you’ve seen, that can be a really frustrating – and futile – process.


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  1. 31

    If a man can clear his mind, and look into his dates eyes, (hopefully she isn’t wearing a low cut dress) and listen closely, he can come close to reading what is on her mind, sometimes.   If the woman is fearful, the man can’t read her.       

  2. 32

    I take Evan’s point but… there’s also a subset of alpha men who are most attracted to demanding, high maintenance women.  They buy into the whole story that if the princess wants me I must be good.  Usually these men are alpha in all areas of their life except in their intimate relationships where they are completely under the woman’s thumb (maybe what Dan @23 is getting at when he talks about these interpersonal dynamics being domain-specific). 

    A lot of it is borne of insecurity.  Some are playing out their mommy issues and with women who make them feel they;re not quite good enough.  Others are looking to prop up their sense of self with externals – career, belongings, desirable partner.  They quickly lose interest in women who are easygoing and accepting (and no those are not euphemisms for ‘doormat’).

    I’ve seen this dynamic too many times to dismiss it as a rare aberation of the dominant male prefers submissive female dynamic.

    1. 32.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I don’t disagree with you, Morgan. Alpha men go for alpha women. I did for 35 years. It never worked. Too much ego, narcissism, selfishness. Alpha/beta is a better fit, even if alpha/alpha attraction is stronger.

  3. 33
    Darren Miller

    Hi Evan, great post! This reminds me of a few chats I have had with women. They were telling me the exact same, they want and desire a prime leader, a part of that masculinity of being a man. Women don’t necessarily have it, it’s just a part of the female verses the male energy.
    Masculine energy should be more assertive and have leadership quality, while women are meant to be softer, loving and more nurturing. It’s in their nature. Women are looking for that ying and yang in their life, for a man to be that leader.
    I found some statistics in a well known magazine saying that in 2011 the most attractive profession to women is a doctor, for their leadership nature. But if you’re not a doctor don’t let this dishearten you. If you are confident you can attract anyone.

  4. 34

    I’ve been reading your blog since 2009, Evan.  It’s been a slow, but dogged evolution for me as I learned more about how the man’s mind works and as I determined how my mind worked.  What I worked out for myself over time is that one of the most important traits that I wanted was just a capacity to be loving.  In great part due to your advice, Evan, I have strived to keep an open mind and am currently dating a nice man.  I am also loving every minute of it.  I encourage him to make decisions and thoroughly enjoy my time with him when he does.  I make an effort to let him know how much I enjoyed myself too.  However, I can see one or two instances where I might have discouraged him inadvertantly and will keep a look out to help prevent those moments.  Thank you, Evan, for all your advice.  Not only have you helped me be more accepting of possibilities, but you are helping me to help establish healthy habits in my relationships.  For that, I will continue to read your blog.

  5. 35

    I personally think that alpha men are really over-rated. Long lasting relationships are based on compromise and team-work. I don’t want an alpha male or a beta male, instead, what I look for in a partner is someone who takes the lead when it’s crucial when he take the lead, and relaxes, when he’s suppose to relax.
    He needs to pick the restaurant to  be a leader thing is kind of lame. What if they guy is new to the area or doesn’t eat out or really doesn’t have a preference on eating out? I don’t see how this signifies that he’s not a “leader”. Most women that I know have much stronger preferences for eating out then men, it makes sense that this decision is deferred to women.
    I disagree with the 60 hour work week and being emotionally unavailable. These days, if you want to make a decent income, I don’t see how you can work less than 60 hours a week. What about investment bankers and C-level business men and women.. or even students or men in law enforcement or the military… who work up to 100-hours a week and still manage to keep their marriages and raise their children? Even if a guy has to work 100+ hours a week, as long as he communicates that I’m important to him and he takes out the few free hours here and there to spend quality time with me, that’s fine by me. Better than a guy who works 40-hours a week and calls once a week.

  6. 36
    Darren Miller

    I find what you said, somewhat interesting when you mentioned you dont an want alpha male. Yes, I understand we can all be selective in our choices for men or women, however, i think alpha males have this bad reputation hovering over them. In may personal opinion Alpha man shouldn’t be known as tarts or playas or whatever, some use this method for socializing skills. I know as I have helped friends of friend, and having these resources in there back pocket it makes it easier for them to approach men or women and furthermore you feel captivated by his confidence.   

  7. 37

    Hi Evan,
    I just read this article today and 30 minutes later I was on the phone with an Alpha Male that I am newly dating.  It wasn’t until we were off the phone that I realized (even though I had JUST read your article) I did EXACTLY what you suggest NOT to do!!!!  I had a preconceived notion of what I wanted to do so when he suggested we go on a date tomorrow I had the BALLS to suggest something different!!  What a twit!!  It wasn’t until we were off the phone I realized I had done it.  I don’t even realize what a pattern it is of mine to always try to “make it even better”.  I’m a strong woman and more then anything I want a STRONG masculine man… this means learning to receive the suggestions he makes, be excited about the date and not try to “make it even better”.  THAT can be very annoying to a man!  I’m so grateful I’m reading your blog and learning so much from it.  More then anything I want to end my “relationship breaking” patterns and accept the man how he is and who he is…. not changing him into someone different (because that would piss me off if he did it to me). Thanks again for your brilliant way of communicating in a way I can understand it and implement it!  

  8. 38

    What an awesome way to explain this, now I know everything!

  9. 39

    Recently in another forum I read a post by a man who said he had 3 good dates with a woman who seemed interested in him. He questioned her interest however, when he expected her to be the one to ask him for a 4th date and she never did.
    Women are told to let men lead in courtship. They are told to understand the masculine-feminine dynamic: men pursue, women accept. They are told if they ‘chase’ a man, they will chase him away because they are trying to take over his ‘job’. So what’s going on with the fellow above?

    I’ve never been in such a situation, but I think if a man conveyed to me he wanted me to start leading in this way it would feel uncomfortable. Like he wanted to be “the girl” in the relationship – operate in feminine energy himself.  It would feel off.

    If I had 3 good dates where I showed interest and never heard from the guy again, I would have concluded he wasn’t into me. It never would have occurred to me after date 3 he was done ‘pursuing’ and it was now “my turn”.  Is this the new dating protocol – man leads for 2-3 dates, then switches off to the woman? What happens after that?
      Thoughts anyone? Evan?

  10. 40

    I acted like a “beta” woman in order to attract an alpha male, because I know that these are the things that alpha men search for. So, you could imagine the shock of their lives when my true alpha colors emerged one year or so into the relationship, in such a slow and pscyhcological manner that they didn’t know what hit them until it was too late! i had taken control over their lives, knew too much information, enough to destroy them if they did not obey my demands. And yes, I turn alpha men into beta men – and out of fear. He behaves well, and has kept it up for 6 years, mostly staying at home doing my washing and driving me to work and shopping.

  11. 41

    How timely, I definitely have a strong will, thank goodness I’ve simmered down but from reading this I understand.  I was dating a nice guy (who did have balls, btw – which was a good thing) and we were in a constant power struggle.  It sucked though because during the last month of us dating (we dated for about 3 months) he would always ask “what do you want to do?” I told him flat out I didn’t always want to make all the decisions yet the suggestions he made were usually grabbing a pizza pie and watching a movie on a Friday night… It got so bad to when I would make the decision, I think that he intentionally found a way to comment on my choices in a negative way. 
    I was laughing about the comment that was made by a client of yours who hated the dive bar, yet wanted him to make the decisions.  I get that having a nice guy with balls is better than having a true alpha male any day — especially when the alpha male on a date can put on a show, because of his experience with women, confidence etc… whereas the nice guy is more authentic and concerned about what the women wants. 
    I don’t know, this whole love thing drives me nuts!!!

  12. 42

    offfff I laughed hard! loool I’m no “alpha” woman nor do I want to be, but I used to be more of a tomboy in my teens, even though I always dressed womanly/girly..that’s why guys my own age thought I was cute and innocent until they talked to me lol. I’m more of the funny/witty/sarcastic type than the driven ambtious alpha, and still my cleverness made guys insecure
    So that’s why one of the things the man I want to marry must have is that he must be 10 years older than me because maybe then my “inner tomboy” might not manage to shock him later in life lol..because of his age he might always be a few steps ahead of me..
    I don’t get a good feeling from the steorotypes “alpha” and “beta”, bcz one is bad boy and the other “good” (weak) boy..I like true masculine responsible mature men, not  lil mommy boys or the typical boring bad boys, no wonder I’ve never been seriously attracted to any guys because they often fall into only those categories..
    This just killed me: “..and out of fear. He behaves well, and has kept it up for 6 years, mostly staying at home doing my washing and driving me to work and shopping.” 
    Uff you remind me of my older sister. She’s one of the most alpha ppl’s I’ve ever met, she doesn’t even act beta and yet alpha men get weak with her, I have to say she’s very good looking so that may explain..I think men who get weak with strong women, never was any “alpha”, true masculine men never feel threatened/”emasculated”. no matter what.

  13. 43

    me being a guy, is it wrong that I view being assertive, taking charge, taking control, taking the lead, leading, as a chore, as work? why are us guys supposedly supposed to enjoy taking initiative, doing the approaching, leading and being assertive? seriously I hate, despise, loathe gender roles with a huge raging passion, pisses me off so much, I hate how us guys are always told to “Man Up, be a Man, Grow a Pair, Grow some Balls”, I hate how us guys are expected to be so god damn strong all the damn time, pisses me off so much that I sometimes feel like beating up a girls boyfriend out of jealousy and anger, it’s like the nerdy quiet, shy passive guy wanting to challenge the popular jock to a fight to prove to the world that shy, quiet, passive, innocent guys are not as weak as you make them out to be, and I don’t see how fighting would make a guy look weak, after all it involves testosterone, and testosterone is a masculine hormone

  14. 44
    Lynn (the other one!)

    Oh I love going through the archives :-)

    Something I’ve wondered about now for awhile is what role a man’s nationality plays in him taking the initiative. I’m US born and raised for the first half of my life, and have lived in Canada for the second half. (I’m in my 50′s). Generally speaking I find Canadian men my age to be very very passive and don’t initiate contact online.

    Not long ago I had a lovely first date (dinner) with a very nice guy. As he was taking me home he said “I’m terrified”. 

    I asked him why. He replied “Because I like you and I’m afraid of doing something wrong.”

    Well, that neatly summed up my experience with Canadian middle-age/senior men. Canadians, generally, are quite passive. Especially as compared to Americans. Very different culture.

    Literally the only men who initiate contact with me online are American. It’s quite interesting. I’m very much an alpha but have toned that way down in my personal life and am really embracing my feminine energy. I think I’ve tweaked my profile to reflect that.  Still..it’s only the American guys who initiate.

    Hmm well as I write this it’s just dawned on me that in the last several weeks of focusing strongly on embodying the feminine,  I’ve been getting hit on nearly every time I leave the house. (Getting my car serviced. At the hardware store while looking at hummingbird feeders. Taking the dog for a walk.) It’s a little hilarious, somewhat gratifying as an older babe, and startling. The more feminine (passive?) I get, the more the Canadian guys are interested. 

    Anyone else think the nationality of one’s upbringing plays a role? 

  15. 45

    I am currently involved with an Alpha Male who is of the arrogant, egotistical, self-centred type.  It can be very frustrating at times, especially when he is more distant and immersed in his work.  But when he does take charge and tells me exactly what he wants, i take great pleasure in following his lead (within established boundaries).  The main issue for me is that, as Evan has repeatedly said on this blog, he only does what he wants to do, when he wants to do it, on his terms.  So unfortunately, i find i am frequently left frustrated, waiting for his attention.  Evan rightly observes in this post that the girlfriend is likely to come second to an alpha’s work/freedom.  Because of that, I’m yet to decide if this relationship is worth it.

  16. 46

    I have to say I agree with everything you just said, I don’t like it but it’s true as an independent woman who have battled through a health and life issues to  come out the other end I have had to develop a get out of my way persona, and it has now stuck and I get a lot of quiet guys around me not all of which have turned out to be nice.

    I was once trying to do “the rules” , but it just didn’t work, because these guys just didn’t get enough feedback from me to confidently pursue, not only that my larger than personality can be intimidating. IMO, appreciate the nice guy and know what you want, will he give it to you, over time you may start to see more than meets the eye. It’s worth having a look. remember keep an eye on those red flags though.

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