Is There Any Point in Dating an Alpha Male?

Hi Evan, This is a curiosity more than a dating advice question. I’ve read several of your posts that suggest that charismatic alpha males do not make good partners. I also read on HuffingtonPost.com a hilariously titled article (in response to the Anthony Weiner scandal), “Should Women Go Ugly?” again, suggesting that women should steer clear of handsome alpha types who are quite likely to ultimately let them down. So my question is, what happens to all these alpha guys? Do they marry? Will they remain single forever? If the conventional wisdom is for women to avoid relationships with them, is it in their (the alpha guys) best interest to skip the so-called American dream, avoid marriage and children and just bounce from one short-term relationship to another? Or is it possible for such an alpha guy to create a meaningful long-term relationship? And if so, what type of woman would be able to create a happy life with a man like this? Based on your advice and that of others I’ve read, it seems that no woman should attempt to deal with these guys. –Sara

Sara,

Right before I got married, I turned for advice to Dr. Pat Allen, therapist, Los Angeles legend, and author of “Getting to I Do”.

Pat is probably 75 years old and delightfully curmudgeonly. She lives in a very black and white world and has a bunch of catchy aphorisms that she trots out when she sees common dating dynamics – especially for women with an excess of masculine energy. I turned to her because we’d met on a panel once before and because I respected her experience and wisdom.

I told her that I wasn’t sure that I felt what I was supposed to feel for the woman who I was considering proposing to. I didn’t have that obsessive, breathless, “I must have you” sentiment. I didn’t miss her madly when she went on a business trip. I was just plain happy – in a healthy, fun, nurturing, supportive relationship that had no obvious flaws apart from what was buzzing through my head: “I don’t have the FEELING I think I should have!”

My thoughts on alpha males is that while they may remain the most attractive candidates out there, as a rule, they tend to be bad long-term relationship bets.

Pat asked me: “Are you a career man or a man with a career?” (This is one of those aphorisms.) I told her that my career was not just a job, but kind of a calling. Thus, she determined that I was a career man. She told me that, as a career man, since my job would come first, I could get married and be perfectly content, but I’d always be longing for more. She finally concluded that, based on my profile, I would probably cheat on my wife a few times.

And that was our session.

Yes, Dr. Allen’s contention, essentially, was that if you’re an alpha male, your natural tendency is to put your needs first, to conquer, to dominate, to spread your seed, and to hope to not break too many hearts along the way. In this regard, she’s somewhat correct.

And in this regard, I realized, I’m not a pure alpha male.

It’s more important to me to be a good husband and father than it is to pursue my selfish interests at all costs. If anything, I have a fierce ethical streak (which surfaces here from time to time) which is stronger than my thirst for money or new women. I would not suppose that everyone is similarly driven by doing the right thing. After all, having character involves tradeoffs, and alpha males most certainly don’t want limits put on their freedoms.

So, to bring this back to you, Sara, my thoughts on alpha males is that while they may remain the most attractive candidates out there, as a rule, they tend to be bad long-term relationship bets. I would guess that most women who’ve gone for them would concur with this observation. Alphas needs come first. Their schedule comes first. They may try to spend money on you but it doesn’t compensate for their lack of attention, affection and understanding. They rarely make you feel safe and secure. But you hold on because he’s such an intoxicating catch. Make no mistake, he RELIES on his charms to allow you put up with all his bullshit.

As always, when we’re talking about alpha males, we’re talking about a sliding scale. I may have the drive and temperament and ego of an alpha, but I don’t indulge it at all costs. I stop work at 6. I don’t work on weekends or take clients on Fridays. I apologize frequently. If my wife ever needs me to sacrifice for the family, the answer is yes. That’s where my value system lies.

If you’re going to go for such a guy, the thing to look out for is what his long-term values are. Does he WANT to be a good husband and father? Does he SACRIFICE his needs for yours? Does he put YOU first or does he always have to win? There ARE alpha males who do that, but there are more who do not.

From what I’ve seen as a dating coach, most women are willing to take the risk – but very few actually get the long-term reward.

So it’s not that it’s impossible to find one of these guys who wants to settle down with you – it’s that alpha males are inherently high risk/high reward.

And, from what I’ve seen as a dating coach, most women are willing to take the risk – but very few actually get the long-term reward.

As for what type of woman you have to be to get this guy, in general, I’d say someone who is supportive of him. Someone who is cool with his hours. Someone who doesn’t nag him all the time about his job. Someone who can listen to him and provide a fun change of pace when he finally clears space to be 100% present. This is really what my book Why He Disappeared is all about – being in your feminine energy – open, positive, receptive, nurturing.

Still, being the ideal woman for an alpha male isn’t always enough – not if the alpha male doesn’t have a strong moral code and doesn’t fundamentally value monogamy as much as he values conquering new women and new businesses.

SOMEONE gets the alpha male to marry her, all right, but I can assure that she is not always happy with what she gets.

Caveat emptor.

13
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Comments:

  1. 61
    Fiona

    I don’t necessarily agree that alpha females should stick to beta men. As an alpha female in other areas of life I tried dating beta men and I hated it. I absolutely want a strong alpha man to play the alpha role when it comes to a relationship. That doesn’t mean I can’t be alpha at work. I think we play different roles in different situations.

  2. 62
    Nina

    Dear Evan,
    Although it is true that there is a conqueror mentality, how alpha males exercise it lies within their character. Each man, beta or alpha, has a certain type of character and that is what will truly define your behavior.
    It seems that in your comment, you say that it’s not that there’s an issue with alpha males, just that they’re not good fit for your clients and you also say that since I’m a beta I found a good fit for me. But you also say that it apparently doesn’t change the fact they are high risk.
    I’m not sure what you meant when you said “high risk” but then went onto say that I found a good fit for me. It would seem that high risk would be a bad fit for any woman, wouldn’t it?
    Could you please explain to me if perhaps alpha males are not as high risk when paired with beta females? Because if so, what you just said would make sense.
    Also could you please explain to me what exactly is a beta female? Because I’ve been researching it for awhile but it seems that different sites have truly contradictory definitions.
    Thank you,
    Nina

  3. 63
    Su-Yi

    Sorry Evan as much as I generally love your advice I have to agree with @Nina here.
    I have dated many alphas and many betas and the only man who ever cheated on me was a clear beta.
    I feel like both can easily commit the same acts due to both having poor character, like cheating, but they would do it for different reasons.
    An alpha might do it for the thrills and the “because I can” feel of it.
    A beta might do it due to not being able to tell his wife what he truly needs in sex for whatever reason so he needs to get it from somewhere else.
    Same crime, different reasons for committing it.

  4. 64
    Fiona

    I am under the impression that different people have different ideas of what an alpha man is which is perhaps the cause of confusion. I do not see being an alpha as  having negative connotations per se but some seem to describe alphas in terms I would use for sociopaths who are clearly high risk.  

  5. 65
    Iosif

    Lots of interesting reading here on the topic! Indeed, alpha males are hard to catch and they rarely change. Unfortunately some woman have a fantasy: “I’ll change him!”.. Remember ladies, that’s a fantasy! :)

  6. 66
    Fiona

    I think at the end of the day intelligent successful women just relate better to intelligent successful men because they have more in common. It is that simple. I have just spent a week away on a residential training course with alpha men and women. Although I was the only umarried person there, I really had more fun than in a long time and haven’t laughed as much in ages. I have been dating beta men this year and it hasn’t worked out anyway – just felt like lowering my standards too much to be in a relatioship and being dumped by men I felt were not in the same league just made me feel bad. I’d rather give it up now and be alone if there are no alphas left – life is short and there is more to it than finding a partner that doesn’t have the same drive, energy, wit and sense of adventure.

  7. 67
    Rachel

    I hate it when men are afraid to admit they are a beta male.  For some reason, it has a bad rep.  So they call themselves Alpha Males, but “not that kind” of Alpha Male.  From your own description you’re most likely a Beta Male not willing to take the title.

    “I stop work at 6. I don’t work on weekends or take clients on Fridays. I apologize frequently. If my wife ever needs me to sacrifice for the family, the answer is yes. That’s where my value system lies.”

    We should call it the Alpha A$$h0Le scale.  Alpha males are in the number one ranking.  Maybe that will take the sting out of Betas coming up second ;) 

    1. 67.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Rachel – I let your insulting comment thru, just so I could respond.

      Your intimation is that one can only be an Alpha Male if you’re an arrogant and selfish asshole who is completely disrepectful of other people’s time and needs.

      I completely disagree.

      Alpha males are typified by their confidence in all situations, their unwillingness to concede that anyone is “better” than them. By this token, I am a typical alpha male. I just happen to be a good husband and father who values work/life balance. That doesn’t negate my original claim, nor does it make me a Beta male.

      1. 67.1.1
        myrealitie

        Evan, come on! Go read what you wrote to Nina, and now read this comment.  You are seriously contradicting yourself now. 

  8. 68
    Lucy

    Is there such a thing as an alpha female? I suppose that if there is she’d have different characteristics to those of an alpha male. Why is it that nowadays women are encouraged to assume masculine qualities? I don’t think a woman would have to have masculine traits to be considered ‘alpha’.

  9. 69
    Helen

    Reading these comments about alpha and beta males and females, I’m left to believe that a person cannot himself or herself determine whether s/he is alpha or beta.  I can claim up and down, all day long, that I’m an alpha female, because I am XYZ and have ABC.  But at the end of the day, if others in my circle of acquaintances don’t agree, what good does my own trumpeting do me?

    Ultimately, the only real value of labeling someone as alpha or beta (terms I don’t really like in the first place, as they restrict people into categories) is describing how others interact with you. So it’s only others’ opinion on this that matters. Some may consider you an alpha, others a beta. It’s situational.

  10. 70
    Karl R

    Rachel said: (#69)
    “I hate it when men are afraid to admit they are a beta male.  For some reason, it has a bad rep.”

    I don’t know anyone who describes himself as “alpha” or “beta” in normal conversation. Outside of this blog, it’s rare for me to hear someone refer to someone else as “alpha” or “beta” either.

    But we’ve all observed men that women are attracted to, and men women are not attracted to. Some of this is based on physical attractiveness and wealth, but some is based on other traits (like appearing self-confident).

    Being successful at dating starts with getting your foot in the door. If a woman has ruled you out before you even get within 6 feet, you’re not going to get anywhere. If she’s already interested, then you at least have the opportunity to let personality (or other positive traits) work in your favor.

    I didn’t need to become more ambitious at work to succeed at dating. I didn’t need to become a natural leader. But I relied upon my ability to get a fair number of women interested in me before I even made eye contact with them.

    In my dating pools, I created the impression that women were attracted me, enjoyed my company and trusted me. I wasn’t creating an illusion out of something that didn’t exist, but I was creating an impression that exceeded reality.

    Rachel said: (#69)
    “Maybe that will take the sting out of Betas coming up second”

    If lots of men acknowledge that you’re a sweet, smart, caring person that some man would be lucky to have as a wife, but those same men chase a less intelligent, not so nice acquaintance and ignore the opportunity to date you….

    … Do the kind words take the sting out of being the woman that the men ignore?

    Talk is cheap.

  11. 71
    Ellen

    Evan at #70:

    I completely agree with Evan- you can be alpha and not an arrogant a-hole. My Dad was an alpha male, a very nice, caring man to all, and one of the things he projected was the attitude Evan describes of “no one is better than I am”. Particularly intellectually.

    I feel that way about myself thanks to him. (If someone can do math better or faster, I simply call them “mental athletes”, but my reasoning powers are second to none imo.)  That, plus my athletic ability (I beat men at tennis as a kid, etc.), macho, can-do attitude towards a lot of home repairs, never playing the victim and I am probably an alpha female. lol  Deluded I know, but my confidence has gotten me places. 

    Lucy #71: Some of the most intimidating alpha females I know are as feminine as you get- they just have wills of iron and brook no opposition from anyone.   Let’s put it this way: If people regularly call a woman a “bitch”, chances are she is alpha.    

  12. 72
    Joe

    In wolves the alpha male is the leader of the pack.  The alpha female is the leader’s mate.  The beta pair is supposed to be the second in command.  So sure, it seems reasonable to assume there is such a thing as an alpha female in humans.  But if it’s like wolves where there’s only one alpha female for each alpha male, if you’re an alpha female, your odds of attracting an alpha male are not very high.

  13. 73
    Ty

    All I seem to attract are alpha males. honestly I didn’t even know what an “alpha male” was until I noticed a pattern with the men I was dating and started to look for advice online.  Then I noticed they all had these similar traits of being dominant and needing freedom. the man I am seeing is even more “alpha” than the last! He’s a good man though, but it takes so much patience to deal with him. I love him but I’m at a point where I am not attached to outcome. I’m sure he likes it that way. Smh. There is something about me that attracts these alpha men like bees to honey. My dad is alpha, maybe that’s why.

  14. 74
    Carmela

    My dad is an alpha male and my current partner is an alpha male. If you are in the presence of a real alpha male and not a player then you would know that alpha males don’t cheat!!! That’s the real alpha males.!! Alpha males have it soooo together that they are not lead astray by the first good looking woman that comes along. They are hard workers, have plans and settle down quickly and really love their partners. Not if she cheats of course!! Then he will dump you. I will say that again Real Alpha Males Don’t Cheat because they have way too much self respect for that. It takes more than financial success and fame to be an alpha male, much much more. Many men want to be rich and famous just so they can sleep around. Not the alpha. Alphas also have a strong commitment to their children even in the face of self sacrifice. They don’t ever bitch about their partner to anyone doesn’t matter what she does. They are really awesome men and just talking about them makes me love them more.

  15. 75
    Bill

    It seems as a last resort, very lonely women will have casual sex more or less to cure their loneliness OR RECENT PAIN, rather than because they really love casual sex and feel wonderful and proud afterwards.

    To me the above is only possible if the woman truly cares for herself, and does not have sexual “switches”..Sure, some women can bang tons of guys then finally fall in love, but more often than not something is missing.. The reason she can bang so many guys in the past is because she was emotionally “not all there”, and more or less already scorned, bitter, etc.. A mere shadow of her true self.

    Think of our most basic and true nature..Perhaps the first time we had sex..

    Men will basically try to bang any girl or woman that will let them.. they cannot wait.. They are fantasizing about sex daily, and it is not involving “love” at all.

    Now women are quite different.. Usually women have sex for the first time with a guy they atleast think they love.. Not many girls are in a hurry to get banged by anybody.

    Now over time, many girls can become abused, scorned, hurt, influenced by media etc, and they will drift away from their true nature, which is attaching sex to love.

    While women CAN physically have casual sex over the years and it does not destroy them, inside they are never truly content with this..A very small % that might have underwent abuse/are bipolar/repeatedly hurt can block out their natural female emotions as a way to protect themselves.

    Apparently casual sex for women with no emotions is satisfying, yet the women who claim to do this admit they have done it very very sparingly, or with friends..Or once in their entire lives after a break up.

    Sounds more like being lonely than really enjoying emotionless casual sex.

    Sorry, there are double standards..

    One small example would be crying… Acceptable for women over many small things, not acceptable for men..I doubt many women would be attracted to guys who cried almost daily over any small thing.

    I am pointing out that sex is vastly different for men and women.. That is how we are made.. Even the girl who says she has casual sex without emotions points out the sex she had was with people she was already emotionally connected to, her friends.

    I have found that the most insecure women are the most sexual. Making a guy cum seems to be a quick fix for their insecurities. of course aftewards they feel like trash, or are so cold that they lack feelings completely.

    I have NEVER met a secure, balanced, confident woman who could just have sex, get up, leave, and feel happy never seeing the person again.

  16. 76
    Rose

    Me Neither Bill , I have never met an emotionallly healthy woman who is able to have casual sex. Or an emotionally healthy man. They are fillling the void temporarily and emotionally/spiritually disconnected. Having a distorted view of sex and love.
     Yes some hromonal adolecent boys have been taught to compartmentalise objectify and disasociate. And some girls have been taught to objectify hemselves and disasociate from themselves. It is only the ones who have differnt upringings or mature’grow up in a healthy way that don’t do this. Or stop doing this.
    Some carry on having sex for instant physical gratifaction not caring about, wanting to or being able to emotionally connect and be in a real loving two way relationship with a man or woman.
     
     

  17. 77
    J

    Rose- you dont know enough people then.

  18. 79
    J

    Starthrower- there is not just one way to have relationships, and there never has been. Better to have people be honest about who they are and what they want, at that time, rather than be shamed into pretending to be someone they aren’t, just to conform. Because pretending doesn’t last forever and then all types of people get hurt. Different does not automatically equal unhealthy. ( haven’t watched the video you linked to yet so don’t know what it says)

  19. 80
    starthrower68

    J, that is not at all what I said.  Please review.

  20. 81
    J

    Starthrower- I know what you said. I’m saying hookups aren’t abnormal, nor are they inherently bad, nor are they only reserved for the emotionally stunted. They also simply aren’t for everybody.

  21. 82
    starthrower68

    As I have said many times on this blog, I know my value system is seen as unpopular, unhip, old-fashioned, etc. I get it. I’m not moved by that, but I get it.

  22. 83
    m

    @starthrower68 – Your value system may be unpopular, but I don’t think it necessarily follows from that that it is either unhip or old-fashioned.
     
    Similarly, just because something may be deemed “en vogue” because “Everybody’s doin’ it”, it doesn’t follow that that thing is something that doesn’t leave a fair amount of emotional havoc in its wake (irrespective of however much of said havoc is, at the end, down to oxytocin and neurochemistry).
     
    “Casual sex” has become much more common in great part because men will exert their social leverage pursuant to the “what you won’t do another woman will” rubric.  It’s not just “hip kids are doing X while hepcats are limited to Y”.
    Some women do it because they like it and/or don’t have time for a “relationship” – however defined – and I haven’t done a recent poll, but I’ll bet that number is much smaller (except for the overworked ladies; that one may be rising) than the one consisting of women doing it because they’re being pressured by men and don’t want to risk losing an otherwise promising relationship … or they’re tolerating it because they really like the guy otherwise, but he’s terrible in bed (and gets defensive if even gently corrected).
     
    It’s not just you. :-)

  23. 84
    starthrower68

    Well it’s only fair then, that I get out of the way and let him go have the other woman who will give him what he wants, no? :)

  24. 85
    Princess

    My Alpha male cheated and never apologized, continued seeing the other woman and wanted me to stay too. Instead of him being apologetic he was more upset as to why I “ruined” things for “us” I shouldn’t have snooped and we will all be happy. Well he should blame my intuition it refused to shut up Already! My alpha male was good to my kids and I. He told me he loved me everyday, and I knew he meant it. Evan is right. I was very supportive of his business ventures. He never made a decision without consulting my advice. He knows my intuition is always on point. He did believe in settling down and all and said he will never leave me. Only he didn’t say he will never cheat. We were together for 5 years which by the way is the longest relationship he ever had at 42 years of age.  They usually lasted about 3 months. For some reason we just couldn’t let go of each other. Maybe because he had been cheating all along. Who knows.  Any way i left him. I didn’t give him any ultimatums because I know alphas hate that. I didn’t ask him to break up with her because again alphas hate to be told what to do. I just left and told him he can have the other woman but he can’t have me also. Did he come chasing after me? Nope. It’s been 6 long difficult weeks. But that’s ok too. I learnt from the experience.

  25. 86
    melko

    I have been dating alpha male since 2008, when i am in 2nd year of high school, and he is so full of himself, full of confidence and i like this kind of man. And we broke up at the end of 2011 because i decide to let him go because of his behavior being to harsh on me and talking loud. I know his love for me is pure because i know he has been diligently making money so we can married when we graduate from university (it’s common for girl from my country to married before 25). But his behavior is making me sick. After that, we were seeing another person but the relationship didnt last long. At the end of 2012 we start to comunicate and he keep want to meet me. Doing all kind of thing romantic he never done. Giving all his time for me. Call and message all the time. It was the time we about to graduate. At may 2013 we start dating and it still fun. But not fun anymore since he started his own restaurant so he is so busy to death. And i am feeling annoy with this sudden change so i nag him every single day. And he always mad at me but never say break up. Now since his restaurant system work well, he always spent his leisure time with me. Not my leisure time with him, but i need to wait for his leisure time. He love me for sure and he is kind of guy who never cheat. He ever say to me that he want me the way i am. Just dont do 2 thing : no cheat and no drug. And of course, he is doing the same because those are his standard.
    My tips for girls who are dating alpha male:
    Dont take the lead
    If you ever want something, never tell them to follow your order. It get them irritating. Just casually say your dream when you are laughing together. Example. I craving for dim sum (which he never like to eat, so obviously he will object if i ask him to accompany me). When we at the car and passing dimsum place, i will say that IF WE HAVE TIME i really want to Eat delicious dimsum at there. He probably say he dont like it but dont get into argument. Just let it slide and reply with fun statement. Never pick a date and make him eat what he dont like (remember you are not gonna leading him). Just when he have time and wanna treat you, he will remember your wish to eat dimsum (and he will). If you satisfied his thirst to lead and conquer, he will begin to treat you by doing thing you wanted. The success rate is 70%.
    But remember. To make him feel success in leading and conquer, you should not that type of girl who stupidly listen to anything your boyfriend say. You are the girl who he feel to conquer. You have your own opinion and your own standard. 

  26. 87
    JW

    My bf has told me himself that he is an alpha male- I guess I never really thought to categorise men like this. Previously I only saw partners as either someone I had chemistry with or not. And every time I made poor choices. This time I have felt the strongest connection I have ever felt but I now face an issue that I find painful to deal with. He says I should never say no to him- basically the sky’s the limit- because that’s what he would do for me. Generally I agree, but there are 2 limitations. I would never do anything illegal and he asked me, if he ever suggested a threesome would I say yes. NO. I have struggled with my self esteem all my life and the idea of sharing the man I love with another woman makes me feel like less than a woman. Not just that but we met online, talk every day on Skype, but as we live in different countries, the idea of a threesome before we have been able to be intimate ourselves tears me apart inside. I love him but I don’t want to feel coerced into doing things that make me feel shit about myself.

  27. 88
    Jenniebee

    OMG! I’m freaking with these comments. I am in a relationship with an alpha male and sometimes I can be alpha with a beta male, of which was my ex-husband. I couldn’t stand the beta. I felt like a man. AlphaG is very jealous and the complete description of a true ALPHA. I feel that he dominates me that I almost become zeta which I kind of like. He has this hold on me I can’t walk away from. I am mesmorized. He is very, very high maintenance also. Wears me out sometimes. He does listen and can be very loving when he feels like he is really making me happy and I am cheerful. But if I have too many problems with something he gives me the option to leave him (but I know this is just a tough guy front). Yes he could successfully go on without me but he really doesn’t want to. (I think). To make matters worse this is a relationship that I left my beta husband for of 9 years. I also wasn’t physically attracted to him anymore either. This is not the norm I know but we waited until we were married to have sex. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT that was. Eck. I hate to be so mean. The sex with the ALPHA is wonderful!! I love it. He gets wild and crazy with me. However lately he has been drained from work and he’s starting to get low T I think. I don’t want to be 50 something and a butter divorce’. That is my worst fear. I am 44 with no children and am career driven myself but in a different way. I hope that the good Lord doesn’t look down on me for believing this sometimes but we are both scorpios with the same birthday 5 years apart. I am very much the sensitive type but kind of alpha at times. I would severely be crushed if we couldn’t last. However I am the type that I will give it several years to work and if it doesn’t I will find someone else. I have been married more than once also eeeek.

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