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.

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Comments:

  1. 91
    Bystander

    Everyone seems to be missing an important point. Alpha males are NOT achievers in their careers or business. Beta males are achievers in their careers and entrepreneurs. That is how the stereotype of founders of startup firms never having female company came about to be.

  2. 92
    Lynnie

    An alpha man has mastered his masculine and feminine energies allowing them to work synergistically in their daily lives. He knows how to balance his home and intimate life.

  3. 93
    Sarah P.

    Hello All of You Lovely Ladies,
    (And I sincerely mean this because every woman out there has her own brand of loveliness).  I wanted to chime in to this conversation as a woman who has been married to an “Alpha Male” for 12 years now. A lot of women come to me for advice and ask how I was able to marry someone like my husband. Is it that I am 5 foot 10 and thin with blond hair and blue eyes? No. Do I have a powered career? Used to before our second child was born. Did I make a lot of money? Yes, but before our second child was born and I gave up said career. 

    Here is what I have to say in terms of reflecting on my own situation with an alpha male. My husband is a physician and we met during his last year of residency. By that time I had been working in management in information technology for several years. I also had a masters degree and was well-traveled. He and I met when we were both 29. I think marrying him had more to do with my own perspective and who I was and the fact that I was comfortable in my own skin and did not allow a man to dictate my life or my happiness. When I graduated from high school I knew that I would probably want to marry in my early 30s. I also knew that I wanted a graduate degree and a fulfilling career and that I wanted to travel the world and experience life. Looking back I was the type that broke many male hearts during my 20s. And it wasn’t because I was super gorgeous or anything like that. I was comfortable with in my own skin, I knew what I wanted, and I was intent on becoming a successful, well rounded person. By the time I met my husband I was looking for marriage and I stated earlier upfront what it was I was looking for and who I was looking for. I didn’t worry about turning him off for playing a game because once again I was comfortable in my own skin and I knew my own value. Even though other women fawned all over him I refused to. I had my own money and I was happy at work and I was looking for a certain set of qualities. In essence, I was looking for my own match. But I also had a lot to bring to the table and that I had never been promiscuous, I knew how to cook gourmet meals, I looked after my parents and worked out every day, I had a lot of hobbies that included traveling, reading all kinds of different books, going to the theater or the opera, or on the opposite end rock climbing, some weightlifting, and also volunteer work with animal advocacy groups and children’s advocacy groups. First and foremost I saw that I had value to bring to a relationship. When I dated my husband, I was really spending a lot of time evaluating him and I did not give into his physical advances. In fact, looking back, I believe this was one of the things that really made him interested. For better or for worse, men don’t like it when a woman has had too many lovers. I had made a point to not sleep with very many men at all. It was not because I was conservative but because I see my own body as sacred and special and I’m not going to share it with very many people and so I did not. No was I attractive, that is physically speaking? Well he seemed to think that I was his type. I am about 5 foot six and have porcelain skin, hazel green eyes, and long curly Auburn hair and a natural hourglass figure without having had surgery. 

    I think it was a good match and that’s why we married. He was actually looking for someone who knew how to be a traditional woman and you knew how to cook and who wanted children. I fit the bill. But he also considered me and intellectually and he still says I am his intellectual superior.

    Now being married to a doctor is not easy. I tell you that each week there is a new nurse or medical assistant who is trying to flirt with him. For a long time I will admit that I was very irritated by that. But I came back to realize that once again I have inherent value. I have also not allowed myself to get lazy. Currently I run a freelance business from home, I take care of her two sons, I publish books, and I do what is necessary to more or less keep a prepregnancy figure. That involves a lot of working out and not eating whatever I want. But most of all I remain interested in life and my own hobbies. But aside from all that, my husband considers me to be his best friend since we have a lot in common in terms of both moral values, goals in life, and even hobbies and interests. 

    I know full well that one day I could be traded in for a new model as they say. But I realize I cannot control the things that other people do and I can only control what I do. I am the type who will be on a constant path toward self mastery and trying to achieve excellence in whatever I do. Still, my family is the most important thing in my life and creating a nice household with lots of good food and lots of nurturing and understanding and love is the most important thing to me. 

    From time to time women ask me how I married a doctor, as if it’s some kind of prize. And what I say is it is simply a case of matching. I was just as successful as he was, but we also deeply understood each other on a personality level and we had complementary qualities as well. I never played games with him and I was always warm and nurturing while setting boundaries and not taking any kind of behavior that I felt was a violation of my boundaries.

    So, marrying an alpha can absolutely be done but it truly is a game of matching. You need to be more or less equal to him in one way or another. Doesn’t mean you have to have a high-powered career. But you should probably pursue Life as passionately lady as he does and be able to bring a lot to the table even if it’s not monetary. Most of all don’t ever give up a part of yourself for an alpha male just to please him because it doesn’t work. This is especially true when it comes to sexuality. Make a man earn your affections. 

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