How Can I Improve Interaction with My Beta Boyfriend?

How Can I Improve Interaction with My Beta Boyfriend


Hi Evan,

I’ve been reading your advice for years and am a huge fan! You’re genuine with your words and you provide a unique, real voice that is not offered by other dating coaches/advice columnists.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to look for an answer to my dilemma. I’m nearing 30. I always had great luck with men when I was in my early to mid-20s. It was easy for me to fall in love and to find guys who were romantic, sweet, and masculine. Then, as I entered my late 20s, I felt a change in lifestyle, during which my career started to flourish, and I started to focus on work, home, and dating seriously, with the hope for long-term commitment. Evan, I’m a real go-getter and everything in my life is successful except my personal life. I’ve tried to not push commitment and instead tried to go with the flow with my boyfriend who I really, really wanted to be with but who ended up telling me he wasn’t over an ex, so he couldn’t commit to me. The breakup was recent but not too shocking, so while I still cringe when I think of it, I decided it’s best to move on.

Since then, I was set up by a family member and been dating a nice guy that you would label a beta male. He has a very good, high-paying tech career, has made a home, and, the best thing, my family already knows and likes him! But he’s pretty passive and a bit socially awkward. For example, on our first date, which he initiated and even picked me up for, when the bill came, he shyly asked if I wanted him to pay for dinner or if I wanted to split the bill. Most guys I’ve dated wouldn’t ask, they would just pay for the bill (especially on the first date)! I’m sure it’s not because he had a horrible time or because he’s broke (he makes more than I do). I made a bold move and said he can pay for it. He then smiled and agreed and we continued our date, which involved a romantic walk through his favorite part of the city. I believe he asked me about paying because he didn’t want to make me go on a date with him if I didn’t want to and offered to allow me to pay for myself as if we were only eating dinner as friends. Pretty awkward, huh!?

Still, I enjoy his company and we have similar interests and goals, so I have continued to date him. So far, we’ve gone on five more dates, slowly getting to know each other. He’s continued to exhibit awkward, indecisive beta male behavior: speaking softly at loud bars, asking me for directions to restaurants, and taking a loooong time to plan a date! It’s kind of driving me nuts! But I feel like we have a lot of promise, so I’d like to stick around and see things through.

I would love your advice on how to be patient with a beta and how to date one without feeling like the one who wears the pants. I’ve read in your articles that this is normal for women who are career-driven and intelligent–we are like the female equivalents of “nice guys”. I don’t want to date an alpha male; they are too competitive with me and bring unneeded drama into my life. I believe I’ll do better with a guy who is more thoughtful and sensitive, but still successful and responsible, like my current guy. Please provide a guide to alpha women, who have realized their faults and are trying to change the men they date for the better but are struggling through the alpha-to-beta culture shock!

Thank you, Evan! And keep doing what you’re doing! We love you!

I like this email — and not just for the complimentary words bracketing Sam’s question.

What I respond to most is Sam’s self-awareness — and before I answer your question, my friend, I want you to know that I am not at ALL worried about you. Women who look internally for answers are the ones who reap their just rewards, and given your ability to take responsibility for shifting your choice in men, it is only a matter of time before you meet Mr. Right.

Women who look internally for answers are the ones who reap their just rewards, and given your ability to take responsibility for shifting your choice in men, it is only a matter of time before you meet Mr. Right.

So here’s the deal:

A big part of dating is trusting that when you connect with your future husband, things will just organically feel good. Not white-hot chemistry. Not an immediate and blinding soulmate connection. More like you feel like you’ve been friends with this person for your entire life and you can let down your guard and be yourself. Moreover, you feel like you see this person in the best possible light.

Does that describe the beta male you’ve gone out with five times?

I don’t think so.

So please don’t fall into the trap that so many readers do.

You wean yourself off of selfish, narcissistic, emotionally unavailable alphas.

You try out a beta. He turns out to be TOO beta/awkward/nerdy/unattractive. So you revert right back to your old behavior, having determined that betas are all too awkward/nerdy/unattractive.

Do you need to be more patient with betas? Sure.

Do you need to give them more guidance, positive reinforcement, and support? You betcha.

Do you need to view them for their strengths — their patience, their kindness, their warmth, their easygoing nature? Absolutely.

Consider this part of a learning process instead of thinking that you should have already reached your destination.

But do you have to stick with THIS guy? Not at all.

Consider this part of a learning process instead of thinking that you should have already reached your destination. You’ve now learned about two types of guys who are not right for you — emotionally unavailable alphas, and painfully awkward betas.

Your next boyfriend — I guarantee you — will be somewhere in between.

Join our conversation (72 Comments).
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  1. 1

    Could people please stop spreading alpha/beta nonsense? If you consider the guy beta, why are you even dating him?


    Just tell him that as the guy, he should pay. Inform him of Google Maps when he needs directions and suggest to him that you want to go out more often, even on quick easy dates that don’t require much forethought.


    Use your woman Magic to convince him he’s powerful and awesome and he might start acting like it.

    1. 1.1

      In addition, don’t just expect men to just “get” how you want him to be. Let him know your preferred style of dating (I.e. “I love it when a guy is decisive and takes care of everything”) and if he’s on board for you he’ll likely step up.


      Don’t just sit there and think ” this guy is not reading my mind, but I dare not tell him lest he actually do what I want him to do.” If the guy is not giving you what you want, he will continue to not give it to you until you let him know what it is. Many a good man was passed up due to this desire for men with psychic abilities and possible vampirism.

      1. 1.1.1


        I do understand the frustration with the expectations of having to read womens’ minds. However, the OP stated that, “ He’s continued to exhibit awkward, indecisive beta male behavior: speaking softly at loud bars, asking me for directions to restaurants, and taking a loooong time to plan a date! It’s kind of driving me nuts!”

        Richard, this is simply the man’s character. It goes way beyond her just telling him what she likes. This is who he is.   He is indecisive, lacks confidence, and socially awkward.   I fail to understand how this has anything to do with the OP speaking up on what she wants. In fact, what the OP wants is clearly at odds with the core personality of this gent.   And, if she continues to date him, she will continually grow to be annoyed and disenchanted. He is not a turn on and won’t be for most women.

        So I agree with Evan.   She has to let him go because she will HAVE to wear the pants in this relationship.

        1. Christine

          I agree with you Stacy because I have been there and done that.   I could have written the above letter almost word for word, until I met my boyfriend.   At least from what I read, it sounds like the writer is making the same mistake along her learning curve as I did.   After dating domineering control freaks, I swung too far to the other extreme, and she might be doing the same thing.   However, we don’t necessarily have to date passive and awkward men to avoid the pitfalls of those domineering, unavailable ones.   It’s not all-or-nothing.   I think that she’ll discover, as I did, that there really is a happy middle ground between the domineering men and painfully awkward men.   My boyfriend is kind and patient, but also has a spine and can make decisions (i.e. he pursued me, paid for dates, planned them, initiated all contact between dates, etc.) Confidence, decisiveness, kindness and patience aren’t mutually exclusive with one another.

          Well, I can think of some women who really are happy wearing the pants in the relationship.   However, I think this writer should let him go because she doesn’t sound like one of them.   By her own account after just a few dates, he is already driving her nuts.   I think she’d be doing them both a favor by letting him go, so they can both find better matches.

        2. jon

          I agree with Richard and this beta male sounds like a great loyal catch. Loyal men who want to be fathers and faithful husbands are difficult to find, and Sam has already been dumped by a lot of Alpha Males. There doesn’t seem to be any other Alpha males rushing to marry Sam. Is the Beta male good looking, is he good in bed? There are plenty of inexperienced nerdy Beta males that have to learn to become good boyfriends and good husbands. Single women are attracted to married men because they’ve been trained to an Romantic by their wives. Men learn to be good boyfriends through trial and error, and what behaviors a gf can tolerate. Without girlfriends, men would be content sitting at home all day playing video games in their underwear. Its weird that Alpha Feminists desire the Alpha Male Caveman Cheaters. I would think that a Feminist who wants to get married would gladly marry a Beta male that is loyal and a good husband. Its 2015, lets get rid of Traditional Gender Roles with domineering husbands.

    2. 1.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      It’s not nonsense, Richard. While women in relationships do have to speak their minds and let well-meaning guys know how to please them, it shouldn’t be that difficult. It’s not her job to coach him up to being more confident/secure, not when there are no shortage of guys out there who can make a couple of decisions without a cattle prod.

      1. 1.2.1

        This, and your response to the letter writer is the correct advice. She isn’t asking for a mind reader, she’s asking for a guy with the bare minimum of sociosexual competence, as well as self confidence. This chump has neither.


        I suspect Richard is protesting because he sees himself in the description of the squishy beta in the letter.

        1. Stacy

          I had to LOL at this. Sorry

        2. Richard

          Think whatever you want, McLovin. I’ve been in too many situations where a woman would act strange and would expect me to “know” what was going on when I had legitimately no clue. I feel pretty competent with people and I go out of my way to pay, plan dates and makes all sorts of decisions quickly and I never ask for directions, so really I just want honest communication and no mind games. I’m looking for someone to marry, not someone to reenact Fifty Shades of Grey with.

        3. DeeGee

          +1 Richard   I have to agree with Richard somewhat here.

          While Evan is correct that she should probably not get involved with this “beta-male” (* I hate those terms), Richard is also IMHO on in his assessment — if the beta male in the letter has no idea what she likes, and she never gives him any feedback, then their dates are going to be frustrating for the both of them.   Granted, the guy in the letter is too “beta”.   But finding common ground with many women is difficult (I have been out with ones like that).

          * I myself am somewhere between an alpha and beta male, so what does that make me?   Normal?
          Finding the happy medium between taking charge (and appearing too overbearing) and taking her feelings into consideration (asking her what she likes to do), is often made impossible by many women because they falsely believe that “men should just automatically know” — and if he doesn’t then he is a “beta-males”.

        4. Evan Marc Katz

          Jesus, this really isn’t that complicated. No one suggested that all “alpha” guys are insensitive boors. And I believe I’ve mentioned a few hundred times that women have to be direct and communicative in order to show men how to please. But this guy seems to be weak, spineless, opinionless, etc. Pointing out what “women” do wrong is pretty irrelevant in this situation, which is why it’s useless to harp on it.

        5. jon

          There are plenty of men that are scared of women, scared of rejection, and become socially awkward trying to do the right thing/say the right thing/not say the wrong thing.   There are also plenty of nice shy girls that live in fear of making the first move, saying the wrong things, being too needy/desperate.   My point is that Sam sounds like a strong-minded Alpha woman, and probably comes off as intimidating – scaring away both Alpha Men and Beta Men.   It takes time to learn and grow in a relationship.   I think single women and men make the mistake into believing that there are “naturally alpha” or “naturally perfect” men and women out there.   In reality, there is a process and journey to learn to become comfortable and attractive to the other genders.   Different women like different men, so its hard to predict how one girl will respond to different habits.   There are also Beta guys and Beta girls that prefer to play it safe and never show too much aggression or argument.   But if you want to get married I think the most important trait is mutual loyalty.

      2. 1.2.2

        Evan, your comment appears to contradict what you previously wrote in your original response to the OP: “Do you need to give them more guidance, positive reinforcement, and support? You betcha“.   But I’m guessing you don’t agree ..   To Richard’s point, I too have seen far too many women expecting a man to just ‘get it’ (e.g. – ready her  mind).

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          I don’t see it as a contradiction. I see it as part of a continuum – like all behavior, really.

          The same way a guy can have road rage twice a year and not have an anger management problem.

          There are alpha males who are rich, charming and brilliant – who may not be worth the trouble.
          There are beta males who are selfless, generous, and sensitive – who may not be worth the trouble.

          If you DO think someone is worth the trouble, you’ll have a more effective relationship if you can set healthy boundaries and warmly convey your needs.

          In THIS instance, I don’t think the guy is worth the trouble.

        2. Joe

          But  you really don’t have enough information to make that determination.

      3. 1.2.3

        Like  it or not, the alpha/beta thing actually IS nonsense.

        It’s weird how dating coaches insist on using an old analogy from a zoological concepts that zoologists have already debunked….decades ago.   There’s actually no such thing as “an alpha wolf,” or “alpha” members of any other species, including humans.   Trying to squeeze complex human beings into such a simplistic and outdated paradigm is terribly misguided.

        Given the reality that the alpha/beta paradigm doesn’t  actually reflect any of the things that we can actually observe   here in the actual world, it’s time for you to find a better analogy than that.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          If you can’t tell the difference between a confident and assertive guy who goes and gets what he wants (alpha) and a shy, insecure guy who needs tons of positive reinforcement to take action (beta), you’re willfully blind.

          These are simply shorthand labels to describe observable behavior.

          So, unless you’re living on a rock, you either object to the labeling of any behavior or the specific alpha/beta labels themselves. But, since everyone seems to understand what “alpha” behavior is, it’s as useful as describing a guy as “tall” or “fat”. Or are those labels objectionable, too? After all, you can always, say, “Fat, compared to what?” or “Fat, by which society’s standards?” To which I reply, if you choose to live in a world without adjectives, that’s your prerogative, but I’m gonna keep on using them.

        2. Stacy

          Emily, I have to disagree.

          And I would say that it is just as misguided to classify ‘complex human beings’ into the same category as animals for every example.   There are a lot of who we are, especially based on our personalities and upbringing, that is quite different from the animal species.

          Of course there isn’t pure beta or pure alpha. It is just a way of categorizing (like anything else we decide to categorize) a man who lies on different spectrums of the masculinity scale.   We know there is not 100% truth to it but it gives us a way of simply analyzing a broad category of traditionally masculine behavior. And before the feminists pound my head off, yes, there are TRADITIONALLY masculine and feminine traits. Doesn’t mean these traits aren’t interchangeable or always true (in case someone comes in and tells me that Aunt Suzie is just as physically strong and macho as Uncle Henry).


        3. popee

          Sorry Emily there is truth to the beta/alpha classification in dating, just as there is truth to the career women with masculine energy vs. the caring/nurturing women who are more comfortable with feminine energy.

          The beta guy described might be a better match to a woman who likes calling the shots and making the relationship decisions, he is not a great match to the OP, obviously.

          I went on a first date with a guy I continue to date and I remember clearly he made plans right away on the message stage “are you available friday 7pm for dinner at X?” and made the decisions and paid for dinner and took the lead. That made him VERY attractive, esp. in comparison to other men, because he was able to communicate interest in very clear terms that way and to assert his energy instead of the beta guy who waits for you to do everything or acts insecure until he is 100% sure you like him.

        4. CrazyCanuck

          I agree this alpha male and beta male is really nonsense. The term alpha male is really about disposability. It’s not something you want to be. Why do you think men die earlier than women? It’s because they are worked to death and these men tend to have depression from working long hours and not spending time with their loved ones.

          If you think dying earlier than a woman is a good thing be the alpha male you want to be, maybe I’ll be at your funeral and telling I told you so.

      4. 1.2.4

        Wow – I agreed with McLovin.   Someone pinch me!

        🙂    Seriously,   I have experienced the  phenomenon that  Evan described in his response.   I tried really hard to broaden my attraction and be receptive to betas, after ending  a relationship with a neurotic, noncommittal alpha male, and then reading “Marry Him” shortly after.

        I began dating basically who ever was remotely appealing and “good on paper” with regard to shared interests, ambition, and was respectful,   even when the writing was on the wall that the guy was a poor communicator, lacked social skills or had other issues.   I gave 3 to 4 dates with guys who were totally socially awkward, and/or displayed clear signs of unhealthy attachment styles.

        Since then I have still kept an open mind but I have also discovered that a lot can be gleaned from observing a guy’s communication patterns, and interrelations with others.   I still lean in favor of giving an awkward guy a second chance, but I will end things if by the end of the second date I am not seeing potential and healthy, normal attachment style.

        I have to wonder if OP would even be considering this guy but for the guy’s pre existing relationship with her family.

        1. McLovin

          Basically a long way of saying what is lesson #1 in the manosphere:


          Attraction cannot be negotiated.

      5. 1.2.5

        Well  the  thing  is  that 90%  of  men  fall  somewhere  in-between the  alpha/beta  extremes.

      6. 1.2.6
        Nikki Simon

        This particular guys ‘seems’ to be insecure. And that will be the problem; when you realise that you’re spending 95% of your time reassuring him, and only 5% enjoying your time together. If that’s the case, it’s a rather manipulative move on his part, where you put yourself on the line and say how much you like him, and why you like him, and doing what you can to feed his ego, all the while not getting a lot back in return from him…besides him being a ‘nice guy’.

    3. 1.3

      Love your comment Richard! Totally agree!

      I would not give up on this guy so quickly, he doesn’t sound like a bad guy, maybe he needs a little guidance in the beginning but I bet he’s a quick learner!

      New relationships are tough sometimes and everyone is different. So he may have dealt with a very different woman in the past who wanted to pay for everything (you know the type, the woman who thought she was the guy and had to prove herself)

      Give it time before you walk away from someone who might be a great catch. Get to know him before you label him and put him in the unwanted pile.

      No one’s perfect and I’m sure your not either. If he’s a good guy, makes you happy when your together just enjoy it and see what happens!

      Treat him like he’s got it all figured it and watch him blossom! Be grateful for the nice things he does and he’ll do more! Show your respect and gratitude and watch his awkwardness turn to Confidence, thanks to you!

      Take your time and get to know each other, it sounds like you like him.

      Good luck!

  2. 2

    Wow, I feel inspired reading your letter.   There IS hope for women out there if they can be as reasonable and self-aware as you.   I feel your pain.   I’m fairly driven and career oriented but also have softer parts to my personality for the right guy.   Before my husband, I had a similar problem….the alpha male was too alpha and was too strong willed for me but the beta male just irritated me because he never took charge and I sometimes felt like his mother or older sister.   I think the trick is to find a guy who has a good mix of both.   He’s alpha when he needs to be and beta the rest of the time.   They do exist :).

    The only meaningful advice I can offer with this guy is to not force it.   You WILL end up resenting him if you keep having to encourage him to make decisions and be more proactive.   When you know him well enough, it might be worth mentioning that you find it attractive when your man takes the initiative and makes decisions.   See what he does with that.   All this alpha/beta stuff aside, how do you feel when it’s just the two of you with no outside forces?   Do you find yourself deeply interested in his company?   If so, it might be worth waiting for him to realize his alpha side.   If not, I promise that eventually frustration will get the better of you 🙁

  3. 3

    OP, I agree with Evan that your introspection is useful, but I wonder if you are focused on the right areas.

    It is difficult to know much about a person you have only known for a few dates.   You know if you find him physically attractive or not.   You know what he does for a living and some superficial details about his life.   You know if you’ve had fun on your dates thus far.   And, really, that’s about all you know, and you base your decisions of whether to continue dating on that.

    Now, let’s look at your description of this man.   You describe him as having a good job and being liked by your family.   But conspicuous in its absence is any sense of whether you find this man attractive or not.   Similarly, you’ve stated that you didn’t really have fun on your dates and didn’t really like him all that much (or, at least, you found elements of his behavior off-putting).   Frankly, it sounds like the only reason you are dating this guy is that you’ve done a 180 from the guys you dated in the past.   The only reason you’d continue dating him is in the hopes that you can change him.

    It is not for you to try to change this man, to “save” this man, or try to “re-educate” this man.   He is who he is, and he will either change or not as he sees fit.   It is for you to decide whether you like him or not. Seems like not.


    Bottom line – don’t date a man you aren’t attracted to and whom you don’t really like, just because he meets some list of rational criteria you think you “should” want.   Women who do just that often think they have “matured”, but they haven’t.   They’ve only substituted one mistake for another.

  4. 4

    Oh heck. I could tell the same story. I now have been exclusively dating a beta male for nearly a year and I do find it frustrating that I often have to give direction to our relationship and that he lets his ex wife and children push him around. He is a little difficult   to talk to and is unromantic, but he is a good, kind, fit, intelligent, considerate and committed man who says he loves me. In an ideal world with lots of eligible men, I would probably agree that I could find a better match, but I am 51 and it is incredibly hard to find any decent single fit men at my age, so Evan, would you say that an older woman should compromise more? Because I promise you that there are not hundreds of men lining up to date me or at least not ones that I would want to date (and I am slim, fit and often told by men that I am very attractive, feminine and sexy).

    Sam is 29 and probably has a much greater pool of men to chose from , though I understand her biological clock is possibly starting to tick and put pressure on. But how would you moderate your advice as we get older?

    BTW I’m in the UK and wonder if there are less single men on our dating sites as it is still frowned on to some extend here and I think you are further ahead in the USA.

    1. 4.1

      Miranda, I am in a similar situation as you.

      I am currently 53, trying to date, and having little success.
      There just are not that many people in our age group available, and a good many of them have “let themselves go” in one or more ways.

      And I find that a good percentage of the women are just as looks-oriented and list-oriented as when they were in their 20’s regarding who they will choose to date.   What I call the “princess attitude”.
      I am on a dating site, and I see just as many older women (40s and 50s) only wanting to date guys who are 10 or 20 years younger than them, or rejecting guys around their own age because they don’t look like the 20 to 30 year old men.
      And I have some female friends who are 5 to 10 years younger than me, who would never consider dating me because “I’m too old”, all while they ogle guys who are in their 30’s.   And heaven forbid you call one of them a cougar to her face…

      The only thing I can offer is to find someone whose good points you love and whose bad points you can live with.

  5. 5

    I agree – five dates in and if intuition says things aren’t really clicking it’s highly likely a no go. No need to put oneself through a death march to try to make it work.


    I also, I have to cringe a bit at the incorrect use of the alpha/beta labels in that letter…

  6. 6



    When she expects you to know, and you don’t….YOU FAKE IT!

    And you fake it confidently. You take the lead. A lot of times, she acts like you’re supposed to know, because she doesn’t know either. Something, ANYTHING done decisively and confidently will satiate her.


    If you crash and burn, on to the next one. You LTR  guys are so scared of screwing it up that you screw it up. Your comments scream a scarcity mentality.

    1. 6.1

      And there’s the difference between the alpha and the – well, I wouldn’t even call them betas, but rather below that.

      As much as people hate the terms, the fact is that personalities vary greatly. McLovin just plainly proved that with his post. There’s your alpha personality. That doesn’t mean caveman, pound my chest. But rather decisive, and not intimidated.

      Just like it isn’t bad to be beta or less. Some of those are the kindest, sweetest, most giving people around (both men and women).

      Neither is better or worse than the other. But their responses to situations will differ greatly from each other’s.

  7. 7

    “…given your ability to take responsibility for shifting your choice in men, it is only a matter of time before you meet Mr. Right.”


    I’d have to disagree with this statement.   To the OP, if you are asking for advice on how to change “beta” men for the “better”, then you aren’t really taking full responsibility.   No person should be treated as a project.   However, I do agree with EMK’s advice that you should provide more support, guidance, and positive reinforcement.   I would also argue the guys you have dated in the past weren’t truly “alphas” if they felt the need to compete with you.   They sound quite insecure to me.


    What you can do is change the manner in which you behave in order to maximize the odds that you bring out the “alpha” characteristics in some of these non-alpha men over time.   As you probably already guessed, this means being feminine.   However, many women misunderstand what being feminine means because they seem to think it means that they should just sit back and “receive”, in general.   However, this isn’t the case.   It means that you need to gracefully submit to a man’s lead and support him in his leadership behind the scenes.   More concisely, women need to be good followers.


    Examples include:   help him out by punching in the address of the restaurant in your phone after he picks you up and is driving you there so he doesn’t have to worry about any distractions; be flexible;   initiate walking arm-in-arm to convey that you approve of-and appreciate-his lead (I believe a lot of men don’t don’t think to initiate this, and it has nothing to with “alpha” vs. “beta”, so there is absolutely nothing wrong with the woman initiating it); be flexible; always thank him the next day for taking you out and specifically note what you liked and appreciated about the date; and be flexible!   Finally, a great way to show your appreciation to him for taking you out is to cook for him or bake him some treats.   Very feminine!

  8. 8

    Though I am glad that for once, all the people commenting are sticking to the subject, I do believe that this time, most people who have given Sam advice (which has all been good by the way), have missed the most important factor…


    Sam, maybe this personal story will help. I have dated plenty of women, but I have only had 2 long-term girlfriends (because anything during high school doesn’t count), and I have only been in love once. My first real girlfriend, I met freshman year of college and she was the female equivalent of a Alpha.   She was the most beautiful girl on campus, with an incredibly sexy body (she ran for the track team). She was smart, and career focused (at the time we were dating she was interning as the state senators assistant), but unfortunately like most Alpha’s she was selfish, narcissistic, and emotionally unavailable.

    When we broke up, I was heartbroken, I never felt anything like that type of pain before and I never felt that level of vulnerability. After her, I promised myself that I would never allow myself to be hurt again, so I searched for and found my second girlfriend. I guess you could call her a Beta female. She was smart and kind, average looking, with a average body. But she was painfully shy, and very insecure (I’m a pretty good-looking guy and I was very popular around campus), I thought that because we had so many values and goals in common, that it was worth holding on to and fighting for… Though truthfully, I was just subconsciously trying to find the opposite of my first girlfriend.

    Like me, Sam, I think you are only dating this guy because you were hurt by your ex and like me you went to the complete opposite end of the dating spectrum out of fear of getting hurt again, and because “subconsciously” you felt that someone with less of a mating/sexual market value would be easier to control and give you the attention your ex wouldn’t give you. Plus, this Beta guy is safe. I have a feeling that if you would have met him a few years after your “NOW Fresh” break-up, you wouldn’t have given this guy 5 dates.

    I hope that you are reading this and taking what I say to heart, because all I ended up doing with the second girl was hurting her “unintentionally” emotionally. I knew she was who she was, but I like YOU wanted her to change, so while she fell in love with me, I was so-so about her, wanting her to be more this, or do more of that.

    Sam, I know you maybe still hurting (even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself) from your break-up with your ex, but if you really like the new guy, then let him go, before he becomes too attached. If you let him go now, you will only hurt his pride, but if you wait too long, hoping he will man-up and change, then you will break his heart.   Trust me, I know!


    Oh, and also, like you Sam, I also had friends and family always in my hear telling me how great of a catch the Beta girl was, and that I was being too picky for not see how great of a catch she was. I held on to her longer than I should have partly because of all those whisperers in my ear… I keep thinking, “I couldn’t see it with my first girlfriend and I was wrong about her, so maybe, they are right, and I would be wrong and shallow if I let this girl go”.

    The advice of friends and family are great Sam, but at the end of the day, you should trust yourself and how you feel, even if others (including what Hollywood, romance books, and love songs) are telling you that your feelings are wrong and don’t matter, if they are telling you what YOU should look for and except in a partner.

    1. 8.1

      Oh man, Gabriel. What you described… I was just the second girl. My ex had that “perfect” girl right before me who broke his heart. Now we, too, ended badly, because he feels too awkward and guilty/defensive about hurting me, and I feel too hurt and still too much wishing we could still try… even though I knew in my heart the whole time that he was only so-so about me.

      Anyway, could you do me a favor? Now, with the benefit of time & self-awareness that you have about your relationship with her, what would you say to her to apologize? Or does that even feel like the appropriate response?

      1. 8.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        Hi Kate,

        Men rarely go backwards and rehash relationships, the way women do. Particularly if he wasn’t in love with you, and particularly if he’s the one who broke it out. Once it ended with you, he was moving forward.

        I’ve said it to others and I think it bears repeating, women need to trust her gut. You need to get out as soon as you feel, more often than not, that “…I knew in my heart the whole time that he was only so-so about me.”

        Don’t be with a guy who is so-so about you. Because you’re going to attach, especially after sex. If you continue on with the relationship once you have that feeling, you need to set some boundaries with YOURSELF. “The next time he says X or the next time he does Y, I’m ending it.” When we’re in love we often give men a gazillion chances before we reach that point. So, when you reach that point next time, make sure you follow through.

        Yeah, it sucks to break up with someone YOU care about. But unless HE cares about you in the same way, STAYING in such a one-sided relationship is going to make you bitter and change you for the worse.

        Don’t do that to yourself. As soon as you feel like you’re changing to someone you don’t like, thinking thoughts you never used to think, worry about stuff you never used to worry about, etc., get out. The relationship is making you a WORSE version of yourself, so you need to love YOURSELF more than him and exit the relationship, to save YOU and preserve the unembittered person you were before him.

        1. judy

          Wow! Karmic – that said it so clearly.   Thank you.

          You must be such a great catch.

      2. 8.1.2

        Hello Kate, I apologize for my late reply, but the fall semester just started.

        Anyway the answer is, that he owes you no apology and I do not owe girl B an apology either.

        Remember he did not dump you because he wanted to hurt you, he dumped you because he cared about you and knew that it would not be fair to play with your body, while he didn’t also want your heart, to give you false hope when there was none.

        Read a few old blogs by Evan and you will realize that many women have been with guys who knew they didn’t want her or a relationship with her, but he said and did what she wanted to believe was true, all so that he could continue to have sex with her, until he found a woman that he really wanted to commit to.

        You mentioned that he felt guilty, trust me I can completely relate to that, if he was anything like me. Then Kate you are actually hurting him emotionally, because he isn’t a bad guy, but you are making him feel like one. Keep you and be a bad guy for playing with your heart, or dump you and be a bad guy for breaking your heart. I have been there, please don’t do this to him., let him go, find a guy who sees you as girl his A girl.


  9. 9

    Guys in-between the polarities Evan has described DO exist. I’ve been dating a man for a month who has been incredibly thoughtful and considerate. He is for sure one of the “nice guys,” but he always initiates dates and has ideas for them (eg suggests we go to a film festival, a walk at the beach or he’ll cook dinner for us, though I always feel free to put in my own two cents and choose the restaurant or similar), and phones and texts me in between dates. Though I know spending time with me is a priority he’s no pushover either as I know he likes to have a couple of nights a week to himself when he doesn’t have his kids. The Nice Guy With Balls is not a myth!

    1. 9.1

      Michelle, you’re preaching to the choir since I’m dating one of those too.   Maybe that in-between guy is not only not a myth, but also not as rare as previously thought!   It sounds like you found a keeper and are in for a wonderful experience.   Mine is also very empathetic and kind, but has a spine–he works in a management position and wouldn’t be able to do it if he couldn’t lead.   Before my boyfriend I gave five dates to a really nice but passive guy who couldn’t make a decision to save his life–and have absolutely no regrets about cutting it off when I did.   If I let it drag on for months and months, then I wouldn’t have met the guy I’m with now and really would have missed out on a much better match.   My own two cents is that this letter writer’s time is better spent looking for a nice guy with balls like yours or mine, rather than spending more time with this one.

      1. 9.1.1

        I’m so happy for you Christine! My fella also has a management job – and I can tell his emotional journey after his divorce has helped him grow immensely. He was married to a very strong woman for many years, and post-divorce seems to have reached a good balance of generosity and assertiveness. I’ve found that when I think of something I want to suggest to him, he beats me to the punch and is already on to organizing it. As a strong, successful woman always managing every detail of my life, it’s a welcome breath of fresh air! All the best to you for your relationship! x

    2. 9.2

      These guys do exist and they are essentially the fastest to leave the dating market because of how they can find a match with a huge chunk of women.  Unfortunately for women the same characteristics tend to be a turn off to a all but the that sliver of men who are in the middle. Ie a women has a balance of nurturing and aggressiveness is typically an odd fit for both Alpha and Beta males, where as that flexibility in a man is seen as a positive by most women.

  10. 10

    In my experience, men who ask direct questions less likely to be passive.   Even if the questions   are a little awkward.     Plus he has high-paying tech career so I don’t he think he can be that passive.   Sometimes ambitious and assertive people during the day want take break at night.   I briefly dated a man who use to ask me “Do you want to do the talking?” before ordering.   I though it was a little weird but I think wanted to know who is in charge for the evening.    Me or him.   He served in the military so he may have been accustomed to hierarchy.

    She says “I made a bold move and said he can pay for it.”   Is she really that bold?

  11. 11

    So a guy ALWAYS has to initiate date? Asking for directions is a character flaw? I mean, it sounds really unequal.

    Asking if you wanted to pay for yourself is awkward but I don’t think he wanted to offend you or pressure you. Obviously if you don’t like him, OP, dump him. But I don’t see what’s so appealing about girls who want guys to do everything for them.

    1. 11.1

      Manish, I don’t see anywhere in her post where the OP insinuates a man always has to initiate dates.

      Yes, asking for directions too often from a woman you are just dating IS a flaw. In fact, most women would   prefer you just don’t at all (unless there are unique circumstances such as you being from out of town or new to the area for instance).  You’re taking me on a date, you figure it out (gps anyone)?

      I don’t see where in her post it is implied that she wants a man to do everything.


      1. 11.1.1

        I think one can conclude from the tone and details in the letter that she does expect the man to initiate all the dates, or at least the first six.   This is appara t when she complains about how long it takes him to plan a date.   A good way to separate herself from other women would be to offer to cook for him or bake him a cake or something.   If women want men to be men, then women need to be women, you know?

        1. Cleveland

          Exactly. The power of reciprocity does wonders.

          I’m talking to a woman now who will gladly accept dates whenever I offer and we’ve been out several times. We enjoy each other’s company and I feel like things are moving along well. I’m happy to initiate all dates and I certainly don’t take long to plan anything, but she never offers anything herself, so I’m left feeling like I’m doing all the work while she goes off and does her own thing when I’m not around.

          It’d just be nice if for a change she said “hey, you’ve planned so much already, how about I do something for you this time?”

          Basically, what I’d appreciate is an indication that she’s not just taking all this for granted and that I get some consideration.

          She’s taking a trip, so I won’t see her for a few weeks. We’ve discussed having her over to my place for dinner, so I’ll just have to wait and see how this develops when she returns.

        2. AllHeart81

          Cleveland, she should be inviting you over to her place to cook for you at this point if you’ve planned all the dates thus far.

  12. 12

    Manish 11

    I think what the lady was trying to say was that the guy was indecisive.   Seriously, even as a woman (there I said it), if I’m going somewhere, I usually find out how to get there first!

    But I agree that if she doesn’t like him, she can find someone else.   And yes, I agree that sometimes, women can seem difficult to please, but that doesn’t mean we snap a man’s head off just because……

    Sometimes a man can feel unsure of himself too, can’t he? But in this OP, he sounds like someone a bit wishy washy.

    1. 12.1

      “he sounds like someone a bit wishy washy”

      Judy, but we are only hearing her side of the story.
      She could be projecting.   She could be misreading.   She just might not be that interested in the guy so she is being hyper-sensitive to things he does.
      In any case, it sounds like she doesn’t want to be with him, and is looking for someone else (Evan) to make that decision for her.

  13. 13


    “In addition, don’t just expect men to just “get” how you want him to be. Let him know your preferred style of dating (I.e. “I love it when a guy is decisive and takes care of everything”) and if he’s on board for you he’ll likely step up.”

    I agree with this some extent. I’ve made mistakes in the past, not putting myself forward enough with guys and leaving them  guessing.  I definitely don’t think it should be like drawing teeth for them to date me, but I’m going to make myself a lot more open and communicative. I was with a guy before who would call the shots a lot which was initially attractive but then I realised he never let up and let me have much of a say. He was like that because he was selfish. Then I met a guy who was clearly very caring but confused about what I expected of him (I was wrong to let that go without more dates).


    I totally hear you on this. A couple of years I lost attraction for the selfish unavailable guys  and I hope that will stick. Then I dated a few on the other end of the spectrum and found them unattractive, so I thought there was no hope for me in finding the right guy. Now I realise the right guy is between those two extremes. I’d rather judge a guy on how I find him. I don’t read any blogs or books which talk alpha vs. beta or paint a dichotomous picture of the male-female relationship anymore. It’ll have a bad influence on me.


    “But in this OP, he sounds like someone a bit wishy washy.”

    I  like to make a decision and go with it and expect guy to be more sure of himself in that way. I don’t expect a man not to have insecurities like I do myself though. It’s great if you can have someone decisive and confident enough to make you feel secure in the relationship – that he can defend you in the face of criticism and doesn’t walk away from a problem. But I believe you can be that and not be  a selfish jerk. That’s what I hope to find in a guy.

    It’s easy to dismiss a guy as “beta” when he may not be because of superficial qualities and not giving it enough of a chance. That’s why alpha vs. beta is not allowed into my brain anymore because I don’t want to be making that judgement on a guy.

  14. 14
    Fed. Up.

    Beta this, alpha that. Will you all stop with this nonsense already? People are people, not labels. Just because you look like how society says you should, does not give you the right to put men into boxes. Your “beta” BF should dump you for being so superficial, entitled, and condescending. Then maybe you’d be free to find that prized alpha male who you can show off you all your clucking hen friends. Yawn.

    1. 14.1

      I totally agree. Instead of looking for alpha males, according to some  modern   stereotype, I think women should think about the men they have loved in their lives, old boyfriends, fathers, brothers, male friends, etc., to figure out what kind of men they actually were. I am sure they would find that they liked these guys for their great human qualities rather than for some artificial alpha traits.

    2. 14.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      Every adjective or descriptor is a label. And labels are not nonsense. They’re shorthand. If I say that I’m dating a “golddigger,” does that not connote something? If a woman says she’s dating a “Peter Pan,” you know what she’s talking about. So, short, fat, funny, smart, rich, extroverted… all of them help to paint a picture. The nice thing about alpha and beta is that it connotes a lot of information without a lot of adjectives. So stop insulting my reader and my intelligence. If you want to live in a world where you’re not allowed to describe anybody and everyone is 100% equal, that’s fine. That’s not where I live.

  15. 15

    I think the Sam just isn’t attracted to this man.   She doesn’t really know why but she is searching for reasons especially given that her family already digs him. She is indecisive so it’s only logical that she would hone in on his timid behavior as a reason.      Also there’s no shortage of decisive men but there is absolutely, positively a shortage men with very good high paying careers.   This is a fact.     If she wants a man with a good job, I hope she can find someone else who will “stick around and see things through” with her.

  16. 16

    Lucy 13 – “It’s great if you can have someone decisive and confident enough to make you feel secure in the relationship”

    We are human beings, what happens when he is not decisive and confident enough? Do you then become insecure in the relationship?

    If   he says “I’m not sure ….” or “Maybe I shouldn’t…….”, no way am I going there and will purposely let him make his own decisions.

    I’m his girlfriend, not his mother.


  17. 17

    I don’t really understand what is Sam’s problem?   Does she think the BF is just too passive, weak-willed, and boring?   Is she having trouble relating to him because he is a computer nerd?   She claims to be an alpha woman with a good career, but she doesn’t want to be a feminist when it comes to a relationship!   It seems she wants a strong Alpha male to dominate her.   It sounds like she just likes the charisma of the alpha male.   But if she were a feminist, she wouldn’t mind so much giving a guy directions or planning dates.   Its 2015 and women everywhere have the power to lead a relationship, and she should enjoy this new feminist era, because in the 1950’s mad men era, don draper bossed around all his women.   If she likes this beta male’s looks, likes having a successful BF, then she can coach him up on the social skills of being more outspoken and bossy.

    1. 17.1

      There is no emotionally healthy women that is looking to ‘coach’ her boyfriend into rising to the occasion. Some guidance is one thing, being clear about what you need in a relationship is another. But a fast way to kill the attraction is to put that woman in the rule of ‘teacher’ or ‘coach’.

      1. 17.1.1

        Oh come on, women want Feminism but can’t practice it in their personal lives. If she is turned off by a metrosexual guy, then she deserves to wait for the caveman alpha male to cheat on her. There are far more serious red flags than asking for directions and being a low-talker.   This beta male is not cheating on her, he is not verbally abusing her every day.   If she wants a loyal husband who will become a good father, then this Beta guy seems like a catch.   HERE’S A SHOCKING FACT ABOUT BETA NERDS – They are inexperienced with women and relationships, and a lot of men are also just lazy and clueless.   Unlike Players who can date and dump 100 girls in a year, these Beta Nerds have never had a GF and don’t know how to treat a girlfriend, sad but true.   Virgin girls from 18-35 can play the damsel in distress waiting for her Alpha male.   But there are plenty of awkward male virgins who have to start somewhere, and learn how to be an Alpha male Player caveman.   LOYALTY is a very under-rated trait but it seems like something valuable for a husband and wife.   Girls foolishly think Alpha men are all born as “natural alphas” which is false.   Men become Alphas through experience and coaching from other men and their fathers.

      2. 17.1.2

        Also, most men have poor communication skills and poor social skills.   There are plenty of dumb jocks, muscle-heads, and math geeks that spend their days at the gym, working a blue collar job, or working at a computer.   These men focus on work and don’t spend their days gossiping about celebrities or fashionwear.   There are plenty of women seduced by the charismatic used car salesman, but where are the loyal successful husbands?   Let’s also not blame only men for having poor social skills.   There are plenty of model girls with dull personalities or nice girls who can’t talk to men.   There are plenty of BETA girls and BETA guys who lack social skills.   Men care more about a woman’s looks than personality.   Its single women who want the rare Alpha male combination of good-looks and charismatic personality.   But let’s be honest, the top 10% of hot Alpha males are cheaters because they know they can seduce any woman at any time because other Beta men lack the social skills to talk to women.

  18. 18

    This  letter  doesn’t  sound  realistic. I  mean I know  there  are  guys  out  there  like  the  one she  discribed,  but  that’s a  little  extreme.  So  this  women  goes  from  arrogant,  emotionally  unattached  jerks  to  the  complete  opposite  on  her  first  try?

  19. 19

    I am a mix of a Alpha female and Beta (I think it depends on the dynamic of the relatinnship which one I tend to be) I was with a very attractive beta male and compatability seemed to be around a 10.   After time I became so Alpha, the indecisiveness and having to initiate and feel like I was the man eventually turned me off the chemistry went down hill as soon as we lived together.   I ate him to pieces and caught him doing online dating.   After that I was with Alpha males with high chemistry and average compatability.   One ended it awfully but then tracked me down many years later saying he still loves me, then another one with insane chemistry where making love was not sex but having this connection that could bring you to tears, high compatability but at the stage the timing was off for both parties as we both wanted to persue our careers before settling down ). I’ve been with an Alpha male with Little chemistry and high compatability with the same life goals, comparable education, which then I became more feminine and nurturing and wanted to slow down on the career.   Now that didn’t mean we didnt often butt heads because he is very dominating and controlling but could switch to a beta and be extremely sensitive but the chemistry was low which ended up being a best friend Alpha relationship.   As I’ve been hurt, matured, made stupid decisions, aged, tried to figure out who I am and what I want and etc.   I think it’s important to give every guy a shot, don’t lead on the ones you don’t want to marry, don’t ignore the red flags, and obvious, continue to work on your own issues and trains as we all have some one, keep developing yourself, learn to love yourself and don’t place your self worth on a relationship and in the end regardless of all the advice no person is the same and we still will have no guarantee it will work out or last 🙂


  20. 20

    How to feed your dragon?

    If its a “beta” dragon.   Only one word and many feedings….

    “I need you baby”

    Say this often and hopefully before your beta dragon does.

    Then he’ll be there for you not for himself.   Which is the way of this dragon.

    Simply put.

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