How Can I Improve Interaction with My Beta Boyfriend?
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.