I’m Dating A Passive Beta Male. Is His Behavior Normal?


Hi Evan,

I love your blog and Why He Disappeared. It can be a tough pill to swallow at times, but I appreciate your no-nonsense advice. I’ve had to learn the hard way, that my “go-getter” attitude does not translate well in the dating world. Not doing anything in the beginning stages of dating tends to drive me crazy.

I’ve been dating a beta-male for about a month and a half. He’s a total sweetheart and for the first time in a long time, I feel very safe. He’s kind, attentive and affectionate- when we’re together. He communicates with me daily, mostly through text message, to which I always respond warmly.

Here’s where I’m struggling: I find myself wanting to take over and take control with him sometimes (planning things mostly). I am resisting this urge as I’m trying out your mirroring concept.

My question: We’re texting everyday, but he’ll wait FOREVER, (in actuality, 5-7 days) before asking to see me again. What gives? Is this a downside of dating a typical beta (i.e., no initiative) or is he just not that interested in me? Do I continue to utilize patience or should I move on?

Thanks, Evan!

Dear Michelle,

Thanks for reading “Why He Disappeared — The Smart, Strong, Successful Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men and Keeping the Right One Hooked Forever”. Glad it turned on a few light bulbs in helping you realize how a few of your behaviors have been ineffective in forging a relationship with a man.

But I have to say that if I had to write the whole thing again, I would have taken a few pages to put in a caveat:

This advice doesn’t work for every single woman in every single situation with every single guy. Basically, WHD was written for alpha females who want to date alpha males. It was a way to open your eyes about how the men you’re the MOST attracted to don’t necessarily want to date you in return.

While you’ve adjusted your take-charge attitude, you haven’t adjusted for the fact that you’re NOT dating a take-charge guy.

And in the absence of giving yourself an entire personality-ectomy, the smartest thing you can do is a) be aware of some of your tendencies to dominate and b) find a partner who is cool with them.

You, apparently, have done both of those things, Michelle.   But while you’ve adjusted your take-charge attitude, you haven’t adjusted for the fact that you’re NOT dating a take-charge guy.

Take charge guys are the ones who will always follow up quickly, make plans, make the first move, and claim you as their girlfriends.

Beta guys are the ones who have more kindness than confidence. They’re not nearly as assertive. They’re so passive as to be, well, almost feminine in nature. They are not going to put themselves on the line for rejection until it’s 100% clear that you like them. They would sooner wait to get a written notice in the mail that you’re really, truly interested in them than to follow up too much and potentially make you uncomfortable.

Is any of this hitting home, my friend?

So you’re not wrong to curb a little bit of that domineering side. Where you’ve gone astray is that when you’re with a beta male, you’re ALLOWED to be more alpha. “Doing nothing” as I describe in WHD works with take-charge guys because those guys don’t need you to take charge. Your new guy DOES.

The good news is that, if he’s a true beta, he’ll be THRILLED that you’re taking control.

So instead of extrapolating my advice to apply to every man, make an adjustment based on the man you’re actually dating. The good news is that, if he’s a true beta, he’ll be THRILLED that you’re taking control.

When you’re done reading this, give him a call to find out if he’s around this weekend. You’d like to cook him dinner. I suspect that’s all you’ll need to seduce him into becoming your boyfriend. And if, in fact, he’s just not that into you, you’ll figure that out quickly, too.

For all of the women who are reading this who would not be able to tolerate such behavior from your guy and prefer a take-charge man, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of “Why He Disappeared”. You’ll be very glad you did.

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  1. 21
    Karl R

    Michelle asked: (original letter)
    “he’ll wait FOREVER, (in actuality, 5-7 days) before asking to see me again. What gives?”
    During my first serious relationship, I was rather shy. This caused me to be reluctant to take the initiative. I was comfortable maintaining the relationship at it’s current level, because that was low risk.  Even though I wanted a more serious relationship,  escalating the relationship to a more serious level felt risky … except when I already knew that my girlfriend wanted to get more serious.
    Best case scenario: he’s not sure how you’ll react if he asks you out more frequently, which makes him reluctant to escalate things.
    Robyn said: (#17)
    “If he really wants to see you more than once every 7 days — especially if you’ve expressed interest in seeing him more than once every 7 days — then he will find a way to make it happen.”
    I agree with this assessment. If you let him know that you’d like to see him more frequently, either he will ask you out more frequently, or you’ll know he’s not interested.
    m said: (#5)
    “So … dude gets dinner and the company of his lovely gf.   She has to call him up & invite him, make the plans, buy the groceries, plan the meal, make the whole thing (three courses at least, I’m sure), find the time to decorate both the house and herself, and charm him all evening …?  I hope dude brings at minimum his best behavior, some thanks for the excellent meal, and two bottles of her favorite wine.”
    I agree with Frimmel (#12). Reverse the genders and it’s a normal date night from a man’s perspective. If things go well, he gets her best behavior and some thanks.
    I’ve never gotten two bottles of wine out of the deal.
    You have a very one-sided view of “reciprocity”.

  2. 22

    @Frimmel –
    Not the first idea where you were going with that.   Principally becaus:
    a) two words:   wage gap.
    b)   in the scenario you’ve pseudo-created up there (seriously, dude; you’re going to just jack my hypothetical?   Maybe a little originality next time) “gal” is usually, at minimum, the sous chef and doing the dishes.   At least *this* gal is, when her man offers to cook dinner.   I don’t know what lazy girls *you’re* dating — maybe that’s worth some thought on your part.

  3. 23

    I was married to a passive beta male for 12 years.   It was very difficult.   

  4. 24

    I suppose some betas fall into this category, and some don’t.   Perhaps others are more omega as Henriette likes to call them (I think that’s quite witty and cute).
    In high school, my   beta ex didn’t ask me to be his girlfriend until he was sure I liked him…but we never went out on dates – it was just the ultimate question.   Now in my 20s, I’ve noticed that betas will text and make plans for dates.   If I went on one date, and I’m receptive to their texts afterward, they will ask me out almost immediately.
    I’ve honestly never experienced a beta who didn’t ask me out on dates if I was communicating openly with him, so this is a bit weird to me. Believe me, I’ve been out with some pretty shy guys.   So if he didn’t make plans, I would think he wasn’t interested much like the writer.
    Perhaps if he is expecting her to make plans…or doesn’t know what to plan, that would make sense.   If it bothers her, I would just tell the guy that I would like it if he planned some activities that he enjoys.   I would hate to just do things I want to do.   Switching it up is fun.   Tactically, this is fairly assertive…I use it on my boyfriend sometimes. ha

  5. 25

    I’m just so excited to even see this post about men who aren’t necessarily take charge all the time.   I wish more dating advice folks would speak more to this.
    And yes, Evan do add that caveat to Why He Disappeared.   Maybe a section on why the beta (for lack of a better term for it I can think of at his second) disappeared?   So much advice is based on the idea that men like to be men and pursue and that a woman be in her feminine energy and let him do that.   Well, much of your advice Evan is like that. But as someone above said, it’s not always so binary.   Sure a woman should adjust to the man she’s with but if she’s asking advice or reading books, she’s not sure who she’s got just yet.
    Even though I don’t believe males and females are always so squarely one way or the other, I do wonder if the less assertive male ever changes. You once wrote that men don’t go both ways and I think about that.   Sure, a woman can take charge now and then but with some men she’ll always have to take charge.   I really hope there are more men out there in the middle.   But not much advice out there talks about that.
    Anyway, just so pleased that you chose this letter. More info on different types of men and women!

    1. 25.1

      I really don’t know any men who wishes to be dominated by women, lol 😀 only in bed tough heheheh.Oh well, I don’t know, you Americans and Brits make dating sound pretty darn repulsive in Europe it’s quite simple!.You ask people, and they either reject you in a polite manner, or they give you a chance and you start dating!.There are no “games” because that is the mark of broken societies!.
      Three   things that is actually slowing U.S:Broken Society and Sex wars
      Constant global conflict, and warfare caused by your agencies
      Media brainwashing, and poor educational system….
      So when all is said and done, you can’t even blame people for behaving as you do that was installed upon you.One more thing using terms such as Alpha and Beta is dehumanizing to the very least!.You need to remove your prejudices, and stereotypes, if you wish well upon your society, it’s really that simple my dear woman!.  

      1. 25.1.1

        Your best post this thread. I guess we should all stop pyschoanalysing. I would hate to have a guy constantly taking advice online and trying to get into my head – it’s complicated, believe me. I can’t even figure myself out sometimes.

      2. 25.1.2
        William Brown

        I agree. I think the labelings alpha and beta is irrelevant because we as human being are not monolith beings. How one act or behave one day maybe   different the next. Hell I can be alpha, beta, gamma, delta, zeta, and/or omega all at the same time.

  6. 26

    M in #23
    With regards to A, this is not the blog/place for that discussion. I’ll just throw out my own old canard — fatality gap. Men are 92% of workplace fatalities (yes I can link to the stats.) I’ll also ask again, “Do men have to pay for dates because they make more money or do they make more money because they have to pay for dates?” I’m willing to leave it at that in a we’ll have to agree to disagree and will cede you the final word.
    With regard to B, I’m simply pointing out you most likely wouldn’t date a man with the attitude you expressed. But did you consider how that attitude sounds to men? But as Karl R. pointed out it is the expectation nearly all the women here expressed/express. It is business as usual for men. Men make plans. Men take charge. Men pay. Men initiate. Men step up and take responsibility. Men earn a woman’s affection.
    But then you want to throw out “wage gap?”
    For most guys, they follow orders. We do what others tell us at work. For most men, particularly men under thirty/thirty-five they’ve been taught all their lives to respect and defer to women. Women teachers. Their mother who divorced their father that they never got to see. “Don’t be that guy.” Look at the derision in which the “Game” guys/PUA are typically held for what at   reducto ad absurdum amounts to “stop putting women on a pedestal.”
    Men’s spaces in society have been eliminated. The person at work who tells him what to do is just as likely to be a woman as a man. A woman might have gotten the scholarship and his place in the prestigious school. Then she got his job and expected him to pay for dinner after condescending to go out with him.
    Fathers on TV are held in contempt and constantly portrayed as dupes and idiots. “Middle aged straight white male” is frequently used as derogatory. Unless the “bad guy” in movies is a middle eastern terrorist he’s probably a white male. There aren’t a lot of positive images of masculinity allowed. You should here a couple of my married men friends when I tell them they can’t defer to their wives all the time. They can’t process it.
    Yet many of the women in this thread seem a bit out of sorts that men aren’t manly enough?

  7. 27

    Mirroring is a great concept, and works wonders in all walks of life. Actually, it is a concept that I heard about many years before this blog, in a game theory class (prisoners dilemma, etc). It boils down to the following common sense advice: give reward for behavior that you like, withhold reward for behavior you dislike.
    So, Evan’s advice in this case is to discontinue mirroring, which I find illogical. I find it strange that this concept would not apply to the so-called beta men.   I think we need Evan to elaborate a bit more on this.
    By the way, I am married to someone who was shy and would not hit on a woman even if she was walking around with a huge sign “I have a huge crush on you” on her head.   Getting him to the point of claiming me as his girlfriend took months, and then it took almost five years of ripening to the idea that he wants to marry me (I knew much earlier than him, but bit my tongue, and waited). I never dared to rush him, now I am wondering whether I could have had things faster.

  8. 28

    The problem is that you don’t know whether you’re dating a beta or a guy who is not just that into you.   How are you supposed to tell the difference?
    Evan gives advice here as though this guy were definitely a beta as the OP said, so give him a chance.   The problem is that this is also the way a guy acts when he’s not that interested, but might as well get some free sex (and meals while he’s at it). We have nothing but the OP’s word to go on that he’s a beta. The truth is that the OP herself may not know.
    Tom answered in another page that he didn’t act interested or initiate  for two ladies who were into him at the same time. he said that if they had taken a step back and saw how little effort he was putting into being with them, they would have stopped after a few days. This OP hasn’t stopped after a month. It makes you wonder if her guy is like Tom (just not that interested) rather than being beta.
    Sorry OP. Being “kind, attentive and affectionate” is not that much effort. I can do that to anyone I’m not into, and it just sounds like justification for you wanting to stay with him.

  9. 29

    How are we defining Beta/Alpha? I as well think these are bogus terms. To me a true ‘Alpha’ is someone with real power and runs a company with thousands of people under his leadership. Someone like Obama or Gates. Most men by my definition would be considered Beta.
    Anyways, I had one guy hit on me and was very aggressive but I would classify him as Beta. Very passive, not really a strong leader. He obviously was hungry for a girlfriend and I wasn’t interested in him but I think Betas can be aggressive when necessary.

    1. 29.1

      LOL! Are you serious? My life coach would laugh his ass off, like I am, right now, about your definition of what an ‘alpha male’ really is to you…because it’s so shallow, close-minded, and selfish.

      I don’t mean to offend you, but comments like yours, make me smile 🙂

      If power and money is all you care about, then more ‘power’ to you lol xD

      By all means, if buying your love and bribing you is what it takes to get you in bed, then I salute you Paula.

      In what way was the guy hitting on you aggressive?

      ‘Hungry for a girlfriend?’, so that tells me he exhibited behavior that he was desperate, am I right?

      Are you sure you didn’t just mistake ‘aggressive’ for confident?

      1. 29.1.1

        I think you misunderstand her message.

        The ability to get money and power like Obama and Gates is what makes them alpha.   Not the money and power itself.

        In her beta example, the inability to control his own emotion makes him a beta.     Hence her aggressive beta example.

  10. 30
    Karl R

    Kiki said: (#28)
    “So, Evan’s advice in this case is to discontinue mirroring, which I find illogical. I find it strange that this concept would not apply to the so-called beta men.”
    You misunderstand how this works. Even for men (under more normal dating situations), the concept of mirroring still has value. It just changes slightly.
    When I was dating my wife (and previous girlfriends), I didn’t start out by mirroring them. Instead, I initiated, then watched to see if they were mirroring me. If not, I adjusted my actions to a more appropriate level based on their response.
    For the most part, I was effectively mirroring the woman’s response to my behavior. The only times I moved beyond that was when I wanted to move the relationship to another level. After taking the initiative, I sat back and waited to see what the response would be.
    josavant said: (#29)
    “The problem is that this is also the way a guy acts when he’s not that interested,”
    Women (usually) don’t take the initiative. However, I’m willing to bet each woman recognizes the difference in how she acts when she’s dating a man that she’s into versus one she’s indifferent to.
    It’s less obvious, but there still should be some indications.
    m said: (#23)
    “two words:   wage gap”
    Does that mean that you do all the planning and paying when you’re dating a man who earns less than you?
    If not, I fail to see where “reciprocity” enters your equation.

  11. 31

    I call this “Good House Keeping”
    This man is an Alpha in Beta’s clothing.   Sets her up, and keeps her wondering.
    So mm.. an Alpha and a Player.   She thinks she has all the power of Olympus he stacked the cards in her favor.   She thinks he’s as sweet as the pie she made him.  
    She originally feels in control until she feels totally out of control.   She’s now under his thumb because he’s sent her mixed messages.   He’s aware of it, she thinks he is not aware because she thinks he’s “just” a Beta.   Oh, he’ll be back alright, but this time she’ll be opening the door to his Alpha and his Omega. Tables will turn and if she’s not on her best behavior for him, he’ll manipulate her into being that. Why?
    Because he can leave.   Anyone on the planet with 1/2 a deck knows all about wanting what we can’t have.   Anyone exercising that knowledge for power and control is a player, abuser, the list goes on in all the wrong directions.
    She can stop this by doing a few things.
    1) What the hell on gods good earth is he doing in her house?
    My place and address are totally off limits to you until you’ve proven your trust and a healthy character.
    2) She’s let down her guard.   Allowing in all his fancy niceties, means nothing.   Acting 101 can do that.   Let her see him with people, friends, public in a crowd.
    What the hell has happened to “courting” it doesn’t happen in a box with a fox. Well that is were you’ll find them.   Those foxes.   Get the hell out and into a crowd.   Observance is crucial to figuring out an others character.   Lets see how he deals with my brothers or the waitress or his buddies or my buddies. Getting you alone, on your turf, true nonsense and dangerous.   
    4) She waits…… for what?   for her abandonment issue to be soothed through the very guy that is causing them.   Time waits for no one and it’s the only thing in life besides our own skins that we actually in the REAL world have a DATE with.   
    Let him NOT call her all he wants. Her time limit has expired, obviously and with good reason, she hears her instincts but negates them.   
    5) Have a good life, a busy happy one.   Where you won’t feel tempted to prove your worth or busy yourself in others’ affairs.   
    If he calls she should say “Oh, hello, how have you been, so many wonderful things happening this week”   
    Not as a ploy, a cover, a curt, but because SO MANY WONDERFUL THINGS ARE HAPPENING

    1. 31.1

      YES!!!!!!!!!!!! I agree with you a 100%.

  12. 32

    @ Frimmel
    I cannot speak to the majority of your post, because I don’t believe there’s a war on men, just like I don’t believe there’s a war on Christmas. This, however
    “Look at the derision in which the “Game” guys/PUA are typically held for what at   reducto ad absurdum amounts to “stop putting women on a pedestal.”
    Um, no, that’s not what it amounts to. It amounts to using people for one’s own short-term means. People, not necessarily women. If I knew any gay PUA, I’d hold them in derision too.

  13. 33

    @Frimmel 27
    A woman might have gotten HIS place at the prestigious school?
    You will not be making many friends around here.

  14. 34

    @Karl R 31,
    Probably I really do not understand all; it becomes really complicated at some point:I am watching you watching me watching you… Ahhhhhh. With my own husband, for a while  I thought he was fully aware that I am madly in love with me, but was playing games to torture me.
    But let me ask you then – how/when do you/did you decide that you want to move the relationship to the next level (whatever it is)? Do men need to be given hints, do you need to be given signs? It boils back to the question that Josavant asked – how do you tell whether the man is passive because he does not like you or he is passive because he is passive?

  15. 35

    I think whether a guy is alpha or beta you need to pay attention to whether the quality of the relationship is progressing or are you two stagnating emotionally without any deepening of feelings.   Maybe you are going out once a week for months because that’s just the level of comfort he has.   If you find that this continues for several months and you are not growing closer then this is bad.   Even a beta male will find some way to deepen the relationship.   Maybe his style just is not a good match for you. Men who like you generally try to find some way to be closer to you, even beta males.
    @Frimmel – what do you mean women who take men’s jobs and prestigious spots in school?   Last I checked these spots did not belong to men.   The fact that a previously male dominated culture blocked women from these spots until WWII is a bad mark on our history not something to be lauded.   I walk through the halls of my alma mater.   The stories of how difficult it is for women to become professors as recently as 10 years ago despite having the same qualifications is terrible.   Even today there is significant gender bias.   It’s not even about equal pay.   We are still trying to get equal opportunity.

  16. 36

    Kiki in #34
    How about we amend my comment to “beaten him for a place at a prestigious school.” You are quite correct it was not “his” place. However the broader point stands and in fact is better made with your correction. She is his better, she has quite literally bested him, yet she is confused that he is not taking the role of superior/in charge/dominance.

  17. 37

    For me, a passive male is ok as long as you know he’s passive –  but you have to do all the work.   Personally, I’d ask if he was interested or not, and if he has other girlfriends.   Done, and the guy ran a mile, so onto the next.   (And yes, he does have other girlfriends who sit by and wait sweetly until he rings – which he does, when he wants to).
    I cannot imagine a relationship where I have to do all the organising – maybe after a few dates, this could be discussed.
    But it sounds to me more like a date from pure hell.

  18. 38

    Frimmel #37
    She is his better, she has quite literally bested him, yet she is confused that he is not taking the role of superior/in charge/dominance.
    Are you suggesting that all women have bested all men? I think that’s a strange way to view the world. I can be an Alpha female at work because I have to be, or else no one would ever listen to me. However, in my dating life and hopefully in my family life, I want to be much more feminine. Are you advocating a complete gender reversal, that women are  aggressors  and men lean back?

    1. 38.1

      ‘I want to be much more feminine’, says the girl with a picture of a red panda for an icon haha 🙂

  19. 39

    Tips from a beta male on how to detect us.   If you ask the male to take charge, and he suggests the next activity, and you object: note the reaction.   The alpha male may argue for his original suggestion, or he may graciously engage in a conversation about a substitute.   A beta male will feel shame at having been “wrong” about what to propose.   And will likely agree swiftly to whatever substitute you suggest.   Which points out the downside of a beta male.   We lie.   We want you to tell us what you like so we can say “yes, that sounds great”.   We aren’t going to tell you what we really like until waaaayyyyy later when we are much more confident that you will stay with us despite our expressing disagreement.
    So when you are thinking about pushing a beta male to take responsibility for more of the planning and initiation stages, be careful what you wish for.   He isn’t going to take kindly to you objecting to his choices.   After all, you MADE him take the initiative.   If he  suggests something and you say no, that was exactly the rejection he was seeking to avoid by not initiating in the first place!
    Not suggesting that any female should want to be with a beta male.   But if you choose to go this route, realize you are going to get both sides of the package.   He is more likely to acquiesce  to your requests.   He is less likely to initiate.

    1. 39.1

      “Which points out the downside of a beta male.   We lie.   We want you to tell us what you like so we can say “yes, that sounds great”.   We aren’t going to tell you what we really like until waaaayyyyy later when we are much more confident that you will stay with us despite our expressing disagreement.”

      This kind of behavior drives me insane! I don’t get it. Don’t you want to find someone who also shares at least some of your interests   or who is interested in your opinions?   I’ve dated a couple guys like this. They would always agree with me even when I was talking nonsense. They would always only agree to activities that I’d chosen and insist on paying for everything (the only time they would ever cross me).   I felt like a slavemaster, not a girlfriend.  

      When they would start feeling comfortable and voicing their opinions, it was a shock. We were very different people, but like you said they didn’t want me to break up with them, so they never disagreed with me. I don’t get that. I’m not Jessica Alba or Angelina Jolie. (If I had a chance with them, I might act the same way, at least for a few months.) Far from it. I’m not some once in a lifetime fish that will tell stories to grandkids about.  

      Value yourself. Don’t be a jerk, but voice your opinions. Balance your compromises. On the flipside, don’t begin a relationship on deception. It’s manipulative.   It’s not a fun feeling to find out after a few months that, you don’t really know who you’re dating.

      1. 39.1.1

        Maybe the beta male will learn to speak up. Maybe he will not and grow resentful and resort to passive aggression.

  20. 40

    I feel like people are evaluating wording more than content here.   If Frimmel wanted to say all women have bested all men, he would have come out and said that.
    I believe what he is trying to say via examples is that the traditional roles of men and women have become more skewed over the years.   However, the traditional expectations that are placed on men (even women, Frimmel) have not deviated to the same degree.
    Women are now more educated, more sexually aggressive, more headstrong.   We may not have total equality, but we’ve come a long way since the 1920’s.   We’re out wearing pants and sneakers and not wearing all this makeup and being ultra-feminine like we were once expected to be.   The expectation has diminished to an extent. It’s no longer severely frowned upon if a woman holds a job instead of being a housewife…if she gets married in her 30’s or 40’s…if she can’t cook.   Almost all women I know in their 20’s can’t cook to save themselves from starving.   Generally, this is not surprising to any of us.   But a  MAN cooking…well…that’s amazing!
    What is expected of us has changed…and as a result, our personalities and world views have changed, too.   But when women take on roles traditionally delegated to men, some women still expect those men to be ultra-masculine, gun-toting, belligerant, and tough creatures. The roles have already changed, but the views and expectations are still changing.   It’s more socially  acceptable to be a savvy businesswoman than to be a stay-at-home dad. But why?

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