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

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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!
-Michelle  

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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Comments:

  1. 141
    S.

    @Emily, too

    Attraction itself decreases? Or the importance of attraction decreases?  I can’t see wanting to have sex with someone who wasn’t kind.  Does not compute to me, but to each their own.

    but my father is passive

    Explains a lot.  My dad was too, but I didn’t grow up with him.  They are so sweet, though.  Hard for me to resist.  But I must.  I do get frustrated eventually but it takes a long, long time before I do.

    I do wonder what it’s like to be a person like this.  As a woman living alone, I learned early on how to open slippery jars of marinara sauce, use a flathead when I didn’t have a Phillips, just basic things.  Ah, well.  Everyone has their things, I guess.

    I will reiterate what Michelle says above.  I do feel safer with these men than any other type of man and thetr is something restful and sheer relief about that.  To each their own!

  2. 142
    Lynx

    @Emily, to: yes, exactly.

    —–

    @Jeremy: No worries, I was not offended by your comments. My hope was to hear different points of view — I already know my own, I wasn’t seeking an echo chamber.

    “Your initial post here made it sound like the missing factor was the chemistry… Your second post makes it sound like compatability… So which is it?”

    Excellent question, it’s causing me to think carefully. At this point the chemistry with my boyfriend is intact. With my ex, the attraction waned as he started to behave more and more like a dictatorial father. I felt like his rebellious adolescent child, not his partner.

    My concern with my boyfriend is the opposite: if I must either nag him to do his ‘chores’ or do all the practical work myself, I will start feeling like his mother. If that happens, then buh-bye sex. I really don’t want that to happen (a toast to the nice guys out there, in my experience, you’re better in bed).

    Thus the distance I keep between us. If we are in separate households, it’s a non-issue. Except, of course, it IS an issue, because here I am stewing about it.

  3. 143
    Emily, to

    S.,

    “Attraction itself decreases? Or the importance of attraction decreases? I can’t see wanting to have sex with someone who wasn’t kind. Does not compute to me, but to each their own.”

    I’m assuming you keep mentioning kindness because that is an attractant for you? To me, kindness is a personality trait that makes you like the person but has nothing to do with attraction. Here’s what I’m looking for: “Just meeting him that first day sent my body temperature skyrocketing as though I had been dropped into a very hot bath, and I went into a full-body blush.” I did not write that, but it perfectly describes a powerful, visceral, physiological response. That kind of attraction does not necessarily lead to a relationship or someone you can connect with emotionally or trust. That’s the kind of attraction you get if you’re only filtering for attraction. But once you start also filtering for character, consistency, wants a relationship, compatibility, etc., you (a universal you) probably won’t find the other things along with a 10 level chemistry. Because you’re juggling a lot of qualities and not just one.

    “I do wonder what it’s like to be a person like this. As a woman living alone, I learned early on how to open slippery jars of marinara sauce”

    I had a male friend tell me he once overheard his wife tell a friend, “Don’t worry. (Bob) will take care of it.” And that made him feel really good. She had confidence in him to take care of the issue they were having (it was more serious than opening a jar. :))

    “I do feel safer with these men than any other type of man”
    That’s because there’s less polarity.

  4. 144
    Mrs Happy

    Lynx,
    re your thoughts – “if I must either nag him to do his ‘chores’ or do all the practical work myself, I will start feeling like his mother. If that happens, then buh-bye sex.”
    I’m just reading Gemma Hartley’s ‘Fed Up’ book, and your comment makes me wonder just how much the unequal mental workload contributes to desire and libido changes over time in a relationship.
    (Reading the book is making me resentful and angry.)

  5. 145
    Jeremy

    Lynx, only you know how you feel.  But regarding the question I asked you above, I’m going to quote your words from your first post here – your descriptors of this man:  “this good man, this intelligent and insightful and consistent man who loves me sincerely — but he is so, so passive….I keep him at arm’s length and he accepts it, he….considers me the love of his life….he is a good man with unique traits that I value greatly…My family likes him. He is healthy and financially responsible. The sex is great. He’s more fit than many men his age….I want to love all of him unconditionally.”

     

    Look at all your descriptors of him, Lynx, and read between the lines of what is conspicuously absent.  He thinks of you as the love of his life….where’s your description of your love for him?  All the words you used are descriptors of why you believe you SHOULD love him.  Totally absent is your description of your ACTUAL love.  You want to love him for so many reasons….but your writing makes me think that you might not.  You write that your “chemistry” is intact, that the sex is good because he tries to please you in bed…..but where is your love, Lynx?  Only you know.

     

    There is a world of difference between “I love him but I worry we might not be compatible,” versus “I SHOULD love him, why don’t I?”

  6. 146
    Adrian

    Hi Lynx 

    You said, “As I say, he is a good man with unique traits that I value greatly and know I am unlikely to find again… There’s a fair chance this would be my last shot at a relationship… I’ve read this blog enough to know I’m unwilling to invest the time it would take to find another one.”

    I’m confused.  Is it that you don’t believe a man with great qualities will be attracted to you? Are you holding on to your boyfriend out of fear, and a belief that “for me” this will probably be the best I can get?

     

     

  7. 147
    Lynx

    @Mrs Happy: “(Reading the book is making me resentful and angry.)”

    When my husband and I separated, I finally allowed the resentment I’d been swallowing for years to blossom into anger. I am generally not an especially angry person, so this was a new experience. My favorite outlet was doing slam balls at the gym, I’d visualize his face on the wooden floor every time I hurled the ball down.

    Eventually, the day came when I no longer thought of him during that exercise, and knew I’d moved past the anger phase.

  8. 148
    Lynx

    Ah, @Jeremy, I suspect you’ve nailed it. My head loves him, my heart really, really likes him way more than it likes a lot of people.

  9. 149
    Lynx

    @Adrian: “I’m confused.  Is it that you don’t believe a man with great qualities will be attracted to you? Are you holding on to your boyfriend out of fear, and a belief that “for me” this will probably be the best I can get?”

    No, it’s not that I don’t think I could attract another quality guy — I have a lot going for me, actually, even if I am ‘old’ (!)  I’m very fit, energetic, bright, and personable. I genuinely like men. It’s more that I think maybe there’s something wonky with my ability to be emotionally intimate. I mean, if I can’t love this guy enough — a man who so deserves to be loved — who can I?

    There is another factor: I must prioritize income generation for the next ~5 to 10 years to make sure I don’t burden my children as I age. I feel unable to serve two masters, either a relationship or career must come first.

  10. 150
    Jeremy

    I hope you don’t think me presumptuous for continuing to comment here, Lynx, but what you admitted in post 148 was clear to me since your first post. Hence my vitriol. I shouldn’t have been so blunt and opinionated, but I hope you realize that even though your heart likes him more than it likes most people, it will be very painful for him to hear that that’s the way you feel if he thinks you’re the love of his life. And the longer he feels that way, the worse it will be for him.

    I wrote to you above that some mental re-wiring may be necessary if you hope for a happy relationship. Problem with re-wiring isn’t just that it’s difficult, it’s that the timing matters. You gotta do it BEFORE you meet the guy, not after. Because how you see him when you begin a relationship will set the tone for how you continue to see him. If you find him un-arousing from the get-go, you aren’t likely to suddenly find him arousing because you tell yourself you should. It is very different to do the mental/emotional work first, re-wire yourself not just to what sort of man would be good for you, but to re-wire what sort of man you find AROUSING – and THEN meet that guy. If you can’t do that, if your “shoulds” and your “wants” are in direct opposition, then you might be ready for short-term relationships but not long-term marriage. It can be done. Just takes effort and…honesty.

    Honesty. The reason I went through this exercise was to (hopefully) help you realize something – that when we don’t want to believe something about ourselves, we create bullshit excuses and then believe them. Like your idea that you need to focus on income-generation for 5-10 years. I mean, meet a guy and get married and suddenly you have much more disposable income, don’t you? Is it that you need to focus on income generation, or that you’re looking for an excuse not to go through this difficult emotional roller-coaster again? There’s nothing wrong with the latter, there’s just something wrong with obfuscating the truth from ourselves. Prevents us from growth.

  11. 151
    Lynx

    Hey, @Jeremy, this is cheaper and more convenient than therapy, I don’t mind the continued discussion.

    Here’s what I’m wondering: love is a verb, right? I have read that arranged marriages can be successful when both parties enter knowing it will be work, as opposed to our overly-romanticized idea that a good relationship should be effortless, always.

    What if I am simply not trying hard enough? If I took more effort, if I invested more time and thought and care into it, what might happen?

    There are no examples of successful marriages in my family, so I have no role models. I frequently wonder where the line is between a relationship that would improve with work, and a relationship that is doomed.

    And yeah, as I wrote about the income issue, I thought you might call, bullshit. But I have serious PTSD from my marriage about this — my failure to contribute enough money to the household is the reason for my husband’s anger toward me, and why he initiated the divorce (I took 5 years off paid work after our first was born, but have worked since; it still wasn’t enough). He cheated and is now in a domestic partnership with a woman my age, but who is very well-off from having divorced a wealthy man — I’m probably the only 50-something woman who wasn’t dumped for a younger model. So, I really do feel the need to be financially independent. I will never allow another man to accuse me of “marrying a wallet”.

  12. 152
    Jeremy

    Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it, Lynx. Daniel Gilbert, a happiness researcher, believes that we can synthesize happiness if we perceive our situations to be irreversible. This is how prison inmates, cancer patients, and arranged marriage partners can become happier than one might otherwise expect, happier by far than the average. It’s the notion of reversibility that prevents us from being happy sometimes. Which is why people who don’t take a receipt with their purchase are often happier with the purchase than those with the option of returning it.

    Of course, other factors are also at play. Especially since some people who perceive their situations to be irreversible are also miserable. This relates to our expectations. What sort of marriage do we want, for example, what do we expect? Do we want an intertwining of souls or do we want a help-mate for our daily tasks? Do we want a mind-mate to challenge us, or a play-mate to relax with us? A person who wants a soul-mate is the hardest to satisfy IME. What type of relationship do you want? What type does he want?

  13. 153
    Lynx

    On one hand, I am that person who routinely declines receipts. On the other hand, when I read your questions, my gut response was soul mate. Sigh.

  14. 154
    Emily, to

    Lynx,

    In reading your posts, it sounds like your ex-husband was a bit of a bully. With your boyfriend, it sounds like you have picked someone who is the exact opposite. But this site stresses nice guys with balls. Surely, there are guys who exist somewhere in the middle.

  15. 155
    Jeremy

    Well, I’m supposed to be working on speeches for my upcoming Passover seders, trying to bridge the gaps between all the disparate attendees. To create something fun for the fun-seekers, meaningful for the meaning-seekers, family-community-oriented for the community seekers, and interesting for the intellectuals. Yet here I am procrastinating, offering romantic advice to the love-lorn. Why should this night be different from any other night?

    A thought about soul-mates, Lynx. In order to form the type of bond you seek, 2 ingredients are necessary: The first is the ability to be vulnerable, to be truly seen by another person without the fear of shame and rejection. The second is the ability to accept a partner who does the same.

    I mentioned Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” to Adrian recently in one of my comments – I’d recommend you pick it up, Lynx. It discusses how we all fear shame – how we fear that we are somehow NOT ENOUGH. Especially if we’ve been rejected before eg. by a husband for not earning enough money, not being pretty enough, not giving enough…..not enough enough. We feel that shame so deeply, we turn from it, run from it, and build barriers against it to prevent ourselves from feeling it, experiencing it. Some build barriers by controlling and perfecting their environment. Others withdraw emotionally, see the world as kill or be killed, be a hammer or be a nail. But when we build barriers against vulnerability, we cannot intertwine our soul (or self or ego or whatever you want to call it) with that of another. We stand in our own way until we can take down our barriers and be vulnerable.

    And once we do that, we have to be attracted to partners who do the same, rather than people who do the exact opposite. And it’s so easy (especially for women) to be attracted to people who do the opposite, who seem invulnerable, because women are attracted to the traits they most admire in themselves or else wish they had themselves. And how many women wish they were invulnerable to shame? WHY is the alpha male attractive? WHY is confidence attractive – especially given that the Dunning-Kruger Effect shows that the most confident people are the ones who know the least? It is because they seem invulnerable, and we wish we were invulnerable too. Toxic.

    We have to learn to be vulnerable, we have to be attracted to other vulnerable people. Only then can we hope to find a soul-mate.

  16. 156
    Emily, to

    Jeremy,

    “WHY is confidence attractive – especially given that the Dunning-Kruger Effect shows that the most confident people are the ones who know the least?”

    They’ve done studies across cultures. Confidence is the only universal attractant. And you can argue against it all you want, but it’s like me getting angry that men are attracted to young women because I’m not young anymore. It’s an argument I can’t win.

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