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Thread: Woe of the Beta male

  1. #1
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    Woe of the Beta male

    Hey everyone

    I'm trying for some introspection here - before I start just let me say that I'm not looking for this thread for nice guys to complain about how they finish last.

    So hey there....I'm a nice guy and I finish last

    I'm on the heels of another breakup (long time coming) and just trying to.... get some perspective on my place in the dating world

    For any of you who have taken any interest in the Mayer/Briggs personality test, I'm an ISFJ - for the uninitiated, that's a uber-responsible softie with some other annoying attributes - I was fascinated when I took the test, as it nailed me to probably 90% (I'm an ISFJ that will actually communicate with you and a few other discrepancies)

    So my ex and I made the call to separate a few weeks back. There were numerous reasons for this, many boiling down to simple incompatibility:


    She's very high energy and an extremely outspoken and self proclaimed Alpha female whereas I'm a softer spoken artsy type

    We didn't have anything in common that we enjoyed doing together and conversation was really really hard. I found her overwhelming and she found me reeeaaally boring ( I've never had that with anyone before)- this one was the main factor as we just didn't have fun together

    Her opinions are hard and fast whereas I'm more....tender I guess towards other peoples opinions and perspectives

    We recognized these and our other differences early on and thought we'd be able to make it based on the other attributes we liked about one another. Over time I found her very critical and overwhelming and I would more and more often become anxious and stressed - in all honesty I should have had better boundaries and left ages ago

    Fort the last two years we were embroiled in a crazy roller coaster ride with her teenage daughter, when the fog lifted and we had some time to really re-examine us as a couple we wondered what there really was when you take the family (she has 5 kids) responsibilities out of it. In typical ISFJ fashion I threw myself into family responsibilities for the last 3.5 years of our partnership.

    Over time, while she appreciated my gentle, giving nature she really found that she wanted more of an Alpha male, more of a challenge, more of a ballbuster (I don't know how to be a challenge with the huge demands of the family). I understand her wants, but feel they would make more sense were it to just be the two of us, or with a few less kids - it was exhausting.

    So much of the literature around this sort of thing will say, be a challenge to your girlfriend, to your wife, always leave her wanting, give her two signs of affection for her every three....that sort of thing.

    I'm just like my dad...I'm not a alpha male, I'm the typical ISFJ guy who will make sure everything runs smoothly, show my love, support you and give you my last quarter cup of Starbucks if you finish yours, you an trust me with your life and your heart.

    So....I think I'm just trying to process, my ex has said before to me "you get so lost in us (meaning the family) and I definitely did, for a long time I was leaving work 2-3 times a day to check on her daughter, we've done eating disorder, self harm, suicide ideation, tons of police visits.... I could go on, it's been a rocky ride, stressful ride. I always say my dedication and support for all her kids and her to be where my strength lay as a "strong male", while not aggressive and outspoken I was there for all the stuff her and the kids needed, many hospital visits and drunken teen escapades. It felt like a bit of a catch-22 as she'd tell me not to get lost in everything, but she was very demanding (also self proclaimed) and the needs of the family were very high so I didn't really know how to NOT get lost in everything.

    I'm rambling, I guess where I'm at is I'm not sure how to take this (there's a ton more details, maybe some of you remember some of my posts back in January) but I'm not sure if I went wrong picking someone extremely incompatible with me? Maybe I should have held out for a sweet gentle librarian or am I too "Beta" and gentle which is a turn-off?

    If I am too beta and gentle, I don't really know how to up my game in that regard without compromising who I am (which is a gentle beta-artist by the looks of it)

    I was forward with my needs and frustrations with her, but they always got shut down fairly quickly, so as time went on, I voiced my needs less and less. This was a point of frustration for her, but when I explained that it seemed pointless to do so because she'd just shut me down....she would shut that down too......

    Is there a place for Beta guys? (as we are called), some people would say "nice guy" but I find that that moniker also includes, possessiveness, passive-aggressiveness and shut off emotions (none of which are me)

    I get why women would go for the confidence of the Alpha male, but dang....I'm just not at this point in my life and never have been, I was a quiet baby, quiet kid, etc, I'm just a more peaceful kind of person who would rather be a partner than a leader in a relationship.

    Or maybe I was just with the wrong person way too long, trying too hard to fit a square peg in a round hole, I don't know.

    Any thoughts on my rambling mess?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Platinum Member journeynow's Avatar
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    You sound fine as you are, to be honest, just incompatible with her for the reasons you've gone over. I don't know what you (and she) means by getting "lost" in things. Does that mean "involved," or "focused," or "overwhelmed", or something else entirely? Sounds like there was a lot of intensity and drama around her. Were you attracted to that, do you think?

    I get why women would go for the confidence of the Alpha male,
    I think you mean "some women would…". There are variations among women, but confidence is an appealing quality to both men and women. Arrogance, not so much.

    My guess is it was not a good fit. Maybe the kind of woman you'd be a good fit with is harder to find because she's not so intense, is quieter and does not draw attention to herself? I don't know. What do you look for in a partner? What do you value, and what do you find attractive?

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    For "beta" males (ie quiet guys who are not passionate about anything), there is no solution i'm afraid. Your kindness and attention can charm a dynamic woman only for so long until they start asking themselves the "partner for life question", at which point the prospect of boredom rebukes them.

    Same reason we guys are bored with passive girls really...

    Basically my answer to that question is that we quiet regular normal guys who don't have much going on in their lives should settle for less, because the women we're attracted to will not settle for less for long, and will leave us eventually.

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    Be careful of over-generalizing your experience with one unique individual and your place in the wider scheme of things. We certainly pick up many pointers from each romantic experience, but in their raw form most of those lessons are very specific around how things needed to be to work with the person in which it didn't work. I know of several alpha female + beta male relationships in my friend group where the dynamic works really well. In another case, it is more situational, with one of them taking point in certain situations, and the other taking point in others. You do have to bring something else to the table besides dependability though. It's so easy for us nice guys to get stuck in the pattern of loving her and forget to excite her as well. And what excites women is when WE are excited. Sometimes, you deserve to finish that Starbucks! I think sometimes we use niceness to hide low self esteem, putting others needs so far ahead of our own that we forget that our needs are important too.

    While you couldn't bring it this time, it may have been because she did not encourage that side of you, or you just got lost in the situation as you mentioned. You have to take time even in a busy life to reignite the passion and rebuild those connections that get frayed over time.

    But at the end of the day:

    "We didn't have anything in common that we enjoyed doing together and conversation was really really hard. I found her overwhelming and she found me reeeaaally boring ( I've never had that with anyone before)- this one was the main factor as we just didn't have fun together"

    This has little to do with the difference in personalities in my opinion. You just didn't have enough points to connect on to begin with. You have to be able to have fun with your partner, or what are you even doing? The next time around, look for things in common, and conversation that feels effortless. There is enough work in relationships when those elements are there!

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  6. #5
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    I guess I know what you're saying only too well. I'm the beta son of a beta father. My wife definitely does not like alpha males! She even hates the few alpha traits that I have. I'm generally a quiet, peace loving bloke who is more concerned with getting a consensus than pursuing my own agenda. I will, however, become aggressive when threatened or my family are threatened. As I'm now 50+, definitely being a beta has harmed my career, just as it did my dad's. I'm quite creative and have had writings published but my main career has been a disappointment.

    I think my first marriage would have worked better if I was more alpha but, honestly, I'm glad I'm not with my first wife.

    I don't think beta people finish last but usually finish outside the "medal" positions. I don't think that all people can train themselves to be alphas but may at least avoid being a doormat.

  7. #6
    Gold Member happy_snapper's Avatar
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    I think alpha/beta is too black and white. I reckon everybody has a bit of both in them, it's just a case of letting them out.
    I have a lot of the traits people think of as beta, but I have no worries being in charge and the centre of attention if the situation is right and/or if I'm in the mood. I bet that if you asked people who know me, whether I'm alpha or beta, you'd get a fairly even split of answers.

    My girlfriend is more alpha, likes being in charge, very strong character. She loves my quiet side, that I'm considerate and softly spoken. But yeah, the thing that turns her on is the alpha side that I show now and then.

    Love and affection for the beta. Lust and adoration for the alpha.
    Examples:

    Her: "What would you like to do tonight?"
    Beta me: "I don't mind. Shall we go out and get some food? What do you fancy?"
    Her: "Thai?"
    Beta Me: "OK. Lets go. My treat."
    Her: "You're so sweet" *smooch*

    or

    Her: "What would you like to do tonight?"
    Alpha me: *Running hand up and down her thigh* "I have some ideas."
    Her: *giggles* "Could you give me a clue?"
    Alpha me: "OK. Here's a clue..." *starts unbuttoning her shirt*
    etc. etc.

    She loves both of those versions of me, but in different ways. You've got to have a balance. There are lots of levels in between those two examples. And by the way, the alpha example I wrote isn't something I did until we were very comfortable with each other. If I'd done that on a second date, she'd have maced me (and quite rightly so).
    If you think you're completely beta then maybe you just need to learn to let the alpha out. I used to be nearly entirely beta, but I slowly developed the alpha traits, over a long period, in various social situations.

    That's my take on it anyway.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if I went wrong picking someone extremely incompatible with me?
    Yes. And that's what we all do as we live and learn.

    I'd ditch the whole alpha beta premise--it's messy kid stuff, and it's doing a number on your head. It's also meaningless to the kind of woman who's mature enough for you.

    Most people are simply NOT our match. That's true of all of us. When we can grasp that, we can screen for potential relationships more carefully and allow wrong matches to pass early.

    Your qualities and preferences are part of your unique value. We each own unique lenses through which we view others, and the goal is to find someone who shares your vision. That's the stuff of chemistry and simpatico, but it's rare.

    And it's supposed to be rare. If finding love were easy, what would be so special about it?

    I'd quit viewing myself through someone else's lens and focus instead on cultivating my best Self--by my OWN standards. When you meet someone who clicks with you and appreciates who you are, you'll thank yourself for ditching the premise that sensitive introverts can't 'win'. That's a fantasy perpetuated by the obnoxious to justify remaining so.

    Head high.

  9. #8
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    Alpha/Beta is kinda BS. It's a little post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    Well, because things didn't work out with this woman, you must be "too beta" or "not alpha enough". Also, for all the guys who style themselves as "alpha" there is always someone out there more alpha. The whole dynamic is soooo cutthroat. When your girl styles herself as an "alpha female" that doesn't really mean anything other than that she believes she deserves whatever the heck she wants. She's basically an egoist. In this case, she shames you as the beta because she doesn't really live in a world where she gets everything she wants, and she needs someone to blame for that. That's you.

    Your ex sounds like an abrasive shrew. She sounds rather like no matter what you would've done in any situation she'd have found a way to find fault with it. That doesn't sound like "you're not alpha enough" that sounds like she's a....well....a word I can't type on here. It is my belief that someone who expects their partner to always be confident, to always be assertive, to always get the best result, to always be passionate about everything, is someone that has a hole inside their own soul, and they cannot and will not be made to look at that hole by having their own fears and insecurities reflected back at them through their partner.

    That is not your failing, and it's not your shame. It's hers.

    And don't be ashamed that you put that much effort into her daughter, who I can only assume you love like your own. When she says "you get lost in it" it sounds to me like she's saying that she's ashamed that you do more for her daughter than she does.

    My advice, is think about what you want. Find something that really means something to you and be completely uncompromising with regards to it. Think about the way your ex tried to walk on you and decide now that you'll enforce boundaries with regard to your own self-respect in the future.

  10. #9
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    When I think about it, it means all of the above, the kids dad was scarce so I was very involved with them, focused on the tasks needed to be done in the home and definitely overwhelmed by much of it. I wasn't attracted to "intensity" I was initially attracted to her strength and blunt honesty, as I'd always know where I stood with her. Over time, that blunt honesty became very critical of petty things like how I cook eggs or how I'm undefined as a person for having Christian friends when I don't subscribe to that belief system. funny how some of those things that initially attract us exacerbate over time and become negative

    Confidence is always good.....she was pretty arrogant (and would tell you so) and it was quite wearing.

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by siegfri333
    For "beta" males (ie quiet guys who are not passionate about anything), there is no solution i'm afraid. Your kindness and attention can charm a dynamic woman only for so long until they start asking themselves the "partner for life question", at which point the prospect of boredom rebukes them.

    Same reason we guys are bored with passive girls really...

    Basically my answer to that question is that we quiet regular normal guys who don't have much going on in their lives should settle for less, because the women we're attracted to will not settle for less for long, and will leave us eventually.
    Hmmm, that makes sense, all those compassion and kindness did draw her to me, but in the end she did say that she wished I could "grow" her and "inspire" her and that's where our interests were really miles apart, I'm very well read, active, can woodwork and draw like nobodies business.....but none of that interested her so she didn't engage with those with me. When I would try to meet her on her level for what she liked to do it would frustrate her because I wasn't doing it "intrinsically" and just following her lead, felt like a damned if I did, damned if I didn't sort of thing.

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