Love & Sex
Over the past decade New York psychotherapist Dr Sonya Rhodes noticed a pattern in the women coming to her practice. All were "self-confident, accomplished, sexual" but there was something missing - they complained about being "unhappy and frustrated by their lack of success in relationships" she writes in her new book The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match. How Today's Strong Women Can Find Love and Happiness Without Settling.
Dr Rhodes, a relationship expert with 30 years' experience, considered why these "new Alpha women", were failing to find someome to share their lives with. She concluded that instead of looking for a man as successful as themselves, they should reject an Alpha man in favour of their "dependable, responsible, and supportive" Beta opposite - a man who "might just make the best fit" she says.
A typical Alpha woman is self-reliant, can explore her sexuality and make her own life choices, says Dr Rhodes and she is on the rise in education and the professions. But all too often she thinks her perfect partner is someone like her. However a partnership of two Alphas is a recipe for disaster, according to Dr Rhodes. "Clinical experience has shown me that this partnership is at the greatest risk for divorce, because two Alphas will tend to compete for power and dominance" she writes. You only have to think of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin to see how two Alphas might clash.
The type of man she should be looking for is not afraid of strong women she says. "He is cooperative but not compliant, accomplished but not a workaholic, assertive but not confrontational. He is the man many contemporary women have been waiting for, but he is not adequately appreciated in a culture where the Alpha male has reigned supreme."
Her relationship advice couldn't be more timely. Women are increasingly out-earning men in the western world. According to research commissioned by the National Australia Bank (NAB) women have reported being the main breadwinner in 39.5 per cent of Australian households. This is an increase of 10.7 per cent since 2008, when 28.8 per cent of women identified themselves as the main household income earner.
But why does choosing a Beta man sound like opting for second best?
Dr Rhodes says she is not suggesting that women marry beneath them. "The Beta male is a 'catch' because he is programmed for partnership" Dr Rhodes tells Life & Style. "He is highly desirable to women who want to share the responsibilities of having a family and working with a supportive, caring man. The Beta male is so secure he is not threatened by the Alpha woman. He will support and respect his partner and care about what is important to her. I think this is pretty terrific."
Karen Chaston from Sydney says she has been the Alpha female for most of her 36-year marriage. She says her husband was very happy to let her follow her career ambitions which saw her rise to the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a publicly listed company. "He is very secure within himself. He never felt less of man with me earning more money than him" she says. "It worked well in our family with my husband bringing up our sons. He is very close and has a special relationship with his sons."
Dr Rhodes points out there is a big difference between a Beta man and an Omega man. The Omega "is the ultimate narcissist, feeling entitled to live off anyone who will support him and make little, if any, contribution to the household. He may play video games all day, drink an excessive amount of beer, surf the net, and generally enshrine his adolescence. He has no job with which to self-identify and looks down on working stiffs. Do not-ever-confuse the Beta darling with the Omega leech. They are quite different."
But what if you are already married to an Alpha male? Is your relationship doomed? No, says Dr Rhodes. "If you are married to an Alpha it is important to identify your own goals and to present them confidently to your partner. You need to have a strong ego so that you share power and are not dominated by a strong male. There should be room in all relationships for two people to pursue their dreams."
- Sydney Morning Herald
Do long-distance relationships work?Related story: (See story)