You Can’t Be Too Alpha Or Too Beta

Athol, I’m digging your premise about being a mix of alpha and beta. Do you have any tips on how you know when you’re leaning too beta and need to up the alpha, or vice versa? Like different behaviors your woman will exhibit during times when you’re being too alpha or too beta.

You have a slight but critical misunderstanding on the Alpha / Beta thing, but this is a great question.

Being Alpha is good, you can’t be “too Alpha”. Women simply don’t look at a guy and complain that he’s too powerful and sexy for them and reject him for it. They just get wetter and wetter thinking about him the more Alpha he is.

Being Beta is good, you can’t be “too Beta”. Women utterly love comfort, safety and pampering. Women don’t typically complain that the pillows are too soft, the food too delicious, the wine too delightful and the sounds of their children’s laughter just unbearably adorable. They never complain that there is too much money either.

However, what does very much cause you problems is lacking either Alpha or Beta Traits.

If you’re not enough Alpha, she’s going to start losing sexual interest in you and probably start becoming more bossy and fitness testing you. Her sexual interest can reduce in you. Ultimately she can start to seek the Alpha need outside the relationship and head down the path towards a physical affair or ending the relationship. Trying to solve this problem by adding more and more Beta goodness is futile and probably increasingly expensive.

If you’re not enough Beta, she’s going to start to intensify her efforts to get a Beta response from you and seek comfort building. Usually it’s something like requests for greater indications of commitment or expressions of love from you. Ultimately she can start to seek the need for comfort outside the relationship and head down towards the path for an emotional affair or ending the relationship. If the problem is that she’s feeling ignored, taken for granted, unloved, or just a piece of ass to you, You upping the Alpha and playing it cool towards her doesn’t fix the need for comfort in need in her.

Also Alpha and Beta is not an either/or proposition, nor is it truely a “balance” thing either other than as a time management sort of issue. Lets face it, no one has limitless time to spend on their spouse, you can’t do everything a man could do without a clone army helping you out. You do have to make some choices along the way to do this and not that. Alpha and Beta are two distinct traits that can be displayed with or without each other. There is a very common pattern of men giving up Alpha Traits and gaining Beta Traits generally called Betaization, but that is best understood as two separate effects clustered together, rather than a single effect.

So it’s not like this…

    Too Beta {———————————————————-} Too Alpha

But it is like this…

No Alpha {———————————————————-} Alpha
No Beta  {———————————————————-} Beta

In general though, whatever is your weakest Trait is the one that you need to work on first, because it’s the lack of a Trait that does you in. For most men that means they need to work on the Alpha Trait.


  1. Meg at Demanding Joy says:

    I am consistently impressed by your alpha/beta theory. I am so fortunate that my husband seems to know these things instinctively. I adore that he is nurturing and supportive. But as a strong, professional, independent woman, I love, love, love it when he takes charge!

  2. BEST POST EVER!!!!!!!

  3. This is a crucial difference between this blog and other PUA blogs out there. A lot of people out there assume that there IS a tradeoff, as though "beta" means "not alpha" and so on.

  4. Athol, I hear your main point: a guy needs elements of both traits. But I find it less helpful if not impossible to display both at the same time. Sort of like trying to entertain two thoughts in your brain at once, like both shivering and sweating at the same time, or like dieting and binge eating in the same meal–the two acts can't be done simultaneously.

    What works best is an alternating between alpha and beta, a bit of push then pull, a demonstration of connection followed by disconnection. Your own and your woman's personality will determine the best level of each and the right tempo for the switch.

    You want to remain a challenge: showing your woman the hope and possibility of your domestication but never quite yielding to the bit and bridle entirely.

    Yes, it's a balance. Show aloofness or assholery for too much and for too long and she becomes disengaged, perhaps frustrated or hopeless at the prospect of a "deep, lasting, meaningful relationship" (whatever that means) with you. But show indulgence or pedestalization for too much or too long and she'll get bored.

    I think for some women it's the anticipation of your domestication (and never its arrival) that forms the entire kit. And you set this proximity by your alternating display of alpha and beta traits.

    Sort of like a cat and the proverbial string: the cat shows interest as long as the string is kept taught, seen within reach, yet never fully acquired. Once the string goes slack and remains limp within its grasp, the cat loses all interest and walks away. …But again, the right tension/slack in the string needs to be calibrated to the woman.

  5. mnl, I don't think you've got it quite right. I think the real "complete package" is that she feels cared for with you as provider and protector, but knows you can and will walk away if she ever starts taking your beta traits for granted.

    Maybe that's what you mean by "domestication." I suspect no woman is happy for long with a "domesticated" man, no matter how much she complians about tracking mud into the house.

    The hypergamous instict is what kicks in here. She doesn't want to think she could have a better guy, she wants to think the guy she has is the best she could possibly get. Part of that is her subconscious telling her that he could go out and get a better woman if he wanted to. Then it's her job to make sure he doesn't want to.

    It's kind of cruel what nature does to us that way. It's not really a picnic for the guy either – he's got the same problem, keep himself attractive to her. On the other hand, a successful relationship brings tremendous happiness and fullfillment, so it's worth the cost. As long as you remember to enjoy the happiness it brings.

  6. "The hypergamous instict is what kicks in here. She doesn't want to think she could have a better guy, she wants to think the guy she has is the best she could possibly get. Part of that is her subconscious telling her that he could go out and get a better woman if he wanted to. Then it's her job to make sure he doesn't want to."

    This, in a nutshell.

    A "manly man" who belittles her, leaves his house untended (physically, emotionally and sexually) and enters his bedroom with the smells of perfume/pussy/lipstick on his collar gives his woman a reason to look outside ("because he isn't respecting her" by boasting about his ability to get new pussy at will, thus giving her an insight into their future, which in her mind will involve him elaving her with multiple children and no support.)

    A "weak, cuckoldable beta" does the opposite. She's left with a man who can give her creature comforts, but is unable to turn her on (sexually), support her (financially, as it goes both ways: a man who's consistently splurging on gifts for her is a man who isn't looking out for home and hearth) or give a display of dominance/concern (physically: the Terrance Howard character in Crash is the embodiment of a "reputation-bound" beta, as he coddles his wife but allows his need to appear or be "respectable" to weaken him enough to allow a stranger to digitally rape "his" purported woman.)

    A man who keeps his head about him (and who avoids overt displays of seeking sexual attention outside of the home: a businessman who has a penchant for taking his secretar(ies) to lunch in public, but who refrains from public shows of affection is a good example) combines the best attributes of Alpha and Beta (showing sexual dominance, financial dominance and familial loyalty {as in "keeping up appearances'} in one fell swoop.)

  7. Here's one that happened to me yesterday:

    Everyone in our house (except me) has been down with the flu for a week. Yesterday it was apparent that cabin fever had set in, and everyone was feeling better, so I told the family to load up and took them driving around in the countryside, stopped to take a hike by the river, found a little out-of-the-way bar-b-q place for some dinner, stopped by a clothing store and hung around humbly as my wife and daughter did a little shopping. Was a very beta afternoon for me. I got everyone out the door, but then sort of let them decide what we were going to do, while I just played the role of chauffer and cash dispenser. I was mostly concerned with making everyone else happy.

    Skip forward to yesterday evening. Time for our daugther to go to bed, but she's been reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz while she was sick, and had like three chapters to finish, and wanted to stay up a little late and read. Wife says, "You really need to go to bed early since you've been sick and staying up late every night." I disagree: "Come on momma, she's almost finished with her book."
    Wife tries to put her foot down, "No, she's got school tomorrow."
    I roll my eyes. Look at daughter. Wink.
    Grab my own book and tell her, "Come on, let's go read our books for 30 minutes while momma pulls the bug out of her butt."

    45 minutes later my daughter was asleep in her bed and my wife was all over me. I predict that without that perfect combination of Alpha and Beta behavior displayed at the right moments throughout the day, I would have had to work for my nookie that evening. But instead I played my cards right and the nookie was handed over on a silver platter.

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