Why Being Too Beta Damages Relationship Comfort

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-beautiful-young-caucasian-woman-looking-worried-expression-image30556929One of the most important things in being in a long term relationship is creating a sense of relationship comfort. You create Relationship Comfort by being pleasant, helpful, kind, concerned, affectionate, caring and supportive. These are all Beta Trait behaviors.

Now before someone heads to the comments and starts banging the keyboard with one of those squeaky toy plastic hammers about the importance of Alpha… yes I know. Beta is typically only valued to the extent it is backed up by pre-existent impressions of Alpha Traits creating attraction.

But Alpha and Beta, Attraction and Relationship Comfort, are two completely different love systems you can tweak. Your Alpha and Beta can be high or low independent of each other. It’s not either/or.

So lets talk just about Beta stuff this time around.

A nice recap is The Five Beta Love Languages.

Taking that thought process a little further forward, I’ve noticed an interesting dynamic with the Beta stuff. The purpose of the Beta, is to create a sense of Relationship Comfort. But I’ve also seen a number of guys absolutely shot gunning Beta at their wives, and instead of the wives being supremely comfortable in the relationship, they are actually rather anxious and uncomfortable.

Then when I tell them to reduce their Beta and tone it down, their wives actually start to become more comfortable in the relationship.

So what’s happening?

It’s simple.

It’s the Law of Reciprocity kicking in. When one person does nice things for another person, it generally creates an unstated social obligation to return the favor. So when Mr. SuperBetaManDeluxe does an avalanche of nice things for Mrs. SomewhatAttracted, he’s not just doing nice things for her, he’s also creating a social obligation for her to do nice things for him. Preferably sexual nice things. Ideally to completion and swallowing.

Now this sort of thing is jumped on pretty hard as the guy creating this unspoken Covert Contract. It’s toxic and ineffective. Dude you have to stop thinking that if you mow the lawn, do the dishes, fold the laundry etc etc, that you’re automatically entitled to get laid.

What’s being missed is that often when he does all this stuff, she actually has an unspoken agreement to the validity of the Covert Contract, but she refuses to meet it because she just doesn’t want to. Or she meets the requirements of the Covert Contract with the world’s saddest sexual experience possible. All the Beta he did for her, to make her feel better, only created a huge sense of obligation in her. Which she’s started to dread.

It can get into the situation where when he does nice things for her, all she feels is a gnawing sense that she is a terrible person.

This is why with husbands struggling to attract their wives, I often find out exactly what her love language is, as soon as possible. Then when I find out what it is, I recommend cutting back the expressions of the love languages she doesn’t have.

So if her love language is Words of Affirmation, it’s fine to tell her you love her, she looks nice today, thank you for that. But then you don’t also shower her with gifts, try and spend every waking moment with her, run around like her personal service minion and rub her back while dry-humping her leg.

See how that’s all too much? It makes her feel obligated to do all that back to you. And if she’s not wildly attracted to you, she isn’t going to want to.

The potential mistake is to cut off ALL the Beta stuff and focus on upping the Alpha. All that does is switch problems. Typically it looks great for a while, then starts to destabilize.

So the paradox is, while Beta is designed to improve Relationship Comfort, over supplying it actually reduces Relationship Comfort. You still should hit her target of what she actually wants in terms of a love language, just don’t carpet bomb her with cuddles unless she’s into Physical Touch.

Or put more simply: Women are always going to be pleased to be offered their favorite dessert. They don’t want to be force fed five desserts no matter how delicious they are.

Comments

  1. TheatreMommy says:

    Yes. This. Yes.

  2. This times a hundred. Seriously.

    I advise most of the Nice Guys that I work with to stop all the lovey-dovey mush and just do the one thing that works for her. A lot of them resist this at first. I found a metaphor that really works is to clue them in on the fact that too much beta can feel like the emotional equivalent of having a dog hump your leg.

    We tend to excuse Love from all the normal, rational, sensible rules of living a happy life. In any other realm, most people are happy to just do what works, and not pour on overkill and wasted effort. It can be a bit of a rude shock to our romantic sides, but Love really is no different than any other parts of life: there are smart, efficient, and wise ways of doing it.

  3. Seriously brilliant.

    I’ve got a couple of guys I’m working with that this could have been specifically written for. Great job at crystallizing this concept in an easy-to-understand and apply way.

  4. Good to see you writing more frequently again.

    Hope you are doing well.

  5. Less truly is more.

  6. So is mapping learning to be happy without being dependent on someone else to fulfill your love language?

  7. “Women are always going to be pleased to be offered their favorite dessert”

    But only after you get a commitment from her (out loud) for what you want.

    Says Richard Feynman. Of Nobel prize fame.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Athol Kay writes a lot about alpha and beta behaviors in the marriage relationship, and especially the need to find a balance. Women are often attracted to the “bad boy” alphas, but pure alpha behavior doesn’t make for a stable long-term relationship. On the other hand, pure-beta behavior just isn’t attractive to anyone, and if it leads to stability in a marriage it will be a stable equilibrium of a frustrated, dominant wife and a frustrated, sex-deprived husband. As a husband, you have to put some strategic thought into selecting your beta behaviors. […]

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