This question is directed at the betrayed female spouse/partner. Which one are you?
Alpha (A) or Beta (B) in your relationship?
I ask this question because I think it’s a serious issue in my relationship and was wondering if others suffer(ed) from it, as well?
Let me explain what I mean. For those not familiar with the term, there is a leader and a follower in most dual relationships. Alpha dog is the leader of their pack. The Beta follow the leader, support the leader and acquiesce to the leader’s demands (requests, directives, etc.) because the Alpha protects the pack, has the pack’s best interest in mind. In a marriage, there is usually the dominant personality and then there is the supporter (I refuse to use the word submissive).
So, which one are you?
I was an Alpha. I completely admit it. Right now I’m a Beta. After the birth of our first child (way before his affair), I assumed the role of supreme mother of all. Lofty title with just as much of a lofty attitude. I thought I knew best and did it best. I was the chief financial officer, chief executive and chairman of the board. I had an opinion about everything. I was honest (too honest), snarky and smart.
My career blossomed and shortly after our second child was born, I began at a new company and was promoted quickly. My salary surpassed my husband’s. My work was in the corporate sector. I traveled. I hobnobbed. I was rewarded for my insight, work ethic and brain. I’m still there today.
I was a hands-on mother and enjoyed my children (still do), and I was a loving wife (at least I thought so). I loved a nice home and nice things. We worked hard for them. I spent money and love to dress with class. This was all working for me. Or so I thought…
What I didn’t realize was that my Alpha attitude would undermine the fragility of my husband’s ego.
Let me tell you about my husband. He’s gorgeous (seriously), smart, brilliant, kind, funny, hands-on father, shares in cleaning the house, does the food shopping (he’s truly much better at it than I am). He’s two and half years older than I am. His family came from more modest means than mine. He’s the middle child, where I am the youngest. His parents divorced when he was 12. My parents had a successful marriage until my father’s death. My husband is a great guy. Seriously.
However, with the advent of his affair, and his letter to me explaining why he cheated, he wrote that he thought I viewed him as less than a man. It centered around his job and the fact that I make more than double his salary. He thought I didn’t respect him or his position. Where his AP had only the utmost respect for him (she worked for him!). She stroked his ego and then some! Anyway, I digress…
It made me think of my parent’s own marriage and relationship. My father worked very hard and provided for our family. He wore fancy suits to work and we had a beautiful home. My mother was a homemaker and did EVERYTHING. I mean, she did the landscaping, interior decorating, entertaining and was an artist to boot. She was amazing. Yet, she recognized there could only be one cock in her hen house and that was my father. She was glad to be his key supporter. Without my mother, my father wouldn’t have been as successful. There is no doubt about it. They LOVED each other. She stroked his ego (he was a Leo, after all) to perfection. That arrangement worked for them (probably more for him, than her).
What does that have to do with how I viewed myself as an Alpha previously? Everything. I took after my father! I loved how my mother doled out all the attention to my father. That equated to love to me. It WAS love. I have my father’s personality. Quick witted, yet quick to judgement. He was a smart yet tough ass. I know that about myself and where it shows strength, it also shows a lack of humility. It’s a very selfish personality, I think.
What have I learned post affair? Being the Alpha did not work for my marriage. Some would ask, “Then why stay in your marriage if you can’t be yourself?” Great question. Here’s my answer: BECAUSE I WANT MY MARRIAGE. I WANT MY HUSBAND. AND, I’VE GOT MY MOTHER’S BLOOD COURSING THROUGH MY VEINS, TOO. THANK GOODNESS! SHE WAS A HELL OF A GAL. I could only dream of being half as good as my mom.
So, I’ve tamed the Alpha dog. Just a bit (or a lot in some ways). I’ve learned to be gentle, bite my tongue and consider other’s (specifically my husband’s) feelings before my own. I’m supporting him and learning that always wanting to be first in line isn’t necessary, nor desirable at this point in my marriage. Therefore, I am changing a course of action that wasn’t working for me. I think being a Beta is the right choice for us. I say that I’m the Beta for now. It’s a work in progress. I hope it’s what we need for now.
If my life circumstances change, I can always unleash the Alpha!