Which one are you? Alpha or Beta?

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?

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!

7 thoughts on “Which one are you? Alpha or Beta?

  1. I genuinely have no clue which I am.

    I think I probably started off as the Alpha. I came from a family where there was always plenty of money. My husband came from one where there was not. I was the more successful of us at school and at work for probably the first 10/12 years of our relationship… and then came the kids, followed 2.5 years later with our first move overseas. I think things changed with that move.

    I was no longer working. I was at home with the kids, in a new country, where they spoke a language that was foreign to me, to all of us. My husband was firmly ensconced on the corporate ladder by then. He was traveling overseas, being wined and dined while I guess I was kinda left behind. That’s how I felt anyway. The more successful he became in his career the less worthy I think I felt. I was the fat frumpy wife at home and he was the mover and the shaker. I was rarely invited to work functions. My husband had two distinct lives, his work life and his home life and I felt I was definitely excluded from his work life.

    I did not/do not begrudge him his successful career. Indeed it’s that career that affords us the lifestyle we lead. I was more than happy to become the stay at home wife, but maybe I should have held on to “me” a little bit more. But for the most part I was happy with the decisions we made with regards to his career and in turn the places we would live.

    I suppose I’ve actually managed to answer your question. I am most definitely the Beta altho I do have some Alpha tendencies. I think since learning of the affair my husband has reigned in the Alpha in him and I’m finding a bit more of the Alpha in me. Maybe we are getting back to where we were years ago, him not quite so Alpha and me not quite so Beta 🙂

  2. It sounds like you guys have found a balance over time! That’s good. I think my curiosity has to do with the male ego and how much that plays a part in affairs. I think it does, except for the serial cheater — that is just sociopathic behavior in my opinion

  3. I just asked H, and it seems we agree, as he pointed to me and said Alpha. I also asked him if he thought I’d improved any over the last few month’s, as in being a little more beta, told him I’d been trying to, he said he don’t want you too, I think we both know you’ve earned it. But still, I’m trying to be more balanced anyway.

  4. Having thought about it some more… cos really, what else have I got to think about LOL… I think I was in a slightly odd position. Because my husband travels (did travel) so much for work I wore both hats. I was Alpha when he was away and Beta when he was home, or at least I tried to be. Maybe wasn’t as Beta as I thought and maybe that’s why my husband went and found himself a little Beta whore to bat her eyelashes at him and tell him how great he was! I dunno… just thinking aloud 🙂

    I think maybe my husband didn’t see me as needing him anymore, I was superwoman, I ran the house, the kids, did the banking, everything. Maybe he needed to be needed a little bit more than he felt he was. What he didn’t realize is that I wanted him to be home a little bit more and take over the reins sometimes.

    Communication. It’s so important!

    • Good insight. I think this is a hard change for some men who were raised by traditional homemaking mothers. Even though my husband is an amazing partner who just rolls up his sleeves and does the work, I still think his ego is wired to be alpha. We have switched in subtle ways but more dramatically now. It’s a work in progress, right?

      • Absolutely! I’m sure most men are wired to be Alpha males but it sounds as tho a little beta in there is good too! My husband? Not so great at home! He’s never been a roll up his sleeves kinda guy unless it was something he wanted to do or I badgered him to do! He’s definitely trying more now tho 🙂

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