The Nice Guy Wants to Be Your Partner, Not a Leader

I stumbled upon this post (below) over at a forum I used to comment at frequently back in 2008 (a year into my marriage when I thought I could magically fix everyone’s marriage problems), called enotalone.  Back then it was a smallish community of regular commenters and we would try to help any new people who came there with friend issues, family issues, sex issues, or marriage problems.  I loved reading everyone’s personal situations, maybe its the nosy yenta in me, however, I loved being able to analyze a difficult situation and try to find (or listen to) the best advice for that person’s particular situation.

Not everyone seeking answers were ready to hear what we had to say about their predicament.  Much like in therapy, you cannot just disclose everything you see wrong immediately to a person or they’ll shut it out in self defense, and nothing good will come of their experience with you, or from your advice.  You have to slowly help them to see the real problem; you really have to help them come to terms with it themselves first.

What I found striking about this particular post (from May 2014)  is how honest this self-proclaimed (and proud?) beta-male is about his desire to be a partner, not a leader, in a relationship with a wife.

I emphasized the phrases that are particularly important to his particular situation, and want to go through each one to dissect exactly what is going on here in his life at that moment in time.  But first, his plea for help:


Hey everyone

I’m trying for some introspection here – before I start just let me say that I’m not looking for this thread for nice guys to complain about how they finish last.

So hey there….I’m a nice guy and I finish last 😛

I’m on the heels of another breakup (long time coming) and just trying to…. get some perspective on my place in the dating world

For any of you who have taken any interest in the Mayer/Briggs personality test, I’m an ISFJ – for the uninitiated, that’s a uber-responsible softie with some other annoying attributes – I was fascinated when I took the test, as it nailed me to probably 90% (I’m an ISFJ that will actually communicate with you and a few other discrepancies)

So my ex and I made the call to separate a few weeks back. There were numerous reasons for this, many boiling down to simple incompatibility:

She’s very high energy and an extremely outspoken and self proclaimed Alpha female whereas I’m a softer spoken artsy type

We didn’t have anything in common that we enjoyed doing together and conversation was really really hard. I found her overwhelming and she found me reeeaaally boring ( I’ve never had that with anyone before)- this one was the main factor as we just didn’t have fun together

Her opinions are hard and fast whereas I’m more….tender I guess towards other peoples opinions and perspectives

We recognized these and our other differences early on and thought we’d be able to make it based on the other attributes we liked about one another. Over time I found her very critical and overwhelming and I would more and more often become anxious and stressed – in all honesty I should have had better boundaries and left ages ago

Fort the last two years we were embroiled in a crazy roller coaster ride with her teenage daughter, when the fog lifted and we had some time to really re-examine us as a couple we wondered what there really was when you take the family (she has 5 kids) responsibilities out of it. In typical ISFJ fashion I threw myself into family responsibilities for the last 3.5 years of our partnership.

Over time, while she appreciated my gentle, giving nature she really found that she wanted more of an Alpha male, more of a challenge, more of a ballbuster (I don’t know how to be a challenge with the huge demands of the family). I understand her wants, but feel they would make more sense were it to just be the two of us, or with a few less kids – it was exhausting.

So much of the literature around this sort of thing will say, be a challenge to your girlfriend, to your wife, always leave her wanting, give her two signs of affection for her every three….that sort of thing.

I’m just like my dad…I’m not a alpha male,

I’m the typical ISFJ guy who will make sure everything runs smoothly, show my love, support you and give you my last quarter cup of Starbucks if you finish yours, you an trust me with your life and your heart.

So….I think I’m just trying to process, my ex has said before to me “you get so lost in us” (meaning the family) and I definitely did, for a long time I was leaving work 2-3 times a day to check on her daughter, we’ve done eating disorder, self harm, suicide ideation, tons of police visits…. I could go on, it’s been a rocky ride, stressful ride. I always say my dedication and support for all her kids and her to be where my strength lay as a “strong male”, while not aggressive and outspoken I was there for all the stuff her and the kids needed, many hospital visits and drunken teen escapades. It felt like a bit of a catch-22 as she’d tell me not to get lost in everything, but she was very demanding (also self proclaimed) and the needs of the family were very high so I didn’t really know how to NOT get lost in everything.

I’m rambling, I guess where I’m at is I’m not sure how to take this (there’s a ton more details, maybe some of you remember some of my posts back in January) but I’m not sure if I went wrong picking someone extremely incompatible with me? Maybe I should have held out for a sweet gentle librarian or am I too “Beta” and gentle which is a turn-off?

If I am too beta and gentle, I don’t really know how to up my game in that regard without compromising who I am (which is a gentle beta-artist by the looks of it)

I was forward with my needs and frustrations with her, but they always got shut down fairly quickly, so as time went on, I voiced my needs less and less. This was a point of frustration for her, but when I explained that it seemed pointless to do so because she’d just shut me down….she would shut that down too……

Is there a place for Beta guys? (as we are called), some people would say “nice guy” but I find that that moniker also includes, possessiveness, passive-aggressiveness and shut off emotions (none of which are me)

I get why women would go for the confidence of the Alpha male, but dang….I’m just not at this point in my life and never have been, I was a quiet baby, quiet kid, etc, I’m just a more peaceful kind of person who would rather be a partner than a leader in a relationship.

Or maybe I was just with the wrong person way too long, trying too hard to fit a square peg in a round hole, I don’t know.

Any thoughts on my rambling mess?



First, there is nothing wrong with being a quiet, introverted, or “gentle” male, these qualities do not necessarily have to mean that a guy is feminine (emasculated) as well.  Alpha and beta are much more complicated that what most people seem to try to confine their definitions into.  The best and most simplistic manner I can possibly attribute to what is “beta” is an attitude of deference or subservience to a woman’s opinions, her needs, or her desires.  A kind of lack of confident authority or capable masculinity in a man.  Being too dependent on her happiness for his own happiness… allowing her to run and rule the family while he takes a back seat as a pseudo-equal partner, or because she leads better “makes better decisions.”

I give this guy a lot of credit for being honest and self-aware enough to admit that he actually doesn’t want to be a leader… most men who have been groomed into this kind of equality-type marriage adamantly assert that there shouldn’t be a leader (that somehow they both manage to lead and no one follows – yea, right) because they are both equal partners in the marriage.  Society has purposefully created these “beta” males, destining them for unhappiness as they strive for niceness and peacefulness, to be partners instead of leaders in their marriages.  However, no one endures the pain and frustration throughout life like the beta male does.  Let’s take a look at the emphasized sentences a little closer:

1) “as a couple we wondered what there really was when you take the family (she has 5 kids) responsibilities out of it. In typical ISFJ fashion I threw myself into family responsibilities for the last 3.5 years of our partnership.
Over time, while she appreciated my gentle, giving nature she really found that she wanted more of an Alpha male”

He doesn’t give their ages, but a single man who has taken on a woman with 5 children is only a plight a beta male would put himself through… the self-sacrificing, self-effacing giver who prefers to “do the right thing” for someone else, but never for himself (or always puts himself and his needs last).  Forever seeking to be the hero in order to mask their lack of real authority or tangible masculinity in their relationships, in classic white knight or beta fashion, he “threw” himself into family responsibilities for the last 3.5 years of his “partnership.”  Men who have been brainwashed by society to be “beta” believe that the crucible of true masculinity is in how much he can give, how much he can bleed for his partner and children, how many of his needs he can sacrifice, no matter how unappreciative or nonreciprocal his wife (ironically and supposedly his “equal” partner) is.  The problem is that women typically do not appreciate all that the self-sacrificing beta male does, she becomes accustomed to taking advantage of all the “sacrifice” he gives without having to pay anything herself for it, women will use this kind of man (for his goods and services) for a long time, but he will never win her respect and thus will never capture her raw desire.

2) I’m just like my dad…I’m not a alpha male,

This makes me so sad.  I think very few men had a good example of a father-figure in their life who exhibited what God truly intended for a man to be while growing up.  Most fathers are likely too passive, allowing the wife to be the true leader, while he is simply a figure head, pseudo-leader of the family to outsiders… behind closed doors, she is the one who leads.  When children (especially boys) grow up in this kind of family environment, they hear all these mixed messages (in church) about men being the spiritual head or leader of the family, and yet they watch day to day reactions where their father submits, defers, and is subservient to their mother who essentially runs their Matriarchal family.

This thus creates men who grew up with beta fathers, who in turn will produce more beta boys.

Boys desperately DESPERATELY need fathers who are strong, masculine, capable and confident in their God-given position to LEAD their family.

3)  I always say my dedication and support for all her kids and her to be where my strength lay as a “strong male”, while not aggressive and outspoken I was there for all the stuff her and the kids needed, many hospital visits and drunken teen escapades.

This again, depicts what is the crucible to a beta male of what represents true strength or masculinity – his ability to support her and her kids, to be there for her and for them.  He sacrificed his own time and energy in this relationship (that was not even a marriage, and to kids who are not even his own), thinking it was the epitome of being the “strong male” that she’d eventually desire.  He rationalizes that (based upon all his love and dedication and sacrifice), he is her hero and should be (at the very least) appreciated as such.  But do beta males ever get appreciated for all that they are willing to do for a woman (and her 5 children)?  No….  Their reward (this is harsh but so true) is a very unfulfilled or nonexistent sex life, or her cheating on him with an alpha-type male (more common than you’d think), or her using him for years for resources, money, housing, or emotional support, or parenting her fatherless children (as in this case) only to leave him after the fact because she’s finally realized she desires someone more alpha.

Women like this know they desire someone more alpha, but they are not against using a beta male for as long as he allows himself to be used.

4) If I am too beta and gentle, I don’t really know how to up my game in that regard without compromising who I am (which is a gentle beta-artist by the looks of it)

This is a common problem with men who have a skewed view of alpha vs. beta.  There is no one cookie cutter creation for what makes an alpha.  Every man is different, and it is a journey a man has to travel on his own, with God, to find his own identity.  It is probably the most difficult life journey any man has to undertake in order to realize his full potential to be what & who God intended him to be.

But believing that becoming “alpha” will somehow compromise his true “beta” self, he is undermining any advancement in personal growth, healthy boundaries, or even spiritual growth as he forgoes learning to acquire real strength and develop authentic masculinity.  A healthy, strong, masculine man does not allow a woman to use him in such a manner.  Such a parasitic relationship is not what God intended for him to “endure” in order to achieve a kind of “holy” sainthood for his sacrifice and dedication.  Having strong boundaries, a strong sense of self-respect and healthy pride in himself, a confident assertiveness, and a clear mind that can see a situation for what it is and be able to avoid a woman’s petty manipulations – these are all qualities of a healthy “alpha” male.  He does not need to change his innate gentleness or kindness, he just has to make sure he isn’t ruled by these qualities.  He doesn’t have to become some kind of “ball-busting” asshole like he says she would prefer.  While many criminals, sociopaths, and yes, assholes would be classified in the alpha category (and have the women to prove it), they are only alphas because they exhibit these traits (or take them to unhealthy extremes), not solely because of their anti-social behaviors.

5) I was forward with my needs and frustrations with her, but they always got shut down fairly quickly

Another failure of the beta male, is to be “forward” with a woman on what he needs or wants from her, to try to explain or break-down logically how a reciprocal relationship should work.

Women (like any human with a conscience) understand how reciprocity works, it is simply that they feel they don’t have to abide by those particular rules when it comes to nice beta men.  A woman who picks a beta man is not picking him in order to fulfill his deepest desires and fantasies, she is picking him for what HE can do for HER.  It is Emma Watson’s HE FOR SHE in real life played out day-to-day.  HE has to cater to HER, HE has to be there for HER, HE has to put up (or shut up) for HER… and so-on and so-on it goes.  When or if he starts to feel like it is a little one-sided and tries to explain to her about reciprocity, she plays dumb, doesn’t “get it,” and as in his own example he gets “shut down fairly quickly.”

She just doesn’t want to hear that he has needs, too.  It’s HE for SHE remember?

6) Is there a place for Beta guys?

There is “a place,” however it is not a place he wants to be, because being beta is never going to be fulfilling for a man, he will always feel a tug that something isn’t right, that his true self is somehow being repressed or even oppressed by everything and everyone in society.  He will always feel (unless it is extremely repressed) that he is somehow falling short, failing to be a true man.

There are many men who have found their place and lived the life as a beta man, husband, and father… and they often also find themselves waking up to a woman who doesn’t desire them in that raw sexual way, or who tells them she has never loved them to begin with, or who constantly disrespects him or undermines him in their marriage.  Again, it is simply not a place he wants to be in.

7) I’m just a more peaceful kind of person who would rather be a partner than a leader in a relationship.

Possibly the most wonderful example of true masculinity depicted in literature is that of Jesus Christ.  His unswerving strength, His confidence and capability, His boldness and courage, His assertiveness and toughness – all these masculine qualities were matched with calculated compassion, gentleness, love for children, joy, peacefulness, understanding.  He was not an asshole, nor was he a blubbering emo.  He was not merely a dutiful, quiet beta – He had much too much gumption and gall in fighting with the Pharisees than to be a compliant “peace at all costs” beta.

He stood up for what was Truth, always exhibiting what was the opposite of cowardice.

Which, when you really look at it, a beta male is afraid… afraid of his own masculinity.  Society tells him its too dangerous, undesirable, or even wrong.

But men, nothing could be further from the Truth.


  1. lol… again with your despising sex and seduction. There’s a reason its so critical to men’s needs – a God-given reason, and there is nothing wrong with a wife inspiring her husband to confidence and authentic masculinity through her giving him her body freely, passionately, and frequently. 🙂

  2. “I think that isn’t too nice.” Right, it isn’t very nice of a woman marrying a man and demanding he change everything about him in a critical, demeaning way. It’s insensitive and cruel to the poor beta man!

    Which works better for him? Shaming him by criticizing him to be different… or loving him deeply and passionately for who he is (which inspires real change).

    And think about the character of the woman who chooses the first route, she is ugly on the inside. A woman who chooses the latter, to love and support her husband and embrace him whole-heartedly as hers and hers alone, has real, tangible inner beauty.

  3. LOL, indeed. You think, I despise sex? LOL if only you were a fly on my wall. I am well aware how critical it is too men and it is critical for women too. It is the glue that bonds. Again, people always think cause I don’t post photos of myself or talk about my sex life, I must be some prude.

  4. A wife who genuinely loves her husband will want to seduce him, make love to him, and create that kind of beautiful marriage. Her actions of love and acceptance alone makes a man want to be “better.” I’ve seen men say this themselves, one linked to a post I did almost 2 years ago saying this very same sentiment. You can argue all you want that this kind of behavior is manipulative and somehow bad, but it comes from the wife having her heart in the right place, versus a selfish wife that doesn’t want to submit to her husband because he isn’t perfect or alpha enough.

  5. Anyway, I would love him. We would have frequent passionate sex where I would intoxicate him into finding his real masculinity.

    And he would be very grateful for it. My husband and I have talked about this and it was just a couple days ago that I gave this advice. We all have heard that one of the primary motivations for men to marry is for permanent access to sex. When they are well fed and well sexed it literally clears their mind to focus on other things. This is one of the greatest things a wife can do for her husband. The sex drive is so intense for young husbands. Sex can either be used as a weapon or fuel for a man. Wise wives will give him that fuel he needs. Literally, when that release is taken care of he can focus more clearly and his mood improves. One of the reasons men don’t often reach the pinnacle of their success until after 40 is due to their own testosterone level that makes it difficult to focus. Individual husband’s appetite will vary but it is excellent advice for a wife to feed that need, make sure he is never hungry and err on the side of too much. 😉

    I don’t think you’ll find much disagreement about this with men.

  6. What if a woman does everything you say, but just doesn’t call it seduction? Is she still not doing it right cause of not calling it that? I mean I do everything you say to a tee. Always have, always will. I was submissive before it was cool to be submissive. See, my husband hates the word. He says if anything a man should seduce a woman. That if a woman is seducing its femdom or desperation. It sounds like you and I do the same thing, we just call it something different. Should we call a truce to this whole battle of the words?

  7. The boy in the OP gave his strength to a woman, in the sense of Proverbs 31. And then went online to seek validation in the manner of an Elizabeth Gilbert. Oddly, he turns everyone’s stomach. Some of that is due to his cloying rhetoric. Some of it is the implicit awareness that he is overtly pursuing cuckold kink, and seeking praise for being a pathetic beta cuck.

    What he doesn’t understand is that for all of society’s demands for the qualities he assigns to himself (“giving” “gentleness” “peacefulness” (have you gagged yet?)), none of society is constructed on the supposed virtues of supplication by men.

    There’s always an in-group, and there’s always a group of men who assert a gentler, self-abnegating masculinity. Unfortunately, most of life involves harder truths, whether or not the in-group wants to hear them.

    Imagine how annoying, if not skin-crawling-ly unpleasant, it is to work with such a “man.” This boy will keep his job if he works in some soft corner of society, say a government social services cubicle farm.

  8. Good article.

    We have sometimes introverted guys who reach out to us in the seduction community (biggest secret self-improvement community – heh).

    Our advice is usually not to change your personality, but become a stronger version of yourself and react correctly to female nature – shit tests, frame control, excite her passion, dread Game (works only on women) etc.

    For the introverted shy guy the way is to become the strong silent one, the taciturn lone-wolf Sigma and not the charismatic Alpha. That way he will still be true to his personality, but would be a much more attractive and stronger man.

    In this case of course he likely shacked up with a severe carousel rider. He is probably even younger than her and agreed to what Rollo calls preemptive cuckoldry – taking care of the spawn of a previous man.

    As you correctly stated – women usually don’t appreciate it, because their mental frame lets them easily blank those things out with Beta providers.

    As far as this relationship is concerned – he should have never entered it in the first place, so it’s no loss to him. But of course he won’t learn the lesson and will probably try to go Asian, as they have slightly greater tolerance for Beta males.

  9. “Alphas are RARE. Okay? A small percentage of men. Most men struggle and are okay. Not enough any more for apparently most American women.”

    Man like John Wayne are rare, but masculinity in man should not be rare. That’s biology. There’s not one male child on the movie Sandlot that isn’t more masculine and manly than the guy who wrote this letter. That’s lamentable. He’s the prototypical sensitive new age guy…it’s called new age for a reason.

  10. ”That’s so sweet Liz about your husband ❤ Men can show those signs of love and affection (romance?) without being too feminine about it.”

    Thankyou. 🙂 And yes.
    One day, a few years back Mike mentioned the poem(s) (there have been three, last one was after our first son was born) and wondered where they were so I showed him where I keep the first and pulled it out of my wallet. He proceeded to pull out his wallet and took out a scrap of paper where I’d written my first phone number to give to him, so we could get together to study (that’s how it started).

    He’s actually probably more sentimental about stuff like that than I am (different backgrounds…military brats don’t keep a lot superfluous kit if they move a lot, typically). I remember throwing away my wedding bouquet and (payless, I didn’t see the need for nice ones for the beach) shoes after the photos were taken. He said, “You aren’t going to keep that?” We’d eloped and were in Maui, it didn’t even occur to me to keep anything but the dress. I didn’t see the point.

    ”My husband wrote and played a song for me (guitar) lol but he would never associate himself with some kind of gentle sweet singer or something.”

    Aw. That’s awesome! Mike plays guitar too. 🙂

    ”I think if a guy does those kinds of things all the time though, like constantly try to be over the top emotional and romantic (all about you – like your ex seemed to be), it’s a major turn off – and this is a turnoff especially regarding beta guys I’ve noticed. There is almost a disgust there from a woman’s point of view – a real repulsion to the way they are overly romantic and mushy. If they learn game, become outcome independent, and do a 180, the same women that were repulsed by them might actually feel strong attraction to them.”

    This is where I have trouble (and most women do) pinpointing precisely what it was that bothered me about my ex (behaviorally). He wasn’t actually romantic at all (which is a blessing, I would have hated that coming from him). He just wasn’t masculine enough. I was the person who wore the metaphorical pants, and he disgusted me more and more. Self descriptions like “gentle” are a bit of a trigger for me, that’s exactly the sort of thing my ex would say (not the artist bit, he wasn’t that interesting). I think masculinity is inherent in men, but it has to be cultivated and doesn’t necessarily arrive organically for everyone, and it can be conditioned out of them. Lots of cultures (cultures that tend to live on the pointy edge of survival in particular) have rituals for that sort of thing. Man without fathers (or masculine fathers, the person here sounds like the victim of a very dominating and controlling mother) are at a disadvantage there (case in point, my ex who never met his father).

  11. Just thinking further, after reading your response about what you would do if married to a ‘beta’. I think a big part of our problem was the complete lack of passion or desire (for either of us). It’s impossible to drum up a lot of excitement for sex with someone who makes you feel undesirable. I don’t think this would happen with a normal masculine man of normal capability (whether one chooses to call him alpha or beta).

    I followed my mother’s script at the time. It was understood that I would have the primary career and he would follow me, and we would never have children. I was 17 when I started college, and met my ex the first day. He was very good looking and “nice”, sensitive new age guy who wanted a partner.

  12. Yes, when she asked if I could submit to a beta man (who was my husband), it suddenly became very personal… and I had to really think about what I would do in that situation.
    Of course, you could argue that one never knows until they are in that situation themselves… but I really do think I would embrace the life I chose (I always have… both the good and the bad). My best friend could never understand why I wanted to marry my husband so young (when we just had just enough money to live on and were still college students). She said she could never do that – live without lots of money.

    I guess I could have made it an issue, lots of couples seem to fight about money (a bride’s maid warned me about that, from watching her own parents, who ironically, had tons of money). But we never fought about money… we both embraced the life we chose together, but I really do think that I made it a million times easier by simply being an easy to live with wife and lover.

  13. “I don’t think you’ll find much disagreement about this with men.”

    LOL no… it’s more the (uber religious) women who take issue with a wife writing online (that’s also pretty or blogs about beauty/fashion) offering this kind of good advice. Its like they can’t stand that she displays both outer and inner beauty (that and they forget she’s human and has flaws too), they feel threatened by her online presence, and then need to follow her posts in order to find things to argue about (trivial things) to make themselves either look better than her or feel like they’re better than her. Very yucky… again, like the bad attributes of a beta male giving in to his own insecurity, a “beta” female giving in to her insecurity to try to take down (or discredit somehow) another woman just shows she’s ugly on the inside.

    In my opinion, they need to work on themselves if a stranger online giving good advice bothers them that much. There’s something broken that they aren’t allowing God to fix.

  14. I would like to politely point out that you say you don’t like betas, yet you expect other women to make passionate love to them. Do you see a contradiction there?

    I also object to the concept of seduction as it is inherently manipulative. People should be together because they want to, not because one or the other tricked them into it. And that is what seduction is.

    Betas are perfectly within their rights to be want to be loved for the people they are. Everyone wants that. It doesn’t take much to be attracted to someone who can do a lot for you. It shows a lot more character to love someone even when they can do nothing for you.

  15. Money is nice, and it helps, but in my experience couples who fight over money aren’t actually fighting over money.

  16. We got married in college, also. No money for a long, long while. Our friends said the same thing. Most of them have been married and divorced since. Some more than once.

  17. “Betas are perfectly within their rights to be want to be loved for the people they are. Everyone wants that. It doesn’t take much to be attracted to someone who can do a lot for you. It shows a lot more character to love someone even when they can do nothing for you.”

    Kate, didn’t you advocate for celibacy in marriage in one of your recent posts?

  18. Liz,
    Yes, I did.

    I’d call that “flattery,” yet even that word has a negative connotation I wouldn’t promote. And the word you chose there “act”-even though I know you mean it as “action”- makes it sound like it’s something that’s being faked (putting on an act).

    I find it really strange that there aren’t more words that aren’t by definition manipulative to describe what we’re all essentially talking about. If those words with positive connotations don’t exist, is suggests that relationship can’t exist without manipulation. I know a lot of words and I’m at a loss to find a better one off the top of my head. It might be worthwhile to try to hammer out a common vocabulary, or if necessary, even create one, that really gets at the ideas so we don’t get hung up on semantics.

  19. I also object to the concept of seduction as it is inherently manipulative. People should be together because they want to, not because one or the other tricked them into it. And that is what seduction is.

    There does seem to be quite an issue with this word. I don’t understand it when what is being discussed is the context of sex in marriage. Hebrews 13:4.

    Consider Song of Solomon 2:3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods,
    So is my beloved among the sons.
    I sat down in his shade with great delight,
    And his fruit was sweet to my taste.

    Should a wife “sit in his shade with great delight” while he is unsuspecting of it or did not request it, it is very unlikely he’ll have felt manipulated. Will it feel like seduction? Yep, and he’ll be ecstatic that God gave him a wife willing to go there – “His fruit was sweet to my taste.”

    Dragonfly, I’m starting to see what you’ve been saying regarding the impetus behind this push back you’re receiving.

  20. “I’d call that “flattery,” yet even that word has a negative connotation I wouldn’t promote. And the word you chose there “act”-even though I know you mean it as “action”- makes it sound like it’s something that’s being faked (putting on an act).

    I find it really strange that there aren’t more words that aren’t by definition manipulative to describe what we’re all essentially talking about. If those words with positive connotations don’t exist, is suggests that relationship can’t exist without manipulation. I know a lot of words and I’m at a loss to find a better one off the top of my head. It might be worthwhile to try to hammer out a common vocabulary, or if necessary, even create one, that really gets at the ideas so we don’t get hung up on semantics.”

    I agree, Kate.
    The written language is pretty complex (especially English), but people still communicate more through body language and nuances like voice inflection rather than what is actually stated. I think that’s probably a big reason why discussions on the internet often go off course arguing semantical details.
    Even the word ‘love’ means different things. To me, love (for a romantic partner) without admiration really isn’t love. I might love a child that way, but definitely not a mate.

  21. Dragonfly and Lgrobins…there is a big difference between being a Muse, which is what I think Dragonfly is recommending, versus being a Nag. Instilling confidence in someone so that he (hopefully) becomes better is very different from attempting to micromanage his behavior.

  22. This is a good one:

    “Attractive women are in higher supply than attractive men …”

    So take advice from a woman who thinks women are superior. Ya, you betcha. Because women build bridges, semiconductors, philosophy, and pilot ships.

  23. And … sexual attraction is just more hetero-patriarchal “manipulation”:

    “I also object to the concept of seduction as it is inherently manipulative.”

    Manipulate me some more, babe. (Not you, Kate, it sounds dreary beyond measure. You and I should remain utterly celibate with one another.)

  24. The number one semantical sphere argument of all time, IMO, is the alpha/beta one. I’m convinced everyone is speaking of a different conceptualization the majority of the time.

    Are the guys from Magic Mike alphas? John Wayne? George Bailey from A Wonderful Life? The Band of Brothers guys? These are all very different people, in some ways completely different. I’d say all are alphas with the exception of the first stripper bunch. Some would say they’re the ONLY alphas.

  25. Seduction is wearing lingerie or doing anything at all to engage him or initiate sex. If women are against seducing in marriage, then they’re against a wife ever initiating sex.

  26. Not necessarily. Look at this list of the Muses. You will notice that there is no Muse of sex.

    Calliope was the muse of epic poetry.

    Clio was the muse of history.

    Erato was the muse of love poetry.

    Euterpe was the muse of music.

    Melpomene was the muse of tragedy.

    Polyhymnia was the muse of sacred poetry.

    Terpsichore was the muse of dance.

    Thalia was the muse of comedy.

    Urania was the muse of astronomy.

  27. “I would like to politely point out that you say you don’t like betas, yet you expect other women to make passionate love to them. Do you see a contradiction there?”

    If they picked them to marry them, they’d better make passionate love to them. Again, I’m the kind of woman that fulfills my promises… if I had married a beta guy, I would love him…. and love (like I already said) encompasses more than merely sex). If you can’t understand this, that’s very sad for your husband.

  28. !!! those are not the muses I meant at all. Whoa!!!! How is it possible to not understand what a muse has been (to men) throughout the ages? LOL This is getting thick.

  29. Not necessarily.

    Do you believe that women can rape men? Or that men can experience regret rape, often when it results in children they didn’t want. Or when the woman wanted to get pregnant before divorcing the man?

    This is what a seductress does. Not the innocent initiating you are referring to. Let’s make a distinction between the two. It is a difference in motive: yours is well-intentioned, the seductress’ is not.

  30. That’s just insane. I’m advocating for using seduction within a marriage for sex play, again part of real intimacy and love.

    I never knew so many women were so horrible that they didn’t think initiating sex and using seduction to show their husbands how much they love is something good. Or that they could misconstrue the intent behind a woman who loves her husband. Its very sad really.

  31. I’ve written a few posts about a woman being a muse, here’s one excerpt from

    I love the marriage of Nathaniel & Sophia Hawthorne. A woman who believed in her husband’s writing. It perfectly captures how a woman is supposed to believe in and inspire her husband, take a look at how their son, Julian Hawthorne, described his parent’s loving marriage:

    “The life of a man happily married cannot fail to be influenced by the character and conduct of his wife. Especially will this be the case when the man is of a highly organized and sensitive temperament, and most of all, perhaps, when his professional pursuits are sedentary, and imaginative rather than active and practical.

    Nathaniel Hawthorne was particularly susceptible to influences of this kind; and all the available evidence goes to show that the most fortunate event of his life was, probably, his marriage with Sophia Peabody.

    To attempt to explain and describe his career without taking this event into consideration would, therefore, be like trying to imagine a sun without heat, or a day without a sun. Nothing seems less likely than that he would have accomplished his work in literature independently of her sympathy and companionship.

    Not that she afforded him any direct and literal assistance in the composition of his books and stories; her gifts were wholly unsuited to such employment, and no one apprehended more keenly than she the solitariness and uniqueness of his genius, insomuch that she would have deemed it something not far removed from profanation to have offered to advise or sway him in regard to his literary productions.

    She believed in his inspiration; and her office was to promote, so far as in her lay, the favorableness of the conditions under which it should manifest itself.

    As food and repose nourish and refresh the body, so did she refresh and nourish her husband’s mind and heart.

    Her feminine intuition corresponded to his masculine insight; she felt the truth that he saw; and his recognition of this pure faculty in her, and his reverence for it, endowed his perception with that tender humanity in which otherwise it might have been deficient.

    Her lofty and assured ideals kept him to a belief in the reality and veracity of his own. In the warmth and light of such companionship as hers, he could not fall into the coldness and gloom of a selfish intellectual habit.

    She revived his confidence and courage by the touch of her gentle humor and cheerfulness; before her unshakable hopefulness and serenity, his constitutional tendency to ill-foreboding and discouragement vanished away.

    Nor was she of less value to him on the merely intellectual side. Her mental faculties were finely balanced and of great capacity; her taste was by nature highly refined, and was rendered exquisitely so by cultivation. Her learning and accomplishments were rare and varied, and yet she was always childlike in her modesty and simplicity. She read Latin, Greek, and Hebrew: she was familiar with history; and in drawing, painting, and sculpture she showed a loving talent not far removed from original genius.

    Thus she was able to meet at all points her husband’s meditative and theoretic needs with substantial and practical gratification.

    Awaking to her, he found in her the softened and humanized realization of his dreams. In all this she acted less of defined purpose than unconsciously and instinctively, following the natural promptings of her heart as moulded and enlightened by her love. What she did was done so well, because she could not do otherwise.

    Her husband appreciated her, but she had no appreciation of herself. She only felt what a privilege it was to love and minister to such a man, and to be loved by him. For he was not, as so many men are, a merely passive and complacent absorber of all this devotion. What she gave, he returned; she never touched him without a response; she never called to him without an echo. He never became so familiar with her ministrations, unceasing though these were, as to accept them as a matter of course. The springs of gratitude and recognition could not run dry in him; his wife always remained to him a sort of mystery of goodness and helpfulless.

    He protected her, championed her, and cherished her in all ways that a man may a woman; but, half playfully and all earnestly, he avouched her superiority over himself, and, in a certain class of questions relating to practical morality and domestic expediency, he always deferred to and availed himself of her judgment and counsel.”

    As you can see, Sophia not only did her husband a wonderful service in being a capable, inspiring wife, she also inspired her son to greatness. Julian Hawthorne went on to write several poems, novels, short stores, biographies and histories.

    We do our men a great disservice when we as women don’t recognize and put into action the immense power we have in our femininity.

  32. Another post I wrote on the muse…

    Victor Hugo, that beloved writer, had his own female muse for his inspiration, Adele Foucher. “Do I exist for my own happiness? No, my whole existence is devoted to her, even in spite of her. And by what right should I have dared to aspire to her love? What does it matter, so that it does not injure her happiness? My duty is to keep close to her steps, to surround her existencce with mine, to serve her as a barrier against all dangers; to offer my head as a stepping stone; to place myself unceasingly between her and all sorrows, without claiming reward, without expecting recompense. Alas! If she only allow me to give my life to anticipating her every desire, all her caprices; if she but permit me to kiss with respect her adored footprints; if she but consent to lean upon me at times amidst the difficulties of life.” (Victor Hugo)

    Teddy Roosevelt and his wife, Alice, “Oh, how bewitchingly pretty she looked. If loving her with my whole heart and soul can make her happy, she shall be happy. The aim of my whole life shall be to make her happy and to shiled and guard her from every trial. And Oh, how I shall cherish my sweet queen!” and later he also wrote: “I am so happy that I hardly know what to do. My own beautiful queen is the same as ever and yet, with a certain added charm that I do not know how to describe. I cannot take my eyes off her. It seems almost profanation to touch her, no matter how gently and tenderly.”

    President Woodrow Wilson, after being married to Ellen for 17 years wrote, “All that I am, all that has come to me in life, I owe to you…. I could not be what I am, if I did not take such serene happiness from my union with you. You are the spring of content; and so long as I have you, and you too are happy, nothing but good and power can come to me. Ah, my incomparable little wife, may God bless and keep you.”

    And after being married 28 years: “I adore you! No President but myself ever had exactly the right sort of wife! I am certainly the most fortunate man alive.”

    To be a woman who inspires and awakens a man’s innermost aspirations and longings is rare and beautiful. To the muse, the non-judgemental, encouraging and beautiful soul, thank you.

  33. Those are wonderful and inspirational spousal ‘muse’ posts, Dragonflygirl.
    Thankyou for those, and
    I could not agree more. 🙂

  34. The Male Alpha state as seen from the ‘sphere concerns only how he is with women. Beta may be a corporate high-flyer who is dominant at work or it may be a military officer who commands hundreds of men with confidence, but if he becomes the Beta around his wife, then he is by definition Beta and to his wife he is one. I know such cases in real life myself.

    Women confuse the Alpha state with one of the few super-charismatic guys who always are dominant among all men. That is not the case. It may be just a lowly petrol station worker who is just dominant with every woman he lives with. Plenty of criminals are like that despite their low social standing in life.

    Also there are even variations among women of how much Alpha a man has to be to qualify in her mind for that. Some women are highly tolerant of such behavior and small behavioral patterns are sufficient to convince her of his strength.

  35. I actually think many men, perhaps most men, would be happy with a relationship of equals, ie, he doesn’t try to dominate her and she doesn’t try to dominate him. After all, many male-male friendships are like this, and even some business partnerships: just two guys, not a leader and a follower.

    But it doesn’t seem to work with women: they are mostly hierarchical, and usually assume that if you’re not commanding them, then they should be commanding you. (Even in woman-woman friendships, one of them is usually the Alpha Girl.) Try to have a relationship of equals, and you will find yourself the subordinate, in most cases. (Exceptions for some very nice, calm, placid girls.)

    So it seems that in early stages of a relationship with a woman, particularly a prospective wife, a man must be very very attuned to the power dynamics. If you repeatedly go along with her on things you don’t care that much about…which wallpaper, or where to eat dinner, say…you will find more and more she will also be expecting to be the sole decision-maker on things you DO care about.

    Interesting blog, btw, glad I ran into it.

  36. Oh, yes, interesting. Hawthorne was a wonderful moralist. It’s not surprising he had such a happy marriage, but nice to know regardless. Not only is The Scarlet Letter a fantastic study, but his short stories (“Rappaccini’s Daughter,” “Young Goodman Brown,” and “The Minister’s Black Veil”) are all very significant pieces.

  37. “I prefer men don’t offer me their head as a stepping stone, but that’s just me.” 😉

    Could you elaborate on this?

  38. Thank you Sarah’s Daughter for seeing how ridiculous it is. My husband was reading some of the comments last night and couldn’t believe how nuts some of these women sound.

  39. You’re probably right about men preferring a partnership. It’s hard for men to really learn and want to lead – it doesn’t come naturally for many of them, it’s a journey that (I believe) they must take in order to achieve real masculinity and manhood.

    Elisabeth Elliot wrote a lot on this subject, I’ll have to write more on it quoting her sometime. But what I liked about the OP’s post was how honest and self aware he was to actually admit that he didn’t want to lead.

    And you’re right about women taking advantage of a man that isn’t leading, they subconsciously want a leader (unless they want a man that they can control – which is more often than you’d think). So submitting to a man that isn’t leading with confidence is hard for a woman who has resumed that role in 95% other areas of their marriage. If he tries to lead in 5-10% of what’s left to lead her in, it will be harder to submit to him because she’s not used to it and feels like she’s already in charge of all their decisions and plans.

  40. Any dude gets in this position, needs to pack up & walk away, get way from the emotional vampire who is using up all your kindness/ generosity & actually complaining about it. That is abuse in action, keeping you mentally & physically drained & under her control.
    If she wants a bad boy, let her go & do not even think about mopping up that mess later.
    Walk away.

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