In a widely shared Huffington Post article, therapist Sonya Rhodes, Ph.D., offers advice on how today’s powerful, competitive, “take charge” woman can fully embrace her Alpha nature and find success in relationships. She discusses some of the challenges faced by Alpha women that I addressed in a recent post for Rewire Me (“When the Woman Is More Successful Than the Man”). Women interested in hearing more from Dr. Rhodes will be well served by checking out The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match: How Today’s Strong Women Can find Love and Happiness Without Settling, a book published this week that she wrote with Susan Schneider.
Can Alpha women have satisfying relationships without ratcheting down their personal aspirations? The answer from Dr. Rhodes is a resounding “yes!” A clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Rhodes shares her proven-in-practice techniques that enable women to triumph in love by finding men who will appreciate and complement their strengths. Along with her advice, she includes many personal stories of actual Alpha women and the challenges they’ve faced on the dating scene. Dr. Rhodes shows Alpha females how to:
- avoid futile searches leading to domineering Alpha males who are a mismatch for them
- find a partner who has the right mix of Alpha and Beta qualities for a sustained relationship
- identify mixed signals from a man and determine what’s really going on in a relationship
- take a more proactive stance when seeking partners in the online dating world to avoid relationship dead ends
- have a more egalitarian—and satisfying—sex life with their partners
The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match is nothing short of a new manifesto for relationship success for today’s high-achieving woman. Here’s an excerpt—plus a link to Dr. Rhodes’s quiz to help you determine whether you’re more Alpha or Beta.
Alpha women are usually determined to get exactly what they want, and sometimes they devalue people who are not as successful or self-confident as they are. Or they have a diva fantasy of a man who does everything just as they want him to or a wish for the perfect mate. If you keep expecting to meet a Master of the Universe who is also caring and supportive and sensitive, you may wait forever.
But let’s distinguish between settling for less than you want and deserve and being an imperious diva and never taking no for an answer. “Maybe I should settle and marry him,” a thirtysomething woman will sigh. I can’t say how many times I hear this from women frustrated in their search for a partner and pressured by time. My response is always the same: never settle! Making a huge compromise when you choose a life partner is not a workable solution. Don’t even think about settling as a viable option.
Then again, I have a super-Alpha client named Ashley who is dating a really nice Beta guy named Chris. She insists that he do things her way: dress in a certain style, give up his motorcycle, and, lately, stop seeing his best friend because she resents the time they spend together. If he won’t do it, she says, it’s a deal breaker. Ashley’s dream is of a cocoon-like existence where she is in complete control.
This is narcissistic behavior to a T. She feels entitled and impressed with her own importance; at the same time, her unreasonable demands show how vulnerable and insecure she is. A secure person isn’t threatened by a partner having an independent life. I have watched as she’s pushed Chris into a corner, increasing her demands until he will be forced either to give her up or give himself up. This relationship will only survive if she can hold up a mirror to herself and see that her constant refrain is “my way or the highway.”
Real people and real relationships rarely match up to your fondest fantasies. Ashley has a man who respects and loves her, but she wants to control his every move. I’ve seen other Alphas, and Betas as well, get in their own way when they persist in holding on to fantasies instead of getting to know the guy who shows them affection and respect. Keep in mind that the most important characteristic of a successful marriage is something called a vision of life. Shared beliefs and values and similar ideas about family make up the core of a marriage that works. Throw in good sex, and you have a recipe that will serve you well over the long haul. Granted, there’s a fine line between settling and being realistic. But try to think less about a guy’s imperfections and more about the qualities that match up to your vision of life (which should include, it goes without saying, good, although not necessarily mind-blowing-all-the-time sex).
Remember, the marriage statistics are way in your favor: so, expand your search, put your fantasies aside, and take a real-life risk.
Excerpted from The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match: How Today’s Strong Women Can Find Love and Happiness Without Settling, by Sonya Rhodes, Ph.D., and Susan Schneider. Copyright © 2014. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.