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His Take: “Are Men Intimidated By Strong Women?”

“Recently, I was talking with a male friend about my most recent relationship and why things didn’t work out, and he looked at me and said: “Frankly, you are too much of an alpha male.” Yes, I’m a strong, confident women, and I’m willing to admit that I can be rough around the edges, but once you get to know me I’m a great, caring person with a lot to offer. When did being a confident, independent and powerful woman and not being a pushover become such a bad thing to the opposite sex?” — Alpha Woman

MATT: You know who sort of drives me nuts? Mariah Carey. She treats every note like a water-park slide and she pours herself into dresses so short that I feel like I’m going to see her little Mimi every time she steps out of a fur-lined limo. Plus, I feel like she’s made a conscious choice over the years to look less black (you know what I mean?), which really bugs me. But, here’s the funny thing…for every complaint I could make about her, there are probably ten times over a boatload of folks who love her (many of my gay brethren amongst them).

I think your male friend’s comment might have been well-intentioned, but he’s not commenting on what’s wrong with you, he’s commenting on his preference. For every one of him, there might be another guy who is totally revved up by this whole “pack-leader” vibe you’re apparently working. So, I say you just go right on being your assertive, direct, powerful, sexy self because the bottom line is this: your friend was really just expressing his taste, and he doesn’t (and couldn’t possibly) speak for all men, just like I can’t speak for everyone’s opinion of Miss Carey. Tell him you appreciate the feedback…and then growl at him and order him to fix you a drink.

ERIK: Being a powerful woman is not a bad thing; it’s a fantastic thing. Your friend sounds like a wimp. Anyone who views confidence as something that one can possibly have too much of is sick in the head. Maybe he meant you’re too pushy or domineering, in which case that may or may not be a fair point, but being “too much of an alpha” is no better criticism than “too good in bed.” Your strength of character might push some people away, but that’s because they feel insecure next to you, not because confidence is a bad thing. That is, unless you like wimpy men.

ART: Fuck that guy! When did being a confident, independent and powerful woman become such a bad thing? The same day that guy was born with a tiny prick. A strong, confident man will love a strong, confident woman. If you have to change who you are to be with a guy, kick his ass out.

JMAGIC: At our core we feel like we need to be providers, but some of us actually enjoy a woman like you who is strong, ambitious, and doesn’t always look to us to ‘fix’ things. But be careful, because based on your question I’m wondering if your attitude about your abilities comes off as more arrogant than confident. Especially your “rough around the edges, but once you get to know me…” comment. Nobody likes arrogance. Be sure of yourself, but not just to prove a point and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

ALEX: Some men don’t want strong, confident and independent women. This is because they themselves are not strong, confident, independent men. They don’t want you. You don’t want them either.

JOE: One of the biggest thrills of dating is to become a special part of someone’s life – to be different because you are allowed “in” in a way that others aren’t. The expectation is that, when a person feels close to us and feels we’re special, they’ll show us facets that others don’t get to experience. That exposure of their sensitive side is part of what creates the bond in a relationship, as does feeling mutually needed and wanted.

I suspect that perhaps, in relationships, you’re so concerned with showing how capable and self-sufficient you are that maybe you’ve forgotten to let your guard down and to show that you care about your partner and that he’s special to you. Tell him how you feel about him. Let him do (some) things for you, not because you can’t do them, but because it’s a chance for him to show he cares. Let him see that you’re not always 100% ready for everything, not because you’re weak but because you’re human. The problem isn’t being too “alpha male.” The problem is being afraid to truly let him into your life and past those rough edges. Be strong enough to be vulnerable.

* If you’d like to ask the guys a question, simply email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.

Comments on this entry are closed.

fast eddie fast eddie March 7, 2011, 11:47 am

I love the strong confident woman I married. The demure “take care of me” types were, and still are, a complete turn off for me. We’ve built a successful life together as equals in our careers, investments, and personal lives. We still argue about money and home decoration but the partnership and mutual consideration in all things is the main reason we’re successful.

avatar patricia May 21, 2012, 3:32 am

halleluja, Does it ever occur to some guys who want the demure type, that underneath the ‘strong’ capable woman is a demure one who has taken responsibilty for what she wants and often works hard to provide it for herself but would like a partner wo shares the responsibilities of running a home providing a haven for all who live there.

Think guys how would your demure helpless partner cope if you left the scene , surely you would like to think she could manage or is your ego so big you would she suffer and struggle without your abilities ( this is not love). Thsi works both ways for women who need to be in charge of the internal domestic chores. It ouwld be more loving if you made each other independant but willing to share Hey what a new concept.

avatar ArtsyGirl March 7, 2011, 11:55 am

Your friend’s comment sounds like something from the early half of the 20th century. Thank you to all the guys who gave amazing advice on this one!

avatar AnitaBath March 7, 2011, 12:05 pm

Maybe this is just me being pessimistic, and we obviously don’t really know enough to know how the LW acts, but a lot of the time, when people say things like, “alpha male” or how they’re a confident person, that’s their take on it. What everyone else sees is someone who’s overbearing, pushy, and kind of mean. Kind of like when some people say that they “tell it like it is,” when really they’re just mean and don’t have a filter.

becboo84 BecBoo84 March 7, 2011, 12:36 pm

I so agree with you on this one! I hate it when people say, “I just tell it like it is. If you don’t like it, that’s your problem.” That totally is code for, “I’m a jerk who’s going to say mean things that make you feel bad about yourself.”

Not saying this is the issue with the LW, but that could be a definite possibility.

avatar AnitaBath March 7, 2011, 12:42 pm

Yeah, I think it also needs to be taken into consideration that all the friend said was that she was an “alpha male.” She filled in all of the rest of the blanks herself.

Just something for the letter writer to consider. If you’ve ever said the mentioned phrases, or if you’d had people tell you that you’re rude, mean, or pushy before, maybe just reevaluate how you’re presenting yourself to people.

avatar camille905 March 7, 2011, 12:52 pm

I totally disagree. “Telling it like it is” is NOT code for “I’m just a jerk” to everybody. I’m blunt and honest and my friends don’t think I’m a jerk- they value my opinion because they know I will tell them what the actual truth about a situation, not what they WANT to hear. Many people can’t handle that and so they complain about someone being “mean” when really they just can’t handle the truth. I don’t want someone to tell me I look nice when I don’t, or that something is a good idea if it’s not.
If you have people telling you things you don’t want to hear, maybe should re-evaluate YOURSELF.

avatar WatersEdge March 7, 2011, 3:52 pm

Ironically, with 10 thumbs down and counting… maybe YOU should re-evaluate YOURSELF.

avatar WatersEdge March 7, 2011, 4:37 pm

with all my caps I sound meaner than I meant to… but my point about how everyone is disagreeing with your idea that it’s ok to “tell it like it is” without considering feelings, stands. just know that I didn’t mean to be so harsh!

avatar Jess March 8, 2011, 2:26 am

I really don’t think friends being honest with each other is rare at all. The fact that you think it is, is pretty clear that your definition of “being honest” leans pretty far away from helpful honesty, to being bitchy.

avatar Jess March 8, 2011, 2:59 am

My parents always told me this rule:
Before you say something, think, Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If its two out of 3 things you could say it.

So feel free to speak if its true and necessary, or true and kind, but its its true, and unkind, and not necessary, why say it? Just because you “tell it like it is” and if they can’t handle it it’s their problem? Thats rude, and immature.

avatar AnitaBath March 8, 2011, 10:29 am

When did I say being honest is rare? I’m saying that people who have the tendency to need to always defend themselves and their comments, because people are often accusing them of being mean, usually defend themselves by saying they “tell it like it is” when really they’re just being unnecessarily mean. If people aren’t bitchy when they’re being honest, they usually don’t have people get mad at them and they usually don’t have to come up with cliche phrases to back up their comments.

avatar AnitaBath March 8, 2011, 10:32 am

*cough* Unless that wasn’t directed at me. Sometimes it’s hard to tell where those bars on the side are lining up O:)

avatar baby.blanka March 8, 2011, 10:33 am

I loved Anita’s comment but to Camille, I think there is a huge difference between how we speak to our friends and how we come off to new love interests. I give my friends “tough love” all of the time because I know that I can. I know my friends love and respect me no matter what and I love and respect them enough to be honest about what I think. Would I act that way on a first date though? No way!

I do see people coming across as jerks who really ARE too confident. Confidence is not an excuse to be mean to other people, it is about being nice about yourself. I think the two actions are too often confused.

avatar AnitaBath March 7, 2011, 12:58 pm

Wow. There’s a difference between, “That shirt doesn’t look too flattering on you, maybe you should try that cute one you wore a couple weeks back,” and, “Wow, where the fuck did that spare tire come from? Uh, yeah, change.”

In my experience, the people in the first are being honest. Oftentimes, the people who feel the need to defend their position because people keep labeling them as rude because they’re being unnecessarily mean are the ones that tout themselves as “telling it like it is,” and, “If you have a problem with my honesty, it’s on you.”

avatar caramelpuff March 8, 2011, 2:30 am

I don’t think she’s honest in terms of your second example. I think she meant she’s honest but more discreet which in a way is telling it like it is. Otherwise you’d be lying to say ‘that shirt looks great.’

avatar AnitaBath March 8, 2011, 10:26 am

The LW didn’t even say anything about “telling it like it is,” I just used that as an example. It’s impossible to tell which one the LW is, all I’m saying is that someone told her she was an “alpha male,” and she filled in all of these blanks about how she’s a confident, strong woman who can be “rough around the edges.” Instead of completely ignoring the possibility, maybe she should look at how she presents herself and see if people have a tendency to label her, not as “confident,” but as “overbearing.”

Hell, maybe she should find someone who “tells it like it is” and ask them if they think she often comes across as a bitch.

avatar HmC March 7, 2011, 6:16 pm

That’s pretty much exactly what I was thinking as I read LW’s question.

parton_doll parton_doll March 7, 2011, 12:18 pm

I am a “relationship alpha” and my husband said that when we began dating, he was a little intimidated by me. I agree that something that might help you is to show a little “human” side … or in other words, that you’re not so self-sufficient that you don’t need anyone else in your life. I have to say that I agree the most with Joe’s advice, especially:

“Let him do (some) things for you, not because you can’t do them, but because it’s a chance for him to show he cares. Let him see that you’re not always 100% ready for everything, not because you’re weak but because you’re human.”

Now I didn’t let down my guard with my husband completely at first, because you don’t need to let everyone in. But it is okay to show a little vulnerability every now and then, with things that are within your comfort level, of course. Everyone wants to feel needed in a relationship, even if it is small ways. And what I love so much now is that while I am still a strong, confident, capable woman who CAN be completely sufficient on my own, I CHOOSE to have my husband be a contributing part of my life. And that enriches me so much more.

avatar Desiree March 7, 2011, 12:20 pm

I am a strong woman and completely comfortable with the label. I undoubtedly inherited it from my mother, who is a pragmatic Italian with a low tolerance for nonsense. However, she is also kind, compassionate, and deeply considerate of the feelings of others; she showed me that being “strong” does not mean being a bulldozer. But it was through my most recent relationship that I learned the most important counterpoint to strength: acknowledged vulnerability. True intimacy involves genuine vulnerability. The greatest gift my boyfriend and I give to one another is a safe place to be our complete selves, even in weak moments. I think it is hard for a man to let down his defenses if the woman does not let go of hers. This may not apply to the LW, but it was something I had to learn through trial and error.

avatar RoyalEagle0408 March 7, 2011, 12:23 pm

I thInk my biggest problem is showing weakness and I know I need to work on letting others do things for me, but it’s hard because I don’t want to seem needy or incapable of taking care of myself. At some point in my life, I acquired a chip on my shoulder and have spent a really long time feeling like I need to prove myself constantly.

Skyblossom Skyblossom March 7, 2011, 12:35 pm

Being a strong, confident woman in no way prevents men from being attracted to you. I know lots of strong, confident women who are happily married. If you’re strong and confident you have nothing to worry about.

I wonder whether your friend was trying to find a kind/polite way to say that you’re overbearing or domineering? Do you know the exact way that everything should be done? Do you demand that things be done your way on your schedule? Are you open to various opinions? Do you compromise or is compromise weak? You may need to ask your friend to clarify.

Skyblossom Skyblossom March 7, 2011, 1:33 pm

One thing that I’ve seen is that couples may have different ideas about what something means. Sometimes words that seem the most obvious cause the most trouble because you assume everyone knows what they mean.

For one family do the dishes may mean take the dishes from the table, rinse them and then load them in the dishwasher. At our home do the dishes means load the dishwasher because everyone is expected to take their dishes to the sink and rinse them so that they are ready to load in the dishwasher. To me, vaccuum the living room means to vaccuum the floor in the living room but I know a family where it means vaccuum the floor plus every surface of every couch and chair so they vaccuum all of the cushions and under the cushions and every side of every piece of furniture. That same family considers clearing the table to mean clearing the dishes from the table, wiping down the table and wiping down every surface of every chair at the table.

Do you have a way that each thing must be done? Do you talk about differences in expectation? If you come from a family that expected more than the average family when doing a job you might consider your partner lazy or dirty when they are just doing things to a different standard. Have you every asked questions like, “What does do the dishes mean to you?” Sometimes you need to clarify what is meant or intended and allow for differences in the way things will be done.

avatar Painted_lady March 7, 2011, 1:05 pm

Oooh! Me! Me! Look, there are the confident women who are self-sufficient and independent that they may intimidate men who would rather have a shy, retiring woman who won’t challenge him, that he can make all the decisions in the relationship and she’ll do nothing but be grateful that he takes care of her. And you don’t want that type of guy.

But maybe you’re like my roommate – she’s good at her job (fantastic, actually), she’s completely brilliant, an absolutely amazing friend, and one of the funniest people I know. But she’s incredibly insecure around men, and it’s become more so as she gets older. She copes by letting them know exactly how much she doesn’t need them, how dumb and childish she finds them, and needs to win constantly – every argument, game of cards, baseball playoff bet. What she means to do is to flirt, but in a way where she doesn’t have to show any vulnerability. Which, obviously, is impossible. And she cones across as bossy, overbearing, competitive and blunt. Which breaks my heart because she runs off every guy she’s interested. I’ve nearly pulled a couple aside to say, “She’s being a bitch because she really likes you.”

The few guys she’s met who haven’t been terrified of her have all been ones she’s worked with long-term. At work, she’s the girl I know – sweet, funny, smart, maybe a little teasing but never overbearing – and so these guys get to see who she really is. Of course they love her. But if she’d met them out at a bar, she’d have scared them off.

So think about who you really are and who you feel you should be or need to be to protect yourself. If you put a wall up to keep yourself from getting hurt, trust me, you’re still going to get hurt, you just won’t have anything to show for it.

avatar Uyzie March 7, 2011, 1:19 pm

Whenever I get a piece of puzzling feedback, I always ask myself two questions: 1) How credible is the person giving me the feedback, and 2) Have I heard this before? In other words, this was only one friend’s opinion. If this friend knows you very well, and has proven to be a touchstone of honesty and common sense in the past, then perhaps there is a bit of truth to what he’s saying. However, if the source isn’t that credible, and this is the only time you’ve had anyone say something like this to you, then I honestly wouldn’t worry about it too much.

Regarding the second question: if this is something that you’ve heard in various forms before from other people (close to you or otherwise), then it might be worth looking into as a possible pattern in how others perceive you. It might very well be possible that what you perceive as strength and confidence is unfortunately coming off as arrogant or pushy, and this friend was trying to couch that in a nicer way. Chances are, if you hear this all the time, from people both close to you and from mere acquaintances, then the common denominator is you. And that bears a bit of introspection so you can see where the disconnect is between how you see yourself, and how others do.

becboo84 BecBoo84 March 7, 2011, 1:25 pm

I think your advice is absolutely perfect!

avatar Green_Blessings_Goddess March 7, 2011, 2:02 pm

First off, Matt, I love Mariah Carey. She is a woman and is herself, she is confident, sexy, she has big boobs but she isn’t fat at all, she is very fit and I think incredibly sexy. I have some of her videos and in We Belong Together she has a short dress that is a bit lowcut in the scene after she starts walking down the isle and I love her legs. I love her skin tone too. Too many of the models now a days look like men or the too thin boyish body, no boobs. So, you may not like Mariah but there are plenty whom do, the All I Want for Christmas video has sold as one of the top videos of all time.

Alpha Female, It could be at times you are too pushy and domineering and part of being confident and successful is being able to take constructive criticism when you asked for advice. I hate when people ask questions for advice and then get upset.

Also, I wouldn’t say your friend is a wimp, I think that is too harsh, we need more specifics about what he is referring to specifically that is too much like an alpha male to know if his statement is accurate, so there isn’t enough info to say either way.

What I will tell you is that there are different types of people in this world. For example, I can think of evangelical Christian men that want to be married to a woman whom wants to stay at home and homeschool the kids, they want the long skirt, dowdy frumpy looking woman whom will be submissive and raise mini versions of themselves.

I do not think this would be your type of man and you would not be his type of woman, neither is wrong or right, you are different types.

I once dated a guy that didn’t like my skirts because they were too short for him and he thought that was too “sexually aggressive” for him, never mind the fact I never did and had no intention of sleeping with him especially after he revealed he was not interested in marriage just in trying to get me into bed and then dumping me, hence my point is he didn’t like my skirt and another man didn’t like my dress and thought it was too short for church. I am not their type and I wouldn’t want to be with either of them.

Some guys I dated don’t like women with makeup or whom trim their hair and get their eyebrows waxed regularly, one short lived jerk relationship sneered at me after I put on makeup before going out with him and his little terd kid.

For some guys you will probably be too confident and successful, If I were you, I would be careful about not being too pushy but I would also accept that there will be men that would find me not attractive and not like my personality and there will be men that will like me for me.

At the end of the day, you want to be with someone whom accepts you for yourself and respects you.

avatar Stretch March 14, 2011, 8:32 pm

FYI Mariah’s boobs are fake. That’s how she can have such big ones and not be fat at all.

avatar WatersEdge March 7, 2011, 2:12 pm

I think that the only guy who really spoke to the issue at hand was Joe. I don’t think that the answer is “that guy is an idiot, ignore him”. I think that for a person to be secure in themselves, they have to be sort of intrinsically non-alpha. To me, if you’re really secure in yourself, you don’t need to impose your will on other people. If you really think you’re smart or awesome, then you don’t have to minimize other people’s intelligence or awesomeness to prove that point. If someone whose opinion you trust told you that you are too much of an alpha male, then he probably means that you can be abrasive and cold, from an interpersonal standpoint. Being vulnerable isn’t easy, but it ratchets up the warmth factor pretty quickly.

sobriquet sobriquet March 7, 2011, 3:29 pm

Exactly. The friend didn’t say that being strong and independent was a turnoff to men, he said that her alpha-male personality was. The alpha-male personality can be strong and confident, but it is usually bossy and domineering.

avatar PFG-SCR March 7, 2011, 2:30 pm

I think Art is right with “A strong, confident man will love a strong, confident woman.” Like AB commented above, if she’s being abrasive, that’s something different, and it’s likely because she’s _not_ as strong and confident as she passes herself off to be. Insecurities manifest themselves in so many ways, and people try to cover them up to not appear weak or vulnerable – it’s hard to tell if that’s the underlying issue, or she’s just not dating the right guys.

“Let him do (some) things for you, not because you can’t do them, but because it’s a chance for him to show he cares. Let him see that you’re not always 100% ready for everything, not because you’re weak but because you’re human.”

I’m going to disagree with this – if he expects you to let him do some things for you that you can already do, it’s not about giving him a chance to show that he cares, but it’s about trying to boost his own self-confidence. There are many ways that a person can show they care about someone, but I think a strong, confident guy would find it patronizing for a girl to pretend to “need” his assistance. I think what is important is when you truly need assistance, you not be too proud to ask for it.

sobriquet sobriquet March 7, 2011, 3:21 pm

It’s gotten to the point that whenever I hear a woman complaining that men don’t like her because she is “strong” and “confident”, I just roll my eyes. “Strong, confident woman” is to women what “nice guys finish last” is to men.

No man worth dating will ever dump a woman for being strong, confident, or successful. Just like no woman worth dating will ever dump a man for being nice. 9 times out of 10, men that get dumped for being “nice” are really getting dumped for being too needy/clingy just like women that are dumped for being “strong” are really just bossy and controlling.

avatar WatersEdge March 7, 2011, 4:05 pm

I love this comment!

avatar Addie Pray March 7, 2011, 3:40 pm

Notice how every one of the male contributors says they like strong women? Every guy says they do… But then you look around and see time after time that the needy, less confidant women are in relationships and the strong independent women are alone. Similarly, every guy I know says they’d welcome a woman who makes more many than they do, but, when I look around, I don’t see guys dating high-powered successful woman with fat wallets…. So I’m at a loss. I want to see guys ACTUALLY dating strong confidant women and not just SAYING they would HYPOTHETICALLY. Having said that, I definitely believe these male contributors would date strong confidant women (or men). But these guys are clearly the exception to the rule. I mean, they want to write for Wendy. They’re not your regular dude. All that to say, I’m not convinced. I think the right answer is deep down guys just want to feel smarter and needed – they want easy girls who do not threaten their ego. [Side note: I’m really bitter today. I worked all weekend. And I really want to see this movie tonight but have no one to go with me. It’s ok, I’ll go alone. But yeah, I’m feeling bitter today. So take this with a grain of salt.]

avatar cdj0815 March 7, 2011, 3:46 pm

Addie, I hope you feel better later on today:)

avatar WatersEdge March 7, 2011, 4:02 pm

I’ve noticed that a lot of men (people, actually) like to feel needed. Strong women don’t make them feel needed unless those women can also be vulnerable and ask for help. Women do this too- if a guy gets a cold or needs a favor, she’s typically there and thrilled.

I think that some people minimize the human desire to feel wanted or needed as stupid or not worth considering. It’s not stupid to want to feel helpful and important to the people you care about. So some strong women, who don’t allow a man to have a place in her life, who don’t open up and get vulnerable and be emotionally intimate, and instead put up a facade that they are completely competent and can do everything themselves, send the signal that the man is not necessary (and can therefore go away). That’s why some people are saying that it’s ok to artificially generate a situation where a guy can feel needed. That sends the message of “I want you to help me because I like you and I want you to stick around”. “Acts of service” is even one of the five Love Languages, or ways that people express their love according to some relationship experts. Letting a guy help you is a way of showing him that you care, just like him helping you is a way of showing you that he cares.

avatar RoyalEagle0408 March 7, 2011, 4:11 pm


avatar SpyGlassez March 7, 2011, 5:59 pm

One of the things my boyfriend has said from the beginning is that he loves how strong I am. He had dated the needy, clingy, and “broken” (always needing something fixed about themselves) types before, and didn’t like it. I am two years older than him, got my masters, have a decent job, bought my own car, etc. He genuinely likes that I can – and do – “help myself” and don’t rely on him to take care of me. However, he also likes it when I do ask him to help me with something, whether it’s work related or dealing with my car or building bookshelves. He wants to be able to contribute, but he definitely sees the value of being with someone who is perfectly capable on her own.

Being strong and independent can mean being confident and handling every task that comes along – I got that from the women in my family on both sides, because I come from a line of women who won’t take guff from anybody. It can also mean jumping up and down and arm-waving “Ooh! I can change my own oil! I can tear down and rebuild engines! I can field-strip your hunting rifle! I’m SO STRONG AND INDEPENDENT!!” That gets old after a while. We all do it from time to time, but that isn’t what confidence is about. Being confident is being able to hold your head up and know in your heart that you are able to do whatever is set before you – whether it is changing your oil, starting over in a relationship, or dealing with aging parents – and know that you can do it with grace.

One last note. My grandmother was the strongest woman I knew. She was a divorced widow when she married my grandfather (at a time when divorce was uncommon, of course) and she raised four children plus all of us grandchildren. After my grandfather died, she kept living alone, driving herself anywhere she needed to go, taking care of her life and the grandbabies. I don’t remember her ever being indignant about someone doing something for her (a gentleman opening a door, or a stranger offering help when she had car trouble) but you always KNEW that she could have, and would have, done it herself with no hesitation and no qualms. That is what true strength and true independence are about, not being bossy and making others do things “Your way or the highway.”

avatar cdj0815 March 7, 2011, 3:42 pm

On my job I work with a guy who is wonderful person most of the time. He consistently tells the bosses how he feels about certain projects and what he will or will not do. People say, “Dan doesn’t take an sh–t!”, and laugh it off. He is the typical Alpha male.

But when Jane does it, she is considered a bitch and difficult to work with. Both says what they feel with the same tone and conviction, but thier comments are received differently. Why is that? I have alway seen this type of reaction on the job and I have been working for almost 30 years.

avatar cdj0815 March 7, 2011, 3:45 pm

PS. I notice this in relationships as well. I guess in our society, a guy is expected to act this way, but a woman should not. I am not attracted to either one myself.

avatar spaceboy761 March 7, 2011, 4:00 pm

With all due respect, I’m calling shenignans here. Our group of male histakers are a self-selected bunch of men that willingly offered to comment on what is primarily a women’s relationship site. Their opinions on ‘alpha women’ are going to differ greatly from that of the general male populus.

What your friend was trying to tell you in so many words is: “You’re a domineering bitch who habitually drives men away. You will probably die alone.”

avatar WatersEdge March 7, 2011, 4:04 pm

I agree that these men seem to be saying what women would want to hear and not what they, or maybe the average guy, would really think. Except Joe- I think he nailed it.

avatar spaceboy761 March 7, 2011, 4:13 pm

JMagic hit it pretty well. Essentially, much like every other man or woman on the planet, LW has to find the line between ‘confidence’ and ‘asshole’. She’s probably veering a little south of the border.

avatar Leyahn March 7, 2011, 6:32 pm

I am one of those “Alpha” women. Independent, emotionally and financially secure, fixes my own plumbing and takes my own trash out. But, I agree with Jmagic, Alex, and Joe. When in a relationship I do let men “take care” of little things for me. For instance, I am perfectly capable of taking my car to the shop, having an educated discussion on what it needs (or doesn’t need) and handling my own auto repairs. But I let my Ex do that for me – he is a mechanic and just always “knew” that I was going to be taken advantage of, being of the “fairer” sex. It made him happy, I got to drive his snappy little Jeep when my car was in the shop – it was a win-win.

But, I do not let men demean my accomplishments, not criticize me for being strong. I have heard many variations of the “But, you just don’t need me” speech. (Usually as they are walking out the door to go hook up with the basket case, emotional wreck of a woman who “needs them”) Yeah, I don’t need you to take out the trash and fix the leak under the sink – but I do need an equal partner that will be supportive of my endeavors and care for me despite who I am.

So, Bravo to all the “Aphla” women out there!!! Hear me roar.

avatar Jess March 8, 2011, 2:18 am

It sounds like he was just being nice when he said you were an “alpha male.” He was probably sugar coating it so you wouldn’t feel bad. The truth it, men DO like confident, independent women. If men don’t like you, it’s probably because you are something else. No man wants a woman to be a pushover, but they don’t want to have to be pushover themselves around her because she is so bossy and moody.

avatar Mainer March 8, 2011, 7:12 am

I think the LW doesn’t really understand the concept of an Alpha, which is just a name for people with Type A Personality. People with Type A personality tend to be controlling, competitive, impatient, aggressive, assertive, etc. It has nothing really to do with being independent. Both A and B personalities can be highly independent, the B’s just tend to be more relaxed and easy-going. They’re not overly concerned with deadlines, stress, being in the lead, etc. So by this guy calling her an Alpha Male (which was a fucking bone head thing to say, at least call her an Alpha Female), he was likely just pointing out she is too much of a Type A and he is not into that. It’s not a bad thing, it just means it is not a personality he is attracted to. And neither am I. I am very much Type B (yet, I am in a vested career, own a home, and have confidently and successfully lived on my own and supported myself for almost 10 years). I find the Type A’s to be just a little too intense for me. But then again, if you don’t have your shit together (job, financially secure, independent), then I have no interest in dating you. Those things don’t make you an Alpha, they just make you a secure person.

avatar _jsw_ March 8, 2011, 12:25 pm

I ended up really busy yesterday and completely missed this, so, while I’m so late to the party that the cops have already left, I have a few comments.

Regarding spaceboy761’s comment that our opinions on ‘alpha women’ are going to differ greatly from that of the general male populous: Wendy treated the baker’s dozen of us to a spa sauna treatment this weekend, and as a result of that, I can tell you that what we all have in common is that we’re each a well-endowed, stunningly attractive Adonis of an attention-whore who has Internet access and is at least functionally literate in English. Other than that, there are few traits common to the entire group. While it’d take many thousands of men to truly represent every aspect of the male populous, I think we do a fairly good job of being diverse. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t, but I think we represent.

Second, I really like that, unlike some other topics, there’s a lot of diversity in the replies to this one. Not only does that mean that different people have different takes on assertiveness (or however you’d phrase it), it also shows that a given letter is subject to an immense amount of personal interpretation as to what the letter writer’s situation and personality is like. At most, we get a few hundred words to assess, and that will seldom be sufficient. So… what you see here is not only our opinion on alpha-male-like behavior, it’s also our opinion of what the LW and her friend meant by what they said.

We each gave the advice we felt was suitable to the mental model we had of the writer and her world. Between all of us, we probably got close at least once, but there are a lot of very different women in very different situations who could have written this exact letter, so… who knows? It’d be very interesting to hear from the LW at some point.

avatar Erica March 8, 2011, 8:32 pm

I don’t mean to be a bitch or anti-feminist or whatever else I’m sure I’ll be called…
I promise I’m only trying to be honest.
I’ve been in quite a few relationships and most of my friends are guys. I know that most of them would not prefer a woman who is dominant or more “alpha male” than they are.
This is not because they’re weak men, or not strong themselves (they’re amazing people), but because they like to be the caregivers and they prefer to make a woman feel safe and loved. A lot of men truly enjoy the more traditional gender roles, not because they are sexist but just because they like to be important to someone.
I’m not saying that it’s bad to be a strong woman, but a strong woman typically likes to say she doesn’t NEED a man. And in that case, she should find a man who doesn’t NEED her. A girl like the writer should just choose more carefully what type of man she dates, because most men like to be the MAN in the relationship.
And while a lot of men say they don’t mind a strong powerful woman, they might not realize exactly what that means until they meet one.

avatar RoyalEagle0408 March 9, 2011, 8:11 am

I see what you’re saying, but as Joe pointed out, an “alpha female” can still let her SO do things for her to make them feel needed. Everyone (theoretically) has a softer side that others don’t see. That’s the beauty of a relationship- letting that other person see the side you don’t show the rest of the world.

I’m about as Type A as they come, and therefore need to be in an alpha female role, but for me romantic relationships don’t have alpha and beta roles. I’m all for equality in relationships and needing each other.

avatar Candy February 19, 2013, 3:21 pm

You can’t be important to someone and also be a strong, confident person? I don’t want to stroke a man’s ego like that, no thanks. I’ll make him feel wanted but he should also do the same. Roles are so restrictive- why can only one person be the caregiver? Also, are you saying that if you’re not in the “caregiver” role you’re not important? That’s a destructive fallacy.