By Sonya Rhodes, PhD, and Susan Schneider, authors of The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match: How Today's Strong Women Can Find Love and Happiness Without Settling, out April 15, 2014
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There's never been a better time to be an Alpha woman. Educated and on the rise in the professions, Alphas are self-reliant and make their own life choices. But when it comes to relationships, many strong, self-confident women fear that they will fail, either at finding a partnership or at making one work. In my therapy practice, I treat many powerhouse women who secretly worry that they are threatening to men, or that it is their fault that a marriage doesn't work out.
One recently-divorced woman told me she could always count on these two questions from friends and colleagues about the reasons behind her divorce: Had she worked too much? Had she earned more money that her husband? It is time for Alpha women to confront these worries and lay them to rest. Research from the Hamilton Project and the Council on Contemporary Families shows that strong, educated women actually are MORE likely to marry than other women and LESS likely to divorce.
So, resolve to:
1. Own your Alpha. The term itself has negative connotations -- so let's embrace it. Yes, you're Alpha: You're strong, take-charge, independent and you can do a thousand things at one time. Celebrate yourself!
2. Make no apologies. You are who you are: Confident in your leadership abilities and a take-charge person. If a man's ego is threatened, he is not the man for you!
3. Be glad to be bossy. Don't bend over backward not to be an assertive woman. Tell yourself you are bossy -- and thank goodness for that!
4. Don't try to "prove" your "femininity" by doing more work at home. (Hint: lots of Alphas do this, out of insecurity). Never feel that you have to tailor your behavior to meet outdated stereotypes.
5. Never dumb yourself down. (Speaking of outdated stereotypes!) You'll hurt yourself and your relationship if you try to remake yourself in someone else's image, whether a man's or society's.
6. Trust your instincts. If you aren't ready to be in a long-term relationship, ignore "advice" that says you should and must, right now. This advice contains a subliminal message that says, if you don't marry young, you won't marry at all. Well, guess what? It isn't supported by the facts!
7. Enjoy being the breadwinner. Revel in your accomplishments. Making more money than a man does not make you a ballbuster.
8. Understand that being Alpha is not a value judgment, either good or bad. It is your personality type, and you need to fulfill your potential both professionally, and most importantly, for our purposes here, personally.
9. Never blame yourself exclusively for problems in a relationship. Women have been trained to take "responsibility" for relationship matters. Responsibility should be shared as equally as possible.
10. Understand that it may take some time for you to find the right partner. Know that you don't have to "settle" for a partner who doesn't live up to realistic standards. Finding a mate may be challenging, but the pool is large and your energy is strong.
11. Look past the Alpha males who may initially attract you. You need a mate who is both strong and supportive, who can meet you halfway in building a lifelong relationship.
12. Never be ashamed by your sexual appetites. You are an alluring, sexy, energetic woman -- never feign passivity in order to appear more "feminine."
13. Get used to the idea that personality traits like leadership, competitiveness, dominance, and risk-taking are Alpha traits -- neither masculine nor feminine. Choosing a partner just like you may not work nearly as well as one who complements you.
Dr. Sonya Rhodes, Ph.D., and Susan Schneider are coauthors of The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match: How Today's Strong Women Can Find Love and Happiness Without Settling, William Morrow, April 2014.