Tired of Dating Boys Instead Of Men?

This week a woman asked me the following question, “I’m a strong, independent woman who’s sick of dating men that turn out to be boys. Now I want to date masculine guys, but worry I’ll butt heads with them. Is it a bad idea for me to date an Alpha male?” Great question. A lot of women tell me that guys who seem manly at the outset of relationships seem to regress into dependent, passive, weak boys. This often leaves women feeling like the responsible one, the strong one, and the Mother figure. Not a recipe for ultimate passion and romance. Let me teach you how to separate the real men and from the guys with Peter-Pan syndrome.

There are many reasons women often feel like the man they started dating has turned into a boy. One reason is that strong, confident women can often attract passive men. While you may enjoy getting to have your way at first, eventually the passive man can become boring to you. Worse, many of these men become passive aggressive, resenting the control they have given up. A recent client of mine had a history of dating guys who seemed like real men when she met them, but they quickly ended up unemployed, on the couch, depending on her for everything. Through our sessions we brought awareness to a pattern she had. She felt unworthy and anxious about dating a guy who was ‘above her league’ because she worried they could leave her for a better woman. So, she would date what she referred to as the “low-hanging fruit”, guys for whom she was a catch. She figured these guys would feel so lucky to have her that they’d never consider leaving her. She created the illusion of certainty in her relationship.

But no relationship has true certainty in it. While you have the illusion of certainty with a passive man, it is actually a horrible situation. He doesn’t express all his feelings and wants in order to avoid conflict. He goes-along to get-along, but all the while his needs aren’t being met. This builds up until he becomes resentful. At some level he knows he is not living up to his highest potential and should say something, or do something about it, but he is too fearful to do so. He unconsciously hates himself for it, so becomes increasingly passive aggressive. Classic warning signs of this are when your man tends to punish you by withdrawing affection or sulking, manipulates you through guilt, avoids expressing himself if it could cause friction, and displays frequent irritability and sarcasm (repressed resentment). Get out of these relationships as fast as you can. To avoid repeating them, build awareness around how you invited this sort of dynamic into your relationship. Sometimes a confident, self-expressed guy can actually be turned into a low-self-esteem couch dwellers. We teach people how to treat us, and I have helped many clients break this pattern by showing them how they contribute to this unhealthy dynamic. Most of my clients benefit from coaching around how they are unconsciously creating these situations with men. Setting boundaries early and often, sending the right cues and signals to your man, and recognizing the cues and signals he is sending you are all critical in avoiding ending up with an immature man with a teenager-like dependence on you.

Now let’s look at the other extreme, the Alpha Male. Many women over-compensate for their boy-dating baggage by finding themselves an “alpha male”. I dislike the term as it assumes superiority. I prefer the term “real man”. If you are sick of spineless puppy-dogs, and crave a real man, the overly ‘alpha male’ can seem appealing at first blush. Be careful not to swing the pendulum too far the other way, though. A good man should be able to hold his boundaries when you push them, because he has a clear sense of who he is. If the guy you are dating is willing to stand up for himself in a respectful manner, that’s a great sign. However, if he is extremely self-centered, shows little regard for your feelings, and is consistently disrespectful and dismissive when communicating “at” you then he is not a real man. He is an emotional bully. Men who act overly domineering with women are generally compensating for a fear that they will be dominated by the feminine power. These sorts of men keep their women down, put them down, diminish them, and reinforce their perceived superiority through verbal, emotional, financial and physical means. A woman should feel SAFE in a man’s strength and presence, and that is the truest test of a real man. Does he nurture you while holding his own boundaries, or does he put you last consistently?

Women are more empowered than ever before in history, but please, ladies, understand that feminism didn’t include a male movement to educate men on how to fit into this new picture. Many of we men are still struggling to adapt to our new role. There are men out there who can stand with quiet strength with your feminine power, and allow you to blossom. Men who will celebrate you. Men who will bring more love and joy into your life. So celebrate your feminine strength, while inviting men to offer you their best. Respect yourself, expect respect back, and you’ll be amazed by what happens.