Alpha males, the Don Drapers and Gordon Gekkos, are a centuries-old phenomenon; whereas the Alpha female – who, crucially, embraces her Alpha status – is a relatively new breed, typified by intelligent, self-assured women at the top of their profession: think Angelina Jolie, Anna Wintour and Angela Merkel.The “Beta” personality type describes a more laid-back, communicative mindset – or, as Dr Rhodes puts it, “a man who is just as comfortable changing nappies as making a presentation at work”.
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The pairing of two Alphas, Dr Rhodes suggests, can result in a power struggle.
Here, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, who announced their “conscious uncoupling” last month, may serve as a lesson in the long-term incompatibility of two high-powered, career-driven partners.
Dr Sonya Rhodes, author of The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match, due out in Britain next month, says Alpha women are so unlucky in love because they’re looking in the wrong place.
Instead of seeking out a testosterone-driven Alpha man to share their life, she argues, they should try pairing up with his responsible, supportive opposite: Mr Beta.
“They were worried that they would have to settle for someone. In the US, women between 30 and 45 are getting married at a higher rate than women in any other age group.
They’re now leaving it until they are more mature, until their career has developed and they’re in a better place to choose their partners.” There is a caveat.
Ultimately, her thesis is heartening: Mr Good doesn’t have to be Mr Good Enough.
Brilliant, brainy women shouldn’t feel confined to one socio-economic group of partners; they may even find themselves happier and more fulfilled with someone from a very different sphere of life. “I’ve been married for 50 years this summer,” reveals Dr Rhodes, “and I have a great Beta husband; an architect called Robert.
He’s supportive, he makes me laugh, he’s not threatened by me and he pushes back when I get bossy.
We have a wonderful marriage and we make each other happy every day.” So she must know a thing or two about getting it right.
“They just need to start looking past the competitive, domineering Alpha male.” Designed to appeal to the generation exhorted to “lean in” by Facebook’s chief operating officer Sandberg, the book promises to “dispel the myth that being a successful professional woman dooms your chances of a relationship and family”.