Handling Your Alpha Male Husband
Marriage Advice For Wives of Alpha Males
When it comes to romantic relationship material you wouldn’t have married your alpha male husband unless you were the sole object of his considerable passion. I have to admit the most seductive quality of my alpha male was his total and substantial focus on me. How can you go wrong with a guy that loves you so very, very much? Well, not to downplay the wonderfully positive benefits of chemistry and a man who knows what he wants, and what he wants is you, just you and nobody else but you…but, warning….there may be a couple of unseen hurdles down the road.
"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul." - Judy Garland
The Flip Side of the Highly Passionate Man
Once my husband and I hunkered down into a day to day routine, the rhythm of our new, dual life, I noticed a few more things about my romantic partner's emotional makeup. (Listen up, this may be an excellent time for marriage advice for newlyweds!) Does any of this sound familiar?
High passion can be a two-sided coin.
Happiness and anger; both are expressed in high octane. My alpha male has one gear when he’s frustrated. Perhaps it’s true that men have less emotional choices than women, and therefore switch into the anger mode more often and with greater ease. On the HealthGuidance site, Margrit Bradley says, “Many men will often express emotions such as rage or frustrations significantly more than other emotions such as depression. This is thought to be because these emotions are considered by many to be 'male emotions'." Whatever the reason, I couldn’t have been more surprised that my husband’s outbursts had little to do with the gravity of the issues; from stubbed toe to smashed up car, the intensity was the same. Intense.
However, once I got over my unhappy reaction to the outbursts, since that did little to help the situation, and witnessed the scene time and again, it occurred to me that his turbulent nature was harder on him than it was on me. Being frustrated and at a loss for useful words (because let’s face it, as the emotional temperature rises, the logical ability declines), is not a happy place to be.
Marriage Counseling Already?
Can he not hear my voice?
Dear wives of alpha males: Anyone giving marriage advice will be familiar with many of our complaints. Another little trait that I found annoying was my husband's blatant disregard for a different point of view. Why did I not notice this before? After many, many frustrating debates, it finally dawned on me; any idea that is not his idea gets minimal credibility. I have to admit, when the one you love dismisses your ideas and opinions, it’s an ego-banger! Ouch.
But, with a little experience under my belt, it became apparent that he does this with everyone, everywhere; he just isn’t as obvious about it with others. He's the kind of guy that has to experience it to believe it. Which means my ideas aren’t exactly dismissed, they are just out there in the further reaches of his mind, echoing softly. He may come up with the same conclusion next week; if it’s important I may have to gently repeat it a couple of times in different ways, until he sees it. The alpha male husband is simply hard-of-hearing to other people’s ideas. Actually, putting aside my ego, it’s really not so bad. He’s always confident of his decisions, which I like in the head-of-household (no, I'm not interested in being the head of the household, that would make me the man), and he spends very little time hemming and hawing when things need to get done. I don't know about you, but I'm hitching my wagon to the sturdiest steed, bumpy ride and all!
The inaccessible island.
On the journey of becoming one, a woman envisions sharing hopes and dreams; being emotionally attached; the romance novel come alive! However, real life topics of conversation with my true love turned out to be short and impersonal; weather, restaurants and cars. All attempts to lead into and recall our deeply personal interchanges fell flat; often met with a joke, a shrug or total misunderstanding. Concerned about whether he was upset about anything, I might ask,“How are you feeling hon..,” to be answered with, “My shoulder hurts a little.” You begin to realize this guy is not into sharing his feelings. In the old days, that might have bothered me. But now, I realize he figures he has the deep issues covered, he loves me and will never leave me; and that about wraps it up.
Pushy and bossy.
Perhaps the most annoying behavior faux paus of my husband is his sometimes mis-informed interpretation of what it means to lead. Simply being ‘bossy’ is not a leadership quality. I personally have no problem with showering my loved ones with time and attention, however, at the first sign of entitlement, my good nature turns cold. Providing excellent nurturing is very different than taking demands and orders. Sometimes, my alpha mate, basking in his good fortune, mistakenly allows his role to become a bit authoritarian. But, my new knowledge concerning his assets and deficits, makes it easy to see how he could make this unfortunate mistake.
Marriage Advice For Extreme Relating
How Did We Get To This Place?
You may wonder what went wrong; or what you did wrong; or whether your alpha male really loves you after all. Relax. He probably does. He's just a guy. Look what I found out about my triple-Leo Cuban man:
Per Testosterone and Dominance in Men by Dr.'s Mazur, Allan and Booth, "In men, high levels of endogenous testosterone (T) seem to encourage behavior apparently intended to dominate -- to enhance one's status over -- other people. Sometimes dominant behavior is aggressive, its apparent intent being to inflict harm on another person, but often dominance is expressed nonaggressively. Sometimes dominant behavior takes the form of antisocial behavior, including rebellion against authority and law breaking."
And, Culturally speaking:
“On the other hand, [Cuban] boys are taught to be macho, act manly, and follow their father's work. Men are expected to be strong and aggressive. Sometimes the men are even violent,” says Evana Huffman in Sex and Gender in Cuba
Plus, Psychologically speaking:
“The difference between aggressive behavior in the sexes is significant. The greater aggressiveness of the male is one of the best established, and most pervasive, of all psychological sex differences,'' writes Brice Nelson in his article Aggression: Still Stronger Trait For Males as published in the New York Times.
And finally, Astrologically Speaking (yes, I'm even going there):
“Leos make loving and loyal partners, particularly if they are allowed to make all the important decisions….As they are so good at commanding and directing others, it is not surprising that Leos regard it as almost perverse for others to attempt to command them. They resent such attempts and, if the attempt persists for long, can become extremely angry (and regally Leonine)." Source: futurescopes.com
The bottom line is, all of this, or none of this may be true. It doesn't really matter why or how our bigger-than-life guys got that way; it doesn't change anything. We are holding the cards we've been dealt. If you're like me, you're in it to win it. As far as my partner and I are concerned, we’re in it for the love, the absence of which would put a whole different spin on things. But with that as the foundation, and knowing we both want our marriage to prevail, we work with it. By the way, here's one definition of love--this life-changing emotion. According to thefreedictionary: “A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair."
Bringing Back The Romance In Your Marriage
Romantic Relationships With Alpha Males At Work
Are these alpha male behaviors attractive? No. Are all of these behaviors fair? Probably not. Are all of these behaviors kind? Sometimes not. Unfortunately, trying to win a debate to prove any of these points will not solve the problem. Because, let’s face it, you can’t change anyone’s behavior by talking them into it, anyway.
So how do we reconcile our alpha male mate with our vision of loving togetherness and become that soulful one? Here’s how Dr. Phil describes it: "Think about yourself as being at the bottom of a steep hill, and you're trying to pull a wagon up to the top of the hill. If you're both pulling it up the hill, you're going to get there. If one of you is pulling left and one of you is puling right, you're expending a lot of energy, and the wagon's not moving at all..."
I have never experienced changing an adult’s behavior in a significant way, although I have experienced an adult whose behavior has changed as a result of me changing mine. In other words we can’t control anyone but ourselves. Here are some behavior modifiers within the context of marriage, that worked for me.
Getting Him On-Board.
Keep The Chatter To a Minimum
Despite what they say about communicate, communicate, communicate; dispense with the girl talk. He is not your girlfriend, he is not your mother, he is not Dear Abby. Your alpha mate has little patience with gabbing. If you need to express yourself, vent your every emotion, analyze all of your interesting little revelations, call your homey. This guy uses communication to exchange facts, get an action plan, and get things done. Too much feminine input, and your guy will turn the volume down even further. You are perfectly capable of amusing yourself outside his circle of awareness. As for me, I have a great capacity for creating a space of my own; see http://naileditwallart.com/ for a totally woman's world venture!
Take The First Step Seriously, Gently, Firmly
However, there is a time and a place for important dialogue. The time is when he’s emotionally available; since he won’t communicate this, you will have learn to notice his ‘open for business’ moments. It may be during coffee in the morning, after he showers, or in bed before he falls asleep. This is the time to very directly confirm what needs to be done. Look him in the eye, and very diplomatically explain ‘we need to try to take the tension (anger, disrespect, bad energy, name-calling, etc.) out of our relationship. Because I Iove you babe, and this isn’t working for me.” Done. It doesn’t matter what he says at the moment. You can ask “Are you with me on this?” If you get a nod, that’s fantastic. If you get a grunt, that’s good. If you get an argument, or even a reprimand, shrug it off. Repeat next week.
Numb to No
Keep in mind, your guy is going to have a lot of knee-jerk reactions that you can ignore. Just imagine some little tough kid bragging and braying in the park to let everyone know he's top dog. There is a lot of ‘guff’ you may hear from your guy that you can consider rhetorical comments. Not needing a reply. Plus, just as we nurturing types have a hard time saying no, these guys might have a hard time being agreeable. Our job is to take it in stride. For me, this sometimes means I’m simply numb to the word no. If I suggest something that I feel is important and good for us, I always ignore a negative response; lay it out again later with a different approach, always calm and confident. Don’t confuse this with nagging; nagging is repetitive, self-centered, inconsiderate and annoying. Nobody likes a nag.
On The Same Page
Now that the problem has been communicated, with the critical issue being that it’s not good for the marriage, and has received affirmation from him, you are both on the same page. (You know your man, you’ll know when he’s with you.) By the way, in the actual discussion, it’s very useful to avoid using the words, "you" or "I"; anything that can be couched with “we” or “us” is going to be heard with much less defensiveness and opposition. We have a problem, is much easier to hear than, you have a problem. The objective was just to get both parties in agreement with the big picture; having done this, you’ve created the backdrop for your behavior modification program—otherwise known as, your new attitude.
Your Action Plan
I repeat, Getting On The Same page is critical, however, it doesn’t mean he will take any action to get ‘er done. He simply will not fight you, too much, as you attempt to iron out the wrinkles. This plan is based on the fact that one can only change one’s own behavior. The launching sequence will be activated by you. By the way in which you govern your own behavior. The sweet part of this deal is, when you have a partner that loves you, the odds are very high, his behavior will modify in response to yours. It takes consistency and patience to see this miracle happen. But, it can happen; I’m blessed to say it’s happened for me.
That is not to say that both parties are not responsible for a successful marriage, or that the problematic behavior to be addressed is only on your end; only that, as one tool for success we’re focusing on the role you play concerning his behavior and responses and reactions that will or will not work.
Kaboom! Living with passion without igniting the fuse.
Develop Your Problem Solving Skills
Deflect, Defuse, Or Disengage
One of the first things I noticed about my he-man was his hot temper. Well, he is a fire sign, and on the positive side, once vented, the issue is gone, like electricity through a lightning rod. He never holds a grudge. My alpha readily admits he “…doesn’t have a short fuse, he has no fuse!” Seeing the vein beating in his neck, I understand that he doesn’t enjoy losing his cool. Down deep, he really doesn’t want to be ‘that guy’. Depending on the situation, I choose one of three ways to handle it.
Your three alternatives:
Deflect: If you can recognize the pressure building up, you may be able to anticipate the lightning strike. My guy has a poker face and his ‘tells’ are quite subtle. He has a little habit of rubbing his fingers together when he’s mulling something over; and everything and everybody annoys him…the other drivers, the commercials, the weather…so there’s more cussing and growling. Sometimes I ask if there’s anything on his mind, let him know he seems distracted, but it’s up to him to share. However, calling his attention to his changing mood actually helps him to see himself. I try to help him focus elsewhere. Food is always good, maybe he was just hungry; rubbing his shoulders might bring him back to a good frame of mind; or, a trip to Home Depot or Dick’s Sporting Goods, where he’ll find better things to think about.
Defuse: However, since anger is almost always a sign of frustration, and if I’m close enough to witness the problem, I do try to clear it up. The waitress hasn’t been back to refill his coffee, maybe he needs to notice how busy the dining room is. Anything to de-personalize the situation, because along with anger comes the temptation to take it personally and amplify the offense.
Disengage: Finally, there may be times, when you just cannot affect the situation in a positive way. If a disagreement escalates and he becomes aggressive, it’s time to disengage. There are moments when I have to say to my husband, we can discuss this later, and I leave the room, sometimes the house. After all, I have to look after my own peace of heart.
At this stage we cannot address the real concern because he’s too angry and frustrated; he may not be able to communicate the real problem, if he even knows what it is, nor will he be open to incoming ideas. Like the scene of a child's temper tantrum, sometimes the best thing is to remove the audience. When the grenade pin is pulled, there’s little to be done. There’s no reasoning, there’s no re-directing, his house of logic is closed for business. Any attempt on my part to calm the storm will only be met with name-calling and possibly some broken dishes. My husband has agreed with me that no one should be subjected to this type of rage. If this situation arises, I would leave the premises for a couple of reasons. One, there’s only so much hostility I’ll to subject myself to, no matter what the problem is; two, there’s nothing I can do to help.
It would be remiss not to advise this cautionary note; if you ever feel afraid for your safety, you need to exit quickly with cell phone and keys in hand and seek help. If your partner crosses the line to abuse, which is illegal as well as unsafe, you need to immediately exit the situation and seek help. In case of an emergency, call the domestic abuse hotline, 800-799-7233.
Keeping Husbands Happy
Trigger Or Tigger
Do you want your partner stomping up a storm, or bouncing through the day like a happy Tigger. Triggers are those things you do that almost guarantee a negative response. With my partner, it’s pointing a finger toward his face to emphasis a point. For me, this seems a bit silly. I’m a “talk with my hands” type of person, and in emphasizing a point, I may point. Perhaps this is a gesture he associates with a disciplining parent. Jay Dixit of Psychology Today says, "But no matter how frustrating a partner's behavior, your interpretation is the greater part of it. What matters is the meaning you attach to it.”
If I wag a my pointer finger, without noticing that I’m doing it, and certainly not doing it to reprimand in any way, I've just lit his fuse. My partner instantly reads it as aggressive, and responds. My solution is simple. I just don’t do it. It doesn’t matter if the trigger makes sense to me or not, I respect his feelings and work around it. If you notice a trigger, make you life easier and refrain.
Just as there are little things that reasonably or unreasonably annoy your mate; there’s probably little things that put a spring in his step. My mate likes to open doors for me. The important thing is that it makes him feel good about us. Consequently, when we're together, I never beat him to the door, much less open it myself. Let him enjoy the moment. After all, with alpha mates, anything can snowball into an avalanche, that includes the good stuff!
Me Tarzan. You Jane.
The Mars Venus difference, exponentiated!
In John Gray’s bestseller, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, he uses this metaphor to describe romantic relationships: “men and women are from distinct planets and that each gender is acclimated to its own planet's society and customs, but not to those of the other.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eponym). My own partnership is the total yin and yang of hormones. He’s all testosterone, I’m all estrogen. I suppose one could call this a double edged sword; the natural attraction of opposites vs the misunderstanding of aliens. Although we have much in common as human beings, both need to be treated with love and kindness; in the Mars Venus approach we’re are given insight into our inherent differences, and tools to navigate them. For example, when distressed, the best response to offer a woman is talk and empathy, for a man, it may be to be left alone. He might as well be wearing a Do Not Disturb sign. In this regard, it’s not enough to treat others as we would be treated; we have to understand needs that are totally different than our own. Isn’t it a relief to know why our instinct reactions weren’t working? Then we can get on with the business of what does work.
He needs to be respected…
From Gideon’s Bible to John Gray, all agree, a man needs to feel respected and honored. If you prize your witty mouth more than your man’s heart, go ahead, fire away. Sarcasm may be entertaining in a sitcom, but don’t expect it to rekindle his love for you.
Because there are many skill-sets that are more strongly bestowed on one sex or the other, there are some areas where you are going to prevail; however, it’s not necessary to blow your own horn. Believe me, it’s better he notices your strength at the same time he sees the advantage it offers the team. Better at math? Don’t challenge him to a game of Kudo. Let him become aware of it as he notices how well the checkbook is balanced. Make it a win-win; not a completion. (remember, you don’t want him treating you like one of the guys, you’re his lover, not his competitor.)
Long Term Relationships
How Long Have You Been Living With Your Romantic Mate?
He needs to be needed…
Most of all, count your blessings. Learn to appreciate everything he’s brought to your life…what would it be like without him? Then, act and speak with that in mind. Make sure he knows how much it means to you and how you value him and everything he does. He’s probably going to act like it doesn’t matter; but it does. He may act like he doesn’t even ‘hear’ you, but he does. And it affects his heart. "Not to be needed is a slow death for a man.” -John Gray Men Are From Mars
If you’re like me, another habit to watch is the informational chatter. I can be a walking encyclopedia of information and opinions; constant commentary. If I keep this up, it begins to feel like I’m the know-it-all. Really? Do I want him to feel unnecessary. Guess what I discovered, the quiet can be calming. It’s nice to dial down the internal debate once in a while.
He needs distance to recharge…
You've heard of the man-cave. It's definitely a thing. Whether your guy 'goes away', physically or just mentally, let him be. This is the time he needs to get centered and in time he will come back again in full, loving force. It's a good note to keep in mind when he's disengaging. Don't panic; allow him his space and that little gift you give him will be returned ten-fold, in appreciation of you, and a more powerful presence once he's recharged his battery.
Timing and Taming
How to get the emotional support you need.
Finally, the two most important things to remember are, 1) learn his moods, and, 2) timing is everything! To get what you need from your man, it’s paramount to remember there is a time and a place for everything.
Your Own Couples Retreat
Learn His Moods
Your mate’s rhythm of life may be much more dynamic than what you’re used to. The thing to remember is, with him, everything is compound. Imagine a semi-truck shifting through several gears to tackle a hill. This is much like our alphas, you don't interrupt or disturb the process, and his rhythms may take time.
My guy also requires lots of sleep; lots of time to become conversational in the morning, and time to wind down in the evening. Once he has initiated the launch sequence in any given activity; he’ll have all his considerable energy and passion focused in that one direction. If he didn’t get his raise, his head and heart may be battling the injustice of the world; he just picked up a discarded lotto ticket, he’s on his way to his mega-million. If you approach without considering what mood he is in, it’s like reaching into a magic black hat blindly; no telling what will pop out…bunny or barracuda!
But what if you notice he's heading for a cliff? This is a hard one. As I already mentioned, he learns from his own experience. If the consequences aren't critical, be still, and let him finish the drive. He will learn much more from that experience, than from any words of warning you would have given. If it's necessary to disrupt him; which shouldn't happen often; take a deep breath get your intense warning out, and buckle your seat belt. It may be a very bumpy downshift; get it behind you.
Timing is everything
To get what you need from your man, it’s paramount to remember there is a time and a place for everything.; if you interfere with your needs while he’s hunting down a hard-to-find motorcycle part; he’ll probably look at you like you’re crazy. Can’t you see what’s going on (with him, as always). The moment he gets home from work is not a good time. He needs time to transition, let his engine idle down and re-enter the home chamber. When you need to approach, it's a good idea to make sure he's well rested and well fed. Yes, it can be that basic.
It takes a long time for this type of guy to develop a sense of what others need. It is literally quite difficult for my guy to ‘walk in someone else’s shoes'. But with a little coaching to see someone else’s dilemma, his generous nature takes over, double-time. Does that mean I married a heartless man? No, it just means the learning curve to absorb and appreciate all a woman can bring him, may take longer than most.
Approach him when his heart is open, when he feels the intimacy between you. You may need privacy; too much stimuli, social settings, sports events…are sure to distract. And, don’t mistake his happy mood for a moment to invite personal revelations. The place for this guy is wherever your one-on-one, eye-to-eye exclusive experiences take place.
A Culture Of Love
The simpler and more direct you are, the better. Don't confuse the issues with innuendos or suggestions. Tell him what you feel in honest terms; remember, if you're going to him for results; it's about you, not him. Do not tell him what to do. Simply tell him how you feel about the problem, situation or behavior. "I feel ignored when you walk away before I'm finished talking." It may take him awhile to start to respond to your needs, but keep it gentle and consistent. He'll come around; he may have to act like it was his idea, or that the past never happened, but he's in it to please you, and eventually he will find a way.
Good luck with your extra-special guy. Even if you married a roaring king of the jungle, once you know him inside and out, you’ll have this powerful presence eating out of your hand.
"You’ve had the power all along." -Glinda the Good Witch, Wizard Of Oz
Marriage Advice Quotes
You never know anyone, until you marry them.
When a match has equal partners, then I fear not.
I have always considered marriage as the most interesting event in one's life, the foundation for happiness or misery.
Sexiness wears thin after a while, and beauty fades. But to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat.
Where there is love, there is life.
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
Enjoy the little things in life…For one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things.
No one has measured (not even poets) how much love the heart can hold.