Are you dating an alpha female
Rather, she warns of another group of “Omega” men – dreamers, allergic to work, needy – whom empowered women should avoid at all cost.
“None of you should have to be your boyfriend’s caretaker,” insists Dr Rhodes. Indeed, it goes against a recent study of American census data by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found a marked rise in “like marrying like”, with 48 per cent of graduates wedding graduates in 2005, up from 25 per cent in 1960.
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.
We’re learning how to smash the glass ceiling, find our inner tiger mother and balance high-powered careers with a happy home.
Like men have done for decades, 21st-century women are finally embracing the “Alpha” within – knowing exactly what they want and stopping at nothing to get it. The Alpha female struggles to find a perfect partner.
“It’s about expanding your horizons – finding a match who is supportive, respectful, who isn’t threatened by who you are or what you do.” Of course, successful Alpha/Beta pairings have known this for years.
Helena Morrissey, chief executive of a £50 billion investment fund, founder of the Thirty Percent Club which campaigns for women in boardrooms, and mother-of-nine, attributes her success to her husband giving up work to look after their children.
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.
“Maybe British women are a little shyer,” she admits, “but I’ve met lots who are very confident and assertive.
There’s no reason they shouldn’t feel comfortable embracing their Alpha and getting together with a Beta man.” Indeed, she insists the model can inform all aspects of a thriving relationship: from making the first move to paying the bill on a date.
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”.