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I realize the title and subject of this post steals liberally from the PUAs… but the term “beta,” as well as “alpha” and “omega” to describe human personality, predates their thing, so I’m running with it.

To oversimplify things, there are three general types of people: the “alphas,” the ones who are leaders, headstrong chargers, careerists, moneymakers, extroverts, but also often unempathetic or even sociopaths, and generally are the “takers” in a relationship. Then there are the “betas,” nurturers, caregivers, quiet and introverted people who wind up being the “givers.” And then there are the “omegas,” roughly translated into “complete losers,” people not worthy of our consideration and who will be ignored for the rest of this post except for one interesting historical fact: the Nazis persecuted omega males too, along with the Jews and Russians all the rest, calling them “asocials.” You didn’t know that, did you? The reason why: absolutely nobody cared. Because they were omegas.

Anyway, what brought about the title of this post: this guy, writing for (where else) Salon, who is so beta it hurts. (Leading PUA “Heartiste” is going to have a field day with this guy. Heartiste is thoroughly wicked, yes, but at least has an IQ over 100, which makes his blog a compelling window into the nature of the heart of darkness within humanity.) The title of the writer’s Salon article is “My doomed mission to make her happy,” and no more beta statement has ever been uttered.

You see, in a typical alpha/beta relationship, the beta really does derive their happiness from how happy they make their partner. We see this all the time in typical hetero relationships where the wife is the beta: she will go on and on about how she bends over backward to make him happy. We also see this in tales of wives cheated on: they invariably complain about how much they tried to make the cheating husband happy, as if this would make him less, as opposed to more, inclined to cheat. The weirdly compelling and dastardly site She’s a Homewrecker serves up daily examples of what I am talking about, slavishly beta housewives wondering how their oh-so-lovely alpha (or omega) husbands could ever cheat on her considering how much she tried to make him happy.

With wives, we consider them being beta the default. With husbands who behave this way, like with the Salon writer, we shake our heads sadly and wonder how he could become so pathetic, as we should. But the question is: Why don’t we also shake our heads with these doormat beta wives?

Consider some of these quotes from him: “If each of us is a fortified castle, she had just raised her portcullis. I rode forth on my horse, without armor.” “Maybe the white tea was an arrow that pierced her heart, for a few days later she made the first move, and soon we were in love.” “My mission to make her happy was deep and active. I thought of birthday presents months in advance.”

If one of your girlfriends were saying the exact same thing about some guy, wouldn’t you want to just slap some sense into her?

Sure enough, one year into their marriage: “One night when I told her over a candlelight dinner how beautiful she looked, she responded with irritation, “So am I supposed to say something romantic now, too?””

She had fallen out of love with him. This is the fate that befalls all extreme betas. I don’t know if she was cheating on him by this point, but I would assume so. And his response was to double-down on his servile nature to please her.

PUAs are correct about one thing: this sort of beta attitude truly is repulsive to most women. But, it is repulsive to most men as well. If you go too far towards beta on the sliding scale, nobody will respect you because you really are just a doormat. And that is the hidden truth about alpha/beta (and the real heart of what I am getting at): it is a spectrum. Going too far in one extreme, or the other, is incompatible with a healthy relationship.

Yes, in many (most?) successful relationships, hetero or homo, one partner will be more alpha and one will be more beta. But as with so many things in human life, things fall apart when taken to the extremes, in either direction

If you choose to be a complete beta doormat like this doormat, your relationship is as doomed as if you are a sociopathic abusive alpha who lets his fists do the talking. I don’t want to blame the victim, but on the other hand, if you allow yourself to be a doormat (like this guy did, like so many She’s A Homewrecker wives did, or as I did myself at one point to an ex-girlfriend), you will suffer pain and suffering unimaginable.

Men and women who find themselves in this situation: for God’s sake, the answer is right in front of you. Stop making their happiness your happiness. Stand up for yourself. It’s easy! It only took me four years to do with that other relationship…