Episode 18: What Strong, Type A Women Do to Sabotage Relationships

by | Last updated: Aug 28, 2023 | Podcast

Are you a driven, type-A, get-things-done kind of woman? So am I, and I have found that, although these masculine qualities serve me well in my career and other areas of my life, I often find it hard to tap into my essential feminine side in my relationship.

Whether you are the alpha or beta partner in your marriage, you have to learn to turn your masculine-feminine dials for optimum pleasure and success in your relationship.

In this episode, I will talk about the struggles of being all alpha in our relationships and what we are often missing out on.

Every person is both masculine and feminine, and you are in control of those levels. There is no right or wrong way to be, but in this episode, we will explore what could bring our relationship the most life!

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • If you are the alpha or beta partner
  • How you are in charge of your masculinity/femininity
  • Which partners people tend to choose
  • How to optimize pleasure and personality
  • What tips to try to lean into your feminine side

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Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you’re serious about finding that answer?

Book a Truth & Clarity Session with a member of my team. We’ll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there’s a fit for you and I to work together so you can make - and execute - the RIGHT decision for YOU and your marriage.

“Welcome to The Loving Truth podcast, where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now, your host, relationship expert and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope.

“Hello, loves. This is Sharon Pope and this is The Loving Truth. Today we are talking about one of my favorite topics, which is about how strong, driven, type-A women sabotage their relationships.

“Now, here's what I want you to know. We're gonna talk about the whole alpha beta. We're gonna talk about type-A women, and we are gonna talk about masculine and feminine energy. And what I want you to know from the get-go is that I am not going to tell you to change who you are. And I'm not gonna tell you that the way that you are is wrong.

“Because what I know as a strong, driven, type-A woman myself is that it serves us in many ways. It just doesn't always serve us inside of our most intimate relationships. And so I wanna be able to tease all of that apart. Now, several years ago, I wrote an article in the Modern Love column of the New York Times, and it was called “From the Boardroom to the Bedroom,” which I think is a brilliant title. I didn't come up with it. They came up with it. That's why they're the New York Times. But it really does exemplify the problem that successful, strong, driven women from a career perspective have when it comes to softening and being more open and vulnerable inside of our most intimate relationships.

“So some of you may know this about me, some of you may not. It was probably about 11 years ago now that I was still a corporate marketing executive. Now, I had spent 20 years in corporate marketing and had worked my way up to being a chief marketing officer for a payments company. And I've worked for some of the biggest banks and payments companies out there. So I did not get there by teaching by the men around me how to do it the feminine way, right? No, think about it. The only way that I could continue to rise in corporate America in a man's world is to learn how to do it the way they did it, learning how to communicate in a way that they communicate, that they understand learning how to set goals, how to show up, how to challenge other people. It's a lot of masculine energy that I had to bring to bear.

“And I did it well enough that I kept rising through the ranks and was pretty successful at it. Here's the problem. Call it 12 to 20 years ago, I was in a marriage. This was my first marriage, and I lived 15 minutes from my office, right? No, the timeframe is not that important, but it will emphasize what I'm gonna talk about, which is all day long I am paid, trained, and rewarded to be in charge, to have the answers, to tell my team what they need to do so that we can meet our goals, to give direction and inspire them to reach for more, to push harder, to look for new creative solutions to problems that we faced, right? I was the one who was in charge.

“Now, when I shut my computer down for the evening, and I would get in my car and drive my 15 minutes home, do you think I just magically softened as I walked through my front door at home? No. And honestly, it wouldn't matter if it was a 15-minute drive or an hour's drive. Unless you are super conscious and intentional, you bring that same energy at home, right? Because think about it - that strong, driven, have-the-answers - I call it GDS, get shit done energy. It serves us in so many ways. If you're a mom, you know this. You have way more things on your plate than you can probably ever get done. So the expectations in terms of what is required or what is being asked of us require us to be in that masculine energy, in that get-shit-done kind of energy. And it serves us really well when it comes to our careers. It serves us when it comes to our kids and making sure they have what they need. It serves us.

“But when our kids get a boo-boo on their knee, that masculine energy doesn't serve us, does it? When it comes to having an intimate heart-to-heart conversation because our partner or we are struggling, that masculine, get-it-done energy doesn't actually serve us, does it? All right, so let's talk about all this. Let's set the stage a little bit. So let's talk about alpha and beta. You might have heard these phrases before.

“There's alpha men, alpha women, beta men, beta women. And what that means, is it's not a hierarchy. I view it as there are people who like to lead, and there are people who like to follow. Okay? There's nothing wrong with that. We need both to be able to function in this world. But what's interesting in terms of the relational dynamics, at least in heterosexual relationships, is that alpha. Let's talk about alpha. Men are very attracted to alpha women, but they very rarely choose alpha women because alpha women are not terribly controllable. Are we ladies? We're not terribly controllable. We have our own agenda, we have our own opinions. And if you're an alpha man, you kind of want things the way you want them.

“So alpha men, while they might be attracted to alpha women, often choose beta women. Now, conversely, alpha women are very drawn to alpha men, but they often choose beta men. Why? Because they can keep their role in terms of being in charge. They can control the relationship, they can get their way. I know this because that was the orientation of my first marriage.

“I for sure was in charge. There was not a decision being made in that household. It didn't mean he didn't contribute and he didn't do things in the household and he didn't have a brain - he was a smart guy. He took care of all the finances. There were a lot of ways that he contributed, but we never made any decision about investing here or putting a plant in this part of the house, or there was no decision that was made that I didn't have a say in or that I didn’t control. Okay? And I think that must have really sucked for my husband. It must have been trying to like cuddle up to a brick wall, right? Like there's no softening in there. And there's no space for him to step into his masculinity because I had that on lock, right?

“So the whole alpha-beta conversation, oftentimes alpha women will choose beta men and then try to turn them into alpha men because that's what they're attracted to. They want a man who will be an equal partner and who will step up and who will be in charge. But that's not really how it works. You don't get to choose a beta man and then abandon the beauty that comes with being very agreeable and being very flexible. And so what ends up happening is that if you choose for two alphas to be together, then you just have two people who can probably run a business pretty well together. They can probably make a great profit, they can get things done, but there's not gonna be a lot of desire created inside that relationship because no one is ever in their feminine, no one is ever softening.

“We both wanna be on top if you wanna be crude about it, right? So let's talk about masculine feminine energy. So I'm going to presume that you know nothing about this, but I know many of you do. So some of this will be a bit remedial, but let's just dive into it in the context of when you are a type-A, driven woman.

“So masculine and feminine energy, everybody has both. We all have both. We have a natural proclivity or have cultivated one more than the other, okay? And one is not better than the other. They serve different purposes. So I have a natural proclivity to my masculine energy. I can drop into my masculine energy without even thinking about it. I'm not even conscious of it, I just do it. I have to think about and be very intentional about cultivating my feminine energy. I have both. You have both. Your partner has both. Every single person on the planet has both masculine and feminine energies. They just have a natural proclivity towards one versus the other. So we're gonna talk about that and I'm gonna give you some tools to think about it.

“Now, I wanna share two more things with you before we dive into what to do differently. So sometimes you might have read something or heard somewhere - well, if you're just this type-A, driven, strong woman, you need to soften. What? That's wrong. You should be different because the male ego is too fragile and you can't bring all that masculine energy without bruising their male ego. Look, a strong man is not going to have his ego bruised by your decisiveness and by your presence and what you bring. Okay? I don't think you should soften in order to protect a man's ego.

“I think you should soften so that you can experience more pleasure inside your relationship. So that you can actually drop into your feminine and not have to be so on it all the time, right? I'm gonna give you a little tidbit here, ladies. When you are in your head, when you are in your to-do list, when you are in GSD mode, you cannot orgasm, you will not have a pleasurable sexual experience with your partner when you're in all of that masculine energy when you're in your head.

“Okay? Now I'm gonna tell you two stories that are more the relationship with my husband Dee and I now. So I remember one time we were dating, we were not married at this time, but we were living together and we were making the bed together. So I'm on one side of the bed, he's on the other, and we're pulling the covers up and we were watching TV and it was like a morning show or something like that.

“And they were talking about how in every relationship there's always one person that's in charge and one person that's more of a follower. And this is sort of that alpha-beta discussion, right? And I said to him, ‘Huh, that's funny. Who do you think is in charge in our relationship?’ Now, I a hundred percent believed and thought he believed, thought he would say I was in charge, cuz I for sure thought I was in charge. And without missing a beat, he goes, ‘I am, of course.’ First of all, I was fascinated by it. I was like, ‘Wait, what? You're in charge?’

“And it took me about 10 seconds. I bet if there was a camera on me, you would've seen the wheels turning in my head. And I was like, huh, I kind of like that. It was a little bit of a turn-on. Like, it's fine to not be in charge of everything. I kind of like it. So another thing I wanna share with you is it just because you can do it all, just because you can, you know, raise the kids and do the 400 things that your kids need you to do for them every single day, and you can go to work and you can run a multimillion-dollar business - just because you can be in charge and you can do all the things, doesn't mean you want to all the time and doesn't mean you have to all the time, right?

“I remember saying this was in between my marriage and when I had met Derek, so I was single and I was thinking about the kind of relationship that I wanted. And I remember thinking to myself, you know, I don't need support that often, but when I do, I need it. I'm not playing around. I need you to be there. I need you to wrap your arms around me and say, ‘I got you.’ That was what I was craving that I never had in my first marriage, but I somehow instinctively knew that I wanted that in a future relationship.

“So another story, and this was also when he and I were dating and living together. We were not married yet, and we were living - I remember we called it our love nest. It was just this little apartment in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and it was up on the second floor. And there was an elevator, but I hardly ever took it. And I remember after work I went to the grocery store, and I'm taking all the groceries out of the trunk of the car, and you know how you put the plastic grocery bags over top of your arms and you just stack 'em up like all along your forearms? And so I had probably four or five bags on my left arm and probably another four or five bags on my right arm.

“And I'm going from my car and I'm unlocking the door to the building, and then I'm going up the stairs up to the second floor, and then I walk down the hall and I'm struggling to like even turn the doorknob to get myself through the door. Well, my husband must have heard me struggling at the door. He wasn't my husband at the time, but he's my husband now. He must have heard me struggling at the door. And he comes to the door and he opens it and he's like, ‘Babe, what are you doing?’ I'm like, ‘I'm just bringing in groceries.’ And he goes, ‘No, why didn't you call me? I would've come down there and I would've brought up the groceries.’

“And I was so, I was like, wait, what? He goes, ‘You don't have to struggle.’ I, what? What do you mean I don't have to struggle? My entire life is built around struggle. Shoot, if there is an easy path and a struggle path, I choose the struggle path, right? It never even occurred to me to just send him a text or call him and say, ‘Hey, I'm home with the groceries. Would you mind coming down and helping me?’ Because I didn't need the help, therefore I didn't ask for the help, therefore, I continue to struggle. And so when he said, you don't have to struggle, stop struggling, just ask me - that was like life-changing for me.

“It was such a big deal. So here's what I want you to realize. Just because you can do everything doesn't mean you have to do everything. And if you are consistently over-functioning for men in relationships, I'm gonna tell you, eventually you will lose respect for that man. And if you lose respect for him, it'll be very hard for you to connect with him physically.

“It'll be very hard for you to desire him. And that could ultimately be the breakdown of your marriage. But this is the dilemma for those of us type-A, driven, alpha women, right? Is that we gotta make space for an equal partner to be right there beside us. If we take over that entire space and we're just doing everything for ourselves because we can, then we're not making space for an equal partner to step up and be there to support us so that we don't have to always struggle.

“All right? So I want you to think of this. I told you that everyone has masculine-feminine energy. If you are listening to this and you've made it this far, you are probably like me and you have more than your fair share of masculine energy, and it comes very naturally for you. Cool. I want you to think about your masculine energy and your feminine energy as just dials. Just dials like you're turning up the volume on your radio. That's all. So think of it like dials.

“There are times in your life when bringing your masculine energy serves you so well. If it's your career, if it's many aspects of being a mother, if it's, you know, being on the PTA, if it's running the homeowners association, if it's running a board meeting, like all of those things, you bring that masculine energy and lean into that gift, lean into that part of yourself that is just as valid as any other part. But when it comes to, your child is scared, or they're being bullied, or your partner just lost a loved one, or you're having a heart-to-heart with someone, or you're having this very open, vulnerable conversation or connection point with someone, or you're trying to connect with your spouse emotionally or physically, then you gotta dial down some of that masculine energy, and you gotta dial up the feminine energy because that will serve you so very well.

“All right? Now I think it's really helpful for those of us where the masculine comes very naturally - I think it's really helpful for us to have some go-to rituals that will help us lean into our femininity, to help us very consciously cultivate more feminine in our experience. So I had a friend one time, she told me how she did this every single night. She would shut down her computer around 4:30 in the afternoon. She worked from home, and she said, ‘I would start cooking.’

“So she's a single mom. Her son was, I don't know, he was probably 12 or 13 at the time that we had this conversation. She said, ‘I shut down my computer around 4:30. I start cooking.’ Because by the way, all creativity stems from a feminine nature, right? It's all creation that comes from femininity. Think about it. Children are born in the feminine. They're created in the female human body. And so all creation, I don't care if it's a painting, a poem, a book, a child, a meal, all of that is you expressing some creative energy. And all creative energy is feminine in nature.

“So she starts cooking at 4:30, and then she and her son would sit down and have dinner together. So that started the softening, it started the slowdown, okay? For her to get out of her masculine in a very intentional way and get into her feminine. Then she would be sitting down having a conversation with her teenage son, and then they would sort of go their separate ways because he was a teenager and she had things that she wanted to do.

“So she would always have a hot bath every single night. She would light candles. Sometimes she would have a glass of wine with that hot bath, and she would always read a book before going to sleep. All of those things. Oh, and by the way, she always wore soft, silky things to bed. Now, I told you she was a single mom.

“None of that was for a man, none of it. None of it was to make something happen. It was because she wanted to be intentional about cultivating more femininity in her experience. And so I think it's really helpful to have some of those levers that we know how to pull in our lives that can help us soften a bit when we are at home, when we are with the people that we are most intimate with.

“So here, so I just gave you a bunch of ideas. Cooking, creating, taking a hot bath, lighting candles, having a glass of wine, reading, being quiet. Anything you're doing in quiet versus having a lot of noise on like always having the TV on, maybe music versus the TV, but also what you wear, right? There's a reason I purposely wear now, not always, but many times I will choose very feminine feeling fabrics, whether it's silk or it's organza or it's just something that can help me cultivate my femininity.

“Now, you might also notice I wear black a lot. First of all, it's versatile for these shoots, but I used to only wear black, white, and gray-black. You could open my closet and it would be black, white, and gray. There's a lot of masculine energy in that, right? And once I started incorporating color, pinks and oranges and reds, to a certain degree, blues, all of that helped me nurture my feminine energy.

“I like having fresh flowers around the house. I like wearing perfume. Not because you can smell it; you can't through a video, through a podcast, whatever. It's not for you. It's for me. It's not for my husband either. It's for me. If you wear sexy underwear, do it for you. Don't do it to make something happen. Don't do it because it turns your husband on, although it might do it because it helps you very intentionally get into your feminine and feel more like a woman.

“All right? I hope that for those of you that are like me, where masculine energy comes very, very easily, this was something different that you haven't heard. It wasn't about exchanging who you are. It's about embracing who you are and what comes naturally because you're good at it and it serves you. But know that there's more there and that you are in complete control of all of it. It's just a dial and you're in charge of it.

“All right? I will see you next week. Until then, take really good care.

“If you're listening to this podcast because you're struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you're serious about finding that answer, it's time to book a Truth and Clarity session with a member of my team. On the call, we'll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there's a fit for you and me to work together so you can make and execute the right decision for you and your marriage.

“Go to clarity formymarriage.com to fill out an application now. That's clarityformymarriage.com.”


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