In the animal kingdom, there is typically a chain of command within social species. From monkeys to meerkats, the biggest and baddest of the bunch get to call the shots. The dominant member of the group has first pick on meals, mates, and more.
We call them the alphas.
Animals earn this high status in different ways. Hyenas choose the top dog based on lineage. Honeybees fight for their spot at the top. Sticklebacks want the most physically attractive fish to lead the way. And chimpanzees select the sexiest primate to maintain the pecking order.
Nature’s way of assigning social status may seem primitive but look again: Respectable family. Physical strength. Beauty. Sex appeal.
Aren’t these all attributes we value in our partners?
You know the alpha male. He’s the guy who calls the shots. Exuding masculine energy, he closes the business deal and dates the beautiful woman. He’s in the gym pumping iron, taking work calls in public, and always at the center of the action.
So what about the other guys? Who is the lower-ranking male showering this stud with attention?
This is the beta male.
Unlike the intense alpha guy, the beta is the classic Nice Guy. Here are the quick tell-tale signs you've got a beta boyfriend on your hands:
Things to know
- Instead of picking up girls at the bar, he’s the one making sure they’re drinking enough water.
- While the alpha is working on his gains, the beta would rather pick up a book than a barbell.
- He wasn’t the most popular kid in high school, but he still had great male friends.
He might not act like the traditional masculine man, but that’s only because he doesn’t want to.
He's not Mr. Suave, but that doesn’t mean he can’t sweep you off your feet in his own way.
His entire life, mainstream media told him that successful men are tougher and bolder. It told him that embracing your inner alpha traits is the only way to find a romantic partner.
Resisting that constant messaging is a sign of strength in itself. He’s just channeling his inner alpha wolf in a different way.
Here are the top 12 signs that your boyfriend is a beta male:
- He Doesn’t Seek Attention
- He Needs Quiet Time
- He Has A Sense of Style
- He Has An Artistic Side
- He Hates Conflict
- He’s Not A Jock
- He Values Relationships More Than Hookups
- He’s A Sensitive Guy
- He Respects Women
- He’s A Homebody
- He’s Domestic
- He’s The Real Deal
1. He Doesn’t Seek Attention
A major alpha trait is showing off. These types of guys love nothing more than to be the center of attention in social situations. An alpha will be loudly telling stories or pulling stunts for a laugh, and he’s never standing in the corner.
A beta guy has a totally different style. He’s no wallflower, but he’s happy to let others steal the spotlight. Just as the alpha wants all eyes on him, the beta seeks one-on-one conversations that go beyond small talk.
If your boyfriend can be found on the fringes discussing politics and principles at parties, it's likely he’s a beta male.
2. He Needs Quiet Time
As much as your boyfriend loves hanging out with you, if he’s a beta, he has to recharge every once in a while. Unlike the high-energy alpha man, this type of guy requires alone time after a lot of social interaction. Betas don’t just enjoy their space—they need it.
Quiet time restores his energy so that he is ready to go the next time you make plans together. A beta man doesn’t like to be pushed before he is ready. He prefers to think things through before taking a leap. He would much rather spend time with you or a few close friends than with a big group of people.
If your date nights require advance planning, chances are you’re dating a beta guy.
3. He Has A Sense of Style
To a beta man, your wardrobe should be more than just suits and sweatpants. It might not be a classic alpha trait, but he appreciates good taste in clothing. A typical beta enjoys dressing in a metropolitan style. You’ll find him in fitted sweaters, cuffed jeans, and suede boots.
An alpha male might look for luxury brands to show off his high status and successful career. But a beta male has enough of an eye for fashion that he can put together a timeless look with just a thrift store or a sale rack. For him, it’s not about the price tag. It’s all about presenting yourself authentically.
If your man always looks effortlessly well-dressed, he’s got strong beta energy.
4. He Has An Artistic Side
Mainstream media tells us that a true alpha male rejects “feminine” hobbies like art and poetry. But that doesn’t bother a beta. This type of guy is comfortable in his masculinity. He has no problem pulling out a paintbrush in public.
Your boyfriend is creative and you are his muse. He has an artistic streak that adds color to your romantic relationship. Art museums and concerts are his idea of a good time. He could spend hours listening to music and has probably mastered an instrument. His love letters sound like sonnets and he has gifted you a handmade sketch or watercolor on more than one occasion.
Does any of that ring a bell? Then there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself a beta male.
5. He Hates Conflict
If there’s one thing you can say about a beta male, it’s that he doesn’t raise his voice. While an alpha male believes aggression is a sign of masculine energy, his second in command knows that doesn’t get you very far.
A beta guy doesn’t have a quick temper. When this type is your romantic partner, he rarely loses his patience with you. He might even have a hard time expressing his feelings because he never wants to argue. A beta would rather stay quiet to keep the peace.
Don’t mistake his kindness for weakness. He can stand up for himself when necessary—he just likes to pick his battles.
6. He’s Not A Jock
The image that comes to mind when you think of an alpha man is probably a shredded bodybuilder in a muscle tank.
That’s because his entire life, this kind of guy has thrived as a popular athlete. He was the high school football quarterback or the star baseball pitcher. He works hard to keep up his physique. He thinks that’s how a man maintains his sexual attraction.
A beta male sees things differently. He was never the macho jock with bulging biceps. He prefers precision games like golf to contact sports. A beta is just as happy with a good book as he is with a long walk. He views exercise as a way to stay healthy, not to look good.
If your boyfriend isn’t following a million fitness pages on social media, he’s probably in beta territory.
7. He Values Relationships More Than Hookups
In an alpha’s mind, successful men inspire sexual desire. He thinks his social status is tied to his conquests.
An alpha doesn’t worry so much about things like getting to know you. He is more interested in what you look like on the surface. A beautiful woman is like a trophy to pose with on social media. If he ends up liking you, then maybe he’ll even commit.
But for a beta, sex isn’t the driving force behind his dating decisions. He is highly selective in choosing his romantic partner. Even though he can find plenty of opportunities for a sexual experience on a Friday night, he just isn’t interested in getting more likes on Tinder. His track record is steady relationships, not one-night stands.
You’ll realize you’re dating a beta male when he gets to know you before making a move for the first time. Don’t worry: you won’t be sacrificing sexual pleasure, just mind games.
8. He’s A Sensitive Guy
As much as a beta seems easygoing, don’t be mistaken: his feelings can be easily hurt. This type of guy has a sensitive soul. He cries at movies. He’s in tune with both his emotions and yours. This means that he can quickly sense when something is wrong.
If you lash out at him or don’t think before you speak, you might notice he has a thin skin. This might not be the hallmark of a stereotypically masculine man, but it just means he is an empath. He tries to be careful with your feelings, and he expects the same treatment from you.
On the other hand, it takes a lot to offend a true alpha. This is one of the biggest differences between the two types. Alphas are very blunt individuals. They call it like they see it, and tend to forget the other person has feelings.
One thing that can be said about the alpha? He is fair about it. He expects exactly the same brutal honesty in return. And he genuinely doesn’t mind it.
Which one sounds more like your boyfriend? If you tread lightly around offering him criticism, you’ve likely got a beta on your hands.
9. He Respects Women
If an alpha is the masculine man, a beta is the nice guy.
An alpha shows he cares by following his understanding of traditional male roles. He values chivalry and being a gentleman. He holds doors for you, picks up the bill at dinner, and protects you when you cross the street.
But when it comes to other areas of life, he might not be so generous. Some alpha men fall into the trap of toxic masculinity. It’s not a medical condition. It’s a dangerous phenomenon caused by decades of cultural pressure men face from mainstream media. In those cases, they see women as beneath them and can become controlling. A toxic alpha puts himself first, and his romantic partner second.
This behavior is less common in beta males. A beta guy is more likely to identify as a feminist than a male chauvinist. He is a gentleman in word and deed. A beta wants to hear your thoughts and opinions. He believes society should give women equal opportunities. In his mind, you both “wear the pants” in your romantic relationship.
That doesn’t mean the beta male appears feminine. He is in touch with both his emotions and his masculine energy. The opposite of toxic masculinity is embracing who you are, feelings and all. If you are with a beta male, you will definitely feel safe and valued.
10. He’s A Homebody
What is your boyfriend’s idea of fun on a Friday night?
Is it throwing back beers at a trendy bar with a big group of friends? Or is it staying in for a movie night with you?
If it’s closer to the first, you might have an alpha male on your hands. They love the high energy of nightlife. Going out boosts his social status, which the alpha male is all about.
Not the case? Your boyfriend could be a beta male. If a quiet evening with a book or a show is more appealing to him than a big crowd, he’s a homebody. This is a major beta trait. This type doesn’t worry about what others think and prioritize their free time carefully. He would much rather kick back and relax with you than a ton of strangers.
Even if your boyfriend’s male friends give him a hard time about his low-key lifestyle, he doesn’t mind. If he’s a beta, he is comfortable in his masculinity and cares little about outside opinions. As long as you respect him, that’s what matters.
11. He’s Domestic
Another sign of a beta male is a high comfort level with household chores. Unlike the alpha male, the beta doesn’t see cooking and cleaning as the woman’s role. Instead, he actually enjoys it.
Maybe your boyfriend grew up with the expectation to pitch in around the house. Or maybe he just appreciates a neat living space. Either way, if he doesn’t see any issue with picking up a mop or a whisk, he could very well be a beta.
It’s not bad having your very own chef around. Cooking together is a great date idea for anyone dating a beta male. It can be a fun activity to try new recipes. And the best part? You get to stay in and enjoy your dinner without spending a ton of cash.
12. He’s The Real Deal
A hallmark of the beta male is authenticity. He hates anything superficial. Living in a celebrity city like Los Angeles would drive him crazy. A beta likes to keep it real and prefers that everyone else do the same. If you’re a down-to-earth kind of person, then you probably attracted a beta.
An alpha male is more likely to come across as shallow. He likes to drive a flashy car and have a beautiful woman on his arm. He sees these things as a symbol of success and status.
Lots of people think like the alpha. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the finer things in life. But if you’re someone who lives a humble lifestyle, a beta male is more your speed.
Beta or Alpha?
If you’ve been going for alpha guys your entire life and always end up disappointed, it might be time to fully commit to your beta boy.
He's not Mr. Suave, but that doesn’t mean he can’t sweep you off your feet in his own way. A beta might not have the smooth lines ready, but you always know he means what he says. He’s not the guy cracking jokes at a party, but he never fails to make you laugh. A beta doesn’t ambitiously climb the corporate ladder, but he would do anything to provide for you.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether your boyfriend is an alpha male, an omega male, or something in between.
What’s important is that you leave the fighting to the animals, and love and accept each other for who you are.