Why an Alpha Female Should Never Marry a Gamma Man; It's the Dream of the Assertive Career Woman - to Be Supported by a Softer, Caring Man Who Inevitably Earns Less Than Her. Here One Writer, Speaking from Bitter Experience, Says Such Relationships Are Doomed .
Byline: ANNA PASTERNAK
WHEN my partner of four years and the father of my two-year- old daughter left me after a particularly unedifying row at 4.30am one day last year, he shouted: 'You are a complete failure and you are going to go bankrupt.' Frankly, nothing he said to me during the corrosive decline of our relationship stunned me more.
After all, wasn't I the self-confessed ambitious high achiever, who had spent the previous year commuting to Hollywood after the rights to one of my fictional creations were sold?
In going for the gritty jugular, my ex wittingly kicked my Achilles heel because unfortunately, like many Alpha women, my sense of self was derived mainly from my career.
Our unhappy ending, however, highlights a growing dynamic playing out in relationships across the country which is fast proving to be the scourge of the modern partnership.
Relationship terrorism is an increasingly ugly and destructive phenomenon between strong Alpha females and less driven, more laidback, gamma guys.
At first, it is easy to see the attraction between these disparate types.
The taut, controlled, go-getting female finds a charming, flexible chap who seems to be everything she is not: relaxed, nurturing and fun. So far, so promising.
He can help her uncoil and bring romance and much-needed tenderness into her brittle life, while she can provide a lifestyle which is initially thrilling for its full-throttle dynamism.
This was certainly the case between me and my ex, who, at seven years younger than me, was, when I met him, settled in a corporate job in Somerset, coasting along but never going to reach for the fiscal stars.
He seemed such a world apart from me and my competitive, high-octane friends that at first being with him felt like taking a holiday from myself. It was a blessed relief.
The rot sets in when the haze of love burns off and lurking resentment on both sides surges to the surface.
My ex became irate that the full beam of my focus was on my career, while I was frustrated that he expected me to change when I had never claimed to be the stay-at-home, earth-mother type.
We both wanted support and emotional attention that the other seemed unable to give.
In a situation like this, the woman wants her man to pull his weight - mainly financially - and, in a typically direct fashion, lets him know it.
He, however, feels emasculated by her capricious demands and seeks to undermine her in an effort to flex his masculine muscle.
In our only post-mortem on our failed relationship this spring, four months after he left, I said to my ex: 'You pulled the trigger on this relationship.' And he shot back: 'But you loaded the gun.' At the time I found his suggestion ludicrous. Sure, I was tense, stressed and distracted, but wasn't I working harder than him to bring home more bacon and look after our child?
However, thinking about this article has changed my perspective.
Relationship terrorism is not, as some glossy women's magazines have suggested, exclusively a male preserve.
Both partners are equally guilty of colluding in a power struggle which, unless they seek to redress the balance, will destroy any chances of a fulfilling, lasting union.
STATISTICS bear this out: the number of women entering the workplace has increased by a third since 1975, and in 2005 one third of all managers in business were women.
At the same time, 40 per cent of all marriages end in divorce. Clearly, it's difficult to deny the two sets of figures are in some way connected.
Relationship psychologist Dr Pam Spurr, author of Sex, Guys And Chocolate, says: 'I've come across this phenomenon many times and with more women in high-powered positions, power struggles like this are ever more common.
'Hard-hitting, driven women are attracted to slightly gentler, more laid-back men because in their subconscious they know they need more of that to get balance in their lives. …