There are 3 types of men in relationships. Those who like to control, those who don’t, and those who create and co-create.
Type A – Alpha
Are you a man who likes to control the way a relationship plays out? You call the shots, you direct traffic, you are in the driver’s seat. No-one else really gets a say. It’s your way or the highway, and often, sadly it ends up being the highway to hell. You’re the alpha dog. There’s a lot to like about you, but there’s a lot still to develop. Undeveloped alphas grow up to be the classic man-child.
Type B – Beta
Are you a man who sits back and lets things happen? You essentially ride ‘shotgun’. But the thing is, you don’t carry a shotgun and you’re not warding off danger, which is where the phrase ‘riding shotgun’ originates from. These days it’s used in a very different context.
You might be in the front seat, but you’re not at the wheel. You ride alongside, pointing things out, but you don’t do anything to change them or go in a different direction. You’re not an active participant.
A variation on this is the man who plays along, not rocking the boat too much, passively hoping things will just work out. This is the backseat driver. These are the worst kind. Observing but never taking action.
At least the second guy is up-front, contributing something. But from the back seat you can’t even see properly. You’re looking sideways most of the time. You don’t really care where you are going as long as the driver gets you there. You criticise if the trip gets too bumpy, but you don’t do anything to improve it.
Type C – Co-creator
You are the type of man who co-creates with your partner? You both co-create the type of life you both want to experience? You contribute to life on a daily basis. You discuss what’s going on. You help create an environment that is safe, focused, and directed.
If you’re the man who co-creates, you don’t need to call all the shots, though you may at times. You take responsibility for your own stuff. You trust and believe in your partner enough, to take care of her own stuff. You don’t grab at the wheel trying to steer the way you want to go, but together you map out the direction and work to get there.
I’ve sat in all of these positions. I’ve been in the passenger seat, handing out advice, criticising the driver but not driving myself. I’ve sat down back, being lazy and letting someone else do the work. I’ve sat in the driver’s seat, not letting anyone else steer, taking the car where I think it should go.
But by far the best position of all, is when I am co-creating, contributing, taking responsibility, listening, sharing the ride, whilst co-creating a life and a direction that works for everyone in the car. Whilst a co-creator may still have his hands on the wheel, it is a shared responsibility, a joint venture, a collaboration.
If you are hellbent on being in the driver’s seat controlling the show, or passively riding in the back seat, your relationship is headed for the wall.
The key is co-creation. This doesn’t mean you can’t lead. Too many men think that leading means being ‘in control’, calling the shots, being the ‘alpha’ dog. Leading is a responsibility, not a title.
Neither does it mean that you are both the same. Couples who co-create, bring something of unique worth and value to the relationship. They compliment, not complete each other.
How to co-create
Co-creation comes down to respect and willingness, taking responsibility for yourself.
Co-creation is also the antidote to codependency. If you’re codependent, man or woman, your worth and value is wrapped up too much in the other person. We’ll get to this in other blogs as being codependent is a whole other topic of its own. All you need to know is, when you co-create, you bring your own complete worth and value to a relationship.
As a co-creator, you understand that your partner is different from you, and that’s totally ok. You accept her differences, and commit to the bigger picture of building a life together.
Backseat driver’s don’t co-create, they sit back and mostly criticise. Controllers don’t co-create, they take over and think that they know best. Co-creators respect themselves and their partners enough to understand that Aristotle was onto something when he said; ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’.
Co-creators are equal but they are not the same. When you co-create, you trust and encourage your partner to contribute, shape, add value and bring their own gifts and personality to the relationship. In fact, you want them to.
To co-create also means to loosen the grip on your own agenda. It’s not always all about you, and this is where alpha males often get it wrong. You might have a clear idea about how things should be, you might consider yourself as strong, confident and in control, but to co-create means you add a little kindness into the mix. You don’t ‘need’ to be top dog. Remember, the co-creator relationship is a joint venture.
A creative force to be reckoned with
The co-creator male is the man who can tap into his own energy, gifts and unique offering. He doesn’t need the status of alpha. Neither does he hold back and take the easy way out.
The co-creator is a man who respects women. He is a man who respects himself. He faces challenges, and creates a way forward.
The co-creator is a creator of himself. He is a man who believes in what he brings to the world and to his relationships. He is a man who goes about his life with a calm confidence. He is the co-creator of life and of love.
And together, with his co-creator partner, they are a creative force to be reckoned with.
Join The Good Men Project Community
All levels get to view The Good Men Project site AD-FREE. The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission, and have a great ad-free viewing experience.
Register New Account
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request a new password if needed).
ANNUAL PLATINUM membership ($50 per year) includes:
1. AN ALL ACCESS PASS — Join ANY and ALL of our weekly calls, Social Interest Groups, classes, workshops and private Facebook groups. We have at least one group phone call or online class every day of the week.
2. See the website with no ads when logged in!
3. MEMBER commenting badge.
ANNUAL GOLD membership ($25 per year) includes all the benefits above — but only ONE Weekly Social Interest Group and ONE class.
ANNUAL BRONZE membership ($12 per year) is great if you are not ready to join the full conversation but want to support our mission anyway. You’ll still get a BRONZE commenting badge, and you can pop into any of our weekly Friday Calls with the Publisher when you have time (Friday calls only). This is for people who believe—like we do—that this conversation about men and changing roles and goodness in the 21st century is one of the most important conversations you can have today.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Photo credit: Shutterstock