With Season 5 of House of Cards now available for your Netflix bingeing pleasure, it seems like a fitting time to pay homage to one of the most badass ladies on TV: Claire Underwood. Claire is the epitome of an alpha lady, and being with someone like her takes a certain kind of person. You need to be one confident individual to make a relationship with a strong-ass woman work. And if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a fulfilling, challenging, thrilling partnership.
“An alpha woman knows what she wants and is able to communicate that,” says sexologist Dr. Nikki Goldstein, author of Single But Dating. “She has the strength to try new things and seek adventures. She can take control when needed, allowing someone else to sit back and relax every so often.” Alpha women are the greatest of them all.
Madam Underwood has taught us well when it comes to relationships. From supporting Frank all the way to the White House while nurturing her own high-powered career to dumping his ass when he started to take her for granted at the end of Season 3, we can all learn a few things from Claire Underwood.
Here are seven awesome things alpha women bring to the table in relationships.
We know our worth
Alpha women don’t date jerks. We don’t have time for that. We know we deserve to be treated like a goddess. Look at Claire. She never accepts less than the best treatment from Frank or anyone else.
Gabby, 26, of New York City considers herself the alpha partner in her relationship, and says, “We [alphas] won’t play games. I know what I’m worth and I know that I’m great on my own, I don’t fall into traps, settling for someone just because they pay attention to me or will stick around.”
Strong women don’t need anyone to stick around who isn’t worthy of her. You can either treat us the way we know we should be treated, or we’ll kick you to the curb.
We don’t play games
If you’re looking for a life partner, you need someone who isn’t going to play around. An alpha woman doesn’t want a boyfriend or girlfriend who’s just looking for a good time, but rather someone who’s going to take on life with her.
“They need to be significantly contributing to my day-to-day life, making it better than it was before and treating me the way that I demand anyone else in my life treat me,” says Gabby. “That doesn’t mean I don’t make compromises — I do — but I don’t ever sacrifice anything about myself that I feel is essential to who I am. I’ve found this leads to a mutual respect that is tough to achieve if you’re not aware of your strength and qualities.’”
We can take care of ourselves
You’ll never need to baby an alpha woman. If we’re high-maintenance, it’s because we can maintain ourselves. Marie, 24, of Boston has been in a relationship with her on-again, off-again boyfriend for three years, but says that she likes taking care of herself: “My mother raised me to be independent,” she says. “You can be high-maintenance, but you better figure out how to be high-maintenance without relying on a partner. Learn to be able to provide for yourself.”
An alpha woman does need to remember that while being tough is fabulous, showing softness and vulnerability in certain situations can be the test of true strength. In other words, take off that armor every once in awhile. “It’s great to be an alpha female but you also need to know how to balance that with being strong enough to let your guard down,” says Goldstein.
Alpha women have major career (and life) goals and are willing to work hard and sacrifice to get where we want to be. We’re looking for someone who can handle our ambition, has some of his or her own and will be with us on the way to the top. Hi, Claire Underwood!
“Being a strong woman, alpha women can expect a lot in return,” says Goldstein. “If she is a high achiever or a capable woman, she will want those around her to be of the same standards.”
However, just like the strain viewers see Claire and Frank experience on HOC, Marie says there can be tension when it comes to balancing work and her partner’s ego. “He doesn’t see himself like I see him,” says Marie. “Because of my career and success, he reverts to thinking he’s not good enough or he’s going to lose me. He competes with my job. Sometimes he’ll get wildly offended if I put my work before him — and as much I love him, sometimes my career comes first.” It can be a delicate balance to achieve, but when it is executed well, you’re in serious power-couple territory.
Our personalities are electrifying
There’s nothing quite like an alpha women. We turn every head, are often the life of the party and can be the woman other people want to be. Through a combination of wit and intrigue, we have a personality that is utterly dynamic.
Sierra, 24, of Miami, Florida, has been with her fiancé for three years. Sierra says that being an alpha has always been something her girlfriend appreciates about her. “She admires my strength,” says Sierra. “She tells me I’m the center of everything. She used to joke about how I was a little ‘scary,” but how my personality is my best trait. It’s sexy knowing what you want and not be afraid to ask for it, you know?”
We’re never boring
Alpha women aren’t afraid to speak our minds, challenge the status quo, and take the path of most resistance if that’s the one that’s going to be the most rewarding. We relish the chance to have a fiery debate, don’t back down during uncomfortable moments and can hold our own in most situations simply because we know who we are and aren’t afraid to show it.
While this can make for an exhausting relationship at times, overall, it means a life full of richness, laughter, good conversation, adventures and memorable moments. Wouldn’t you rather have that kind of life and relationship than one that’s vanilla, easy and predictable?
We’re with you because we want you, not because we need you
Alpha women are rarely codependent. Claire is with Frank because she chooses to be, not because she thinks she needs him. “Alpha women don’t need someone — they want someone,” says Malgosia, 27, of New York City. “Those two things don’t sound that different, but they’re worlds apart.”
If you’re a true alpha, you’re going to be looking for a partner who measures up in the same way. “It takes [another] alpha to get an alpha woman,” says Malgosia. *Mic drop.*