How Long Until The Alpha Kicks In?

Betaized nice guy husband, no major negative incident by either husband or wife, but she’s fallen out of love with him and realizes her discontent. She gives him a fair warning and tells him to buy the book and he does so. The question being, “How long does it take for him to change?”
Hi there,
he’s probably got this huge mental shift that needs to happen. I simply don’t think the average woman understands how brainwashed “good/nice guys” are to be that way. It’s going to take him several months to really start believing it. Likely 1-2 years to really get into it fully. If you want a timeline, it took me about five years to do my self-education to the point I am at now. Your husband gets the benefit of all my knowledge to date wrapped up in a handy dandy book, so for him it should go much faster than I took.
For you… the problem for you now is that up until you discovered MMSL, your discontent was simply a discontent. But now you have language to describe it, which can intensify the sense of unhappiness you have. Plus now when he isn’t being the perfect Alpha, you can be disgusted by that more because you can recognize it. You can end up Fitness Testing him on his knowledge and application of MMSL. Just something to be aware of.
Seeing you just lowered the boom on him, he’s extremely anxious right now. When people get anxious, they tend to intensify their coping pattern. So if he’s low-Alpha and high-Beta as a pattern, he’s likely to head to zero-Alpha and total-Beta in the short term.
So breathe, let him digest, give him some time to try things out. It will be a little forced at first, but in time it can all come together.
(P.S. Your fair warning and not just walking or cheating on him are a true gift. You guys should be fine, write me anytime.)


  1. "I simply don't think the average woman understands how brainwashed "good/nice guys" are to be that way."

    I simply don't think the average woman understands **how much she has helped brainwash and reinforce** "good/nice guys" to be that way.

    That is to say, previously-okay-but-now-dissatisfied wives need to realize that they are also part of the problem. It took years to make a "nice guy," and it will take some time to undo it properly. So have patience, help out where you can, and above all don't send conflicting signals unless you want to just confuse the poor guy and set back any progress to that point by several weeks/months.

  2. I agree with the previous commenter. I am a recovering nice guy for about 10 months now. At first my wife wasn't willing to get on board with my recovery and now she is fully on board and reads this blog daily. I have to make a conscious effort every day when I wake up that I need more Alpha in my life and I am getting good feedback from friends and wife. Sure, I'm going to slip up every now and then, but your wife/partner has to supportive of your efforts if you want to stay together. You can always go it alone, but it's more difficult and if your situation is such that she can't ever help you in your recovery (which means you are headed for divorce) you should get help outside from therapy or men's groups. I think many couples are unhappy but unconscious to the whole Alpha/Beta and Nice Guy syndrome. Once a couple wakes up to what is going on in their relationship, realizes they are where they are and is willing to work on it that's most of the battle. It's those couples that never get conscious of the problem that just head to the divorce court…

  3. Hello, Athol.

    I'm not married, but when I started telling a married friend about Game Theory, she recommended I read Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin. I'm several chapters in and can already say it's basically "Girl Game" for marriage and from a Christian perspective (although its principles can be applied by any open-minded woman). I bring it up now because it seems only fair for a woman who wants her husband to work on his Game to learn what she can do about her own as well. Modern women have to reverse the effects of brainwashing, too.

    Secondly, I agree with your point about language. One reason Twilight is so popular among young women (and even not-so-young women) is that it gave them their first symbolic language for desires they hadn't even known they had. (Whether its terms are the best terms are debatable.) I think Game blogs are having a similar effect on a different audience.

  4. As the wife in question…

    Thanks for the book suggestion, Bellita, I'll definitely look into it! The past few years have pretty much been me trying to fix the problem from my side without really understanding it myself, because even before MMSL I figured I was the only one I could change. That's still true, but now I see that we're both going to have to be involved in making this marriage awesome, so I'm trying to get him on board. He's earnest but confused, as I'm sure all you other nice guys understand perfectly.

    To Anons 1:44 and 2:01, yup, we're all swimming upstream here a bit against the general culture. Luckily I'm ok with that and happy to do my part from here on in!

  5. Update re: Fascinating Womanhood, I'm not sure how I was unaware of such an apparently divisive book! I will definitely read it, but should point out that husband is the one arguing against me in favor of more extreme equalitarian viewpoints (i.e. everyone is not just equal, but in fact identical). Most of his life was pre-me, after all.

  6. The idea that men and women are exactly the same except that women have babies is deep in US culture. A lot of people don't even realize that they believe it, it's just part of their routine way of thinking. And the pressures on men to "be nice" are constant, unrelenting, and begin in kindergarten.

    So, Mrs. Anonymous, you are basically asking him to give up a way of thinking that he's carried around in his head since before puberty. Luckily, it's counter to his own, masculine nature. So in time it can be overcome. Agree with Athol that patience on your part is going to be critical.

    Blessings on the both of you, for realizing what's wrong and working to fix it.

  7. Here's something I've been wondering as I've been reading my way through MMSL, Athol. I am now very aware of several fitness tests I've run on my husband, and can even remember some of the more notable "passes" and "fails".

    But what am I supposed to do with the knowledge of what a fitness test is and why us women do them? Am I supposed to stop shit testing him completely, or do they play an important role in helping him find and maintain the right balance of alpha/beta?

  8. As a recovering nice guy I can you that (if the guy takes this seriously) some changes/behaviors will occur relatively fast as it is actually like waking up and viewing the world completely differently.

    However, even after a few years, I am still working on this stuff trying to fully integrate it. The beta stuff can be so deeply ingrained (especially if you are religious/turn-the-other cheek type) that it can be a long process.

  9. From the way you've worded it, you shit-tested him unconsciously, right? As Athol says (and I agree), this is completely natural — women logically should have a vested interest in having/maintaining a high quality partner, and so periodic shit-testing, while not nice, per se, is understandable. Moreover, unless the woman's crazy, it tends to keep nice guys a little on edge; if the nice guy can maintain a standard of "manliness", these shit tests are passed with a minimum of effort, and everyone's happy afterwards. In other words, the shit is natural — you shouldn't worry about them unless your husband is misinterpreting them and spiraling somewhere out of control.

    Worked back into Athol's game theory model, this periodic shit-testing can be seen as a "ping" of sorts — we have been predominantly nice to one another, but what happens if I get a little mean? — just to make sure that both partners are still on the same page. If you assume that the pinging is subconscious and random, then you can see that failing one or two shit tests might not be an issue, but if he starts failing all of them repeatedly there's some issue coming up that you should worry about before he loses the ability to pass those tests entirely and before you naturally begin to get frustrated with him.

    I'm a fairly recent fan of Athol's but I realize that my "growth" through college has mirrored exactly what Athol's MAP details, and so I see myself as just another independent (didn't even stumble upon this blog till I scored my current girlfriend!) verification that the concept is 100% sound. It took me a long time to get out of the beta-funk too — I had to break up painfully with my first love, said "fuck it", went a little wild, pulled in new girlfriends, and finally realized what I had been doing wrong. Me and my first love/kiss/sex have been back together for a couple years now, learning to be manly has changed everything, even before marriage was ever on the table. :)

  10. Looking Glass says:

    @ Anon/question asker:

    I can actually help with the "too much equalism" aspect. It's really just down to logic, when arguing this among guys, so let me take a crack at something for him.

    Firstly, these are concepts that have been drilled into him since he was a child, breaking through isn't easy (fair warning). So, take small victories while he comes around over a period of time.

    *If* everyone is "equal", then we should see this as the natural consequence of nature.

    The XY chromosome combination confers roughly a 2 standard deviation increase in strength, over the XX chromosome combination. In a "natural" setting, the increased strength alone confers a massive difference in survivability. Thus, by solely gender alone, natural survivability is different. This disproves that the genders are "naturally" equal.

    (There's a long set of side discussions about survival strategies/traits that are prized higher by gender)

    Thus, if you believe people are "equal", it must be about the construction of society. Which leads to the question, "what is equal?".

    Now, this one can go a lot of ways, so it depends a bit who you're talking to. You can try to construct a legal argument about "equal", but that runs into a lot of problem, as there is a physiology difference between the genders. (Think through how you apply a law against castration, when 1/2 the population doesn't have testicles. You have to abstract the law quite a lot to overcome the gender differences.)

    Then there's the philosophical aspects to "equality". Depending where you land on the political side of things, whether society should push for "equality of opportunity" or "equality of outcome" will fall differently. (So, I'll avoid getting into a politics argument around here, hehe)

    To close up, the answer you're trying to get to is that humans should be looking for a "just" and "equanimious" society. You can't overcome the genetic differences and various that simply exist. The challenge is to deal with the realities of the differences and push towards a more just society, while not attempting to ignore those differences exist. That's the problem with the line "we're all equal". It is to willfully ignore reality. That *always* leads to disaster.

  11. Brilliant, Looking Glass, and probably a lot easier to absorb without the side of venom that sometimes gets thrown in… The closest we came recently was agreeing (I think!) on the basic premise of what you call just and equanimious. Talking about sports tends to work well, since everyone seems pretty ok with separate men's and women's teams.

    Kicking me out of a job I'm great at because I'm female would worry me a lot. But the objective fact that I'm likely to lose at shotput to just about any guy out there doesn't make me feel oppressed.

    -Question asker

  12. B,

    Yeah… the shit-tests are never a conscious thing. But lately I've caught myself just before giving the actual shit-test, thinking to myself, "Ohhh… asking/saying that is me testing his alpha/beta level," so I actively stop myself right there. Are you saying I should just go with it, so long as I'm not going out of my way to test him?

  13. Rachel – suggest turning it into instigation. Add a playful element into it. Consider it lobbing him a softball Fitness Test to practise on.

  14. Looking Glass says:

    @ Anon:

    The main problem you're running into is a massive logical fallacy pretty much caked into part of society. That fallacy is this:

    "If you say people aren't equal, then you're just going to oppress them and be a bigot." There's so many horrible logical jumps in there, it isn't funny, but a lot of people do that. They don't want to deal with: 1) that there are differences that no amount of talking can overcome and 2) it means you have to judge people on their merits not where they came from in life. (I'll not get into it here, but a lot of people that hold the fallacy actually fall into being well-meaning bigots, by their policy preferences, even if they think they aren't. And if you point that out to them, oh boy, expect hell, haha)

    The main thing is to spend a long while establishing that "there are differences" and "we can work for a better world, each of us". You can also throw in some jokes about "pegging" at your husband, since, I mean, you're "equal" and all. :) Keeping it playful while unwrapping a deeply held belief can be important. It takes people time to come around.

  15. Haha, except I might have to find something else to joke about, there's a real risk he might go for it.

  16. @The Wife

    I'm pleased to read that you're going to try the book. (I'm going through it chapter by chapter on my own blog, if you're interested.) Good luck with everything! =)

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