Girl Game vs Fitness Test

Reader:  I have a theory question: If the objective of the male-view MAP (penned by you) is to increase the amount of sex, what would the objective of the female MAP be? Does this translate?
For a man, MAP is an attempt to fulfill his natural desire for polygamy within his marriage by enhancing sexual variety with his wife (amount and quality/enthusiasm) through self-improvement. For a woman, MAP is an attempt to fulfill her natural desire for hypergamy within her marriage by enhancing the quality of her husband (as leader and provider) through self-improvement.
Of course this stems from personal experience….
I am running a form of female MAP currently, but I’ve seen no progress. It’s been a few months of training for my first 5k, taking salsa classes, teaching myself to cook, and subsequently losing ten pounds. I’m now entering the third month of taking a couples dance class full of single men without him, and not a speck of interest in attending. He started talking big game (‘I’ll start exercising soon,’ ‘I really do hate this job, I’ll start applying for a transfer in a couple months”), and not doing anything. FYI if anything I’m too enthusiastic about sex for him. After some due contemplation of why the plan was falling flat, I’ve come to the conclusion, that I was simply working on the wrong traits. To be honest, I already held a higher sex rank than him, so losing weight and gaining a dancers’ ass wasn’t really the critical path. Though I had increased my attentions to beta traits, I clearly needed to spend more on them. Things like being appreciative, letting him be a man, supporting him in his decisions, etc.
Athol: Your theorycraft seems about right. Ultimately both men and women seek an intense sexual relationship and experience. Monogamy does have limitations and benefits for sexual experience, MMSL simply attempts to maximise the monogamy strategy for a couple.
As such, I’m guessing you just want your husband to Alpha up a bit for you. Here’s where you’re going wrong…
“FYI if anything I’m too enthusiastic about sex for him.”
That means there’s nothing he needs to do to change the relationship for the better, because you are already giving him exactly what he wants. The behavior you reward (his lack of interest in self-improving), is the behavior that you will see continue.
He’s actually a little bit concerned about what you’re doing, salsa classes with single men are getting his attention, but you’re so good on the trustworthy / stable / good girl / Beta front, that he’s only mildly put off about it all. He’s very comfortable in the relationship because of all your Beta Traits used so far. Certainly not uncomfortable enough to make him do anything to intercede and go all Alpha on you.
My suggestion would be to start actually removing a little of your Beta and making him start to feel less comfortable in the relationship. Most guys start seriously running the MAP for themselves when faced with the prospect of their wife/gf leaving them for another man. So suggest you start exhibiting some mild disloyalty and see what that gets you as a result.
Cut down your interest in him a bit, be a little mysterious, come back from salsa class a little late, buy some fancy underwear that he knows about but doesn’t get to see. When you get a text or a phone call, leave the room to answer it. Do it as an experiment. He’s not going to up his Alpha because you upped your Beta.
Or put more cynically… I’ve yet to receive an email from a guy trying to deal with the problem of his wife laying him like tile and pampering his ego for which I recommend immediately putting the MAP into action. But I do get an awful lot of email from husbands in emotional free-fall from hearing “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” the discovery of the wife’s affair, or impending divorce. For those men I do recommend putting the MAP into action.
It sounds like you are the higher Sex Rank half of the couple, so something to consider before you get too deep into things with the salsa lessons…. give him a fair warning.
The difference between running some Girl Game and The Mother of All Fitness Tests is largely a matter of perspective.

Jennifer: Are you’re doing that thing where you want him to be the leader, but telling him to be the leader means he isn’t the leader because that makes you the leader? Sometimes you just have to tell them. Like Athol said, give him a fair warning.

Related posts:

  1. Some Common Fitness Tests… And What Isn’t A Fitness Test Most Fitness Tests (aka Shit Tests) your wife will toss...
  2. Fitness Test vs Reasonable Request Reader: So she’s doing something with her hair.  Something complicated...
  3. Not Everything Is A Fitness Test When a woman presents her ass to you and requests...
  4. Is Her Asking For Marriage To End Long Distance A Fitness Test? Reader Email: Dear Athol, I wanted to take this opportunity...
  5. Girl Game: When You’re Smarter Than He Is Reader question… and a huge messy answer… I’ve been neglecting...

Comments

  1. Bob says:

    @Jennifer

    I had to read your addendum twice to be certain I had parsed it correctly. Way to stretch the semantic muscles there.

    Don't overdo it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sorry I'm confused. Tell him what? A warning?

  3. Thag Jones says:

    Bob, if that was a semantic stretch it's you who needs to exercise more!

  4. Eric says:

    That is really part of the MAP I have the most trouble with: intentionally destabilizing your marriage by playing psychological games on your spouse. If I discovered my wife was proactively trying to make me question her commitment to fidelity, I'm not at all sure my reaction would be to bring her in closer. I'd very likely end up thinking, "A woman who plays these kinds of head games is not the woman I married and not the woman I want to be married to." Likewise, if I tried to get affection from my wife by forcing her to compete with other women for my attention, I think I'd quickly find myself locked out of the house with all my belongings in boxes on the front porch, even if there was no physical infidelity involved.

    At the same time, I realize every marriage works differently. When one of my wife's (single) female friends asked her to join a salsa dance class with her, my wife rejected the idea out of hand because she thought it would be inappropriate for a married woman. If she had joined the class, I'd have been both alarmed and confrontational about it, because that kind of dancing (with another man or a woman) is a type of infidelity, or at least close enough to one that I'd not be able to ignore it.

    If I'm not getting enough attention from my wife in some area, I tell her. If she's not getting enough from me, she tells me. We both make efforts to accommodate the other. Sometimes this involves speaking uncomfortable truths, but it only works because we are both convinced of the other's commitment to the marriage.

    I don't doubt that Athol's plan can work in troubled marriages, but sometimes I find the ethics involved with this part of the MAP to be as troubling as the marriage itself (I find other parts very wise and helpful, especially Athol's concept of Alpha/Beta balance). I hope my marriage isn't ever in a situation where I need to give serious consideration to these tactics, but if using them was the only way to save it I'm not so sure I'd consider it to be worth saving.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I'm with Eric. Sure, stopping at the grocery after the dance lesson unannounced can exhibit a little display of independence, but to leave the room to answer a call just to get a reaction is disingenuous. I'm all for trust, like Eric. I also do support Athol's plan and MAP. Choose the execution carefully, and tailor it to your relationship.

    So, Athol, what you're saying, tho, is to back down on the attention? That can be done in all kinds of ways without straying into making-it-look-like-I'm-having-an-affair territory, no?

  6. Christy says:

    Fair warning: keep an eye on yourself. If you find yourself attracted to someone in your dance class, WARN HIM. Give him a chance to Aloha up and claim you before it wanders into affair territory. It is *so* hard to recover from that. You're playing with fire at that point.

  7. 446 says:

    While I respect Eric's POV, not all of us are married to people that are so understanding.

    I am in phase one of the MAP. My wife actually went and bought BONBONS to eat while the children and I cleaned the house. I lead the kids in fruitful activity. We accomplished work. The kids and I went out and had fun. I've dropped weight. My wife thinks that is a good thing because now she doesn't have to.

    It really believe that it will take a serious knock in the head for her to realize what is happening. When she realizes that she is fungible, there will be panic. Her desire to meet my sexual needs is near zero. She sees me increasing alpha and beta as "yeah for me, I don't have to do anything".

    Purposefully destabilizing the relationship is the only way to communicate through the filters of the hamster and childhood trauma to where she will change or be replaced. Finally, I see it as part of the preparatory stage for accepting that I CAN leave the marriage. Yes, Eric, I don't want a divorce but I have to get myself ready for one should she continue to ignore me. Unplugging from the trust, loyalty and comfort of the marriage is part of that. It is not a bluff. It is preparing you to leave. (If s/he can't commit to a fulfilling marriage.)

  8. Reader says:

    I agree with Eric:

    "That is really part of the MAP I have the most trouble with: intentionally destabilizing your marriage by playing psychological games on your spouse. If I discovered my wife was proactively trying to make me question her commitment to fidelity, I'm not at all sure my reaction would be to bring her in closer. I'd very likely end up thinking, "A woman who plays these kinds of head games is not the woman I married and not the woman I want to be married to." Likewise, if I tried to get affection from my wife by forcing her to compete with other women for my attention, I think I'd quickly find myself locked out of the house with all my belongings in boxes on the front porch, even if there was no physical infidelity involved."

    Loyalty is THE issue for me. I have no problem with her being much less than perfect in every other way, but loyalty is 1 or 0, absolutely loyal or not absolutely loyal.

    Even mild disloyalty destroys my emotional bond and desire, and I become irrevocably indifferent.

    I told her, upfront, that she can test me all she wants in every other way except for that one, that I am all or nothing, and if she does anything appearing to be disloyal, even if she "doesn't actually mean it", she should just keep walking, because we would be done.

  9. The Outsider says:

    Athol, normally I think your advice is awfully good, so I cringe a little as I write this.

    It seems to me you gave this woman the advice you'd give a man. The mystery, the instability, the "low-level dread," those are things chicks like, not guys.

    When a man cheats on a woman (or she thinks he does), the reaction is complex. Naturally, she doesn't want to be cheated on, but she does relish knowing that her man is in demand. The genes of her children by him will also be in demand.

    When a woman cheats on a man (or he thinks she does), the reaction is very different. He just found out there's a chance he's been cuckholded or that he will be. This is an evolutionary disaster for him – the worst possible outcome. His reaction will be more severe.

    Possibly violent.

    Withholding sex (or dishing it out more slowly) might be okay. But creating a climate of instability is bad advice for women.

    Please tell me I'm wrong!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Reader, my husband would never say it to me that bluntly, but he doesn't have to… I already agree with him, and expect the same loyalty from him. 100% or I'm gone. Not because i'm mean, but because I would be crushed otherwise. We absolutely match on this, and it's what makes us work so well.

  11. OP says:

    Eric has my captured my moral dilemma, as it feels very disingenuous/deceitful, especially since I prided myself on straightforwardness.

    It’s worth mentioning, that the beaux has a demonstrated interest in dance. He’s a great lead, which is VERY attractive, so I suggested salsa classes together. After four months of ‘waiting for his schedule to clear up’ I decided to sign up solo.

    I’ve been throwing down sequentially less and less subtle hints. It started with a playful “You should think about joining, fending off men is exhausting,” while choosing not to mention that all the men in the class 25 years my senior or married. I started mentioning dance partners by name in conversation. Since I’ve made friends with a few of the couples, I’ve gotten drinks with them after class, and may have neglected to mention that they were married. The one time he called to see where I was, I invited him to join us, which he did not.

    A few weeks ago, I thought the beaux wasn’t getting the picture, so I sat down and asked him what he thought of my sudden interest in [activities to improve SMV] and you know what he said?

    “Because you’re getting ready to leave me.”

    To which I replied:
    “I’d much rather you try to keep me.”

    It’s the lack of initiative on his part after that conversation that I’m troubled by. That is also why I’m thinking a little more beta wouldn’t be a bad idea – to demonstrate I still value the relationship and that I would really, REALLY prefer him stepping up.

    This is why I think MAP is different for women. Relationship stability/instability has got him oscillating between sitting pretty, and throwing in the towel – and is not providing the desired motivation.

    Athol does have one thing right, I should definitely dial back the sex (frequency, but not quality).

  12. Reader says:

    "Reader, my husband would never say it to me that bluntly, but he doesn't have to… I already agree with him, and expect the same loyalty from him. 100% or I'm gone. Not because i'm mean, but because I would be crushed otherwise. We absolutely match on this, and it's what makes us work so well."

    I am looking for someone like you, so I would not even bother with a woman to whom I thought I would need to say that, fundamentally.

    But I do clarify that in the beginning, to prevent her from acting out a script from some "rules" or "girl game" expecting me to respond positively.

  13. Anonymous says:

    OP, I've had the same experience. What did work was an honest expression of my feeling inadequate to meet his needs.

    "Clearly you want more than me. I can't hold your attention."

    Usually he snaps out of it right away and claims me. Big time.

    Then again, this is operating from the position of a healthy relationship.

  14. Ian Ironwood says:

    I'm with Athol on this one. If you are in a relationship stalemate, regardless of your gender, and your mate is not responding to more subtle hints, then yes, an escalation is your only real recourse. Many mates are so complacent that nothing less than a symbolic slap in the face with the possibility of losing what they have will work to rouse them from their complacency.

    It might seem "unfair" or otherwise ignoble to use such tactics, but I assure you that there are plenty of people out there who rely so heavily on their mate's sense of loyalty that they do not in fact hold themselves to account.

    Imagine what would happen if the OP Athol referenced did everything she could to fake an affair — phone calls, emails, texts to herself from a dummy account, do everything but actually find a dude to do it with — imagine if she did all of that and her husband still took no notice and made no changes. At some point you have to force the issue and make the relationship unstable. Yes, it sucks to be in an unstable relationship — but it sucks just as bad and sometimes worse to be in a relationship that is stable and bad.

    Every relationship is different, but there comes a time when you have to be willing to go "all in" and risk losing everything to get what you want.

  15. Eric says:

    OP,

    That's pretty stunning that he admits belief that you are preparing to leave him but shows no willingness to change anything. I can see one of three meanings here:

    1) He doesn't really believe you are going to leave him.
    2) He doesn't care that you are going to leave him.
    3) There is some underlying issue at work that is making him feel powerless to change his situation… i.e., depression, fear of change, lack of resources, etc…

    If it is #3, you really should try to help him get to the bottom of it. I just watched my sister's 20-year-marriage dissolve because the whole family would not face up to the fact that my bro-in-law had been clinically depressed for a long time and was making everyone in his household miserable with it. It wasn't until the divorce proceedings when a judge asked him if he thought he might be depressed (something glaringly obvious to every single person outside their marriage) that he even acknowledged it might possibly be an issue. Losing his family has only made him worse off, to the point that I worry about him committing suicide. And he and my sister never once talked about it or discussed trying to get him some help.

  16. Eric says:

    Ian,

    I can certainly respect that and am lucky in that (so far) my marriage has never gotten to that point, so I can't say for sure how I'd react. I just don't know how you'd turn back from such tactics once you started. "If we don't start having sex at least once a week, you need to be aware that I may bail." could get turned around on you to the point where you end up hearing, "If you don't figure out a way to make at least $100,000 per year, you need to be aware that I may bail." And according to the ethics of Athol's game as I understand them, that would be fair play.

  17. Another reader says:

    The Outsider: then I'm not a typical woman. If my husband cheated on me, I'd simply crumble. My previous husband did, although I'll never be able to prove it. And I simply shut down. Still can't look at him, even when we hand off our children to each other.

    For some people, loyalty is required. Don't know how I managed to scramble genetics, but it happened. No amount of fight fir me in that situation. Simple shut-down.

  18. Anacaona says:

    Another Reader
    Totally like you dried up punani the moment I think his dick has been anywhere near another woman or that he seriously is plotting that. I do think that if he started to look more interested in other women while clearly showing that he is not doing anything physical with them or doesn't want to I probably will try and improve whatever I think is lacking. but again that is as long as I think there is a chance I can prevent it from ever happening. , YMMV.

  19. Athol Kay says:

    Some of you are missing the point a little. She's hotter than him, a female 8 to a male 6 or 7. It's a fairly natural and probable result that she will leave or cheat on him.

    What she's doing and I'm advising, is openly (as opposed to in secret) slowly inch toward the door/another man, in hopes that her husband wakes up and starts pulling himself together about the marriage before she does something crossing the event horzion of relationship failure.

    She's already passed the point of (1)just tolerating things. His options are to, (2) be cheated on, (3)get handed a surprise filing for divorce, (4)pull himself together and improve his sex rank and reattract his wife.

    She wants option (4), he wants option (1), but she's taken option (1) off the table so he'll have to choose either (2), (3) or (4).

  20. Looking Glass says:

    @Eric:

    You're taking an equivalence principle too far and you can't really get your head around the "sausage making" aspect to Athol's work. So, two quick points.

    1) Athol likes to focus on "reasonable requests." When you're in a legally bound, monogamous relationship, sex is generally expected. Once a week is a reasonable request. 10 times a week like a Porn Star is not a reasonable request. Being the "man of the house" is a reasonable request. Making bank and acting like the perfect suitor is not. It's not about basic requests to meet needs that are perfectly doable with minimal amounts of work. I.e. what should generally be expected inside a relationship.

    On the destabilizing a relationship, it's important to understand that they become destabilized quite often. Gain/lose a lot of weight, gain/lose a job, get a big promotion, move to a new city, have your mother-in-law move in. Any of these do destabilize a large part of a relationship. It's a matter of how everyone reacts to the situations. (In your sister's case, he had a problem and she reacted badly to it, though I imagine he was having problems fulfilling his reasonable side of the bargain)

    In the issues that bring people to a blog called "Married Man Sex Life", it's pretty obvious what the dysfunction is. And that can be a really big one for a lot of men. (Or, in the case of the OP, woman) Is there a form of manipulation happening? Yes, but you don't really get to this point without some break down in communication. If losing weight and having 1 foot out the door is the only way to finally get the message across that "things need to change", that's sometimes what will have to be done. (Though, as Athol points outs, it's not a rash or fast decision)

    So, it's not always pretty and it's not always "nice", but when the status quo no longer works, your only option is to change or leave. Athol just helps give people tools to allow for a good outcome, rather than all of the bad ones.

  21. Anonymous says:

    "For a man, MAP is an attempt to fulfill his natural desire for polygamy within his marriage by enhancing sexual variety with his wife (amount and quality/enthusiasm) through self-improvement. For a woman, MAP is an attempt to fulfill her natural desire for hypergamy within her marriage by enhancing the quality of her husband (as leader and provider) through self-improvement."

    I like that. A succinct exlanation of the MAP and the reasons for it for both partners.

  22. Eric says:

    Looking Glass, FWIW, I don't doubt that Athol's tactics here are effective. I just don't know that I'd be comfortable using them. It's like this: the integrity of my relationship with my wife is more important to me than our marriage, because the marriage is based on the quality of that relationship. When I was single there were plenty of opportunities for sex with many women, what made me marry my wife was the quality of our personal interactions with each other. If that integrity is fouled, either by a lack of willingness by one of us to please the other, or because one of us engaged in subterfuge in order to get something we wanted from the other, then I see no reason to continue our marriage. I can find somebody else to fuck. When it comes to sex, my wife certainly is a fungible product. When it comes to the relationship we've spent 14 years building, she's somewhat irreplaceable. If she had broken the integrity of the relationship by being extremely selfish/unyielding/uncaring for an extended period of time, and I couldn't change her actions by communicating my needs to her, I'd probably just walk (and she'd do the same to me). Playing head games in order to save the relationship would undermine the thing I value most about the relationship.

  23. Sai says:

    @Eric,
    If I'm understanding this correctly, your advice to OP would then be to leave altogether. From the sounds of it she has already tried communicating her needs to her husband, but to no avail. Although I don't know how long this has been going on, it seems your next move would be to up and leave, correct?

    @OP,
    I agree with Eric's post at 3:29. It may be worth looking into first.

  24. Eric says:

    Sai, it's easy to give advice as somebody outside the situation, but yes, if I had made multiple appeals to my spouse to change, had done everything I could to make myself as attractive as possible to my spouse (ie to be worthy of the effort I am asking them to put forth), had convinced myself that their problem wasn't psychological/chemical in nature (or if it was, convinced myself that they would never seek help for the problem), and they still refused to make any effort at improvement, I think my next step would be to move out. Not divorce, at least not yet, and not to go searching for another relationship, but to simply remove myself from their day-to-day life for awhile and see if that doesn't bring about a change in their outlook (or mine).

    If there were pre-teen or early-teen kids in the household, and I could not take them with me, then I would probably feel obligated to stay.

  25. Athol Kay says:

    Eric – moving out would be a more dramatic step to take than anything I'm suggesting here.

  26. Bob says:

    @OP

    If you really want to keep him, better rupe out depression. Did something happen to take the wind out of his saild?

    @Thag

    I deal with complicated semantics all day. Usually not from human beings. Humans are too often vague and fuzzy. Jennifer wasn't. I appreciate that.

  27. Eric says:

    Athol,

    I don't deny that something dramatic needs to happen here. I just question whether feigning an interest in infidelity is an effective and ethical way to go about it. I agree with all your other suggestions for her, it's just that one which gives me pause.

    I can only guess what my reaction would be, but if my wife suddenly told me she couldn't handle living with me any more and wanted to try a separation, that would be more likely to make me try to win her back than if I gradually became suspicious that she was actively seeking an affair (which would undermine my trust in her and make me less likely to want to reconcile the relationship).

  28. Anonymous says:

    Eric, there may be a few of us here who are odd ducks. I know that simoly mulling this over in my head, just to see what I'd do, has driven me batshit crazy. I'm also a natural empath, and I had forgotten that the past few days.

    Athol's advice doesn't work for everyone. Keep your stance on this. Your wife is very lucky. You're both lucky. You found each other. You two belong together. Same for me and my husband.

    On this point, you and I must simply disagree with Athol. And that's okay with me. *whew* I had to admit that in writing.

  29. The Outsider says:

    Eric – you've made my point in a more clear way. If she moved out, or at least made me think she would, it would do more to make me want to correct things than thinking she might be cheating. "Screw that bitch."

    Athol's suggestion to create instability makes sense, I just disagree with the method he suggested.

  30. Athol Kay says:

    If you want to do an inching to the door move, just buy a bunch of cardboard boxes. Start filling them with your stuff.

    In any case, 98% of the time, people don't leave a marriage. They deny they are leaving for someone else, say they just want their space and to think things through and she how they feel…

    …and then you discover they had a boyfriend the whole time.

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