The Roads Not Taken

Anonymous said in a comment to When You Discover You Were Her Plan B
Eh… while I see the general point, unless your mate has never dated before, chances are you’re a Plan B one way or the other. My wife would have married a previous boyfriend had he stuck around. I could have married (several) previous girlfriends had I not been so painfully beta at the time. Ergo, Plan B.
Athol: Some clarification is in order and some of these thoughts snapped into a better focus after I had written the post last night. (I have to write to think, if that is any help in explanation.)
Yes we all usually have prior love interests and roads not taken. I can think of three quite significant girlfriends/relationships that I had prior to meeting Jennifer. Two of whom would have resulted in bad marriages, one of whom potentially a good one but we’d possibly had more a volatile relationship and that would wear on me. There’s fourth woman that I actually passed on after she made a move on me, and looking back I can honestly say it’s probably one of my stupidest decisions ever with a woman. She’s fabulous and we would have had a really good marriage together.
So from that perspective, Jennifer isn’t even my Plan B… she’s Plan E. I think from that perspective I’m her Plan C.
However, we’re both each others number one priority now. We both hold each other in the center of our hearts and thoughts. In gamespeak we have oneitis for each other. So we really are each others Plan A right now. The plan really is both of us staying together in love together until one of us passes away in the others arms. For both of us now, Plan B involves using MMSL as a platform to finding the survivor a new partner after an acceptable period of grief. (Four or five years for Jennifer if I die, 17 minutes for me if she dies.)
As an aside, if the wayback machine dumped me in 1988 knowing what I know now about women, I probably would have worked quite hard to end up happily married to contestant number four, never left New Zealand and by all accounts probably had an easier life. That being said, without having moved to America, I would never have been a nurse, never worked human services, never been long distance for three years, never been so helplessly thrown in the deep end and forced to sink or swim. Without Jennifer, there simply would not be an MMSL to read about. And that’s as Gandalf says, “A comforting thought.”
And more importantly, I think Jennifer loves me more than anyone else would have. Well worth the trip.
So for the guys suffering with the discovery that they are still their wife’s Plan B, the real issue is that somewhere out there is their real Plan A now, and whoever that is occupies their thoughts and emotions, leaving minimal space for feelings or attraction for their husband. Meanwhile, she’s his Plan A / priority. So in practical terms, it’s no different than her having an affair with someone, which means you fight this situation with the same tools as you use to deal with an affair.
The kicker being that if her real Plan A ever shows up and wants her, she’ll very likely dump her husband like yesterday’s newspaper and that will be the last he’ll see of her. When you make someone else your priority, and allow them to see you as their option, don’t be surprised when they treat you like crap.


  1. To think what might have been with any of them is kind of pointless, who knows what kind of crap may have entered our lives to cause those relationships to fail. Having heard enough women crabbing and bitching about their husbands at cafes and parties I don't think anyone was ever plan A. Once the chemicals/hormones wore off we all became "Mr. Good enough for now".

    As men we really have to pretend we are lions on the Sarengeti, always on the alert for other males who want to take over the pride. Sad in a way, to think that after a million years of evolution we are all only a basic chemical reaction away from being kicked to the curb…

  2. If children are part of the marriage, the only thing that matters to a mother is looking at those dear little faces and knowing that any other "plan" would not have resulted in these amazing beings entering her life. A thousand times, I would do it again.

  3. Athol Kay says:

    Oh Polly let me try and head off the hate your comment will pull. In the orginial post all three marriages have children involved and the wife isn't interested in the husband.

    Your feelings are to your credit, but these are your feelings and not how every wife feels.

    Added in to that, never forget that 10% of children have a misidentified father. So strong feelings for the father of her children, are not always the sane thing as feelings for her husband.

    The Red Pill can be very bitter indeed.

  4. I would say that Athol and Jen were, and are, each other's Plan A all along. It's not as if either one was keeping the other on ice or in the wings while trying to make a more preferable option work.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Athol–What is your opinion of friending old contestants on facebook?

  6. This post rings true with me. My wife and I were together for a long time before we married, mostly because of our age, neither of us were too interested in marrying young.

    In any case, I came across a lot of very interested women over the years we dated (I was a bartender at a popular bar during University). Some of these women were very aggressive and very clear about what their intentions were. But I never cheated, I border-lined emotionally did but saw where it was heading and stopped and cut off contact.

    In the grand scheme of things I always made the choice to be with her, and I assume she did the same. And we continue to make the choice to be with each other.

  7. I beg to differ Polly, forums are full of men who now have those dear litle faces living with them while Mom has moved on with Studly from Accounting…

  8. Anonymous says:

    I suffered through a slightly different version of this: my ex told me during an argument that she only married me in order to look good to her family. She was 36, I was 39 at marriage time; first for both. She repeated this theme several more times during the remainder of our marriage. Of course, that was devastating, doubly so as I was a supplicating beta boy with no knowledge of game or rank. Being as beta as I was, it took another 18 months after that revelation before I finally gathered up my balls and left. She wasn't a cheater nor was she into sex, but she was still happy to take my paychecks and simulataneously beat me over the head emotionally and frequently.

    The experience has caused me to shy away from LTR's and marriage even though I know they could be good with some women simply because I don't trust my ability to identify who would be good for me.

  9. Anon,

    Well that certainly blows, but at least there were no kids involved and it was only a short term marriage. I got the speech after 24 years, but at 56 I've gone Alpha and am willing to give a LTR another go. There are good women out there, but it appears one can't sit on their laurels if you want to keep them.

  10. On the other hand, sometimes men can worry that they are really their wife's 'Plan B' when they are, in fact, her 'Plan A'.

    I have a friend who is a high school teacher. His wife is a physical therapist, and works with surgeons on a daily basis. He used to be constantly worried that he was going to lose her to a doctor or a surgeon. Her Sex Rank, in terms of pure physicality, is substantially higher than his, and she is hot enough and smart enough to pull a doctor.

    My wife also works in physical therapy, and she did a short stint at that hospital, and I told her about my friend's phobia. She laughed and talked about how all the doctors there thought his wife was a Grade A bitch, because she went out of her way to be cold to them and shut down any flirtations, often being unduly cruel about it. They had talked about it and she admitted to behaving that way on purpose so none of the docs would get the idea she was avaialble. Because she loves her husband and he is her 'Plan A'.

    I told my buddy about it (who had never and would never show any sign of his anxiety to his wife) and I think he has been considerably less worried. That was about 5 years ago and their marriage is still going strong.

    Sometimes (not always) we just need to be more confident in the knowledge that our wives are with us for a reason.

  11. This is an honest question to anyone who wants to answer.

    Is it weird that I am not the least bit worried about my wife cheating or leaving me? I have never been jealous because I find that is assumes possession over her, but conversely I have never worried about her cheating or leaving me cause I know it would be her loss and so frankly I could care less.

    I ask because over the years my wife has mentioned that it bothers her that I seem so flippant to the whole thing. Its not a reoccurring issue with us or anything…

    I am just wondering if maybe this is too beta, that I should make her feel more wanted and therefore possessed? Or is the confidence in myself Alpha and a good thing?

    Thanks for anyone who chooses to answer.

  12. Smart,

    If you could care less how much do you really care about your wife? I never worried about my wife cheating, I didn't think it was possible and she thought at first that was pretty Alpha. Somewhere along the line that turned to indifference and a EA came along….

  13. Smart, I feel pretty much the same way. I married a smart attractive girl with strong character and good morals. I'd be an idiot to cheat on her. She feels the same way about me.

    We lived together for about a year before we got married (and dated for a year prior to that),and during that time I remember one night my wife put some gas in her car and the cashier accidentally gave her an additional $10 back in change. It bothered her so badly that she couldn't sleep that night, and got up early the next morning and called the store and tracked down the manager to explain what had happened, then drove 10 miles out of her way to give them the money back, even after the manager told her not to worry about it. She wasn't worried about the cashier getting in trouble or the owner missing the $10. What troubled her was the difference between person she wanted to be vs. the person she was as long as she was in possession of the unearned money.

    And she does stuff like that to this day, more than 10 years later. That's a huge part of the reason I married her. And it's also a pain in the ass sometimes.

    But unless I see significant behavioral changes in her, I don't worry abou ther cheating on me. That's not to say it could never happen, its just not something I ever worry about.

    Most of my friends and acquaintences who have marital fidelity problems are married to people who I would not have married. Most of my friends with strong marriages are married to women who I also would have considered marriage material. I don't know why some men have such a hard time making good choices in women, but they clearly do.

  14. Mike…

    EA on your part or hers?

    And the best way to answer your question, I care about her and my boys more than anything else in my life. I love her very much and have for the last 15 yrs.

    I do feel like if she left me and or cheated on me that it would be her loss, that she would be the one who f@@@ed up and would be the one that would lose all that is great that we have.

    I was cheated on once, I was a beta boy back then and naturally progressed to more alpha because of it. (finding this site, just affirms my decisions) In retrospect it was a meaningless relationship, but it likely framed where I am at now on the topic.

  15. Smart: Your wife may have a small case of hurt feelings ("he doesn't think anyone else would be attracted to me!"). Most of us women know the importance of female beauty – we get hammered with it at a very early age and it never really dissipates. It couldn't hurt to put on a mild display of silverback male when in large public groups, ie., just putting your arm around your wife in a protective / possessive manner.

  16. Anna Beers says:


    I can only speak for myself, here, but even though my husband is charismatic, good looking, and can easily hold an entire room's attention if he wants to, I want to know that he's proud that I'm his.

    A small display of appropriate jealousy from time to time can reassure a woman that you value her and don't take her for granted. This includes whether or not you consider the man showing interest in her to be any kind of threat to your domestic happiness. Obviously, one doesn't go ballistic on the homeless guy at the corner if he says she has pretty eyes before he asks her for a dollar. :)

    It probably isn't true in your case, but a lack of jealousy can be a symptom of a problem. Many confident people can also be arrogant enough to assume their SOs would never cheat, because just look at how great they are! People like that don't value their SOs properly, and are very susceptible to EAs if the right flatterer comes along.

  17. Athol Kay says:

    Many of the comments above reflect the importance of the Alpha Beta balancing act.

    Alpha confidence in her faithfulness is a good thing. Beta reassurance you don't take her for granted is also a good thing.


  18. Smart,

    On her's, I never would have thought it possible, and still have a hard time wrapping my brain around it. After 24 years you figure you have the odds beat and get complacent, and it can happen. When it does it's like an alien has taken over your wife and they become unrecognizable. I've been doing the whole alpha/180 thing for four months,and so far it seems to confuse her, whether it will snap her out of it is anyone's guess.

  19. Thanks everyone for the comments, not that they are any more important, but I certainly value the female point of view on this and you have all given me some good "food for thought".

    As an aside, Anna Beers… as far as I know at least, I am not arrogant. Some may think the name I have chosen may indicate otherwise, but it is meant tongue in cheek. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I needed to learn anything. I don't think I take her for granted, but I guess I would have to ask her how she feels cause you certainly raise a good point.

    Thanks again everyone.

  20. Anna Beers says:

    Wasn't saying you were, Smart; just speaking from my own observations.

    To expand a little further, I want to know that I am valued for me, and not because my resume fits the job requirements, so to speak. As Peter Griffin said, "Give me my wife or a woman of equal physical attractiveness." A wife wants to know that there can be no substitute for her. In a nutshell, security.

  21. Looking Glass says:


    But, the flip side is if you do it too much, you run the risk she'll view it as a power dynamic and abuse you with it. As Athol said, it's a balancing act.

    This is also where a good dose of aloofness into coy humor works. Athol has a post on this about "why I love you" and replacing a few words for "why I like having sex with you". You get both. You fill both needs a woman has from a man.

  22. Anna…

    Oh I know, I didn't take it personally. Just thought I should clear it up cause of the name I have chosen to use (probably a poor choice).

    Thanks for the feedback, this discussion has taught me that I am probably not balancing the Beta enough with respect to this issue. Probably a little too aloof cause that is my natural feeling on the issue, probably best to do a little more of what you are suggesting…"no substitute for her".

  23. I doubt anyone reads past comments, but I am going to post a little follow up just in case…

    I don't know if it was my sub-conscious at work last night or what, but I had a dream last night that my wife fucked another guy and I gave her permission. In the dream I was totally pissed off at the decision (the dream started after it happened) and I was telling her in the dream how annoyed I was. blah blah.

    Back to real life, I normally would have kept this to myself cause its just a dream, but was thinking of some of the comments from a couple of days ago so I told her about the dream, and she said, "ahhhhhh you had a jealous dream about me, I'm usually the one who always has those." I could tell she was really touched, which was weird to me but whatever.

    Then this afternoon, I get some texts from her that she needs to be pounded after the kids are in bed. She NEVER texts me like that, unless I start it.

    So there you go, coincidence? Maybe. But I have known my wife for 15 years and I doubt it.

    Like Athol said, Beta/Alpha balance.

  24. Actually Smart a lot of us do read the past comments. glad you posted the follow up.

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