Stop Trying To Make Her Happy – Make Her Attracted

Athol:  A great comment left on Learning Captain and First Officer
Red: I saw my relationship in your post. I am a strong-willed female married to a more beta than alpha man. I have a tendency to test him and he regularly fails them. I want to be put in my place, I want to know he can keep the world at bay, I feel more attracted to him when he doesn’t let me walk all over him, but I need this to happen because he is strong and decisive, not because I’ve reduced who and how I am so he can be in charge. It isn’t a position that is given but one earned.
“Some of my attempts have worked with amazing results and other have backfired horribly and really upset her. My problem, is I can’t be so Alpha that I can just completely ignore her when she gets upset like this. It tears me up inside, so I try to talk to her about it to smooth things over, and this always goes nowhere and in fact angers her to no end.”
Does she get angry over the attempts that have backfired or upset over you trying to smooth things over because she is upset?
Here’s the thing…she isn’t going to like every decision you make and some of them might make her angry. Perhaps when she is angry and you worry about smoothing things over it makes the alpha decisions seem put on and not real and that undermines her faith in your ability to lead. A good leader has to be ready to accept that those he leads will not always be happy with his decisions.
If your decisions are made from a position of strength, after considering what is best for her and your relationship, stand by them.
I can’t give my submission simply because it is asked for. There is a tremendous amount of trust involved on her part to let you lead. There is also a tremendous amount of responsibility on you to lead well.
It seems as if more harm is done when you coax and try to smooth things over than if you let her be angry without feeling like you have to fix it.
Sometimes we fight the things we most want.
Jennifer:  Oh I like her!
Athol:  This whole thing of women wanting a strong man, but still having momentary emotional upset over him actually being strong with her, is the red herring that gets thrown out as a Fitness Test that Nice Guys fail at endlessly. Yes she’s upset, but it doesn’t last all that long because it builds attraction in her. Whereas when you act strong with her and then see she’s upset, if you then immediately back off and try and comfort her, you can provide momentary positive emotion in her, but you kill her attraction for you. So long term you just do yourself in.
Stop trying to make her happy. You can’t make her happy. All you can do is make her attracted to you. The Rationalization Hamster is designed to find a way to justify her being in a relationship with an attractive guy. So once she’s attracted to you, she’ll just find a way to talk herself into being happy about being with you.


  1. "It seems as if more harm is done when you coax and try to smooth things over than if you let her be angry without feeling like you have to fix it."

    One way of looking at this is that it is coddling one's emotional behavior, which conditions that behavior=results/attention. Much like the child who wants candy, say no and be done with it and the kid learns. Say no no no no no yes and the kid learns that begging and making a scene works.

    There's also the fact that sometimes we need to just let our emotions work through without interpersonal intervention.

    I used to be a bit of a hothead, and I found that to cure myself I had to actively not seek people who would comfort me when I was unnaturally upset, so as to not condition me to seek that attention.

  2. If this isn't proof that God is a practical joker, I'll eat my shorts.

  3. Ok a silly one in my house.
    I have my seat its my chair in the primary position in the house.But my wife does not see it as my seat and says I am immature,but my Dad had his seat and my Mum always respected this.
    My wife was brought up with no Father figure.
    Its the same with the tv remote.
    I would like to suggest I would spank her if she does not give up my seat but the kids are there…
    Mostly she will leave the seat empty for me and other times she sits there..(test)

  4. My husband threatens with the spanking thing too. Sometimes when he says "Woman, do you want a spanking?!" I say yes and grin a mischievous grin, but he never follows through. While I might look like I'm kidding and act playful, I am drop dead serious. At times I'll call him on his lack of follow through and he always says the kids are around. All I end up feeling is that I am too much trouble and I'm not worth the effort. It reinforces the feeling that he isn't capable
    and if he isn't capable here, then where else isn't he capable?

    Arrange for a sitter or find another way to make it work. A good leader solves logistical problems, he doesn't ignore them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Although some may balk at this, it helps to think of the woman as a child in this scenario. You have to set strong boundaries for her welfare and the welfare(and sanity) of everyone involved. Most people agree that if you give in and "smooth" things over all of the time that you will create a spoiled brat that is almost useless to society AND inevitably the child will grow to resent you because of this treatment. Likewise, if you don't have strong boundaries with your woman she will crap-test you to the point that you will have a useless relationship and she will resent YOU for it.

  6. Wow, really good comments here. @G, so what if the kids are there? Model a good relationship for them.

  7. Anonymous says:

    "Although some may balk at this, it helps to think of the woman as a child in this scenario."

    Yes, I do balk at that. If you are married to a woman who needs to be thought of or treated as a child, you have big problems. I am happy for my husband to be the leader of our family, but I am not a child and don't want to be treated as one. It's a very insulting approach, and is the sort of thing that makes the whole "husband as leader/captain-first officer" idea look like a very backward approach to marriage.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi Anon 1:29 pm, I'm the Anon from 11:13 am that posted the statement that you disagree with. The point of my post was to show how these situations relate NOT to call the wife a child. It was simply to present two relationship scenarios where a lack of boundaries can ruin the relationship and an Alpha(assertive and dominant, not abusive or condescending) presence is needed and enjoyed by the other person in the relationship, but will still be challenged. Hopefully if you read this post and the first one again you will see the congruency and how these situations are similar.

  9. Anonymous says:

    To summarize: Be strong. If it upsets her, don't try to comfort her. It will pass. And she'll be attracted to that strength despite her anger at that moment?

    I think for most beta guys learning this stuff, you have to be okay with conflict. I hated conflict. But I finally realized almost too late that it was sorely lacking from my relationship with my strong wife. Realizing it's vital to a relationship helps me now meet fitness tests and set boundaries, though still working on not being defensive at times.

    To be a captain, you have to welcome conflict (and anger). In the words of Thoreau, "When a dog runs at you, whistle for him."

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi Anon at 1:42 – I appreciate you clarifying your point, but I still find it very hard to accept. I think that the whole idea of a Captain/First Officer relationship in marriage is completely counter-cultural for those of us who were raised in the era of feminism, so much so that anything that goes beyond that (such as seeming to suggest that wives should be dealt with as children )is almost impossible to accept. It's hard enough for those of us who were raised to be smart, competent women to "let go" a bit and let our husbands take the lead; I just don't think most of us could do it if we thought that meant we were no more competent than our children.

  11. "I think for most beta guys learning this stuff, you have to be okay with conflict. I hated conflict. But I finally realized almost too late that it was sorely lacking from my relationship with my strong wife."

    THIS! I despise conflict, partly because it always comes with drama, and I HATE drama. Again, I don't feel like I should HAVE to create conflict in my relationship to keep a women interested. If that really is the case, I'm thinking that women have some kind of character issue to resolve. I certainly don't try to create conflict with my friends, and yet we manage to get along fine. Of course, they are all men.

    I think its sad that conflict is the key to a happy marriage. Especially when you consider that I was always told being married was a team sport. Guess I'm on the wrong team. :(

  12. Ted D,

    Part of being the leader is to have the conflict without the drama. From Disney's Mulan, "tranquil as a forest but on fire within".

    You do this by avoiding DEER responses. Do not Deny, Evade, Explain or Rationalize.
    This is what I will accept. Everything else is unacceptable.
    This is what I need. Everything else is unneeded.
    This is what I want. Everything else is unwanted.

    This doesn't rule out compromise or consideration. It just sets a hierarchy for your statements. It gets easier.

    A year ago, there were lots of fights and tears. "My place is at the head of the table." There were several hills of that ilk that I was prepared to die on. Today, it is much more playful.
    Me:"Looks like your headache is better."
    W: "Why yes!"
    Me: "Good."
    W: "Where did my pants go?"


  13. Ted – Not all women like/want conflict and drama. I don't, and most of my friends don't either. And conflict is not at all the key to a happy marriage. I don't think that a man developing some alpha characteristics and taking a leadership role in the family requires him to create conflict. But, for women who seem to want/need conflict, the Captain should avoid getting sucked into it. For a woman who has a high need for emotional engagement (i.e., one who tends to create drama or conflict), a husband who is assertively sexual and playful with her in that cocky/funny way that Athol talks about is probably going to meet that need.

  14. 446 – Never heard of DEER before, and I've been to several corporate "deal with conflict" type classes. I get that a leader needs to learn this, but honestly until recently I was happy to NOT be the leader. I tried to avoid it on the job for as long as I could, but I had to succumb and start managing people if I wanted more money. I hate it, and try my best to have only very self motivated and responsible people working for me, so I don't have to micromanage them.

    See, I'm still working on the premise of an equal and fair partnership. I dislike the power dynamics of Captain and First office. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, like eating Brussel sprouts. It may be good for me, but I don't like the taste any better.

    GC – My SO is pretty low drama, but I often get the feeling that there is a subtle power-play going on. I am not used to watching for such things (since I'm still kinda new to the "red pill") so I can't put my finger on it. Sometimes she just questions me in ways that put me on the defensive. Like she doesn't trust my ability to do something correctly. It may be how she says it, or how I hear it as well. I haven't discussed with her yet, as I'm still working it out in my head.

  15. "Stop trying to make her happy. You can't make her happy. All you can do is make her attracted to you. The Rationalization Hamster is designed to find a way to justify her being in a relationship with an attractive guy. So once she's attracted to you, she'll just find a way to talk herself into being happy about being with you."

    Athol, if you could get that on a bumper sticker you could change the world!

  16. @Evan, agreed, that's the best bit of wisdom I've seen on this site.

  17. @Anon 2:05 – I think this is why so many men are looking for solutions. I too was brought up by a hard headed woman (my mother) and my wife was a die hard feminist, until we started having problems the past couple of years. Reading this blog has turned me and my wife's roles upside down from where they were (her leading, me following). It's the natural order of things. We simply can't change our brain chemistry and be happy in our relationships. As for all the drama, women want "tension" in a relationship whether it is positive or negative emotional tension. If they aren't getting a lot of the positive type (touch, tease, tell), then they start to create negative emotional tension to get the attention they need. You can take the negative drama out of almost any relationship if you keep it positive, affectionate and full of sex!

  18. So if I really take this to heart then I should look forward to the next time my wife gets upset with me as an opportunity? Where as now, I try to avoid upsetting her almost at all costs.

  19. Duke of Earl says:

    Walk like a man
    Talk like a man
    Walk like a man my son
    No woman's worth
    Crawling on the earth
    Just walk like a man my son

    H/T Frankie Valli

  20. Ive never equated conflict with drama. All of your decisions or directions aren't going to be accepted without comment. Because she doesn't agree, and even if she is angry, doesn't make it drama. How a leader deals with conflict will determine if drama ensues and for how long or how strong.

    I have a hard time viewing anyone who can't deal with conflict as a leader, in charge, or alpha anything.

    @anonymous 11:13 I also wanted to make the same comparison but didn't because so many women find it offensive. It is a good illustration and applies here when one is talking about boundaries in relationships, regardless of the relationship.

    @Steve If a guy is walking on eggshells and doing everything to not upset his woman I imagine a lot of them have very unflattering thoughts and wish their guy would stop being a wuss. It would certainly affect the way they see and feel about him and the level of attraction to him.

  21. I read this blog almost daily and I really enjoy it. This post is weird to me. I don't get a woman that says she is purposely testing her man in this way. If she wants to be put in her place, and she is very consciously aware of "not being in her place" (if you will), but gets upset w/him for her own "being out of place". What the fuck? That's just mind games. She is setting him up to fail these pointless tests before she ever administers them. She decides to get bent of shape, then gets pissed at him for not straightening her out. She's upset that he is not enough of an asshole to set her straight. Maybe he finds all of this manipulation exhausting. The solution is simple: dump the guy or stop fucking playing around with his head. This chick needs to be bitch-slapped right in the mouth.

  22. The MacNut says:

    Anon @ 9:41pm: unfortunately all too many women play those types of games. All a man can do in that situation is "man up", and ignore her protests of his being controlling etc, and hope he's not going to far-or dump her and HOPE he can find a woman who won't play those games ever at any time. Good luck with that…

  23. I had no idea until I read here what a shit test was. I didn't know I was doing it, didn't know it even had a name.

    If he bitch-slapped me in the mouth at least he would have a response and wouldn't be lingering in beta land. That would be more easily tolerated than his inability/unwillingness to make a decision or follow through on the things he says.

    And maybe I don't have a clear understanding of shit tests, maybe I used it incorrectly. I don't purposefully set up situations where I can test and he fails. He regularly fails to do the things he says he will do and avoids any situation that has the possibility of a negative reaction at all costs, in both business and personal arenas, regardless of who the situation involves.

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