The Moment When You Realize It’s All Been Bullshit

Somewhere in the comments of Work On Your Weak Areas First, I said…
Athol:  “It’s when you effectively frame that emotion/thought and act like you’re heading for the door, that very likely changes her feelings for you.”
Reader Question:  Ok, I am sorry if I am dense. But what does that entail exactly? Telling her, “If things don’t change I am leaving.” (although a bit more subtly) Or just starting to go out to bars / clubs / etc and picking up girls and not coming back home until 3am on weeknights?
If the first, in my case, she would probably just say, “Well, you have to love me for who I am!” Or something similar and the second, she would assume the worse even if I was just hanging out not interacting with anyone, and accuse me of cheating.
Sorry I am at a loss on this last step… and it very well could be covered in the last part of your book, if it is, I just haven’t gotten that far yet.
Athol:  It’s really just having an obvious change of heart about her and not trying to hide it.
For example imagine you’ve been begging and pleading with your wife to change her behavior / pull her weight / come back home / break it off with him, yada yada yada. You’ve pandered to her, tried to please her, let her get away with things and so on, all in the vain effort to get what you want from her/the marriage.
It’s in the moment when you completely out of the blue, act like you’ve finally understood something you’ve been stupid about for the longest time. When you in the middle of a normal day just say “You’re never going to do that thing I want are you.” Just say it as a statement of fact, not a question. Then no matter what they say in reply, you just say, “Okay. Thank you.”
The emotional frame is that you’ve realized that while you are still married, still living in the same house, still with a joint checking account and nothing has really happened…. everything has changed because you’ve just accepted that the relationship is over. The frame is that everything you’ve believed to be true about your marriage up until this point, has in fact been nothing more than an illusion you’ve convinced yourself to be true. And now, you no longer believe in that illusion. There is no marriage.

Or for the less Zen among us, it’s the moment when you realize it’s all been bullshit.

It’s in that moment where you change direction and start the process of leaving her, that she will often decide she wants you to stay. The power of the take away is very strong. No one, but no one handles being dumped very well. Its usually the ultimate display of who is the higher Sex Ranked in the relationship.

The hard part though is quite frequently that emotional change of direction can’t be faked easily. Very often I email guys that they have to play the game tougher and not tolerate something clearly inappropriate the wife is doing, and they wiggle out of actually doing it. Then it gets worse and they still wiggle. Then it gets really bad and they snap and they are “just fucking done with the bitch.”, and start acting like they are heading for the door, which quite often results in “the bitch” taking a big step in the direction of being docile and doting on him…
…but the trouble is they don’t actually want her anymore. Their love for her feels empty and gone. They are disgusted they have had to metaphorically bitch slap her to get what they want. Cue up the “Why do I have to act like an asshole to have her want me, when the whole time I’ve loved her and done everything to make her happy?” speech. But they are getting what they wanted finally, so somewhat annoying to leave now just as it got good.
My advice in that aftermath of the switch is to just see how it goes. When you go from pussy whipped Beta to having your balls back, it’s an uncomfortable feeling if only for its newness. It may not be permanent. Love can quietly sneak back in again.
And as always, not everything works all the time. If you get to that point of “I’m just done with her”, she might agree that it’s basically over too. So there are risks involved in doing this. But all that you’re risking is a bad relationship that’s slowly killing you. Seems kinda like a win no matter what happens.


  1. Funny. I remember that moment in my first serious relationship when I finally realized it was over.

    It felt as though someone flicked a switch in my brain. It didn't hurt anymore and I didn't care a bit.

    Damn, it was refreshing after months of hell.

  2. Yes – it is indeed blessed freedom when one can finally let go! …and surprisingly, the other party starts to take notice and try to improve just when its too late. Someone told me, we only identify we have a problem in a marriage 2 years after its too late….

  3. Ex-wife who went through this switch-flip. Only I pretended for five years after. Don't pretend. It just delays the inevitable or cuts off the chance for him/her to change. In my case, change still hasn't happened, and I'm much happier in my new life. Kids are doing well. Income is stable.

    So, it's a bitter pill, but on the other side – either way – it's much better.

    "For better or for worse" and "Til death do us part" are not guarantees. They're gifts for the couple who both stay in the game.

  4. What Athol is telling us is right.
    I've been married for nearly 30 years. A few years ago we nearly divorced (both of us had become complacent in the marriage), but we reconciled, went to counseling, and rediscovered our love for each other.
    Life was great for about a year and a half, then I noticed that she began to exhibit some of her complacent behavior again and I was still working on improving myself and being a better, more attentive and helpful husband.
    One day I asked her if there was anything that I could improve on, was there any need that I wasn't meeting, did she need more of me in any way?
    She said that I was doing everything right and she was very much in love with me.
    I then told her about what I saw in regards to her behavior. I wasn't seeing the passion, the spontaneity, the playfulness. I told her that I felt that she was returning to where she was a few years ago. She didn't see it that way.
    I then told her to think hard, because this was the last time that I would have this conversation with her. If things didn't improve quickly, I was divorcing her. I told her that after all we had been through and the ground we had made up, I now refuse to be in a passionless, boring marriage. We didn't go through all that counseling, soul searching and stress just to end up there again.
    She came to me the next day and agreed with everything that I had said. She was getting comfortable and had become lax in her job as a wife and partner.
    Six months later we are still doing great.
    Athol's advice works, but only if you mean it. If it's an empty threat, she will see though it and crush your balls.

  5. So, you're saying that since leaving someone usually effects the changes I want (or changes along that line) then I need to have a "Scared Straight" style situation where I demonstrate the consequences of a passionless, complacent marriage.
    Makes sense. That's what the last two phases of the Athol Kay Plan in the book basically say.

  6. A month after I moved out she said she wanted to try again, that she realized I was right and would "work" on change. But like you said, sometimes it's too late and you realize the love is gone. It's GONNNNNE.

  7. Perhaps there is another approach to this issue for those people for whom leaving your wife simply isn't an option. There can still be an ultimatum. To take an extreme example, you could say that if things don't improve you're going to find a mistress.

    The basic concept is that you're not going to just lay back and take it.


  8. I appreciate the need for an ultimatum, but its tough as hell when kids are concerned. Still, sometimes you gotta just go for it. Gotta man up if she doesn’t woman up. Gotta break some eggs if you want to make an omelette. Can you tell I’m trying to psych myself up for this? Effing sucks …

  9. "There can still be an ultimatum. To take an extreme example, you could say that if things don't improve you're going to find a mistress. "

    It might work. Then again, you might enjoy the ensuing divorce-rape.

    Don't give cause.

  10. The primer has a step by step, multi year process of escalation from self improvement to exit.

  11. Isn't this very similar to ending a co-dependency only without the substance abuse issue (hopefully)?

  12. Athol –

    This is the next level of married game. If you're basically an honest Beta poor bastard, you can't fake being gone. You hang on as long as you can. And then, you're gone. And of course, the situation improves. But every backslide, every "same old same" behavior is greeted with "now, I remember…I'm gone." You have no normal human tolerance for working out differences. There's just the hair-trigger of "be perfect or be alone". Anybody coming in late would say you're unreasonable.

    So, how do you bring back love and patience, when she made you emotionally die the first time around?

    New chapter. Please.

    – So There

  13. I remember very clearly thinking "women are f***ng crazy" after my (now ex) wife hooked up with me and came back to my apartment for sex after we seperated. I don't think I've ever felt more enraged when it sank in that after enduring over a year of martial torture it took walking out on her to make her want to be married to me. By then I'd had enough of the games and it was too late.

    That really should have been a big old clue by four upside my head about the nature of women but it took me getting stalked after another LTR (thankfully ended without needing legal action) to get the point.

  14. Been there, done that! Wife almost had an affair and after months of therapy and manning up, we finally got it back on track and we both realized how unconscious we were in our marriage. All I can say is if you loved your wife/husband at some point and you feel like you aren't getting your needs met, you need to lay it it out there for them to start improving. Both of us had a lot of work to do, but now we are in a much better place. We have kids involved, so we were both motivated to keep it together and see if it could work. If we didn't have kids, we would be divorced for sure. We have both reminded each other when we are slipping a little back to unconsciousness and we usually snap right back on track. Recovering from that almost affair is going to take a couple of years, but right now we are having fun!

  15. Zorki – I think the statement about being in an "unconscious marriage" is perfect. I think much of what I'm doing on MMSL is just trying to make marriages "conscious".

  16. Thanks for the answer man, I appreciate it. I'm behind in reading your posts by a couple days so just now am catching up.

  17. I am at the point where I just don't love my wife anymore. We have done the counseling thing, I have balanced the Alpha/Beta traits enough to get sex anytime I want, but the lack of sex was just part of the problem. The real issue is that the woman is so emotionally damaged that she is chronically angry, and unfortunately the kids are typically the recipients of her wrath. I am really the only thing that mitigates the damage, and this is why I am stuck in this marriage. If I am not around she is going to completely destroy our children in the same way that she was destroyed by her parents. I just cannot risk her having primary custody of my children. Oh and she is a pathological liar….yep a real winner.

  18. When something your wife does pisses you off, and you express anger "viscerally" (ie, raise your voice), is that "alpha", "beta", or is that a "display of low value" (what Robert Glover calls "victim puke").

    In the above case, does it matter which of you is of higher "rank"?

  19. Duke of Earl says:

    Jason, raising your voice, even swearing a bit, is alpha because taking shit from people is beta.

    Don't be shrill though, and refrain from insults. After all the goal is to put the relationship back in order, not break it up.

    Also Jason

  20. Someone mentioned about a switch in your mind that apparently makes you feel that you’re done with the marrage.Ive heard of this from a coworker. My wife is a pathological liar..and passive-aggresive.I found a nail in my chicken salad sandwhich at work.We have a 12 year old.I want that switch to go off in my head…but my son…im afraid for him

  21. Great post! I love your site !! Genius! I recently stumbled upon this whole manosphere /redpill theory in hopes of inspiring my bf to be more sexually dominate…. now I’m obsessed !!! As a woman I’m greatful for the work your doing …although I think spirituality/ the man being accountable to higher power is a key aspect for me. That being said .. Your spot on about vertically everything and for me you put a name on just what I need in a relationship . Growing up as an attractive girl (alpha) … The boys would fall at my feet and the more they did what ever I wanted the more I couldn’t stand them .when guys ignored me i wanted them so bad. It was even confusing for me. Im an assertive chic and learned to use my sexuality and smarts to get what I wanted from men. I felt safe in control … But I have learned that in order to really love a man i need to submit . Deep down I want too … I need too… It’s in my DNA .. I just need you to be the alpha and make me ;)

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