Reader: On a separate: “She wants me to lead in the relationship but she’s NOT repeat NOT going to let anyone lead that isn’t smarter, stronger, quicker and more thorough than she is.”
I can relate to this (as that woman). How do I let go and release control to someone who doesn’t meet those criteria? I WANT him to lead, but he’s not a natural alpha. Every minute of the day he is having to try to work on making the more alpha choice, and it’s exhausting for him. He doesn’t understand flirting or “game” as it were. He’s never had any “moves” Those were the things that made him marriage material. He didn’t play games, he was straight up honest–a “nice” guy who thought I was the shiznit. Now, we are reading and seeing that in order to ever make things better, he has to be totally different from how he’s been. He has to take me down off the pedestal and start playing games. He has to figure out how to flirt at age 40. I don’t think either one of us know how he is going to do that.
He’s working on upping his rank all the same, and I am trying to be more receptive to his awkward attempts at flirting.
Athol: It’s a process and it will feel awkward at first, but if you both stick with it, you can make consistent small gains in the direction you want to go in.
Jennifer and I have had our relationship change from frequent mutual submission deadlocks to Captain and First Officer over what amounts to a five year time period. That angle started long before running into Game reading. Adding in the Game concepts came much faster, but there’s still a lot of time and effort into learning them on my end.
Trust me – if I can learn this stuff – anyone can learn this stuff. I was terrible with women for a long time, and much of what I did with Jennifer in the early days was unwittingly right through a great deal of luck. Some of what I’ve learned was simply in retrospect reverse engineering my Accidental Alpha.
Don’t get fixated on there being one right way to do this either. The correct Game technique for flirting is “Cocky and Funny” for example, but I’m honestly not the greatest at doing that. Instead my interaction style is more “Goofy and Groping”. Whatever works best for him is what he should do. It’s not about becoming a new, different person, it’s about having fun together with someone you enjoy. In time he’ll develop his own style of interaction.
The thing that YOU can do though is very simple. Any time you feel like you’re being put up on the pedestal… purposely step down off it. Find ways to let him take the lead and reward him when he does. Verbal praise and physical touch being immediate, effective and free. You don’t need to turn yourself into a mindless minion or a Stepford Wife, just consciously create opportunities where he can more easily take the lead.
Just as much as he has to learn to act like the Captain, you need to learn to act like the First Officer. So don’t worry about him doing what he needs to, and worry about you doing what you need to. It’s going to speed up the process a great deal. It will feel awkward at first, but a few months from now he’ll have genuine flashes of just being the Captain. In time the little flashes will grow longer and longer.
One day he’ll just be the the Captain.
Jennifer: I don’t think Athol really changed all that much. He just became stronger and more confident. And flirting in your marriage is not going to be the “hey baby, can I buy you a drink” flirting of a twenty-something looking to score…it’s the quick little kiss (or ten second kiss!), the pat on the butt, coming up behind you while you’re sitting at the computer and massaging your shoulders for a second, the arm around the shoulder and quick compliment about how you look or something you did.