Reader: I’ve been working hard to actually reform my nice guy routine, and have been standing up to shit tests. In the last couple weeks, I have pushed back a number of times, highlighting that I don’t like her behavior. She told me that I was acting like an ass, and then said: “I mean, I know I’m an asshole, but I don’t think we work when you are too.” Granted, I may have been a little on the rough side when I’ve bumped back a bit, but at the same time, I’ve been telling her things like: “You wouldn’t accept that behavior from me, so why do you expect that I would from you?” or: “With that attitude, today is going to be a very long day.” Basically, I just don’t feel like she respects me. During this argument, I remained calm and patient the whole time. I explained that I have been working to stand up for myself, and define the ways that we will interact with each other, in an effort to have a healthy, loving, affectionate marriage.
So, I’m sitting here thinking that I was all proud of myself for actually standing up for myself. But I have a lingering thought that even though I did something different, I get the feeling that it isn’t really working either. Is this a shift in the alpha dynamic in my marriage, or do you think I’m only serving to push her farther away?
Athol: It doesn’t matter if it’s “working” or not. If she’s treating you like crap, it’s unacceptable.
“I mean, I know I’m an asshole, but I don’t think we work when you are too.”
“Our relationship involves me treating you like crap and you tolerating it. You aren’t allowed to change that.”
If you defer to this behavior of hers, you will lose somehow. If you stand up to it, you may “win” or you may “lose”. But standing up to it is the only possible chance at “winning.” Thus, you’re doing exactly the right thing.
What you’re experiencing though is the Nice Guy panic attack that happens right after you stand up for yourself and you haven’t yet heard back either a positive or negative response. Essentially what you’re doing in standing up for yourself is the complete opposite of your normal coping routine which is based on being socially anxious. Now all that anxiety just builds and builds and your own little hamster gets wound up to 100 mph about everything that could go wrong and all that anxiety is intensified into a giant event of dread.
The only way to get over it is to let it pass over you and wait for her response. While you wait though, it’s best to not look like you are experiencing a panic attack because it’s not an Alpha vibe at all. My recommendation is to just get active and do whatever tasks you find most distracting and do them until you get an answer. More often than not, you’re going to get a positive response as long as it doesn’t look like you are currently soiling yourself.
This panic attack sort of thing also hits Nice Guys when they step outside their normal boundaries and do something risky for the first few times. For example the first few times you text her to send naked photos of herself, you’re very likely to experience a moment where you go…
…OMFG what have I done how can I unsend this message OH NO OH NO OH NO she’s going to get the message and hate my guts and tell me that I’m a total jerk for doing something so inappropriate and wrong shit shit shit shit she’s going to tell me to fuck off and stop being a pervert and that will be that oh god why did I send that message to her I’m so stupid I’ve got to apologize before she finds the message and hates me oh but it’s probably too late because she always has her phone and she’s already seen it so I should just wait for her to reply…. okay its been like SIX MINUTES AND SHE HASN’T REPLIED TO ME!!! Oh god it’s over she hates it and is angry at me I just know it I can’t breathe I need to use the bathroom and pee and shit I’m shaking why did I do that why why why oh calm down calm down and EIGHT MINUTES aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!
HOLY PATRICK STEWART SHE SENT ME A PICTURE OF HER BOOBS!!!
…. oh no my erection is trapped in my pants and shooting off at a weird angle and it’s painful but there’s too many people around to rearrange myself and ow ow ow ow….