Positive and Productive

Following up on my last post, What To Do When You’re Torn Between Wife and Girlfriend, I noted some all purpose rage in the comments directed at both the man in the middle and the other woman. The short summary being “Dude that’s immoral that you’re cheating on your wife!” and “Home-wrecking bitch!”

Okay… breathe people… let me explain my approach, and why I take a typically underwhelming moral viewpoint on people who ask me for help. So let’s play a game and assume that you, yes you my dear reader, have a very sticky personal problem that you need help with. So you write to me asking for help…  you also write to Ingrid Von Banhammer over at Bridezilla of Christ Blog for help as well.

Over at Bridezilla, Ingrid makes short work of your sinful bastard / whorish ways and expresses utter shock at your disgusting perversion of morality. She clutches her pearls and wrings her hands at you, because you’re so upsetting. Won’t you think of the children?!

Now the purpose of other people expressing moral outrage, is to get you to change your behavior by evoking shame or guilt. When this happens, typically you experience one of two reactions. (1)  You fold up like a wet napkin and admit to your badness, or (2) you engage your Rationalization Hamster and deny you did anything wrong. If your reaction is (2), then you change nothing about your situation and never return to Ingrid Von Banhammer’s blog because obviously she’s a heartless bitch.

Except it would be incredibly rare that you would write to Ingrid seeking a smack down. It’s far more likely that you write to Ingrid admitting to your evil behavior as part of your question. “Hi Ingrid, I know now that I’ve been a totally sinful asshole and made a real mess of things in my marriage. How do I fix it from here though?”  After that point, Ingrid can offer her advice and it’s probably not going to be all that bad and sound a lot like something I would say minus the physical fitness and with a side order of prayer.

However when you write to me, I take a different approach.

My assumption is that when you write to me about a problem, you’re already unhappy about the situation and motivated to change it. Thus I don’t need to jump up on a soapbox and try and shame you into changing your behavior… because you’re already motivated to change your behavior. All shaming you does is make you defensive and thus less likely to change what you’re doing. The question is simply what do you need to do to to solve your problem and be happy?

Your problem dear reader, always stems from you doing something to try and make yourself happy, but it somehow makes you unhappy. You thought that doing X was a great idea and at first it was amazing, but now X seems to have these unexpected side effects and it’s not quite as fun anyone. Also while you were doing X, Y went to hell and now that’s all messed up too. So X and Y are now both problems and you’re even unhappier now than before you started doing X.

After that, I try and find a way to get you what will actually make you happy. Mostly that’s some combination of “Stop doing X, start paying attention to Y again. Once you have that fixed, suggest doing some Z.”  Then because it’s in your self-interest to do all that, there’s reasonable chance that you’ll go do it. I WON’T EVEN NEED TO PUT CAPS LOCK ON TO BE CONVINCING. Seriously, every time someone gives you advice using caps, it’s going to be more about them being angry than wanting to helping you. I’m an italics kind of guy. I use them to let you know that I’m explaining something is in your self-interest to fix.

It’s the same reason I don’t write posts about “The Beta Male Dumbass Of The Month”… it just drives the guys that need help away.  I’m trying to actually help the people that write to me. They open up their lives and share some of the nastiest most personal crap with me. Nowhere near all of it makes the blog and those that do are allowing it to be shared with you.

So dearly beloved commenters…

When someone asks for help on MMSL, you’re for lack of a better term, on their side. That doesn’t mean you need to agree with what they have done, just that you’re willing to entertain ways of improving their lot in life. Nor does it mean we all have to agree with each other, or even with me. Just that we all work from an intention to be positive and productive in assisting our reader.

I get that if you’re used to arguments for sexual ethics based on a pre-existing moral position, that my approach seems extremely counter-intuitive at best and sinfully depraved at worst. Just bear with me, with a little patience you might be surprised at how often I can explain that doing “the right thing” is the answer to the problems caused by doing “the wrong thing.” But if the comments drive the readers asking the questions away, they will likely continue doing “the wrong thing.”

Or put another way… if MMSL was a credit counseling blog, it would be really unhelpful if some comments just said the reader was just fucking stupid with their money.

What To Do When You’re Torn Between Wife And Girlfriend

Reader:  New to your site, I’ve enjoyed much of what I’ve read so far.  My problem is the following.

I am 49.  My wife (48) and I have been married for over twenty years.  Two children (19 and 15).  In the last 5 or 6 years, our sex life has gone from bad to worse to becoming virtually non-existent.  Why?  Work pressures.  My wife’s unhappiness with her professional circumstances.  Financial pressures.  Diverging sex ranks (by your criteria): me up, my wife down.

Almost two years ago, I met and fell in love with another woman (35).  Absolutely beautiful, and with whom sex is out of this world.  We connect on every level (intellectually, physically, aesthetically) and she wants me to stay with her.  I am very much in love with her, and cannot bear the thought of losing her.

Nine months ago, I suggested to my wife that we separate, saying that our relationship was no longer working.  Six months ago, I told her about the other woman, and moved out (living alone).

The problem is that, despite all the above, I am still prevaricating.  Some deep conflict is preventing me from going ahead with the divorce.  I still am very fond of my wife, and she is intent on our remaining together, and has forgiven the “affair”.  I feel little or no sexual attraction to her, but do feel a strong compassionate bond, and find myself wondering, probably naively, whether marriage counselling could help.  At the same time, I know that it could never approach anything like I have with this other woman, with whom I can honestly say I’m passionately in love.  (After almost two years, can it be dismissed as mere infatuation?).  I also feel a strong family responsibility as father of two children.

With all of this, I have reached a deep crisis, in which I no longer know whether I am being prevented from going ahead with the divorce by (a) lack of courage, or (b) some deep love for my wife and family (despite the sexlessness of recent years, and the fact that I now also love another woman).

Any thoughts you may have on the matter would be greatly appreciated, as this indecision has brought me to a point of near desperation.  Thank you.

Athol: You’re essentially doing the same thing a woman does by having a relationship with a Bad Boy and a Nice Guy at the same time. You’re getting your Alpha / dopamine fix from your lover and your Beta / oxytocin/vasopressin fix from your wife. It’s taking both of them to get you what you want. You haven’t made a decision to dump one because both women are tolerating you keeping them on the line. When one of them makes a move, you’ll decide who you want to be with.

I do sympathize with the temptation to get involved with someone else when your marriage has been less than enjoyable. You having a higher Sex Rank than your wife does make you leaving her or having an affair a higher probability outcome.

However that being said, I’m not really in the business of advising how to have an affair and then make the transition from dumping your wife to moving to a new woman. Right now your relationship options are both going to be problematic.

Your wife:  If you return to her, you’ve created a huge drama for her to move past in addition to whatever her structural attraction issues are that she needs to solve. Plus the kids probably have some crap to deal with as well. So you’ve made her turning into the wife you want more complicated. Maybe not even possible. It’s unknown.

Your girlfriend:  If you move in with her, you’ll always associate her with the pain of the loss of your family, and that’s going to put a damper on things. Plus she’s the type of girl that sleeps with a married man, so she doesn’t actually respect marriage. When she’s 45, you’ll be 59 and possibly dumped by her as too old anyway. There’s no way to tell if she’s going to be a good stepmom… the kids won’t like her much that’s for sure.

 This is why when I wrote the MAP I was insistent on taking the moral high ground. You should give a fair warning and not cheat on your spouse. If you have higher Sex Rank than your partner and frame the seriousness of the situation correctly, there’s a decent chance they will respond the way you want. If they do respond, then there’s no affair drama to work through. So all their efforts are focused on before what you want them to do. But if you’ve cheated on them, then the issues of trust may never resolve. She may simply no longer be able to ever relax with you enough to be sexually free with you. It’s all simply unknown as to how she’ll react.

If she doesn’t react positively to a fair warning, then that allows you the ability to leave the relationship as something other than the bad guy. You tried your best. All you were asking for was a proper marriage relationship and she wouldn’t or couldn’t hold up her end of the agreement. It’s one thing to leave a relationship as someone who tried and was open and honest, and quite another to leave as someone caught with their pants down.

That moral high ground allows you to find a new relationship as someone that has a more positive relationship track record. You’d be getting involved with someone as a fresh start, rather than as a slowly rotting decline. You’d be getting involved with someone who isn’t taking part in an affair to be with you. If your marriage had come to an end three years ago and you’d met your girlfriend two years ago, wouldn’t your relationship with your girlfriend be in a much better place today?

So…. what to do now…. your options…

(1)  Dump both women and move on. This gets you the complete fresh start.

(2)  Commit to your girlfriend. My hunch is that you’re not going to do this because you haven’t already. If you do, the odds aren’t fabulous that the relationship survives. It’s not impossible, but less than ideal.

(3)  Recommit to your wife. This is large part up to her willingness to let you back in and ability to fix the structural attraction issues she was having for you.

My general advice for recommitting to your wife is to  hit the relationship reset switch to issue the fair warning, and proceed from that point, “As you should have done it in the first place.”  And yeah, you do have to apologize for not offering her a fair warning the first time around.

(a)  Apologize for your lack of leadership. (Captains face their problem head on rather than seek the easy option)

(b)  Apologize for your lack of a fair warning.

(c)  Express what it is you need from her that was lacking in the marriage that helped create the situation where you start an affair.

(d)  Determine if your wife can actually do things to meet your needs effectively.

(e)  Move back home.

(f)  End the relationship with your girlfriend and go no contact.

(g)  Express your grief for losing your girlfriend. (This is very counter-intuitive for the wife, but allowing you to express grief speeds up the process a great deal)

(h)  Both commit to having a conscious relationship rather than letting things go unspoken and ignored between you.

(i)  Both commit to improving your individual attractiveness. (She in particular needs to learn some Girl Game.)

Marriage counseling may also be extremely helpful, but a bad counselor is worse than no counselor. So if you do, take steps to find a good one and don’t just settle on the first one to return your call.

 Also those points are a set. You can’t really pick and choose the ones you want. It’s all in, or all out.

May the 4th Be With You

It’s Star Wars Day, so obviously I can’t let it go without a Star Wars mention…


High Desire Wife Adds Girl Game… Gets Desired

Had a long email from a reader, but this section of her Girl Game success and approach is worth the read…

Reader:  Now, my story of my Girl Game success. (I’m just talking about this week, as I realize this will be an ongoing process!)

Back story: Unlike some of your readers, I wouldn’t call us desperate or on the brink of divorce. More like, vaguely dissatisfied. Hubby and I have been together since we were teenagers with one child. Mostly happy, but easily falling into the “roommate” scenario for stretches at a time. ( I’m high stimulation and desire lots of affection. Basically, I’m the lightning and he’s the earth in our relationship.) Over the past 20 years our sex life has been inconsistent. Starts and spurts – about once a week, rarely ranging up to 3, but no more.  We’re both fit and look decent, so that wasn’t an issue. He is very Alpha at his job being a high-level executive, so I know he has it in him. He’s just very intellectual and constantly reads at home to relax. I have a hard time getting his attention. In protest I would frequently complain, possibly cry (real tears of feeling rejected) and whine until he would step it up. It wouldn’t last and we’d be back to the *maybe* one Saturday-night-Tango after a short burst of improvement.  I got tired of instigating a majority of the time. I was starting to get resentful.

I found your book while perusing Amazon for marriage/sex life books. Although I don’t necessarily agree with your evolutionary standpoint (I believe in Intelligent Design), the end result is the same –  that women are pre-wired to happily submit to an Alpha male with a good backup of Beta for the babies/family.

So after reading your book and the MAP plan, I perused your blog and happily found the section for Sexy Wives and Girl Game! I realized I had responsibilities to charge things up and not put it all on him.  I wasn’t doing all I could. I have had better results in a 2 weeks of female-action-plan than I have with 20 years of crying and complaining! Based on a lot of ideas from your blog/book, this what I did:

1)  Started going to the gym. I’m not fat, but there’s always room for improvement to firm up. Although it’s too soon for physical results, the fact that I was out of the house and doing something for myself seemed to make him happy. He told me he was proud of me and impressed. Probably didn’t hurt that he knows there’s mostly men at my gym.

2)  Smiled at him whenever he entered the room. Not a big cheesy smile, just subtle. With eye contact. Good response to this – more affection and kissing than normal!

3)  Dressed better. My usual uniform of comfy athletic wear was replaced with good-fitting jeans and girly tops. Also fixed hair (no lazy ponytail) and wore makeup and jewelry EVERY day. Wore something pretty to bed as opposed to my usual T-shirt. Not talking a g-string or peek-a-boo bra or anything, just a silky chemise-gown. I think this helped remind him “Hey, there’s a woman getting in your bed!”.

4)  I flirted with him in text. He messaged me asking what I was doing. I was trying on clothing at a store and told him “I’m naked in the dressing room at _____”, to which he responded “Can I see?” He was only joking, and I’ve never done anything like this before, but I went ahead and texted him a topless picture. He really liked it.

5)  When he asked me about bills and other household decisions we usually make together, I deferred to him on most of them. (He is extremely financially trustworthy and really needs no help from me, anyway.) I just said, “I don’t really feel one way or the other about that, so I defer to you. You always make the right decision.” Good response to this.

6)  I gave him special “oral attention” the week of my period. Usually we don’t do anything intimate that week. He enjoyed it greatly and said so many times. He also kept asking me every day after that “When are you going to be off your period?”. He never asks that!

So after a week and a half of doing this, and a few other things like the 10-second kiss, he instigated in a very Alpha way and I’m a happy wife! I realize I am responsible for our sex life, too – and my job is to keep him interested.

Thanks for paying attention to the ladies who want to up their “game”. There’s not many resources out there for us

Athol:  There’s really not much to add to this one apart from noting that she appears to have all the structural attraction issues under control. Based on her Gmail photo, she’s quite good looking and she writes well so she’s smart too. There’s no major relationship conflict to work through. She was looking on Amazon.com to find a solution to of her being the higher desire partner… and not in a bar somewhere. In short she’s Wife Material (TM) So as soon as she added a little Game she got very quick results.

Also if he liked the blowjob during your period… next time have him cum on your breasts… if he doesn’t done that yet, he’ll have a very strong reaction to it lol.

I Told You So

Reader:  Hi Athol

I am implementing what I have been reading in your book The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011 and perusing yours and various other blogs; Red Pill Room et al.

My wife has noticed the changes and is stepping up her game as well. All in all I would say that our sex life together has been the best we’ve had in 25+ years.

The concept really hit home for me Sunday evening when she and I were at the supermarket getting some items. From the time we got to the parking lot to the time we checked out I was completely in charge of the entire situation. I was in full Alpha mode.

We left the market and moved the SUV over to the fuel island. I got out to pump the fuel. As I did, I noticed in my peripheral vision someone walking behind me. I surmised that it was the attendant, probably checking the trash cans or something. About thirty seconds later I heard a female voice say, “Hellooo,” in a kind of upward lilt. I turned around, still pumping fuel, and it was in fact the attendant, but she wasn’t checking anything, she was just standing there. Her hands in her pockets, shifting her weight from one foot to the other, and then she starts this conversation with me about the weather, her trip to Moscow, just general small talk. I listened, gave short answers, not rude but not really engaging her in the subject matter. As my SUV has a large fuel tank, we were there almost ten minutes until the tank filled. Since I pay at the pump, I didn’t need to see her to pay, so I got my receipt, capped the tank and was ready to leave. However, the attendant was still talking to me. I had to break it off, again not rude or anything.

Mind you, my wife was in the vehicle the whole time and witnessed the entire exchange. When I got back in, she had the most shocked expression. She then said something to the effect, “Athol said THIS would happen!” My wife was particularly flabbergasted at how the woman tilted her head and giggled during the conversation.

This has never happened before.

The woman was probably ten or so years younger than me.

Did I imagine this? My wife assures me I did not. I am not looking for outside attention.

Athol:  Great story!

Welcome to the sweet spot of your wife knowing that she’s completely replaceable sexually, but that you aren’t looking to replace her. It’s the height of the Alpha Beta balancing act.

Also it’s great that your wife is consciously aware of all this too. It makes it so much easier to have a proper friendship together along with the sex. Use your powers for good.

How To Get Over Resentment Toward Women

Chatting on teh Facebooks…

Alpha Dude:  I need some advice. I had a guy email me, been going through a divorce for two years (he says she’s managed to drag it out that long) and now he just feels resentment towards women and doesn’t know how to get over it (long and short of it).

Athol:  What was the cause of the divorce?

Alpha Dude:  Wife cheated and left and they have a kid.

Athol:  Why did she cheat?

Alpha Dude:  He doesn’t say. I’m guessing he AFC’d it up and made her vagina as dry as the mojave.   (AFC: Average Frustrated Chump)

Athol:  So the way forward is to stop shifting all the blame for the relationship failure onto her, accept that he made mistakes, and self-improve so he doesn’t repeat the same mistake with future women. Sometimes it’s just easier to hate women than accept you made any mistakes.

Alpha Dude:  Thank you.

Athol:  It’s a very common pattern that this happens btw. I’ve seen so many guys admit they ignored her fair warnings in the aftermath of affairs and divorce.

Alpha Dude: Yeah, I understand where he’s coming from with the bitterness and resentment.  Though I’ve never been divorced, I have been cheated on and left when I thought we had a good thing going.

Athol:  But in the aftermath could you see anything you could have done better?

Alpha Dude:  Oh yeah for sure well but like not in the aftermath afterwards.

Athol:  Oh yeah I mean not in the middle of it.

Alpha Dude:  As things were failing, as I was trying to put it all together – I was angry.  But after, looking back, yes.

Athol:  After it’s basically over and you’re moving on.

Alpha Dude:  Pre-game aftermath, no.  Post game, yes.

Athol:  It’s basically the final step to moving on.

Alpha Dude:  Right.

Athol:  The basic issue is inablity to forgive her, and understanding is the road to forgiveness. Once you can say “Oh I see why she did that now.”  You’re there. Most women aren’t random lunatics doing things for no reason. They just have different motivations than men. But they do rationally seek to meet those motivations.

Alpha Dude:  Imagine if game had never been stumbled on.

Athol:   Yeah Game is important. So many relationships could have been saved or happier for it.

Athol:  Which is not to say some women aren’t batshit crazy or evil.

Alpha Dude:  ^lol

Athol:  But then you shouldn’t have gotten involved in the first place.

Athol:  I can’t think of a post for today lol. I think this is it.

The only thing I’d add to that exchange is that it is completely normal to be deeply hurt and angry by getting screwed over in your relationship. Being cheated on sucks. Having your partner dump you sucks. I’m not making light of any of that. But at the end of the day, you still being twisted all out of shape over your ex doesn’t affect them… it affects you. And forgiving them doesn’t really affect them… but it does affect you. So ultimately forgiveness is something you do for you.

I’m not talking about you taking on all the blame for the relationship failure either. She could have always not cheated or not left you. I’m saying it’s finding your fair share of the failure and finding a way to move forward as best you can. If you want to be able to have a loving intimate sexual relationship with a woman at some point in the future, holding onto resentment and anger ensures that can’t happen.

Jennifer:  Even good marriages have bad moments where you really hurt each other. You have to move past those moments or it stops being fun to be together.