Submissive Captain?

So anyway, this week is a little bit of a shaggy dog story…

It started with Sexy Moves: Comfort and Coping, where I tended to a very sick Jennifer and actually quite enjoyed looking after her. In part I enjoy it because it’s not The Most Difficult Job In The World staying at home and keeping things running smoothly. But I was also feeling aware that being at home, was leeching away at more productivity and wanted to refocus on how Being Attractive is a Daily Discipline. So I came up with a plan that both allowed me to get my day to day Care Bear quota in, but also make sure I got all the really important stuff done to maintain my Alpha frame, because after all, Effort In Quadrant Two Powers Attraction. But part of what threw me off in the first place, was that Nursing Is FemDom

…and here we are. Welcome to awkward.

As I’ve said many times in the past, Jennifer and I used to have endless mutual submission deadlocks where we both attempted to defer to the other, and thus did nothing. “What do you wanna do?” “I don’t know, anything. What do you want to do?”  Rinse and repeat.  But I’d since discovered that me simply acting more dominant with Jennifer netted easy and positive relationship results. Jennifer being so naturally submissive that even mild dominance was lapped up and made her content.

And then for the last fifteen years or so, I’d go to work as a nurse, and spend all day helping, caring, supporting, tending and generally being a highly functional First Officer for the female powers that be. To be sure, how the first twelve years of that was, was different from the last three. I became far more assertive and pushed back on a lot of nonsense, and liked it less and less. There’s a world of difference between being naturally submissive and freely giving and being forcibly taken advantage off. In the end I was given an ultimatum to either allow 24/7 access to my time, or get out. The rationale given being that if I was willing to receive calls from Jennifer at work, then I should be willing to receive calls from my boss at home… Yeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhh…. I’m going to go in a different direction with that.

But now I’m home.

And my submissive itch has not been scratched for a very, very long time. I actually keep a diary, because obviously a blog just isn’t enough to keep my thoughts together and looking back I can see where my mental checking out of my job and actually finishing my job, resulted in my increased grumpiness with Jennifer. Oh not all day everyday, just a background discontent that comes and goes… and maybe a five page document with an attached cheat sheet for ways to nag me in the manner I would most enjoy. Nothing like a thinker trying to be helpful.

Naturally Jennifer did none of that, because shes so naturally submissive she’d lose a staring contest with a kitten. So the short story is that now we’ve had several rounds of mutual submission deadlocks, with me breaking them by being dominant because it works, and then me feeling cranky that I had to do that. Most husbands are driven crazy by nagging, I’m driven crazy because she doesn’t nag.

The current plan is my daily schedule, which gives me some direct hands on ways to play a support role (kids to school et al), and also gives me some clear tasks to complete (writing and exercise) that Jennifer is under pain of pain to actually follow up on and ask me about. Really, that’s all it takes. I don’t need to be yelled at, just checked on and it helps me so much to know someone will ask what I did. So far it’s working, I feel more happily engaged with everyone, the house is running better and I am finally becoming productive on the writing front.

However there is also a very significant problem in that I’ve just added a huge amount of Beta Trait behavior. So I’m keenly aware that needs to be counter-balanced with Alpha, I don’t want to nerf her interest in me. It’s not going to work if a month from now she’s cranky at me because she’s not having fun either. I’ve actually been somewhat stressed out by the consideration of moving in this direction, but me not writing properly is just a critical error that has to be addressed. That’s my most important Alpha behavior in Jennifer’s eyes, physical fitness doesn’t hurt either. So gotta try something.


Lots of irony really. In some ways I’m doing the opposite of what MMSL suggests and I’m still getting my head around it. It’s an experiment in progress.

Jennifer: Yeah, it’s always an experiment around here…in a good way!  It’s funny how a husband and wife can see the simplest things in two totally different ways.  He asked me to “nag” him about writing.  I would ask how the day went when I got home from work in the late afternoon.  I would be tempted during the day to text him and ask how things were going…but that might interrupt him when he was on a roll with writing!  Note to self…don’t second guess, go with your first thought.  So now I text him several times during the day to see how he’s doing, which helps him to stay on track (crap, she’s going to text in an hour, better be working!) but in my mind it’s not as annoying as “nagging”, it’s me checking in.



  1. Jennifer,

    Check in with a naggy SMS, sparingly.

    “are you done yet?”

  2. Hey man – marriage is a life long, (hopefully) experiment on what does and doesn’t work. Lots of compromise and often painful change (from both partners). This sounds like it could be an interesting journey for the two of you. Change is a constant, and although I personally hate it, it refreshes and can make things interesting.
    Remember – if you are not living on the edge – you are taking up too much space!
    Good luck with this one.

  3. Considering the life change you’ve had with the job change and all, you’d be in trouble if you *weren’t* doing something different from what your routine used to be. Too many people think you can just find one plan that works and use it in every situation, but that’s a sure-fire way to fail.

  4. Get a cat. Train it to stare at you.

  5. Maybe you’re an extrovert who needs external input to feel centered.

    Have a friend who transferred to being a SAHM from being a barista about six months ago. Big income or meaningfulness downgrade? Hardly. But she *feels* less meaningful. Husband – very happy with her being SAHM, so it’s not that. We talked… she really misses the interactions with people, and doesn’t feel validated without them.

    You could be someone whose love-language is verbal – and you need someone to say a meaningful “thataboy”. Can’t say it meaningfully if there’s no expectation in place.

    If you change your mind about having Jennifer deliver the thataboys and/or gentle nags – how about joining a professional writers group? They exist, and might provide the push that you need.

  6. @Over It: yep that is so true.

    Athol, questions for you. Rather meaty ones (heh) to me. ZLX1 interviews Athol. Panties moisten, men stop to listen, ball gags drop out of soccer moms’ mouths, and yep kids still eat boogers or wipe them under the couch…awesome!.

    1. Do you think this is just temp to help you get over the hump of getting used to working for yourself? When I first went out on my own it was fits and starts until I had a solid routine going as the business picked up steam. Then it was just like a habit and my own self invented version of the daily grind. I do like it though because I can say, “Hmm, really nice out today. I’m going fishing.” (Literally). But I’m always keeping in mind that I’m trading some free time now in exchange for future free time. The big trick is not to keep taking withdrawals out of the free time account without making hefty deposits on a regular basis.

    2. In regards to your comment on adding a heap of beta. Do you think that things in marriage are so delicately balanced? Like with something that small it could tip over to shitty times if you didn’t immediately up things somewhere else? It seems minor to me but I guess it depends on each couple and I could see where it could be a bigger deal to some than others in terms of the balance, plus with the career shift. Actually it seems kind of alpha of you with the right framing: “Don’t worry baby. Daddy’s got you. Shit you can even check my work to calm your nervous girl self.” (Lolz.)

    I guess I’m asking, since you hear from so many people, do you think that for most couples things are kind of always teetering on the edge of going downhill and death swirl, if perfect balance isn’t achieved nearly all the time or in a good relationship is it be more like a good investment, up and down but overall always trending upwards? I know you can’t rest on your laurels in any aspect of life (you turn into a turd). I guess the two week rule is in effect with these things.

    I know you posted before that the wife’s responsibility in this is relational balance is along the lines of who cares to not her problem, unless I misunderstood. Still of that opinion?

    I suppose I’m musing on “Relationships take work” (I know, really I do.) versus illusions of “It would be nice to feel a shred of relaxed belonging with someone.” (never experienced it personally, don’t mean sitting there like a lump in the relationship, but do you know what mean?) versus “Don’t kid yourself dumb ass. You’re a man. You don’t have that luxury, ever. Always on point spear in hand.” (My experiences of LTR)

    Which is where I usually wind up in the thought process. Which takes me back round to “Yeah dating is pretty fun, most of the time, I dig the ladies, but I don’t see or know what I would get out of taking on a woman full time.” I guess not having had a good time of it the last go round for 12 “educational” years, I have no personal metric to judge the value of that. Only what I can observe or others relate.

    Not talking marriage for me or moving someone in, but I’m feeling like I might want to have a go at a steady girlfriend. Yeah, yeah all you 22 year old guys keep hating. This thought isn’t coming from a place of scarcity but I would really like to see if there is something good that I never got to have and that I’m missing out on. If there is, I want to grab my piece of the pie. (pun intended).

    Understood that like anything else good, you have to put in the hours to get the good thing. I must be having a really positive day! I’ll be the Mano-spheres bachelor optimist this week! (

    (Don’t worry MMSL chicks, I’ll be my usual lovable prick self again Monday and let you know much I love/hate you and the sometimes good and often retarded things that come out of your mouths. Whew! That’s better.)

    3. Finally, Do you feel like you are ever relaxed or is your mind always going analyzing each interaction and patterns as they develop and thinking two moves ahead? No judgement or sarcasm in that last question. Mind meld me. I want to understand the dynamics of these things better.

    Curious to hear Jennifer’s take on how she perceives it when you are gauging such things and adjusting. I guess she’s more aware than 99% of wives since you divulge your diabolical plots here on the written page.

    The Lolz!

    Note: the above is not a trap. I’m genuinely curious how things work with other people. Helps me learn more about me as I reflect on their experiences versus mine and what I do/did different from them and the results. I think there is a fundamental gap in my experience of the potential positives of these things and it’s become an obstacle to me making balanced choices from a place of realistic judgement concerning my future intentions in this area. I wish to exorcise my last vestiges of post marriage butt hurt and reactionary thoughts, not to reinsert to the Matrix and “pretend” but to use the knowledge and desired level of balance in myself to shape my piece of it.



  7. Dear Athol,

    I’m facing a similar situation at the moment. I’m working on a book from home, while my live-in GF goes to school and works. In this situation, it is easy for procrastination to set in. A little prod from the first officer is always appreciated.

    My “dominant” solution to this is to request my first officer to prompt me at regular intervals throughout the day. In fact, she is asked to check in with me as she moves from location to location throughout the day anyway (e.g. school to work, leaving work for home, etc.). So, I’ve added the task for her to prompt me about the writing as part of her regular calls.

    By taking control of the prompting and scheduling it, I avoid exhibiting submissive behaviors. Not to mention I build in a way for her to “help”, which is always good. I also get the prompting and reinforcement that I need to keep moving! Overall, there is nothing “submissive” about the captain ordering the first officer to check in with him at regular intervals and prompt him about important matters. So, we’re both happy with the arrangement – and it doesn’t nerf the first officer’s interest (as you say).

    Oh, and if you don’t want to report a “no progress” day to your first officer, then ask them to make a statement rather than ask a question. For example, having them ask “how is the writing going?” may result in a very submissive “not well” answer on your part. However, if they just make a statement such as “I’m reminding you to write today, as you asked”, then no reply is necessary…except perhaps a “thank you”. Again, alpha/dominant bases covered, prompt given, no nerfing!

  8. Even Odysseus ordered his men to tie him to the mast of the ship so he could hear the song of the sirens without jumping to them and drowning…there is a reason why a ship needs a crew and is not just a one man thing.
    Great idea and another one for the steal pile. Please don’t sue me. :)

  9. I always do my best writing outside of my home.

    Go to a coffee shop, or even better — find some cheap day trips on a plane, bus or train. Travel for the sake of movement.

    I frequently will hope a cheap flight to anywhere (New York, Detroit, Boston) just so I can write on the plane, land in a new town, scope out a hotel lobby or coffee shop, write all day, then fly back that night.

    Home is for relaxing, food, sex. I try to keep work outside of those defined boundaries.

  10. Time for Ian to be a little controversial.

    While Athol’s experiment here might prove very valuable for his insights about MMSL, there’s a danger here. Not about a potential failed experiment as Captain and husband, but as a writer. Allow me to explain.

    There is a great allure to get a “writing buddy”, basically someone to help prompt you, hold your hand, hold you accountable for what you’ve written, and act as a critic/soundingboard when you get stuck or need a little encouragement. After all, two heads are better than one, two perspectives make a more complete picture, and sometimes it really does help to bounce something off of someone else.

    But when that someone else is your wife . . . therein lies some danger.

    Being a writer is (usually) a solitary pursuit, and intensely psychological. While blogging is a kind of written “performance art”, in which you get insta-feedback from a crew of interested bystanders, writing a work of any difficulty requires a far more solitary approach. You simply cannot write something complex by committee. At first it feels great – she’s helping you out, being supportive, and keeping you accountable. She’s sharing in the creative process in some small way. When things go well, it’s like a really good date that doesn’t seem to end.

    But when things go poorly there is the tendency in many writers’ minds to start becoming resentful or even just involved with the quasi-collaboration and they lose focus and even nerve, because suddenly they are not writing for themselves and a “general audience”, they’re writing for that other person. Even if she’s just checking up on you, asking specifically about the writing will – eventually – tend to spark some resentment. This isn’t universal, of course — every writer has a different style and workflow, and there are even writers who are incapable of writing without someone holding their hand like that. In general the rule of thumb is that you grapple with this crap yourself, as it tends to be a lot more productive and fruitful, and you use your wife for loving support and, possibly, your first read.

    Not trying to mess with your system, Athol, but I’ve been down this road. Being a SAHD might not be the hardest job in the world, but being a SAHWriter can be. Unless you can master the self-discipline necessary to sit down and write when you don’t feel like writing . . . for no better reason than it needs to be done, not because you’re worried what Jennifer will think, then you’re handicapping yourself. Consider it an exercise in Alpha to be able to crank out 10,000 words and then gruffly reply “Fine, it went well,” when she asks how things went at the end of the day. Granted, your subject is about relationships and specifically your relationship with your wife, which means you really do have to talk to her a lot since she’s the subject of this experiment, but letting her become the ordering factor with your writing has a huge potential to screw not just with your writing, but your relationship.

    You have to find your own way, of course, but I thought I’d at least point this out. It took Mrs. Ironwood a few years to get used to my crappy writing-related mood swings and brooding sessions, but when she tried to get involved then SHE became the focus, not the writing. We’d have an intense relationship discussion , make up sex, and restored the relationship, of course, but expending that creative energy on her rather than on the page ended up being a poor cost/benefit, despite the good make up sex.

    Just sayin’.

  11. I suspect Athol would like “The Bossy Mean Withholding Bitchy Girl experience”.

    It’s easy to slide into beta and can be boring to intentionally act alpha…. but nothing (eventually) brings back the real alpha male like a mean bitch! If Jen plays her cards right, he’ll enjoy the beta play but she is actually provoking the alpha wolf and that will be her reward.

  12. Woman’s POV. Don’t like. If I have to check up on my husband to see if he’s doing his work, I feel like the ‘mom’ no matter whether he’s instructed me to check on him or not. I don’t see any way to make this an alpha experience. Now, you probably have enough alpha in your marriage to make this work, but I don’t think it’s optimal.

    Maybe an accountability partner? (But no pretty blondes. lol) Another writer, perhaps or someone else who is a WAHM (work-at-home-man).

  13. @ Serenity

    True enough. There are better and worse ways to minimize the damage. Some can even have short-term boosts. At the end of the day, however, either a man has discipline and handles his business, or he doesn’t.

    You are right on my account too. My situation is perhaps a bit different. More often than not, I lean very heavily on the alpha side. So, showing a bit of beta “I could benefit from some help” from time to time actually balances things out in my situation.

    After all, a guy can be too independent too. Then a woman can feel useless, like she doesn’t have a place at all in his life. So, giving her some small and important way to help him in his life tasks is good.

    However, if she comes to feel that he doesn’t have the discipline or power to do it without her, then she feels like a burdened mom – not a helpful wife. So, the difference is whether she is essential or just helpful. My guess…is that most women want to play a small role in their man’s success, but they don’t want to be burdened with the full responsibility of it riding on their shoulders. At that point, they are acting for/like the man anyway.

  14. It’s not an Alpha experience. Not everything can be. It’s about getting what I need from the relationship.

    People think I’m some sort of raging super Alpha…

  15. “Woman’s POV. Don’t like. If I have to check up on my husband to see if he’s doing his work, I feel like the ‘mom’ no matter whether he’s instructed me to check on him or not.”

    This kind of attitude has been echoed here and elsewhere by women, and it’s the kind of thing that makes us men who read here wonder if marriage is really worth it. A good number of women have complained that if their man is anything but a completely autonomous individual, totally un-dependent on her contributions to the relationship, that she feels like she’s mothering a little boy and can’t help but be sexually repulsed.

    But then, women come here to complain that all this talk about game makes them feel like accessories to our lives and that they can be replaced. Well you can’t have it both ways – if we’re supposed to be Mr Strong and Stoic and Non-Needy, then when we become that way, you CAN be replaced.

    Is helping your husband effect some more discipline in his life a tingle-killing offense? Part of the reason men want to get married is to have a teammate to help them achieve their dreams. Men are eternally loyal and grateful to wives you can help them do that. Do women really want to throw that away because they’re convinced hubby should be some kind of robot who comes in the door, kisses them on the cheek, drops the paycheck and goes to watch the game?

  16. @ Athol and Badger,

    Good points both. I’m probably not alone in jumping to take charge and manage things. In fact, men taking such responsibility to proactively manage a relationship seems to be a big part of the MMSL focus.

    However, you are right… It is important to not lose sight of the fact that men have needs too. That is allowed and important. As partners, women have a reciprocal obligation to meet them. Relationships, after all, are “supposed” to be a partnership, exchange, and trade.

    The danger with “game” though is that it is easy to get used to “triggering” a woman’s feelings and responses. As a result, it is a short step to start taking full responsibility for their feelings and behaviors. But, that isn’t the case. At some point, a good woman needs to be able to manage (at least some) of her own feelings and behave to address a man’s needs too (without him eliciting it). If she cannot, then a relationship will be endless “work” for him… He will be the one playing “dad” to his spouse.

    Perhaps this discussion is leading in a new direction? Looking past managing a wife’s feelings and behaviors towards the next step… Encouraging and allowing her to take responsibility for managing herself and her own feelings, for the benefit of the man and the relationship. It is very important that a man take action, avoid divorce, and help to create a satisfying relationship. But, if he continues to function for his partner, he doesn’t get what he needs, doesn’t get a break, and ends up in the bad catch-22 that Badger and even ZLX1 allude to above.

  17. In other words, there’s got to be some kind of middle ground between Total Dependent Beta-Man-Boy who his wife does have to “mother” and ends up resenting him for it, and Mr Strong Stoic and Non-Needy, as Badger puts it, who needs nothing from his wife but sex. And quite frankly, a man does not have to be married to get his sexual needs met.

    So if a man can’t depend on at least some level of emotional support from his wife, what’s he married for? Companionship? Isn’t emotional support part of that? If the “modern woman” can’t offer that without “killing the tingle” (again as Badger puts it) then he might as well stay single, have male friends, and hit the bar or club whenever he needs HIS tingle satisfied.

  18. @A.B. Dada you’re presumably climate change denier, but ffs, this needless burning of fossil fuels to fuel your writing cannot be condoned! We only have so much of this stuff. At least stick to trains and avoid unnecessary aviation.

  19. Some of this debate is confusing my own personal needs vs the “standard” C&FO couple.

    Both Jennifer and I are at the submissive end of the dominance/submission scale. Her more so than me. I’ve stepped up in many ways to be the dominant partner. It’s was working on that level because I was getting some of my submissive fix in at work. Now that I’ve stopped work… no submissive fix… thus Jennifer should step up and give me a little taste of that at least once in a while. So we have some structured into our day ways of her being able to do that because Jennifer struggles to act dominant toward me in any way at all.

    Average guy asking wife to check up on him… probably a bad idea. For us, probably a good idea. There is no one size fits all MMSL lifestyle. I’m not running a cult.

    I’ve had one female Captain male First Officer couple I’ve emailed with, for them it totally works. So there’s zero point trying to change it to Male Captain female First Officer. I’ve also had three lesbian couples use C&FO to good effect too.

  20. @The MacNut

    Yeah that is what I was asking about in a nutshell. I never had that when married. I had to do all the grown up stuff like earn a living, pay the bills, etc. etc, Having my then wife around was like having a moody teenager. Yeah, she could watch the kids safely but other than that I had no partner. I guess the summary statement on that is after the divorce I didn’t feel anymore alone there by myself than when she was living with me. Po-fetic.

    So my question is, does this middle ground situation even exist for other people anymore these days (did it ever?) or because of all the various changes in the world is marriage or an LTR one long drawn out shit test where you are constantly 2 weeks away from potential disaster if you make any tactical mistakes and wives are basically the most responsible teenager in the home? (The Lolz!) Or is this whole middle ground/woman as partner just a bullshit concept to start with because it sounds like some utopian (we’re all equal and the same) feminist stuff in some respects?

    Maybe the concept of wife as partner is completely fictitious and just men projecting an expectation on women that they are not capable of meeting? Hence the male frustration with this. We would like the opposite gender to do and act as we would in a given set of circumstances and that thought or desire is not realistic. Our inability to recognize this causes frustration?

    From dating I see how easy it is these days to make one or two tactical or logistical “mistakes” them poof, thanks for playing, try again. So if many women have an expectation that modern marriage is “endless courtship” (as promoted quite heavily by the Oprahs of the world) is that how it is for most people? Or, is my view clouded because of my past experiences and I have no first hand take on the potential positives or that such women might be out there and worth finding. I honestly don’t know but I’d like to find out.

    So far, I’m not hearing a lot of guys chime in on what they get out of the effort expended, other than avoiding divorce, increased sex and a non-combative home environment. Those are all good improvements for sure and probably a massive improvement for a lot of guys no doubt, but it seems to me that should be the minimum standards for a man to consider staying with a woman not “Well, this as good as it gets.”. Is there something more to be had and given? I understand guys still married are kind of stuck with the situation unless they decide to take their lumps and walk, so fixing as best they can should be the course of action tried before anything drastic. Hence MMSL, MAP.

    I see some of the things guys report their wives do, here online and in my daily life, and I always think to myself that if the guy was just dating her, he would have long dumped her or not gone on a second date. I understand its not that easy or simple if married with kids, houses, time, legal considerations, but I guess it’s something good to keep in mind if for nothing else than being aware of when you are being treated like shit.

    Because of where we are discussing this, I wouldn’t expect that there would be a huge crush of people prepared to chime in with good news. Most of us wound up here because of a current situation or like me, trying to look back and unravel the how and why of a past situation so as not to repeat the same blunders. I’d like to get my mind to a place of informed optimism, if that makes sense.

    Before I discovered the Mano-sphere I read a book called (hope I remember the title right) Through the Glass, about infidelity (care to guess why I was reading it) it’s kind of blue pill but there are red pill nuggets. Anyway, an early point in the book talking about chicks cheating said (paraphrase): “If the man is too macho the wife might seek out a more sensitive man, if she is married to a sensitive man she might seek out a macho type of man for the challenge,”. See a red pill nugget. Leading back to this tightrope effect we are talking about here. Seems you have little leeway for mistakes because the chasm you could potentially fall into is full of bad things if you should lose your balance.

    Again I read this book before red pill, but what I remember thinking was:

    1. Loyalty as understood by men is not understood in the same way by women. Either it’s socialization or a built in lizard thing. I don’t know, but we don’t have expressions like “A woman’s word is her bond” Not pulling out the “bitches be evil card” here but I think as guys we make a classic mistake in thinking that just because we think of something or believe something a certain way, that other people do. I’m pretty convinced they approach it very differently but I’m open to other ideas. I think Rollo’s post “Hypergamy Doesn’t Care” pretty we’ll sums it up.

    2. The second thought I had on that passage was that women always “want.” They may not know what they want at a particular snapshot in time, or they might, but it seems that they are in a constant state of “want” which perhaps contributes to a very easily entered state of unnhaaappy?

    3. I realized you could potentially be doing (or think you are doing) all the right things and it doesn’t matter. You don’t build up a loyalty bank with a woman in the same way as you might if you had a guy pal that you had stuck by through thick and then. I think you only have a tingle reservoir you’re working with and that is easily drained and constantly in need of refill. Again see the post by Rollo I referenced.

    These days my thoughts on day to day operational pre-reqs for an LTR are:

    1. If you’re going to have an LTR, you call the shots. No exceptions. If the woman doesn’t like that and doesn’t have a submissive bone in her body or you don’t inspire that in her without extraordinary effort on your part, for whatever reason, you aren’t a good match up. Pass.

    2. If the operating assumption these days is that one partner in the relationship is going to be in a continual state of dread that the other is going to cheat or leave. Better that you are the one dishing out the dread rather than receiving it. Be cruel to be kind for the good of the relationship?

    Maybe I have this all mixed up. Probably. Which is why I’m asking all these questions.

    Maybe the type of chicks I’m drawn to/ pick, suck and that’s my problem that I need to fix. Something is not quite right though and I haven’t put my finger on it yet. Am I approaching the thoughts of relationship as a selfish sociopath, or have I finally learned what is required at root level to have a chance of success at one these days, or have I adopted the way women see it “What have you done for me lately?” Cue Eddie Murphy.

    Shit. I rambled.

    You know what’s kind of funny but not? Have we all turned into chicks endlessly fretting and scrambling around about what we need to do to keep “our” woman happy and try to keep her from leaving us with a lot of nasty fallout? Bad frame, no?

  21. @ ZLX1

    Regarding your questions and statement:

    “You know what’s kind of funny but not? Have we all turned into chicks endlessly fretting and scrambling around about what we need to do to keep “our” woman happy and try to keep her from leaving us with a lot of nasty fallout? Bad frame, no?”

    This is more than a frame problem. It is a power and influence problem. Historically, there was more balance of power between men and women. Therefore, each had to trade more evenly. Now, women have much of the upper hand in marriage – at least from a legal and economic standpoint, if not a social approval one. Those who have the power make the rules. Those who don’t, generally have to scramble, appease, and be careful.

    This intersection is also where “game” ends and MRM begins.

    “So far, I’m not hearing a lot of guys chime in on what they get out of the effort expended, other than avoiding divorce, increased sex and a non-combative home environment.”

    Let me chime in then… Although, I have a live-in LTR now and no kids, not a marriage. I am divorced myself. I found the legal and power imbalance in modern marriage not conducive to equal trading (as I said above). So, for me at least, right now LTRs are the way to go.

    Nevertheless, I do get a lot more out of my relationships than just sex and no headaches. My girlfriend does all of the traditional stuff – cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. I pay the majority of the household bills, although she helps with her own expenses, groceries, etc. She also helps by being emotionally supportive, thoughtful, and sometimes scarce and quiet for me to do my work. I also have some chronic illnesses. So, she takes care of me from time to time, when I am stuck on the couch or in bed.

    I really couldn’t ask for much more than that. So, it can be obtained. However, it requires that I be of high value and emotionally persuasive. It has to be “worth it” for the woman to do all of those things to stay with me – rather than NEXT me for someone else. Essentially, they have to feel connected and that they can’t do better elsewhere. Then they will trade, put in the work to stay, and “earn” the relationship.

    The problem is that most men don’t demand this equal trade. They don’t even feel they have the right. So, it is easy for most women to NEXT a guy, for another who will do more for her and expect less (or nothing) in return. That doesn’t make for much bargaining power…when there is always another guy who will “undersell” you.

    In short though, my advice is to learn to be persuasive, powerful, and valuable. Game is part of that. Self-development and success are as well. You can leverage that to promote equal trading with women and get your own needs met too. Your “dread” concept is a form of power also, but not the only one. Essentially though, you have the correct idea. You are either influencing them and they are busy “earning” you…or the reverse.

    In the end, you are not mixed up. You are pretty close. The only “tweak” is that it doesn’t have to be cruel or sociopathic (that’s just how some in the manosphere take it). What it has to be is powerful, valuable, and persuasive. You can love your woman. You just have to have leverage (economic, emotional, social, etc.) to motivate and ensure a fair trade. As long as you give her what she needs too, then it isn’t selfish or misogynistic either. It is just the use of masculine power and influence to keep the balance.

  22. Oh and the short answer to people asking about my overthinking…

    I’m a Myers-Briggs INTP, so in data collection mode for extended time periods. I’ve balanced myself pretty well on all four elements of Myers-Briggs, but in times of stress or “hard new problems” I obviously default to type.

    I’m an Enneagram 5 with a 4 wing. So half Vulcan half Betazoid pretty much, with Vuclan side stronger. I have a very intense inner life, but and intergrated pretty well nowdays. Creating MMSL was me moving toward 8 as opposed to my prior World of Warcraft days failing toward 7.

  23. I must be completely out to lunch.

    Dr. Jeremy says, “I really couldn’t ask for much more than that.”

    Really? That’s depressing.

    Z, a while back there was a comment from a guy who said something to the effect, “She’s the first one I want to tell when something goes right, and the the one I want in my corner when things go wrong. In my eyes, she’s still that 20 year old, and I can’ imagine growing old without her.

    THAT!!! THAT is what ya’ll can ask for!!! THAT is the kind of relationship to which I aspire (except that I’m 54, so skip the 20year old part). I am too strong a woman to let a man call ALL the shots. I don’t know if I can work inside a C/FO model; I’m looking for something more along the line of Senior Captain/Junior Co-Captain. I’m ready to pull my side of the yoke, and pull for both of us when my partner is not able to pull as hard (and my partner would do the same for me). I’m ready to have wild monkey sex, watch baseball, go hunting, make breakfast, fold sheets together, and trust my partner when he goes out of town on business. And I will be trustworthy in return. My word IS my bond. I have wants, desires dreams, hopes, and needs; I know the difference, and I’m able to communicate them clearly to my partner as I hope he is able to communicate his to me.
    Dear Z and all those other guys out there, don’t give up on LTR. I would like to find someone likeminded, who will let go of past hurts and betrayals (as I will), open your heart (as I will) and have a sexy, intelligent, compassionate lifelong partnership. If you don’t want to get married; that’s OK. How about if we renew our option on a yearly basis and if it looks like one of us needs to go on waivers, let’s see if we can work that out before one of us storms out of the locker room. I don’t think I’m the only woman out there who wants a relationship like that (well, OK, I don’t know too many female hunters, but you get my drift); perhaps you are fishing in the wrong pool?

  24. @Dr Jeremy and FeralFelis

    Thanks to you both. It is very helpful. There is this thing I am scratching at and poking at and that’s why I keep asking about it. It’s a fundamental concept I’m stuck on and I’m aware it’s holding me back, giving myself permission if you will, to have the option to explore a new LTR.

    Some will not understand why I would even contemplate such a thing. I’m not 100% certain myself all the time, but it is an itch that I need to scratch or something. That’s a retarded way of saying it, but I can’t phrase it correctly at the moment. Maybe the drive to do so is just something fundamental to being human, even if we do F it up a lot in the execution of it all.

    In reflecting on all this, it’s really easy for me to say offhand things like “all women suck” or they are not worth it. etc. (Some of you do suck – some of you don’t suck enough – the Lolz.) But I know that is false and not logical. I had an online conversation one day where I spit out the observation that “When women say ‘there are no good men left’, it is illogical and stupid. Therefore, it’s just as illogical and stupid for us guys to say there are no good women out there.” or something to that effect. They may be rare, in what we are in particular looking for, and you have to have something of equal value to them to get one, but they do exist.

    My stakes aren’t anywhere approaching what a 25 year old guy looking for a new bride and mother for his kids is going through or risking. Mostly I would only be sacrificing my time and other companionship opportunities in exchange for exploring this. Unicorns!!!! Yay!!!!

    I understand and have implemented many things since I resumed dating and for the most part that has gone well to the point where I’m like “It can’t be this easy?!” Yup. It kinda really is.

    I have made a mental shift away from any thinking along the lines that “I’m lucky” if a woman is interested in me, or goes out with me, etc. etc. Took a bit to come back from being married to someone that would say things like “Your whole family doesn’t even like you…” Please pass the potatoes and an extra helping of Stockholm Syndrome. Lolz.

    I know I have value, and being older and out in the dating pool, it has become readily apparent that guys like me don’t just grow on trees. No, I’m not banging starlets, but I’m doing better than at any time in my life. I attribute that to understanding of game mechanics to avoid “duh” blunders, understanding my market worth, and the accumulated value I have built over the course of my life by way of comparison to a lot of the male competition in my age brackets which makes me attractive as the package that is all things ZLX1. Yay me.

    But, the big but, I am completely self selecting out of any kind of LTR situation through active and passive avoidance. Some would say there is nothing wrong with that, and I guess there isn’t really as far as personal choices go, but as I said above, if there is something truly valuable and worth having in that kind of relationship that I am missing out on, and that I completely had the opposite of in my past experiences, I would like to have it, or give my self the opportunity to make the attempt.

    I just really have zero baseline to say. I got married young and things didn’t go well from the start and then they got ugly, then they got truly horrific, then they got downright freaky, then I threw her out and the Sun shone again, so that’s where I start from in all this.

    My active avoidance is that I make zero moves or voice any interest in such a thing as a relationship to any of the women that I date. Which as you would expect leads to a fizzle after they figure this out, because they are keenly interested in such things. (Of course some I-net experts would retort that if I was sufficiently awesome the women would be cool with just being my sex-repositories indefinitely. Okay, thanks. That was helpful. Go back to your mom’s basement now.)

    I then do mental tricks to tell myself I didn’t much like her anyway, (if I did like her – oh no ZLX1 has fweelings – don’t worry just a very little of them) , or “her loss” or “there are plenty of other women”, whatever it is we tell ourselves in such moments, which is all true but it kind of feels like treading water and being stuck in the same place all the time in this aspect of my life.

    Passive avoidance in that for the most part, I am fishing in the wrong pond for such things as FeralFelis suggested, and I know it, and I do it on purpose because it’s less complicated because the story plays to script every time as predicted from the beginning. Which again, is treading water.

    I don’t feel lonely or like “Oh my god I need a girlfriend before no one wants me, or getting dates be hard! Oh no!!!!!!” Not even remotely. I’m just sitting here looking at my life and experiences and thinking “Hmm, maybe I am shortchanging myself, and also shortchanging some lucky lady out there who is just praying to JC every night that a guy like me will fall into her life.” (See. I’m doing the Lord’s work – frame control.) The Lolz.

    So, I think I’m ready to move on from the little games and crap I do out there in the dating world and try something new. I was just really looking at the prospect of this and seeing a whole lot of downside and not a whole lot of upside, but I think I even recognized it myself, that when you discuss these things in certain corners, the peer group is kind of self selected to not be very happy about relationship things at the moment. Also, I can spot that it gets to the point of just making excuses, or looking for something that I always yell at people about the total non-existence of: Guarantees.

    Though I will give myself a tiny out (very tiny) out on that front and say that I’m more looking at it like I would research a business deal. “Yeah? Rainbow colored cock rings are selling like hot cakes? Everyone is buying them and they like them a lot? Okay, I’ll invest.” I accept the risk, just looking for a fair opportunity of a good return, not a guarantee. No one wants to invest the first cent into an opportunity that is a non-starter. Sigh. Sleepy.

    (And yes, sometimes I do look at old posts of mine and wince a bit at some of the more vitriolic and outlandish shit I’ve said. Oy vey. – But I’m still going to do it from time to time. – TITZ!!!)

    Hey! Thanks for the group therapy session!

  25. @ FeralFelis,

    I don’t think you’re out to lunch. However, I am 34 and male, not 54 and female. Men and women tend to get different things easily in relationships. Generations differ as well. So, they focus on the things that are difficult to obtain for them.

    For example, the women I speak with have no problem getting men to take care of their practical needs (wash their car, build a fence, have sex, etc.). However, they long for a special guy to make them feel things emotionally and have an intimate friendship with. Guys, in contrast, can find female friends to do things with and feel emotionally about are like a dime a dozen. However, getting a woman to participate in addressing their practical needs is a bit more difficult. Finding a feminine and nurturing woman under 30, at least in the less-religious, liberal Northeast where I live, can be particularly challenging.

    Ask the average man…is it easier to get a girl to go watch a baseball game with you and think she’s great, or get her to have sex and then do the laundry? Then ask a woman which is easier…to get a man to fix your car, or have a deep, emotional conversation that makes you feel attracted and connected? Very different answers. Hence, very different priorities in relationship ideals.

    Beyond that, I also focus on the practical needs when talking to men because they often overlook them (and are sometimes encouraged to by women to do so). Men are sometimes led to believe loving feelings are enough…until they get into a relationship for awhile. It is wonderful to want to emotionally share on good days and bad, but that only goes so far. Many men I’ve spoken to have it bad. Their wives love them…but spend all their money. Their wives are their best friends…but are crappy partners and mothers. Their women stroke their egos…then go and do as they darn well please. After awhile these guys learn to focus on the value of BEHAVIOR. Feelings are secondary.

    Given that, I do have thrilling emotional experiences with my girlfriend too. But, I don’t lose sight of the fact that dishes need to be done, bills need to be paid, and compromises need to be managed. If I’m hungry, tired, horny, and dirty…then being “loved” but not satisfied doesn’t really cover it. I also don’t accept love as a substitute or trade for my actual, valuable, practical behavior. That isn’t a fair trade. If a guy pays the bill, or mows the lawn, then affectionate words and feelings only in return don’t cover it. Unless, they eventually translate into reciprocity.

    For women, however, feelings are often primary. It works for them. So, I do not begrudge you for your desires and focus. But, please don’t disparage mine either. Different priorities just work for men and women sometimes.

  26. @ ZLX1

    Here is my 2 cents on your statement:

    “My active avoidance is that I make zero moves or voice any interest in such a thing as a relationship to any of the women that I date. Which as you would expect leads to a fizzle after they figure this out, because they are keenly interested in such things.”

    You have gone a long way repairing your self-esteem and realizing your value. You clearly have women who are interested too. So, you have power to get what you want. I would recommend the following steps next.

    1) Decide what you want out of a relationship. I have my needs. FeralFelis has hers. Yours will be your own. What do you want a woman to do for and with you? What value and behaviors do you want her to bring into your life. It is indeed a business deal (good frame). So, what do you want to get from the “merger” that you cannot get from being single or with friends-with-benefits?

    2) IF you decide relationships are something you want, then your needs become contract requirements. Games often call this screening or qualifying. Basically, if a woman wants the relationship with you, then she has to agree to do XYZ to get it. She has to agree and trade. So, when she brings up wanting a relationship…tell her what she has to do to get one. Tell her the requirements.

    3) If she agrees and actually comes through with the behaviors, then she continues to “earn” the relationship. If she is not capable or willing to do what you need, then she gets next-ed. Or, if you prefer, you can “allow” her to stick around for the friends-with-benefits…but no relationship. Again, this is no different from any other partnership.

    4) Of course, you need to hold up your end of the deal too. It needs to be a fair trade. So, be sure you are willing to give a woman what she wants in return. My advice here is, if you only want a few reasonable things, don’t get involved with a high-maintenance woman. It isn’t a fair trade if you want the laundry done…and she wants trips around the world 4x a year. So, keep an eye on what you’re giving versus getting before you agree to the “contract” too!

  27. @ Dr. Jeremy,

    Powerful stuff there, and you said it to me in a language that really connects with me.

    You are correct. My past personal relationship record is one of making very uneven trades not in my favor. I wouldn’t do this in my business, other people would think I was a sucker or an easy mark, I shouldn’t act that way in my personal life for the very same reasons. Yet I did. [slaps own forehead and mutters…]

    On the positive self development front I’ve been very conscious of reciprocity in even the most simple of interactions since I started dating again. I believe this is good. Your point four really hit close to home especially in regards to my prior marriage. I was pretty lavish with things, yet getting dinner made for me by my then SAHM/Wife was greeted with the same level of contempt, enthusiasm and horror as if I had suggested female circumcision was something we should try out this weekend. Lolz.

    A hard truth of life is that at the end of the day, no one watches your back as well as you will watch your own back. I think it’s good to start from a position of shall we say, benevolent self interest? I think you can be self interested, protective of your interests and your bottom line, but in a manner that is not harmful to others. Boundaries!

    I believe that my current avoidance pattern is a temporary defensive tool that I use to mitigate the chances that I will put myself in a position to be taken advantage of or misused again. Still, just like in business, it’s not productive long term to operate like that. I know it, which is why I’m yapping about it so much. If you do not take great (great, not foolish) risks, you can never achieve great rewards.

    Thank you very much. This has given me a more rational framework to look at all this aside from “feelings” and I think that if I put enough self reflection into this, I can get straight in my head where I stand on such things before I begin my interactions with women with a goal of pursuing relationship.

    It will be good to have a quantifiable desired result to where I can say, “Yes, what is happening here is good and what I want.” or “This is not good and not what I want.”, with corresponding actions on my part based on current performance.

    It will also likely increase the chance that I get what I want, and that my partner does as well, therefore increasing the odds that there is something mutually beneficial happening rather than leaving it up to ‘fate’ or to grow organically. I see the benefit of just being very frank and clear up front about all this during the early “negotiation” of terms. That way both parties are very clear from the start about what they can expect to get and give.

    [No, you crazy MMSL chicks, I’m not going to whip out resumes and contracts on date three. Sheesh. That stuff has to wait until date four. Duh.]

    You know, I have honestly never sat down and just white boarded: “If ZLX1 were to take on a woman full time, what are my requirements, what qualities and behaviors are must haves?” “What practical things do I want out of this beyond ‘feelings’?” Interesting.

    This is going to sound kooky, but my entire life, until I started finding mano-sphere materials, no one ever said to do that, or that it was “okay” to do that in regards to women. When I first read Athol’s very old post on wife selection criteria, it was so alien to me. I was thinking “Guys do this? It’s okay to do this?” You betcha.

    I learned quickly and applied that on the micro level of what immediate behaviors I would or would not tolerate in an interaction with a woman when dating and pursuing. It has been of great benefit to me not only in personal boundaries, but oddly enough (or not) I feel that it has very much been a key element of increasing my attractiveness to women in general.

    I have not applied the same principle yet on the macro level to formulate what a positive LTR for me would consist of or look like day to day. I certainly will now.

    Relevant questions as part of this self reflection will also include: “Do I have sufficient things of value in trade to strike a deal such that all parties involved feel like they received and continued to receive a fair exchange and a good deal?” “Do I have the right trade materials to get the quality of exchange I seek?” “If not, what must I do to position myself so that I can have the opportunities I wish to have?” Like most men, I understand that if you want the good things, you have to do the work to earn the good things. I need to do an honest self appraisal of how I stack up in my value proposition in LTR terms, which is a bit different than fling terms.

    Silly of me really. I do this type of analysis all the time with my business and with my clients, but it never really occurred to me that I should approach ‘romantic’ endeavors with the same cold light of practical analysis as a precursor to engaging in a quest to find a partner.

    Your placing this into language which I can correlate to behaviors that I know generate positive outcomes in my business makes all this much more understandable and accessible to me. I’m feeling more positive about all this.

    I think that if I put the required work in and reflection into myself, I will soon turn a corner and be able to approach all this with what I previously termed “informed optimism.”

    And again, your point four, that’s my Achilles heel there. I must be extremely mindful of reciprocity. Probably more so than others because despite my online persona of raging inveterate a-hole, in real life I’m very much a giver in personal interactions. I am a prick at the office, so I guess I want to be “nice” at home. We all know where that leads: No place good.

    Thanks again. This has really been helpful to me.


  28. @ZLX1 Have you joined the Forum? A lot of people trying to work out similar questions as yours.

  29. @ ZLX1

    Glad to help. If you have not already checked out my archive on Psychology Today, these articles speak to the same topic as well:

    Keep up the good thinking and work! You will get what you want too :)

  30. @Athol and @Badger

    I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. I do think a wife should provide emotional support for her husband and he doesn’t always have to be the big strong alpha provider.

    In my marriage, my husband has had a history of job instability and passive/aggressive behavior that blew up several jobs. As a result, he has been unemployed or under-employed several times, and it has greatly impacted our relationship, our finances and my level of attraction toward him. I felt like his ‘mom’ for many years, feeling like I had to make sure he got to work on time and was working productively. He has since changed this about himself, but up to a few months ago, he was all Beta and no Alpha. That is changing slowly.

    That was the basis for my comments, but of course, each marriage is different, and in Athol’s case, I expect he has a plethora of Alpha behavior that will keep his marriage steady.

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