Phase Four: Short, Sweet and to the Point

From the forum…

DrBeta:  Several posters have advised me in my Phase 4 “State Your Expectations” that I needed to move to a Phase 4.1, wherein these expectations:

1.Healthy sex life

2.Productive wife.

3.Self-care (stay in good shape, dentist, doctors, etc.)

4.No negative talk

Are really all sub-ordinate to this one:

1.Quit drinking.

Those of us that remember the book know that Phase 4 is supposed to be quick compared to other phases, and I’ve been there about two months.

So I rebooted Phase 4 yesterday, and it started with “Quit Drinking”.

To my surprise… no defensiveness and no denial.  Some pleading.  Some, “I wish…” and me foreshadowing Phases 5 and 6, as in

“I am making changes in my life.  I am going to become a much better man.  You are going to have this choice.  ‘Do you want to keep up with me?  Or do you want to lose me just as I’m becoming the best man I can be?’ “

She wants to try and keep up.  So I say:

“You do not drink anymore.  You are no longer a drinker.”

And she agrees.

Now, we didn’t say, “Go to AA.” or anything positive that she could actually do.  We kept this in the realm of the “what not to do”, which ain’t the strongest way to put things.  I have serious doubts about whether she can make this work.  The only times she was completely sober was during pregnancies — but those interludes do provide some hope.

Coincidentally, another sister has quit drinking (for a week), lost two pounds, and Mrs. Beta is thinking, “Maybe it’s time for me to do this, too.”

In the meantime, I’m practicing my this statement-of-fact-as-if-it’s-already-true wife hypnosis technique, and we’ll see where it gets us.

Athol:  I think it’s worth remembering that the MAP works for any “intolerable relationship breaking problem”. It’s just a case of getting to the point where you’re strong enough to walk away from them if they continue to persist in doing what they are doing. It’s not just about getting more sex.

It’s important that the Phase Four demand isn’t frivolous. You can’t pop these demands out willy-nilly and not eventually get a failed relationship as your partner gives up on the endless ultimatums. It needs to be something that an impartial observer would agree was a serious and meaningful problem. Alcoholism meets that requirement.

Also the simpler your Phase Four demand is, the stronger it is. “Quit drinking” is a clear simple directive understood by even a toddler. They may not want it, but they understand what you’re telling them. There’s no wiggle room on getting confused by the demand. Reading a shopping list of points dilutes everything and turns into a debate.

Also with a short simple demand, you can also say it with such greater force of will, that it has a better impact. If you’re a geek, Phase Four always sounds best “in the original Klingon”. Bonus points for the correct reference.

Phase Four means the debate is over. You’re demanding they stop talking and choose.




  1. says

    “Do you want to keep up with me? Or do you want to lose me just as I’m becoming the best man I can be?”

    Getting away from the particular Phase 4 issue here, this is a relationship stressor anytime one or both parties goes through growth phases in life. That can be getting in shape, health problems, getting a new job or new position, or coming into a bounty of people attracted to you (The Test).

    A while back I dumped a long-term girlfriend in part because I hit a growth phase (mostly work-directed but also getting in better shape) and she just didn’t seem interested in coming along, she wanted to stay at a lower level of performance and started to subtly shame me for outstripping her. When she asked me, a unapologetic intellectual, “what’s with reading all these books” I knew it was the beginning of the end.

  2. taterearl says

    A man who is strong with a woman will bring out the best in her…a man who is weak with a woman will bring out the worst in her.

    It’s really an extension of a man who is strong with himself will bring out the best he can be.

  3. says

    “A man who is strong with a woman will bring out the best in her…a man who is weak with a woman will bring out the worst in her.”

    This sounds good, and is something of a Manosphere aphorism, but I’ve found it is only true with significant caveats – that being that some women are not interested in adjusting to the man’s lifestyle, they are motivated by different things than being at their man’s level. As I said just above.

    Just to take an example, one example would be women who let their bodies go when they get married. It sounds illogical and thus like a canard – who would want to go from a 7 to a 3? – but we all know it happens. Why? Well, the security provided by an LTR or marriage causes some women to demotivate from keeping in shape and looking good. It appears to be mostly a subconscious process, because again who would consciously want to get fat and frumpy? So a lot more things than just “are you the Captain” tie in to how she lives her life, and you can’t just married-man game your way out of it if you have a woman who is just not really motivated to keep improving. You need

    This is why the late steps of Athol’s MAP include leaving your wife if she really shows she’s not at all interested in keeping up with you. I don’t think there’s any need to take any of this personally (ladies), but we get married to enable lifestyles that we can’t have when single, and if the woman is not interested in that, the marriage isn’t providing a healthy, productive life.

    And there’s another thing that drives me away from leaning on the idea that if you lead the woman will follow – there are going to be times when I can’t lead, for whatever reason (stress, health problems, family issues, work problems, green peppers in my sausage). I want to know my woman is at least partially internally motivated to be on top of her shit.

  4. taterearl says

    Well another aspect of a good leader is they know how to defer given a situation that may arise. If you have a good follower they can pick up the slack until you are back to 100%.

    I give good women credit on this…when times get tough they can pick up the slack better than guys.

    And as far as a woman’s looks…does the man dare to say anything about what she does to her body? Most guys are scared that he’ll hurt her feelings about gaining weight or chopping off her hair. What most people forget in marriage is that you become one so in essence your body and your spouses body are the same. These are big things that should be addressed before tying the knot. I try not to treat my body like a landfill and I would voice my expectations to her that she do the same.

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