You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play

There are no guarantees with life.

Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose.

But if you don’t play the game, you will always be choosing to not win.

If you live a life of not winning long enough, you’ll be a loser.

So get in there and play.

The only thing you have to lose… is losing.

Anger and Resentment

Some ruffling of feathers today on the co-ed forum….

Athol: Everyone comes to MMSL in pain and wanting a solution to their problem.

It’s very easy to see the “opposite sex” as a whole as the problem, as opposed to your specific opposite sex spouse as being the issue. Then you get pissed off at the opposite sex on the forum, who have their own pain and suddenly it turns into a Mexican Standoff of Fuck You, No Fuck You.

The answer is very simple. Yes you’re going to struggle with anger and resentment.

As you run the MAP, it’s okay to use that anger and resentment as motivating factors driving you toward success in winning your war. But at some point, as you get yourself to the point where you have a more balanced relationship, you have to let that go if you want to win the peace.

The emotions are negative, but the goal of a great relationship is sufficiently positive that the good outweighs the bad. But once near the goal, all you have is the negative emotion and it turns into a net negative.

It’s easy to say “just forgive”, but the honest truth is forgiveness is some sort of impossible mental trick people tell you to do.

My advice is simply to seek to understand. Understand why you spouse did what they did. Understand what you did to create the situation yourself. Understand that mixed in with your anger and hatred of your partner, is anger and self-hatred of you. As you understand better, you can often find yourself less angry, less offended and less enmeshed in the past.

Also as you come closer to healing, all that locked away pain tends to erupt in nasty gobby chunks that take you by surprise. Your partner does one little thing and you explode on them… your partner can even be doing exactly what you asked of them… and you have a volcanic reaction to it.

SEE, YOU CAN DO IT! WHY DID I HAVE TO THREATEN DIVORCE, WHEN YOU COULD HAVE DONE IT THE WHOLE TIME?!?!

Expect it, plan for it, talk about it with your partner and when it comes, just express your feelings that you are experiencing with your partner, but do not direct them at your partner.

So breathe.

If we all get into a game of He Said, She Said, 98% of the time the person you’re really mad about isn’t even on the forum.

When You Get a Yes… Stop Talking

When you negotiate to get something you want from someone, if they agree to grant your wish… STOP TALKING.

Seriously. Just zip your lip. You got them to agree to what you wanted, so stop trying to convince them further that you should get what you want. You already have the yes you want, so all that can happen if you keep talking to them, is you give them a reason to change their mind to a no.

You’ve already closed the deal. Stop yapping. Just let it sit.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a kid asking to go to a party, an employee asking for a promotion, a wife asking her to husband go to the doctor, a husband asking for sex.  You’re asking for something, they said yes. Don’t hear the yes and then explain that saying yes is a great deal because…

…Mike’s brother was the one that bought all the beer to the party last year and he’s not coming because he’s in jail now. So it’s cool right?

…that’s you’re the only one in the whole agency that can operate the old TPS Machine and the new ones aren’t being delivered for nine months. So you’re valuable right?

…that you’ve been talking to all your girlfriends about Mr. Droopy and they all agree that you really have to see a doctor. So you’re going right?

…that you’re tired of jerking off. In fact you did that just last night to some Japanese Tentacle Porn. But it was only $4.99 for the show, so that’s no problem right?

Right?

Right?

No you can’t go to the party. What the hell happened last year? What did Mike’s brother do to go to jail? Who is Mike anyway?!

No at this point you’re just too valuable working the old TPS machine. There’s just no way we could move you until the new ones arrive.

What do you mean to talked to everyone about that?!  WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT TO EVERYONE? I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM, IT’S ONLY BEEN HAPPENING FOR A YEAR.

What’s Japanese Tentacle Porn? Hang on let me Google… huh… ahh. WTF IS THIS SHIT?!?!? OMG!!! YOU PAID MONEY FOR TH…. Bbbbbbrrrrooooghghghhhhh… You sick, sick bastard. Get away from me. NO. NO. NO.

See?

See?

If you get your yes, just stop talking.

Jennifer: Athol gave me the “what has been seen can’t be unseen” warning for Japanese Tentacle Porn. I’m not looking. I’m not looking. I’m not looking… sigh dammit…

…Ohhh FML.

What a Difference a Year Makes…

Athol:  @Hygenius and @x1134x are married forum members who discovered MMSL in June 2012 and joined the forum when it opening in July 2012.

Some selected quotes from July 2012

@x1134x – HOW THE HELL DO I MOVE SEX TO THE FRONT OF HER ‘want to get done today’ list?  Why is IT the expendable item? It was on her list this morning. The answer to “how could you have energy to work out but not the energy to fool around?” was “I need to workout for my back, its really tight”. Am I being a jerk? Or is the the fitness test I’m just unable to overcome? Feel like we took four steps forward, but now I’m right back at where I started.  I DO NOT FEEL WANTED BY HER.  Because the first thing on my list is the last thing on hers.

@Hygenius – Am I up in the night to expect that these changes should take longer and that patience should be a factor?  10 years of difficult sex, no exercise and relationship issues can not be solved in a month and surely not after such life changing events, right?  Or am I just a cock tease that is fitness testing my husband daily with no intention of having sex with him because I just am not interested anymore….hmmm?

I am HURT and EMBARRASSED but most of all, I’m tired.  Perhaps a trial separation would be best. Suggestions anyone.

Athol: @Hygenius actually never returned to the forum after her first set of posts, but @x1134x has stayed active and I assume he posts and they talk. Anyway, the plan we put in place appears to have worked, because today…

@x1134x – Born Tuesday:  Baby x1134x / @Hygenius 7 lbs 11 oz born via Cesarean Section.  (name too unique to divulge – our last name is very common.  A common first name would make him “John Smith”  I’ll PM it to anyone interested.)

Baby is 100% healthy, mom is recovering well.  Dad is shot.  Delirium tired.  You might not see me around here for a while. . .

Thanks @Athol_Kay.

Seriously.  Thank you.  I haven’t cried happy tears in decades.  Thank you.  You didn’t just help me fix my sex life.  You helped me fix my life.

Athol:  So… Happy Mother’s Day.  :-)

I told y’all the MAP only does everything.

Buy the book, get the free forum booklet…. fix your life.

 

Pinterest and Disinterest

I think we have a new first date question…

“Do you like Pinterest?” is a lot more subtle than “So…. are you Borderline Personality Disorder?”

‘Pinterest stress’ afflicts nearly half of moms, survey says.

In our exclusive TODAY Moms survey of 7,000 U.S. mothers, 42 percent said that they sometimes suffer from Pinterest stress – the worry that they’re not crafty or creative enough. Symptoms include staying up until 3 a.m. clicking through photos of exquisite hand-made birthday party favors even though you’ll end up buying yours at the dollar store, or sobbing quietly into a burnt mess of expensive ingredients that were supposed to be adorable bunny cookies for the school bake sale.

and…

Aiming for magazine- or Pinterest-worthy perfection all the time is an impossible goal for anyone, especially when you’ve got kids. And striving for perfection is a major source of stress for moms: One in four mothers told our TODAY Moms survey that the pressure they put on themselves to be perfect is a top cause of stress, and 75 percent report that the pressure they put on themselves is worse than any pressure or judgment they get from other moms. The result? Our average stress level is 8.5 out of 10, the survey says.

Anyway…

If that’s your wife, tell her to knock off the art department that only the mean girls in her head care about. Suggest she’d be better off lying on her back, letting you check in to the phallus palace and then she could take a nap.

In other news…

But that’s not all. In a press release published Tuesday, [Ashley Madison] also revealed that they typically see the highest spike in female signups on the day after Mother’s Day. In 2012, they saw a whopping 439 percent increase on that day as compared to a typical Monday.

“Mother’s Day tends to magnify the flaws, leads to questions about the choices you have made, and ultimately fosters conclusions around doing something different for yourself,” explains Ashley Madison founder and CEO Noel Biderman. “This latter choice tends to be the genesis of many women’s journey into an affair.”

So…

Maybe you could step up and burn the bunny cookies for her this weekend, or cook dinner or something. Meh it’s Mothers Day, there’s a little more expectation of Beta love. Some dinner suggestions… roast chickensides dishes.   If you’re buying her flowers… buy her a Just Add Ice Orchid. I got Jennifer one last September and it’s still alive! She loves it.

Sometimes a little extra effort saves you a ton of angst and trouble later on. You don’t want to be starting over asking questions about Pinterest as a screening tool because you couldn’t pass Loyalty Testing 101.

Just remember to keep the Alpha goodness in place. Have fun with it. Don’t skip your workout for any of this.

(Disclaimer: I have no idea what Pinterest is. I think it’s like a Special Olympics version of Facebook)

Female Isolation Anxiety

Louis .C.K routine…

I think he somewhat overstates, but the takeaway is that women really do have a finely tuned radar as to whether or not they will ever let themselves be isolated with you. I don’t mean “at the movies on a date”, or “at a restaurant”, there’s other people in those locations. I mean really alone, alone. As in just you and her.

Men experience Approach Anxiety walking up to the girl, women experience Isolation Anxiety going off with the guy alone. It’s the same physiological process of fight or flight kicking in. Men are programmed to prep for a physical conflict with another man when they approach a girl. It’s not her he’s worried about, it’s her boyfriend / husband / thug that’s that problem.

What women worry about is the guy turning into a thug-bastard-man-bear-pig when they they finally let themselves be alone with him. As a result, they have an extremely high co-relation between being sexually attracted to someone and allowing themselves to be truly isolated with them. That way if the worst happens, at least it was with a male they found attractive i.e. high value. Please don’t take the mental leap between hearing me explain the factors at work and taking that as a mandate for violating consent.

What I’m saying is that if you’re a guy, if you’re with a woman who is actively displaying interest in being alone with you, even if it’s cloaked in some other activity that you’d really be doing together… she’s into you in a big way.

Then if she’s into you… you don’t have to try hard to be something or someone you’re not. She’s already got that mental “yes” inside her head giving you approval to escalate things further with her. So have fun, enjoy the date and make some moves on her with a crooked smile. She’s expecting you to.

Is a Religious Conversion Like an Affair?

From the forum…

Sleepy:  I was reading Athol’s blog yesterday “Quirky Gifts and Flair” and read this line… she starts checking out of the relationship because she’s unhaaaaaappppppy and about to Eat, Pray, Love an exit.

So, my wife of 20+ years and 4 kids who has always been anti religion started to convert to Catholicism in secret. When I figured it out, I felt like she was cheating on me (about 6 months of individual and couples therapy and I still feel this way) as this was done in secret and her reason for needing god was that we were no longer good as a couple and she needed “love”. I flipped and basically took a position of no contact as if this was an affair, which she has done with just enough complaint that I know she still wants too.

Without going into all the details here (if there is a lot of interest I could add a thread in the 911 Relationship ER section) I guess my question is how evil am I and are there others out there who have felt this way?

Athol:  Well Eat, Pray, Love refers to a book, but the answer to your questions is yes / no / kinda / sorta / it depends.

It’s usually a critical junction when one half of a couple changes their religious status, either becoming more religious, less religious, or changing religions. They can be a wide variety of changes in personal interests and personality from benign to quite alarming as someone changes from one religious viewpoint to another. It’s always hopeful that an inter-faith marriage will stay stable, but the more divergent the expressions of belief are, the greater the stress is on the marriage.

This is largely the same effect at work as shared beliefs of any sort. Two democrats or two republicans are likely going to be more comfortable married to each other than a democrat and a republican are. It’s all about being able to relax with each other at the end of the day instead of wanting to disagree about something. Same deal if someone suddenly becomes crazy about a diet while the other isn’t. It’s a relationship stress to have one of you wanting to eat Paleo and the other being a Vegetarian… though the old joke stands that if you really want to piss off a Vegetarian give them vegetables to eat… most of them just want to eat pasta all day.

The more fundamentalist (Wikipedia) the conversion the greater the stress on the relationship is. Note that Wikipedia link to fundamentalist covers Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and even Non-Religious fundamentalism. As soon as one half of the couple digs in their heels and states they are right and their partner is not merely in misguided disagreement, but utterly wrong… or even literally damned and/or evil for whatever reason… the relationship is heading for seriously choppy waters.

If you’ve ever had your partner educated as to your total failure of morality by their near entire social group, you’ll know just how hopeless your situation is. You could be a tax-paying, law abiding, full and complete stop on red, look both ways before you cross the street, girl scout cookie buying sweetheart, but having 20-30 people tell your spouse that failure to believe in [religious belief] turns you into a horrible fallen person hell bent on destroying everything precious and good… well, it has an effect. Speaking as a good evangelical Christian back in the day my first serious girlfriend was Catholic… it doesn’t take many people giving you “Godly frowns of concern” to make you feel uneasy about your relationship. That was a Catholic girl too, not even a clutch-the-pearls Non-Christian… that would have had people directly saying things to me like, “I’d like to encourage you to seek the Lord’s guidance”, which is how evangelicals tell you you’re retarded.

And yes I get that there are a wide variety of expressions of belief from rather insipid, to rather psychotic in intensity, even within each faith or even denomination. I’m painting with a wide brush here.

Anyway… back to the question at hand…

My knee jerk reaction to your situation is that you have two issues rather than one issue.

(1)  The state of the marriage.

(2)  Her interest in Catholicism.

What she’s saying is essentially, “Because of (1) I’m (2)” which is trying to turn it into one issue. This is a poor solution because the marriage issues aren’t going to be fixed by going to church and it is obviously driving a bigger wedge between you.

My advice would be to figure out the marriage issues as marriage issues, and allow the religious issue to be handled as a religious issue. So grab the free forum booklet and answer the nine triage questions in a 911 thread on the forum and people can help you get to the bottom of things.

Or put another way, if the marriage is chugging along just great, everyone getting along well, lots of sex and laughter… would it matter very much at all if she was a standard issue Catholic?

I will say this much though, I’m not convinced she’s been hiding it from you as a way of hurting you, more as a way of trying not to lose you in the process. When I became an atheist, I kept that a secret a looooooong time. I thought I was risking my marriage coming out about it, which because my faith was part and parcel of my attractiveness to Jennifer, I think it really was. When I finally told Jennifer she bawled her eyes out with me feeling like the worst husband ever. Even after that, it took fourteen years before I felt comfortable publicly identifying as an atheist.

Anyhoo…

As official MMSL policy, I personally don’t care what you believe or disbelieve in. I obviously self-identify as atheist because I don’t believe in a deity, but I’m not trying to actively convert anyone to that point of view on MMSL. I only try and get involved in religious issues on MMSL when it seems to be clearly screwing with the marriage. At this point the entire fabric of western civilization is sufficiently screwed up that individual marriages are like sandbags keeping back the flood-waters. I don’t care what type of sand you have in your bag, just that you have a sandbag that isn’t going to fall apart.

 

Music Makes You Feel Good

I’ve always been  kinda funny about music in that I “get it” about three to five years after everyone else does. I remember being a teenager and the entire world being crazy about U2. As in everyone listening to U2 and I’m like… uh-huh. U2 even came to Wellington in either the late 80’s or very early 90’s and for months before the concert I had to listen to all the pre-concert hype from all my friends. Then the concert which obviously I skipped. Then the months of post-concert cooldown. I can’t tell you how sick of U2 I was after all that.

Then five years later I DISCOVER U2, IT IS THE GREATEST BAND IN THE WORLD, WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME ABOUT U2?

Everyone else is like… uh-huh… where have you been?

So anyway…

I’ve been digging around on YouTube for all the old bands from back in the day. There’s so much music I’ve forgotten from then. Found a few bands and cranked it. Made a Pandora.com station or two and just had stuff playing in the background doing the daily routines. It’s surprisingly energizing hearing the old music in the background and…

…OMG…

…I’ve become like one of those old people. You know the ones, listening to jazz from the 1930’s or something.

I mean no. It’s VERY ENERGIZING and screw anyone that doesn’t like your music. It’s what you like. So crank it up. The hardest thing in the world some days is feeling positive and able to face it with a smile. The truth is it really does matter and makes a difference for you when you’re more positive. You being happier makes everyone around you a little happier. Feelings are infectious, so infect someone.

Okay, okay I admit it.

I’ve been listening to freaking Petra, but if you tell anyone I’ll fucking cut you.

 

Quirky Gifts and Flair

Reader:  This is prompted by the fact that Mother’s day is next weekend. My problem is just being done with the divorce I’m not sure how to play this or her birthday in August.

I bought a cashmere scarf for her in Scotland when I was there this year. I’m thinking that should be the Mom’s Day gift, and it would be just from me.

Of the two, the birthday seems the most problematic: I won’t necessarily celebrate anything with her and she’ll likely be partying with her group of fantastic, sycophantic friends. Add to that the data point of my bday in March, when the only thing I got from her was a “Me and the Boys” gift, which was the one thing I asked for. So I’m thinking with bday I just slide in with the boys on a gift like she did.

Athol:  Okay… so I just heard “cashmere” and figured it was expensive as hell. Which means you don’t give something expensive to your ex-wife. She is probably ex-pensive enough as it is.

Recommendation… sell it on eBay.

…then just for shits and giggles, I Googled “Cashmere Scarf eBay“.

Ah… wow… holy crap.

That’s a lot of scarves for cheap.

I *think* they might be great deals.

I have no fucking idea what I’m looking at. I thought cashmere was made from rabbit fur, but these seem to be made from goats. Or something. I mean I really have no clue what I’m looking at. Cashmere could be made from the inner lining of Muppets for all I know. But they seem to look nice and for crazy cheap.

Jennifer came over and started explaining what cashmere was and labels and I kinda lost track of what she was saying in her cleavage.

Anyway…

Guys… What’s your secret for quirky gifts she didn’t see coming?

Girls… Whence comes your flair?

 

If You Really Really Love Me

From the forum…

Kalda:  Now, almost three months later, I am doing better and still making progress. The biggest improvements have been physical. I’m in the best shape of my life and maintaining 5-6 workouts a week while cutting back on the junk food. She, however, is the heaviest she has ever been.

My wife bounces between commenting on how good I look in positive ways and expressing concern I will leave her for a younger or fitter woman. I’m looking for some ideas on how to respond to the latter comments. I’ve told her I’ll support any positive health changes she wants to make when she has brought up exercise or diet, but when she talks about me leaving her I just laugh it off. Tonight she said something and laughing it off felt awkward and she seemed sad. Is there a good way to redirect those comments to flirt or keep a positive vibe between us?

Athol:  This is her Loyalty Testing you.

This is actually a pretty serious thing. If she’s really starting to dread that there’s nothing she can do to keep you, she’ll give up on the relationship. So whether she starts checking out of the relationship because she’s unhaaaaaappppppy and about to Eat, Pray, Love an exit, or she starts checking out of the relationship because she thinks you’re going to dump her, doesn’t matter… she’s going to start withdrawing from you, or even start looking for someone who she can jump ship to before you pull the trigger.

In fact you might be a sizzling 9 and her a 7 and she might move sideways to some guy who is just 7 himself to avoid the pain of you smashing her to the ground.

You trying to laugh it off is the exact wrong thing to do, because to her, this is a really unfunny situation. When you laugh, she experiences it as you laughing at her predicament. She’s looking for loyalty and your emotional involvement with her, instead you’re displaying high value and detachment from her.

This is why the pure Alpha approach utterly fails in long term relationships. You can pretty much set your watch on a six month timer for pure Alpha to just blow it all up.

Anyway…

You do two things to pass this test.

(1)  State clearly what your standards are for her behavior as a wife. Stuff like her sexual interest in you, appearance, general work ethic. Make them all reasonably high standards, but by no means impossible. Something that she would have to apply herself to get done, but not kill herself to consistently do in reality.

(2)  Say that as long as she does (1), she never need fear you leaving her, or cheating on her. If she does right by you, you will do right by her. You need to say this with complete conviction and emotional content. You can also say that you know you could find someone else if you had to, but you want it to be her.

What this amounts to is an all purpose, “There is no X until Y” variant. X is the (2) and the Y is the (1).

This all sounds horribly manipulative I know, but what it sums down to for her is this….

(A)  She’s with a guy hotter than her.

(B)  He demands her best of her.

(C)  He’s loyal to her.

Which all in all doesn’t sound like a bad arrangement.  The trick for the guy pulling this off though is this…

…there is no trick. You have to believe it and commit to it, to sell it. What you’re saying is that if someone hotter than your wife comes along and makes a play for you, you’ll just enjoy it as compliment and that’s as far as it goes.

Anyway… Steel Panther video time… kinda like this, just bring it down a couple of notches.

 

…okay so not very much like Steel Panther. My bad.