Relationship Power vs Give and Take

@ernestern:  From my interpretations of the MAP, it is basically an exercise to put you in a situation where you are giving less to a relationship and taking more out of it.  In a perfect MAP, it would balance out to a point you are putting in as much as you are taking out, leaving both parties happy.

Athol:  Close, but not quite right. There’s two elements here you’re merging into a single thought. Let me separate them so you see the process better.

(1) Power. The MAP is about putting yourself in a situation where you no longer need your partner. So you aren’t weak toward them.

For example, I could if I liked, dump Jennifer and basically walk right now. I’d find someone new relatively quickly and my life would continue on. She could try the same thing… and it’s not going to go quite as well for her as it would for me. I don’t mean that to sound full of myself, it’s just how the Sexual Marketplace is slanted in women’s favor for the young and men’s favor for the older.

The takeaway is that in relationship terms, I have power over her and thus control the relationship.

(2) Give and Take. The MAP is about finding ways to balance out the give and take so both people in the relationship are getting what they want and need from it.

So for Jennifer and myself, we do have a fairly balanced relationship in terms of what we do for each other day-to-day. We both love and care for each other. I make more money than she does, but she also helps me with elements of that. The books are mine, but I share the income. I’m on her medical insurance. We’re really rather enmeshed in give and take.

So in a sense it’s like I’m the United States and Jennifer is Canada. I’m bigger and more powerful, but it’s not like I’m coming across the border with tanks, or even threatening to. Though I guess Canadians might see that arrangement differently.


So my demand, as the person in power, is that we have a good relationship and fairly and reasonably give and take with each other.

So from Jennifer’s perspective, that’s a good deal. Her main concern is that I’m not going to suddenly end the deal on her. It’s really not like I have to run some horrible dread game on her either, MMSL has been an education and she sees what’s out there. I also display loyalty and she’s involved increasingly behind the scenes with MMSL.

That being said…

When your partner is the person in power and being exploitive, your mission is to balance out the power, or take active control by trumping their power. Part of that process may very well involve refusal to give what they want in order to establish you are capable of such things, but it’s part of the process toward an end goal of a fairly balanced relationship.

Unfortunately, sometimes your partner is simply uninterested in any relationship with you unless they can endlessly siphon your time, money, effort and energy. Whereupon, you have to either leave or remain being their victim.

 If you’re the weaker partner in a relationship, you don’t have to worry about gaining power as long as the stronger partner is treating you fairly. I personally don’t want Jennifer feeling endless rolling stomach churning dread that I *might* leave her for example. That just gets me a freaked out wife for no gain to me.

That being said, if you’re the weaker partner… you are advised to not fall *that* far behind your partner.

If you want to read a whole lot more along those lines, The Mindful Attraction Plan book is the place to start.


  1. Shadow_Nirvana says:

    “If you’re the weaker partner in a relationship, you don’t have to worry about gaining power as long as the stronger partner is treating you fairly.”

    What if you’re the man and the weaker partner, how does that work?

    Also, you say younger women and older man have generally a better chance in the SMP. Okay, I agree with that. But doesn’t that mean if you’re marrying as a young man, you have to marry with a woman that is going to be waaaay below your SR in upcoming decades? I mean if her best self in her early 20s will be equal to your “OK” self. When your 30s come, there’s gonna be a huge imbalance.

  2. @Shadow_Nirvana

    “What if you’re the man and the weaker partner, how does that work?”
    ” I mean if her best self in her early 20s will be equal to your “OK” self. When your 30s come, there’s gonna be a huge imbalance.”

    Some of it can be structural in nature, for example, as in your early twenties, she’s at peak SMV and you are just getting a foothold in life and acquiring the combination of things that make a man attractive over the long haul. A smart woman recognizes there is an upcoming shift down the road for her in life and her SMV after age 30 and she places her bets in her early twenties on finding a man whose future self will be coming into his own.

    Unfortunately, not all women are wise about this. Some place bets on the wrong guy. Some on the right guy but he goes wrong. Some women try to “trade up” and change horses right as they begin their big decline in SMV. Divorce fantasy meets divorce reality for the mid-thirties woman with usually less than ideal outcomes.

    However, ideally the marriage scenario goes like this: you get her at her hottest SMV, while you are in the process of building yours. In return for her absolute loyalty during the early years you do not discard her when the positions are reversed in terms of SMV. All her prior years of loyalty are rewarded by you with your own loyalty towards her in the marriage’s second act. Her investment in you, and the risk she took on you when young, pays off for her. You got your “reward” up front, so to speak, back in your twenties when in terms of SMV she was most valuable to you.

    One way things go sideways is if in the early 20s, you were stuck in a sexless heap of a relationship with her, she was disloyal – overtly or covertly, made life difficult for you etc. Well, when the worm turns and you’re on top, you might not exactly feel all that loyal to her. In fact, you might take a look at her and decide that you never got what you were promised and now that the ball is in your court, you’re taking your balls and playing in a new field. heh.

    Another way things go sideways is that you reach mid-thirties together, and you never came into your own, or not to her expectation. Now she’s looking at the last threads of her SMV and some women decide to take one last leap to try to trade up.

    This is where a lot of women go wrong. They dump a perfectly good (if slightly boring) hubby and wind up as the passed around divorced mom or the 40 something divorced woman with much more limited options. A super hot 40 year old woman might have more options than a plain Jane 40 something woman, but still, her options are much more limited than they were when she was 20 and she has to compete against the new 20 somethings. No matter how fabulous her friends and Cosmo tell her she is, that’s stiff competition.

    Another negative result of this bailing out strategy is a psychological delusion the runaway wives suffer from. They often regard themselves in the same light as when they were twenty something in terms of how attractive they think they are, and they have expectations of receiving the same level of interest from males, and indeed higher quality males to invest in them. Notice I said invest, not bang. Two different things. Many a woman has (somewhat) inadvertently wound up on a carousel by confusing the two.

    Also, since they know that the next man they manage to convince to LTR-up might be the last, they create a very severe list of “must haves” the new man must meet. I’ve met more than one woman who was divorced, in her thirties, trailing an ex-husband and kids, who had a list of requirements for a man that was just utterly ridiculous and very out of touch with reality in relation to what she brings to the table. Couple that with female entitlement blasted in the media in this country, and I think this is part of the reason why that is so. For me, it’s like going to look at a used BMW or Mercedes and the salesman is trying to charge me the same price as new. No thanks. Bad deal.

    For your part, you need to show through concrete action that you are becoming that man she placed her bets on in her twenties and keep it up. If you are a mid-thirties man or older and you find that your wife or LTR partner holds the SMV power position over you, something is off.

    Either you “got lucky” and somehow shot way out of your league (unstable relationship results), or something tragic happened to you along the way that set you back, or you dicked off and were a slacker and didn’t keep up your personal improvement. If that is your position at that age, you better take corrective action sooner rather than later. Not only because your current LTR is probably pretty unstable and crummy because of it and much pain is headed your way, but you’ll just be generally happier with your life anyway.

    Good luck. (the lolz!)

  3. “For example, I could if I liked, dump Jennifer and basically walk right now. I’d find someone new relatively quickly and my life would continue on.” Why would you write that? It comes across as a huge slap in the face to Jennifer. It would be one thing to say “as a 40-year-old man I would have an easier time in the post-divorce SMP than Jennifer would,” but it’s quite another to say “I could dump Jennifer right now and move right on with my life.” It sounds as if you’re saying “there is nothing special to me about Jennifer/our life together and shared history and her support of me mean nothing.” I have come to appreciate much of what you write, but this astonished and depressed me.

  4. Well. To be fair if that were to happen she is Canada on the example and so the better looking one. Less power sure, but better looking. And Australia is always on FB saying nice stuff. Mostly because New Zealand is always acting like an uppity b!*%h. Post canada world looks bad in any light. For any power. :)

  5. Shadow_Nirvana says:

    @ZLX1 – Thank you for your very detailed response. I’ve read somewhere that women find “the potential and promise of success” as attractive as success itself, It may very well be true. I am just weighing my options , gathering information and learning right now(I am in my early 20s). Didn’t ask the question for a particular relationship.

    @GC yeah, I cringed a bit reading that part, too. Sounds too emotionally distanced and something I wouldn’t have expected from Athol Kay, tbh.

    I mean yeah, youcould technically divorce and get on with your life without slowing down… but what does that say about how much the relationship has effect on your life. Also, doesn’t the 3 loves theory (lust, attraction, attachment) say that after 2-3 years in a relationship, you get into the the attachment phase and you start to react neurologically to situations happening to your attacheé (:-P) with the same brain parts as you would if they happened to yourself. To say breaking up would have no effect seems a bit like false bravado.

  6. Joe_Commenter says:

    @CG: I can get PC speak from Jezabell and Huffington Post. MMSL speaks reality. I value the unvarnished truth.

    Besides, Jenn edits all of the posts before they are posted.

  7. holdingallthecards says:

    I think this post is a bit oversimplified. If the husbands makes more money, the WIFE is in a position of power, which is why these men do not just up and divorce. Jennifer is entitled to half of MMSL, and possibly future earnings, too, from revenue generated using her good name. In addition, credibility would be shot because the website is dependent upon a solid marriage, proving that what is preached is practiced and it works. So in other words, Jennifer is in the power position (and no, she does not exploit this, although she could. Plus I think think she could easily remarry, as there are plenty of readers right here on this blog that would send her “fan mail” and dating requests). Many a husband is still married to a disinterested wife because it would be too great a financial blow to divorce. And what 25 year old is going to be interested in a 45 year old guy stuck with ex payments and shot credit? This website is right: cheaper to keep her, so make her want you again and restore things back to the way things were in the beginnning.

    Oh we could play this game. Jennifer and I have level pegged income for the entire marriage until about three weeks ago when mine shot up. MMSL makes no money, it’s all royalties from the books as personal income. So alimony wouldn’t be awarded to her in Connecticut most likely. If I was going to make the a-hole move, it should have been six weeks ago, instead we started an LLC together for the coaching wing of my stuff. That is a business and is a 50/50 ownership. Jennifer would likely find someone new off the blog, as would I. It’s all rather moot though. I have no interest in being with anyone else. It’s kinda fun to have round this round on paper, but I’ve always wanted to share the prizes with her.


  1. […] Now let’s hear it from Athol kay: The takeaway is that in relationship terms, I have power over her and thus control the relationship. . Read more on Relationship power vs Give and Take […]

Speak Your Mind