Why Was Her Affair Partner Worse Than Me?

If your wife cheats on you and her affair partner is clearly a highly attractive guy, it’s stomach churning, but at least it makes some kind of logical sense. She traded up and everyone likes getting a better deal.

But there are also plenty of times when the affair partner is frankly not all that impressive. The husband is the king of awesome and the wife has an affair with “some loser who has a kid in the same class as one of my kids.” The loser has a smaller house, a beat up car, a mundane job, is divorced yada yada yada. On paper it makes no sense. Why him?

The missing piece of the puzzle is that people tend to get into affairs based on getting what their current relationship lacks. The lower Sex Rank affair partner may only need to supply that one element that the higher Sex Rank marriage partner lacks. Thus…

If you’re broke, it’s a guy with a good income that’s the threat.

If you’re fat, it’s the in shape guy that’s the threat.

If you’re ignoring her, it’s the guy that can emotionally connect and hold a conversation that’s the threat.

If you’re boring, it’s the guy that’s fun that’s the threat.

If your penis is non-functional, it’s the guy with a working dick that’s the threat.

If you’re [insert weak point], it’s the guy [strong at your weak point] that’s the threat.

It’s also a factor that the affair partner doesn’t need to supply the entire relationship. Our king of awesome above, let’s say he’s got a great income, houses, fancy cars, vs. the loser with his small house and moderate standard of living. The wife in question doesn’t lack for finances because the husband supplies it, so the lower income of the loser isn’t that much of a point against him. If the loser however can provide a lot of emotional connection and conversation, and the husband is essentially so busy being the king of awesome he ignores her, suddenly the loser has something of value she craves. She can get one need met from the husband and the other need meet from the loser.

Or put more plainly, the husband is almost always unwittingly providing support for the Other Man to seduce the wife. The husband is typically supplying most of the wife’s needs, meaning the Other Man only has to supply the remainder of her needs to have an in.

This is incidentally why you blow an affair up and demand an all in or all out decision. When the husband threatens to end the relationship unless the wife punts the Other Man out of the picture, it puts the Other Man into a position where if he wants to continue the relationship with the wife, he now has to be able to supply the entire relationship, which he may simply not want to do, nor be capable of.

Or put another way, if all the Other Man has to do is provide a listening ear, a bunch of text messages and a hotel room once in a while, that’s not that difficult. If he has to provide an income, medical insurance, a place to stay, break up his own family and live with your wife 24/7, that’s a lot more difficult. He may not be willing to do that, or even be able to if he wanted to. Typically the come-to-Jesus-moment-of-horror for the cheating wife is that in the middle of her husband blowing the affair open, the Other Man denies her request for a complete relationship. Sorry honey, you’re just a piece on the side, not the main dish, go away.

Immediately upon realizing she just went from two men in her life to potentially zero men, she heads to the nearest bathroom and throws up.

Or alternatively, she realizes that the Other Man compared to the husband is a loser, and she has no desire at all for a complete relationship with him. Thus when ultimatumed, she dumps the Other Man.

Just bear in mind that even if she comes back home and tearfully and genuinely wants to work on things, there’s still the initial background issue of whatever that weakness in the husband was. At some point, he’s got to address that, or eventually all this plays out again.

And as always, prevention is the best medicine. If you have a glaring weakness in your marriage, that’s your top priority to fix.

Is Monogamy Making You Unhaaaaappy?

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-sad-man-thinking-image6749199I periodically get asked if monogamy is natural. Usually the asker is bored in their marriage, looking for the loophole justifying cheating and nothing I seem to say pleases them.

If I say it is natural they refuse to let me exit the conversation until I admit there is a volume of evidence suggesting it’s not natural.

If I say it’s not natural, they seem to think that I’m a charlatan for writing in a way that is pro-monogamy.

If I say it’s a mixture of the two, they start insisting that an adaptive strategy like swinging mixing the two is the way to go.

If I’m tired and grumpy and say they just want me to grant them permission to cheat, they tend to get offended.

So…

Rather than by starting with debating whether or not monogamy is natural, let’s start with stating what is natural.

What is natural is the creation of long-term pair bonds between two people. It’s very natural that couples seek each other out, find each other acceptable as mates, start building a nest together, pop out some kids and raise them. It takes a long time to get a baby human to adulthood and pair-bonded parents generally speaking are the default setting for human history. This is, if you like, the Beta Strategy.

However what is also natural is seeking out opportunistic sex with those not pair-bonded to you. In the opportunistic sex method, men seek out as many partners as possible to maximize spreading their genes into the next generation. Women seek out the best possible partner for opportunistic sex, to thereby get the best possible genes added to theirs to spread them into the next generation. This would be the Alpha Strategy.

These two natural strategies lie in a dynamic tension with each other. It’s a gross simplification, but a lot of what I’ve written over the years is a way to play the Beta Strategy, by consciously augmenting it with elements of the Alpha one. I.e., being someone your pair bonded partner would also desire to have opportunistic sex with if they weren’t your partner.

Now while that’s all natural, monogamy isn’t.

Monogamy is an agreement that everyone needs to play nice and do the Beta Strategy. That agreement can be as mild as a social contract of manners and expectations, or it can be enforceable by the death penalty. It’s a sort of collective sexual strategy that makes a lot of good sense on a societal level, but can for more opportunistically motivated people, seem to be rather stifling.

If you’re playing the Alpha Strategy heavily, you tend to expend a lot of effort to get sex. It’s high risk as well. It may work out amazing, or it may turn into a Jerry Springer episode of fist-fights and paternity testing drama. It takes up a lot of resources to play Alpha all the time.

If you’re playing the Beta Strategy, you tend to expend more effort on non-sexual things, like amassing wealth and maximizing your investment into the kids.

If you’re in a position of power in your country, getting as many people as possible playing the Beta Strategy is a fantastic idea. It helps create a stable population who do all kinds of productive, functional work to develop your country. The Beta Strategy people go to work in the morning even when they feel shitty and they don’t clog up the jails. The Alpha Strategy people though, they’re a pain in the ass.

Let’s be honest here, you want to live in a country where everyone else plays by the Beta Strategy rules. It’s pretty darn awesome. Safe, secure, non-violent, productive and… and… and…

But there’s one small, itsy, bitsy, teeny, weenie problem.

Monogamy as a social contract, does exactly what it intends to do. It works exactly as advertised. You’re getting what you signed up for.

Seriously now, go check the fine print.

All that was promised was a functional, stable, family unit and a day job. You’re imagining the clause about cock exploding into vagina while two bodies writhe together like they are being Tasered. If you both want that, you have to Alpha up. You have to develop the side of you that would do well in the opportunistic sexual market place.

In that sense, what I write about is a mixed strategy, trying to take what you can from the best of both strategies. Which I guess is getting to the place where the swingers want to chime in, so let’s do it. In terms of whether something is natural or not, purposely allowing another person to have sex with someone you’re pair bonded to, is about the least natural thing in the world. The most natural thing in the world is to try and kill them. It requires a huge degree of socialization to be a swinger, so let’s not pretend that it’s all wondrous and natural. There may well have been Sex at Dawn, but there would also have been Killing at Dusk too.

So no, monogamy is not natural. But that doesn’t mean it’s without value. Jennifer and I often talk about how peaceful and relaxed our family life is compared to many others we know. No step-kids, no ex-husbands or ex-wives, no 3rd or 4th set of grandparents, no stepping around how Christmas works because five different families have to be involved. It’s quite lovely. It’s also time and energy efficient and I couldn’t have written MMSL without that as a structural factor in my life. I’d just have been too busy with family stuff.

The core of the issue is that we’re just not perfectly adapted for a modern civilization. We do all kinds of things that aren’t natural but we still think they are a good idea and worth tempering our natural instincts. Some non-natural things that spring to mind…

Flushing Toilets.

The Rule of Law.

The Internet.

Birth Control.

Private Property.

Electric Power.

Powered Flight.

International Soccer Matches.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

So let me flip the question around on you a little. If we assume your partner isn’t in some way broken or objectively defective, they love you and are a generally willing sexual partner, is it possible that the problem isn’t monogamy, or you being married, but simply that you aren’t being as Alpha as you want to think you are. Which is to say, maybe you’re boring. If you’re bored with yourself, your partner is probably bored with you too.

One of the things that people I coach keep telling me in moments of self-realization is that, “The MAP really isn’t about sex is it? It’s really about just being a better person, about doing what you want to do with your life. That’s what’s attractive!” It’s usually right after this revelation that they find themselves having the best sex of their lives.

It’s a big world. I’m pretty sure there are still some achievements left for you to unlock.

Dread Game vs. Reality Game

 @Isthereastar:   So something I have been wondering about is whether there is a form of dread that women can use on men when they are in tough spot in their relationship (AKA lazy bear husbands/long term boyfriends) Clearly dread works on women, but can it go the other way?

Athol: Well lets define Dread Game first.

Dread Game: To purposely set out to create an appearance that you would or could cheat on and/or dump your partner, unless they comply with your demands. You underline the replaceability of your partner. Some examples of this are creating dating profiles, going out without your partner to bars and clubs, sending flowers to yourself “from an admirer”, purposely seeking to pull Indicators of Interest from the opposite sex in front of your partner and so on. Basically anything you purposely do to make your partner feel a sinking sensation in the pit of their stomach that the relationship is heading to a very bad place, very soon, unless they comply with your demands.

So to answer your question… women using dread on men is about as equally effective and ineffective as it is when men use it on women.

It’s unquestionably an attention getter. It creates a huge impulse for your partner to behave the way you want them to. However, it’s a very risky move. What it does is sacrifice a lot of Relationship Comfort (Beta), in order to create an impression of you having a much Higher Value (Alpha) than they do. Which is fine if you were running a standard Nice Guy / Nice Girl, low Alpha and high Beta frame. Dread Game can create a quick correction of that. However, if your partner ever figures out your Dread Game moves are simply designed to purposely panic them / are in any way deceptively created / you don’t have the guts to follow through on them anyway, then you lose all the Alpha credit the Dread Game created and you’ve also lost a great deal of Relationship Comfort for nothing.

In other words, Dread Game can be effective and it can also blow up in your face leaving you with a disgusted partner who thinks you’re playing games with them.

Ultimately my biggest concern with Dread Game is that it’s a shortcut and I suspect at some point, you’re going to have that catch up with you somehow. This is especially true for a marriage situation. It’s much easier to snow a short-term girlfriend or boyfriend, than the husband or wife you’ve had for 15+ years.

It’s also very easily a negative approach in that it can gain a “well fuck you for ignoring me” element and it’s a very short pathway to getting off on the infliction of pain on your partner. Purposely inflicting Dread on a partner is a stock-in-trade move of Borderline Personality Disorder, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder spouses for example. Dread Game and Emotional Abuse are at times simply a matter of perspective.

The question then, is what to do when you need to gain your partner’s attention.

The approach that I’m seeing as most effective is slightly slower to work, but less risky. It’s called Reality.

There’s a fairly big overlap in what Dread and Reality look like, but with some subtle differences. The most important of which is the change in frame from consciously doing something to try and evoke a positive change in them, to that of making a positive change in yourself, thus creating natural consequences your partner will have no option but to be affected by.

This is the difference between going out and seeking to pull attention from the opposite sex in front of your partner (Dread), and simply having the opposite sex respond to you in front front of your partner because you’ve improved your Sex Rank (Reality).

The Reality is you’re just hotter now.

The Reality is the opposite sex responds to you better.

The Reality is you’re hotter than your partner.

The Reality is they aren’t holding up their end of the relationship.

The really good news with playing this as Reality Game, is that when Reality is discovered by your partner, it only becomes more effective rather than backfiring on you. You’ve not been doing anything wrong, you’ve kept the moral high ground, you’ve been self-improving but not been trying to destroy the relationship.

What you’ve been doing is pouring a more positive energy into yourself. So if you’re heading toward an ultimatum, it’s only because the Reality of the situation is that you’re moving toward where your partner is forced to either join you in a more positive energy place, or be increasingly determined to try and drag you back into a negative one. A standard Reality Game Phase Four statement is something akin to…

“The reality is that if you don’t allow us to have a win-win relationship, I can’t sustain a win-lose one. So the reality is I’m going to have to find what I need to get for me.”

Or perhaps put more bluntly, something like…

“If you keep drinking, I can’t stay.”

“Go to the doctor, or I’m going to a lawyer.”

“How much longer do you realistically think I’m going to stay and put up with this?”

So eventually, Reality becomes more effective and safer as a strategy than trying to use Dread. There’s just one catch though…

Reality Game can’t be faked. It has to be real, because that’s what Reality means.

Your Wife’s AAAAAF Report Card (The “F” is for Sex)

I keep coming across this thing where a husband will positively gush about his wife. She’s an amazing cook, looks great, is kind and sweet tempered, keeps an excellent house, fabulous mom to the kids and on and on and on. Then the sad face comes… and he mentions that there’s hardly any sex. The husband always looks depressed and defeated because she’s far too good to leave but he never gets what he really wants from the relationship. There may well be delicious pie and a nice home, but it feels like he stumbled into a trap nevertheless.

For a long time I’ve been seeing that as a form of compensation on the wife’s part. She doesn’t want the sex for whatever reason it is, so she becomes like a kid coming home with a school report card with five A’s and one F. As a parent you kinda have to look at the report card and think… Well she did flunk math… but everything else is amazing, so I don’t think I can really be too much of a hard ass about it.

Except when it’s a marriage and she’s flunking sex, it really is way more aggravating than your kid flunking math.

“In fact”, I usually say, “you’d probably much rather have the house be a bit messy, have her dress down a little, have a little more noise from the kids and less perfection with the money, just as long as you got some more regular sex. Instead of an AAAAAF report card from her, you’d rather see her turn in a BBBBBB report card.” 

That’s the husband’s cue to scream in relief that someone finally understands his situation. Up until this point, complaints about his wife to anyone else typically gets looks of confusion and polite questioning of the husband’s sanity. The wife is after all perfect, because the AAAAA part of the report card is what everyone else sees and only the husband has to lie awake at night with a raging hard-on silently cursing the cruel F that fate has dealt him.

So she’s compensating for her sexual disinterest by maxing out everything else. It’s a great strategy for keeping him on the hook.

But…

There’s another angle here too.

As much as she is compensating for her weakest area, she’s also mirroring her husband.

Pretty much all the AAAAAF wives have AAAAAF husbands.

These guys are really great. Hard working, good jobs, pleasant, agreeable, great with the kids, helps around the house, yada yada yada. But they all have a giant lack of attractiveness somehow.

Maybe it’s their weight. Maybe it’s the cluelessness about how to instigate and flirt. Maybe they just fold up like wet napkins any time she challenges them. Maybe they fail to do anything when other guys blatantly hit on the wife in front of them. Whatever it is, it all sums out to some huge defect in being attractive and pulling her sexual interest.

Meanwhile, the wife probably has her internal hamster treading water coming up with reasons to be happy in her marriage despite the bed death. He’s such a great guy, any woman would be happy with him… just… ugh. This would all be simpler if he just cheated so I had a reason to divorce him.

So…

Whatever it is that’s causing the F in your sex life, you have to find it and root it out. Helping you in that process are the books, the forum and the 1:1 coaching.

So get to it. Class is back in session.

Does The End Justify The Means?

I’m often criticized by Christians as being either “too quick” to suggest divorce, or even “pro-divorce”.  Usually it’s not a complete slamming of me/MMSL, more of an element that makes it’s way into my final grade so to speak. MMSL is amazing and wonderful and deserves an A, but the whole willingness to divorce thing drops me to a B.

I get it. I totally understand that point of view. If you have a Christian world view, that makes sense to me that you think that way. The trouble is though, sometimes a completely genuine divorce threat works like nothing else does to unstick a stagnant marriage.

So the difficulty is that it can work, but is wrong to use. Awkward.

So let’s get real about this shall we.

There’s not too much question in my mind that a genuine divorce threat is a non-sanctioned Christian tool. I agree that you’re coming over to the dark side to try this tactic. That being said, I *very* rarely jump to an instant divorce suggestion and those cases where I do are truly horrible. The entire Phases of the MAP is designed to actually slow down the rush to judgment and get everything as good as they can be, before ever getting to a true divorce ultimatum. It’s a true last resort. Even then, it’s a true ultimatum – a choice – with a positive option for the other spouse to choose. All they have to do is act right.

It’s not simply a random nuke tossed out. It’s something that offers a clear and positive resolution if your spouse is willing to take it. So honestly I get a little ticked at being framed as “pro-divorce” or slap happy on recommending it.

So does the end justify the means?

Yes. Yes it does. If that means you’re in a happy marriage as a result, absolutely it does.

It all just needs to be controlled, managed and staged as best it can for minimal risk and maximum possible gain. If it all works out for the best, I think you’ll be able to live with it. But I do get that it’s stressful and stomach churning to think about.

You know what the REAL risk is though? One day something in your marriage is just going to get so bad, you’re going to snap anyway.

I’d rather see you get help before that happens. If you’ve tried everything else and it hasn’t worked, come see me.