Yellow Alert and Red Alert

One of the most damaging things I’m seeing in relationships are fights about nothing.

Until a while ago I’d been thinking that most of these fights about nothing, were in fact fights about continuing to establish who was in charge of the relationship. The basic principle being that if you can win a bunch of little fights about things you don’t care about, you’re better staged to win the big fight about something you do care about. You can tell these fights are happening when the point of contention is usually about control. I.e. “Don’t tell me what to do”, “You aren’t in charge of me,” and so on. The fight isn’t really about the correct way to stack the dishwasher, it’s about control, the dishwasher is just a backdrop to the conflict where one person demands compliance from the other. I.e. “Stack it my way, not your way.”

But there’s also another way to have a fight about nothing.

It’s when someone is cranky.

When you’re cranky, even normal requests can become grating demands you no longer want to have to deal with. These can even be reasonable requests in a reasonable tone of voice and it would be very reasonable to agree to them…

…except right now you feel very unreasonable.

So you react badly to them.

Then when you react badly to someone making a reasonable request in a reasonable tone of voice, it’s quite reasonable of them to think you’re being unreasonable, rude and disrespectful. After all, you’re basically reacting exactly the same way you would if you were Fitness Testing them.

So they bump back on you.

Which pisses you off.

So then you Bump back on them.

Which pisses them off.

So they BUMP back on you.

Oh hell no. They did NOT just do that.

Dirty Bump Back right back at you screechtard.

Rrrrrrrrwwwwwwwaaaarrkkkkkk!!!!!!

And then as they say, it’s all on. All because someone was cranky.

One of the things I’ve always loved about Jennifer is that she doesn’t really PMS all that much. Even then, when she does PMS, she just announces it in about the same tone of voice one might announce that the mailman came. No anger vented at me, no grumpy pouting and too hard closing the cupboards in the kitchen as she makes dinner. Just a simple, “I’m cranky.”

Those two words are my cue to try and cut her workload down as much as possible. Send her out of the house to relax. Go to the library. Go sip some chai tea in Panera and eat a bagel or something. Whatever it is I don’t care, I just want to move the hand grenade to a safe location. She calms down, de-stresses and comes back. Usually to find basically everything done that needs to be done that evening.

It works because I know she’s not abusing my good nature because she doesn’t fake it. If she’s cranky, she’s genuinely not feeling herself. It also works because instead of things turning into a stroppy evening butting heads together, she takes space and comes back happier and we still usually manage a fun bedtime together. But if I missed her little tell of “I’m cranky”, that would be a bad thing.

My suggestion for clearly communicating you’re reaching the limit of demands on you before you start losing your temper, is a code phrase of “Yellow Alert”. I.e. Yellow Alert =” I’m about to start losing my shit, please give me some space and allow/help me recover and come out of this mood.”

Which brings us to “Red Alert” obviously. That’s when you really have lost your shit and it’s a very dark place to be in. It’s a roiling wave of emotion that overwhelms your ability to “just snap out of it”. It lasts until it’s over. For some people that’s an hour, for some it’s half a day, or a day, or three days, or even longer. When you’re in that place of defensive rage you can say and do some pretty nasty things about and to the people you actually love.

My strong advice is that when you’re in that dark place, simply say nothing other than to announce it and go seek whatever private space you can find, and/or do whatever you can do to get yourself out of it.

Seriously. Just say nothing. Nothing you say will be kind, constructive or helpful. Even worse, what you say might be the Dolorous Stroke that maims your marriage for years to come.

So if Red Alert is an emotional black hole that sucks you in, Yellow Alert is the warning that the event horizon of the Red Alert gravity well is approaching. Take action at Yellow Alert and the Red Alert never hits. It’s vastly easier to take space for an afternoon than walk on eggshells for a couple of days.

Clearly signaling to each other when you are in distress and giving each other space or comfort rather than descending into a fight about nothing is a vital relationship skill. One stupid fight about nothing because someone was tired can wipe out a couple of weeks of positive relationship gains. It’s something I think I’ve gone over with nearly all my couple coaching clients at some point.

Sometimes y’all just need a nap.

In full disclosure, I suffer far more from the risk of falling into the Red Alert realm than Jennifer does. She’s the calm stable one, I’m the passionate intense one. Maybe I’ll talk more about that sometime.

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.

High Fructose Porn Syrup

Somewhat off topic in a forum thread…

Athol:  Actually it’s become clear to me over the last year that it takes very little porn at all to start guys detaching from their wives.

@Haniel:  Might be a derail, but this is where my thoughts are now. I never had a porn problem. My wife never had a problem with me watching porn. I just viewed it as a little extra on the side since I’m more high desire than my wife. It’s way different sensations than sex so I figured just something different and I would do it on off nights–nights were my wife had a busy day and all. Usually two nights a week.

Anyways after reading a few threads here and on r/redpill and the infamous http://yourbrainonporn.com I finally said hey why not just try not using porn ( I thought maybe a month or so to see if there’s a positive change in anything). The main argument to turn me was the simple drop in testosterone. The second was just thinking about how unnatural it is to be able to click click click get aroused anyway you want.

I really didn’t expect much of a change as I was never a heavy user and have a very healthy sex life with my wife, but wow, after two weeks I already decided no porn ever again. My energy towards my wife and during sex just felt so incredibly better.

1) I became much more dominant in my initations. I don’t know if this is because I knew that was the only way I was getting off or just because I hadn’t wasted energy jerking off to strangers.  But I’m just way more proud of the way I initiate and have been getting better reactions from my wife too. It’s hard to define the change it’s just the energy I have when I approach her.

2) Emotional closeness. It’s hard to explain this without getting sappy. I no longer look at other women to jerk off ( I still notice women in day to day life but I’m not stroking at the time so its not as impactful). So my wife is my sexual half. Everything sexual for me is my wife. Every time I get a random boner now I think of her in a hot dress or her sucking me or me pounding her. It used to be oh remember that awesome video the other night, or man that one video I’ve saved for years that always gets me off. Now its random boner  = wife. So now I just feel really connected to her. Boner wife boner wife. That’s the least sappy way to describe it.

3) Noticeable increase in load size, orgasm sensations and duration of orgasm. Even light porn use effected this. The thing is with light porn use say 2 nights a week and with wife 5 nights I never had a break. Now I have a break 1-2 nights a week and that’s enough to really up the pleasure and make the time with my wife more powerful. Who doesn’t want better orgasms with their wife. Now that I don’t watch porn I finally cum like a pornstar.

Its been around 3 months now. Never going back.

Athol:  I’ve had a long time saying that “Something isn’t a problem until it’s a problem.” I still believe that. It’s just become apparent more clearly now how quickly porn does become a problem. We’ve come a long way from a secret stash of stolen Playboy’s.

Never really considered myself a heavy user by any means, and it’s not like I was even jerking off to it. I had a bunch of pic based Tumblrs I was following and when Google Reader kicked the bucket, I was just too busy to find a replacement for it. So the porn just vanished on me one day and that was about it.

It wasn’t until about 3-4 weeks later that I got a adult ad in my email inbox that I got the face full of porny tits and ass. I was shocked by it and that was really surprising to me. Oh I don’t mean “shocked” in a clutch-the-pearls way, just in a wow-that’s-a-lot-of-stimulation way. When you’re a sex writer and a screenshot of box covers makes you have a reaction of any kind it gets your attention. What the fuck just happened there?

So anyway, pretty much everything Haniel said above I’ve noticed too. It’s just a whole lot easier feeling attracted and horny around Jennifer without the porn around. Not like we were even having marriage trouble / sexual dysfunction / serious whatever as a side effect either.

And don’t get me wrong here. I don’t have a moral qualm about watching porn. It’s not even a hard no forever either. I’d just rather not suck down the High Fructose Porn Syrup.

Side Effects of Carrying Cash May Include Sudden Whoretex

Whoretex: A portmanteau of “Whore” and “Vortex”. A whoretex forms when a woman becomes suddenly sexually motivated in the presence of a man with money.

FuzzyBunny:  I work OT and pay off a large bill early.  No reaction.  I work OT again, when offered, and buy new comfy bed she likes.  Still no reaction.  Change out an outlet that was not working, get a BJ while watching TV.  2 months of no OT, griping about money.  I don’t understand.

I make enough to pay our bills and then some.  WTF?

Athol:  Firstly, you gotta get a new member name on the forum. FuzzyBunny isn’t very metal.

Anyway…

Usually the women have to actually see the money to have a positive emotional reaction to it. Money that is in bank accounts is often invisible to women, unless it’s not enough to cover the bills and they have a negative emotional reaction to it. So working some over-time, taking the money out of the bank and buying a new comfy bed with cash = win.  It’s kind of the same with the changing an outlet cover. It’s an objective observable task you did. It nets more points than something she can’t readily see.

Something else to consider is that women do adapt to a certain level of income and you don’t get points for it after a while. So if you make $25,000 a year and get a bump to $35,000, you’re going to get a happy wife reaction. Making $400,000 and dropping to $350,000, is in her mind likely a concerning fuck-up on your part. Objectively speaking $350,000 is more than $35,000, but the $35,000 wife is likely happier about things than the $350,000 one.

I don’t make the rules, I just report them with a wide brush. And just to repeat one more time, women aren’t all gold-diggers, but they are at least copper and silver-diggers. The bills have to be paid, nice things once in a while are nice. But there is unquestionably an adaptation thing where women hate going backwards in standard of living the same way men hate blowjobs vanishing off the menu for no clear reason.

Always have some cash if you can.

Anyway…

In terms of Jennifer and myself, all the book money just funnels into the joint checking account. She pays the bills and I trust her implicitly with handling that. But I do have a affiliate thing that pays into PayPal and now the coaching money gets funneled that way too. There’s been a couple times where “my money” has paid for something and she had truly a palpable look of relief. The big one being the month Amazon paid out several days later in the month than usual… now on the “wrong side” of the forum bill and scary close to the mortgage payment. It’s a nice feeling saying “no problem” and having “magically appearing” money in your hand.

I’ve also lightly teased her that giving her cash entitles me to additional services lol… and she’s been flexible meeting my demands. Bearing in mind all this is a game between us. Half the money is hers anyway. Even if I was technically paying her for sex, I’m paying her with half her money. So it’s really like a 50% off sale… which gets me to second base with Jennifer.

It’s actually kinda fun. Scratch a good girl, wave $300 and see how fast a whoretex forms to suck you dry.

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.

Anyway…

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.