On the Dating Skills Review Podcast #66

Hiya,

I did the Dating Skills Review podcast with Angel Donovan.

http://www.datingskillsreview.com/ep-66-keeping-marriage-and-long-term-relationships-alive-athol-kay/

This was a fairly laid back interview. Ended up going more into my personal life than the Alpha Beta stuff et al, but all good. I forget sometimes people don’t always know the early bits of the relationship.

The one weird moment was a disagreement over the math of how many times Jennifer and I have had sex. He made a corrected note on the transcript. My math wins!

 

Specifically, in this episode you’ll learn about:

  • Athol’s origins (03:58)
  • Athol’s introduction into relationship advice based on his own relationship (05:20)
  • Athol’s personal background and meeting his future wife (07:08)
  • Keeping focus on his long distance relationship (10:05)
  • Athol’s sexual life with his wife (see correction in introduction) (13:00)
  • Is marriage different compared to any other very long-term relationship? (14:55)
  • The positives and negatives of marriage versus a long-term relationship (16:33)
  • Why should marriage be a consideration when in a long-term relationship? (17:40)
  • Scenarios in which marriage should or should not be considered, from one’s own perspective as well as with the other person (19:50)
  • Changes and transition periods leading up to a sustaining marriage (24:05)
  • Scenarios involving men giving up certain traits that lead to marriage problems down the line (24:45)
  • Why men drop their alpha activities when in a long-term relationship or marriage (27:35)
  • When critical moments of neglect or failure take place that result in a lack of trust or support, whether intentional or unintentional (30:20)
  • Excuses pertaining to critical moments of neglect or failure (31:52)
  • Miscommunication scenarios: Athol’s personal example (33:54)
  • Fixing breach of trust and miscommunication issues (39:20)
  • Identifying alpha / beta problems versus trust problems (42:03)
  • Worry benchmarks to consider when there is a decrease in sex (44:48)
  • Reasons for sexual lifestyle changes (46:00)
  • Balancing alpha and beta behavior concepts in a relationship (48:00)
  • Recommendations for high quality advice in this area of dating, sex, and relationships (54:30)
  • Top three recommendations to help men get results as fast as possible in this area of their lives (55:38)

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.

Why Being Asshole Alpha Works For About Six Months

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-man-woman-dating-restaurant-image19636044One of the biggest frustrations I’ve had over the last five years, is watching the endless parade of guys get all excited about becoming Alpha,  getting about six months of great success from it, then nose diving their relationship into the ground.

If you’ve been deficient in Alpha and failing to attract your wife, adding Alpha is pretty much always going to be a good idea. But just like all the standard “Blue Pill” advice assumes there’s already attraction in place and then advises to be more Beta, all the “Red Pill” advice assumes there’s already enough relationship comfort in place and advises to increase the Alpha. If you go all Alpha and neglect the Beta, eventually you run her Relationship Comfort down far enough to damage the relationship.

Alpha and Beta are two completely different traits. You have to get over this idea that Alpha and Beta are at oppositional to each other or you’ll eventually screw your relationship up. You can do behaviors that are highly Alpha / Attractive / Dopamine stimulating AND highly Beta / Comforting / Oxytocin stimulating. Something like going to a really nice restaurant and having a wonderful conversation with her can be both Alpha and Beta. There are all kinds of ways to Display High Value in your dress, your car, choosing to take her to a new restaurant as a novel experience, and your confident casual frame. That’s all Alpha. But you’re also paying individual attention to her, being emotionally connective, touching her and so on. All Beta. It’s completely possible to do both.

It’s also possible to do things that are so crappy that they drive down both her attraction and relationship comfort at the same time. For example, smelling like you’re unaware of the existence of toilet paper is a great relationship ender.

The trap is that most guys discover the importance of Alpha, after a prolonged period of being Low Alpha and High Beta in their relationships. So they arrive with a stockpile of Relationship Comfort and a shortage of Attraction. Thus those early improvements in being Alpha result in fairly immediate success. She’s relived and excited to be attracted to him again/more, and even if he’s being a little less attentive and Beta, he’s still got a huge stockpile of Beta credit to pay with.

But after about six months of now acting High Alpha, Low Beta… he’s pretty much spent down the stockpile of Beta credit. Then she starts getting really hurt and pissed off at him.

The point of critical failure comes around the six month mark where he misreads a Loyalty Test as a Fitness Test. A Loyalty Test is based on her fears he’s not that into her and a Fitness Test is based on her lack of respect for him. Thus if she acts out a little to see if he actually cares about her (Loyalty Test), and he responds to that like she’s rude, spoiled and demanding, (Fitness Test) the results are going to be quite negative. It’s an easy mistake to make because being more Alpha was successfully passing all the Fitness Tests she was throwing at him before now. Once you have an hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Worse still, these critical points of failure can come when he’s bankrupted himself on the Beta front. Which is why suddenly the wife that was hot to trot just a few weeks ago, is suddenly shutting down sexually. That shutting down could be anything from no sex at all, minimal sex, duty sex, starfishing, drinking in order to have sex, reducing it all to very vanilla sex, no BJ’s yada yada yada.

If you’re in that position, it’s usually fixable, but you’re sure as hell going to have to offer up some apologies and the worse you bankrupted the Beta, the longer it’s going to take to make her feel comfortable being in a relationship with you. If you confuse being Alpha with being a full-time asshole, you’re going to have to eventually change that if you want to stay happily married.

It’s all about the calibration. Be  consistently Alpha to keep attracting her, be consistently Beta to make her feel comfortable she’s attracted to you.

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.

Let Noobs Die in a Fire

Time for a geeky World of Warcraft post. I’m healing on a Holy Paladin.

Combat begins…

Boss creates completely obvious pool of fire on the ground centered where the Mage, the Hunter and the Warlock are standing.

The Hunter and Warlock scamper out of the fire and take a damage tick.

Mage doesn’t move and just keeps casting Frostbolt at the boss.

Mage takes some damage from the fire.

I cast a Flash of Light at the Mage and top up his health.

I Flash of Light the Hunter and then the Warlock to top up health.

[Jennifer: Just to be clear, I have no idea what any of this means.]

Mage takes some damage from the fire.

Mage keeps casting Frostbolt at the boss.

Holy Light healing the Warrior tanking the boss.

Me: Move out of the fire.

Mage takes some damage from the fire.

Mage keeps casting Frostbolt at the boss.

[Jennifer: Y'all wanted him to blog again.]

I cast Holy Light and top up the Mage’s health.

Holy Light healing the Warrior tanking the boss.

Me: MOVE MAGE

Mage takes some damage from the fire.

Mage keeps casting Frostbolt at the boss.

Holy Light on the Mage.

Mage takes some damage from the fire.

Mage keeps casting Frostbolt at the boss.

Holy Light on the Warrior tanking the boss.

Me: …

[Jennifer: Oh dear god, just skip to the end if you don't play Warcraft. He goes on and on like this for a while.]

Mage falls to 15% health.

Mage: WTF HEAL

Emote: Paladin blows Mage a kiss!

Mage: #&*%**# YOU

Mage dies in the fire.

Holy Light on Warrior.

[Jennifer: Why am I even editing this post at 1am? This whole thing smacks of a Fitness Test.]

Boss killed and looted.

Mage: WHY DON’T YOU LEARN TO PLAY YOU SHITTY HEALER

Me: I’m not going to heal you if you stand in the fire.

Mage: Screw you.

Hmmmm…. challenge accepted.

Requeue for another dungeon hoping the Mage is so desperate for groups he’ll join again.

New group forms. Death Knight is tank.

Mage: The healer is crappy kick him.

Death Knight pulls three packs of trash mobs, tanks easily, I keep everyone up easily.

[Jennifer: Keep going, I'll tell you when to start reading again.]

Mage pulls next pack of mobs.

Death Knight ignores Mage and pulls two other packs.

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Mage as he’s owned by enraged orcs.

Mage: Rez please.

Me: Run back in.

Mage: …

Mage eventually runs back in the front door of the instance and catches up with the group.

Final boss again, combat begins…

Boss creates completely obvious pool of fire on the ground centered where the Mage, the Hunter and the Warlock are standing.

Everyone quickly scampers out of the fire.

 

So… the moral of the story.

[Jennifer: HERE! Start reading here!]

If people don’t respond to talk, let the natural consequences play out and allow their folly to educate them.

Sometimes people have to repeatedly die in a fire before they learn. If you keep helping them, you’re training them to be stupid. And by default to despise you.

Now if you’re a nice person, you probably feel that allowing the lazy and stupid to get owned by their sub-optimal planning, makes you a terrible, terrible person. If that’s the case, you’re probably also confusing the subtle, but important difference between fire extinguishers and flamethrowers. It’s not like you set them on fire.

So…

What dumb shit do you keep rescuing your partner from, that they are completely capable of handling themselves? 

 

Phase Four of the MAP is Semi-Random and Can’t be Faked

Something that has become increasingly real to me is that Phase Four is a sudden energy state switch. It’s akin to a religious conversion. There’s a moment where everything suddenly hinges and the relationship changes direction.

I know that sounds horribly woo-woo, but bear with me.

I’ve now seen hundreds to thousands of people really running their MAPs and doing well at it. Getting through the phases and generally doing well. They get fit, they get the money together, the house is cleaner, they dress better… but whatever they are doing has still not worked to create the change in their partner that they want.

There’s always some sort of blockage there and I know to break that blockage, they need at a minimum to get to a Phase Four moment and really state their intentions super firmly and directly. They may need to go beyond Phase Four of course, but you have to go through it to get there.

But no matter how you beg, plead, encourage, push, frown, or whatever… they get to what I call Phase Three Point Nine and stall out. They say they understand they need to get to Phase Four. They talk the talk. They really do get it. I know they get it, but it’s like they are scared of heights and trying to jump out a plane. Can’t do it. Want to do it, but can’t. They get right to the edge of flipping the switch and then turn into emotional rodeo clowns diving for cover.

It used to be really frustrating watching this. It’s still a little frustrating, but not overly so nowadays.

I’ve seen people sit on Phase Three Point Nine for over a year. Some two years. I could say I’m talking to their hamster the whole time, and that would be true, but I get it. It’s really hard. There’s no perfect assurance if you stand up for yourself and demand to be treated right, that your partner will do it. We can try and stack the deck in your favor running the MAP, but that only increases the odds. There’s no magic dice. There’s no “I win” button to push. It feels like upgrading to Windows 8.1, the damn install option pops up at you and in theory it’s meant to be better, but that’s what they said about Windows 8. So, hmmm…

On the other hand, there’s some people in Phase Two or just getting into Phase Three, who still have lots of work to do improving their attractiveness before I’d even suggest a Phase Four. We’re still trying to see if the earlier Phases get through to their partner. Lots more time to go yet…

…and I get the call or email and they went to Phase Four already.

“Hi Athol, well it’s been a weird week. First X happened and it was fine, and I did just what you said, and she did Y and it was okay. Then on Thursday she did [completely screwed up thing for the 23rd time] and I just flipped out at her, but it was this really strange anger where I was [really controlled angry / like I was watching myself in a movie / completely exploded], and I said [super intense statement of what exactly sucked about my partner and how they needed to fix it, or get the hell out].”

This is where I think to myself “Ahhhhh shit, we weren’t ready for this yet.”

Instead I say in my least facepalming voice possible. “So what happened then?”

Most times they say some variant on,”She started bawling her eyes out and saying she was sorry.”

Phew! Well, alright then.

Then at some random point in the future, I’ll hear back from a Phase Three Point Nine person.  About half the time their still orbiting right there where I left them, the other half it seems to be a Phase Four hit at some semi random time. After I all but gave up on them, they moved to Phase Four.

So in some ways you can’t plan for it, because it seems to hit at random, but more likely it’s triggered by something the partner does to set off the emotional cascade that is a real Phase Four moment. But like I said at the start of the post, there’s an energy switch. So you can plan for it in a sense because it seems to require baseline of a sense of positive energy and emotional strength to do it.

Going back to the Four Outcome Matrix, where a relationship in a bad place can only have four outcomes, (1) Toleration, (2) Cheating, (3) Divorce or (4) Improved Relationship. Phase Four is in very real sense, the exact moment you take Toleration off the table. Not just in an intellectual sense, but in an emotional snapping sense, where Toleration of whatever nonsense you have been tolerating, is absolutely no longer an option.

Which is also why it can’t be faked. It has to be real. It has to have that emotional snapping where Toleration is dealt a deathblow. But you can’t get into the mindset where it can happen, until you get your MAP up to speed.

 

Options Are Limited When Dealing With Domestic Violence

Question on Violence, Deep Emotion and Rational Talk.

Tyler:  An earlier commenter touched on this, but I want to expand it into a real question: how does a man deal with a woman using the Violence strategy? Outside Force (aka cops) isn’t as easily used by a man as by a woman:

1. As you say, female violence is more frequent/less intense, thus less likely to leave evidence. A solution to this would be in-home surveillance, but that also is a bit drastic (and perhaps costly).

2. In absence of incontrovertible evidence, it becomes he said/she said, allowing the woman to turn the Outside Force against the man, such as with a false accusation. This presumes a bias in law enforcement toward believing the female account, and I do believe such a bias exists.

Much respect for your work.

Athol: In the case of very minor incidents of violence, you have to see that as a testing the waters event. I’m talking about that first thing where they cross the line into the “that was a bit much” category. That you have to immediately call out as being unacceptable and whatever it was they wanted from that incident, you ensure they don’t get it.

So… Jennifer slaps me on the forearm in response to me saying something teasing to her… that’s not a problem. (I actually kind of enjoy it when she does that.)

But… Jennifer slaps me on the face, saying “Go get the #$%^ing groceries from the car!”… well that’s crossing the line. That I’d very firmly verbally bump back on, and the groceries would rot inside her car before I’d do anything about them. The message being a very clear “The Violence Strategy will not get you what you want” statement.

And for the record, no, there’s no hitting at the Kay Place. We do have periodic drama like every couple does, but we’re both major introverts so… huh… I guess we do self-imposed Time Outs in a double withdrawal strategy. Anyway, I digress…

Unfortunately though, most people don’t do that for the first incident of crossing the line, so it continues. In the case of continuing violence, the options are rather limited, unpleasant and somewhat depressing.

If someone is prepared to be violent in a relationship, they will continue to be violent in the relationship because it is a winning strategy to get what they want from you. Yes it’s wrong, but it does work, so they use it. It’s like the bullies as school shaking you down for your lunch money. They will keep hitting you, and you will keep handing over your lunch money until something breaks the cycle. The bully however will not one day have an epiphany that making you their personal piñata is wrong, because no one gives up a winning strategy.

So you have to accept that once someone starts being willing to use Violence against you, it will continue until something breaks the cycle.

There are four possible outcomes…

(1) You do nothing, she keeps smacking you when you’re insolent. You learn to be whatever she decides is “good” and figure out ways to apologize for things that are her fault, lose all sense of a personal identity, clean up the messes she makes and generally turn yourself into a human shield if she ever looks sideways at the children.

(2) You respond with greater Violence and hit her back harder than she hits you. Well… this might work briefly, but honestly the more predictable outcome is simply an escalation of both of you playing the Violence strategy toward the full colonoscopy of emergency services and interventions. There’s not really a winner here.

(3) You quit the relationship. Actually this may not be a bad option. If there are no kids involved and no particular reason to stay, you really may as well bail on someone who displays this level of poor judgment. I’m betting she’s not exactly a peach in the other areas of her life either.

(4) You get Outside Force involved. This is the only possible route if you want to try and address the situation and also keep the relationship intact. The trick here is that you have to make this as defensively clear that you are not the abuser as you can. Video or audio of her acting violent and/or verbally aggressive, while you are clearly not doing anything other than defensively trying to block and dodge may be helpful. If you are injured and she isn’t, head to the Emergency Room and say what happened, which will then trigger a police visit to follow up on your defensive injuries. Most likely though, the best way forward is simply making a police report by calling the non-emergency number for your local police department. I have seen a number of times that simply making a police report goes a long way to stopping violence happening.

In addition, you can also make calls to Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

My feeling is that that if you’re a man worried about being automatically framed as the abuser when you are the one being abused, you’re probably going to have to end up in some contact with the authorities at some point whether you like it or not. So you’re probably better off making an early approach to reporting, using the system of reporting that is in place and for lack of a better term… playing the role of the victim.

What is unhelpful is hedging your bets because of your fear you’ll get painted as the abuser, and letting things escalate further and further. That’s when you have the situations where things get completely out of hand, you’re forced to physically defend yourself more than blocking and dodging and when the police arrive on scene they find a confusing and complicated situation to make decisions about. That’s when defaulting to the idea that the larger male was the aggressor comes into play and statistically speaking, once the incidents are at the level requiring police invention, that’s a good bet for them to make.

So yeah. Options are limited and none of them are any fun to choose.

But once someone can hit you and get away with it, they don’t stop hitting you.

Athol Kay on the Art of Charm Podcast

Check out me on The Art of Charm podcast #239 with Jordan Harbinger.

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-beautiful-young-caucasian-woman-portrait-image30556944What you’ll learn….

Why Alpha and Beta are different traits.

Why Beta doesn’t count unless you’re Alpha.

Why the Three Love Systems are important.

Why I worry about a great relationship dropping down into just a good relationship, rather than terribly relationship moving up to being just a bad relationship.

Why you have to stop whining.

Why you have to know the difference between a Fitness Test and a Loyalty Test.

Why you have to take “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” really, really seriously.

Why you have to lead in your relationship and how to do it so she doesn’t think you’re being a jerk about it.

 

Was a fun show to do. Let me know what you think about it!

Violence, Deep Emotion and Rational Talk

Okay, let’s start out by sounding completely ignorant.

Violence is an amazing tool to get people to do what you want. It’s quick, easy to do and super effective. In a straight up violence vs. violence lizard brain match up, whoever is the best at it, gets to be in charge of the relationship. Men tend to be bigger, stronger, faster and thus significantly more effective at violence than women are, so that’s a major reason why on a biological level men are in charge of their relationships and women tend to be the followers.

Or put more plainly, I’m a foot taller than Jennifer and outweigh her by 40%. In an ass kicking competition I win easily. I don’t even have to act outwardly aggressive in the slightest, and there’s still going to be part of Jennifer’s lizard brain quietly ticking over in the background aware of the fact that I’m significantly more physically powerful than her.

Of course men these days get a crap ton of education explaining why smacking women around is plain wrong, and that education and social shaming often results in a huge reluctance to ever use violence as a problem solving tool. We’re at a point now where many men are so adverse to using violence, that some women have a sense of impunity if they are violent with their men. Overall the situation seems about even now between men and women, men doing it less frequently but typically with greater damage, women doing it more frequently with less damage.

But the basic rule still stands. If someone is prepared to use violence in their relationship, they are in charge of the relationship. You can attempt to use Rational Talk to them all you like trying to get them to change, but it’s completely ineffective because they can just thump you if you keep talking to them about something they don’t want to hear.

The only way to trump Violence is to use Outside Force, i.e. greater capacity for violence to force the issue. The police, courts and prisons being “outside force”, all backed up by the capacity to Taser you, slap you in physical restraints and drag you into a jail cell kicking and screaming and lock the door behind you.

So…

Violence beats Rational Talk. Outside Force beats Violence.

Now let’s get to emotional drama and tears.

Men are more physically powerful than women and for a huge period of our time on the planet, “outside force” pretty much amounted to another thug or at less something vastly less organized than modern law and order. Thus women have had to adapt and learn other coping skills to advance their interested.

Hello Emotional Psychodrama and Confusion.

Just like the violent people, highly emotionally sensitive people are quite cooperative and delightful when you’re giving them what they want. But if they aren’t getting what they want and especially if they are losing a debate with you, that’s when the entire frame of the debate changes into a maelstrom of emotion, accusations, gunnysacking, DARVO and all-purpose accusations of your inappropriate behavior and abuse.

Women are far more verbally adept and have a stronger ability to channel their emotions into an argument, so most men have terrible trouble in dealing with highly emotional women. Added to that, the modern male faced with a smaller, insulting, toxic person not doing what they want, typically loses about 79.3% of his brain capacity to the task of overriding normal lizard brain functioning and NOT slapping her. Which to the woman looks like he’s having a small stroke and is generally spun as an example of exactly what she’s been complaining about, i.e. his complete inability to have an emotional connection and pay attention to her.

There’s also the thing where excessive emotion can hint at, or directly imply future debates will become violent. This is what smashing or throwing things is all about. It starts with door slamming, then breaking things, then throwing things against a wall, then throwing things near you, then throwing stuff at you, or hitting you. It’s a gradual escalation of threatened violence to get you to comply with what they want.

So here’s another rule.

Deep Emotion beats Rational Talk.

Think about that for a minute because it’s a core complaint many men have. “Why does she become so irrational when we talk about the relationship. Why can’t she just talk about something normally?”

The answer is simple, because as long as the Rational Talk gets her what she wants, she uses Rational Talk. But when it doesn’t, that’s when she goes to Deep Emotion to win the argument.

In those cases, Deep Emotional just looks irrational, in fact it’s an incredibly rational strategy that totally, totally works. In fact it would be irrational of her not to be so irrational. Two wrongs make her right.

Men just aren’t typically as good as women are at the Deep Emotion strategy, so they typically don’t try it out much. In fact, if you see two men having a serious disagreement, it tends to stay in the Rational Talk phase for an extended period of time and if it all goes to a bad place, it tends to skip Deep Emotion and head directly to Violence. Incidentally this is why when a cheated on husband seeks out the other man for a “discussion”, the other man is typically scared witless and backs off quickly. Cheated on husbands tend not to spend much time on the Rational Talk or Deep Emotion phases… it just skips to Violence and the husband typically is significantly better motivated to fight.

This is also why when you have a serious woman vs. woman disagreement, it can descend into a mutually assured destruction approach of emotional nuke after emotional nuke as each attempts to carry the day with the Deep Emotion strategy.

If it’s two drag queens having a serious disagreement, it goes to the Deep Emotion strategy pretty quickly, until someone pulls a wig off and then it gets Violent.

So lets recap…

(1) Outside Force beats Violence.

(2) Violence beats Rational Talk. Violence also beats Deep Emotion.

(3) Deep Emotion beats Rational Talk.

(4) Rational Talk is a winning strategy for getting what you want, when neither party is going to use Deep Emotion, Violence or Outside Force. Ultimately it’s often seen as a form of weakness in that you’re displaying how effective the Violence and/or Deep Emotion strategies are with you because you can’t use them yourself.

So the too long didn’t read…

Rational Talk is completely useless in getting what you want from people prepared to use Violence or Deep Emotion.

So…

What the heck can you do about all that is the question.

The first thing you do when someone starts using the Violence or Deep Emotion strategies, is you stop trying to use Rational Talk with them. You stop because you already know it’s a losing strategy against them. The more you try and use Rational Talk, the more Violence or Deep Emotion is effective against you. So you just stop using it.

Both Violence and Deep Emotion are based on creating a sense of fear, trying to get you to give up your personal power in the relationship, so your partner gets what they want from you. So the second thing you do is start using actions that aren’t based on a position of being fearful. You use Fearless Actions.

In the case of Violence, your Fearless Action is to make a direct appeal to Outside Force. Very frequently escalation toward the use of greater Violence stops, the minute someone starts making a police report. I’ve seen very large, threatening, powerfully built, psych patients routinely become instantly co-operative the minute the police arrived. (Those that didn’t of course… well nurses don’t carry Tasers… so good thing we called the police.)

In short, you prove by your actions, that you will make the use of Violence a losing strategy by calling in Outside Force. Which is why my psych patients usually became more generally co-operative after that first police visit.

If they use Deep Emotion though, your Fearless Action is to also make it a losing strategy, by refusing to have a Display of Low Value in response, and not acting the way their emotional state is demanding you respond. If you’re facing a teenage daughter having an screaming meltdown about wanting a horse for example, you don’t act frightened that you’ll be deeply hurt by the loss of her love, should you fail to produce a horse for her. You simply say, “No pony.” and move on with your day. The key is not play into their emotional state, quitting the conversation completely if you must, and pointedly fail to give them what they want. You make the Deep Emotion approach a losing strategy.

If you can make Violence and Deep Emotion losing strategies, people will stop using them against you. This will force them into trying the only remaining strategy available to them…

…Rational Talk.

 

 

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.