Saturday, September 22, 2012

Alpha Mail: be careful what you chase

You just might catch it:
I see you sometimes answer reader questions at Alpha Game. I'm kind of desperate as my marriage is possibly falling apart after only X months. I know you are very busy but if you are willing to read this and give me some feedback I would really appreciate it. 

I am from a very conservative Christian background and never departed from this. My husband had a much more wild life with drugs, music, traveling, and it sounds like a significant number of sexual partners. He is definitely on the Alpha side of the spectrum. When he met me he wasn't living as a Christian. ....  Unfortunately settled down life with me turned out to not make him as happy as he expected. I seemed to be more in love and attracted to him after the wedding while he became disappointed and unhappy. He started spending most of his time away from me, quit bible study, and attends church less often. He started seeming distant and irritable. He wouldn't really talk to me so one day I went through his things. I found something he'd written saying he found married life boring and he was thinking about having an affair....  I don't have any evidence that he actually has, but he now keeps all his devices locked. 

Making matters worse, we have some significant differences of opinion on major issues we can't agree on. I made one fatal mistake of disagreeing with him in public and had no idea the extent it would embarass and upset him. I apologized but its been tough to recover from. I try to be submissive, but some of his decisions are hard for me to cope with. He really wanted me to change jobs for a position I felt I would be miserable in and I didn't do it. These things made him feel that I don't respect him, which is not the case at all. 

I would try to have talks about our relationship, but I would inevitably get emotional and start crying. He has no tolerance for this and usually just turns on the TV or just leaves the house. He also said it made him not attracted to me being depressed and complaining, and he didn't want to be around me or have sex with me.  Seeing my "talks" were disasters, I left him alone and focused on trying to be a good wife. I did my best to act cheerful, give him space, and worked on improving my homemaking and cooking skills. I tried not to complain when he missed church or important family events.

These are issues I am willing to look at to work on. However, I wonder if it is the right approach or maybe this all has less to do with me and more to do with him. I really have not changed significantly in my behavior/priorities/physical appearance from before we were married and he was obsessed with me as the most amazing woman ever. And sometimes when I try to be really submissive/bend over backwards for him he seems annoyed not pleased.
This is an excellent example of one of the less common outcomes of Alpha chasing.  Even if a woman manages to catch the Alpha and secure a commitment from him, he's not necessarily going to stay domesticated simply because he put a ring on it.  Second, it is an illustration of the high risks of missionary dating.  There can be a confusion between the relationship with the other individual and the relationship with God, and therefore, when the former goes south, the latter will tend to do so as well.

The first thing this woman has to realize is that most of her husband's issues have absolutely nothing to do with her.  They have to do with an Alpha feeling trapped by the situation in which he put himself.  Marriage is exceedingly difficult for Alphas, because unlike most other men, they actually love their single lives.  When a man's identity is tied up, at least in part, in his ability to score women, marriage can feel as if he is killing a part of himself and he may find it difficult to figure out who Mr. Married Ex-Alpha is.  It was hard for me; in some ways, it hurt worse than any breakup I'd ever had because I was not only breaking up with part of myself, but an aspect of my identity that I quite liked.  Fortunately, my fiance understood and was sympathetic, which made it easier on me because it made me feel as if the sacrifice was both worthwhile and appreciated.

Also, Alphas are really, really bad at dealing with marital conflict.  This is because they have virtually no skill or experience at managing conflict from their previous intersexual relationships, no matter how many they have had.  The problem here is that marriage eliminates the Alpha's primary tactic for addressing conflict, which is "my way or the highway".  What are totally legitimate, if harsh, reasons to end an STR become simply ludicrous in a marriage.  For example, when single, I trashed women for reasons that, in retrospect, are astonishingly trivial.  Wanted to change plans?  Gone.  Said something arguably disrespectful in public?  Done.  Took a call from an orbiter when I was over?  Adios.  No tolerance, no warnings, no hesitation.  The Alpha - or Sigma, as the case may be - is accustomed to acting from a mentality of abundance, and it doesn't matter if things don't work out with one girl because there are thousands more on the girl tree, just waiting to be plucked.  It's not surprising that it's been hard for this woman to recover from only one instance of public disrespect, because as an Alpha, his natural instinct was to end his relationship with her over it.

Needless to say, this is a tremendously unproductive atttitude to take into a marriage.  A woman has to be very low-conflict, low-maintenance, and risk-acceptant to have any chance of staying successfully married to an Alpha.  There is no taming the Alpha, he has to decide to domesticate himself in the interest of the marriage, and the more the pressure on him increases, the more he feels the temptation to get the hell out.  And don't be naive, emotional withdrawal is a form of pressure too.

My advice is for this woman to understand that she may have married unwisely, to realize that the situation is ultimately out of her hands, and to accept that she needs to allow her husband to decide if he is willing to make the sacrifice required to domesticate himself or not.  Clearly a part of him wants to or he would not have pursued her and made the various changes to his life that he did.  Most likely, he had overly romantic and hopelessly naive views about what marriage would be like, and only now is he comparing the reality of it with the reality of his single life.  Idealized marriage looks considerably better in comparison with the vicissitudes of the single life than does the real thing.

She can't get into the self-protective emotional withdrawal game, however tempting that might be, because no woman can possibly out-indifferent an unhappy Alpha.  That's just throwing in the towel and waiting for him to pull the trigger.  She is doing the right thing by focusing on the things she can control, by being a good wife, acting cheerful, being respectful, and giving him space.  Since the respect issue appears to be a major one, I would encourage her to even make a gesture or two in that direction, perhaps by asking him if he would still like her to change jobs and then following through on it if he does.  It's a lot easier to subsequently change jobs than change marriages, after all.  She should also find ways to tell him how much she respects him, how much she admires him, and how much she likes him, every single day.  Even if that praise concerns a small and stupid thing.  Above all, she needs to be more pleasant than what he knows his various other options to be.

And above all, I'd encourage her to keep the Apostle Paul's admonition concerning the unequally yoked in mind.

"To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.  And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.  But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?"
- 1st Corinthians 7:12-16

So if he has an affair or if he decides to leave, she must let him go.  If she loves him, that's simply what she has to do.  She can only fight for her marriage by not fighting.  To even have a chance of assisting in the self-domestication of a wavering Alpha, a woman must practice wu-wei, she must live without control.  That is difficult for any woman, but then, no one ever said living with an Alpha would be easy and that's the challenge she chose.  The wedding ring isn't magical, and neither wifely threats nor the full force of the family courts will suffice to break the will of a man who would rather die a painful death than live life under the thumb of a woman.  Such men have to be convinced, not coerced, to enter into mutually beneficial relationships.  The good news is that somehow, she convinced him once, so it is possible for her to convince him again.  The art of marriage is continuing to convince the other individual, every single day, that they want to be with you tomorrow.

The good news is that it gets easier over time.  The first year of a marriage is the hardest on an Alpha, and so long as the marriage survives and his wife remains amiable and attractive, he can actually turn out to prove unexpectedly loyal.  Ironically, the challenge may eventually become a question of whether the wife will remain attracted to a husband who is no longer the wild, untamed man to whom she was initially drawn.

31 comments:

Cail Corishev said...

There must have been some serious hamsterbation going on when she deciding to marry this guy. She never departed from her seriously conservative Christianity -- except, ya know, for marrying a fornicating druggie. Sounds like he let her drag him to a few church things to seal the deal, but she admits he wasn't living as a Christian. You'd think that would be a deal-breaker for a devout girl, wouldn't you?

So why didn't she marry one of the nice, Christian guys who surely orbited her on Sundays and gave her longing looks at bible study? Because this guy made her tingle, and they didn't, period. And people wonder why nice guys get bitter.

Great last sentence. If she manages to tame this guy and get him to act like one of those nice Christian boys, she'll probably be the one out looking for new drama. She didn't marry this guy on accident.

Blackburn said...

Oh, and don't get fat... and sex him up. a. lot.

VD said...

and sex him up. a. lot.

That's a little hard when he's actively expressing disinterest.

TLM said...

That's a little hard when he's actively expressing disinterest.......................

Women should never underestimate the power of a quality blow job. It can smooth over a lot of relationship problems. And I'm confident most men would become "interested" again if she could pull it off in sexy but demure way.

Vox said...

Fair enough. I always wonder, when I hear about a male lack of interest, how many times he's been shot down in a row before he suddenly and inexplicably "lost interest".

Many women don't seem to understand that they've got three strikes, at most, before the man gives up and decides she can just let him know when she's interested. This is as true in dating situations as married ones.

The only difference is that the married man is still around, the single man has usually gone in search of more receptive pastures.

Anonymous said...

Even if he does tame himself it will be the worst thing possible for her because it will confirm to her that she'd "changed" him, the ultimate flight of fancy for a woman. After that it's questionable whether she can be brought back from the high of that kind of delusional satisfaction. It's really up to him to decide if he wants a different life. There are plenty of degenerates who in theory want to be reformed but when the stark realities face them, they would rather have the mayhem and debauchery.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am the woman who wrote the question. Vox thank you so much for your detailed response, it is very helpful. Athol Kay was also kind enough to give me some helpful feedback as well. Now I at least better understand what is most likely going on.

"She can't get into the self-protective emotional withdrawal game, however tempting that might be, because no woman can possibly out-indifferent an unhappy Alpha."

I had been thinking of trying that next but that's a very good point.

For whatever reason he was all affectionate today and talking about buying an expensive item we would both own and use, so there are some signs of hope. Thanks again for the feedback I really appreciate it so much.

Katz said...

Don't get preggers, whatever you do!

Your "husband" will not be able to cope with that — not one little bit. He'll be back on the skanks and the dope.

You made a beeg mistake, didn't you?

VD said...

For whatever reason he was all affectionate today and talking about buying an expensive item we would both own and use, so there are some signs of hope.

Just stay positive and be the woman he wanted to marry. I would wait a little while on children, however, as you need to get used to each other before throwing yourselves that sort of curve ball. A baby is not a magical cure for marital problems, it is a form of pressure all its own.

Cane Caldo said...

"He really wanted me to change jobs for a position I felt I would be miserable in and I didn't do it. These things made him feel that I don't respect him, which is not the case at all."

Are you still in this job of which he does not approve? Why would he change his mind that you don't respect him? Men, especially alpha men are likely to take work very seriously, as well as being sensitive (or overly sensitive) to rejection of his leadership. Alphas who knuckle under and submit to a boss at their own job often do so only if they are trying to provide for someone. From that perspective, his work is in submission to his love for you, and it's a sacrifice you are not willing to make--lest you become unhaaaappy.

It sounds to me like he's right...at least in that area, and all areas are related.

Stride Rite said...

"For example, when single, I trashed women for reasons that, in retrospect, are astonishingly trivial. Wanted to change plans? Gone. Said something arguably disrespectful in public? Done. Took a call from an orbiter when I was over? Adios. No tolerance, no warnings, no hesitation."

After several great dates with a hot girl recently, she decided to test me one night with attitude. In the middle of the date, I drove her back to my place, grabbed her coat out of my car, walked her to her car, pointed to the road, flicked my hand in the direction of the street and said "bye". There was a complete look of horror on her face, one I will never forget.

This was about a week after I spent a night with her, after dropping another girl off at 1 a.m.

The women I've dated are melting into one blurred vision when I think of them. The funny thing about a lot of experience, is that is fuels an indifference to women, which in turn seems to attract them even more.

On a work assignment the other night, I had to hang out at a bar. Didn't know anybody. Ordered my drink and sat alone, focusing on a ball game and trying to tune out the bs going on around me.

Drink runner struck up a convo with me and followed me outside when I said I needed a smoke. A second woman approached me and said she had noticed me for an hour. A third was drunk and made a poor attempt to chat me up. I'm going out with the drink runner in a couple days.

In becoming unimpressed with them through a load of experience, there must be some kind of vibe I'm giving off that makes them think it's cool-guy smoothness.

It's not. It's that I'm not amused, and am bracing myself for boredom after a couple weeks.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say this but sounds like your "Alpha" husband, married you for your money.
He buys an expensive item "for you both to use". Let me guess, it's an Xbox or some other device for playing video games, which guess what, he will play, while you will feed him and bring him beers. "Sharing".
Also, I bet the job he wanted you to take was a higher paying job than the one you currently have. He doesn't care about your needs whatsoever. It's all about what you can do for him, mostly financially, because if he isn't having sex with you, he's having it with someone else already.
I'd urge you to take him to the cleaners, but I'm guessing he doesn't actually have any money or assets of his own. Probably blew it all up his nose.

stg58 said...

AMANda Marcotte? Is that you?

Matthew said...

Sounds more like Jennifer.

mmaier2112 said...

"AMANda Marcotte? Is that you?"

Comedy gold, that is.

Steve Canyon said...

I'd take what she said with a grain of salt. He's pulling away because he's refusing to be emotionally blackmailed by her with all her histrionics, crying, and emotional outbursts. It wouldn't surprise me if she actually was acting like a nagging shrew despite the fact she didn't mention it. Why do I think that? Personal experience tells me that any woman that doesn't obtain compliance will use any resource at her disposal to achieve it. Having watched too many stupid romance flicks, read too many stupid romance novels, and in all probability having read the 50 Shades of Grey series she's fascinated with the reformation of the bad-boy and it annoys her to all end that she can't "break" him.

Annoying nagging shrew is the female equivalent of a groveling sniveling spineless beta male.

Badger said...

I like Vox's term "missionary dating," because that's shirley an aspect of this relationship - the guy "settling down" and "coming to Jesus" thanks to the motivation of a woman he's enthralled with. I have to join other commenters in some smell-test skepticism about her 'undeparted' Christian lifestyle someone bringing her into romantic contact with a drug-using rock and roller.

On one front I feel badly for this woman that nothing she does seems to work to improve things. On the other hand...

"He wouldn't really talk to me so one day I went through his things."

She didn't even give us the rationalization hamster routine, just proceeded to the "I felt unattended re: my 'needs' so I violated his privacy."

"He really wanted me to change jobs for a position I felt I would be miserable in and I didn't do it."

This I am on your side about...no one should take a miserable job, let alone be pressured into it by their spouse. Spousal leadership does not mean giving orders.

"These things made him feel that I don't respect him, which is not the case at all."

It's not? You went through his private things because you DID respect him?

"I made one fatal mistake of disagreeing with him in public and had no idea the extent it would embarass and upset him."

Context would have been helpful, as we can't tell if he's being thin-skinned or if you cut him down in public and breached his trust. Maybe he's feeling some buyer's remorse on the whole converting to Christianity thing - he probably thought a "Christian marriage" was going to mean he wouldn't have to wonder whether his wife was on his team. Also you don't have to convert to partner up with a woman who will disrespect you in public, so maybe he feels he's not gaining anything.

"I would try to have talks about our relationship, but I would inevitably get emotional and start crying. He has no tolerance for this and usually just turns on the TV or just leaves the house."

Again we can't be sure of the context, but if a spouse refuses any emotional interchange that's not really SOP for marriage. On the other hand, if you're going to discuss relationship issues verbally, you have to keep yourself under emotional control or he'll feel like you're not listening to him and simply bloodletting yourself.

Vox, "Fortunately, my fiance understood and was sympathetic, which made it easier on me because it made me feel as if the sacrifice was both worthwhile and appreciated."

That is very special. Remember Dr. Neumann's data that said most of his male clients cheated on their wives because they felt unappreciated at home.

Badger said...

"The women I've dated are melting into one blurred vision when I think of them. The funny thing about a lot of experience, is that is fuels an indifference to women, which in turn seems to attract them even more...

In becoming unimpressed with them through a load of experience, there must be some kind of vibe I'm giving off that makes them think it's cool-guy smoothness."

I've noticed the exact same things as I've upped my game, and have been meaning to post on it. The paradox is that as I become more attractive and skilled in the field, I become choosier about who I want to date, but at the same time I become less impressed with the overall quality of the spread, so the gains I make in game are nulled out by my lack of interest in an ever-larger cohort of women.

thevainyogi said...

The conservative Christian woman who caught the Alpha for a husband is surrounded by hens, religious or otherwise, who give her rules but no insight - witness her snooping into his stuff, holding on to her need to be right, standing up for her rights vis-a-vis her husband in public, etc.

The best strategy for her would be to ask her question here about the need and advisability of massaging her Alpha's behavior with the latest bit of equalist advice before executing it on her husband who gave up a world of willing women for her.

Trust said...

An alpha getting married is like an NBA star moving from the big market Lakers to a small market team. He'll suddenly find that the calls don't go his way, Dick Bavetta no longer has his back, and he isn't going to cope well. He'll need strong character and a good supporting cast to deal with it, otherwise he'll be quickly rejoin a prime time team.

Jimmy said...

This is a learning experience. Marrying for all the wrong reasons mean you will get an education for a lifetime. You might get divorced. You should keep your job since you will have to get an attorney to do your divorce papers.

Mike C said...

It was hard for me; in some ways, it hurt worse than any breakup I'd ever had because I was not only breaking up with part of myself, but an aspect of my identity that I quite liked. Fortunately, my fiance understood and was sympathetic, which made it easier on me because it made me feel as if the sacrifice was both worthwhile and appreciated.

Maybe you can expand on this. One of the things I've tried to communicate to some women is that in some sense marriage is a sacrifice for a man...at least it certainly is for a man who has options. Now he is of course getting something out of it as well otherwise he wouldn't be voluntarily choosing marriage.

But there is a duality to it. Along with the positive aspects, there is a sacrifice component, and I think most men want to be appreciated for that. I think Rollo captured this perfectly in this post:

http://rationalmale.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/appreciation/

"Appreciation

I think what most men uniquely deceive themselves of is that they will ultimately be appreciated by women for their sacrifices. Learn this now, you wont. You can’t be because women fundamentally lack the ability to fully realize, much less appreciate the sacrifices a man makes to facilitate her reality. Even the most enlightened, appreciative woman you know still operates in a feminne-centric reality. Men making the personal sacrifices necessary to honor, respect and love her are commonplace. You’re supposed to do those things. You sacrificed your ambitions and potential to provide her with a better life? You were supposed to."


In my view, it is a very, very rare woman who can truly appreciate that component of sacrifice a man makes with marriage. Vox, sounds like your wife is one of them.


johnc said...

If there are no kids, then get an annulment. There's little chance this was ever a valid marriage.

Daniel said...

No, that's bad advice even as a practical matter. Her value on the open market has dropped a lot. An annulment won't give her a clean reboot. If there's a chance she can give him the space to decide to really choose her, then that is the route.

Enduring marriage is the best possible outcome if she stays - abandonment (with no kids) is the worst.

If she goes, the best possible outcome is she meets someone else a little lower on the scale of things and starts over on a new marriage, with no better hope of making #2 work. The worst? That she's seen as a alpha-chasing flake with diminishing value.

Just based on Game Theory (the original), it is quite obvious that following Vox's biblical advice is materially the best choice.

Anonymous said...

Haha, sucks to be her... what she gets for "Alpha" (no character but "sizzle") versus Alpha.

Jimmy said...

"If there are no kids, then get an annulment. There's little chance this was ever a valid marriage."

Legally, it was a valid marriage. Can you argue if it was a Christian marriage? This will be difficult to prove and, at the same time, irrelavant according to the law. Annulments seem to be what Catholics need to do to get married in their Church. It hardly matters to most Christians.

Anonymous said...

Hi I am the person who wrote the original letter again. I did not write this trying to get sympathy as the victim of totally unforeseeable events, or to paint my husband as jerk of the year. I'm just trying to get some guidance on how to productively move forward in the situation. I do have a follow up question. As mentioned in the letter, during a rough period my husband expressed he is not sexually interested in me at this time and has not initiated since. I am wondering if it is better to leave it until he is ready and feels like it, or to try and initiate myself. I do not have any pattern of turning him down as suggested. I think at this point he resents me and is working through some internal conflicts along the lines of what Vox suggested. I'm torn because I'm worried it might make him more likely to have an affair, if he hasn't already, if we are not intimate. But on the other hand I feel like if I initiate he might take it as me not respecting what he said or not giving him space. He is an alpha so obviously not shy about initiating when he wants it. Day to day things are actually a little better and might be improving. Should I be patient and wait it out or try and jump start things? Any feedback?

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