Monday, 15 December 2014

The Recovering Beta

I can’t remember how I found the Sphere - probably through Roissy in DC after reading The Game - and fell down it like Alice into the rabbit-hole. Here were people saying what I’d always known about women, but thought myself wrong for thinking it; people who had practical advice about handling relationships and pick-up that felt right, not like the wishy-washy stuff of the mainstream; men who had had the same re-buffs, disappointments and shocks at the behaviour of women as I had. Here was confirmation that “being a nice guy” was not a good thing, but the kiss of death to one’s sex life. After prolonged exposure to the Sphere, all the things I did that I thought I was wrong for doing, I now know were the right things to do.

The Sphere is where men who have been worked over by women go to share. It’s recovery for men who realised they were powerless over women and that their lives had become unmanageable as a result. We have to be shown and then reject the fairy-stories we are told about women and relationships in the mainstream media, and often in the advice of parents, friends, and by the women in our lives.

Recovery is about going back to living as rewarding a life as you can, given the damage you’ve sustained. For drunks and drug addicts, it means abstinence from mood-altering chemicals, and learning how to cope with life without using anything to ease the feelings; for a co-dependent, it means getting over the last batch of hurt, shame and pain, learning to avoid relationships with the wrong people, and trying to have relationships with healthy people, which means, given the ability of healthy people to avoid getting into relationships with screw-ups, learning to live without close relationships at all. For someone coming out of a dead relationship, it means… a movie cliche, the one about “learning to trust and love again”. Or not. It depends on age. The older he is, the longer he’s been experiencing the reality of live-in relationships, the less likely he is to want to go back into another one. Some men are serial husbands, even into late age, but not many. Most of us get over the shock, and then breathe a huge sigh of relief. As this man did:
We are conditioned to believe that happiness is only possible being in a committed relationship with a good woman. Not true. The fact is that being married in your late 50's or 60's can be OK or hell. I notice that a lot of my married friends who are married to women their own age (women past 55) are not all that happy. They are looking old and tired. And the problem is more with their minds than their bodies. These guys have just given up and are trying to enjoy what they can (food, grandchildren, a cruise) while they enter a decline to old age. They hardly ever spend any time in a gym or getting out of the comfort zone… Being divorced since age 49, I actually feel more adventurous, physically stronger and eager to pick up new hobbies and knowledge. With a (very few) bucks a man can buy good food served with a smile (not bitterness), buy cleaning, and sex.
It took the Red Pill for me to understand what happened in my one and only LTR, in which the last three years were sexless and decreasingly affectionate. I turned Beta, and women in a relationship need Alpha like men need sex. If they don’t get it, they get tetchy, irritable, distant and ultimately contemptuous. Take the sex away, and the man doesn’t consider he’s in a relationship: take the Alpha away, and the woman doesn’t consider she is.

You don't keep a dog unless you're prepared to feed and exercise it, and a woman shouldn't keep a man unless she's prepared to have sex with him, as a man shouldn't keep a woman unless he's prepared to meet her need for Alpha and attention. About a third of men and women don't want to do that, for reasons that don't matter. These are the ones who divorce in ten years, or remain lifetime bachelor boys and girls while having a series of not-quite convincing relationships. The other two-thirds don't do it very well, fall ill, put on weight, lose their jobs, get fat after having children, and all those other things that people do to make themselves undesirable but not to the point of divorce-worthiness. There's a small number of people who make it work, but so few nobody has ever met one.

So let’s assume, one way or another, you’ve accepted that women are not saints; and more, that they have their own plans, in which you are a resource, not a beneficiary; and that you have even accepted the truth of Briffualt’s Law. What do you do next?

Game. Not cheesy opening lines, but the whole thing from self-improvement, to pick-up and follow-through tactics, handling relationships, and getting the right state of mind. There are different schools, from the London day gamers and Roosh at one extreme, through Roissy , and out to the self-improvers of whom Mark Manson is for regular guys and Mike Cernovich is more in the Tony Robbins style. Sphere / Game blogs are like 12-Step meetings: if you don’t like the one you’re at, go to another one the next time, one of them will be what you need. Game works. I have tried the simplest tricks from Roissy on women half my age and watched them perk up and pay attention. I wish someone had told me when I was fifteen, that when women ask you a question, they don’t care what you say, they are looking to see how confidently you handle it.

Game or not, unless he’s in some very specific circumstances which most men are not, the amount of work a man needs to do to meet a woman who will have sex with him is horrible: a man who knows what he’s doing needs to approach forty women to find one who will have sex with him. If he’s got very good radar, the number he needs to approach reduces, but the time between girls stays the same, as his more accurate radar pings less often. This assumes that he has forty women to approach. When a man excludes the damaged goods, and has been excluded by the entitled, the value-seekers and the celibacy-club members , and if he decides that his self-respect does not allow him to date overweight or weird-looking girls, he may find himself with no choice at all on any night of the week in any town. Many women consider four out of five men to be unattractive, unexciting or low-value, so the majority of men are likely to get bad-tempered rejections and flaky behaviour. It’s easy to see why many of them take the first decent offer that comes along.

Catch is, it turns out a man who gets married thinking he doesn’t have to try anymore is an idiot. He has to game the same woman for the rest of his life, without break, pause, rest or respite while his single friends can take a break now and again. Esther Perel, Roissy and Rollo the Rational Male, all agree that “gaming the wife” is essential to keeping a marriage from turning into a sexless, empty routine at best and actual hell at worst.

For reasons that don’t matter, women don’t think they are there to support men. They don’t ask what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. This is how one commentator sees it:
For the past, at least, 25 years, I've been told to do more and more to keep a woman. But nobody's told me what they're doing to keep me. I can tell you as a heterosexual married male in management, who didn’t drop out of society, the message from the chicks is: 'It's not just preferable that you should fuck off, but imperative. You must pay for everything and make everything work; but you yourself and your preferences and needs can fuck off and die.'
Given all this, some men decide to not bother chasing after women. If one comes along, sure, but to expend energy and money on the chase? That seems dumber than buying a lottery ticket. This brings us to the idea that a man should construct his life around an ambition, profession, skill, project or discipline of his choosing, not around marriage-mortgage-children-salary. If a woman wants to accompany him, that may make both their lives more interesting and enjoyable, but women are strictly an add-on. This doesn’t mean he gives up sex: one-night stands, prostitutes, short-term relationships, are all okay. It means he does not put sex, or women’s needs, at the centre of his life. He is not working to provide her with a new kitchen and a long-haul holiday. Men can Go Their Own Way and still get laid like tile, or they can live like Cistercian monks: the point is that they aren’t in hock to the bank for some gee-gaw their wife wanted.

One group of men give sex, and women, an importance it simply doesn’t have. These are the emotionally wounded young men raised in dysfunctional circumstances, from actual abuse to absent fathers, poor mothers, substance abuse, co-dependency and onwards. Those are the source of the pain, emptiness, confusion and hollowness they experience. M3's Incel piece describes that emotional hell, and reading it reminded me of my sex-parched 20's. Some use drugs, some turn to spiritual disciplines, and others look to women for validation, emotional wholeness and some ease from the pain. That’s a mistake. Women can’t provide those things. No-one can. That pain comes from a messed-up hormone balance they got from their messed-up family life, and nobody can cuddle or fuck it away. That takes some fairly serious therapy, or a thorough Steps Four though Nine, and with the guidance of someone who is on their side as a man. Good luck with that.

I’ve used the phrase “for reasons that don’t matter” twice. We learn in recovery that the reasons we drank, or took drugs, or cut ourselves, don’t matter. Sometimes naming and describing what happened can be therapeutic, but not always. We can’t undo the past, but we can undo the dysfunctional behaviours and thoughts we learned in the past and still practice now. We can learn basic Alpha and to watch ourselves for those moments of weakness when we turn Beta. I’ve discussed what are the right behaviour and attitudes for a man and the only things you won’t find there are the idea that a man should be married and a father, and that he should sacrifice himself and be selfless for others, and especially women. Where I come from, that’s called "being a White Knight”.

Alcoholics don’t drink; addicts don’t use; co-dependents learn to live without close relationships. Foodies have to learn emotional management, because that’s their real enemy, not food itself. The interesting thing is that a lot of advice is common to all problems. Abstain from your drug-of-choice - booze, heroin, food bingeing, needy people, the gender wars in the media, and anything where women are advising men about how to be men - and then get on the self-improvement train. Here’s the Reverend Laurence Shannon:
Condition yourself physically and mentally. Most people look like gunnysacks full of doorknobs. This is partially due to heavy doses of dependency on predatory females. Work out every day and get yourself into good physical shape. Take up a sport and start running. Do what predatory females have done for thousands of years — concentrate completely on yourself. Rid your mind of the garbage dumped into it by the matriarchal society. Occupy it instead with good books, films, and a hobby that benefits you, that you enjoy.
12-Step fellowships have never identified the corporations who make alcohol and drugs as "the enemy”. As the preamble to their meetings reminds them, they focus on aiding individual recovery:
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
Recovery is always personal. Never political. Seeking political solutions for personal problems is futile at worst and excessively long-term at best. The alcoholic has to stay sober today, the co-dependent has to avoid being sucked in by that needy person today, and the Beta has to avoid the Friendzone and “relationships are hard work” hell while getting his needs met. We alcoholics learn to avoid bars, off-licenses, pubs, office parties and other wet places, and when we see the civilians staggering around on Saturday night, hear the inanity of their overheard chatter, their shrill, insecure laughter, and the wear and tear showing on their faces, we thank God that isn’t us anymore.

Recovering Betas take many different paths. For all of them, women have lost their magic and power to validate, and are simply one more option for the use of time and energy. Once they start demanding a man’s resources within a relationship, the recovering Beta judges them on risk-cost-reward, exactly because they no longer have the magic to deceive him nor the power to shame him through denied validation. And many are found wanting. In the middle of one of the world’s great cities, I look around at the hard, tired faces of the career girls, and see their graceless movements, puffy skin, drab clothes, flabby muscle tone, the inanity of their overheard chatter, and their shrill, insecure laughter. Other men think this is normal, and that such women are worth the huge one-sided risk of marriage. I don’t, and never did. Recovery has taught me that I wasn’t at fault for feeling that way.

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