Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Beta Thought Process: A Case Study

tl:dr because this one's kinda long- I was a beta male. It sucked not only for me, but for those around me. I hurt a lot of people. Then I changed. Now life is fucking awesome. 

Since I've started this project, I've been a bit overwhelmed both logistically and emotionally. First, I knew there were a lot of people like many of our current San Diego Man Camp members (check out our FB group here), but I didn't realize there were so many. The gender role posts have resonated with A LOT of dudes, and many are flooding my message box with their stories. It's been hard to advance the planning of the group due to the workload. That's a great problem to have.

More importantly, this has been overwhelmingly and emotionally-validating. Being a beta male sucked. A lot. I was that guy that militantly supported feminism, no matter how illogical the ideas seemed. I was the guy that put all females on a pedestal. I was the guy that would do anything a girl asked me to do because maybe, just maybe, she liked me. I was the guy that came to the defense of women when they were being hit on by assertive alphas. I was the guy that women friendzoned.

The worst part- I was an emotionally-manipulative jackass that genuinely believed in my heart of hearts that I was not only acting in a virtuous way, but I was treating women the way you're supposed to treat women. Nobody called me out on my shit because, outwardly, I appeared to be a loving, caring, human being. I looked and acted like a model citizen. A role model, even. At least before I could no longer plug all the cracks in the leaking dam that was my beta persona.

When I made changes to my life, the positive results were, quite frankly, amazing. The more of the beta persona I shed, the more enjoyable and fulfilling life became. When I started to share the ideas, other men experienced the same. Through their stories, I've come to realize the "beta male" mindset has a ton of commonalities. The thought processes we use are frighteningly similar. Hopefully the sharing of my own thought processes will help more dudes realize their own maladaptive patterns, which will hopefully motivate them to make the same changes our SDMC crew is tackling. 

I already shared some of my past (and the reason beta males sustain their own fucked-up world view using intermittent reinforcement), so I'll focus mostly on the actual thoughts that went through my head as a beta male. Odds are good anyone that knew me personally back in the day can figure out the characters, but please don't reveal names. ;-)

Case Study #1: The First Crushes

My first real crush occurred when I was in what we called junior high (for you kids that don't remember the Challenger, it's what we now call "middle school".) My first crush was a girl that rode my bus. I would occasionally talk to her, but more or less admired from afar. I was petrified to tell her I liked her because I was afraid of rejection. I had this crush for about a year and never made any sort of move. Eventually she started expressing overt interest in another boy, so I moved on. Little did I know that relatively innocuous experience would create a pattern that would persist for decades.

Crush number two was a slightly younger girl. This one was actually kind of difficult because I really liked her. A LOT. And she liked me. I could sense that at the time, but I had zero confidence in my ability to read her interest. We engaged in a little bit of clumsy flirting, but I still couldn't be certain she liked me (stupid, right?) I never overtly told her I liked her, but made excuses to spend as much time around her as I could. This is where my beta-ness really started. 

I did nice things for her. I bought her things. I complimented her. I treated her like a princess. I figured I had one chance to express how I really felt, and I had to lay the appropriate groundwork before I could to minimize the chance of being rejected. I would have fantasies of the grand romantic gesture that would capture her heart... but it never came to fruition. "Some day" became "never." I never asked her out on a date. I never told her I liked her. Eventually she started dating an alpha male and I was devastated. 

That experience SHOULD have taught me an important lesson - Get over the fear and just go for it. But it didn't. Instead, it taught me that girls that fall for the jackass alpha jocks must have something wrong with them. Interestingly, I probably could have had a few chances with her in the coming years, but I had a hard time overcoming the feeling that she was flawed for falling for the alpha.

After that experience, I had two or three minor crushes. Same deal - watch from afar, try to befriend and warm them up to me, then wait for the right timing to express my feelings. I would say I struck out, but I never made it to the plate. I was too busy sitting on the bench observing the pitcher. I was too afraid of striking out. Instead, I'd just fantasize about the home run I'd hit once I figured out the pitcher's pitches. Sadly, every single one of those crushes fell for alphas eventually. My disdain for them grew... as did the realization that there really weren't all that many "good girls" left. 

Sidebar - if you're not a baseball fan and don't get the analogy - fuck you! It's a great sport.

Anyway, I eventually settled on one more major crush. This one was a little different. She had a boyfriend. And he was a bit of an ass. That gave birth to a new version of me: White Knight Jason. I thought I had learned from my previous experiences - so I took a different route. I let her know how I felt. I encouraged her to break up with her boyfriend. She didn't. But I persisted. For the first time in my life, I became a "branch." 

[Operational definition time - a "branch" is basically a back-up male. When women are in relationships, they often don't leave relationships until they have a sufficient replacement aligned... a contingency plan, so to speak. They swing from branch to branch, and don't let go of one until they have a grip on the next branch. It's important to note, being a "branch" is one of those female behaviors that seems to piss guys off, but it's just what women do.]

This went on for quite some time. They would fight and be on the verge of breaking up. I'd get excited. They'd make up. I'd fall into depression. And so it went. Again and again. He knew I was there waiting in the wings, which probably kept him in the relationship longer. I did a lot of stupid passive-aggressive white knight shit. Needless to say, my white knightedness never paid off. I did annoy my friends, however. Eventually one of my friends set me up with his girlfriend's friend.

Case Study #2: The First Marriage

She was a nice girl. She didn't seem "flawed" like all those other women that kept falling for the alpha douchebags. We dated. We went to prom. We had sex. It was even better than I thought it would be despite our obvious clumsiness. The most important thing I learned - being the nice guy DOES work! Not only did I land a girlfriend, but I was having sex! Hot damn!

Eventually I went off to college. She stayed at home and went to a community college. We did the long-distance relationship thing. It sucked because I didn't get to see hr. It also sucked because she commuted to that community college with two dudes (both were sort-of friends, but not too close to me) that liked to tease me about hitting on her. I don't think they ever did, but it made me insanely jealous. This next part is the first time I've ever admitted this in public, but I intentionally tanked my grades so I got kicked out of the university. I had no choice but to attend the community college. With her. And we could now commute so she wouldn't be hanging out with the other dudes.

So yeah... I intentionally flunked out of college out of jealousy.

Eventually we graduated the community college and decided to go to the same University (different than the one I flunked out of.) We continued to date. In retrospect, I missed out on all kinds of fun by being in that relationship. I assumed I was pretty low-value, but women saw something in me. I got hit on in a very overt fashion by around twelve "significantly hotter than my girlfriend" women throughout the three years spent there. I always blew them off. I was, after all, a nice guy. I now realize I have a lot of alpha tendencies and behaviors outside my experiences with women, and I think that's what made me attractive to the other women. 

The sex with her wasn't quite as intense as it was in the beginning, but I didn't dare rock the pussy boat. Our last year in school, we moved in together. I was expecting daily sex because now we'd have the opportunity. It didn't quite work out like that, though. The sex became even less frequent. In an attempt to get more action, I started studying sexuality in earnest. That's actually what led me to studying psychology in general and sex and gender in particular. Later on, I'd even name my dog "Kinsey." Heh.

In a weird ironic twist, everything I'm going with the San Diego Man Camp is based on an academic foundation that was forged because I wasn't getting enough action way back in college. Steve Jobs would be proud of me for connecting the dots. 

Eventually I asked her to marry me (in a nauseatingly romantic gesture that would make Ted Moseby look like Hugh Hefner.) We graduated, got real jobs, and started playing house. During all of this, I had a sinking feeling that she wasn't the soul mate I thought she was. She was nice. Too nice, in fact. At this point, I was full-on beta. I asked for permission to do anything and everything. I did nice gestures all the time. The sex, which I desperately craved, never really did increase. So I ramped up my romance game. I continued to study sexual technique. We would have sex a few times per month, and it was always lame. Every once in a while, though, maybe twice a year, we'd have actual hot sex. That was the intermittent reinforcement that kept me in the relationship and convinced me my nice guy persona was working. It just wasn't working well enough. So I tried harder.

For the last few years, she would visibly recoil if I tried to kiss her. Based on her body language, sex was clearly a chore that ranked somewhere between snaking the kitchen sink drain and picking up dog shit in the yard after the winter snows recede. I was getting desperate to ignite some passion in the relationship so I could once again feel like she actually wanted to be with me. My romantic gestures got more and more outlandish. I gave her even more attention. More Hallmark greeting cards. More flowers. The more I tried, the more she apparently withdrew. 

It got to the point where I started secretly tracking the rejections. Remember that spreadsheet dude? That was me. The data? Over a six month period, my sexual advances were rejected 95% of the time. She rejected me nineteen out of every twenty times I've tried. Being rejected by the one person you love more than anything in the world is absolutely soul-crushing. She would say she loved me, but the rejections berayed her words. I had come to believe sex was an indicator of love, and each rejection was her subconsciously saying she no longer loved me.

When I read through the stories on Reddit's /r/DeadBedroom sub, I cringe. I can totally empathize. Of course, in hindsight I can see that repeated rejection was totally a result of my infallible belief that my beta male nice guy routine. But I couldn't see that at the time. Every single source I read and every single woman I talked to all gave the exact same impression - the way to get a woman's love (and sex) was to sensitive, vulnerable, tender, and loving. Treat her like a princess and you'll reap the rewards. 

It never even occurred to be that the nice guy beta routine was the cause of the rejections. It never occurred to me that the alpha douchebags that kept stealing my crushes in my earlier days weren't the douchebags I perceived them to be. It never occurred to me that they weren't assholes at all; they were simply acting like a man, and THAT is what made them irresistible to my crushes.

Eventually resentment started to set in. I started to despise her for withholding affection. I was bitter and angry. How could I have been so wrong about her being my soul mate? At this point, my self-esteem was shot. I hated myself. I hated my life. The real kicker, though, I didn't tell anyone. Outwardly, everything appeared to be good. She had to have know something was up with me, but anyone looking in from the outside probably saw a pleasant young couple that appeared to be happy and had a bright future.

The Beginning of the End

I vividly remember the day I snapped. February 1st, 2003. It was a sunny day. I skipped work because I needed a break. I was seriously depressed. I hated my wife. I hated my life. I was seriously depressed, but did my best to hide it from the world. Silent desperation. I considered the idea of suicide. If it weren't for a narcissistic streak, I probably would have given it a more serious consideration. I was lying in bed watching TV. The Space Shuttle Columbia was scheduled to return to Earth. I had always been a bit of a space buff, and it had been years since I watched a shuttle launch or return. I was drinking a beer even though it was only around 9am. The shuttle return was going off without a hitch. I felt a brief sense of pride and awe at the idea of space travel. 

Then it disintegrated somewhere over Texas. 

I started at the TV for about an hour. I didn't feel anything. I didn't think anything. I just blankly stared at the screen. Slowly, I started to relive every moment of my life. I replayed all the major events. I replayed social interactions with family, friends, all those crushes, and my wife. A thought the emotions started to build, too. As they rose to a crescendo, I had an epiphany:

I had lived my entire life to please other people. 

Worse, all of that pleasing was done as an attempt to get other people to meet my needs that I couldn't directly express. I couldn't remember a single behavior that wasn't motivated by that dynamic. More than a decade later, I'd learn it was a classic behavior pattern I mention often - I was a textbook "Nice Guy."

I would like to say I made immediate changes and saved that relationship, but I didn't. I sabotaged that marriage. Got divorced. She took my dog.

I remarried, and Shelly turned out to be my dream girl. We had a million weird behavior traits in common. Best of all, she loved sex. I was in Heaven. With her a my new life teammate, I slowly started making positive changes in my life. That process took damn near a decade and was wrought will all kinds of negative shit. We both had a lot of baggage, and we both did some pretty shitty things to each other. Everything was a learning experience, though. For me personally, I started to really grasp the depth of my beta male persona, and started taking steps to change. 

It was a hard journey, though. I didn't have any sort of road map. Channeling my experimental psychology background, I started developing an attitude of life experimentation. I'd research, learn new ideas, test them out, keep the good, and discard the bad. VERY slowly, life got better. That journey pretty much culminated in the San Diego Man Camp project. 

I don't have all the answers, but I do have a shit-ton of experience with the beta mindset. When I see other beta men saying the exact same things I used to say, I cringe. I know exactly what's going through their minds. I feel a deep sense of obligation to write about this because I know at least some of those dudes are at the point I was at... silent desperation. They put on a happy face. They defend their actions. They have to because it's their reality. Some of them, though, may be open to the possibility that there's another way. A better way. 



I've been ramping up the implementation of more "alpha" masculine behaviors into my life over the last year or two to the point where my former beta self only comes out under extreme emotional stress. So how exactly has my life changed? 

For starters, we have sex. A lot. Sometimes it's hot, steamy, animal sex. Other times it's more tender and intimate. Other times we're just chasing the O. The key - I don't get rejected. Fundamentally, I've learned that acting like a man is infinitely more arousing to women than acting like a sexless, androgynous (or worse - feminine) beta. Equally importantly, I've learned intimacy isn't a prerequisite to passion. In fact, intimacy kills passion. So I've learned how to alternate those two constructs which is powerfully seductive. I learned that I can't plead, beg, negotiate, or buy her desire with gifts, doing chores, or giving compliments. Female desire just doesn't work like that.

More importantly, I learned that placing Shelly on a pedestal of perfection (which is what I also did with every one of those crushes and my ex) was ridiculously unfair. That sets up impossible expectations. I learned women just want to be treated like, surprise surprise, a person

The real lesson, though, was that I had lived my entire post-puberty life for women. They were my focus. Every single behavior, thought, or idea was decided, in part, by my perception on whether or not it would help me get laid, and by extension, loved. I learned that's a really fucked-up way to live your life. I learned I have to be selfish. I have to live my life for me. Shelly is a compliment to my life, not the focus of my life. That simple reframing absolves her of the great responsibility of meeting my expectations. I didn't realize it when I was placing her on a pedestal, but that essentially served as an anchor around her neck. 

There's obviously a lot more positives of shedding the beta mindset, but this is a not-so-brief behind-the-scenes look at the sex and relationship dynamic of the beta and post-beta experience. Again, it's a journey all betas should seriously consider taking. 



  1. Well Damn. Thanks for writing this. Confirms other things I've read recently.

  2. Bro this is sad, I had no idea. Guess we've all come a long way. Good for us.