Most modern relationships that encounter trouble can usually be defined based on the male's behavior. This isn't to say the male is to blame, per se, but the male usually has the power to lead any given relationship in a healthy direction or an unhealthy direction. In this series, I'll touch on four of the most common patterns and give suggestions on fixing the relationship.
The Way Relationships Used to Be
Prior to the sexual revolution in the 60's, marriage was pretty much a lifelong contract. It was defined by a sense of duty, obligation, and sacrifice. It was difficult to get out due to the legal landscape and social consequences of divorce stigma. This security meant both members of a couple could expend energy doing things other than continually "working on the relationship." Since premarital sex and infidelity were seriously frowned upon, partners had little choice but to make the relationship work sexually. This arrangement, while limiting in freedom, did result in stability and general relationship happiness.
The Way Relationships are Today
With the advent of loosened sexual mores and the introduction of no-fault divorce, marriage moved from an expected lifelong commitment to more of a temporary arrangement. The expectations on each partner changed as the sense of duty, obligation, and sacrifice was replaced with an entitlement of subjective "happiness." Relationships were no longer based on creating and developing a safe harbor for families to raise children. Instead, relationships are now based on emotional connections. Couples stay married as long as they're "in love." When one or both partners fall out of love, the marriage typically ends. This sets up a pattern where both partners have to continually work to keep the other fulfilled and satisfied.
Many people object to this transformation of marriages on moral grounds. Others object on practical grounds. Both of these groups usually support rolling back the clock to the days when relationships were "for life." Me? Since it's unlikely this pattern is going to change in the near (or distant) future, I prefer to embrace it.
Any time we increase our freedoms, it increases our potential to make bad decisions. Sadly, the increase in sexual freedom seems to have done just that. The most striking bad decision seems to be male behavior. Back in the day, most men acted like men. We'd call them "alphas." Most men also had enough loyalty, trust, and integrity (beta traits) to successfully lead relationships. Today, most men deny their masculine urges and act more like women. Since they seem to fear taking a leadership role in the relationship, they defer to their wives and girlfriends. They are "beta" males. Betas typically fall into one of four predictable relationship patterns.
The Four Patterns
Each of the four patterns are defined by specific characteristics. All four are fairly broad generalizations as it's hard to encapsulate the entirety of the human experience into four discrete categories. However, the patterns will provide a framework for making plans to improve the situations, which is my primary goal.
The Boring Marriage
The boring marriage is an otherwise good relationship other than it's gotten a little too routine. Both partners still love each other and are strongly committed to the relationship. In many cases, this occurs after the honeymoon period when the stress of work and family start taking their toll. In this scenario, both partners probably share the power in the relationship as opposed to the man deferring power to the woman.
Since this relationship is relatively healthy, usually all that's needed is for the man to take a more dominant role, understand the passion and intimacy paradox, understand female behavior better, and lead her to more exciting adventures. This was the premise of my last book "No Bone Zone." Women in this scenario almost always enthusiastically welcome the change and are unlikely to put up resistance.
The Tamed Alpha Marriage
The "Tamed Alpha" relationship occurs when an alpha male enters a relationship, develops ONEitits (she's a special one-of-a-kind irreplaceable unicorn!), and places her on a pedestal. In other words, he turns into a spineless, supplicating beta. This is another pretty common pattern, especially since women are naturally going to try to "tame" their men to increase their loyalty and trust. In the TV show "Sons of Anarchy", Jax and Tara would be an example of this phenomenon.
This scenario is a little more serious because she thought she was marrying a dude that sexually aroused her (and released lots of dopamine in her brain), but his inability to pass her shit tests caused his value to plummet.Women lose respect for men that can't stand up to them, and that leads to the fairly predictable "21st century marriage" phenomenon.
Since the power balance is shifted heavily in favor of the woman, she may or may not welcome the change. Odds are good she does not like wearing the pants in the relationship, but she also enjoys the perks of always getting her way. As such, the process to fix this situation requires a little more patience and tact. Since the dude had set "alpha" as the default first impression, he just has to reaffirm that role. THAT is far easier than...
The Lifetime Beta Marriage
This occurs when a man has been a lifelong beta across most situations, and his woman entered into the relationship with him framed as a beta provider (read up on hypergamy to understand the alpha fucks/ beta bucks sexual strategy women use.) The development of these relationships are incredibly predictable. The woman likely spent her early 20's partying and casually dating, reached the point where she realized her ability to attract high value males is decreasing, attempts to get an alpha male to commit, fails, then looks for the best beta male provider she can find. Hormonal birth control may contribute to this factor. All of this occurs under the rationalization of "maturing."
In this scenario, the man basically becomes the "bumbling husband" stereotype made famous by the likes of Homer Simpson, Ray Romano, and Peter Griffin. The woman typically plays the role of "Super Mom" and runs the entire household. The husband is treated like another kid. The wife is constantly nagging and belittling the husband, and he is completely unwilling to stand up to her. He usually does this out of fear of "rocking the pussy boat" (she'll cut off sex.) Never mind all the sex they have is infrequent maintenance sex. He stays in the pattern because lifelong betas are suckers for intermittent reinforcement.
The outcome of these relationships, if allowed to follow their natural course, end up in either both partners living in misery (with the wife getting the worst of it), or it will follow the typical 21st century marriage pattern.
Breaking out of this pattern is both difficult and somewhat dangerous. First, it requires a complete reformatting of the dude's personality, which takes effort, time, and a degree of resiliency. He REALLY has to want the change to be able to do the requisite work. Second, the dude will be turning into a FAR different person. From the woman's perspective, he'll be turning into a new but more exciting, arousing person, which is good. He will also be turning into a more desirable person. If she has insecurities, she will likely try to sabotage this effort. She understands that his improvement will draw the attention of better females than her.
The Graveyard Marriage
This is the worst-case scenario. The relationship is in tatters and one or both partners are hanging on by a thread. They probably fight all the time, feel a great deal of resentment, one or both may have or be seriously considering an extramarital affair, or there have been multiple threats of divorce. This would be a relationship on about step 9 through 14 of the 21st century marriage graphic:
This pattern is almost always the result of the dude being a long-term beta and the relationship has been in a downward spiral since the honeymoon period ended. Shit has gotten so bad, the relationship may not be salvageable even if both people genuinely want it. In all the other scenarios, the damage is minimal and the "fixing" is more like relationship rehab. In this scenario, it's like running your hand through the blade of a deli meat slicer set on "extra thick." There's a whole lotta bleeding that has to be stopped before you can begin making things better.
The key point to this scenario - both people genuinely need to be willing to stick it out. If one or both of the people have already checked out, attempts to save the relationship will be futile and simply delay the inevitable.
In the Next Post...
In the remaining posts in the series, I'll discuss each of these relationships in detail and offer a rough plan to fix the shit. No two relationships are the same, so the "plans" will be more like general guidelines that will require you to customize them to your particular situation.
Go to post #2 here.
Go to post #2 here.