In medicine, a syndrome is a set of signs and symptoms that are correlated with each other, and the word itself stems from the Greek word meaning “concurrence”. For instance, “metabolic syndrome”, which is rapidly gaining in market share around the world, consists of increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels . Normally, I’m skeptical of the pathologizing that takes place in much of public discourse, as it appears to have become quite common to utilize it as a rhetorical gambit in order to paint perspectives different from one’s own as stemming not from reason but from underlying psychological or physiological conditions. However, in this case, I found it to be quite an apt description of the phenomena that this post aims to describe, namely a combination of signs and symptoms that are correlated with blue pill thinking, and especially with oneitis.
Perhaps the most interesting factor in the the oneitis disorder is that actually being in a relationship with the woman is not a pre-requsite to trigger the disorder. In fact, many of the cases that I’ve observed are by men who exist outside the woman’s sphere of awareness, the “secret admirer” type, who builds an elaborate fantasy about a woman who has no idea that he exists.
Stage 1 Oneitis
The first stage of oneitis often takes the familiar form of “falling in love”, the man becomes fixated on his designated target, and his life begins to revolve around the situations where he is able to interact with her. During this phase, the man’s ability to make critical evaluations of the situation are decreased and he starts constructing an elaborate fantasy about the woman. He will always interpret her actions as more meaningful than they are, for instance if the target of his desire is a barista at a coffee shop, he will interpret her smiling and being pleasant as a sign that she is in love with him as well, rather than it being part of her job.
Euphoria and Unpredictable Moods
One of the main symptoms that one can see in a man who is suffering from oneitis is that he is vacillating between euphoria and depression depending on the state of his relationship. If he perceives that his relationship or potential relationship with his dream girl is going well, he will be walking on sunshine and enjoying a massive mental high. Conversely, if his perceptions indicate that the relationship is not going as he had hoped, he is prone to depressive bouts. It is not uncommon to see men who are normally quite emotionally stable and predictable become whirlwinds of varied moods and behaviors on a daily, or perhaps even hourly basis.
Inability to Make Critical Evaluations
A major factor in men suffering from oneitis is that they are incapable of making critical evaluations of their dream girl. In essence, they will interpret all her behavior in a very positive light, minimizing any negative traits and maximizing all positive traits in an effort to cement their delusion. At this point, the disorder has progressed to be a point whereby acknowledging the woman’s flaws or less desirable behaviors would inhibit him from placing her on a pedestal. The woman being placed on a pedestal is a per-requisite for the disorder
The Nirvana fallacy is related to the perfect solution fallacy, and is a situation where someone views something as having a perfect solution. The man suffering from oneitis will view his dream girl as the solution to all of the problems he has been facing in his life. If he feels the relationship (or anticipation of a relationship) slipping, and his grandiose future slipping out of reach, he will take immediate and rapid action to restore balance.
The use of convert contracts by the man is a cardinal symptom of this disorder. A covert contract in the most simple terms is based on “if I do X, she should/will do Y”. For instance, a man who does the dishes expecting his girlfriend to bang him in exchange for it. The major distinction between a covert and an overt contract is that in the latter case the terms are stated explicitly. The role of covert contracts in oneitis is central, because if the man has to state outright that all his needs are not anticipated and satisfied then the woman is not a perfect solution to his problems. Covert contracts exist in many forms within the oneitis disorder, from the husband who engages in “choreplay” to the beta male who does nice things for the target of his affections anticipating that his “niceness” will result in her sleeping with him.
Stage 2 Oneitis
The second stage of oneitis builds on the first stage. The symptoms from stage one increase in intensity, with more marked swings from euphoria to depression, a further decrease in the man’s ability to make critical judgments and an extension of his Nirvana based thinking. His constructs become more elaborate and often include much more detail. At this point of the disorder the woman is the sun around which his life revolves. He often begins neglecting many other aspects of his life in order to spend more time with her, or in situations where he might meet her.
Building a Grandiose Future
The man suffering from oneitis will begin the construction of a grand future for himself and his dream girl, this dream is not anchored in reality but he will put all his effort into creating this future. This can even take place before the man has even spoken to the girl in question, in fact it often does among some groups of men. They build on the foundation they created during stage 1 of the disorder, their thinking clouded by Nirvana thinking,
Black and White Thinking
When in the throws of oneitis the man is incapable of seeing his dream girl as merely being human, he views her through a lens of perfection wherein she is all good, and everything that could be imagined to come between them is evil. At this point the man is deeply engulfed by his delusions and has invested significant resources in the imagined future he has for himself and the girl. In a sense, he is not invested in the girl, he is invested in his idea of the girl and the future he has envisioned for them.
The paranoia experienced by a man suffering from oneitis is focused on his relationship, and especially the behavior of his dream girl. Taking more than 2 minutes to respond to a message, she’s having second thoughts, she’s not bubbly and high energy, she must be banging someone else. This leads to an extreme level of analysis of some of her behaviors and the constant engagement in convert contracts and moderation of his own behavior.
Disconnection from Reality
The culmination of a full blown case of oneitis is when the man becomes completely disconnected from reality, and falls into a parallel imagined reality. At this point the man has idealized the woman to the point of divine being and his fantasy into deterministic reality. At this point he reacts strongly to any attempt at critical evaluations of his situation. The relationship between the actual woman, and situation may be greatly different from what is real.
Stage 3 Oneitis
Not all sufferers of oneitis progress to stage 3, stage 3 is reserved for those who are brutally awoken from their delusions and react in destructive ways towards themselves or others. Men who progress to this stage have their idealizations and fantasies of perfection destroyed, often swiftly and in a brutal manner. They react to this depending on their underlying personality and mental state at the time.
A man in stage 3 oneitis tends to react either by lashing in or lashing out, a man who lashes in will seek to punish himself for failing to make his fantasy manifest. Whereas a man who lashes out will seek to punish others for causing his fantasy to not manifest. Mystery in “The Game” pining over his oneitis for instance is a classic example of someone “lashing in”, becoming depressed and even suicidal because he failed at realizing his perfect dream world with his perfect dream girl.
Summary and Conclusions
Oneitis is a disorder that shares many traits with psychosis. For those of you who have spoken to a person who is suffering from a delusion break from reality, you are aware of how difficult it is to break through the delusion in order to orient the person towards reality. This is just the situation many men find themselves in when they attempt to talk one of their friends down from the ledge, their friend is simply to attached to their fantasy of “the one” to have any incentive to break away from it.
Rollo shared an Upton Sinclair quote that perfectly illustrates this in the 21 Convention Podcast last week:
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” Upton Sinclair
In the case of the “Good Boy” who feels like his ship has finally come in, and who now finds himself in a relationship with the type of woman he has always desired, or the hapless AFC who is secretly pining for the Barista, their fantasy depends on them not understanding the reality of their situation. If the Good Boy were to allow himself to understand that the reason why the Prom Queen suddenly decided to give him the time of day when she found herself 35 years old, with 2 kids from previous Alpha encounters, it would ruin the fantasy of her finally coming to realize his true value all along.