I’m not sure where the idea that I’m fundamentally against long-term relationships in general and marriage in particular began. While it’s true that I’ve cautioned men against marriage in many essays over the 3 years that this blog has existed, I can’t remember ever having said “Never under any circumstances get into a long-term relationship”. I have probably said “Never get married”, for the simple reason that as far as risk and reward goes, you can gain the same benefits, without many of the downsides from cohabiting with a private contract between you, or alternatively with a private marriage (a marriage without getting the state involved.
Once you have children with a woman, you are exposed to the legal system in terms of child support, and various other payments anyway, but a private marriage or cohabitation with separate finances can help build a wall that keeps an ex away from your assets. I’m of the position that once you have children, it’s your duty to support and raise them. Few men want to stop their children from having access to the opportunities presented by resources, what they do want is their former partner having as little financial influence over them, something that can easily be granted by modern family courts. I’d wager that most men would prefer their money going towards the betterment of their children, rather than to as financiers of their former partner’s hunt for a new mate.
However, to return to topic, the reason why I’ve argued a position that men should avoid monogamous long-term relationships in general and marriage in particular, is that I’m observing many young men seeking to cash out of the sexual market place early, influenced by the idea that if they find a “quality woman”, often cited as being young, nurturing, low notch-count, from a good family and so on, they can get out of the SMP and live the trad life. Meaning one man, one woman, one family, under god, or something like that. This is not the case at all. If I held the position that men in monogamous, long-term relationships were the antithesis of a red pill men, I would not have participated in quite a few podcasts where a majority of the men I appeared with are in monogamous long-term relationships. Rollo holds the record with what I believe is a 21 year marriage, going on 22 years, however Donovan and Rian are also in long-term monogamous relationships.
For much of history, men and women did not get married because they were in love, they got married because the man needed someone to tend house, bear his children, and make his life easier, the woman needed a man to finance her life and protect her. This makes marriage into a need, rather than a want. Men had one set of needs to which a wife was a perfect solution. Women had another set of needs to which a husband was the perfect solution. However, as marriage shifted from being a need “I need someone to put food on the table and a roof over my head” to “I want someone who makes me happy”, the social dynamics that surrounded the couple were also one in which for the most part the needs of society was aligned with the needs of the men and women. It was not an optimal solution for any of them, but it was the best one available. One that curtailed the worst excesses of female sexual strategy and the worst excesses of male sexual strategy.
In the previous “needs based” sexual market place with strict regulations on divorce, remarriage and so on, the entire structure was such that once a man locked down a woman, he was free to focus on other non-SMP related activities, mainly contributing to society. In that sense, the old school marriage was a lot like a job back in the day, once you were hired you were hired for life. Modern marriage is a lot more like being an independent contractor or consultant, you are hired on a temporary basis unless you can make yourself indispensable. My position is simply that there is an illusion being sold that once you “lock her down”, start living your trad lifestyle and have kids, you are out of the sexual market place and are free. This is not the case. It may have been the case back in the day, when the social group around a married couple had skin in the game, where they were married as an alliance between families, or as a practical partnership to achieve goals outside of the marriage.
The Levels and Difficulties
I titled this post “Levels of Game”, because in my view there are multiple levels and difficulties one can play at in the sexual market place.I break these into 5, where difficulty is defined by a mixture of risk exposure and skill requirement.
Level one is a single man, dating a single woman over time with the desired outcome being cohabitation, is easy mode, these are the beginner levels where a man dips his foot into the water and starts to learn how the game works. There is very little risk involved, at worst you break up and have to find another woman, but there is little lasting risk to your finances, social standing, health or anything else provided the woman is not a Cluster-B or otherwise a problematic case. Most men start at this level when they hit their teens and start noticing girls. They have their first girlfriend, in some cases this ends up becoming their only partner for their whole life, in many cases it’s their gateway into serial monogamy, and in a rare few cases it’s the start of a long journey in the sexual market place.
The second difficulty level is a single man dating multiple women concurrently, either in a non-committal fashion or with the end goal of filtering out “the one” that he wants to date in a monogamous manner. This requires slightly more of him in terms of multi-tasking and logistics, such as keeping track of the stage of each relationship, where he’s taken the different women, taking steps to avoid them running into each other, and so on. Most men tend to get into this when they start learning game, alternatively some naturals appear to end up taking this path intuitively. The benefit of this path is that when you have multiple women in rotation, you become less fixated on an individual woman, and when a man has sexual abundance, he has more freedom to consider non-sexual elements in the relationship. The woman also has limited access to your life, limited information and is more disposable than one to whom you’re committed. At this stage shit tests are rather easy, because when she drops “So, who was that woman I saw you with Tuesday night?”, you have multiple outs as they say in poker.
The third difficulty level is cohabitation, when you go from dating a woman to living with her, the dynamic changes. The major benefit to not living with a woman is that this naturally inspires a level of dread, because when you are not with her, it’s easy for her to wonder if you are with other women, especially if you have a history of dating multiple women of which she is aware. However, perhaps more importantly, and underestimated in much of game literature is the fact that when you are not living together, you can make sure that she only sees you on your A-game. Living with a woman grants her unparalleled access to your life, where the girl you dated but didn’t live with may have looked through your medicine cabinet, and checked out your dresser when you were out of the room, the girl you’re living with can toss your whole apartment while you’re at work. She also has access to you all the time, not just at the moments that you pick. The shit test that you could easily pass when you were feeling good, had a solid nights sleep, badass workout and just had a week off work, can become easy to fail if you have a nasty cold, high fever and you’re hopped up on Nyquil. “So, I found a picture of you and this slut hidden at the bottom of your dresser” is not that easy to pass when you haven’t slept for a few days, and you’re hopped up on cold medicine. A potential breakup can potentially also get more messy, since you may be tied into a lease or own a place together, you have shared furniture, integrated social circles, have introduced each other to your families and so on.
The fourth difficulty is marriage. Marriage and cohabitation are not that different, however the major distinction comes with the commitment and state involvement when it comes to marriage. You have simply taken on much more risk, and you have integrated your lives one step further than you did with cohabitation. Once you sign that marriage license, your financial lives integrated, your families become one and you usually have to deal with in-laws on a more significant level. It also becomes even more difficult to end the relationship, especially if it’s on bad terms in that it will involve lawyers, a ton of paperwork, negotiations over division of assets, and various other legal steps. This is also the point where long-term financial consequences such as alimony begin to play a part.
The fifth difficulty is when you add in kids. When you take the above and you add in children, you add many potential variables related to the offspring, one thing is their physical, social and psychological needs and the stress that can bring both prior to being born but also during pregnancy. I once had an old man tell me “God makes women c*nts when they’re pregnant to see if the guy will stick around”. Add in months of little sleep, little time for self-care, and stress, it becomes quite obvious why this is difficult. If the relationship ends, one can add child support and negotiations about child custody plus additional time spent in family court.
Summary and Conclusions
The reason that I decided to sit down and write this out, is that I see this idea taking hold among young men, where the sales pitch is “If you get married and have kids you can retire from the sexual market place and you help save western civilization”, I can see why this is attractive, because quite frankly playing the game on level two, can be bloody exhausting but for some men even level one is a royal pain in the ass. They have to face rejection, anxiety, wondering if the girl likes them, push the relationship forward towards sex risking rejection every step of the way, and constantly dealing with changing and unpredictable variables. The second plays on the inborn male need to be part of something greater, to fulfill his duty, to slay his dragon, it is his legacy of greatness.
However, in doing so they are guilty of the very thing I pointed out that many Jordan B Peterson fans were doing, they leapfrogged over the first 4 levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and jumped straight to self-actualization. The problem being that they didn’t want to do the hard work relating to sorting the basics of their life such as income, getting in shape, learning their own psychological makeup and building their confidence through testing themselves, they wanted to jump straight to morality and metaphysics. Figuring out your own view of ethics and the universe in which we exist seems much easier than such things as establishing a source of income and sorting out the basics, because there is no real way to measure how well you’re doing. It’s all abstract, non-concrete states, and failure does not really exist. When you apply for jobs, attend college or a vocational school, work a job, lift, get in shape and so on, failure is always looming. Did you get an interview, did you get good grades in your classes, how was your last performance review, do you lift more than you did last week, month or year. This is constantly exposing yourself to failure. If you stab someone, you can always rationalize the stabbing as moral because in stabbing them you sacrificed blood to the god Chutulu which put of the destruction of the world or something.
In the same way, jumping straight from single man with limited relationship experience into marriage seems like a good way to get around having to learn the basics such as “Be attractive, don’t be unattractive“, game, frame, doing countless approaches, building a sample of women, testing out different relationships, and relationship configurations, as you go along refining your taste in women, and your ability to tackle the difficulties of relationships. It’s like walking into a casino, putting your life savings, and half your future income on 00, sure it may occasionally work out, but it’s taking on an extremely high risk that for most will result in failure. Even if you win, you may now be a millionaire, without a care in the world, or so you think, but now you have a ton of money without the good sense for how to manage it. There is a reason why some families can hold onto resources across generations the family fortune growing with each passing year, and others win $100m in the lottery and are back to broke as fuck in a couple of years. They had the money ,but not the training in how to keep it. Much like the man who got married had a relationship but not the training required to hold on to it. Some get lucky, most don’t.
I’m probably going to get some shit for this from entrepreneur-twitter, but I’d give them the some advice to illustrate. If you’re currently in working a job, start your business on the side and build it, once you build it to a point where you’re making good money on your side-business and that it’s a viable business, then you can make an informed decision with controlled risks about dialing back the time you spend on work to dedicate more time to the business. I know “Being your own boss” is the dream many people have, but if you’re spending 40 hours a week at work pulling in $100k a year, you spend 40 hours a week on your side business running it as a one man-show pulling in another $100k per year and seeing that you could increase the business to $150k a year if you had another 20 hours a week to put in. Should you quit your job?
Assuming that you want to maximize your income, no. $200k (your current income) + $50k (increase from the business) – $100k (lost earnings from your job) = -$50k
Hiring an employee to work 20 hours a week at your business for $35k a year on the other hand: $200k (current income) + $50k (increase from business) – $35k (employee salary) = $15k
So, I’m not against long term relationships, I’m not against monogamous long-term relationships, hell, for all I care get married but before you decide to play the game on ultra-hard mode at least take some time to familiarize yourself with it so that you don’t Dunning-Kruger yourself into a situation that ends up ruining your life long-term. It’s so easy to go for what seems like a simple solution in the short term, but ends up costing you a lot more long-term. I take the same position with men who are freshly divorced who get right back into a long-term monogamous relationship without actually processing, understanding and working through their previous relationship, then a few months or a few years later they are back in the same position, doing the same things and expecting different results.
One of our major benefits as men is that our fertility does not have an expiration date, we can have children well into our 60s and 70s. I probably wouldn’t recommend waiting that long if you want kids, but you can do it. So, my position is that before you make a decision that could potentially impact the rest of your life, make sure that it’s the decision you want to make. Once you have children, you will have to have a relationship with not only your ex-wife, but with your former in-laws for the rest of your life. If you move in with a woman, that break-up could potentially take 3 – 12 months (depending on the lease/mortgage), the more long-term consequences and risks a decision has the more knowledge and experience you should have before making it.