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What we talk about, when we talk about Dread (1/3)

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May 24, 2015

What we talk about, when we talk about Dread

(all quotes taken from "What We Talk About When We Talk about Love," by Raymond Carver)

/u/BluepillProfessor requested I share my thoughts on Dread to MRP. So, here they are. These thoughts ended up spanning nearly 7000 words, so my writing extends into comments below this post, and I added links to each one accordingly. If you don't like read what is essentially a huge wall of text, this is probably not going to turn out well for you.

Why Dread?

We talk a lot about Dread on MRP.

And while we have a lot of MRP Redditors with some great advice on Dread, I've found a lot of the conventional advice on Dread outside of MRP is limited at best, and misleading at worst. We tell everyone "sidebar reading, bro," yet Athol Kay (author of MMSLP) explicitly advises against Dread. Meanwhile, blogs like CH have posts like this. To call those suggestions "emotional abuse" is overblown, silly, and false. To call it "effective MRP advice" is also false. We are not going to be fixing fundamental problems in our marriage based on how often we do or do not turn off our cell phone. I hope this is not a controversial opinion here.

Despite my proclivity to cite a lot of armchair psychology in my comments, my professional background is actually in marketing. This is really the basis of my psychology knowledge - as you might imagine, it helps to understand how people think when you're trying to sell them shit. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized Dread Game was really just packaging a lot of very simple marketing concepts that I think pretty much anyone will be very familiar with.

This post will be a deconstruction of Dread from that perspective. I will then offer some opinions on those deconstructions, and why I think Dread is is incredibly powerful force, but why it's more useful in some situations than others, and why I think Dread has some limitations. With that said, let's get into it:

What do we talk about when we talk about Dread?

"There was a time when I thought I loved my first wife more than life itself. But now I hate her guts. I do. How do you explain that? What happened to that love? What happened to it, is what I'd like to know. I wish someone could tell me."

My favorite definition for Dread is this: Dread is the opposite of being taken for granted.

For any of you guys still struggling to unplug, I would encourage you to view Dread in this context. You are frustrated in your marriage because you feel you are being taken for granted. Being taken for granted is not a pleasant feeling. Generally in your life, when you've felt taken for granted, you just leave. At one point you probably had a girlfriend, a friend, or an employer who just seemed to be investing a lot less into their association with you than you were. Eventually, you'd get pissed off, and you'd leave. You'd break up with your girlfriend, you'd stop trying to make an effort to hang out with your friend, you'd quit your job and get another one.

There is very little need for Dread in a relationship when you can terminate it. You can simply conclude, "I'm not getting what I'm putting into this, so I'm going to stop doing it." It's that simple. The mere fact that you have this option usually inspires enough Dread for a functional relationship. People won't treat you shitty because they know you have the option to stop dealing with shtity people.

So why the hell is so much of MRP advice founded on Dread? Because we don't want to leave. Because leaving means divorcing, which will impose a lot of external costs that we'd hate to pay. While "divorce rape" can largely be avoided with a good lawyer and thorough preparation, divorce still sucks. We don't want to get divorced, we want things to just... be better. While I've commented that I think the financial toll and child custody outcomes are tremendously exaggerated on TRP, those costs do exist, and they are still very significant and painful to pay.

So we don't want to leave our wife and find a new one. We just want our current wife to stop sucking. And this is why Dread is critical. Like some of us on MRP, I had the pleasure of being called out by MRP's very own /u/whinemoreplease, who once responded to one of my comments with:

"For most of you guys, you've already decided that you're going to stick around through whatever bullshit she throws at you. pretty much dread is your only option, you know, unless you want to be hard core red and have divorce on the table at all times."

And, well, he's right. The thought of divorce kills us. We can't leave. So what can we do?

Imagine there was only a single employer in your area. You had a job there, and it sucked. The paycheck was meager, the hours were shitty, your boss was an asshole. You want to quit, but you... can't. There is no other employer nearby. The price of respect seems to be quitting and being completely broke. That's going to make you feel kind of "stuck," isn't it? It's impossible to have a lose-lose perspective on this situation. No wonder it's easy to start harboring resentment for our wives. It's easy to resent everthing when you feel you're in a lose-lose situation.

But what can you do? You can't quit. You can't go to your boss and say, "if you don't give me a raise, I'll get a job elsewhere." He knows that's not an option. Are you just kind of fucked? Is there really nothing you can do? They just get to take you for granted forever, since they know they're the only employer that can offer you a job?

The answer to all those questions is "no." You can and should use Dread. I'll explain how it works in the above example, and I will explain how it can work in your marriage, and I will explain why it works.

Four Luxury Brand Marketing Concepts that Also Apply to Dread:

"It ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we're talking about when we talk about love."

As I said in the introduction, I realized there is a lot of overlap between Dread and some fundamental marketing concepts. Particularly, marketing concepts as applied to luxury brands. So let me introduce the four core concepts that I think apply in this overlap. You have likely heard of these concepts before. If not, I will include links to their Wikipedia pages, which should be understood easily enough. All usages of the pronoun "we" below refer to basically the entire human race's general psychology, and not just specifically MRP.

Scarcity Effect ( - We value things more that we perceive as scarce. We value things less that we perceive as abundant.

Loss Aversion ( - Losing $100 feels a lot worse than winning $100. Or really: we hate losing the things we have more than we like getting things we don't have.

Operant Conditioning ( - Generating desired behavior in someone through a system of rewards and/or punishments.

The Socratic Method ( - Perhaps the least familiar of the concepts here and not quite a marketing concept, so I'll elaborate a little bit. Essentially the Socratic Method is framing your argument as a set of statements or questions to someone to inspire critical thinking. If you tell someone "your wife's an emasculating bitch for calling you out in public," you will almost definitely get some sort of defensive response. Their mind shuts down and will irrationally reject any further evidence you try to present. But if you say to that person, "hey, when your wife called you out in public, it looked like you didn't enjoy it that much" he will probably respond, "No, I didn't. She does that shit all the time." Then you can say, "I see. Why do you think it bothers you so much?" And they may respond, "I don't know, it just does. I guess it just makes me feel she's an emasculating bitch."

All four concepts feature heavily in marketing, for luxury brands especially, which you want to present as being scarce. Not everyone drives that Audi, not everyone has that iGadget, not everyone at the bar is drinking that Grey Goose. Yet despite being scarce, you also need to be accessible. You need to make the person feel they could be one of the lucky ones that will be in possession of your product. Either directly (free trials or rebates) or indirectly (e.g. Apple's continuous upgrade cycle, where you feel you're 'losing out' if you don't own the latest and greatest).

The combination and scarcity and loss aversion are not pleasant feelings. The idea of not being wealthy enough to afford that Audi, or not being cool enough to drink that Grey Goose, or simply not possessing that iPhone 9XG, with the special Siri app that gives you blowjobs on command... these thoughts cause anxiety. Waiting in line all night at the Apple Store and buying the iPhone 9XG eliminates that anxiety. When you walk out of the store with that iPhone 9XG, you may think you're feeling happy, but you're really feeling relief. Relief from anxiety. The operant conditioning becomes clear: buy shit, remove anxiety.

Yet an effective marketing campaign has to do all of this covertly. You probably think infomercials are stupid and unconvincing. Why? Because they are just Billy Mays (RIP, buddy) yelling some variant of BUY THIS SHIT NOW IT'S AWESOME!!! Did you think that product was awesome? Did you buy that shit? And even if you did, did you really think you were buying a luxury good? Probably not.

Marketing campaigns for luxury goods don't say BUY THIS SHIT! They use a form of the Socratic Method to say: Hey, this guy looks like he's having a good time and he has an iGadget. Did you know what the iGadget does? Some of this stuff it does might let you have a good time too. Especially since those people over there don't have iGadgets, and they look pretty depressed and bored. Just sayin'.

At this point you may be wondering while this was an interesting marketing lesson, what the fuck does this have to do with Dread and MRP?

An Explanation For What the Fuck This Has to Do With Dread and MRP:

"A man can go along obeying all the rules and then it don't matter a damn anymore."

You're here because, for now, you've ruled out divorce as a solution to being taken for granted in your marriage. This means you need your wife to give a shit about you. Her not giving a shit about you, and you just walking out, is not an option.

Little secret about companies like Audi, Apple, and Grey Goose: they need you to buy their shit just as badly as Billy Mays does! They may seem scarce and seem like they don't really care if you buy them or not, since they're not giving you a direct "call to action" to purchase the product. But you know this is obviously false. These companies are trying to make money. They need you to give a shit about them. They just can't tell you that directly, because saying "hey, I'm so cool and unique, buy me!" is a self-defeating message. It begs the marketing audience to ask, "If you're so cool and unique, why are you so overtly obvious in how badly you need me to buy you? And if you're telling everyone this and everyone does go buy you, are you really cool and unique?"

Hence the indirect messaging. Otherwise you won't think they're scarce, otherwise you won't get anxiety about the idea of not having them, otherwise you won't care to do buy that product and reduce that anxiety, otherwise you don't draw all of the above conclusions subconsciously without them overly telling you.

So let's put what I've discussed so far together.

  • Someone feeling Dread is the opposite of someone feeling like they can take you for granted.

  • Luxury brand marketing is all about not letting people feel they can take their products for granted, even though those companies do desperately need people to buy those products.

  • Dread is marketing yourself as a luxury brand.

Got you nodding, right? OK, OK, I think I get it... but how do I actually do that?


EDIT: Despite the fact that the "(1/3)" in this post title implfying it's Part 1 of 3 posts, all the rest of this is contained as comments below. There are no other posts, everything is here. Hopefully, you can just scroll down and keep reading.

But in the event the comment ordering gets fucked up by voting, or whatever, here are links to each comment, in the correct order.

Post Information
Title What we talk about, when we talk about Dread (1/3)
Author jacktenofhearts
Upvotes 33
Comments 13
Date 24 May 2015 10:20 PM UTC (5 years ago)
Subreddit MarriedRedPill
Original Link
Similar Posts

Red Pill terms found in post:
Roissyscarcitydread gamehamstergamethe red pill

[–]jacktenofheartsMarried MRP APPROVED[S] 6 points7 points  (4 children) | Copy

Active Dread: Meh.

"Something's died in me," she goes. "It took a long time for it to do it, but it's dead. You've killed something, just like you'd took an axe to it. Everything is dirt now."

I just described how luxury brand marketing can be difficult because it cannot be an overt message. Overt messaging and scarcity are contradictory, and Dread is difficult for the same reasons. Going back to the infomercials, did the whole $49.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY PLUS A FREE MUSTACHE GROOMING KIT! really inspire you to go and buy that product? Did that message about a "limited time only" really generate any anxiety about you potentially losing out on this opportunity? No.

So -- Dread is difficult because it pretty much has to be 100% covert.

Furthermore, when people are aware of this kind of marketing -- it's not just that it's ineffective to them. They react very negatively. Think about the last time you purchased a car. Did you enjoy the experience? No, you didn't. It probably was a huge pain in the ass. Why? Because at some point, you'll be negotiating with the sales guy, and he'll say, "Hmm, I don't know if I can make that happen. I'll have to talk to my manager. In fact, he may be upset I'm even offering the deal I'm giving you. But I'll see what I can do. Just wait here."

And he leaves, and you're sitting there for 20 minutes, just stewing there because you know this is bullshit and they're just trying to make you freak out about losing out on this supposedly great deal that you stop trying to negotiate anything more. Then he comes back and says, "Yeah, sorry, I can't make that happen. In fact my manager is pissed I'm even giving you this price. He had a wholesaler coming in willing to buy it tomorrow at $500 more. I convinced him that if I could sell it to you today, though, we'd give it to you for that price."

Are you thinking, "wow, this is such a rare deal?" Are you thinking, "oh no, I better just sign the purchase contract right now, I'm so close to buying this car and I'll lose it if I don't buy it today!"

No. You just think the car salesman is a fucking asshole.

There's a reason why we hate "salesmen" but love Apple commercials. Humans love "marketing." They hate "sales." It can literally be used as an insult: I hate her husband, the way he talks, he's such a fucking salesman about everything.

You're probably tempted to call those car salesman techniques "mind games" or "emotional manipulation." This is what the SJW idiots call us, but when we use Dread this overtly, they are not wrong. I mean, they are wrong in the sense that terms like "emotional manipulation" imply that it's immoral. Personally, I am the furthest thing from a moral absolutist, which means I don't think "mind games" are inherently immoral. But they are really not much more than mind games, just like the whole "intentionally turn your cell phone off and leave the house" is a mind game. I'm not going to label them otherwise.

So I call this kind of shit "Active Dread." If you try and have sex with your wife and she shoots you down and you immediately leave the room, you are basically just being the douchey car salesman. Your wife will immediately launch into a tirade about how "you only care about sex" and how "you've been acting like a fucking asshole lately." Don't get me wrong: this can work. You can use this type of Active Dread and motivate your wife to have sex with you. Just like that car salesman did use those bullshit tactics to convince you to buy pay $325/month at a 2.9% APR over 60 months for a Ford Focus.

I don't really recommend this kind of marketing though. I much prefer luxury brand marketing. I want my wife to think of me as Apple, Audi, Grey Goose. I don't particularly care to be thought of us a goddamn car salesman.

Passive Dread: Good.

"I'm the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finer point on it, I'm the type of person who doesn't find it painful to be alone"

So to restate this plainly: I think Passive Dread is superior to Active Dread. Active Dread can work. But it's essentially just way more annoying and way less effective, in my opinion.

Let's return to that example I used in my first post: working for a company that was literally the only employer in the area. If you walk into your boss's office and say, "give me a raise or I'm going to get another job," he will tell you to go fuck yourself. One, because he thinks you're trying to manipulate him and he'll reject you out of spite. And two, because he knows it's a bullshit threat since there are no other jobs, anywhere.

But say you started dressing better, wearing the kind of clothes you would for a job interview. You get a new haircut. You take your breaks in the middle of the day and always get in your car as if you're driving off somewhere and coming back. Your boss will notice these things. He will wonder what's causing this behavior. The company did not change its dress code. You don't have a public-facing job that requires a well-groomed appearance. Nobody else leaves the company campus when they take their break but you.

Eventually, his mind will float around to this question: Why is he acting this way? Is he interviewing for other jobs? He will try and convince himself that's impossible. We are the only employer. Right? Did some other company move into the area? Are they offering employees here new and better jobs? Should we start giving raises and promotions? These thoughts will cause anxiety.

So your boss gives you a raise. You still dress well, but maybe you stop leaving the office campus every day. Your boss is more comfortable since it's unlikely you're leaving for job interviews. He has less anxiety. He begins to think that giving raises means not having to be anxious about employees being unhappy and leaving. He concludes should give out more raises.

Hopefully the analogy to your marriage is pretty clear. For many marriages, increasing your SMV is pretty much all you need to do to generate that sweet, sweet, Passive Dread. In other words: *once you start looking and acting like a luxury brand, this alone will project scarcity. * Scarcity leads to anxiety about loss aversion. Anxiety about loss aversion leads to behavior to remove said anxiety. Removing anxiety feels good, and will encourage more of said behavior. Once you improve your life from a Ford Focus into an Audi A6, your wife will wonder if she's taking that Audi A6 for granted after all.

So let me be absolutely clear: A high SMV is absolutely critical to effective Dread. If you aren't actually a luxury product, passive Dread will not work. If you are 40 pounds overweight, if your household is plagued with financial problems beacuse you've fucked up your career, if you aren't leading your household and your family, if you spend all your free time playing videogames and jerking off to porn... then you are not a luxury product. You are just a Ford Focus. You cannot effectively use Dread to inspire your wife to drive a Ford Focus more. The best you can do is the "car salesman" routine, which has a much higher chance of backfiring and resulting in negative feelings. And by the way, you're still a goddamn Ford Focus.

Referring to /u/BluepillProfessor's 12 Levels of Dread, you absolutely must have Levels 1-3 on total lockdown. If you have any deficiencies in these areas of your life (physical, professional, social, hobbies, etc), then fix those. Improve your SMV one day at a time. Lift, lurk, read, etc.

Until then, Passive Dread isn't going to work that effectively for you. Because the only thing people hate more than the "car salesman" routine is buying a luxury product that ends up being kind of an overpriced piece of shit. You may have personally had an aversion to those brands I keep citing (Apple, Audi, Grey Goose), and if you do, it's for this exact reason. You bought one, it kind of sucked, and you felt pretty duped by all those marketing campaigns. If not those brands, then surely other ones.

So once you're truly a high-quality luxury brand, then you can start acting like one and really generate that passive Dread that will motivate your wife to stop taking you for granted. Which leads into yet another analogy...


[–]jacktenofheartsMarried MRP APPROVED[S] 5 points6 points  (3 children) | Copy

The Hamster Maze: A Variant of the Hamster Wheel

“They had laughed. They had leaned on each other and laughed until the tears had come, while everything else--the cold, and where he'd go in it--was outside, for a while anyway.”

OK, so we've covered: Scarcity -> Loss Aversion -> Anxiety -> [Anxiety-Reducing Behavior] -> Rinse, Repeat.

You are obviously going into this with an idea of what that "Anxiety-Reducing Behavior" is, but your wife isn't. And as I've pointed out repeatedly, you can't just tell her. You can never break the covert communication here. If your wife asks if you're having an affair, or accuses of you being distant, you cannot respond in any way that indicates you're doing this at least partially (if not entirely) because you want her concluding the exact thoughts she's concluding.

You want the hamster running, and running, and running, just like the boss in my earlier example. Let her in on the Dread, and the hamster stops. Even worse, the hamster will be really pissed off that you made him run so much, and got him so tired, for "no real reason."

The hamster only gets to stop - your wife only gets to feel less anxiety - when you get the desired behavior from her.

However, when it comes to Dread, "getting the hamster going" is an incomplete analogy. We use the term "hamstering" for someone having an irrational flurry of thoughts that aren't actually leading to any sort of logical conclusion. It's just a hamster spinning in a wheel -- lots of energy expended but no actual distance traveled.

So I want to propose a new yet similar analogy: The Hamster Maze. You want to direct a hamster to reach a certain thought (e.g. "if I don't have more sex with my husband, he will leave me"). But you can't just tell the hamster to go there -- ie, when your wife is feeling anxiety over Dread, you can't just tell her what she can do to reduce that anxiety.

You cannot have this conversation:

Wife: Are you having an affair?

You: "No. Why do you think that?"

Wife: "Well you've been obsessed with working out, and you changed your whole wardrobe, and you're basically never home... I'm worried, it's like I don't even know you anymore."

You: "You should probably try having more sex with me. I bet that would make you feel like you still know me."

Would be nice if that was all it took, but that's not how it works. For Dread to be most effective, the hamster has to figure it out for himself. Dread is essentially "directed hamstering, but with an indirect method."

So in Dread, this cycle of "Anxiety -> [Anxiety-Reducing Behavior]" is really more like putting the hamster in a maze, and then setting up paths in the maze so the hamster can find your desired exit. This is why Active Dread can backfire, because hamsters don't like being in mazes, and Active Dread makes it pretty goddamn obvious you're setting up a maze. Passive Dread can have a hamster enter a maze without realizing it. This is why it is so effective and powerful.

Once you've set this up, you're very likely to get some great results. It may take awhile, but typically your wife's hamster will find the desired exit. So, she has sex with you. Then she realizes that will reduce her anxiety and make her feel good. Then anxiety sets in and the hamster finds itself in the maze again, it'll consider looking for the "have sex with husband" exit. It will likely find it even faster this time around. And so on, and so forth. Eventually the hamster doesn't even realize its in in a maze anymore, because it really isn't. Your wife legitimately likes fucking the new and improved you now. There is no maze necessary. And whenever feelings of Dread do arise, the hamster has memorized the exact path it needs to take to eliminate those feelings of Dread and can navigate it immediately.

Sounds pretty goddamn ideal, right? And it is... almost. It can work this well. It can also work kind of... not so well.


[–]jacktenofheartsMarried MRP APPROVED[S] 5 points6 points  (2 children) | Copy

Dread Pitfalls, And What You Can Do About Them

“My heart is broken,” she goes. “It’s turned to a piece of stone. I’m no good. That’s what’s as bad as anything, that I’m no good anymore.”

Here's the bad news with Dread: it doesn't always work. The hamster doesn't always exit the maze, or it exits from a different path than intended. If you're struggling with Dread, something like that is probably happening. Below is my analysis of the typical causes.

The hamster becomes aware its in a maze and gets pissed off. The most common reason for Dread failure. Your Dread is not covert enough and is coming across as Active Dread. When your wife says things like, "we need to talk about how you've been acting like such an asshole lately," it's her hamster saying, I'm recognizing you're trying to put me in the maze, and I don't like it.

Now, this is not a total failure point in itself. But it's why you absolutely need to be a true luxury brand before you implementing Dread, because you're essentially going to need to deflect a lot here. Every week at least one guy posts to MRP about how "he's been acting Red Pill and lifting for a few weeks now" and now his wife is "noticing how he's being more of a dick" and doesn't like it, and what should he do. This is a clear case of "too much Active Dread."

How to fix this: All the usual techniques apply -- Agree/Amplify, Fogging, etc. To go back to the marketing example, your wife is saying, "I can see you're making it look like all these people are in line to buy your iGadget, and I don't like that you're making me wait in line for one too." And your response needs to be something like, "Hey, I'm not 'making it look' like anything, I'm just focused on making a good iGadget." Some version of this will usually work, which is why I said this is not a total failure point.

When this happens, I see some MRP gurus typically respond with, "you're going too fast, too soon and skipping levels of Dread." Going too soon means you're trying to position your iGadget as a luxury product when it's still kind of a piece of shit. But going too fast means you're too overt with your Dread, and it's coming across too much as Active Dread.

You made the maze too easy. Your wife fucked you once, and you were so happy you dropped all Dread behavior, she stopped fucking you. This usually happens early on because you haven't really internalized the behaviors that generate Dread. You don't actually believe you're a luxury brand, so acting like one causes anxiety in you as well. You're subconsciously hoping your wife will quickly "get the message" and then you're all too eager to drop that pretense. Unfortunately, this isn't how it works. You can't fake being a luxury brand and then un-fake it. You have to fake it until you feel like an actual luxury brand. That is how it works.

How to fix this: Easy. Resume you're earlier Dread-generating behavior. OK, so you launched the new iGadget, but when your wife went into the store to buy one, you were so happy to see her in the store that you let her skip the line and gave it to her free, and now she's assuming she can always do that. Well, all you have to do is release an even better iGadget. This time, make it clear that she's not going to be able to just skip the line and not pay full price.

The hamster gets legitimately lost in the maze. Your wife feels anxiety, but is struggling to understand what she needs to do for you to behave in a way for her to relieve said anxiety. Or to put it in another way, your wife is giving serious thought to the questions raised by the Socratic Method approach, but her hamster is genuinely lost and can't figure out the right answers. This manifests as you wanting your wife to have sex with you more, but Dread just makes her cook and clean more. Sure, that's good too, but that's not the primary behavior you're seeking. The opposite may apply too. A lot of us are in marriages where we're reasonably happy with sex frequency, but our wives have become basically lazy fatasses. Dread will make her fuck you more, but you really want her to just stop being lazy and be less of a fatass. I've used the phrase "Dread is not guaranteed Operant Conditioning for unlimited behaviors" often before. This is what I mean.

How to fix this: This is tough, because it's tough enough to get the hamster in the maze, and now you're trying to nudge the hamster without it realizing it. You're just going to have to be very careful and deliberate with your covert communication and hope for the best.

The only direct solution I can really think of, is if you can become such a strong "luxury brand" that there is no resentment about the Active Dread. When McLaren or a similar car company announces, "we only made 500 of these cars," you aren't pissed at the "mind games." The announcement is not viewed negatively as Active Dread, because they really did make only made 500 of those cars, and everyone knows there are enough rich people that want one and willing to pay $275,000 a piece. So you can imagine, if your SMV was exceptionally high, how it would be possible to tell your wife, "look, if you drop 40 pounds you don't need to worry about me divorcing you," and her not have her flip the fuck out.

The only secondary problem here is that your SMV has to be much, much, higher for this to work. The fact that such a large delta in SMV can even exist, probably means your wife probably has a low overall SMV and you'd probably want to ask yourself why you're married to such a low SMV woman anyway.

The hamster can never exit the maze, because that maze has a dead-end you didn't realize. There are a lot of reasons why you're wife isn't fucking you, but they don't all have to do anything with you. Yeah, it's a Red Pill trope that women will fuck anything they're sufficiently attracted to, so if she's not fucking you, you must just not be attractive enough. Personally, I think believing this is universally true in all cases is too dogmatic. For example, if your wife only averages four hours of sleep a night because you have a 2.5 year old and a six month old, and she's breastfeeding the latter, she probably won't be fucking you five times a week, no matter how much you lift. Sorry. That maze has no exit for another six months.

How to fix this: Sometimes you can eliminate said barriers. Yeah, "choreplay" is bullshit, but parental exhaustion when you have two small children is a real thing. Try doing things like bringing in a cleaning service. Or perhaps your wife is too paranoid to trust any daycare/babysitting services, but is running herself ragged watching over the kids every second. Well, take the kids to one anyway, maintain frame when she inevitably loses her shit, and then let her realize that most daycare services aren't staffed by mass murdering psychopaths, and this is much better than being exhausted all the time. Shit Tests can be cries for solving a real problem, and some of those problems may make her feel too tired/frustrated to think about sex. If you identify the problem as an actual problem (and not just invented problems from hamstering), then solve the problem the way you think it should be solved, then enjoy the sex.

Like I said, there is a school of Red Pill thought that with enough desire/attraction, your wife will want to fuck you anyway even in the above examples. In other words, even if there are dead-ends, if the hamster really wants to get out of the maze desperately enough, then it'll go as far as to painstakingly burrow through any dead-ends, Shawshank Redemption style.

I don't disagree with this. I also don't think you should really rely on generating so much Dread that the hamster freaks out and pulls an Andy Dufresne. Because that may lead to another problem...


[–]jacktenofheartsMarried MRP APPROVED[S] 4 points5 points  (1 child) | Copy

Dread Pitfalls, And What You Can Do About Them (Continued)

The hamster doesn't exit the maze gracefully, but just busts through all the walls in the most direct path. You probably have friends that basically buy every Apple product. You may have noticed that they don't actually use some of those products very much. You ask them how they like the new iPad Air3 Mini Plus, and they gush about it, but it sounds kind of... forced. Then you notice they don't really use it that much. Apple has done such an amazing marketing job that purchasing their product is literally a compulsion for these people. They do it because they feel they have to. "Purchasing iPads" is a pretty binary thing. Apple doesn't really care if you don't use that iPad too much after you buy it.

But something like "having sex" is not binary. Dread can make your wife fuck you, but she may be doing it out of compulsion more than anything. I don't consider this initially a problem at all, because the compulsive behavior should lead to a legitimate enjoyment of sex. The hamster may burrow through the wall the first time, but now having seen where the exit is, next time they quickly navigate there without any painful burrowing. In other words, your wife remembers: Oh hey, I forgot how fun this is, plus my husband is looking sexier than ever, we should do this more! I don't even know why we stopped! But there is no guarantee this happens. Your wife may just internalize the message: I need to fuck my husband twice a week or else he'll drop my ass and that will devastate me.

If your define your desired behavior from Dread as "have my wife treat me with respect, appreciation, and affection" -- well, this will be an easy exit for a hamster to find. But if your desired behavior is something like the aforementioned "a blowjob every day and anal every weekend," then that's a pretty tough maze you're setting up there, buddy. So you can generate so much Passive Dread that your wife's hamster is still willing to crawl through 500 yards of shit-smelling foulness to avoid losing you. But you're probably not going to feel great about your wife's hamster equating sex with 500 yards of shit-smelling foulness. Instead, you're going to to return to MRP and post a question like, "So my wife fucks me often, but pretty much starfishes every time. How do I get her to actually enjoy fucking me?" Translation: Why does all this Dread make me feel like I'm being emotionally manipulative and my wife doesn't actually like doing any of these things?

How to fix this: Well, why do you think that is? This is where I think many don't recognize the limitations of Dread -- you can't do much about this. You can put the hamster in the maze. You can get he hamster to run the maze. You can nudge the hamster to find the exit. You can make the hamster so desperate to find the exit it'll invent its own shortcuts at whatever cost necessary. But you can't make the hamster enjoy any of these activities. You can just hope the hamster likes what it finds at the exit, and doesn't require running mazes to find it in the future. The harder you define the exit (the more specific you want you wife's behavior to change) the more likely that any changes are done out of compulsion and not legitimate enjoyment.


[–]jacktenofheartsMarried MRP APPROVED[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy

The Wrap-Up

"And the terrible thing, the terrible thing is, but the good thing too, the saving grace, is that if something happened to one of us--excuse me for saying this--but if something happened to one of us tomorrow, I think the other one, the other person, would grieve for a while, you know, but then the surviving party would go out and love again, have someone else soon enough. All this, all of this love we're talking about, it would just be a memory. Maybe not even a memory."

Hopefully you've gotten something out of this deconstruction of Dread. I've found this mental model is what works best in my marriage. But, as you consider its applicability to your marriage, there are two more things that I'd like to point out in this wrap-up.

You have to like your wife.

Not love. If I asked if you loved your wife, you'd probably reflexively say "yes." That's not a meaningful question. The more important question is: "Do you like your wife?"

Dread will be effective if your answer is: "She's a great person. She's caring and generous with me and my family. She appreciates and respects me. I just wish I knew why she never wants to fuck me anymore, or why she's so unenthusiastic when she does..."

Dread will not be effective if your answer is: "Well, I.... yes, I think I like her. Although she's kind of a bitch. And she can act really selfish sometimes. I don't like her when she's acting that way. Which I guess is like, half the time. Fuck. She really is goddamn annoying sometimes."

Dread will not be effective in the second scenario because you will probably like watching the hamster in the maze too much.

Your wife will offer to have sex. You will be tempted to turn her down, because you know she will feel especially crushed. You will enjoy seeing her feeling the way she's made you feel a hundred times before and probably not feel all that bad about it.

If this is the case, you are very much in the Red Pill Anger stage. And if so, read this. If that still doesn't help, then go back to the main TRP sub, and talk about field reports spinning plates, or the latest news story about how a billionaire had to pay 0.001% of his annual income to his divorced wife, or those entitled feminist bitches. Rage all you need to. Go to the gym, rage some more. Get that anger out of your system. Really, I am not saying any of that with any sense of judgment. We all process anger differently. It may take you a very long time to get through that phase. Take as long as you need, all I'm saying is: don't use Dread in the meantime.

Because you need to go through the Anger stage to really evaluate whether your wife is actually the quality of person who will add value to your life. Forget about how much she loves you or fucks you or whatever. Is she a good person? Would you be friends with someone with a similar personality? Having swallowed the Red Pill, if you were single, would you seek to date women similar to your wife? Figure the answers to those questions out before you consider Dread.

The answer really can be "no" to those questions. Some of us just married a miserable cunt in your Blue Pill days, and no amount of Dread can really change her from being a miserable cunt. No amount of Dread will really 100% un-cunt-ify her. You can try, but... why?

You may want to consider just divorcing her and try dating women who aren't cunts.

So... with all that said, let's end with one final quote from Carver's play:

“But I guess even the knights were vessels to someone. Isn't that the way it worked? But then everyone is always a vessel to someone. Isn't that right, Terri? But what I liked about the knights, besides their ladies, was that they had that suit of armor, you know, and they couldn't get hurt very easily. No cars in those days, you know? No drunk teenagers to tear into your ass."

Vassals," Terri said.

What?" Mel said.

Vassals," Terri said. "They were called vassals.”

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, gents.

[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

This is a great set of posts.

[–]ford_contourMarried- MRP MODERATOR2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

This is as fine a contribution to our common understanding as anything yet.

Well written, sir.

[–]jimicus1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

I've been thinking for some time that women are subtle creatures and don't respond well to dread applied with size 11 boots; you have to be subtle. It's interesting to see that someone else says basically the same thing.

Athol Kay may be dismissing dread these days, but the whole MAP programme is based on subtle dread.

Not "sort your act out or you're out", but "hey, look at me, I've been working out and I can replace you quite easily". If that isn't subtle dread, I don't know what is.

[–]RBuddDwyerMarried- MRP APPROVED1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Athol Kay's stuff is not really red pill either. He has always played to a feminine friendly audience.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Good stuff. I definitely agree that effective dread must be covert rather than overt to have real potency.

I believe you overlooked one important part of dread. Pre selection.

I don't bring this up to be nitpicky but to highlight our difference of opinion in whether "soft dread" like high SMV etc is enough.

I use tactics like encouraging local women and wife's friends to flirt with me. No woman wants a man that other women don't want

[–]jacktenofheartsMarried MRP APPROVED[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Pre-selection is an interesting point, especially because it does favor heavily into luxury brand marketing. Luxury brands naturally want the powerful and elite members of society to use their products. So some brands will give celebrities (and other powerful figures in society) a chance to try their products, in an effort to promote this kind of pre-selection. Kim Kardashian uses this, so I should use it too!

However, sometimes it becomes pretty transparent when the celebrity genuinely likes the brand, or they're just being paid to use it. For example, if you saw a celebrity on TV talking about how great the Zune was in the mid-2000s, did you think:

  1. Hey, that guy likes the Zune. Maybe I should consider getting that instead of another iPod.

  2. How much did Microsoft pay that guy to talk about the Zune?

Probably the latter, right?

But when you hear hip-hop artists talking about Bentleys, you know there is no endorsement. Those guys just really fucking love their Bentleys, to the point where they are more than happy to rap about them without worrying about financial compensation. Because of this, we all know Bentleys are expensive luxury cars, even though they have never spent a single marketing dollar on an NFL TV commercial.

So I would say, actively flirting with women to demonstrate pre-selection before you're truly a "luxury brand" can backfire. It will come off too much as Active Dread ("my husband is an disrespectful asshole who is trying to make me jealous by flirting with my friend"). Your wife will question the authenticity, just like you questioned whether Dr. Dre really liked that Zune so much, or whether Microsoft just threw him a boatload of cash. I think this would have been a great example of the Active/Passive Dread dichotomy.

Another point to consider -- flirting with other women is good, but it's really more about "charming" them. If you actually get gina tingles in another woman, well, nice work, but she's not going to tell your wife about it. I think it works even better when other women are telling your wife, "it was great meeting your husband, he's such a [complement]" or "I LOVE your husband, he's so [complement]." I think this activates similar "pre-selection Dread" and isn't nearly as confrontational.

Some guys just like flirting with pretty women though. If you like doing this anyway, more power to you. You're doing it because it's fun; the Dread benefits are secondary.

[–]RBuddDwyerMarried- MRP APPROVED1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

This made me think of some inner game stuff I have been wanting to write up. None of this stuff will really work until you have made the decision that anything, including divorce, is better than the status quo. You have to really, truly convince yourself that anything is better then where you are now. You will never be truly congruent until you have made peace with yourself and your potential fate, no matter what that fate is. Until you know that, you will always second guess your actions.

"It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything." - Tyler Durden

[–]jacktenofheartsMarried MRP APPROVED[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

None of this stuff will really work until you have made the decision that anything, including divorce, is better than the status quo.

I've debated writing more about "divorce rape" for this exact reason. I was divorced 10+ years ago, and like... it wasn't the end of the world. Don't get me wrong, it really sucked. But what was the alternative? Staying in a loveless, fractured, and scarred marriage?

With a good lawyer and no real extenuating circumstances (ie. you have no criminal record or other baggage that your wife can you use against you), divorce rape is by far a forgone conclusion. Yes, current custody/child support arrangements are stupidly skewed towards women, but less than a quarter of divorce cases go to a court. If you can't agree on terms with your ex, then you go to court with your dueling proposals and a judge will rule. All else being equal, no judge will actually say, "well even though you are equally fit parents, the United States legal system thinks 'moms rule and dads rule' so sorry buddy, but you only get to see your kid every other weekend."

The key phrase is "all else being equal." How well you make that argument is largely due to your legal counsel. Here's a great example of a guy that fucked up his legal counsel and did get divorce raped.

Key comment threads:

So fucking sad. Beta guy gets a shit lawyer and somehow he ends up with supervised visits, with his ex-wife as the supervisor. And now his ex-wife is insisting her new boyfriend get to come over for said visits and the guy needs to ask r/relationships because he's incapable of just saying "no." This may be the most beta fucking thing I've ever seen on r/relationships, and that's saying a lot.

But this all happened because the guy couldn't afford a good lawyer. The guy wasn't even "beta bucks," he was just a bitch-ass beta. But he'll go down in the same pool of divorce custody statistics that TRP will quote as "divorce rape." I think we can provide more realistic insight on MRP, and that may help some guys adopt the kind of attitude you described, which is ultimately absolutely mandatory.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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