As I have mentioned before, the term Long Term Relationship is profoundly misleading in that there is no commitment and no term. While it is theoretically possible that a couple would pledge to be together and exclusive for a set duration of time, this is almost never the case. Additionally, when thinking about the concept of a LTR it is essential to think of it in the context of male and female preferred forms of promiscuity and the current “sexual marketplace”. The preferred strategies for men and women are different based on their different reproductive needs.
The preferred form of male promiscuity is to create a harem of women who are exclusive to him, with additional one off sex as the opportunity presents itself. This way he can sexually monopolize the women he is invested in, and additionally spread his genes through women he isn’t invested in. In this way he hopes to have his cake and eat it too.
The preferred female form of promiscuity is serial relationships with men who are invested in her. This way she keeps her options open to jump to a better man should the opportunity present itself, while still securing investment from the man. If she isn’t able to secure investment from the man she finds most attractive, plan b is to obtain sex from the most attractive man (or men) possible while securing investment from another man. Whichever course she chooses, like the male strategy she hopes to have her cake and eat it too. Note that her ideal form of promiscuity is exactly what LTR defines. The idea that promiscuous women have one night stands while good girls only have sex with their boyfriends is incredibly misguided. Given the option (in general), even sluts want the men they have sex with to become invested in them; they just want to keep their options open.
Next we need to consider the context in which men and women are coming together. For quite some time we have been in hookup culture. The term hookup is deliberately vague, and can mean anything from making out to having intercourse. As Susan Walsh explains young people generally aren’t familiar with dating, and instead “hook up” and go from there:
- Hooking up has replaced traditional dating on college campuses, and has also become prevalent in the general population and culture. The hallmark of hooking up is the clear understanding between both parties that the encounter will be free from any expectations for further contact. It is designed to avoid the possibility of commitment. However, hooking up is still the primary pathway to a potential romantic relationship.
- The hookup script reverses the sexual norm; the pair becomes sexual first, before emotional intimacy or a relationship is established.
This is the status quo that the gold diggers from DABA wanted to overturn when they said No more let’s start having sex and if it’s good then attempt to backtrack into a relationship. We see similar expressions of this around the blogosphere. For example, one of the women commenting on Date Me D.C. complained:
Dating at our age is completely frustrating. I’m sorry, but if we’ve been on several dates and have taken our physical relationship into sexy town over the course of one and a half months, it is plain and simply disrespectful of men to refuse to label me as their girlfriend.
As Susan pointed out, the pattern is the reverse of what many people my age and older tend to assume. It is sex first, consider a relationship later. There isn’t a promise of commitment or exclusivity. This isn’t an accident, it was a deliberate move by feminists as they drove the sexual revolution. Who here doesn’t recall the feminists screeching you don’t own me just because we had sex! For those of you who had repressed memories of hairy legged women chanting that in response to innocent questions like does this bus go downtown?, my apologies for digging them up.
So this is where we are. The whole process is steeped in ambiguity by design. This provides women with the maximum freedom to choose and re-choose that they desire, but can make securing investment much more difficult. Alpha men are probably in the best position to navigate this landscape, since the ambiguity works in their favor. They can flip the female script of allowing their partner to become deeply emotionally invested in them while never promising investment, commitment, or exclusivity. The promiscuous women are trying to play their own game, which is getting the men to become emotionally attached without offering commitment or exclusivity themselves. Not all of this is always a conscious decision on the woman’s part. Sometimes they follow their biological programming while their hamster spins plausible explanations for why they happen to be repeatedly acting on animal instinct. Paige has described this best:
Relating Pump-n-Dumping to Serial Monogamy assumes more self-awareness in the woman than she actually has. At the beginning the woman is convinced she will be in-love forever…if the romantic feelings decline she believes the relationship is no longer worthwhile for either partner. But she doesn’t just assume at the beginning that this will happen.
Whether they are honest with themselves or not however, it is essential to remember that both the alpha and the promiscuous woman hope to exploit the ambiguity to their own advantage (and to the other party’s disadvantage). This is why an outsider coming in and trying to play referee is so ridiculous. Who is conning whom only tells us who succeeded in their plans.
Enter your typical clueless beta. He is generally unaware of the rules the promiscuous women and alphas are playing by. He’s stuck in a script which has remained largely unchanged since the 1950s. He is in this position because this is what he has been taught by his entire family, especially his mother. Possessing the standard beta traits of loyalty and rule following, he blunders in like a lamb to the slaughter. Naive betas don’t stand a chance against the promiscuous woman’s game. He typically falls in love and ends up either unceremoniously dumped when a better offer comes along for the woman, or playing the part of the chump in “plan b”.
This is the context that “Long Term Relationships” exist in. Most people are tempted to think of them as mini marriages. Far more often it is more accurate to think of them as extended hookups. Just like either party has the right to disengage mid make-out or intercourse, either party can jettison the “LTR” relationship for any reason at any time. You don’t have to like it, these are the rules.
It isn’t that no long term relationships are what most people would call “serious”, and “mutual”, it is just that it isn’t appropriate to assume such a thing. Some number of relationships categorized as LTR do resemble a marriage in many ways. To the extent that they do, the state will often declare them de facto marriages.
But not only are many people mis-characterizing LTRs as mini marriages, but they often are thinking of marriage as a sort of beefed up LTR. This is precisely why so many people (mostly women, but some men) feel perfectly justified terminating a marriage because the feeling is no longer there, or they think they can get a better offer.