Women are utterly incapable of loving a man in the way that a man expects to be loved.
–Iron Rule of Tomassi #6
Rollo Tomassi’s writing on how women love has generated a good deal of controversy in the manosphere. You can see Sunshine Mary’s thoughts here, and Elusive Wapiti’s thoughts here. Until now I’ve held off on weighing in on this to give the issue more consideration.
Depending on how you read Rollo’s thoughts above on women and love, he is either entirely right or mostly right. One thing which is often lost in the discussion is that Rollo’s primary target in the quote above is not women, but men. Rollo reinforces this with his very next sentence in Women in love:
In its simplicity this speaks volumes about about the condition of Men.
Rollo is discussing the mis-set and unrealistic expectations of men. This isn’t a problem of a deficiency inherent to women, but a problem of men’s unrealistic expectations. So far I’m quite confident that Rollo and I are in full alignment. One of Rollo’s core areas of focus is disabusing men of their foolish expectations regarding women and romantic love; and here Rollo is right as well. Romantic love is truly wonderful in the appropriate context, but we have elevated it beyond all sanity. Modern men now expect women to experience romantic love (desire) for them in an unconditional, selfless form. This is profoundly foolish, because this is not the nature of romantic love/desire. As Rollo regularly reminds us, you can’t negotiate desire.
Again, so far I’m certain that Rollo and I remain in alignment. Where Rollo and I might part ways is dependent on how he means the following:
…on some rudimentary psychological level we ought to realized that a woman’s love is contingent upon our capacity to maintain that love in spite of a woman’s hypergamy. By order of degrees, hypergamy will define who a woman loves and who she will not, depending upon her own opportunities and capacity to attract it.
To the extent that Rollo is talking only about romantic love, the statement immediately above is in fact correct. Not only is it correct for women, but with some slight changes the same basic statement is correct for men. Romantic love (desire, passion) is to a large degree involuntary, and in its feral (modern) form is inherently fickle. This is a nearly universal misconception of our era, and if you don’t truly understand this you would do well to allow Rollo to thoroughly disabuse you of foolish modern notions of romantic love.
Where Rollo would be mistaken is if he is applying this statement to both romantic and other forms of love. If Rollo is saying that women aren’t capable of loving their husbands beyond their immediate feeling of sexual desire/infatuation, he is wrong.
Sadly this is far more rare than it should be in our present culture, but women loving their husbands on more than a pure opportunistic (romantic) level is still something you can observe. The easiest way to observe this is with older couples, where the wife is fiercely protective of her husband especially in an area where he has a weakness. This is different than a woman being infatuated with a man and being in fundamental denial of the man’s faults; in this case the wife will be both aware of the weakness and fiercely protective of her husband in this regard. While this is tragically not the norm, I see this with some regularity. One example which comes immediately to mind is a woman I spoke with a few months back who was talking about her husband’s recent diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. They are in the process of building their dream home, and she switched effortlessly from describing how capable her husband is as a designer and builder to her concerns for his health and the need to build the new home to accommodate the possibility of him becoming confined to a wheelchair. Very often when when women speak of a husband’s infirmity there is at least a tinge of disgust or contempt in their tone, but in this case there was nothing but love and protectiveness.
If you haven’t witnessed this and wish to see it for yourself, pay attention when groups of middle aged and older wives are talking amongst themselves. Out of a group of say 10 wives, 8 or 9 of them are likely to be busy discussing the long list of faults they perceive in their husbands. However, look for the one or two who either remain silent or (occasionally) redirect the other women into a discussion of the positive aspects of their husbands. It will take more time, but if you pay attention to the 1 or 2 women not complaining about their husbands you will find that at least some of these women display the kind of fierce protectiveness of their husbands which I describe. If you or anyone else puts down their husband (even subtly), especially in an area where he has some real weakness, you will see a white hot flash of protective anger directed at the person who put her husband down. These same women take great pleasure in small and large acts of kindness aimed at bringing joy and comfort to their husbands. While the average wife sighs in self perceived victimhood while cooking or cleaning for her husband (or children), the loving wife (and mother) does these things with a distinct joy at the opportunity to serve and care for the ones they love.
While the love I’m describing is often (quite pleasantly) mingled with feelings of romantic love, this is more accurately described as familial love. In addition to their feelings of romantic love, these women love their husbands the way a woman should love her parents or her children. To these women marriage isn’t a mercenary vehicle to extract resources from men or a formal certification of her feelings of romantic love; to these women marriage is a declaration that her husband is her man, for better or for worse. Just as a woman who loves her father will be fiercely protective of him especially when his manly strength is failing, a wife who loves her husband as family will retain loving and protective feelings for him even in cases where his lack of strength is at odds with her hypergamy.
The truth is that both men and women are fallen, and both have to be taught love and loyalty over selfishness. We accept this for men, but have developed profoundly foolish notions regarding women. In fact, our culture is gripped by a mass paranoia that a spirit of love, loyalty, and selflessness is a disease all women must be protected from with eternal vigilance. Ironically this sense of paranoia is so prevalent, few can spot it for anything but “normal”.
Modern women are warned constantly that acts of service and caring for others are traps they must avoid at all costs, lest they be tricked into a spirit of love and selflessness and “lose themselves”. The very idea of cooking, cleaning, and caring for her husband and family are repulsive and terrifying to the modern woman. If unable to avoid an act of service altogether, modern women are taught to diligently fortify their hearts with a spirit of resentment while doing the act to prevent a spirit of love and selflessness from entering. This sense of determined miserliness extends even to the modern woman’s marital bed. Should even a slight sense of selflessness somehow slip though, modern women are constantly reminded to “be true to themselves” and stamp out any thoughts of love, loyalty, and doing for others before they grow into something terrifying. A woman who is even suspected of serving others is urgently prescribed a treatment of “pampering themselves” to reorient their frame of mind back to selfishness. Selfishness in fact has been elevated into the primary female virtue, replacing God as the female moral compass. Even ostensibly traditional modern Christians have weighed in here by inventing an entirely new sin for wives to be on constant lookout for, that of servility.
Clearly women can love selflessly, as witnessed by our modern paranoia that they might actually do so.