Commenter Hank Flanders responded to He’s begging you; don’t forget the beta bucks! with a description of a friend with a similar thought pattern:
I’m currently trying to figure out how to get a Traditional Conservative to understand RP concepts. One of my best friends whom I’ve known for almost 20 years is someone who believes it’s always a man’s fault if his wife cheats, and he also thinks it doesn’t mean anything if a woman’s had sex before marriage. He and I are the only ones in that group of friends who isn’t married, and I’d like to help him understand certain truths before he finally does get married, but he’s the kind of person to whom you can’t tell anything.
Changing strongly held beliefs is extremely difficult because they are closely associated with a person’s identity. This is in itself not a bad thing, as it wouldn’t be an improvement if Hank’s friend changed his views each time the wind blew in a different direction.
From Hank’s description his friend’s paradigm fits closely with what I’ve dubbed Women’s sacred path to marriage. More importantly, this paradigm is almost certainly crucial to his friend’s view of himself as a man with a high Sexual Market Value (SMV) and especially Marriage Market Value (MMV). The twisted thinking goes like this:
- Women are attracted to good and noble men.
- I am better and more noble than other men.
- Therefore I am more attractive than other men.
There is of course one small problem with this line of reasoning, which is that the women around Hank’s friend aren’t acting in a way that would suggest that they find him attractive. At the same time, the women around Hank’s friend are demonstrating attraction for unworthy men. This must mean that less worthy men than Hank’s friend are tricking women, essentially impersonating him. These fakers are getting in the way of women realizing how attractive he really is.
All of the observable data can be made to fit in this theory. Women riding the carousel for many years before suddenly marrying a beta provider is proof that eventually women see through the fake versions of himself and find the real deal. Once women find the real deal they of course remain committed for life as faithful loving wives. If they subsequently cheat and or divorce, this is only proof of another faker, a man who claimed to be as noble and good as Hank’s friend but was really like all of those other unworthy men. These fraudsters are even worse than the men on the carousel, because they took the deception even farther by tricking the woman into marriage.
When you tell a man like Hank’s friend that virtue isn’t what drives women’s sexual attraction, you are telling him he isn’t really at the top of the SMV pile and instead is towards the bottom. He has no doubt already contemplated this terrifying possibility, and doubling down on denial is his preferred strategy. This won’t be easy to break through.
There is another related aspect to the psychology of men like this, and this is viewing themselves as the noble rescuer of the weak. Under this delusion, his goodness and nobility are not only confirmed, but they will ultimately lead to him having a lifetime of sex with a very attractive woman. The woman who cheats on her husband is the innocent victim of two men who are beneath our hero’s status. Our hero swoops in to rescue her, saving her from the man who tricked her into marriage as well as the man who lured her to cheat when she was vulnerable (having been trapped in an unhappy marriage).
This fantasy won’t be easy to dispel, and in most cases it probably isn’t possible. To the extent that it is possible, my focus would be on discussing what it really means to be a good and noble man, and what it really means to protect the innocent. One way to approach this is to change the focus of protection from sexy sluts to innocent and vulnerable children.
What duty does Hank’s friend have to his future children, to ensure that they don’t have the pain of growing up in a broken home and/or a mother who behaves in ways that bring great shame to them? Surely he has failed his children if he fails to protect them from this. Challenge him to promise that he will do everything in his power to protect his future children in this way.
Once he has agreed that he has this obligation to his future children, focus on how he should go about keeping this promise. Start by asking him if he takes marriage vows seriously. Would he divorce or cheat if he fell out of love or he became unhappy, or would he keep his solemn vow? This one is easy because it fits with his view of himself as more noble than the average man. Then switch to how he would choose a wife, and what he would expect of her regarding her own vows. His assumption is of course that women almost always divorce and cheat because their husband was a fake version of himself. Yet just by being the real deal he hasn’t eradicated the entire threat to his children. Even a small chance of harming innocent children should be enough to motivate a man as good and noble as he is. While for other men the risk is that they won’t be the real deal, in his case the risk is that the woman fails to keep her marriage vows even though her husband is good and noble.
Assuming he agrees that he has a duty to protect his own future children from divorce and/or infidelity by carefully vetting a future wife, the next obvious question is would he do everything in his power to protect other innocent children as well? Is his role as protector of the weak in general, or does he only care enough to protect his own kids? Since other men aren’t the real deal (him), this means that he needs to insist that even unhappy wives of men lower than himself need to honor their marriage vows (at least if they have children). It isn’t just his own children who deserve an honorable mother; all children do.
As you work your way through this you will be forcing him to choose between two views he holds dear. Will he rescue the slut and be rewarded for this nobility with a lifetime of hot sex? Or will he choose instead to protect innocent children? Which does he choose, sex, or protecting the innocent? Does he choose sex with hot sluts, or true sexual morality?
Realistically he is extremely unlikely to abandon his current view of sexual morality, because the pain of admitting that he isn’t above other men in SMV is too much to accept. The response in most cases will be irrational anger and comical attempts at rationalization. Be patient, gentle, and respectful. All you can do is try to help him move towards true sexual morality; you can’t force him to adopt it. To the extent that you are able to help him in this journey, it will most likely be a slow process as he sorts it over in his mind. As Cane Caldo noted in a discussion some time ago, don’t be surprised if he ultimately comes back to you with an epiphany about sexual morality that he came to all by himself. Don’t worry about credit if that happens, just take the win.
Related: A simple test.