Alpha Might NOT Be the Right Choice

general-zod[As a matter of note the genders can be mixed up any way you want here; I’m just going to go with ‘gender’ roles, rather than the sexual state.  If you read something into that’s not there, then you’d better ask yourself why.]

There’s a lot of talk about the attractiveness of the ALPHA male.  Women swoon, he’s the pack leader, the power, the luxury, and the bragging rights.  What more could a woman want?

Unless you a self absorbed women then you might want somebody; especially your significant other to care about how you feel.  Let’s face it, you might be part of the pack but you still need to be considered as an individual.

Well, here’s the bad news.  High powered people (read alpha males) show significantly lower levels of empathy.  You need that to survive the back biting, being prepared to sacrifice some of the pack for the general survival.  Other people are NOT people they are pawns in the game of life.

Although that is the extreme variation of it all; when the moment comes they will choose their alpha (self) interest over yours.  Maybe not at the odd moment, but in the end they wouldn’t be alpha if they didn’t sell you out.

PS: If you want a better deal don’t hunt for an aspiring beta, hunt for the rare sigma; hard to spot but if nurtured they are worth having.

 

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Thank You, It can be a STRUGGLE

Thank you for all the people that follow this blog.  I know many are hoping for reciprocal follows; I truly wish I had the time to read everything.  Maybe I’m so old school that I like to read with intent anything I sign up for; maybe it’s the near 300 books I’ve collected (read about 10) relating to things I’m interested in, started (re)learning a language due to a long car drive, listened to 6 audio books, published a book, nearly finished writing another, managed a family (which has been through some life changing things this year) and continued to struggle with a marriage that seems lost at sea.

Yes, I write this to help other people’s relationships because mine has been more mudslide than roller-coaster.  I’m not sure if I’m strong or stupid; but I’ve tried to learn what it is that makes relationships have the chance to work.  It doesn’t mean I get good at putting it into practice, or that the other person embraces a thing I say or do.  Again, the question; am I strong or stupid?

Like my relationship; and everybody else’s; everything is interconnected.  It makes working on the relationship and writing this blog a struggle.  In terms of writing it is hard to make sensible, digestible posts because everything connects to everything and when I start thinking about it I’m never sure where to stop.  I could write and write and write one enormous post, but I can’t find the time.

A friend tells me to not get stuck in the “poor me” moments and that is sage advice.  This is not a “poor me” moment; writing this is cathartic, but that can only hold true if I know somebody bothers to read it.  So, we return to the thank you; you make it worth the  struggle.

Maybe – Life is full of maybe’s

maybeA little more personal this time, but I feel that this runs true to more people than we care to admit.

It all starts with a Kelly Clarkson song, Maybe, which can be found on Youtube if you don’t know it.  Like so many songs it is a song about the human condition of love.  The part that appeals to me is that the lyrics talk of not being broken and not needing to be found.

Why do those appeal?  Wanting to be loved is not about needing to be rescued from misery; although a life without love can be lonely.  That is part of the confusion both in those seeking and those offering “love”.  We have so confused love with infatuation that we think love is just about a single romantic partner; Hollywood style.

We see people that are alone and think they must be lonely and unloved.  However, they may be loved by their friends and more than happy without a romantic partner.  Those people are probably more common than you guess; just as the lonely people in romantic relationships are more common than you think.

So what are the maybe’s?  Maybe you should stay and try harder.  Maybe you should realise that something is broken in a relationship that just can’t be fixed.  I know it may seem a surprise to hear me say that, but sometimes people can’t get past traumas in relationships.  It can be effectively impossible for people to let go of the anchors and habits that they have caused.  The hard part is to walk away even when you care about the other person; dare I say even love them.  When you can’t find the way to communicate it can be hard.

Maybe when you go to love someone you won’t try to fix them because they’re not broken.  Maybe you’ll love them because you want to add to them; they are not a project to fix.  Maybe you’ll accept them for what they are; and I mean quirks not psychopathic tendencies.  The people that do this are often “the oddest couples” and you hear people say, “why does she let him do that?”  Or vice versa.  It can be about love and letting the person reach higher up their personal hierarchy of needs and not about fulfilling your own.  It’s about love going out and not about sucking love in.  Maybe, just maybe you could be happy, too.

When Do We Learn to Love?

1-baby-love

A beautiful picture that summed up what I was writing by webneel photography http://webneel.com/baby-photography

I did a little snooping around in books, and inevitably on line to find out what age we learn to love.  In short, it all seems a bit confusing.  There is a general agreement children show signs of love from birth.  Some differences on how that is shown are there, but they seem more gentle variations.

What is interesting for me is; at what age do we select our “language of love”?  If we examine them they each seem to link to a very different time in childhood development.  I have multiple conjectures about what this might mean; and the main two are almost diametrically opposed.  They are:

  1. Our language of love becomes settled when our brain development recognises “love”; so Touch would be very early and Words would be very late.
  2. Our language of love becomes settled when we have we have stopped developing our ability to learn/sense new forms of love; Touch being early and Words be late and effectively more emotionally expansive.

They seem mindbogglingly oversimplified and I’m sure neither reflects the truth.  There’s no doubt that the environment you grow up in would have some influence; even your genes may be at play here.  What is certain is that we all have a language and our own tone/accent.  Where and when we learn it is another matter.

There is a path somewhere between our childhood and our adult relationships that should be explored.  Maybe it’s out there and I’ve missed it; I’d love to hear from someone if it is.  If not I am sure there are subtle gains to be made in relationships and happiness.  There’s a challenge for you “real shrinks”.

Love – When You are Lost for Words

Walking awayThere are times (too many for me) when a person you love is not right there and all you have are words.  For someone that blogs you’d think that was fine, but my language of love is touch.  When I need to communicate how I much I love someone I want to hug them; I want to fold them in my arms and let them feel my love flow from the contact; I want to absorb all their pain and sorrow and wrap them in the well of my love.

I have a close friend whose mother’s funeral is today.  I didn’t know their mother and I don’t live nearby, so I am not going to the funeral.  Like many people their life has been filled with other tribulations, but there was a special bond between them and their mother.  I have spoken what seem like sage words when I can, but that does not remove the genuinely gut wrenching feeling I have for not being able to hug them to protect them from “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”.

I had hoped that writing these words might be a balm to the feeling of frustration I have at not being there to say, “I care” in the way I speak.  Instead I find myself crying and wondering if the presence of my spirit will be enough.

I had hoped to find a million words but my true language is not that.  You can only hope that your feelings survive the “Google translate” function; especially when you know their language of love is not words.  And these words seem doubly hollow because they don’t even know I write this blog.  Now I’m rambling to fill up the page when all I feel is the desperate urge to give them a hug.

 

Postscript: It’s a few hours after I wrote this post and I can still feel the emotional drain it has taken to put into words what I hope I could communicate in seconds with a hug, or a touch to the face and the look in my eyes.  Perhaps at so many other times in our lives we don’t appreciate how much it takes the person to try and talk in an awkward ‘unnatural’ language.  But they are prepared to do it because they think you are worth it.

Alpha Porn – It’s NOT Romance

fighter_pilotMost women will tell you they have no interest in porn, rather they’ll tell you they’re interest in romance novels.  50 Shades of Grey, like a few others before it, is rather a fly in that ointment, but they’ll say its about the developing love story behind it all, how she saves him and he becomes better person.

Ladies, let’s be clear here; you are in denial.  None of this is about her saving him, it’s about her being coveted by the big scary alpha male.  Look at Twilight and so many other “bad boy” romances.  They have nothing to do with romance, care, protection or the females interests other than being linked to the alpha male of the story.

Wuthering Heights, Gone with the Wind, and so many more, the male protagonist is an outright [censored].  However, that’s all forgiven because (eventually) he’ll be good to the heroine women you fantasize about being.  All that matters is that this powerful male is there to protect the woman of (your) his dreams, no matter how he treats the world.  And he is so powerful that he can overcome every obstacle life throws at him in the future, so it will be ‘happily ever after’.

So, gents, if you lady is consuming ‘romance novels’, saturating herself in tv shows like Vampire Diaries (there are many more, so that is not a specific dig) then you are in trouble.  Your lady sees you as second rate and will trade you in the instant an alpha shows interest.  They’ll tell you its all about love.

That last paragraph sounds harsh, it’s meant to be.  Women expect those alpha males to maintain fidelity and other social norms if she is with him, rather than chase his opportunity to sow his genes in as many places as possible.  That adherence to ‘biology’ is unacceptable, but if a woman feels to pull to “trade-up” then it is all about love.

And arriving at some advice via a very tortured route.  Sure, there is biology at play here, men and women don’t stop being attracted to other men and women when they commit to a relationship.  What is important, especially for women, is to realise that our “need for love” stands above that and if we follow the pull of biology then we can be throwing away happiness at a higher level because you are letting “animal” in you over value the here and now, without placing value on what is to come.

 

If you want some background on what is mixed up in this post try:

Sexual Market Value

Alpha Male Traits  (although I’d watch out for some that and might read this instead)

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (think of reproduction and sex, as well as protection, when a woman wants an alpha)

Can it JUST be sex?

I could include a sensationalist picture with this post, but I want to try and be a little serious.  For many people it is any incredibly life change situation.  So maybe we need to look at how different people might see the whole thing.

Stepping off at one extreme are swingers and those in the cuckold lifestyles.  For them sex with someone other than their partner can be an expression of trust and love.  Most people that read this won’t believe that, or consider it warped and twisted.  It may not appeal to you, but is it wrong if they are genuinely happy doing it?

So, how can it just be sex for other people?  Surely and affair is everything else.  I believe the root is in confusing the things we enjoy with expressions of love.  In many areas of life that might be tolerable, but we have a very different perspective on sex.  We believe it is very special and should be held to current lover.  Yet, it is strange how we don’t feel that when we are outside a ‘secure’ relationship.

The real test is when it boils down to an affair.  In some case I believe it is truly about the sex, and just the sex.  It may mean nothing more than liking beer or going to a concert.  The complication probably comes because in most cases they like the other person.  Then that leads to confusing liking and loving.

And that is where the whole thing can get messy.  Maybe it starts as “just sex” and then evolves into a form of love.  It’s where the affair can differ from swingers.  The swingers are in relationship that may not involve either of them placing great emphasis on touch as key part of their love communication, which allows them to not prioritise the physical intimacy above their own sense of love.  For people setting off on the affair often love is missing and although the affair might start by filling a sexual void because they like sex and the main relationship no longer has it.  But if you like the person you’re having sex with then the danger is the whole story expands to include speaking your language of love.

Having walked in a circle, the short answer to the question is yes.  However, life isn’t that easy and sometimes it is something more.  An issue I’ll come back to in another post.

I Love You, but I’m not “In Love with You”

i love you but i'm not in loveHow often do we hear that phrase; in the movies, books or any other “romance” related piece of media?  It is usually the line given just before someone walks out on a relationship.  It is usually done such that we feel sympathy for whichever party we are meant to feel for in that context.

If it is the person saying, should be really feel any sympathy?  To answer that question we need to have a look at what we mean by being “In Love” and “Loving someone”.

If we buy the idea that we have to be “In Love” with someone then we have reduced ourselves to victims of the chemical rush; the pheromone lottery that comes with meeting someone.  In truth we have just wrapped up lust in a respectable package to make ourselves feel better.  Okay, perhaps it is lust with a little bit of I like these things about this person.  But whichever way you look at it you are ignoring the “bad things” about the other person.

So what happens when the ‘two year’ honeymoon starts to wear off?  Well, we start to ease of on the bombarding the other person with every language of love and start to settle down to our own native language.  Guess what, so does the other person.  Now if you talk different languages both of your emotional batteries will start to wear down.  As that battery runs low you become intolerant of the other persons flaws and you stop being “In Love”.

Maybe you still see lovable aspects to the other person, so you can still “Love” them, but you’re not “In Love” with them.  Now you have to make a choice; are you driven by you animal nature, a victim of chemical reactions; or are you going to love the person with those flaws AND maybe the amazing positives?

If you choose to stay and put in the effort to be “In Love” the person then you are in a state of “volitional Love”.  When we look at the great writings on love this is the type of love they are talking about.  Love where you have chosen to exercise all the attributes they talk about; not the drugged up phase of “being in love” where it seems to happen by default.

This is not an easy place to be.  It takes work; from both parties if it is going to succeed.  But the rewards are far greater.  When you know the other person has chosen you; all of you, including the flaws; and is making an effort to speak your language, rather than come at you like a junkie looking for their own next self-serving fix.

This may explain why arranged marriages have worked in cultures that frown on being “In Love” and place more value on “Love”.  Sure, there may be underlying socio-economic forces, but you can still choose whether you are going to emotionally engage with that person, or not.  Maybe we need to decide if we are going to love someone, or run away for the next easy fix.

 

 

Drunken Language

love cocktail fireI often speak of the languages of love, and having finally read the original book cover to cover I will be making posts in detail later. However, while chatting to someone about the 5 languages of love and they raised the point of how we behave when we’re drunk. Needless to say that got me thinking.

One area in the book that is difficult is finding ways to truly work out what your “language of love” is; and liking sex does not make it ‘physical touch’. Gary Chapman proposes several ways to decipher your preferred language. However, for some, we may have stumbled on a simpler method – get drunk.

Alcohol initially suppresses the areas of the brain that control or ingrained social mores and conventions that prevent us from taking certain actions. For plenty of reasons we choose not to be overly expressive of love when sober. Put alcohol in the mix and let the brakes off of that part of your brain and BINGO – the truth will out.

 

Words of Affirmation – stumbling around telling everyone that you love them; no, really love them.

Quality Time – following that centre of your love around; often to ‘inappropriate places’.

Receiving Gifts – ask for a sip from other people’s drinks or people to buy you a drink.

Acts of Service – making sure other people have a safe way home; buying everyone a drink.

Physical touch – grabbing your buddy in a head lock and telling them, “I’m doing this because I love you.”

 

I’ve tried to quickly match the drunken behaviour with the love language. I’d be happy to hear if others have a different opinion. Maybe it’ll just get you watching your friends (or your own) drunken behaviour a little more closely.

50/50 Children

I was going to post a different post then I read today that women are getting upset about the fact that men are being granted near 50% access to children in divorce cases. Why is this anything other than equality?
Women are seeking greater equality; the mantra of feminism. That means they want equality of opportunity in the workplace, which means they should get an equality of opportunity out of it; which means mainly as parents.
I’m more in favour of people resolving their issues and staying married, but I know that sometimes this just isn’t possible. What people need to do is not take the dispute beyond the end of the marriage; and divorce lawyers need to learn to think of the “total cost” and not just their clients “maximum settlement” (as money) and their own fees.
Some men, and indeed some women, are not fit to be a parent for a significant period of a child’s life, but we cannot assume that that is true of all men; that is sexism at it lowest and most brutal form. I have first hand experience of seeing a working mother deny a father access to his children because she didn’t like him, despite what would be described as an amicable divorce. In the end this has just resulted in two damaged people (their children).
In truth I’d like to say something more constructive, but this blatant abuse of sexism has me outraged; and that it is not a good place to be when trying to resolve an argument. That’s a point I keep trying to make in other posts. Time to stop ranting and get on with life.