Dread Games

I’m not exactly sure why, but somehow last week became the unofficial ‘dread’ week. I’ve had so many other irons in the fire both work-wise and blog-wise this month that I find it particularly annoying that my attentions should be distracted by this topic again, but I will admit that the comments about the evils of Men manipulatively employing a sense of dread in their LTRs has given me pause to analyze the dynamic in more detail. So, OK, I’ll bite, what’s all this dread about anyway?

The original huff about dread came in the wake of Roissy’s seminal post about instilling a sense of dread in a woman in order to help maintain a consistent frame control in a relationship. Naturally, women’s unconditioned response to this overt assertion of control was to demonize the whole idea of dread. When you think about it dread, as proposed,  is really a sense of conceptualizing the potential outcome of a losing the intimacy of a partner and the resulting fallout (emotional, financial, familial, personal, etc.) from that loss. Such an overt declaration for promoting a sense of dread conjures melodramatic images of fiendish men blackmailing their women into emotional enslavement to their insecure whims.

I think what’s lost amongst all this sensationalism about dread – a very weak term for the concept – is the applicability dread has in a much broader scope (and particularly for women) than the overly dramatic characterization of it when men openly discuss using it themselves.

Faces of Dread

I have a good friend, Jim, who’s just this side of 37. I love the guy, but Jim’s not much to look at. At around 30 he essentially gave up on himself. He got married far too young on the business end of a do-the-right-thing ‘accidental’ pregnancy, and from a personal standpoint that was the end of his window of opportunity to explore any other options he may’ve had. His wife let herself go just after the 2nd pregnancy, turned into a beach ball, and he followed suit. In actuality it wouldn’t take much for him to get back on top of his game, but he has no desire to.

Now, after detailing Jim’s situation you might think he’d be the last candidate to participate in anything resembling a manipulation of dread in a relationship, and you’d be right, but he, and guys like him are often the unwitting participants in their wives’ own dread-games. Although Jim isn’t going to spontaneously attract women with either his looks or due to his complete obliviousness to Game, he is an exceptional provider for his family. He regularly busts his ass as a programmer for a legal agency and is the sole breadwinner of the family – singlehandedly funding his wife’s nursing school. In addition he’s a very attentive father, husband and is somewhat of a handyman around the house. In spite of all this his wife tends to be a bit of a shrew, browbeating him on a regular schedule which has been passed onto the personalities of his teenage daughters who engage in the same heavy handedness their mother does.

Yet for all the passive-aggressive derision, Jim’s wife is easily one of the most possessive women I’ve ever known. He literally lives in a constant state of surveillance as to his whereabouts. She calls to verify he is where he says he is, and continually suspects him of running off to a strip club (which to my knowledge he’s never set foot inside one) or engaging in anyway with another woman. It’s gotten to the point that it’s comical to think that she’d have any worry that he’d be snatched away by a better woman, but there it is, the dreaded competition anxiety prompting unease in an, albeit LSE, woman with no realistic possibility of it ever occurring.

“I can’t compete with that,..”

Some of the most neurotically possessive women I’ve ever known have been the girlfriends and wives of amateur circuit bodybuilders – my brother’s former GFs actually being among them. Most of these girls, even the fitness competitors, had to either be very self-assured or they resorted to controlling tactics and possessiveness due to the constant reminder of how desired their Men were by other women. Even when that was explicitly not the case, the perception of their desirability was enough to bring this out in them. They had the love and desire of very elite Men, but this still wasn’t enough to pacify that innate sense of dread.

Dalrock has blogged ad infinitum about the feminized notion of how a man’s viewing “using” porn is conflated with adultery. To say nothing about the constant push to pathologize the male condition, this is an easy out for women following the Eat, Pray, Love script wanting to exit a marriage with cash and prizes. However, the fundamental point in that conflation is a woman’s, often overstated, inability to compete with the “porn star ideal of physical perfection and sexual acrobatics that no normal woman could ever be comfortable with.” Considering the sheer variety of men’s sexual appetites this is ludicrous on the surface of it, but it is illustrative of the predominance dread plays in women’s psyches. It doesn’t matter what the particulars of his sexual appetites are, she feels inadequate in that competition and fears a loss of intimacy.

Dread Games

I catch a lot of hostility from the femosphere for even suggesting a Man directly foster competition anxiety in his LTR, but the underlying reason for this venom is a preexisting condition of dread in women that can barely be tolerated when it’s under the surface, much less when it’s exposed. Dread, in this context, is an innate fear of loss of security that intensifies as a woman progresses further beyond the Wall and with her diminishing capacity to reestablish that provisioning security with a new partner. In fact it’s exactly this dread that is the root source of the gynocentric laws that award women cash & prizes in a divorce settlement. So powerful is this fear that legal assurances needed to be instituted to account for a woman’s lessened ability to secure long-term provisioning after a failed marriage, after the Wall, after pregnancies, etc.

Dread, for lack of a better term, is a female condition.

Although I’ve suggested casually returning flirtations with other women as a means to amplifying desire and illustrating social proof, this is hardly the only, or best, means of fostering competition anxiety. Overt flirtations are a blunt means of  stoking this anxiety, but often all it takes is a nuanced shift in a predictable routine to trigger that imagination. The idea isn’t to instill terror from fear of loss, but rather to demonstrate higher value; particularly when a woman’s attention is straying into comfortable, routine familiarity and she begins seeking indignation from other sources.

Sometimes all that’s necessary to provoke that imagination is to get to the gym, dress better, get a raise, travel for work, change your routine, adopt a Game mentality, hang out with a new (or old) friend, be cocky & funny with her – risk to offend her sensibilities. Most women believe that their pussies are sufficient to hold their men in thrall for a lifetime, but as a woman’s SMV declines and a Man’s appreciates their confidence in this form of leverage falls off, thus forcing them to adopt new schemas for controlling the fear of loss. When you head off to Las Vegas for that trade show and your wife fucks the ever-lovin’ shit out of you the night before you go, you’re experiencing one of those new schemas. It doesn’t take much, most times the lightest touch will do. Good dread game doesn’t even have to be initiated by you. Often enough, women will do it themselves.

In light of this ambient fear of loss women seek to avoid, one might be tempted to use a more sympathetic approach in order to allay a woman’s fears. This is hardly worth mentioning here since this is generally the tact that most men intuitively use in their LTRs anyway – a constant reassurance of love and devotion. Guy’s like my friend Jim will follow a perpetual strategy of appeasement in spite of themselves.

Lets be clear, the vast majority of women are secure enough not to allow this condition to get the better of them, and it’s in the extreme cases I’ve used above that real neuroticism flourishes. Contrary to popular belief I’m not an advocate of the Dark Triad methodologies of Game. Not because I think they’re ineffective, but rather because, with the right art of Game they’re not even needed. Only in extreme cases are the dark arts to be employed, and if a situation necessitates their use it’s important for a guy to understand that a line has been crossed with a woman who necessitated their use.

So yes, you should be seeking to reassure an LTR of your love and devotion, but know that due to women’s intrinsic fear of security loss, you will never achieve an ideal state of contentment of it, and certainly not by relying solely on comfort and familiarity. She want’s you to rock the boat, it’s what makes her feel alive.


57 responses to “Dread Games

  • Samuel

    that’s the thing of it… they hate the dread, but they want it and even need it, oftentimes.

    In my marriage, much like Jim’s, the problem was that my fat-ass wife knew she was a fat ass, and knew that I had a taste for young, thin girls. I could have used that to crack the whip on her ass to get to the gym, etc, had I played it correcly. Instead, I went the appeasement route (being a good blue-pill boy) and she went so far as to use this to further beat me down for what a scumbag I was for wanting other chicks, and of course, how morally superior she was etc etc. Looking back, it was *I* who had a sense of dread, that if I did not appease or accommodate her well enough, it would be HER stepping out, which I could not live with, given the pedestalizing, and the other deep-rooted investment of our children.

    Not hard to guess: she went the cash and prizes route eventually.

    As far as “dread” now, I do see it as something like an occasional reminder that you have the capacity for some srs dark-triad stuff, in some cases, or simply have a high SMV (which she often forgets, not seeing you IN that marketplace). This occasional reminder of strong SMV, when played correctly, can remind her she needs to stay on her shit, as far as acting right and not getting fat etc, and also serves to give her that dopamine rush of attraction that she has a guy other chicks want.

    Women want BOTH of those things to happen, because they hate themselves when they become self-destructive bitches, and the dread prevents that, and of course the gina tingles and dopamine rush are a slam dunk for any girl.

    THIS is why Men of the realm recommend it. The girls want it, and need it, and it is an excellent prevention technique against branch-swinging.

    Girls can bitch about the “manipulation” all they want, but the fact is, we are MEN, and we will make the moves we feel are necessary to protect our kingdoms (and fuck you if you don’t like it) and if the girls were honest, they would confess it is a rock-solid tool in a guy’s toolbox. He’d be a dumbass NOT to use the dread.

  • deti

    A new spin I’m entertaining on “dread” is that men’s wants, needs, desires, hopes and dreams for his relationship(s) with (a) woman or women always seem to take second place to those of the woman.

    The man can make clear that if his woman isn’t meeting his wants, needs and desires, he can and will find someone who does. If a woman has done something to destabilize a relationship, he can and should make it clear that he can and will walk so as to bring order out of the chaos. If that doesn’t work and she continues destabilizing the relationship, then he should make good on his promise. She should be made to understand that she could lose what she has, and what that could feel like.

    At MMSL, Athol Kay points out that when a woman tells her man “I love you but I’m not in love with you”, the marriage is in serious trouble. When the man works on making himself more attractive by working out, working on a hobby, improving his work life, he’s implicitly telling her “I’m improving myself here. If you don’t want me, someone else will. If you don’t desire me, someone else will. If I can’t attract you, I can and will attract someone else.”

    There is nothing wrong with any of this. I suspect it used to be that women implicitly understood this 50, 60, 70 years ago in the time before feminism and no fault divorce.

  • YOHAMI

    Women will say they dont want the dread, that they want the security and comfort. And its true. They want the security and comfort, they will push for it. They just happen to want the dread more. If they dont get it, they will create it themselves.

  • Peregrine John

    I like deti’s take on it. I’d also point out that the best way to appreciate something is to realize that it may be lost. In a healthy person its import is far below that of the reassurance that one’s choice of man is validated by other women, but it’s definitely lurking in there somewhere.

  • unbowed

    I think any qualms we feel about using dread to keep a relationship alive come about because for men being in a state of dread is entirely a bad thing. When you’re in a state of dread, you’re not as effective because you fear a negative outcome (which, of course is more likely as you act in desperation). But for women, there’s an element of excitement, of being alive in dread and fear: it’s a a tonic for them.
    A desperate man? Pathetic. A desperate woman? Depends.

  • FFY

    Instilling that bit of dread helps keep everybody happy in the end.

    Because she will still see you as a prize worth keeping, she’ll stay in shape and feminine, rather than content and lazy.

    Her efforts to please you will keep you satisfied and happy.

    Lest the femosphere get too hysterical about dread, all they need to do is look at some of their women who are in the great relationships. The girls who respect and are proud of their man, and stay attractive for him, and are glad for him. This is a dynamic borne out of a certain level of loss anxiety- they still see their men as the prize and are glad for it.

  • Good Luck Chuck

    This is yet another reason to not give a shit about what a woman says. They would have you believe that it’s a capital crime to so much as think about speaking to another woman, meanwhile they are recruiting backup penis under the guise of socially acceptable male/female “friendships”.

  • Acksiom

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    But, memetic pseudo-wit aside, what I mean positively is that the correct term is not so much ‘dread’ as it is ‘the normal future time orientation expected of any mature, adult, responsible individual WRT behavioral consequences’.

    And that — genuine grown-up responsibility — is what girls really dread.

    Of course, if they’re actually women, i.e. actually responsible grown-ups, they don’t dread it, because actual responsible grown-ups embrace it. And responsible grown-ups embrace it because they’ve learned, one way or another, that with great responsibility comes great power.

    Because of the size and degree of the entitlement bubble in which they reside, too many people in general, and girls in particular, think being privileged by access to an environment in which they don’t have to behave like responsible grown-ups is power. It’s not. It’s dependence, and the privilege they enjoy is usually created by men, and men naturally and normally and above all else healthily resent having it taken for granted by the forpies (4Ps — “Poor Precious Princess Privileged”‘s) as their due default rather than a special privilege they are obliged to not only earn, but to keep on earning.

    The ‘dread’ to which you refer is usually nothing more than being expected to haul almost any of their own damn weight beyond feeding and hygiene. It’s the same kind of ‘dread’ a spoiled brat experiences when facing proper and appropriate chores, or other responsibilities in general.

  • YB

    Fascinating! In hindsight, I should have made my ex-wife dread my loss more. Funny, recently she called me out of the blue. I shut her down in short order. =)

    Thinking back, with prior girlfriends, some of them I filled with dread. These were the ones that I literally didn’t give a shit if we parted. Must take that mentality into all future relationships.

    Given that I’ve realized recently that all vagina is interchangeable, that should be relatively easy.

  • Johnycomelately

    +1

  • emmatheemo

    Seems true. Dread created itself, which is why I always reasoned that you don’t need to do anything to make it appear. You might make it worse though, and make her give up all hope, but when she is being so bitchy and not trying to make you happy, I guess you can do it freely.

  • YB

    Emma – nobody should be expected to live with someone who cannot be arsed with trying to make you happy. It is simple decency as a human being.

    If you don’t appreciate what you have NOW…you will when you lose it. Appreciate it or lose it.

    Or as I said to one chick: you want to be pleasured, dump the attitude and show some gratitude.

  • xsplat

    I keep a 2nd apartment and go there whenever my woman acts out.

    The other day she started to have a big freakout about an imaginary girlfriend she claimed that I had. I told her to believe whatever she wants, but to keep it to herself and not bother me about it. Told her she was making me uncomfortable in my own house, and that if she continued I’d leave for the night.

    When I leave, I don’t tell her where I go, stay out for about 24 hours, and don’t answer test messages.

    She shut up, I went to sleep, and awoke in the morning to a breakfast of sushi and fresh squeezed carrot juice.

    I still had to deal with her overblown dread, but I did it on my terms – not the terms of her freakout. I gave her a powerful and romantic sex session with some “I love yous” thrown in liberally.

    When I go out, I never say where I’m going. If she would ask, I would never reply. Yet I demand she manage her dread such that it isn’t a poison in my house.

  • xsplat

    Exactly. The wise man must first walk through disillusionment and then become jaded before he simply sees how things work without attachment.

    Girls do what girls do. They use every trick in the book to keep men doing what they want, and use every trick to keep doing what they want to do. Morals and ethics don’t enter anywhere into it.

    Even nice good girl virgins are innately fiendish. It is in the nature of taking care of business to be crafty.

  • Emma the Emo

    Well, I do appreciate what I have, but I sometimes work so much and need emotional support, and it’s hard to go on if I feel I have nothing nice to look forward to… Too much dread and I feel I have nothing nice to look forward to :(

    But it’s good advice – doing what you can to make the other person happy will make you happy, too, along with them. It’s much more fun than just sitting there and receiving. But to enjoy doing all this, we do have to have an incentive. The incentive is that we aren’t chumps who are putting a lot of effort into something that won’t pay off and cheating/dumping is inevitable.

  • LionSoul

    Now I see where the Emo part of your name comes from.

  • YB

    Resonates with me…think that I’m going through the disillusion stage.

    Can anyone give and idea of the stages and approximately how long they take to go through?

  • YB

    The dread would only come in when someone was not doing their part for the relationship. Generally it would be a light shower rather than a hurricane.

  • Traveller

    I hope you help your friend.

  • bob

    Entirely depends on how much you pedestalised women in the past mate. The higher they were, the lower you’ll fall. A long fall will take more time obviously. You probably have that hard look on your face when dealing with women (not the one you’re familiar to). With some time, it will soften. But the mark in your mind won’t. They call it the slap of reality. Makes you stronger. :)

  • YaReally

    Just on a side note: Rollo’s comment about bodybuilders is a big part of why they don’t intimidate me in the field. Reading the Misc and Relationship forums at bodybuilding.com helps too. What you learn quick is that even tho those guys are jacked up and talk big talk about being alpha males, the reality is most of them spend too much time in the gym to learn how to handle women and they’re so reliant on their external looks that they don’t learn any actual game, and any female experience they’ve had has either been with randoms who jumped their bones (no game required, girl leads the whole thing) or they’ve had girlfriends like Rollo describes, girls who keep them whipped as hell under their thumb. The funniest part is that often those girls are just average at best too. But the guys are so beta and insecure in their core (thus the excessive working out) that they have Dread and supplicate.

    Remember that the next time a Jersey Shore looking douche is hitting on a girl you want to approach. :)

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  • Muartay

    I know this is an old post, however I wanted to reaffirm the validity of this post. I have been married for going on 10 years now. This website has helped to open my eyes to the world. I entered my marriage as a hapless beta, marrying a chick that had 2 kids by 2 different dudes. I had 2 kids with her, continuing to play the roll of super dad. I would work 80 hours a week and stay up until the wee hours of the morning taking care of kids. Once my kids were past the breastfeeding age my world was shattered. My lovely wife who I thought enjoyed my bullshit romance, started to change. She started going on GNO’s and not coming home till 3 or 4 in the morning. I sensed something was up and I started obsessing about where she was. I sat outside her friends house till 6 in the morning, waiting for her on one GNO. I started to Google around fir various signs of cheating, I found this site and others. This shit is real, my wife did not cheat on me but it was close. I have since started to man up and change myself. This post hit a special place in my life. I have started to flirt with other women and things have improved exponentially. This post is 100% accurate. Please listen to me. Rollo u are the best, thanks for all ur help.

  • Scott

    If anyone is in a “relationship” where there is a victim mentality and the other person controls them out of fear (not flirting, but as a psychopath control freak forcing the other to obey what they say and even hitting them), then they should separate. Some bloggers like to push extreme cases as what they say should be normalized (such as, the singer R….a, so then said blog guru says to hit women), well what they don’t say is if it’s not an act (some people actually believe everything they see on tv too), then said singer is also in the freak category (although I listen to a few of her songs, I would not “date” her as she’s not my type anyway).
    If someone asks me to do something I do NOT want to; I don’t do it.

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  • cherryblossomlife

    Dread is indeed a female condition.
    WOmen dread being homeless and they dread being forced to prostitute themselves. Both of those things can lead to rape and death.
    Due to gender discrimination in the workplace, men make sure they keep hold of the majority of the resources, which they then use as bargaining chips to convince women to live with them.
    If women were economically independant, they would choose not to live with men. Men know this, which is why it is essential that they continue to make sure women are economically vulnerable. Statistics show that women in all cultures are the world’s poor. Mothers are particularly vulnerable.
    SO yes, you are right, women do dread their husband leaving, because they know what that could mean for their chances of survival.
    Is this natural? Outside of a male-dominated society, no. Women would live with other women, with their mothers and sisters perhaps, in which case they would have nothing to dread.

  • YOHAMI

    Cherry, go to youtube and search girlwriteswhat. Mumble that for a few days / years, then come back.

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  • Maximilian Edward Joseph Spedale

    Please fix the typo in the last sentence. “wants,” not “want’s.” Enjoyed the article.

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  • Moiz

    I find it interesting that you accuse the other blogger of having an echo chamber comment section when the one here pretty much worships your opinions in a Fight Club like devotion. I’ve seen dozens of reasonable comments dismissed from men(as a “beta” or whatever have you) and women(coming off as objectively and statedly biased simply because the writer is a woman) on this post and others. Many of them simply because they disagreed *slightly* with whatever bullshit the red-pill author conjures.

    A shame really. Because if this was less of a cult, you’d probably start far more convincing and credible. As it is, you just seem like psuedo psy-ops players.

    inb4 “feminist” “woman”(yes, that actually passes for a put-down here) “beta” “hurr durr bluepill-redpill false dichotomy”

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    To me, this seems like reality.

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  • Kara

    Are you people for real???? This is just bullshit. How about just talking openly with your wives and not treat your marriage like a chess board game. Making the first move and being open and honest is the only way and not stupid mind games. At least if the relationship hits the s bend you can proudly say you tried by giving your full heart. Found this thread when going on the computer after my husband had just been on it. Your bullshit is filling his head with it. I will be so sad if he believes and takes on this rot. Well done if so you have just welcomed another member to your failed relationships committee. Maybe you should turn your life around to more positive matters. Good things happen to good people you know?????

  • Rollo Tomassi

    “Open communication” is a feminized trope. It’s not ‘that’ you communicate, what and how you communicate:

    http://therationalmale.com/2013/08/07/appeals-to-reason/

  • Kara

    Here’s food for thought. Women are vital in keeping the human race alive. Without them your fucked so maybe you should treat them a little kinder and less like they are the anti christ. You should get therapy because like it or not women are here to stay and you just have to learn to understand them. Hell with maybe a little more nurturing and kindness you just might live in happiness.

  • YOHAMI

    Kara, food for though, reverse that towards men.

  • Kara

    Exactly true but I am not creating a site bashing men or women. Men and women are equal because we are both required to reproduce. Therefore we are equal. No one can dominate. No one is more important. We are EQUAL and that’s the bottom line. This site is negative and potentially damaging and I am concerned.

  • YOHAMI

    If youre EQUAL why do you want your feelings and needs to be heard while denying his?

  • Kara

    I have been trying to think of how to respond to that and all I can come up with is goodbye.

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  • Driver

    Interesting read and very true. I use this often in LTRs because women put themselves first and foremost. You have to remind a woman (often) that you have goals, dreams, etc…and if she is in the way (in other words all her shit comes first…and you a distance second) then you’ll walk.

    I have this same mentality at work and I use the same approach. If (and when) a company pulls the same bullshit, then I simply remind them “I have to work, but I don’t have to work for you. There is always another company who will gladly have me, appreciate my work and pay me accordingly”.

    It’s a mind fuck that anyone will try to use on you (you just have to be confident enough to walk away – know your value).

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