Back in February I had an interesting exchange with commenter TuffLove. The conversation focused on his recent singleness due to his wife of 20-some years feeling the call of the Alpha and decided cheat on him, later divorce him and then take up with an even more Beta fellow not long after her ‘fling’ (his story). You can read the whole exchange here if you like, but what TuffLove describes is a textbook example of the Alpha re-interest impulse that defines the Development and Redevelopment/Reinsurance phases I outlined in the Preventative Medicine Series.
Not to rub salt in the wound, but you and your ex’s story is a cliché now. It’s the “making up for missing out” story. Woman marries early, cashes her chips in before she knows better, lives vicariously through her single girlfriends until such time that the “Alpha” she knew at 20 is the hapless Beta she’s saddled with at 39.
Divorce porn media convinces her to bail out and get with the Alpha she’s always missed for all that time. She did everything in reverse – Beta comfort and dependability through her party years, to be traded for Alpha excitement before it’s too late.
I was inspired to sift back through my comments for this conversation, because I was also made aware of a new example of both this phase’s dynamic and the divorce-porn industry that will inevitably find some very fertile soil to plant itself in.
This example comes to us courtesy of Robin Rinaldi, author of The Wild Oats Project. This book and the “experiment in cuckoldry” such as it was, centers on, you guessed it, a 40-something woman who abandons her marriage for one year to bang the random men she was prevented from fucking by being married to her dependable, unexciting Beta husband. Granted, the husband didn’t want children and this contention resulted in him getting a vasectomy – his only act of Alpha with her as far as I know. Her childlessness is of course her go-to victimization card she hopes will endear feminine sympathy for her taking matters into her own hands for a year.
The de rigueur rationalizations and appeals to womanly “self-discovery” are handed out like the M&Ms any Red Pill man will come to expect, but I’m drawing attention to this book because it has the potential to be the next step in the 50 Shades of Grey evolution of Open Hypergamy:
Get ready for “The Wild Oats Project.” And not just the book. Get ready for “The Wild Oats Project” phenomenon — the debates, the think pieces, the imitators and probably the movie. Get ready for orgasmic meditation and the Three Rules. Get ready for “My Clitoris Deals Solely in Truth” T-shirts.
On a social scale it seem like the next deductive next step – blend a justifiable Eat Pray Love narrative with the more visceral (yet unignorable) sexuality of 50 Shades and women will readily consume it. I expect there will be the same hamster spinnings of NAWALT and most women respect their marriage vows, but it still wont wash with the overwhelming ‘guilty pleasure’ popularity that 50 Shades exposed on a large scale.
Writers like Rinaldi and E.L. James have tapped into the Alpha Fucks / Beta Bucks anxiety rooted in women’s primal insecurity inherent in doubting their optimization of Hypergamy. If appealing to visceral sex sells products to men, appealing to the inherent ‘you-only-live-once’ insecurity of feminine Hypergamy sells to women – and women being the primary consumers in western society, sell it does.
Commenter jf12 related something Ballista posted on his blog recently:
Ballista asks, on his site, “why is divornography (divorce pornography) marketed exclusively to women? Why are there articles in women’s magazines and romance novels for women like Eat Pray Love that glamorize divorce, but nothing of the sort exists or is marketed to men? Why is there no male divorce porn, no stories of men divorcing their obese, aging harpy wives, liberating themselves from their marriage vows, and ending up living happily ever after banging large-breasted 21 year-old lingerie models?”
Can you imagine the uproar? Can you feel the Love yet?
Since the start of the sexual revolution there’s been a social undercurrent of excusable, justifiable comeuppance for any gender related imbalance women have been taught to believe that men are enjoying or benefitting from. Whatever male-specific indignation that would reflect negatively on men becomes a form of empowerment for women – particularly if that indignation facilitates men’s sexual strategy at the expense of women’s. Thus a woman taking a yearlong break from her marriage to bed as many men as she cares to indulge (fully expecting to come back to her dutiful Beta husband afterwards) is cast as an iconoclastic hero for casting off “patriarchal sexual repression.”
Furthermore, it’s only a small step to wipe the accountability of her actions off on the horrible man who wont cooperate by doing his duty to fulfill her sexual strategy. There is no more permanent a devotion to the male sexual strategy than to get a vasectomy and thus deny a woman the ultimate culmination of her own. If you ever want to experience just how close to livestock the Feminine Imperative considers men to be, just try getting a vasectomy before you’re married or without a wife’s explicit and written consent. Legally it’s easier to geld horses or neuter dogs.
It’s important to consider how the doubt over past hypergamous choices effects a mature woman. When a woman has passed through her Epiphany Phase and become a never-married woman into her late 30s the mindset becomes one of self-justification. This is similar to the Kate Bolick effect whereby a woman has very little choice but to live with her past intimate decisions and convert necessities into virtues. She embraces a ready-made empowerment narrative wherein she convinces herself that her choices were the bold, unconventional ones she needed in order to grow.
Next and most commonly is the woman who consolidated on a man’s commitment once she’d become less sexually competitive just prior to 30. I can’t be sure, but it’s likely that Rinaldi falls into this demo, the schedule more or less plays the same.
From Preventative Medicine IV:
Redevelopment / Reinsurance
The Redevelopment phase can either be a time of relational turmoil or one of a woman reconciling her hypergamous balance with the man she’s paired with.
The security side of this hypergamous balance has been established for her long term satisfaction and the Alpha reinterest begins to chafe at the ubiquitous certainty of that security. Bear in mind that the source of this certainty need not come from a provider male. There are a lot of eventualities to account for. It may come from a ‘never married’ woman’s capacity to provide it for herself, the financial support levied from a past husband(s) or father(s) of her children, government subsidies, family money, or any combination thereof.
In any event, while security may still be an important concern, the same security becomes stifling for her as she retrospectively contemplates the ‘excitement’ she used to enjoy with former, now contextually Alpha, lovers, or perhaps the “man her husband used to be”
The Soul-Mate Mistake
Vox had an astute observation about this phenomenon not too long ago:
Alpha Widowhood is a description of an observed behavior, not a cruel invention of the Game theoreticians meant to plague BETA husbands and give them sleepless nights:
“Steve has been with me for the past 50 years and Ron for 47. Neither is the man I am married to, nor have I seen or spoken to either since our love affairs ended in my 20s. All the same, there is no denying they have both messed with my marriage to Olly, the man who has been by my side for the past 40 years.
I found myself thinking about them both as I read recent research that suggested women who played the field before marriage are unhappier with their lot than those who entered matrimony virginal.
Angela Neustatter has often questioned what life would have been like had she married another man
Angela Neustatter has often questioned what life would have been like had she married another man.”
I think it’s important to remember that an Alpha Widow doesn’t even necessarily need to have slept with a man she considered ‘Alpha’ from her past to feel the Alpha Widow effect:
Five minutes of alpha — even worse, five minutes of alpha rejection — can fuck with the heads of even the most desirable women. And continue fucking with them years later. In comparison — if the reports are to be believed — women who divorce beta schlubs after years of marriage pretty much forget them before the ink is dry on the papers.
Sometimes being an Alpha Widow means hypergamic ‘rumination’ over a better Alpha option a woman missed or was rejected by in her past in comparison to the guy she “settled on” for marriage. This is particularly significant if that guy was a woman’s Plan B husband. It’s not just the actual Alphas she banged back in the day, you’re competing with an imagined ideal and the more women are empowered and encouraged to feel secure in exploring their hypergamous options (i.e. correct their ‘soul mate’ mistake) the more you’ll read stories like this.
However, for all intents and purposes my instincts tell me Rinaldi falls into the “making up for missing out” demographic. On whole this demo of women can eventually become the worst self-inflicted Alpha Widows in their latter years. I let Rinaldi explain…
“I refuse to go to my grave with no children and only four lovers,” she declares. “If I can’t have one, I must have the other.”
If you’re wondering why that is the relevant trade-off, stop overthinking this. “The Wild Oats Project” is the year-long tale of how a self-described “good girl” in her early 40s moves out, posts a personal ad “seeking single men age 35-50 to help me explore my sexuality,” sleeps with roughly a dozen friends and strangers, and joins a sex commune, all from Monday to Friday, only to rejoin Scott on weekends so they can, you know, work on their marriage.
[…] One of her oldest friends calls her out. “How is sleeping with a lot of guys going to make you feel better about not having kids?” she asks. Rinaldi’s answer: “Sleeping with a lot of guys is going to make me feel better on my deathbed. I’m going to feel like I lived, like I didn’t spend my life in a box. If I had kids and grandkids around my deathbed, I wouldn’t need that. Kids are proof that you’ve lived.” It’s a bleak and disheartening rationale, as though women’s lives can achieve meaning only through motherhood or sex.
As I illustrated in Preventive Medicine, there’s a root insecurity inherent in women’s Hypergamy. From an immediate perspective this can manifest itself as a battery of women’s psychological and sociological filtering mechanisms for Hypergamous optimization with a man she’d just met, to the husband she’s been married to for 20 years. However, it’s vitally important for men, particularly married and LTR men, to understand that the confines of a committed relationship is never any insurance against Hypergamy in the long-term, and the rationalizations of that Hypergamy evolve as women mature.
Of course the first, best advice is the simplest “just never get married”, but even if you are a single man entering your 50s you will encounter women who’ve experienced (or never experienced) a crisis of Hypergamy and the incessant drive for Alpha optimization of it. If you are a younger man dealing with an older woman (why, I don’t know) you will likely encounter women like Rinaldi and women with similar mindsets as Robin Korth. It’s important to know what you are, or will be, dealing with.