The Cardinal Rule of Relationships

In any relationship, the person with the most power is the one who needs the other the least.

This is a foundation of any relationship, not just intersexual ones, but family, business, etc. relationships as well. It is a dynamic that is always in effect. For my own well being and that of my family’s, I need my employer more than he needs me, ergo I get up for work in the morning and work for him. And while I am also a vital part for the uninterrupted continuance of his company and endeavours, he simply needs me less than I need him. Now I could win the lottery tomorrow or he may decide to cut my pay or limit my benefits, or I may complete my Masters Degree and decide that I can do better than to keep myself yoked to his cart indefinitely, thereby, through some condition either initiated by myself or not, I am put into a position of needing him less than he needs me. At this point he is forced into a position of deciding how much I am worth to his ambitions and either part ways with me or negotiate a furtherance of our relationship.

The same plays true for intersexual relationships. Whether you want to base your relationship on ‘power’ or not isn’t the issue; it’s already in play from your first point of attraction. You are acceptable to her for meeting any number of criteria and she meets your own as well. If this weren’t the case you simply would not initiate a mutual relationship. This is the first comparisson we make with another individual – call it ‘sizing up’ if you like – but we make innate (and often unconscious) comparisons about everything and in the case of initial attraction we decide if the the other person is acceptable for our own intimacy. From this point it becomes a cooperative negotiation.

This principle isn’t so much about ‘power’ as it is about control. This might sound like semantics, but it does make a difference. It’s very easy to slip into binary arguments and think that what I mean by the cardinal rule of relationships is that one participant must absolutely rule over the other – a domineering dominant personality to a doormat submissive personality. Control in a healthy relationship passes back and forth as desire and need dictate for each partner. In an unhealthy realationship you have an unbalanced manipulation of this control by a partner.

Although control is never in complete balance, it becomes manipulation when one partner, in essence, blackmails the other with what would otherwise be a behavioral reinforcer for the manipulated partner under healthy circumstances. This happens for a variety of different reasons, but the condition comes about by two ways – the submissive participant becomes conditioned to allow the manipulation to occur and/or the dominant one initiates the manipulation. In either case the rule still holds true – the one who needs the other the least has the most control. Nowhere is this more evident than in interpersonal relationships.

Too many people who I counsel and read my posts (here and elsewhere) assume that this Rule means that I’m advocating the maintaining a position of dominance at the expense of their partners; far from it. I do however advocate that people – young men in particular – develop a better sense of self-worth and a better understanding of their true efficacy in their relationships (assuming you decide to become involved in one). Don’t get me wrong, both sexes are guilty of manipulation; Battered women go back to their abusive boyfriends/husbands and pussy whipped men compromise themselves and their ambitions to better serve their girlfriend’s insecurities. My intent in promoting this Rule is to open the eyes of young men who are already predisposed to devaluing themselves and placing women as the goal of their lives rather than seeing themselves as the PRIZE to be sought after. Compromise is always going to be a part of any relationship, but what’s key is realizing when that compromise becomes the result of manipulation, what is in effect, then developing the confidence to be uncompromising in those situations. This is where a firm understanding of the cardinal rule of relationships becomes essential.

There’s nothing wrong with backing down from an argument you have with your girlfriend, but there is something wrong when you continually compromise yourself in order to ‘keep the peace’ with the understanding that she’ll withhold intimacy as a result of you holding your ground. That is a power play, also known as a ‘shit test’. She initiates it thus becoming the controlling party.

No woman’s intimacy (i.e. sex) is ever worth that compromise because in doing so you devalue your own worth to her. Once this precident is set, she will progressively have less respect for you – exactly opposite of the popular conception that she’ll appreciate your compromising for her and reward you for your “sensitivity”.

And really, what are you compromising in order to achieve? Set in this condition, her intimacy. That isn’t genuine desire or real interest in you, it’s a subtle psychological test (that all too many men are unaware of) meant to determine who needs the other more. There is no more a superior confidence for a man than one with the self-understanding that he will not compromise himself for the recognized manipulations of a woman, and the fortitude to walk away knowing he can and will find a better prospect than her. This is the man who passes the shit test. It’s called ‘enlightened self-interest’ -— I cannot help others until I can help myself — and a principle I wholely endorse.

Published by Rollo Tomassi

Author of The Rational Male and The Rational Male, Preventive Medicine

Leave a Reply

  Subscribe  
Notify of
Theophilus
Guest
Theophilus

For any man in an LTR, knowing this and acting in a way that puts the control mainly in his own hands makes for a stable and happy relationship for both him and the woman.

Danger
Guest
Danger

Never sacrifice self-respect for anything. The cost is always too high.

trackback

[…] this is where the Cardinal Rule of Relationships plays in. This is the constant interplay of vying for who is more dependent upon the other. Women […]

Nutz
Guest
Nutz

Adam Lyons teaches that it’s all about investment. The person least invested has the power and is in the driver’s seat, which is basically the same thing. The key is to give the appearance of being less invested than the other person, and in doing so it creates a chase frame with you as the “prize”. When I teach guys I give them the training wheels version of this which is that they should strive for an 80/20 split. When they get a handle on things, they can invest more and more and ideally get it close to a comfortable… Read more »

TheMale
Guest
TheMale

to sum it up:
if i’m the least invested on the relationship, i’m detain the power of the relationship.
but what about interaction ?
i mean when you start talking to a chick, she will throw you sometimes a shit test, but there’s nothing you are invested on,yet.
so how this rule of not sacrificing yourself worth get into the picture ?

trackback

[…] The Cardinal Rule of Relationships  In any relationship, whether romantic, personal, business or familial, the person with the most power is the one who needs the other the least. […]

trackback

[…] The principle is this: the one who is doing the resisting is the one who is controlling the dynamic. It comes back to The Cardinal Rule of Relationships […]

trackback

[…] for her and she has no other choice but to follow. In so doing this, he places her in a position of him needing her less than she does and she therefore chases and qualifies herself to […]

trackback

[…] The Cardinal Rule of Relationships […]

Alex
Guest
Alex

Either side, whatever you say, whatever girls say, you get power thrown in. Why the fuck are you pretending there’s some inherent good or happiness in this? Want the truth? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGooIqT2O5c … deal with it you animal fucko. Masculinity is one part of the disease, don’t tell me to act half in on this crime of a life because I have a penis. And don’t expect respect from anyone, if you do respect yourself, it’s because you’ve successfully gone insane.

trackback

[…] dropped and their own SMV is greater. For the first time in his relationship history, he faces the Cardinal Rule of Relationships from his own perspective – women need him more than he needs […]

trackback

[…] the role of whom will play the part of dom and sub becomes based upon who better has the stronger personality to live that role […]

trackback

[…] In Dread Games I made an attempt to clear up the real inevitability of dread in any average relationship. Dread is going to be a factor in any relationship due to the Cardinal Rule of Relationships: […]

trackback

[…] Let’s examine Rollo’s Cardinal Rule of Relationships: […]

trackback

[…] SMV disparity based on the ratio between both sexes. Before you read my outlines, keep in mind the Cardinal Rule of Relationships: In any relationship, the person with the most power is the one who needs the other the least. The […]

sam
Guest
sam

I’ve been fascinated by the sayings I’ve found in Colombia(remember that Colombia has been in a social bubble for about 70 years because of the guerilla). A couple of interesting ones..In Cali-The person who falls in love loses. In the coast..While waiting for Mr Right, enjoy Mr. Wrong! Another fascinating one told to me in a secretive tone by a old Paraguayan guy..”But between men..there doesn’t exist the ugly woman.”

trackback

[…] “In any relationship, the person with the most power is the one who needs the other the least.” ~ Rollo Tomassi(link to website article) […]

trackback

[…] I have to consider these perspectives of intimacy and cross reference it with the Cardinal Rule of Relationships: […]

John Doe
Guest
John Doe

What a great Blog! I got dumped by my ex girlfriend about two months ago from a 9 year relationship.
I got goosebumps reading the last paragraph. That’s how I got dumped. Never compromise your self-respect, once you do it’s a ongoing downhill road.
Keep the good work.

trackback

[…] parcial y reinterpretación del artículo: “The Cardinal Rule of Relationships” escrito por Rollo Tomassi para The Rational […]

beasleyisthebest
Guest

Solid gold wisdom here. Thanks for sharing!

James
Guest
James

This is great and true on so many levels.

Living on a lonely island? Not so great.

I’ve often said, playing this game is sometimes like walking a tight rope. At times in my life I’ve been busy at the game of life and said to hell with it.

Then I went overseas. And discovered how women are supposed to act.

Stop blaming yourself!

James
Guest
James

There is so much wisdom and good advice in these articles, though of course we need to be careful of hard and fast generalizations. But wisdom comes with experience and honest reflection, so these rules are a good framework with which to approach intimate relationships with women. My father told me when I was a boy just to say “Yes dear” when a woman was clucking away about crap or trying to create an argument, and then go and do whatever it was you wanted to do regardless of their wishes. I didn’t grasp what it meant at the time,… Read more »

trackback

[…] above that of the women they committed themselves to. For the first time in a man’s life the Cardinal Rule of Relationships shifts to his (potential) advantage. For men who’ve experienced a nominally sexless marriage […]

trackback

[…] The Cardinal Rule of Relationships […]

Braivo
Guest

James – your comment was fantastic. As a single father faced with the prospect of spending several years living in solitude I found your story to be very enlightening. I find myself fighting the solitude at times. To know that in a decade, when I reach your age, I can still be a desirable man getting laid with frequency while enjoying a life that I command is very encouraging. Thanks for sharing. I am going to read that link you posted as well. Looks like good stuff.

Eric
Guest
Eric

You are a genius

trackback

[…] Now lets review The Cardinal Rule of Relationships: […]

trackback

[…] (Enlace al original en ingles) […]

trackback

[…] will be more motivated to mate guard than the other. Which of course then brings us back to the Cardinal Rule of Relationships. Mate guarding impulse is contextual to the comparative value of both individuals and the value of […]

trackback

[…] your masculine self, you must be comfortable losing it all. This derives from Rollo’s post: The Cardinal Rule of Relationships  where he says, “In any relationship, the person with the most power is the one who needs […]

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

[…]”Once this precedent is set, she will progressively have less respect for you – exactly opposite of the popular conception that she’ll appreciate your compromising for her and reward you for this.[…] I understand that some men have had this experience and I empathize, but this example makes it out that it’s assuming women have no control over wanting and trying to gain more power regardless. If a male doesn’t non-aggressively and non-accusingly talk about his feelings about the situation and what he cares about and what he wants (for himself and for her), then that’s what fuels the uneven… Read more »

trackback

[…] Remember the Cardinal rule of relationships! […]

Culum Struan
Guest
Culum Struan

Guys so much stuff to read! Gonna set aside some time to catch up later today/tomorrow. Now I need to go nurse my epic hangover from last night. I wrote this FR last night when I got home. I’ve cleaned up the spelling and writing a bit but otherwise left it as is for posterity – think it gives a good flavour of the night lol: YaReally Sentient HABD Forge hank holiday and gang Writing this Thursday night drunk off my face. Will check for sanity/spelling and post tomorrow ( FR Solo Latin dance club Guys this solo shit is… Read more »

Sentient
Guest
Sentient

Another Yareally gamma-esque snark storm?

You are becoming a meme Yareally
http://static1.squarespace.com/static/524eca7fe4b008299350301f/t/529d63fce4b0793e6bbe7c90/1386046461135/someone-on-the-internet-is-wrong.jpg

GUYIZ IT’S TRUE HE IS LARPING LOLOLOLOL NO ONE CAN DO ANYTHING I SAY THEY CAN’T BECAUSE I HAVE A VIDEO CLIP HERE THAT PROOOOVES IT! AND I’M THE VICTIM BECAUSE I DO THIS FOR LUUUUUV.

synopsis.

newlyaloof
Guest

Total is “National Underwear Day.” I plan on field testing some openers tonight.

Me: “Are you celebrating today?
Girl: “Celebrating what?
Me: “National Underwear Day.

take it from there.

newlyaloof
Guest

I meant “today” is …

trackback

[…] Give zero fucks […]

Dennis Robles
Guest
Dennis Robles

Wow, if it was only so simple. The issue of power is not always obvious. As there are all kinds of power in a relationship. One can control the money in the relationship and that person has the power. Or one can control the sex, and that is power. So the issue of power in a relationship is on a continuum the way I see it. Even in it’s extreme position, the person who appears to have the power, may not really have it I believe Hegal wrote about the master-slave relationship that is a bit gemane to this conversation.… Read more »

trackback

[…] give you a practical example. Here is a truth that Tomassi lays out in his post The Cardinal Rule of Relationships: in any relationship, the person with the most power is the one who needs the other the […]

LZA
Guest
LZA

HI Rollo,

I live by the mantra of learn the rules and play the game better than anyone and your book is changing the game for me.

To quote you “a relationship should be based on genuine desire, mutual respect, complementary understanding of each other and love.”

I get genuine desire but can you expound on mutual respect, understanding of each other and love ? My understating of these concepts are blue pill in nature, related links of articles would be great if you have already covered these topics.

eghost247
Guest

Reblogged this on eghost247.

trackback

[…] it might be that this is something she never foresaw. Dread works best when a man understands the Cardinal Rule of Relationships: In any relationship, the person with the most power is the one who needs the other the […]

MR. YOUR ERROR IN JUDGEMENT; A.K.A. SIR DEPLORABLE PUSSYGRABBER
Guest

Reblogged this on Site Title.

trackback

[…] *Via TheRationalMale.Com* […]

trackback

[…] basically The Cardinal Rule of Relationships. Remember […]

trackback

[…] what the magic formula is that’ll bring her around, that’s when you lean over into her frame. You need her more than she needs you and she will dictate the terms of her […]

trackback

[…] Artigo original: https://therationalmale.com/2011/08/19/the-cardinal-rule-of-relationships/ […]

trackback

[…] The Cardinal Rule of Relationships […]

trackback

[…] very first moment that you begin a relationship. In every relationship there is a power dynamic. As Rollo states, the person who needs the other the least has the most […]

Alan
Guest
Alan

Gentlemen…gentlemen, always remember…being a man, learn the way of the lonely wolf. It is not ABOUT women, never was. U can die, get cancer…whatever, you go out your door, a car hits you…you’re gone, simple as. Nobody in this world would ever love you like you’re mother…ever! Get used to that and start spending you’re days in pursuit of the few things that matter! Spend your days building things, be poets…sing songs! A man has time, it has never been about them!…they are just the prize. Men!…If you do not become kings of your own domain…conquer yourself first, else you’d… Read more »

Celtic Twang
Guest
Celtic Twang

‘Cast The Bantling on the Rocks,
Suckle him with the she-wolf’s teat,
Wintered with the hawk and fox,
Power and speed be hands and feet.’

trackback

[…] believed I had more options, I wouldn’t settle…or pedestal.  Similarly, while I understood the cardinal rule of relationships, I couldn’t follow its advice.  I was burned badly three times in the last two years, marriage […]

trackback

[…] Tomassi’s Cardinal Rule of Relationship states […]

trackback

[…] The Cardinal Rule of Relationships oleh Rollo […]

TRPnuance
Guest
TRPnuance

This concept has become very important in my marriage. One thing I keep remembering is – women are water. Men are the container. Women will take whatever shape you give them. Since I began the RP journey (2 months ago), this has been a huge and helpful factor in my journey. Really – this has been about three things (so far): 1) STFU – stop talking about your emotions. Your wife doesn’t want to hear about your fucking problems. She wants a strong man. This also made me a more resilient, stronger character person. When I stopped emoting so much,… Read more »

Jules
Guest
Jules

A very good article…genderless…it goes for everybody, including todays woman…everyone is the PRIZE….with flaws…with authenticity…everyone must be themselves and pass that hot potatoe of power…to be able to recieve it, to pass it back…to be wise and appreciative of it…regardless who’s turn it is…to have or relinquish the power potatoe…after all…vulnerability is part of love, in healthy relationships…it builds trust and intimacy….and absolute power corrupts, absolutely. The right woman understands it’s not all about her or him…it’s a shared connection. AC instead of DC. Thank you. Ps. Testing is good…and so is being able to relax a litte…just as long… Read more »

%d bloggers like this: