“Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?”

Letter from an addict:

I can’t get my ex to stop popping in my mind. No matter what or where I go, everything reminds me of her. What can I do? As it stands I have the power, she’s called me last, but I keep gettin the urge to give in and call.

The fact that I’ve been spinning plates has only made it worse. When I’m out with these new girls, keeps reminding me of stuff that I did with her, its whacked.

I feel like I just can’t get away, no matter where I look or go, there she is. The sad part is, I don’t even pine over her, I despise her, I think of her negatively but I’m addicted.

I need help.

If you were a drug addict or an alcoholic the first step back to sobriety is your moment of clarity. You’ve obviously had that. The next step is to detoxify yourself – that’s the hard part. You need to isolate yourself, and put yourself into complete separation from your drug of choice; in this case that’s your ex.

You’re feeling hopeless about her and your present condition because the cessation of what you’ve mistaken as a reward for so long is now out of reach. You need to understand that what you want to go back to isn’t what you think it is, nor will it ever “get better”. Even if you could reengage with her, it will never be what you think it could.

Withdrawal Symptoms

I think half the battle of controling an emotional response is consciously recognizing that it is taking place. Children (of both sexes) cannot help but react emotionally to external stimulus. They do this because they have no prior experience with that stimulus to associate a response to. In addition, they have an underdeveloped capacity for abstract thought and therefore an emotional response is almost a given. But as we mature and experience things, we understand what is happening (because it’s happened to us prior) and we can better react and prepare responses for them accordingly.

When a person first experiences jealousy this triggers a complex chain of hormonal and emotional imbalances. True jealousy, the type generated by the suspicion of having invested emotionally in a person who betrays that investment, rarely occurs before puberty so there is no prior experience to prepare an individual for it. It also happens so rarely that we don’t acknowledge it as an issue to consider until we’re in the middle of experiencing it. This is further complicated by an immature, but developing capacity for abstract thought, as well as the fact that jealousy is an in-born, innate biological response that has served our species well for millenia. Needless to say this severly limits rational thought processes and the ability to form appropriate behaviors based on them.

Now lets further complicate the situation with the same chemical cocktail and the emotional responses associated with sexual relations and you can see where this is going.

Depending upon the level of emotional attachment, what most guys experience in a breakup are withdrawal symptoms from an addiction. The brain’s neurochemistry in response to environmental cues and the effects solidified by routine experience are truly fascinating. Studies have shown that the chemical/hormonal signatures that naturally occur in the human body while one is experiencing love are virtually identical to the euphoric properties of heroin. The reason you pine over this girl, the reason that her rubbing your nose in it (so to speak) seems satisfying, the reason seeing her with another guy or the idea of renting her a room to go fuck him in provokes such an intense emotional response from a guy is because it re-triggers that same hormonal charge you got from it the first time and you’re seeking ways to re-stimulate that rush. You’ve yet to develop the cognitive capacity to deal with the associations of this rush because you have few or no prior experiences with this jealousy/betrayal dynamic, so you think of it in the only terms that have been available to you up to now – that which media/culture has conditioned you to take at face value. Therefore you have this Shakespearean sense of betrayal.

There is a quantifiable hormonal response to environmental cues that inspire jealousy. From an evolutionary perspective this makes for a semi-efficient genetic-investment protection mechanism. Animals that get hormonally pissed off at the cues indicating cuckoldry will reserve their parental investments for better, more prolific breeding opportunities. However , the same evolutionary advantages that same hormonal response causes are also liabilities in other instances. While it may be beneficial for parental investment that a chemical cocktail engendering feelings of trust, infatuation, love, etc. be pumped into our bloodstreams to inspire pair bonding, that same cocktail can also become a powerful narcotic when the rewarding ‘high’ is removed.


What happens in a breakup is similar to coming down off a narcotic. The addict seeks to re-stimulate the reward process, only now that process is denied to him (or her). Thus the addict is forced to create novel ways to reestablish that reward, however under these new circumstances that reward rush doesn’t compare to the original high of infatuation, love, etc.. Creating situations where jealousy, indignation and suspicion are present is an attempt to trigger that rush the original triggers did, only this time it’s cheaper and less potent since its conditions are temporal, few and far between. So is the high of love, lust and infatuation replaced with the lesser high of suspicion and jealousy.

This is the biochemical addiction phase most guys find themselves in in a post-monogamy breakup. I should add that this is yet one more reason to cultivate a Plate Theory mental model of abundance, however, once again, knowing is half the battle. As the more rational and reasoned sex, one condition for dropping this default mental state is whilst under the influences of intoxication (funny we call love intoxicating) and hormonal imbalances. In other words it’s very hard to make rational assessments when your physiology is jonesing for a fix, but if you know you’re jonesing and why you’re jonesing, you’re half way to recovery.

The Beta Response

As an end note here I think I should elaborate that Beta men, in comparison to more Alpha Men, tend to have a much tougher experience when it comes to jealousy and postpartum emotional states. You’ve got to consider that men who have less opportunity for sex, love, emotional investment, etc. will experience a sense of loss greater than men who have more intimate opportunities. On a subconscious level, the Beta male has a much higher investment risk in losing a potential long-term lover since most of his proverbial eggs are going to necessarily be tied up in one basket at a time. This is a liability of the Beta  breeding strategy – All In, but also All Out if he loses on his bet.

Furthermore, by his nature, the Beta will have less prior experience in coping with the emotional response prompted by that biochemical rush. Ergo, the guy who you “never though was capable” of the actions he takes will often surprise you by the extents to which he will go to reestablish that reward prompt. The Beta male and post-partum rejection, jealousy, betrayal, suspicion, etc. are often a very volatile mix.

Published by Rollo Tomassi

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

16 comments on “Detox

  1. Yohami legendary stuff… Its funny that we radiate a signal that is subscribed by similair individuals e.g a borderline can smell a caretaker a mile off.

  2. This is why you *never* put all of your eggs in one basket – always have three, preferably two you are working, with another one of two who are up-and-coming. This makes it so that you are never dependent on any specific woman for what you need. You always have several that you can pull from, when you need them.

    I learned long ago, that the best way to get over one woman, is to get over another – as in, in bed… Guaranteed to keep your mind focused on the woman you’re with. That is why dating only one woman is a losing game – you have no other options. Have options makes it so that you don’t put too much value in any relationship, and that makes it better for you – and that is what matters in the end. What is best for you.

  3. The other trap following a breakup is to “sugarcoat” the other person. This is the tendency to recall only the good experiences only their good qualities. Yea, you miss her–at least the GOOD aspects of her. You miss the laughs, the sex, and all the POSITIVE history with her. You miss the benefits of the relationship. That’s natural. That’s biological (even chemical as Rollo says). But in so doing, you tend to forget all the negatives. You likely even embellish some of the positives. As you can see, this line of thinking quickly becomes horribly one-sided.

    Here’s the remedy: get a big note card. One one side write down all that you liked about her and the relationship. Be fair in your listing. No one else is going to see this. Now, on the other side of the note card, write down all that you disliked about her and the relationship. Be equally honest–even brutally so. Did you not like it when she flirted with your best friend? Write that down. You didn’t like feeling like shit when she left for the weekend to god knows where? Write that down. Were there parts of your sex life with her that you really didn’t like? Did she forget to flush? Did she cook like crap? Dis your friends? Bitch at you for fishing with your buddies? Ever ask you to watch stupid movies? Fart at inappropriate times? Write it all down. Write down the unvarnished truth on BOTH sides of the card.

    Now, every time you want to think of her, read BOTH sides of the card; not just the one positive side. Read that card (both sides) every damn day if you have to. This will re-train your thinking. You’re stuck in a cognitive rut and need to break free. You need to recall that for every fond memory, there are, quite likely, 1.5x as many ugly memories (otherwise you wouldn’t have broken up). Eventually, you won’t embellish the memories any more. You’ll kick the habit of replaying only the positive soundtrack from your past relationship. You’ll begin take in the WHOLE truth–both the good and the bad–for your own greater experience and wisdom. And you’ll be a better man for it.

  4. Watch the latest Mad Men Season 5 Episode 9 when Draper effectively sidelines a subordinate whose idea he stole and won business with.

    The kid corners Draper in the elevator and tries to make Don feel guilty. The kid suggests he has better ideas while Draper is a has-been who resorts to stealing ideas of subordinates.

    Draper barely looks at thim and says drly: “Well I’m lucky you work for me…”

    The kid then says “I feel sorry for you”

    Draper says “I dont’ think of you at all”

    That exchange sums it up.

  5. Problem is guys desire a ‘type’ despite all the talk of objective standards of beauty, sometimes that type is only espoused in a very narrow band of women.

    Or maybe the archetypal ‘type’ that a man desires is simply a manifestation of oneitis.

  6. I do not know where this mythical aplha men are and live but I have still yet to meet one. Men that are in complete emotional control of themselves, do not get disturbed by women, rejection, do not know one-itis, have the “bigger” hand, can not be used by chicks, etc.

    I do have “some” experience with women and I am STILL succeptible to this shit. My very body is willing to do so. I fucked like the young god in my twenties. Still one young virgin with no experiences at all in this fucking heaven kept me in line for two years! She was so cold and so naturally manipulative that my ego didn´t give me a chance. Epic fail. I handled – in my practice, a good couple of men – successful, unsuccesful, rich poor, attractive, ugly, weak and strong, all emotionaly DEVASTATED by their wives.

    I know “strong” businessmen taking loans just to “prove” they are worthy. Working their asses off just to be able to pay for holidays and expensive cars. All for their DUMB, LAZY and SPOILED wifes. Why do you think this :jerks: – translation – weak men, are behaving like complete idiots, losing every bit of dignity in the process?

    We are talking about knowledge here. This is not about beta men – aka – the others not us, we are big, strong men of course. This is about us. Men. Maybe we should admit it to ourself. There would be more dignity in it.

    Women are sophisticated breed, born with values that help them to FIND her mate and EXPLOIT his resources, mind, everything he has, for the nest and children. They have much better system than us. Our very bodies and minds are their best allies. We are constructed to be the SLAVES of matrix. Woman IS the matrix. She is walking DNA. 999 of 1oo0 men are slaves to women. All their lives. She has the upper hand, she is made to have it. All our life is the battle for freedom. But to able to fight – we shoud admit the truth.

  7. My favorite saying: “The best way to get over someone is on top of someone else.”

    As soon as you start fucking someone new, all those horrible feelings go away.

    To go with the drug analogy, there’s a horrible alcoholic I know. He can’t stop drinking when he starts, he keeps a bottle next to the bed if he wakes up in the middle of the night with the shakes.

    When we can get him off booze, he smokes weed every day all day. He gets by no problem with weed, with which he’s 100% more tolerable and not a danger to himself.

    The best way to get over someone is on top of someone else. And if in a slump, I’ll go for a fattie. “Any port in a storm!”

  8. My name is John, and I am an addict. (or was).

    I was that man who could not stop thinking about his ex. Here are some of the practical things that helped me when my ex left.

    I was a “higher beta”, bank VP, leader, high earner, when I met my ex. She was beautiful, captivating, sexy. I wooed her, married her. She was the best looking woman I have ever been with. I loved her like I have loved no other.

    After ten years it wore thin. She never ever respected our marriage, never had a real job, used my money to present herself as a successful businesswoman and had too many single girlfriends. Dramatic and manipulative, I now realise that she has extreme Borderline Personality Disorder. Despite all my efforts she left me for a lesbian whose father had the money to keep them in the way she had always wanted. When she left she said “Of course, this will destroy you”.

    In a rare but wonderful coincidence I discovered Game in the last two months before she left me. From Chateau Heartiste I discovered what Oneitis is, and the dangers in that. That helped when she left.

    I also bought a self-help book by Marisa Peer, who talks about being “enough”, not being dependent on your ex. In the month after my wife left, I covered the walls of my house with yellow post-its with “I am enough” written on them. It helped.

    However I could not stop thinking about my ex, sexy, vivacious, funny, stylish. The worst was going to bed alone, where my anger at her betrayal would blossom in the dark. The consequence of this was chronic Insomnia. It reached a point where I was only sleeping in snatches. My days became phantoms of tiredness which I do not really remember.

    In desperation I turned to Emotional Freedom Technique . I used EFT to “clear” the angry emotional blockages around my cheating, lying wife. Blessedly, sleep returned.

    However my days were filled with the addiction of my wife. Then I looked for spiritual support. For the last three years (to my wife’s amusement) I have been a practicing pagan. I decide to perform an ending ritual. I built a high bonfire, made a sacrifice to Odin, the All-Father, gave bread, wine, beer, gold and meat and wood. I placed photographs of my wife on the bonfire, spoke my plea, lit the fire and burned it all to ash. I invoked Odin and Tyr (God of warriors) to my aid.

    Now I function much better. Regardless of your spiritual orientation, an ending ritual may help. I think Fire helps.

    I learnt something from this article and the comments. I realise now that sex with another woman will help me. In my pain I have avoided women. I will change this.

    Many, many thanks for your site, Mr Tomassi.

  9. @Rollo
    I wonder if the things males cope with who aren’t unplugged are the most extremes cases of what your calling volitile?

  10. Very good post. I’m currently going trough a post breakup phase, or actually it’s like 5 months ago. But now and then my ex still contacts me for a drink and then we have sex. She just wants to see where I’m at I guess, just like all the ladies want to know if their exes are doing better now they are single again. And yes, in a way I’m doing better. I have so much free time now. She doesn’t want me back and in the days after our meetup I feel emotionally broken (again).

    I know I should stop seeing her, it’s the only remedy because seeing her is devastating me. Yes, it’s like a drug addiction. You are clean after 3 weeks and then you get that textmessage again “hi, how are you doing?” Hard to resist responding. She isn’t all that hot, she’s just the path of least resistance. I agree that things never are going to be what the used to be. We tried a reboot and it failed. Not because of me, it was her resentment.

  11. Merciless,

    I’m still a rookie but have gotten some good advice from many on this site.

    Before i eve found this site I found the first thing for me that helped get through what you’re going through is making a list of shit that bugs the crap out of you that she does. Be honest with yourself about this list, leave no stone unturned.

    Since you have all that time consider some basic things:

    Immediately start flirting with other woman.
    Hit the gym.
    Do stuff you like.
    Find new hobbies
    Hit the gym
    Flirt with more women
    Read a lot of Rollo’s old posts, start with the best of year one, especially his Iron Rules.
    Next time she texts you ignore her text for at least 24 hours. Delete the text as soon you read it.
    Block her number or change your phone number.
    Make a list of things that would make you a better man.
    Make a list of things that could help you on a daily basis. Change your habits.
    Hit the gym again.
    Flirt with more women.
    If possible get laid with another woman even if she is not as sexy or interesting as your ex.
    As one commenter (SJF) suggested to me, find other dopamine inputs to replace when she gives you. The gym lifting weights, running, something wild and fun with guy friends. Attend a football game, heck, anything to keep your mind off of her. Spending more time with buddies helps.
    Buy yourself some new clothes.
    Listen to new music. Delete the music or at least set aside the music you listened to when you were with her.
    Read more old Rollo’s old posts.
    If your career is important to you focus on becoming more successful.
    When ready dig into YaReally’s archives and realize you can hit on other women and have fun doing it.

    Take one day at a time. Make small goals for yourself. I made big goals and got super frustrated at my failures cuz I was aiming too high.
    All that stuff helps to establish a new Frame. You have to be motivated. If you’re not motivated success is not nearly as likely. Rollo has a post or two just on Frame, find it via search.

  12. Roused,

    I already went to the gym before and during the relationship, but increased my workout schedule when she dumped me. I then went on summer holiday with a large group of guys and single girls and it freaked her out. I loved it. I make progress and she knows it. If have money and she knows it.

    Btw, I read both of Tomassi’s books and read all the articles I get in my mail. It’s not so much that I don’t see what is happening here (she keeping me as some safe-haven) during her quest for other cock, it’s more that I’ve not been able to find a replacement for HER yet. That is the truth. And you see how vulnerable that makes a man. Doesn’t matter if he calls himself alpha or not, it’s just that we all have or needs. Not for sex in particular, but we all want that female attention.

    Thanks for your comment. It will be hard to ignore a person, any person for me because I’m not that kind of guy but I really have to start approaching other women from now on and let the past be what it is. I don’t say it will be easy for me, but ok.

  13. I am adding a comment regarding the “addiction” of love from the perspective of women and whether they can feel such connection like a man can.

    It’s been said that women have a much easier time dealing with a break up than a man. I only believe this dynamic to play out in a situation when a man idealistically falls in love as a beta with a woman who just cannot love him as he expects to be loved – his beta bucks (in my view most marriages in the west).

    I do believe that women can fall in love like men do to the point of “addiction” but that she can only do so for the alpha. Hypergamy doesn’t care if that alpha is a drug dealer, prisoner etc so long as he is alpha. It’s in the same line as men falling in love with red flag women because it’s his “soul mate”. He will happily overlook red flags to stay with his “one-itis” girl because he’s in love. A woman will happily overlook his societal status as a “murderer” because she is in love. Genuine desire cannot be negotiated. I do think there can be some conscious rational as to see the wood for the trees and get yourself out of such situation, but it takes a mental effort to see that your love is not healthy. I think a lot of beta men do not have the courage to do so – scarcity mentality. Genuine desire cannot be negotiated, but negotiating yourself out of a bad situation is possible despite this with a red pill awakening and an alpha transitioning.

    The flip side of this is that the woman in love with the alpha would mean the alpha unlikely loving her as she desires to be loved by him on the premise that an alpha would not allow himself to be a kept man.

    In both the scenarios I have mentioned above (beta man with woman and alpha man with woman) it would stand to reason that the love is very much one sided to each, with one being man in love, the other being woman in love.

    The red-pill has not made me go MGTOW, but it has made me very cautious as to not be a woman’s beta bucks. Just because a man may have been the alpha to one woman, it does not necessarily mean another woman sees him as that alpha, even if there has been no change in personality or character on his behalf. There is a sense of perception of a man from a woman that comes into play, even if that man is playing a role of alpha or beta. Unfortunately, this is something you cannot control.

    It’s like you do not automatically develop feelings for someone that has feelings for you. In fact sometimes it can actually make you despise that person more.

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