Soft Dread



In the past I’ve covered in various detail the utility of instilling dread in a woman both pre and post monogamy. It’s been one of the more contentious principles I’ve endorsed, with women tending to revile me for having brought men to the awareness of dread’s uses, and men concurring with, but often hesitant in applying dread for fear of the backlash for having used dread conspicuously.

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:

In any relationship, the one with the most power is the one who cares the least.

As Roissy and many legitimate psychologists will tell you, the most secure relationships generally result from about a 1-2 point SMV imbalance favoring the Man in the relationship. In this imbalance, the actual strength  of that secure feminine attachment to the man (both in and out of a monogamous commitment) can be expressed as a soft, or passive form of dread. This expression of dread is still rooted in a woman’s imagination of emotional, physical and provisional loss, but just as the application of that dread is passive, so too is a woman’s progressive realization of that dread.

Soft Dread

Mrs. Tomassi and I were recently talking with a woman of about 49. She’s the ever-present front desk host at our gym and a casual acquaintance and friend. She’s not particularly unattractive for her age, reasonably good shape from a body perspective – I can tell she used to enjoy a lot of male attention in her 20s and maybe 30’s – but now just this side of 50 she’s moved not so much into a regret stage, but rather a hopeful sense of well post-Wall self-remorse. That might sound odd, but she’s at least optimistic about her ‘chances’ of getting with a “good man” in the near future.

She’s quite upfront and honest about the Alpha Bad Boy Jerks she’s dated, married one and then divorced from her past. In fact she’s one of the more lucid women I’ve encountered about her present state and how she came to it. Although she’s the typical result of a hypergamous life prolonged past the “eating her cake too” phase, she owns her mistakes.

Although we generally hit Gold’s at different times, occasionally  the wife and I go together in the mornings. It was on one of these mornings, and our friend at the counter stopped us to say,

“I love you guys, I really do. I see a lot of people pass through here but when I see you both together it gives me hope that I can have a good relationship like you two. You’re such a team, I really hope I can meet a guy I can connect with like that.”

We were on our way out, and she always has something else to say about her personal life so, while I guess I was somewhat flattered, I didn’t pay it much mind. That is until our ride back home when Mrs. Tomassi looked me square in the face and said, “I am so glad I didn’t end up like that!” I was actually kind of surprised at the tone of her voice. “Thank God that’s not me, how horrible to be in that position at her age.” I nodded my head because I knew she was expecting my usually analyzations of post-Wall women and the beds they make. Then, with a hint of a tear in her eye, she gave me one of the best compliments I’ve ever heard from her, “I hope Bebé finds and marries a Man just like you.”

That made me feel really good, and what I’m about to type here sound really shitty. After not a small swell of pride, I thought, while it’s nice to be appreciated in this respect, would this realization have come without the influence of our friend and her state of life?

You see, what I experienced that morning was a sort of de fact association of social proof. Granted, I’m not taking anything away from the love and solidity upon which my marriage and our relationship is founded on, but was I just the right guy in the right place for this realization to come to awareness? What I had just participated in was a form of soft dread. A dread that needs no emphasis or prompting from a Man, simply the occasion for it to come to the surface to be actualized.

When a Man’s status is long established it’s easy to take his qualities for granted by women. It takes another woman’s lack to bring that status into focus for her. In the same vein that women will pre-approve or pre-qualify you for another woman’s intimacy, likewise the personal state of other women will serve as a benchmark of social proof for a Man’s wife or LTR. I realize this has the potential to cut the other way for women who are more well off than others, but the dynamic is real. I’ve written in the past that women fundamentally lack the capacity to appreciate the sacrifices Men must make to facilitate their feminine reality, but if they ever come close to this appreciation it’s only at the prompting of women outside the relationship who can recognize it in the Men committed to other women.

Progressive Dread

The admittedly very rough graph I created to illustrate the contemporary sexual marketplace (SMP) is almost a manosphere link staple now. However, I’m going to reuse it once more here to illustrate another point:


When I wrote Navigating the SMP it was in response to a need for visualization of how men and women’s respective sexual market value (SMV) differentiate at different phases of their lives. Using this model it’s not too far a stretch to illustrate how dread plays a factor in women’s self, and relational awareness.

At their SMV peak, adjusting for the mean average, women’s potential for experiencing dread is as low as it will be in a lifetime. During this phase the potential for replacing a respective mate (or STR lover) is almost a nonissue. Even in emotionally invested relationships during this phase, the subliminal presence of a basic, unprompted, dread of loss is pushed into unawareness for women.

That dread of loss is replaced with the dread of insecurity as a woman ages toward the Wall. Before I continue here, it’s important to remember that security comes in many different forms – financial, emotional, psychological, spiritual and even self-esteem play a part in the totality of women’s security needs.

During the height of a woman’s SMV, men are scarcely aware of their potential value to a woman in the long term. Men’s recognition of dread is much more heightened when a woman’s SMV is peaking, while his is on a slow ascendency toward his late 20’s and early 30’s. He doesn’t want to miss his “dream girl” and she doesn’t want to sell herself short in the hypergamy gamble she’s playing.

As a woman ages to the Wall and beyond, and while a Man’s SMV accumulates into his 30’s, the role soft dread plays in the relationship is reversed. As women’s primary physical attraction decays, the subliminal dread of loss, and an ever decreasing ability to recreate her security, increases in her psyche. It may not be on the surface of her awareness, but there will be more reminders of her state with each passing year.

It seems unduly cruel to remind women of this dread; that’s not my intent with today’s post. In fact, just because I’m aware of the subtle reminders of soft dread women experience, I may play my relationship Game with a bit more sensitivity. That being the case, there’s no ignoring the reality of this dynamic and the utility it represents for a man aware of the state of women in various phases of their lives.

When I wrote Navigating the SMP the operative intent behind it was to make men more conscious of the predictability of women’s motives and behaviors at various phases of life – and plan their Game according to the signs they were seeing. In the case of soft dread, this realization may at first come as a hint of appreciation to the Man who’s dutifully persevered through his woman’s dominant frame for most of his LTR  Marriage. It may come as a comfort for a guy who’s unused to sentimental declarations of appreciation, but it’s important to remember the why in that declaration, rather than the who in that declaration.

Published by Rollo Tomassi

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

130 comments on “Soft Dread

  1. I wrote off Giggles quite a while ago after she made some statement about how [to her] morality doesn’t play into “hooking up smart” – her latest revelation just confirms this fact.

  2. I just wanted to comment on a few things Mark Minter said.

    “While I have learned a lot of concepts from this blog, easily one of the most functional is Dread.”

    *** In one of his topics Rollo talked about competition anxiety. Really, competition anxiety is simply one aspect of dread. You could either say they are two sides to the same coin or more accurately, that dread is like the entire picture and competition anxiety is simply a small part of the picture. It all boils down to women fearing negative consequences.

    There was an book, I think it’s called “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”. There was a quote from it. This isn’t exact but it goes something like, “How many things would we throw away if it weren’t for the fear of someone else picking them up?”. That pretty much sums it up.

    Mark Minter said: “I am actually wrestling with the concept now. I have these tendencies of punctuality and consideration. I think men should do what they say they will do when they say they will do it….Yet, as mentioned, I worry it will be taken for granted and not appreciated as a good quality. So I struggle with it.”

    *** Just live the way you think you should and don’t worry about whether others will appreciate it. If they don’t, simply don’t allow those people into your life.

    Mark said: “When and how do you deliberately instill dread? ”

    *** Instilling dread is simply a byproduct of not allowing other people to get away with mistreating or taking advantage of you. So a person will naturally dislike the bad consequences that you will deliberately make sure she has to face if she mistreats you. I say “she” because most men have higher standards for behavior for other males than for females. The standards should always be the same for both.

    Mark Minter said: “So key in any “Dread” program is an awareness on the part of that woman: “You will leave her and you are not reluctant or afraid to do so. And that you are prepared to go.”

    *** My mentality is, I will be good to you but if you repay my good treatment with ugly, rude, disrespectful behavior, you will face the consequences, and if it happens enough, you’ll never see me again. If that instills some sense of anxiety or fear in you and keeps you in line, then good. If not, then I’ll make it a point to disappear from your life. It’s your choice.

    Mark Minter said “Rollo has mentioned that the idea of Dread is most contentious among readers and the idea of instilling it, of using it is thought to be cruel. I say tough shit. Everyday that woman has the option of looking in the mirror and saying to herself that she will treat you in a manner today that will make you stay one more day. It is her choice. And most choose not to do it. ”

    *** I agree 100%. Most men want to take care of their women and treat them well. Yet so many women want to be demanding, rude, intolerable spoiled brats in spite of the good treatment they receive. This type of behavior deserves only the most Machiavellian measures. And those measures are simply reactions to being treated unjustly and unfairly by someone who you’ve been kind to. On the other hand, if a woman really loves you, there is a bit of irony. Women hate the idea of being cheated on, yet they love the idea that other women are green with envy and would love to steal her man from her.

    Women don’t want a man to cheat, but they like the idea that he is desired enough by other women that he could cheat at the drop of a hat if he wanted to. As messed up as it sounds, it almost seems as if some women both hate the idea of a man cheating yet secretly hope he would. Maybe my wording is off, but that’s about the best way I can describe what I’ve seen. I get the correct sense when I think it but putting it into words is difficult.

    Mark Minter said: “But reality is, and the statistics say, that it is really the men that should have dread. She is the one that leaves.”

    *** Why would a man care if his woman chooses to leave? And why would he want to stick around if the relationship had deteriorated to that point? I guarantee you I’d be the first one to leave if a relationship was deteriorating to that point. To me, I would think of the ending of that kind of relationship as a relief instead of dreading it.

  3. Mel:

    I’m not Rollo, but I’d like to take a crack at your question.

    Theoretically, you’re probably right that a man about 4 to 6 years older would be better for the reasons stated. But, there’s more to it than getting to a statistical “sweet spot”. If it were just a matter of hitting that spot, few people would ever stay together. It’s not that simple.

    You need to consider:

    — Where you are in your lives. BOth working? One or both of you in school? What kind of jobs/careers? Who is more/less flexible in hours and work lifestyles? Do you live the same basic lifestyle? Planning to move? If not planning, are you both willing to move and move together?

    — Basic compatibility. Agree on major things like marriage/morality/ religion/children/finances? Do you like being with him day in and day out? Does he like being with you day in and day out? If you’re having sex, are you basically sexually compatible? Do you like getting it on with him and he with you?

    This next part is based on my observation and experience. I attended college in the midwestern United States in the late 1980s and then law school in the early 1990s, also in the midwest. I knew few people in law school who paired up, but I knew a sizable number of men and women who met at undergraduate university, finished up, got jobs, and got married right after college or a year or two later. Naturally, those couples were of men and women who were roughly the same age, within a year or two of each other. In a few of those couples, the wife is 12 to 18 months older than her husband.

    Every one of those couples is still married. Do I know how happy they all are? No. But they’re still together. They were able to have pretty much the lifestyle they wanted, whether that involved children, income levels, work lives, and home lives.

    I’m convinced that what made it work was not so much age closeness, but their level of commitment. These people had met and connected with someone, fell in love, and decided they would do whatever they could to make it work. THAT’S what you should be looking for. If your current BF fits the bill, and you’re ready to commit, and he is too, and you want to marry, then get married. But DO NOT marry unless you are willing to make this work with this guy NO. MATTER. WHAT.

    (Regarding kids: Go ahead and have your kids when you marry, if you both decide you want kids. The time will never be right to have them. Have them anyway. You’ll never have enough money. Have your kids anyway. There’s never a good time to have kids. There’s never enough money. Just have them anyway. The time and money issues always tend to work themselves out with reasonable attention and diligence.)

  4. You and your wife sound so cute! Soft dread seems so normal to me, I’ve definitely had moments like your wife where I realize how damn lucky I am… and my husband does every time we go out on dates and he sees other men giving me what he calls the “complete body scan.” I don’t even notice it, maybe I’m trained not to. But I think you’re right, it makes us fall even deeper in love/lust because we appreciate what we have together. <3 So cute.

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  6. “Yes women who marry for the sake of not being alone are more prone to stray (though this still seems to be kind of a paranoia thing with you guys since the percent of women who cheat is … not sure off the top of my head but the ratio compared to men is ridiculously low.”

    Yea, that is why there is panic when the idea of mandatory paternity tests at birth is brought up.

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  10. Tell that to my mothers friend who found her soul mate at the tender age of 40 something. Don’t talk about shit you will never understand. I pray for you!

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  12. @ Andre…

    the easiest, fastest, and quickest way to get a laugh out of a feminist is to bring up the subject of MANDATORY DNA TESTING AT BIRTH.

    they will gather all hamsters and go full berserk on why DNA testing is NOT needed. they KNOW how women operate and they want to protect that ‘freedom.’

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