Letting Go of Invisible Friends

I’m sorry to break this to you, but there is no such thing as a long distance relationship. That’s correct, you have no relationship. An LDR simply does not meet the criteria necessary for it to be considered a legitimate relationship. There is no reciprocity of anything more than words passing over a phone line or an IM text. Understand me here – you have no relationship. You have self-assumed accountability, self-assumed liability and internalized responsibilities to be loyal to this person. You are entertaining a commitment to fidelity with an idealization, and ignoring what everyone outside of your LDR will regularly tell you is insanity. LDRs are one of the more insidious forms of ONEitis.

LDRs are the most easily identifiable form of ONEitis, and it would be laughable if it weren’t so damaging to a guy’s life progression. The LDR man generally sacrifices years of his life in this pitiable effort to pursue his ‘soulmate’ across the planet or even a hundred miles away. The very thought of refuting the idea that an LDR can work is equatable to denying his belief this fantasized ONEitis fueled idealization that he’s swallowed for the better part of his life. It’s easy to criticize an LDR in the terms of questioning either party’s earnestness and fidelity in entertaining an LDR and this is usually the tact that most people giving advice on LDRs follow. One or both parties are or will ‘cheat’ on the other over the course of time, its true, but LDRs are far more telling of a mentality that results in much more damaging consequences as a result of deeply conditioned self-expectations and fears.

I can’t begin to list the number of otherwise intelligent and ambitious men I’ve known who’ve drastically altered the course of their lives to follow their ONE. Men who’ve changed their majors in college, who’ve selected or switched universities, men who’ve applied for jobs in states they would never have considered, accepted jobs that are sub-standard to their ambitions or qualifications, men who’ve renounced former religions and men who’ve moved across the planet all in an effort to better accommodate an idealized woman with whom they’ve played pseudo-boyfriend with over the course of an LDR; only to find that she wasn’t the person they thought she was and were depressive over the gravity that their decisions played in their lives.

An LDR is akin to a LJBF, but writ large and festering in a man’s life. You play surrogate boyfriend, voluntarily accepting and internalizing all of the responsibilities and accountabilities of being a woman’s exclusive, monogamous partner with no expectation of reciprocating intimacy or sexuality in the immediate future. However an LDR is worse than a LJBF arrangement since it pervasively locks a man into a success or failure mentality with regards to the relationship actually being legitimate. After all, she’s agreed to remain his girlfriend (from miles away) and if he’s the one to falter it’s his lack of perseverance in this  ONEitis ego-investment that dooms them. Once the LDR inevitably ends he’s the one left with the self-doubt, he’s the one beating himself up over wasting time, money and effort and he’s the one feeling guilty whether he or she is the true ‘cheater’.

An LDR is like having an invisible friend with whom you’re constantly considering the course of your actions with. Consider the personal, romantic, familial, educational, career, personal maturity and growth opportunities that you’ve limited yourself from or never had a chance to experience because of this invisible friend. When you finally divorce yourself from this invisible friend, will it have all been worth it? Guys cling to LDRs because they’ve yet to learn that Rejection is better than Regret. AFCs will nurse along an LDR for years because it seems the better option when compared with actually going out and meeting new women who represent a potential for real rejection. They think its better to stick with the ‘sure thing’, but it’s the long term regret that is the inevitable result of an LDR that is life damaging. Nothing reeks of desperation or verifies a lack of confidence more than a guy who self-righteously proclaims he’s in an LDR. Women see you coming a mile off, because you are a guy without options, clinging to his one previously realized option. In fact the only reason a man entertains an LDR is due to a lack of options. If you had more plates spinning an LDR would never look like a good idea.

And finally, it’s not uncommon to see the “not in my case” defense offered about how you actually DO see your invisible friend once every 4 or six months. To this I’ll say again, what opportunities are you censoring yourself from experiencing by playing house with a woman you only see this often? Do you honestly think you’re the exception to the rule? The truth is you’re molding your lifestyle around what you hope your relationship will be in the future – that’s no way to live.

Average Frustrated Chump

In the “community” there’s a lot of want for better terms. One of the major obstacles in the average guy’s path to unplugging is really coming to terms with the ‘terms’ we use. Somewhere on the net I’m sure there’s a glossary of the common acronyms used in the “manosphere” (I hate that term too) outlining the various shorthand we use. Some of these terms have gone mainstream and I’m beginning to see even “legitimate” online journalists use LTR (long term relationship) or ONS (one night stand) somewhat regularly, meaning there’s a common perception that others will already know what they mean.

The reason this is a hurdle for a lot of plugged-in guys is because it seems almost juvenile, like a treehouse club for preteen boys. For me to draw comparisons of an acculturated, feminine social paradigm to the central plot of the Matrix movies, admittedly, on the surface that seems kind of silly. It’s an apt comparison and a useful allegory when you understand the concepts behind it, but for a guy just coming to grasp it while being immersed in a feminine-primary socialization for his whole life, it dosen’t click. And predictably, women invested in that same socialization see the terminology as little more than little boys holed up in their treehouse, throwing rocks at the girls below.

However, like any new developing science or art or technology there is always going to be a need to codify abstract concepts. We lack better terms so we’re forced to create new ones to represent new concepts.

The AFC – average frustrated chump – was coined almost a decade ago with Mystery method. It’s seen a lot of modification over the years, becoming almost synonymous the use of the term Beta (beta male) or Herb (herbivorous male). In fact, although I use it often, I rarely read AFC in PUA blogs, forums or the ‘community’ at large. Regardless of the terminology, the concept is really the crux of the term. Most AFCs, most guys looking in from the outside, can relate to the idea of what an average frustrated chump is – they can identify with it. Once they begin unplugging, the AFC idea comes into better focus and, usually with some discomfort, they realize how that term applies to themselves:

Qualities of an AFC

  • ONEitis – First and foremost.
  • Subscribes to feminine idealizations.
  • Supplication is supportive. To comply with gender equalism she must increase, so he must decrease, regardless of how subtly this is realized.
  • The Savior Schema –reciprocation of intimacy for problems solved.
  • The Martyr Schema – the more you sacrifice the more it shows devotion.
  • The ‘Friends’ Debt – LJBF and the pseudo-friendship as a means to prospective intimacy.
  • Primarily relies on dating and social skills (or lack thereof) developed during adolescence and early adulthood
  • A behavioral history that illustrates a mental attitude of ‘serial monogamy’ and the related insecurities that accompany it.
  • A belief that women infallibly and consciously recognize what they want, and honestly convey this to them, irrespective of behaviors that contradict this. Uses deductive reasoning in determining intent and bases female motivations on statements rather than objectively observing behavior. Believes women’s natural propensity is for rational rather than emotional thought.
  • An over-reliance on rejection Buffers.
  • Believes in the Identification Myth. The more alike he is, or can make himself, with his idealized female the better able he will be to attract and secure her intimacy. Believes that shared common interests are the ONLY key to attraction and enduring intimacy.
  • Believes and practices the “not like other guys” doctrine of self-perceived uniqueness, even under the condition of anonymity.
  • Considers LDRs (long distance relationships)  a viable option for prolonged intimacy.
  • Maintains an internalized belief in the qualifications and characterizations of women that coincide with his ability (or inability) to attract them. Ergo, he self-confirms the “ she’s out of my league” and the “she’s a loose slut” mentalities on-the-fly to reinforce his position for his given conditions.
  • Harbors irrational (often socially reinforced) fears of long term solitude and alters his mind-set to accommodate or settle for a less than optimal short term relationship – often with life long consequences.
  • The AFC will confirm a belief in egalitarian equality between the genders without consideration for variance between the genders. Ergo, men make perfectly acceptable feminine models and women make perfectly acceptable masculine models. Due to societal pressures he unconsciously self-confirms androgyny as his goal state.

This is anything but a comprehensive list. There are far more, but my intent here isn’t to provide you with a list of criteria that qualifies an AFC (“you might be a chump if,..”), rather it’s to give you some basic understanding to clarify the term, and round out the idea of what an AFC is. Needless to say these mental schema are some of the impediments to unplugging, or helping another man unplug, from his old way of thinking. As I’m fond of repeating, unplugging chumps from the Matrix is dirty work. Expect to be met with a LOT of resistance, but understanding what dynamics you may harbor yourself or those that a friend might cling to will help you in moving past the years of social conditioning. It’s thankless work, and more often than not you’ll also be facing a constant barrage of shit tests (from both women and feminized men) and ridicule in your efforts. Be prepared for it. Unplugging chumps is triage – save those you can, read last rites to the dying.