Alpha Widows

Widows & Warbrides

warbrides  

I received the following Tweet from a reader this week:

Hi Rollo, thanks for all of your amazing work. I think one topic that you have not touched upon in detail is the conflict between alpha widowhood and war bride dynamic. If women are constitutionally inclined to move on, then how can they remain sad about their ex alpha lovers? Even if alpha’s SMV was much higher than her, isn’t the whole point of the war bride dynamic is to enable a woman to move on and reproduce without lingering thoughts of her former lovers? This happened to me recently when I had to end a relationship due to unacceptable logistics (long distance). What followed was extreme anxiety on her part about losing me. So this contradicted with what I always hear about women moving on easily.

This was a great question, and one I haven’t addressed before (no, I haven’t written everything), so I thought I’d pick this one apart today.

The TL;DR version is this: Women only ‘widow’ for men that made an Alpha impression on them. If their previous Alpha was somehow ‘killed’ and replaced by a lesser man, their hindbrains resist that man’s authority over her while using her previous Alpha as the lesser man’s SMV (sexual market value) benchmark. In the most extreme examples, a woman who’s been forced to accept the authority of a lesser man who defeated her former Alpha will resist him and/or plot revenge for the idealized lover.

Historical accounts and various cultural fiction are rife with this archetypal story. The woman who is married off to a lesser man or becomes the War Bride of an undeserving rival (usually by subterfuge or sinister means) is an archetype because it reflects women’s deepest evolutionary, existential, fear – to have her Hypergamous sexual selection strategy forcibly chosen for her by a man (or men) who are undeserving or are suboptimal breeding prospects. As I mentioned, this is an existential fear for women; anything less than unilateral control over her own Hypergamous destiny is tantamount to rape. The fear is that she will spend her life raising the child(ren) of a suboptimal man.

War Brides

The premise of the War Brides dynamic is thus: Evolution selected for women who could more easily transition psychologically from one dominant male to another. In our chaotic ancestral past women and girls were a commodity to be preserved for a conquering tribe. While men or boys were either killed or enslaved, fertile age women would be preserved as spoils of conquest for superior, invading, men. Simply put, women have reproductive value – men (and often their sons) were mostly obstacles in the way of resource acquisition and those reproductive opportunities.

That may seem like a bleak proposition to a Blue Pill conditioned mind today. We want to believe in some egalitarian dream of humanism and cooperation, but our evolved, ancestral past is responsible for what we are today in terms of base biological and psychological imperatives. I first proposed this theory in War Brides:

“Evolution has largely selected-for human females with a capacity to form psychological schema that preserve their psyches from what would otherwise afflict them with debilitating anxiety, guilt, and the stresses resulting from being continuously aware of their own behavioral incongruities. Evolution selects-for solipsistic women who are blissfully unaware of their solipsism.”

A lot of critics of the Red Pill make two key mistakes in their assessment of basic truths. One is that we don’t fully consider the dynamic, and/or two, we think too much about it. The fundamentals we consider about female nature, with respect to women’s psyches, are rooted in our evolutionary past. So, when I deconstruct certain aspects of that nature I have to ask the question, “why would a dynamic be something beneficial to women and/or our species on whole?” When I consider Hypergamy, female solipsism, women’s collectivist mindset, or any number of other characteristics the question I’m going to ask is why is this dynamic still present in modern women, and what are the outcomes of that dynamic in today’s environment?

Look at the obesity epidemic in western cultures today. 68% of adults in the U.S. are overweight today and 34% are morbidly obese. Childhood obesity is at an all time high. Evolutionarily speaking this is the result of how our metabolism evolved to solve certain environmental challenges we faced. Back then food was scarce. Finding a way to insure we fed ourselves and our tribe was at a premium and our biology adapted to give us the best chance of survival. Today this metabolism is a liability in an environment where food is plentiful and what we need to do to get it is much less strenuous. That’s the quick way to illustrate what I’m getting at in the War Brides dynamic:

Given the harsh realities that women had to endure since the Paleolithic era, it served them better to psychologically evolve a sense of self that was more resilient to the brutal changes she could expect to be subjected to. Consider the emotional investment a woman needs to put into mothering a child that could be taken away or killed at a moment’s notice. Anxiety, fear, guilt, insecurity are all very debilitating emotions, however it’s women’s innate psychology that makes them more durable to these stresses. Statistically, men have far greater difficulty in coping with psychological trauma (think PTSD) than women. Why should that be? On the face of it you may think that men’s better ability to rationally remove themselves from the emotional would make them better at coping with psychological trauma, but the reverse is actually the case. Women seem to have a better ability to accept emotional sacrifice and move on, either ignoring those stresses or blocking them entirely from their conscious awareness. Women possessing a more pronounced empathic capacity undoubtedly served our species in nurturing young and understanding tribal social dynamics, however it was also a liability with regards to a hostile change in her environment. Stockholm Syndrome is far more pronounced in female captives, why should that be? Because women’s ancestral environment dictated the need to develop psychological mechanisms to help them survive. It was the women who could make that emotional disconnect when the circumstances necessitated it who survived and lived to breed when their tribe was decimated by a superior force. This is also known as the War Bride dynamic; women develop an empathy with their conquerors by necessity.

So how does this relate to the Alpha Widow dynamic? Let’s parse that out a bit.

Alpha Widows

Alpha Widows are women who’ve had an Alpha man in their past make such an impression upon them that any man that comes along after him must essentially fight with that impression in order to replace him as the optimal Alpha in her life. This is usually the man a woman pines for from her Party Years. Often he’s the first guy who ever fulfilled her Hypergamous dance card. Generally, this man is at least her perceptual ideal of the sexual selection criteria she was prioritizing during that phase of her life. Usually this guy is her sexual ideal as well. That sexual impact forms a strong psychological attachment because the memories of the sex she had are associated with hormonal triggers. The memories of a significant Alpha male are enough to prompt a physical arousal response in women.

Furthermore, that Alpha impact is so significant it can alter her future sexual strategy for every man who comes after him. This is one reason women generally have a Plan B man on hold should that Alpha ideal not present himself, or should he not be ‘tamable‘ by her in the long term. Women’s long term sexual strategies tend to be punctuated by holding out for their ‘soul mate’ who also happened to be the best sex she’d ever had. Lesser men who follow in his wake are simply contingency plans. In today’s feminine-primary social order, where women are encouraged ‘never to settle for less than they deserve‘, we see generations of women experiencing the consequences of this Alpha widowhood. In fact, we go to great efforts societally to placate to it, to lessen the impact of it, and to plan contingencies for it.

But where does that leave us?

One reason I detailed the War Brides dynamic in my earliest writing was because I’d had so many men ask me this question; ‘Why is it that women can so easily move on after a breakup? We were together for years and it’s like she never even knew me now!‘ The ugly, visceral truth of this is that women are far less convicted to feel remorse, guilt or shame over abandoning (Beta) men who didn’t meet their Hypergamous ideal. We all know the stories of the ‘ride or die‘ girl who would literally do anything for her man. I once had a reader link me a story about a woman who stole a police car whose arrested boyfriend was handcuffed in the back seat. There are definitely women who will help their man bury the bodies. However, that man almost universally is that woman’s Hypergamous, Alpha ideal. And this is where the power of Hypergamy comes into the equation.

Women’s prime reproductive imperative is consolidating in the long term on a man who best embodies her Hypergamous ideal. Even now I’m not sure readers really understand the influence Hypergamy has over women. Even factoring in the War Brides dynamic, there will always be women who will literally kill for a man who best exemplifies what she believes is (or was) the best she could ever do Hypergamously.

I covered some of this in SMV Ratios & Attachment. Hypergamy influences women’s concept of love, so much so that it forms the basis of who they will allow themselves to feel ‘love’ for when it comes to reproductive opportunities. If a man embodies this Alpha ideal no substitute will replace him, unless another man exceeds the previous man’s Alpha impact.

So, how does this modify the War Brides dynamic? Hypergamous imperatives can supersede the War Brides phenomenon in that it incentivizes women to mate guard and even kill a rival to preserve a long term reproductive opportunity with an idealized Alpha man. We can add layers of social and moral doctrines to this (marriage, tribe, religion), but it’s all really embellishments or a cover story for what’s really a biological phenomenon.

Women who monogamously pair with Beta men are far less motivated to feel remorse over that man’s death or replacement by a more Alpha rival. This is where the War Brides dynamic comes in full. Hypergamy never seeks its own level and if a woman’s lesser man is defeated by more Alpha rival this only gives her a better excuse for pivoting into that superior man’s Frame. That may seem duplicitous and self-serving, but this is the ugly, visceral truth, remember? The inverse of this is that Hypergamy dictates that women will only become Alpha Widows for worthy (Alpha) men – and sometimes even the fantasy of that ideal man is enough to replace a lesser man.

So, it follows that the degree to which a woman becomes an Alpha Widow or more easily adopts a War Brides mentality is directly related to what her perception of her former partners was. Regret, remorse and jealousy are reserved for what a woman’s hindbrain believes is her ideal reproductive opportunity. In light of this I’ll have to add some caveats to both the Alpha Widow and War Bride dynamics. Neither are mutually exclusive of the other, and both depend on a woman’s perception of the man (men) involved.


In case you were wondering about the title image here: Dutch and French women who slept with German soldiers during World War II publicly had their heads shaved to shame them for their natural Hypergamous impulses. This is an example of the survival-level conflict between Hypergamy and tribal affiliation.

Alpha Tells

Alpha Tells

For as long as I’ve been writing in the manosphere, the definition of “what is Alpha?” has been the number one point of contention I’ve had to state and restate the most often. I’m not going to rehash this now as I have several posts on the nature of Alpha already linked in the sidebar, so if you’re looking for my take on Alpha that’s where to find it.

However, to lead in to today’s post I need to address the basis of what I believe are the most common misunderstandings about the term Alpha.

Well before the inception of this blog, in the early beginnings of what would evolve into the manosphere there was a need of terminology to describe the more abstract concepts developing in the ‘community’. Some of these analogies and terms are still with the manosphere today, others have morphed into more useful abstractions; Alpha Widows, Hypergamy (in its true nature), the Feminine Imperative, even Red Pill awareness are all examples of established terms or analogies for understood abstractions. Among these are also the concepts of a man being Alpha and Beta.

From The Unbearable Triteness of Hating at CH:

5. Etymology Hate

Hater: Your definition of an alpha male is false. In the animal kingdom, the alpha male is leader of the pack, not a cad/badboy/jerk who pumps and dumps women.

Isn’t it just like a nerd to get hysterical over the appropriation of a narrow-sense scientific term to conveniently illustrate broader truths about men and women.

One of the most common disconnects men encounter with the Red Pill for the first time is equating the term Alpha with its usage in describing the mating habits of Lions, Wolves or Silver Back Gorillas. It’s easy to ridicule or simply dismiss a valid, but uncomfortable, Red Pill truth when you’re simplistically comfortable in defining ‘Alpha Male’  in literal etymological terms.

This is the first resistance blue pill men claim they have with the Red Pill. They have no problem understanding and using abstractions for blue pill concepts they themselves are ego-invested in, but challenge that belief-paradigm with uncomfortable red pill truths and their first resort is to obstinately define Alpha (as well as Hypergamy) in as narrow, binary and literal a sense as they can muster.

“Get in Touch with Your Feminine Beta Side”

The next most common misunderstanding comes from conflating the abstractions of Alpha and Beta with masculine and feminine traits. In this (often deliberate) misdirection, the concepts of being Alpha or Beta become synonymous with being masculine or feminine. This is the personal basis of Alpha and Beta many Purple Pill advocates (really blue pill apologists) comfortably redefine for themselves, to suit themselves.

This purple pill conflation is really just a comforting return the the curse of Jung – anima & animus – if the complete man is an even mix of Alpha and Beta, masculine and feminine, then all the worst aspects of his “betaness” can’t be all bad, and he reinterprets what really amounts to a complete androgyny as “being the best balance”.

Unfortunately, and as blue pill chumps will later attest, the feminine expects to find its paired balance in the masculine, not an equalist idealization of both in the same man. Thus women, on a limbic level, expect men to be Men.

This one of the missives of an equalitarian mindset; that an individualized, egalitarian balance of masculine and feminine aspects in two independent people should replace the natural complementary interdependence of masculine and feminine attributes in a paired balance that humans evolved into.

What purple pill temperance really equates to is a 21st century return to the 20th century feminized meme “men need to get in touch with their feminine sides”… or else risk feminine rejection. 60+ years of post sexual revolution social engineering has put the lie to what an abject failure this concept has been.

What they fail to grasp is that an Alpha mindset is not definitively associated with masculine attributes. There are plenty of high-functioning, masculine men we would characterize as Alpha based on our perception of them in many aspects of life, who nonetheless are abject supplicating Betas with regard to how they interact with, and defer to women.

Whether that disconnect is due to a learned, Beta deference to the feminine (White Knighting), some internalized fear of rejection, or just a natural predisposition to be so with women, isn’t the issue; what matters is that the abstraction of Alpha isn’t an absolute definitive association with the masculine.

Likewise, Beta attributes are neither inherently feminine. As has been discussed ad infinitum in the manosphere, 80%+ of modern men have been conditioned (or otherwise) to exemplify and promote a feminine-primary, supportive Beta role for themselves and as many other men they can convince to identify more with the feminine.

The Beta mindset isn’t so much one of adopting a feminine mindset as it is a deference to, and the support of, a feminine-primary worldview.

The reason purple pill (watered down red pill) ideology wants to make the association of Alpha = Masculine, Beta = Feminine is because the “get in touch with your feminine side” Beta attributes they possess in spades can be more easily characterized as “really” being Alpha if it helps make him the more androgynously acceptable male he mistakenly believes women are attracted to (if not directly aroused by).

Alpha Tells

From jf12:

The sexual alphaness of a male towards a female is exhibited by her wanting to please him, and the sexual betaness of a male is exhibited by him needing to please her. A man’s alphaness obviously and definitionally does not cause her to more require him to please her (i.e. alphaness does not rub off like that). And also, betaness is not transferrable, no matter how much we betas wish that our women-pleasing caused women to want to please us.

Moreover, the social dominance of a male in a male hierarchy is barely correlated with his sexual alphaness, and certainly not causal. There are far too many counterexamples, such as Bill Gates, Napoleon Bonaparte, Horatio Nelson, and the list is very very long.

However, and this is a key sociologically empirical point, the social dominance of a *female* human (the best kind!) in a *female* human hierarchy is extremely correlated, in this precise way: A woman to whom women cater to will 99.9% of the time demand to be catered to by her man. This is why women believe man-pleasing women (I admit there are some) are “lesser”. It is also why men (e.g. me) who have tended to be mated to females who are socially dominant in a female hierarchy are invariably betas. It’s simply false that female-dominant women tend to choose men who demand pleasing.

What critics of an Alpha/Beta dichotomy conveniently sweep under the conversational carpet is that the dichotomy they want to debate only exists in their convenient, personal interpretations of Alpha or Beta mean to them.

From a male perspective we can endlessly debate (from our own personal biases) what we believe constitutes an Alpha state (remember, an abstract term, stay with me here) and the expectations of which we think women should respond to according to those expectation. But it’s women’s instinctive behaviors around Alpha men (or men they contextually perceive so) that provide us with the tells as to how she perceives a man’s Alpha or Beta status.

For as much as we believe women should respond to our definition of Alpha – and despite how women will explain they agree with those self-prescribed definitions – as always, it is their behaviors when in the presence of, or in a relationship with men they perceive as being Alpha (or of higher sexual market value than themselves if you prefer) that they bely their true, instinctual recognitions of Alpha.

In a social environment where men are conditioned to believe that women are as equal, rational agents as men, the belief men put their faith into is that women will appreciate their intrinsic qualities and base their sexual selectivity upon a man’s virtue, bearing, intelligence, humor, and any number of attractive intrinsic qualities. However, the truth of what women base their sexual selectivity upon (arousal) is far more evident in their instinctual, unconditioned behavior when around Alpha men – as well as men’s instinctual sensitivity to that behavior.

There are many examples of this Alpha reactive behavior. I’ll make an attempt to illustrate a few of them here, but I expect there’ll be many more offered in the comment thread an I’ll encourage a discussion of the behaviors that serve as Alpha tells. Rossy/Heartiste has made a sport with his ongoing “spot the Alpha” series of posts in which he analyzes a picture or video of a woman’s reaction to a man who she is obviously has an Alpha interest in as her body language and subcommunications suggest. (h/t to CH for today’s image)

The common criticism of these images is that red pill men would read too much into these displays, but the underlying message in that criticism is rooted in understanding and willfully ignoring what our instinctual perceptions of them are. We know Alpha when we see it, but need an explanation to protect our own ego’s Alpha assessment of ourselves.

The Real Selection

For all the delighted ego ’empowerment’ of women boasting they are the sexual selectors in this life, there is still a nervous uncertainty about being found acceptable themselves to an Alpha lover of higher SMV status than they might otherwise merit. This is where the illusions of an assortive mating model break down for women. If feminine-primary sexual selection were the only element to mating there would be no need for the behaviors women are subject to in seeking the approval from men they perceive as Alpha.

There’s a look, an attitude and a presence women will give to Men for whom they have a natural deference to. I don’t just mean blatant sexual subcommunications like casually biting her lower lip, or the hair twirling that’s almost cliché now. It goes beyond the sexual into a kind of meta-attraction/arousal. While the sexual urgency for an Alpha is strong and manifests in a woman’s forwardness toward him, the meta-attraction is both of submission and a subconscious desire for his approval of her.

Men predisposed to a Beta mindset also display many of these same behavioral cues with the women they hope will appreciate them in the same fashion a woman does for a Man that her hindbrain instinctually knows is of a higher SMV. In Beta men we see these behaviors as evidence of “clinginess” or “neediness” and is an identifiable Beta tell; but in women this natural and unprovoked leaning in to a Man, this desire to submit for his approval, is a positive indicator of Alpha attraction.

This is why, as third party observers, we instinctually find such behavior in men distasteful; we subliminally sense a complementary imbalance between the man and woman.

When a woman makes an unforced effort to please a man with subtle words, unintentional wide-eyed contact, and body positioning / posture you’re dealing with a woman who is compelled to defer to you as Alpha.

That isn’t to say this can’t be faked. In fact strippers, good ones at least, are not just physically arousing, or more sexualized, but are in tune with the deficit most men feel when it comes to this Alpha deference. Beyond just the sexual aspect, one thing that makes strippers so enticing and seductive is that the majority of men are simply unused to the fawning affections and Alpha interest (albeit feigned) of any woman, much less an attractive one.

This is also one reason men become so prone to ONEitis both inside and outside this contrived, transactional, sort of attraction. Men are the True Romantics, they want to believe a woman’s sincerity in her Alpha deference to him.

Does the girl you’re interested in come to you, or do you go to her?

I’ve emphasized the importance of establishing and maintaining Frame for years now, but I sometimes wonder if the importance of holding Frame isn’t lost on most men.

To an equalist mindset this Frame establishment seems like I’m advocating men be domineers of their relationships and a man rely on some dark manipulative psychology to enforce his will in that relationship. That’s not what I’m suggesting for the simple reason that it’s too effort consuming, and genuine desire is unsustainable within that constant effort. Maintaining Frame demands a voluntary, uncoerced, desired compliance.

What I’m suggesting is that men simply not invest themselves in women whose Alpha interest in them is mitigated by doubt or an obvious SMV imbalance. This is difficult for most men as it conflicts with our want for an idealized romance with a woman – a want for a love that requires a mutual definition with a woman lacking the capacity to realize this with him. And it’s within that idealized desire men lose Frame and excuse the behaviors of Alpha deference.

The Medium IS the Message

As I’ve written in the past, the Medium IS the Message with women. On some level of consciousness men instinctually understand their relative status with a woman based on the behaviors she directs toward him.

Is she affectionate without being prompted or only when circumstance makes your comfort needed for her?

Is Amused Mastery an easy default for you, or does she resist even playful attempts at it?

Does she initiate sex with you, or is your provocation only ever the precursor to sex?

Is sex even a priority for her (with you)?

Does she make efforts to make things special for you (you both) or is your relationship one of her grading your efforts in qualifying for her Alpha approval of you?

What most guys think are ‘mixed messages’ or confusing behavior coming from a woman is simply due to their inability (for whatever reason) to make an accurate interpretation of why she’s behaving in such a manner. Usually this boils down to a guy getting so wrapped up in a girl that he’d rather make concessions for her behavior than see it for what it really is. In other words, it’s far easier to call it ‘mixed messages’ or fall back on the old chestnut of how fickle and random women are, when in fact it’s simply a rationale to keep themselves on the hook, so to speak, because they lack any real, viable, options with other women in their lives. A woman that has a high interest level in a guy has no need (and less motivation) to engage in behaviors that would compromise her status with him. Women of all ILs will shit test, and men will pass or fail accordingly, but a test is more easily recognizable when you consider the context in which they’re delivered.

Are you making psychological concessions with a woman who’s never displayed an Alpha deference to you?