Recently I have the pleasure of being a part of a dialogue on the Married Man Sex Life forum that has started a paradigm shift in Married Game, namely the development of a new concept called the “Loyalty Test” which was featured last week in Athol Kay’s article: Fitness Testing vs. Loyalty Testing.
Athol Kay, Steu2817, MAPster, Monkey’s Uncle, AWACS, Hamster Free, and I started evolving this concept a couple of weeks ago. Many others like StudentOfWife, Wendy, Linanati, and Sis, along with too many others to name, jumped in and pressed us to hone it to something meaningful. It is not necessarily new ideas, the 2011 Married Man Sex Life Primer had several points where it discussed this phenomenon without pasting it out and making it overt. Giving this idea a name and making it overt, however, lets us model it and figure out what to do about it.
I want to describe what we have concluded… with as little game jargon as possible.
Generally speaking, women who are relatively secure in their relationship occasionally have an unconscious need to make sure their husband is still a good provider and protector. This comes out in any number of little testing behaviours, from asking men from inconvenient favours, to rude behaviour, to playful word traps, to intentionally dragging her heels and making the couple late for an engagement. These are called fitness tests in Game-speak.
A man passes these tests by refusing to put up with her bad behaviour. He can do this any number of ways from teasing her, to assertiveness, to calling her bluff. The idea is to make sure she knows you are no pushover, and she can’t control you in this manner. Pass, and you become more sexually attractive to a woman. fail, and she loses both respect and sexual desire for you.
Generally woman desire a man who is tough, firm in dealing with others, a leader, physically strong, successful in his career, fit, playful, funny, passionate, and a little bit of a bad boy. There is a who package of strong, assertive qualities that women find sexy that we generally call being an Alpha Male.
Men also have another set of qualities that are important to a relationship: the Beta Male qualities. These are the loving, gentle, affectionate, personable, and fatherly qualities that aren’t in and of themselves sexy. In married game like the material Athol Kay has developed on MMSL, the Beta traits are seen as important for making a woman feel safe, loved, and secure in her relationship.
The problem in many sexless and unhappy marriages begins when a man presents a whole lot of Beta and very little Alpha. He becomes sexually unappealing to his wife, who slowly and unconsciously then wrecks his ego and emotionally abuses him with endless repeat fitness tests. This is very common, especially as young men today are taught that being Alpha is being a sexist Neanderthal, and being Beta is being a good, 21st century kind of man.
The solution is usually to add more Alpha to the relationship: build better boundaries, stand up to your wife, tease her a bit, become healthier, and learn some leadership and assertiveness skills.
Note however I said many and usually… there is another major problem that can arise in a marriage:
Sometimes a man can be a little too independent, assertive, hard, and sexually aggressive. His woman starts feeling like she won’t keep him. She starts feeling unloved and insecure. The way a woman’s feelings plug into her psyche is so different from the way men’s do, that I don’t think we can get the whole picture. It is impossible for her to ignore: she can feel sick, shaky, and cold in response to this kind of anxiety.
To feel better, she needs to know that:
- He still loves her.
- He isn’t cheating.
- There is still good communication between them.
- He has strong empathy for her.
- There is a Rapport between them.
- He understands her needs.
- His leadership is taking them towards shared goals.
- He is not angry and resentful of her.
- He doesn’t view her as just a sex toy or baby-maker.
Most women can’t just ask her man to demonstrate these things when she isn’t this level. When a woman feels unloved she instinctively also seeks signs that her loved ones intuit her feelings like her mother did when she was young. She doesn’t feel loved if she has to ask for love: she needs someone to sense she needs it and provide (see Louann Bizendine’s 2008 book The Female Brain or listen to Allison Armstrong’s lecture “Understanding Women: Unlocking the Great Mystery”).
This can become a big problem, because men are not as intuitive about their feelings. We do need to ask and be asked when it comes to emotions. We are not just conditioned to be less responsive to feelings, our brains interface with feelings differently (see Brizendine’s 2010 book The Male Brain).
So, unable to ask for support, and not receiving it, eventually a woman need to get these feelings out. They express themselves in a number of ways she can behave rudely, become passive-aggressive, become disrespectful, have incredibly angry outbursts, or become verbally abusive.
What she wants is for her man to respond to her by showing her all of the above by way of a truly loving and romantic act, and then a general increase in Beta behaviour. This is what we call a “Loyalty Test”
Sadly, to a guy who is not rained in reading people, the Loyalty Test looks just like a fitness test. When you respond to a fitness test, you do so by smacking that behaviour down with assertiveness, intimidation, emotional coolness, or witty barbs… all of which will only make the feelings of being unloved and insecure worse of a loyalty-testing woman worse.
In other words, if a man treats one of these tests as a fitness test by pouring more Apha on, he is adding gasoline to a fire. She will feel even less loved and even more insecure. If this isn’t checked, the woman will close down to him emotionally to prepare for being dumped. She may even try and drive him away so that her ego doesn’t have to cope with being the dumpee.
A good way to tell the difference is to look what has happened in the last 24 hours. A woman who is insecure:
- Is clingy.
- Is quieter than usual.
- Tries to make herself more attractive through clothes and makeup.
- Spends a lot of time with her mother, sister, or girlfriends looking for sympathy.
- Often eats fatty, sugar-laden comfort food more than usual.
- Has trouble handling silence.
- Feels ill even though she isn’t sick… might complain about nausea or headaches.
The biggest problem with handling these tests is that if you give her exactly what she wants – big loving gesture, then increased Beta, you are giving her power over you. Her subconscious mind learns to use this as a way of taking control over the relationship.
My recommendation is to deal with the immediate bad behaviour with a firm but gentle touch. Something like:
“I find this behaviour unacceptable, I need you to stop. I see something is bothering you, and I will listen, but I need you to calm down and show me that you respect me with an apology, first.”
Then once she has expressed her feelings as best she can (she may ahve difficulty explaining these feelings, look for common themes in her list of problems), and you have listened actively, do something that makes her feel loved, take care of any real issues that have been bothering her, and take the beta up one notch. Do not withdraw your strong Alpha behaviours.
In order to maintain your relationship, you should also try and connect to a wife who has been feeling insecure in this manner sexually within a day or two of any Loyalty test blow-out. This will help you build back your own sense of rapport, and help her subconscious mind realize that you are still loyal to her.
For those interested in seeing the evolution of these ideas, the original threads in which they evolved can be seen here:
Also, when helping my friends at MMSL parse the idea out, I also borrowed liberally from Justice Marshall’s ebook End Relationship Drama and his material from The Hero Principles. Although Mr. Marshall is not a Game teacher, I think his ideas were instrumental in creating the dialogue on the forum… at least as far as my own contributions were concerned.