Uncle Yarv #11: success edition
Morris from Malmö writes:
Hiroshi's question and your response spoke to me.
Mary's insights put words to how I have come to view relations.
At 20 I sought out to just “get laid” and consolidated the scattered pick up artist advice into something I called “the system” that was successful. Much to the annoyance of my roommate who was at the time operating on a piece of advice he got in college, “Make as many female friends as possible and everything else will work itself out,” which as far as I could tell got him a series of weak relationships of the nature Mary describes and a bunch of freeloading friends who would happily give him the time of day and nothing else in return for a subway sandwich.
His goal seemed obvious but undesirable to me at the time to “succeed” at a relationship which I can’t really recall the details of but I’d bet had some terminal state of marriage and kids and maybe a dog.
The transitional period of “girlfriend” between courting and marriage seemed absurd to me at the time and still does. At the time I thought marriage was some sort of scam and wanted no part of it. The idea of having an exclusive girlfriend seemed even more absurd. I'm going to give up my freedom for no guarantee?
I eventually questioned my framework that had been executing on for a few years after watching a Jordan Peterson lecture. I’ll paraphrase his point which was that in marriage you exchange vows that say “I’m not leaving. Ever.” And you and your partner are now forced to contend with each other, good and bad.
He also made the point that if you leave the backdoor open (a live-in girlfriend with no engagement ring perhaps?) then the person you're dating will agree to it and they'll leave their backdoor open too. You can never truly contend with each other because one could just shoot through the escape hatch when you ask “Why” for the 4th time in an argument.
When I tried to adapt my framework to include these ideas I saw an odd jump between my current situation and marriage that I didn’t see before. I realized I could be wrong and that if I was wrong that marriage is a scam. I now knew a way to test this theory.
I took a relationship I had with a woman I was sleeping with and made a series of quick successive bonds to our relationship. I stopped seeing other women. I paid off her consumer debt (what's a few grand to challenge an idea?), I bought a wedding ring, and one night in my room sitting in my boxers when it seemed like her mental model of marriage matched my own, a variation of what I just described above, I proposed.
We wed at the courthouse and had a nice dinner with family. We leased an apartment and moved in together. This all happened within a month or two. She went from some woman I was sleeping with who had some potential and was good enough to my wife who is now taking care of our 4 month old son while I sit in my home office banging out code monkey Java code.
One thing that was curious to me is just how much push back I got from BOTH my style of dating AND my style of getting married. When I was dating without selecting a girlfriend people thought I was being unrealistic and selfish (jealous much?). When I decided that month to make a woman my wife, people thought I was “in the honeymoon phase” and thought I was “rushing things.”
I still to this day think the notion of a live-in girlfriend makes no sense to a man. Anyone who has watched a woman give birth can sympathize with a woman’s desire to have the man put some skin in the game. Yet as a man, why comply unless you’re getting a wife out of it?
I have a wife. I am happy. I don't know how I dodged all of this turmoil but it seems I have. My wife is a wonderful mother and we are fully immersed in the fiction of being unable to ever leave one another. Oh, and we don’t shy from saying “Please stop eating the damn peanuts on the couch” when we need to.
I’m 26 now and anytime I meet someone older than myself who has a girlfriend with no ring on her finger I can’t help but want to keep my distance. It just seems ridiculous. A young unmarried man is better off getting laid and empire building than fussing around with a woman who thinks she has 5 more years to dig for gold.
My old roommate broke up with his new girlfriend a month or so ago. He simply didn’t check all the boxes for her. How boring.
Yes. Boys, this is a man who has run all the levels and met the final boss. Nothing at all to add.
Hell yes, Morris! I had a very similar life, and my ultimate boss in the PUA world was a girlfriend I finally landed and committed to, I figured she was a 10/10 and very conscientious... But I did still like to party a bit. In the negotiations of trying to get to that next level, she wanted me to mortgage a house and let her move in, before getting married. I said no no, we get married first, then I buy the house. As you say, why should I comply when I'm not getting a wife out of the deal? This back and forth went on for 2 more years, until finally I said "If we had a timeline on getting married, maybe I'd jump some hoops." She said "What if we just dated for 7 years or something and never actually got married?" I said "I'm done with you, then. Now. I'm not wasting that much of my life to find out." Of course, she married someone else 5 months later, a la 500 Days Of Summer.
But it worked out. The next woman I took seriously was not as attractive, but was every bit as serious about what it takes for marriage to work out. We have four children together, 10 years later. My ex was recently in the news being fired for embezzling from an NGO, lol.
OK, finished reading the whole letter. Rings are uncomfortable and weird (as are earrings and all other jewelry, especially the kind that pierces your skin - just step back and think about it...). I bought some after a creep tried to chat me up on a bus, but I don't take the bus anymore. Don't judge.
I guess he's 26, though, so how could he not judge.
Still, he's crossed a maturity threshold. I remember I crossed a very distinct threshold around 24 when I went from thinking I'll want to be child-free forever to definitely knowing I would feel like I've lived a defective life if I didn't have kids. Like Jordan Peterson's lecture for this Swede, for me, there was a distinct trigger event. But, I think at some age we are simply ready to hear the message, and before that age, we aren't.