This post a follow-up to For Single Ladies “Late to the Red Pill” Part I. As previously stated, it is intended to offer hope and guidance for any lady who wants to implement the RPW philosophy in her life but feels she may have arrived too late. This is the second of a series of posts, and will be most applicable to ladies ages 25 and up. Future posts will be dedicated to women who are married or in LTRs.
First, I must sing the praises of “Nun Mode,” which is a period of time (minimum 6 months) dedicated to self-improvement during which a woman completely foregoes dating. As with TRP’s “Monk Mode,” the purpose is to obtain self-awareness and self-sufficiency.
If you’re pushing up against The Wall, you might think that you can’t afford the time spent in Nun Mode. I say that you can’t afford not to go into Nun Mode. In particular, there are two problems that Nun Mode can help overcome:
- If you have a history of serial monogamy (or what TRP would call “monkey-branching”), each man you choose may simply be a reaction to his predecessor. For example, if your last boyfriend was an unemployed party boy, a guy who is a teetotaler workaholic might at first be attractive and refreshing, until you get frustrated with the fact that on the rare occasions he takes you out on a date, he glares at you for ordering a glass of wine.
- After a constant stream of heartbreak and disappointment, dating will start to feel like a desperate and tedious chore, akin to going on job interviews when your rent is already a month past due. You start to wonder “where have all the good men gone” when the reality is that you wouldn’t know them if you saw them.
The space, self-care, and learning experiences provided by Nun Mode are essential to fixing a broken “people picker.” You will be able to consciously choose a partner based on his individual merits, love him for who he is (not the gap you’re trying to fill), and spare him the trouble of repenting for another man’s sins. Moreover, time spent out of the dating market can help recapture the sense of joy and excitement that you used feel as a young girl at the prospect of meeting new people and falling in love.
Second, one area that seems to be troublesome for RPWs (and those late to RPW in particular) is understanding the difference between being realistic about the type of man with whom you can be in a relationship and “settling” for a subpar mate.
Being realistic is about being able to clearly and objectively assess both value and liabilities you bring to a relationship, and being able to manage your expectations accordingly. For example, if you’re 37 years old, you shouldn’t severely limit your dating pool by disqualifying men who have been married before or have children. If you like cookies more than the gym (and your waistline reflects this), you shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for shirtless Adonis who jogs by you every morning to ask you out and instead consider a coffee date from the cute but paunchy dude who chats you up in line at the bakery.
Settling, on the other hand, is done completely from a place of fear and is often based on low self-esteem rather than an objective assessment of your value or circumstances; it almost always just another exercise in poor judgment. One example of settling would be staying with a guy who habitually cheats on you because you’re a single mother and you’re simply grateful to have a man who is willing to be with you, despite the fact that you’re modeling an unhealthy relationship to your children, and you can’t effectively parent while in a constant state of anger and anxiety. Another example of settling is dating a man with a string of baby mamas because you feel like your biological clock is ticking and you’re desperate to have a child, regardless of whether he is an optimal choice of co-parent.
I will even go so far as to say that even if you’re a spectacular train wreck by any reasonable measure— for example, you’re a unemployed crack addict with four kids by four different men, are host to a variety of STDs, and have an unmanaged personality disorder to boot—then you still shouldn’t settle for any guy who would settle for you. If you’re that far gone, do yourself and humanity a favor by being alone and focusing on becoming a safe and productive member of society.
The distinction between realism and settling tends to get the muddiest when dealing with one particular area of a relationship: sex. What do you do when you find a guy who is “good on paper” (i.e. great job, kind, loved by your friends and family, conventionally handsome), but for whom you feel no passion?
You might see it as a sign of maturity that you’re prioritizing other qualities (like hard-working, family-oriented, gets along with all your friends) over sexual attraction, but you’re actually being selfish and demeaning when you settle for a man that you don’t desire. To reiterate a statement from my first post, the most challenging thing about becoming an RPW is changing your focus from what you can get out of men to what you can offer them. Do you really think that a man you don’t lust for or with whom you don’t enjoy sex is going to get the best you have to offer in a relationship?
Now, I’m not saying that you should follow the tingles in your vagina and nothing else. In fact, if your tingles have consistently led you toward douchebags, you need to sort that out while in Nun Mode. Instant, fiery attraction often burns out the quickest, which is why it’s worth taking some time with someone new and promising to see if an enduring passion might ignite.
But it’s safe to say that if you’ve been on several dates with a guy and his kiss doesn’t excite you or you’re not actively fighting the urge to eat the buttons off his shirt, do him and yourself a favor and move on. While it’s possible to reinvigorate passion that’s been lost in a relationship, you can’t bring back what was never there.
For further reading on this point, I must recommend "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" by Lori Gottlieb. Yes, the title mentions the word "settling," but what she's actually describing is how to set realistic expectations for what to expect in a mate, and not demanding that your spouse fulfill your every mental and emotional desire. Like, so what if your husband doesn't share your passion for crocheting. Don't you have friends for that?
Lastly, I will address two common mistakes that women make when they’re vetting. There are hundreds of possible mistakes, of course, but these seem to be the most common to “older” women:
- They put things in their dating profiles like “I don’t want a liar or a cheater,” “I don’t play games,” “Players need not apply,” “Abusers not wanted,” or “I’m just looking for a good man.” Even if they’re not online, they will say this stuff to a guy on a first date.
They think that by saying this, they’re scaring away the bad men. The effect is actually the opposite… they’re advertising the fact that they’re damaged women with consistently bad judgment, which will attract precisely the type of men they’re hoping to repel. They spill blood in the water and then are bewildered when they’re attacked by sharks.
At the same time, decent men will read/hear statements such as the above, and (rightfully) conclude that the woman is bitter and has a ton of baggage with which they would rather not deal. Why date her when he can find a woman with a positive outlook who won’t immediately think the worst of him? Alternately, he might think that she is the one who is actually a drama queen, cheater, or abuser, and is projecting her own flaws on to the men she dates.
- Other women develop an increasingly long and arbitrary list of disqualifying factors that are completely unrelated to the fundamental of compatibility, such as shared values and a shared vision for the future. These are things like, “I can’t date a guy who makes less than six figures,” or “I can’t stand how he sings in the shower!”
In my personal opinion, women who do this are actually deeply insecure with themselves or have suffered from repeated rejection, so they invent flaws with every guy they meet and try to convince themselves (and others) that they are just “too picky.” It’s also a tactic to avoid any kind of painful but necessary circumspection.
Of course, more often than not, all these “requirements” for a mate go out the window the minute they are lovestruck by Chad. Months later, when they’re back online, they write “I don’t want a liar or a cheater!” in their dating profile.
So how can you recognize a good man when you see him? The first thing to keep in mind is that people who are scumbags aren’t just scumbags in one area of their life; their duplicity and/or propensity for cruelty shows up in areas completely unrelated to romantic relationships. Here are some things to consider, though this list is by no means exhaustive:
- Does he follow through on his promises and obligations to others?
- Does he have integrity in his business and financial dealings? Or does he use illegal, unethical, or deceptive tactics to advance himself?
- Have you ever caught him lying?
- Does he talk down to people he regards as beneath him, such as employees or waitstaff? Or is he courteous to everyone regardless of their station?
- Does he omit things to avoid arguments? Or is he honest with you even when he knows you might get upset?
- Is he constantly overcompensating in order to impress people? Or does he seem comfortable in his own skin?
- Does he rush to the aid of a stranger or acquaintance in need at the expense of people close to him? Alternately, does he seem completely selfless and generous with people he doesn’t know well, but less so with people close to him? Or does he reserve his time and resources for those closest to him?
- Does he give off a “single vibe” with other women, or is he good at asserting boundaries?
- Does he “love bomb” you or push to take the relationship to a serious level too early in the relationship? Or does he behave as if his commitment has value, and wants to get to know you well?
- Do his friends cheat on or otherwise mistreat their partners? Or does he surround himself with men who are in strong relationships and cherish their lady loves?
- Does he harp on the fact that all his exes were "crazy" or betrayed him? Or is he restrained in how he talks about his exes on the very rare occasions he mentions them at all?
The takeaway here is that men of good character demonstrate this to everyone, not just the women they’re trying to date. They don’t engage in virtue-signaling; being kind and respectful is just a natural part of their character, so they never even think to advertise it. Just as “I don’t want an abuser!” is a red flag to men, “I’m a nice guy” and “I want to treat a woman right” should be a red flag to women.
Many thanks to /u/LaceandSilks for making sure that the RP theory was on point before I posted, and for /u/girlwithabike for her feedback and getting my butt in gear to finish writing this.
Next: For Single Ladies “Late to the Red Pill” Part III: Finding Your Man, Showing Your Value, Vetting Your Friends. This is the last installment for single ladies before I move on to married/LTR women.