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KevinD

Keeping Romance Simple

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(This is an article I wrote for my romantic advice blog for men — The Leading Man.)

Imagine a giant checkerboard, with squares large enough to comfortably stand on.

Each of the squares is labeled. One is marked "Complexity." Another: "Confusion."

Others: "Weirdness," "Mixed Messages," "Inconsistent Behavior."

In the upper-left corner of the board is a square marked "Ambivalence." The square adjacent says "Ambiguity."

In the lower right: "Drama."

These squares represent factors which make romantic relationships impossible, and which deprive men of their sanity.

However, there's a "safe square" located directly in the center of the checkerboard. It's marked Simplicity.

The rules of the game are — appropriately enough — simple: Your mission is to stand solidly on the Simplicity Square at all times, never venturing so much as a toe beyond its borders.

Do this consistently, and you will win. Your prize will be self-respect. You will have earned the security of mind that comes with knowing that you are acting in a manner appropriate to your nature as a man.

Step off the Square, and you will suffer. You'll become disempowered, diminished, and your dealings with the opposite sex will likely bring disappointment.

Any woman will tell you that she doesn't want a weak man. What she might neglect to mention is the extent to which weakness in men repels her. If she is like most women, she is turned off and disgusted by a man who is pliable, easily dominated, who can be manipulated, swayed and controlled.

The idea of male strength is so essential in a woman's mind, that she will run tests on a man to determine whether or not he is a henpecked husband in training. (Or, if he is married, whether or not he has become one.)

All of a woman's tests involve the effort to persuade a man, in one way or another, to step off of the Simplicity Square — to accept confusion, complication, complexity and weirdness as if these were normal.

At some point in a romantic relationship, you can be certain that a woman will:

  • Raise a bizarre accusation, with the purpose of seeing if she can get you to defend yourself against it.

  • Attempt to incite an argument, to find out whether you can be suckered into fighting with her.

  • Try to change plans initiated and created by you, often at the last minute, effectively assuming control and placing herself into the dominant position in the relationship.

A woman's task in these moments is to try to make things complicated — to confound and agitate you, with the goal being to provoke you into reacting to her out of fear. Your job is to stand solidly on the Simplicity Square, politely declining all invitations to engage in unusual behavior, and calmly refuse to become embroiled in interpersonal conflict with her.

When you stand your ground in this manner, you maintain your dignity, and retain your personal power. This causes an extraordinary thing to happen inside of a woman: she experiences an erotic charge relative to you — the inevitable emotional reaction of her efforts to create drama, colliding with your backbone.

This won't make every woman fall in love with you. Some will decide that you are an inflexible chauvinist; the Erotic Charge will become converted into angry resentment. (A meaningful connection with this type of woman is impossible, so you'll have to let her go.)

A masculine man succeeds in his life, in large part due to his commitment to the principle of simplicity in all areas. Outstanding women applaud this, and are drawn to it.

Regardless of how a woman might act at times, at the end of the day she wants a man with the courage to keep things simple.

A good woman desires a man for whom the Simplicity Square is his home, and she longs to stand solidly on it beside him.

© 2012 Kevin Delaney

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"At some point in a romantic relationship, you can be certain that a woman will:

  • Raise a bizarre accusation, with the purpose of seeing if she can get you to defend yourself against it.

  • Attempt to incite an argument, to find out whether you can be suckered into fighting with her.

  • Try to change plans initiated and created by you, often at the last minute, effectively assuming control and placing herself into the dominant position in the relationship.

A woman's task in these moments is to try to make things complicated — to confound and agitate you, with the goal being to provoke you into reacting to her out of fear."

Where on earth are you getting this from? What females have you met? This does not apply to all women in spite of your claim that it does. It sounds like you've created some kind of weird conspiracy theory or something here, believing it is in the nature and intent of women in general to try to create conflict and inconvience in their romantic relationships. Not so. If you've really got somebody who is trying to provoke you in a relationship, that's not inevitable or even normal and probably not healthy either. Headgames are not just some part of one sex. Personally, I'd recomend ditching anybody of any sex who is trying to manipulate and torment you.

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It sounds like you've created some kind of weird conspiracy theory or something here, believing it is in the nature and intent of women in general to try to create conflict and inconvience in their romantic relationships.

Yeah.. reminds me of Tom Lekyis. (I really hate that guy.)

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. My response would be to warn her that her behavior isn't acceptable at all, and if I had the suspicion that she was attempting to test me, I would tell her that she needed to find a new way to communicate. If a man is being moody, making arbitrary accusations, and starting fights over nothing, the woman needs to do the same thing. I don't see how masculinity comes into this.

Edited by Hairnet

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Nice points, Kevin. Obviously, taking that middle part out of context lends itself to misunderstandings, but I think you made it pretty clear that you weren't suggesting that women are trying to sabotage the relationship or torment their partner.

No relationship ever flows seamlessly, both sides are going to want to test each other in subtle or not so subtle, conscious or not so conscious ways at some point. No one's going to just blindly assume that their partner is perfect, based on nothing but passive observation. That would be a good way to waste months or years in a relationship with someone, and suddenly wake up realizing that they're nowhere close to who you thought they were.

It's better to push and test early, than sit back and learn nothing about your partner until you're in a committed relationship and trying to raise children together.

Rational men (and women too) should understand the need for throwing the occasional curve ball in the early days of a relationship, learn to handle it, and even more importantly, don't be repulsed by it. We need to be able to distinguish it from someone just being a bitch because that's who they are.

Edited by Nicky

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"A woman's task in these moments is to try to make things complicated — to confound and agitate you, with the goal being to provoke you into reacting to her out of fear."

Intentionally confounding, agitating, provoking, trying to get a reaction out of one's partner isn't tormenting them?

That's a false dichotomy. You could just ask somebody about things you want to know about them. Also if you've learned nothing through observation by the time you are raising kids with somebody you've either had kids WAY too quickly or you are far too inobservant to be responsible for a child's life.

Again, where is he getting this stuff about women from anyway?

Edited by bluecherry

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What's your evidence for all this? Do you have formal studies to back you up? Professionals who make such claims (including Freud and Branden) say they reach their conclusions from on-the-job therapeutic observation. This has problems of its own, but it's better than nothing. As far as I can see it's better than you've given us.

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"A woman's task in these moments is to try to make things complicated — to confound and agitate you, with the goal being to provoke you into reacting to her out of fear."

Intentionally confounding, agitating, provoking, trying to get a reaction out of one's partner isn't tormenting them?

Like I said, taken out of context it's easy to misunderstand what he meant. There is nothing in the sentence you quoted to contradict your claim that he's accusing women of tormenting men. But there is plenty in the rest of the post, leading up to that sentence you yanked out of context.

That's a false dichotomy. You could just ask somebody about things you want to know about them.

Saying the right things is not the same as doing them.

Again, where is he getting this stuff about women from anyway?

Where are you getting your stuff about women from? I'm guessing he dealt with more women in a romantic context than you, so if we're gonna throw that challenge around, you're in more trouble than he is.

P.S. Asking for evidence is of course always valid. But aggressively charging that someone doesn't have any is not.

Edited by Nicky

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I didn't just suggest asking, I also brought up observation over time as a realistic option again.

What stuff about women have I put forward other than disputing his claims? One exception is all it takes to throw out something put forward as a universal claim like there is here. I'm a female who has been in a male/female romantic context and I've never done these things, don't relate to the entire attitude behind it at all. I've also had a girlfriend before for a few years and she didn't do these things to me or anybody else she had been with either. I would have not stuck around with shenanigans like those described above.

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You could just ask somebody about things you want to know about them.

"Honey, are you a spineless wimp?"

"Me? Of course not!

"I knew you weren't! That Delaney guy is so full of crap…"

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"I didn't just suggest asking, I also brought up observation over time as a realistic option again."

You wouldn't ask somebody about general character traits anyway. You'd ask them specifics and make what general character conclusions you will based off of those.

That wasn't a rhetorical question either, by the way. I really am asking what your source of information is you based your conclusions about women in romantic contexts on.

Edited by bluecherry

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What's your evidence for all this? Do you have formal studies to back you up?

I polled 5,000 women, asking them: "Do you, or have you at any time, 'tested' your boyfriend or husband, in order to determine his level of internal fortitude relative to you?"

Every one insisted that they do not do this, that they never have, and they called me the devil for daring to suggest such a thing.

That was when I knew that it was true! :smartass:

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As an addendum to my last post — I assumed that by "all this," Reidy is referring to the idea of women testing men, which others in this thread have taken issue with. But if he truly means my article in its entirety, and its main message that a good woman is attracted to a man who is committed to the principle of simplicity, then tragically I am not aware of any formal evidence or studies which support this.

Edited by Kevin Delaney

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Where are you getting your stuff about women from? I'm guessing he dealt with more women in a romantic context than you, so if we're gonna throw that challenge around, you're in more trouble than he is.

That's a huge problem when discussing these things. It's incredibly difficult to explain to someone who doesn't "get it". Alot of women are unaware of it and those who are aware rarely explain it to guys. For the guys not seeing whats going on the whole concept seems alien. What you're left with is explaining your own experiences and observations, plus a few insightful women who tell it like it is. Not to mention that the whole thing is supposed to go unnoticed!

This is not to say it's wrong to question the idea, it's just that the nature of it makes it a very tough debate.

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That's a huge problem when discussing these things. It's incredibly difficult to explain to someone who doesn't "get it". Alot of women are unaware of it and those who are aware rarely explain it to guys. For the guys not seeing whats going on the whole concept seems alien. What you're left with is explaining your own experiences and observations, plus a few insightful women who tell it like it is. Not to mention that the whole thing is supposed to go unnoticed!

This is not to say it's wrong to question the idea, it's just that the nature of it makes it a very tough debate.

Mysticism is always hard to discuss rationally.

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I polled 5,000 women, asking them: "Do you, or have you at any time, 'tested' your boyfriend or husband, in order to determine his level of internal fortitude relative to you?"

Every one insisted that they do not do this, that they never have, and they called me the devil for daring to suggest such a thing.

That was when I knew that it was true! :smartass:

So . . . you got nothin' then?

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Yeah.. reminds me of Tom Lekyis. (I really hate that guy.)

Speaking of Tom.. is this what you're talking about? "Women don't want nice guys who open doors for them and send them flowers. They want to be taken by real men." It gets off topic but the gist of it is between 1 and 7 mins:

Edited by mdegges

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mdegges: Thanks for sharing the link to the Leykis audio. He and his female callers make some great points about "nice guys" — i.e, weak men who beg women for permission and approval.

Aside from his shock-jock style of presentation, Leykis' main problem is that he holds a fundamentally cynical view of man-woman relationships.

In Leykis' world, there are two types of men: spineless wimps and antisocial jerks. Because women can't stand weakness or subservience in men, a man must become an abrasive "bad boy" type if his goal is to attract women.

It's a false dichotomy. There is a third option: A mature, responsible, confident gentleman, one with the self-esteem necessary to take a strong and positive lead in a relationship.

This type of man embodies respectful, benevolent, romantic dominance, which every (good) heterosexual woman deeply craves.

This is the kind of man whom I write about, and whom I seek to address.

(In his broadcast, Leykis uses the word "gentleman" several times, but he lumps this type of man in with the "nice guy.")

Edited by Kevin Delaney

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Well, this has been perfectly lovely. Men telling women -- against their protest in this very thread -- what they supposedly are like, what they think and feel and want and that, among other things, "romance" requires them "to confound and agitate" men.

But if a woman finds that she does not conform to this description, a way out is offered. Perhaps she simply is not a "good heterosexual woman."

Unbelievable.

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Men telling women -- against their protest in this very thread -- what they supposedly are like, what they think and feel and want and that, among other things, "romance" requires them "to confound and agitate" men.

I suspect most Objectivist men think this way: that women want to be 'dominated' and 'lead' by 'strong masculine men.' Afterall, that's exactly what Ayn Rand's fictional relationships were like with Dagny and Galt, Kira and Leo, Dominique and Roark. These women were swept off their feet by strong, attractive, dominant men. (You'll find the same theme in less attractive stories, ie: harlequin romances, 50 shades of grey, and a bunch of other crap you can find for under a dollar at half price books. But in these stories, unlike in Rand's novels, the female characters are weak and needy.)

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(You'll find the same theme in less attractive stories, ie: harlequin romances, 50 shades of grey, and a bunch of other crap you can find for under a dollar at half price books. But in these stories, unlike in Rand's novels, the female characters are weak and needy.)

To play a devil's advocate, doesn't the existence and popularity of these books suggest that this is an aspect of many women? Would you say this aspect, if it exists, is chosen or not chosen? If chosen (even in the passive sense), would you consider it healthy or not? If not, is there a healthy version?

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Mysticism is always hard to discuss rationally.

I have to take issue with this... Psychology is not mysticism. Kevin is talking about the psychological dynamics and differences between the sexes - in particular, the dynamics of romance and how to create it.

It's 100% true that some people just don't "get it". It's because they are unaware of the differences between the male and female mind, or they choose to ignore it because it contradicts their platonic concept of romance which is divorced from/denies these psychological differences.

If you want to talk about it rationally, you need to acknowledge the fact that there are psychological differences between men and women. And that these differences mean there is a particular dynamic and process by which they interact and get to know eachother, including how a woman comes to experience romantic feelings.

A great example of how a woman can "confound and agitate" men is Dominique Francon. What did she do when she felt powerfully attracted to Roark? She smacked his face with a tree branch...(worked like a charm).

If a man wants to create a romantic dynamic with a woman, he should learn about how a women experiences romance... Which is exactly what Kevin is trying to teach I believe. Kudos for having the courage to call it like it is.

Edited by choo

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