Men today often struggle with relationships.
We struggle to form them. We struggle to grow them. And we struggle to maintain them, keep them healthy long-term.
There are many factors at play, and there are bound to be disappointments, including poor partner choices.
If you've ever loved, you've almost certainly loved and lost.
And that's OK. It's part of life, growing, and learning. A central part of the human experience.
When we experience a particularly difficult loss, and try to process the emotions ( which many men also struggle with ), we seek to understand why things went wrong, how women think, and why they behave in certain ways.
And here thing get interesting.
In the Age of the Internet, men talk. They seek answers, and to share their pain, and they find other groups of men who have had similar disappointments.
These groups form around certain perspectives on two key questions-
"Why are male-female relationships so difficult?"
"What should be done about it?"
But the answers each of the communities find, and form their ideologies around are radically different.
The 3 Ideologies of Male-Female Relationships
Presently, I know of three such communities-
- Red pill, which includes "game" and Pick Up Artistry (PUA)
- Blue pill, aka Mr. Nice Guy Syndrome
- Black pill, aka Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) or Involuntary Celibates (Incels)
Let's dig in a bit to explore each perspective.
The name Red Pill is borrowed from the Matrix, in which Neo takes a red pill to escape "the matrix" of lies & illusion and see reality as it is.
Red Pill represents itself as "the harsh truth" about women, and how they approach relationships.
I believe that this group started as an honest attempt to collect and share scientific understanding. The key questions that the members wanted to answer center on evolutionary psychology, with focus on why and how men & women behave differently, think differently, and seek different things.
Unfortunately, in the Internet, this mutated and has picked up a strong negative bias towards women. Men who were seeking to vent their anger around failed relationships, being friendzoned, or general sexual frustration began to use this group as a means to explain why they feel hurt by women.
Today, much of the writing in this community, presents women as intentionally manipulative creatures who prey on men to improve their own lives- primarily through "getting male attention" and gifts, financial support, seduction, marriage (thus income, and property ownership), child support, and/or alimony.
This group never seems to turn the camera around, point it at men, and ask "ok even if these things are true, in what way have men created this situation?" "how are we challenging for women, in getting what they need out of relationships?"
- Women are manipulative, and use sex as a means to attract and control men, to maximize their own security (by manipulating a marriage) or resources (by getting child support, or alimony payments).
- Women are hypergamous, meaning that they will ditch their guy and trade up for a better guy at the first opportunity.
- Only a tiny percentage of men are "getting girls", and most men are not. This is based on the Alpha Male concept, that the leaders get all the sexual access.
- For a man to get sex and/or relationships with women, he must be equally manipulative in order to (a) get her attention, (b) win her affection, and (c) protect himself from harm. Thus, Red Pill fully embraces "pick up" (PUA) strategy as a valid approach to relationships.
Blue Pill ( aka Nice Guy Syndrome )
Also from The Matrix, the Blue Pill represents accepting the socially popular illusion of how male-female relationships are built. Specifically this refers to the premise that the way to a woman's heart is to "buy her affection" through friendship, gifts, and attention.
This perspective is the foundation of "nice guy syndrome", in which men believe that love, sex, and attraction are things that are "traded for." Nice guys often end up friendzoned, circling their female friends who don't realize that their friend is actually attracted to them. Or perhaps they see the attraction, and enjoy the attention- but because their male friend does does not lead anything, the woman is forced to wait-and-see what will happen over the course of the relationship.
- Relationships take years to build, and must start with friendship
- Give gifts and tons of attention, to build her appreciation of you as potential romantic partner
- Never communicate your attraction as it might push her away. Instead, wait for her to fall in love with you and make the first move.
Black Pill ( aka MGTOW or Incels )
Black pill is essentially the "I give up" mentality.
It's founded on the idea that men and women are fundamentally different, and it's impossible to have a stable, secure long-term relationship, so why bother trying. Failed relationships cause too much emotional pain, and simply aren't worth it.
It includes strong negative limiting beliefs, such as "I can't get a woman," "Women don't like me," or "I am not worthy."
- I can't get a woman.
- Relationships are too difficult.
- I'm not good enough.
- Women are cruel.
Why all 3 of these perspectives fail
I want you to stop and notice the strong emotional undercurrents that are central to each of the 3 ideologies.
- Red pill is driven by fear + anger
- Blue pill is driven by fear + desire
- Black pill is driven by fear + despair
In fact, if you observe carefully., you'll see that...
These 3 ideologies align perfectly with psychological threat response - aka the fight, flight, or freeze reflex
Red pill = fight. The community is fully "on the offense" when it comes to women and relationships, seeking to control and manipulate the situation. It treats women as the enemy, with a huge dose of suspicion and contempt. In Pick-Up Artistry (PUA), terminology borrows from warfare tactics, referring to women as the "target." In any "game," there is a winner and a loser.
Blue pill = freeze. Unwilling to run away, usually out of a strong neediness and desire for women- but unable to see them as "the enemy," Blue pillers freeze going in neither direction. Many blue-pill members feel paralyzed, unsure how to get closer to women they like, and unable to risk any potential connection.
Black pill = flight. Run away. It's too difficult, painful, or scary.
Here's a question to ponder then...
How can any healthy relationship be built, if you see women as a threat?
A One-Sided Debate
One of the central challenges of these 3 communities is that none of them seem to have a perspective on the whole picture.
They never turn the camera around, point it at men, and ask...
"OK even if these things we believe are true, in what way have men contributed to this situation?"
"I had a Really Bad Experience, but are all women really the same?" "Could I have been a better partner in some way?" "How much of this relationship failing was caused by my own behavior, or lack of behavior, as well as my own decisions in who I chose as a partner?"
"How are men challenging for women, in getting what they want & need out of relationships?"
... because obviously this is a two-way street, right? Both people need to win, to make a relationship work.
These are essential questions, but no one in these communities seems to ask them.
Honestly this frustrates me tremendously.
I often hear men in the Red Pill community throw words around as though they've discovered some universal truth, like... "all women are naturally hypergamous." To them this means that women will ditch their current partner, and trade up to a better partner, at the first opportunity.
Really? All women? I've seen very differently.
Certainly, some percentage of women strongly and consistently exhibit this kind of hypergamous behavior, and their ex boyfriends find their way into the Red Pill forums to vent their pain. But how does that percentage of women compare to the percentage of men who are just as hypergamous?
Because like it or not, I know a lot of men who are unfaithful, or who ditch their life partner for the younger, sexier, secretary version.
So far I see zero evidence that "all women are naturally hypergamous."
The clearest and most accurate thing I think we can say is...
Some people- both men and women- are strongly hypergamous. Best not to build your life around those people.
A Better Way to Relate
First and foremost...
Stop seeing women as the enemy, and start relating to them as equals.
In any successful, healthy relationship, women do not want to be seen as inferior, and feel mistreated or underappreciated.
This is what a Red Piller's girlfriend will feel.
Women also do not want to be put on a pedestal above their partner. It's not exciting to "date down" the social ladder, where the man sees and positions himself as an inferior.
This is what a Blue Piller's girlfriend will feel.
Black Piller's girlfriends don't feel anything, because they simply do not exist.
This reminds me of a saying I heard as a child, as spoken from a woman to a man...
Do not walk in front of me and leave me in your dust.
Do not walk behind me, or I will feel lonely.
Walk beside me, and hold my hand.
This presents a very simple image, but it's very appropriate to the challenges men are having with relationships today.
So What Can You Do?
Fortunately, you have complete control over fixing this problem, all by yourself.
First, stop filling your head with unhelpful ideas, based on victim-centered worldviews.
You are not a victim.
Let other people feel that way if they are determined to- you don't need to be influenced by them.
Instead, invest all your attention in learning what it means to be a man.
- Read David Deida’s Way of the Superior Man
- Read Neil Strauss’s The Truth
- Read Dr. Glover’s No More Mr. Nice Guy
- Join a group like BROJO where men are learning how to be the best men they can possibly be, support and challenge each other to grow.
- Surround yourself with as many assertive, socially conscientious, principled men as you can find, their age is irrelevant. Learn from these guys, everything you can.
Build the world you want.
If you’re stuck, message me. This is what I do.
BROJO: Confidence. Clarity. Connection.
Join BROJO - the premier international self-development community - it's completely free!
- Connect with like-minded people who will support you with your goals and issues
- Overcome people-pleasing and Nice Guy Syndrome to build strong social confidence
- Get access to exclusive email courses to learn advanced social skills, how to master your psychology, proven career progression techniques and more!
One particular aspect of these three online communities that intrigues me is the size, and a particular feature of human psychology which can be described as mob mentality.
The idea that is if enough people say something, we tend to stop asking questions. This is the foundation of religions, legal systems, governments, culture, and many other systems of human thought- the majority tends to rule.
An example of this is the waiting-room buzzer experiment.
You are the product of the 10 people closest to you.
These groups also tend to splinter and mutate. Red pill mutated to include a strong negative bias towards women, rather than seeking to fairly present and understand the differences, strengths and weaknesses present in all men and women.
MGTOW mutated into incels, adding anger into the mix, and vengeance towards women.
More on Red Pill
Red Pill is a worldview that starts with “dating is hard and I’m frustrated,” and answers it with “women have a completely different evolutionary psychology, which we have to trick in order to win them.” Red pill sees women as sort of broken, and it approaches dating more like war, or like a game - with a winner, and a loser. It mysteriously overlooks the fact that dating worked just fine for the last 200,000 years, or none of us would be here. Red pillers often experience anger and resentment towards women.
More on Blue Pill
Blue pill is best described as “Mr. Nice Guy” syndrome, in which men seek to build relationships by people-pleasing. They become a woman’s best friend and invest everything they can to win her love. The governing idea is “she’ll have to fall for me once she realizes how good I am to her.” Often, Nice Guys get friend-zoned, because their attraction is confused as a desire to just be friends (they friend-zone themselves). Blue pillers often experience strong feelings of neediness towards women.
This worldview is also known as Mr. Nice Guy Syndrome, and I highly recommend you join a group like BROJO and read Dr. Robert Glover’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” You’ll understand it a lot better and why it destroys relationships.
It’s very important to understand that “being nice” is NOT the same thing as being a “Mr. Nice Guy.” Being nice is simply being good to someone. Being a Mr. Nice Guy is being nice only because you want something back.
Inside your head, this difference is often very subtle and difficult to separate - but kindness and people-pleasing behaviors are worlds apart, and motivated by entirely different things.
Read the book, and you’ll get it.
Blue Pill “Mr. Nice Guys” struggle to form relationships, because we’re very un-assertive. When we manage win one, the relationships usually fades, and then breaks when the woman feels dissatisfied that her man doesn’t know how to lead.
Because of the fear of assertiveness, people-pleasing behavior isn’t very masculine. It’s also highly manipulative. Every good thing you do for your partner comes with an unspoken expectation of “now you owe me something back.”
Eventually this ends in disaster.
This happened to me more times than I care to remember.
Now… here’s what I often see happen.
“Nice guys” usually find themselves friend-zoned, and frustrated when the women they like end up choosing other guys instead of them. Eventually they become angry & resentful, and discard the “nice guy” approach, for something much more aggressive…
The Nice Guy morphs into a Red Piller / , or a PUA, or an MGTOW.
But notice carefully, that the worldview is unchanged. Only the approach is changed.
The “strategy” has changed from “I’ll be nice to win their love” (Blue Pill), to “Now I’m angry, so I’ll find other ways to win their love” (Red Pill / PUA), or “I give up, I want to end the pain and frustration and so I will just stop trying.” (MGTOW)
More on Black Pill
MGTOW stands for “Men Going Their Own Way,” which means that they have chosen to no longer have relationships with women, at least romantic ones. Their answer to the challenge of dating is to throw in the towel, rather than learn how to be a better man. MGTOWs often experience depression, fear, or apathy towards women.
Here’s what I want you to understand.
Blue Pill, MGTOW and Red Pill are all based on the same basic worldview.
- I feel emotional pain, loneliness, and frustration
- Deep down, I am a good guy, and willing to give a girl whatever she wants. Therefore obviously, girls should want me and appreciate me.
- I can’t figure out how to make that happen, but obviously the problem isn’t me, because I’d do anything to make a girl love me.
- Therefore, women must broken. Something has gone terribly wrong in society, or in culture, or evolution.
- They owe me.
All three of these worldviews share elements of a victim mindset.
I feel pain. It’s not my fault, I don’t deserve this. The pain must be caused by something outside of me. Someone else is hurting me.
The development of these communities, and their ideologies, makes complete sense psychologically. Sex drive is deep, or humans would have become extinct long ago.
When society complicates the rules of relationships, we feel confused about how to find a partner, and begin to fear that we might not. We feel personally, directly, deeply threatened, and women experience this just as strongly as men.
How are relationships "complex"? A few thoughts on this...
- Many men don't have fathers in our lives (gone, or absent due to work). Therefore we don't observe healthy male-female relationships as we grow. We barely understand masculinity.
- Feminism, in it's more anti-male, toxic forms, scares men. I don't want women to hate me. How do I prevent that? I'll never express attraction. I'll never say anything confronting or uncomfortable. I'll never assert my sexual interest in anyone. In fact, I'd be safest if I just act like a woman and blend in.
- New forms of dating, such as Tinder, change the game. Suddenly, men need to look good in photos, and not just be good guys. We don't like change.
The connection between Red Pill, MGTOW, and Blue Pill and mammalian threat response also explains why Blue Pill “Nice Guys” tend to shift towards Red Pill or MGTOW.
Simply- freeze isn’t a safe long-term strategy. In nature, if you freeze, and the threat doesn’t go away, you’ll eventually have to switch to fight or flight - and that’s exactly what happens here…
After one too many friend-zone experiences, most “Nice Guys” eventually abandon Blue Pill approach and either fight (go aggressively towards) getting women, with Red Pill and Pick-Up Artistry (PUA). Or, they choose flight and go aggressively away from women- “Men Going Their Own Way” (MGTOW).
The important thing to realize is that women, and relationships, simply are not a threat. We don’t need to respond to them that way.
MGTOW v. asexuality v. lifestyle choice
There is also some confusion between MGTOW and “not wanting sex.”
Men who simply, truly are not interested in sex or relationships - or who choose to devote their energies elsewhere - are not lesser men. Sigmund Freud, Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, Gandhi, all chose to live their lives this way, and they are arguably among the greatest men in human history.
MGTOW, however, is entirely different- because it’s a reaction to fear. It describes men who are avoiding something that they deeply, truly want, and it’s a very unhappy way for a human to live. Don’t choose that.
I don’t think anyone has commented on this, but throughout my response I use the terms men and women for readability. The concepts here apply just as directly to homosexual relationships.
However, I do notice that homosexuals seem to have a far lower presence in Red Pill, Blue Pill, and MGTOW communities, than they do in society in general. I think this could be very significant in demonstrating the role society plays in triggering our expectations, doubts, and confusion around relationships.
Homosexual culture tends to be much more open about sexual attraction and relationships, and I suspect that goes a long way towards explaining why fight / flight / freeze don’t seem to play as significant a role.