When I was originally titling this series I thought about calling it “The Danger of Romantic Delusions”. That title however was a bit off putting and the objective of a blog posts title is to get people to read the post.
My reluctance to use that title doesn’t change the fact that the root cause of unrealistic romantic expectations is delusion. In fact romance itself is connected with an idealized, subjective, anti-rational and even delusional view of the world and sexual dynamics.
Despite talking about the sexual market and sexual dynamics for years I’m always a little surprised when people respond to those terms with discomfort. Very often I hear “that’s not a very romantic way to talk about relationships.” Of course, that’s the point.
We all indulge from time to time in romantic delusions. What else are we doing when we watch a fantasy movie, dream about unlikely possibilities or have inconsequential discussions with our spouse about curtains and bedspreads? Men of Agency can indulge because we know clearly what’s real and where our boundaries are.
Unfortunately most people are at least somewhat under the influence of more dangerous romantic delusion and the results can be life destroying. To understand how to protect ourselves we should discuss a bit about the origins of modern notions of romance.
What is romance and Romanticism?
Most people have a very cloudy view of romance. They can’t quite define it, but it’s something they sort of understand if they see it, or so they think.
Romance as we know it is a very recent cultural invention. Historically the sexual market was governed by the needs of family and survival. Mates were chosen for their utility value, their ability to bring value to each other and their respective extended families. Roles and expectations were clear. There was no time for flights of fancy.
In most of europe the manorial system ensured that only families that practiced the best “breeding” survived. A rational, high Agency population, strong extended families, inter family networks and wealthy nations were the result of this careful selection process. As survival became more secure and living easier it was possible to indulge a certain level of subjective idealized fantasy. Out of this was born the Romantic era with its push back against a wider demand for Agency and reason.
Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850.
Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanticism
Below is the definition of romantic according to the merriam-webster dictionary. Please read it and ask yourself “does this definition match my understanding of romance?”
ro·man·tic | \ rō-ˈman-tik , rə-\
Definition of romantic (Entry 1 of 2)
1 : consisting of or resembling a romance
2 : having no basis in fact : IMAGINARY
3 : impractical in conception or plan : VISIONARY
4a : marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized
b often capitalized : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of romanticism
c : of or relating to music of the 19th century characterized by an emphasis on subjective emotional qualities and freedom of form
also : of or relating to a composer of this music
5a : having an inclination for romance : responsive to the appeal of what is idealized, heroic, or adventurous
b : marked by expressions of love or affection
c : conducive to or suitable for lovemaking
6 : of, relating to, or constituting the part of the hero especially in a light comedy
Romanticism persists because in our wealthy modern world we can afford to be somewhat delusional and not immediately die. Additionally it serves the interests of female brained men and narcissistic women as mentioned in part 1. The modern legacy of romantic thinking is rampant low Agency “thinking” about relationships and a long list of persistent myths. Below we will address some of these myths.
The same caveat applies that I mentioned in part 1:
Below there will be rampant generalizations, for each time you think “but not all X” you hereby agree to send me €1 via paypal. Count it as Agency training.
Myth vs Reality
Myth: Unconditional love is a good and desirable thing that we should all seek. (Unconditional love is a love that is separate from virtue and actions.)
Reality: Unconditional love is for people who don’t respect themselves or have healthy boundaries. It leads to tolerance of bad and even evil behavior. Unconditional love often becomes a cowardly excuse for weak people to avoid taking the necessary action to curb negative behaviour on the part of people they are dependant on.
Ask yourself “why do I love this person?” The answer should have something to do with their virtues, with what is objectively good about them. If the answer is only “they provide me with X” or “I like their [insert physical trait]” you are heading for serious trouble. You are dependant on them, that’s a very different thing than love.
Each one of us need people in our lives who love us deeply, but who love virtue even more. There is no benefit in being loved unconditionally. We must seek out people who will hold us to a high standard. People who will aid us in exercising our Agency by demonstrating that their love has boundaries.
Myth: The “honeymoon” phase will last forever. If you’re not feeling that romantic, giddy love anymore it’s time to move on. If you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’, it’s over.
Reality: Real love in marriage is a commitment to work for the good of the other person. Feelings come and go and that’s OK – they’ll come back if you both keep following through on your commitment.
Myth: We are going to have fantastic, constant, exotic sex every day.
“The expectations for sexual performance are continuously getting higher. Sure, it’s wonderful to have a good sex life but having porn style sex all the time with your partner forever is unrealistic.”
Reality: Sex is an athletic event. Unless you are both in good shape it’s going to be mediocre at best. How long can you run full out (sprint)? That’s about how long you are going to last in bed.
While it’s true that married people have more and better sex than single people, it’s also true that we have a lot of other things to do. Sometimes it is constant awesome sex, other times its not. For example; health concerns, injury, late stages of pregnancy, and other unavoidable circumstances can lead to periods where sex is not possible.
Just like food, sex is more on your mind if you are not getting enough. When you are satisfied you will tend not to think about it that much, it just “is”.
Many of the things you think you want when you are single are not so much fun when you actually try them out with your spouse. Be aware that pornography will warp your ideas of whats normal and pleasurable.
Myth: That couple has a perfect relationship.
Reality: No couple has a perfect relationship. Perfect is an romantic, unrealistic, fantasy standard. You simply don’t know them well enough to understand their challenges. That isn’t to say that there are not very happy couples. It’s very possible to have a happy satisfying marriage, however it’s also true what I often say to people contemplating marriage:
“Marriage is either the very best thing that can happen to you or the very worst.”
Myth: A woman can be both a) financially independent from a man and also a b) successful domestic housewife with c) children because you can have it all as a women – a career, a good looking successful, rich, sensitive new age man for a husband, have children, buy a house and be happy.
“A woman can’t be a good mother, a good lover and a good employee all at the same time. Someone is going to lose (get last place) and it will probably be the husband.”
Reality: This is a delusion that affects both sexes for different reasons. Some men want the benefits of an income producing women, a housewife, and a mother for their children all in one women. They are deluded and usually end up being neglected or getting divorced.
You can probably pick two out of the three (assuming a competent, healthy woman) however it is unhealthy and unrealistic to expect a woman to provide you all the benefits of a man and a women. Good news men, you can earn a living so that she can focus on being a wife and mother.
Very young women tend to fall into this thinking because of the billions of dollars of toxic feminist propaganda that is pushed on young girls in school, in all media, at their churches and even in their families. So far I haven’t found a single (young) one that cannot be reasoned out of this position by a gentle and careful application of Socratic questions. Exposing them to cute babies is another, complementary method.
There are billions of dollars spent trying to get young girls to ignore all their biological signals to find a man and reproduce. All we have to do is tell them the truth. Be honest and protective of them, it’s usually enough.
(Older women who have pursued the false feminist narrative are a different story. If they dig themselves too deeply into the lies, they cant get out. They become overly invested in their terrible life decisions and cant stop justifying them. Don’t waste your time with these feminist women.)
Myth: You can find someone amazing and win their heart without first being amazing yourself.
Reality: You can’t get something for nothing, so if you want something great, first offer something great.
We will tend to attract a partner that is at our level. While it’s true that a woman can attract attention from a man that’s out of her league, she’s not going to get such a man to commit. If we don’t like the quality of people who we find are attracted to us then we need to get on a different level. Improving your SMV and investing into your ability to be a great partner has long term benefits for both men and women.
Myth: You must have everything “all worked out” before you find your mate, and vice versa. Your potential mates must have everything all worked out. Neither of you should have a single red flag. Everything must be perfect.
Reality: Perfection is a romantic, unrealistic goal. Its an ideal that no one can match. If you insist on perfection from yourself or others you will be constantly disappointed. Instead, pursue self knowledge. Have a firm grasp of your own limitations and strengths. Know what you will tolerate in a partner and what you won’t.
While you work towards being the best version of yourself, join the dating pool and get feedback. Our programs of self improvement need to be tested in the dating market or we have no idea if we are developing something that others may find valuable.
To be continued…