Thursday, December 3, 2009

Would you rather?

Inspired by roissy's post today, I have decided to step out of the Ivory Tower of Evolutionary Psychology that I commonly use to veil my personal stories and share an experience that is private enough to me to make this a first.

The experience I am going to share relates to the question as to whether the betrayal of a woman you (literally) cared for "only hurts because of dishonesty" or whether it is comparable or even more damaging to the male psyche than physical assault of the worst kind.

I honestly cannot relate to the latter, but here is a first hand account of what it is like to find out about a woman's disloyalty after more than half a decade of a picture-book (beta) relationship. As to how the magnitude of such experience compares to the potential impact of physical assault - you be the judge.

It was in my early twenties when I moved in with a girl that I would spend more than the next six years with. I had plenty of experience by that time, including short flings and the heart break following long(er) term relationships. What made this relationship different is that it closely resembled married life.

I did not actually marry this woman, nor did we have children together, but by any other standard we lived the life of newly weds. There was mutual respect and virtually no fights between me an her. There seemed to be an ideal mix of overlapping and distinct interests as well as a match in temperament and personality that made for a successful team in life. For many we were "an ideal couple" with a seeming lack of relationship problems. We seemed inseparable.

I found out about her infidelity after heading to work early one morning. There had been a build up of changes in her behavior that had made me increasingly suspicious. But I still was not prepared for the undeniable physical evidence I encountered this morning.

My body's first reaction was an intense rush of adrenaline. The only time I had ever felt a kick of similar intensity was after slipping and nearly falling off a slim ridge into certain death during a hiking expedition in the Alps.

My hands started shaking. My heart started beating strong enough that I became aware of it despite the shock. I was unable to move. My mouth went dry. And my thoughts started racing. It is easy to fool oneself into believing something that ain't really there, but I can easily relate the thought processes ensuing this event to the Kubler-Ross stages of grief - in much more rapid progression.

The next thing I remember is extreme nausea. My blood pressure must have dropped since I felt very cold all over sudden. I started trembling and put on my jacket again, but still felt as if drowned in ice water. This sensation would not go away for the next couple of hours (my loss of appetite would last several days).

Just to be clear about it. There was nothing I could do about any of that. I was at work and in no way interested in showing any external sign of my inner mental state. I tried to "man up", and mentally put my feelings aside to deal with it at a more appropriate time and place. My body did not obey my will.

I had an appointment that morning which proved difficult to cancel. I tried to show up at the meeting as if nothing had happened. To no avail.

The moment I entered the room, I was asked to sit down, and given a glass of water together with anxious questions whether everything was alright. It was embarrassing since we were in the presence of clients. I tried to joke off my colleagues' concerns and asked everyone to focus on the task at hand. It didn't work. I clumsily rushed to work - and ended up screwing everything up within a matter of minutes.

Next thing, I was asked to sit down and this time I had to confess that I was troubled by something that "had happened earlier this morning". I assured everyone that I am okay again and we went back to work, but only minutes later my colleague suggested that he could finish it by himself and I should take a break.

I walked out of the building, and the next thing I remember is driving aimlessly around in my car. I must have done that for hours. I ended up confronting that girl, packing some stuff and sleeping at a hotel near work. I felt extreme anger. At the girl. At the guy who she was with. At myself. More so, I felt deep humiliation. 

Part of the thoughts that run through a man's mind at that point is how deep the betrayal could have possibly went. Who knew about it? How long were you left in the dark? How could that happen to you?

What seemed to hurt the most was that I had believed that what I did was everything I was supposed to do. I had worked hard on being a perfect partner. And it was from her (and other women) that I had heard that this is the least I could do since women in happy relationships (supposedly) do all that and more. The full extent of a lie does not need to be explained to someone who suffers its dire consequences.

[Little did I know that it would have been better had I just done what I wanted. By following her wishes and needs and acting along the societal code of how a boyfriend behaves I had made a fool of myself.]

The reason for the massive physical and mental changes that I lived through at the time are obvious. Our animal instinct will invoke panic in anyone who is about to leave this planet without leaving a biological legacy behind.

A man has to decide whether he wants to sacrifice the joys and excitement of a never ending pussy-parade in his life for the ease and comfort offered by a stable relationship, and (often) vice versa. So for the male psyche going down the relationship route, finding out that the time, feelings and money invested in a woman were not reciprocated (as her part of the deal is to ensure high paternity certainty) is like finding out that your hard-earned 401K was raided.

This needs emphasis. When this (admittedly rather mundane) episode happened to me, all I could lament about at the time was that I had lost a good part of my "wild twenties". But I was still young, childless and unbound by any financial repercussions (such coming from a marrital contract). My 401K was not needed for retirement yet. I was in the green, yet my brain went amok.

Given that, I cannot imagine what it must be like for a man to find out about a woman's disloyalty when it has actual repercussions on his prospects to procreate (not because I have the strong desire to procreate, but because the reaction triggered by his reptile brain will be way, way more brutal).

Cuckolded men stare into the abyss of a negative 401K account balance on the day of their retirement. They literally fucked up. On the great tree of life that has continually branched from the first DNA on earth up to their existence, they are a mere dead leave that is about to fall off. All they worked for. All they ever believed in. All of it - in vain.

16 comments:

  1. My co-blogger Talleyrand calls it an, 'evolutionary dead end.'

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  2. Welcome to the indifference of the universe.

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  3. Well, given that emotions are evolved to be useful in the AEE, rather than corresponding to the "real" gravity of a given situation I doubt your immidiate response would have been much worse had it happened at 56 instead of 26. Probably milder due to emotions being subdued by age.

    Since human males generally can't determine without technology it seems likely that most emotions regarding cuckoldry will be driven by responses to loss of status and infidelity. Otherwise we would likely behave more like lions and have an instinct for murdering non-related children outright. Much like men who get vasectomies do not despair, despite being genetic non-entities.

    Of course, a cuckold will constantly be reminded of his humiliation and pain becauseof his inability to cut the legal, social bonds to his former family. A particular cruelty is that we probably lack a mechanism for removing bonded emotions with kids we thought our own, so non-fathers will be drawn to their humiliation by their previous bonding.

    The female equivivalent of this would be something like being raped and then being confronted by her rapist throughout her life *and* knowing that her social circle knew this and not gave a shit.

    OT,I've always been bugged by the claims of devastating long term effects of rape on females. Rape should be somewhat common evolutionary so female emotions should be geared to avoid rape, but not to reduce fitness once raped. Ie it doesn't make sense that women would suffer severly decreased ability to function socially and sexually due to being raped. Being raped should lead to EAA-fitness maximizing emotions in females, not complete dysfunction.

    /asd

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Hate to say it, but as soon as I saw the part about "we moved in together," the rest didn't seem surprising. I wouldn't expect a polyandrous female to have a lot of self-discipline or integrity.

    Of course that doesn't change how traumatic it was for you.

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  6. 11minutes,

    Thanks for sharing that. It was an experience just reading about yours. I've seen quite a bit of this type of story across the Men's Rights etc. blogs and sites, but i wonder how many of the same men have also been the other guy.

    That's the kind of thing that I don't see being admitted to on these blogs. It's pretty obvious why. I've had a somewhat similar experience to yours but in a less intense version. The LTR was just 2 years, didn't live together, and she had dumped me a few months before she ended up setting up a date with a friend of mine. I was livid at the friend mostly. I "confronted" him and he backed down without a fight. I really liked the guy so I didn't really want to break his nose. If he'd been anything but conciliatory I would have. At that point, I was still getting over her, she was my first love after all, and her dating a friend of mine was not going to fly. Anybody else was fine by me, I had already sort of moved on anyway, with a rebound.

    But I've also been that guy. Yeah, the one hooking up with a 'taken' chick. One time for over a year. It's like a drug. And it's risky as shit, and sometimes you wonder why in the hell are you continuing to do this? You get away with it a few times, and you want to stop, but she keeps calling or texting. And it's easy just to do it. I've turned down some women simply because i liked and respected their boyfriends. The few taken women I've been with have always talked down about their men AND i have not known them, the girls more than casually devalued them waaaay before anything close to a proposition. I definitely have some fault here, but it was up to these chicks to offer themselves. I never predated any of them.

    Now, with these experiences, I ALWAYS expect the worse with any chick. I am now in an LTR of nearly 2 years, we live together, and I have no doubt that she would hook up with another guy of higher status if the opportunity arose. Once you get to that point and not care, you're golden. I've cheated on her multiple times. She may have. I joke about cheating on her and I joke about her cheating on me. You just gotta act like you don't give a flying fuck either way. And you gotta believe it. Maybe it's a bit of self-deception, but it could be worse...being totally in the dark, doing all the right things, heavily investing in a 'good' woman, only to get fucked over.

    Always be working on your options.

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  7. Straight from the heart, brother. This deserves to be read by anyone who doubts the reality and intensity of male emotions, woman or man.

    The happy ending is you learned from it and there are tens of thousands of us on your side now, and growing every day.

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  8. My crazy ex-stripper girlfriend cheated on me, the only time that I know of that I have been cheated on. I have relived my reaction to that moment a thousand times, wondering how I could have handled it better. No matter what I might have done, I know I would still think about it.. I've never mentioned her in my war stories, but maybe it's time.

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  9. It takes a lot to share what you have…kudos for doing it. I hate to start with a “but” after such a deep felt description of your crappy experience. I am not here to give reasons or justify anyone's side - because the bottom line is you got hurt and it sucks!

    My reason for this post is to tell you that luckily it’s not as damaging as physical assault!

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  10. once you've been in a number of LTR's....it truly makes you look back in horror and wonder....statisically....a number of them HAD to have cheated.....even when not faced with the bold faced evidence....you know that somehwere, sometime, you missed the sign....you did not know what she had done with some/one.

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  11. Awesome comments. Thanks all.

    @asd: I doubt that our emotions are too coarse to respond to the level of gravity when it comes to cuckoldry. In fact, I believe they are rather fine tuned to the probabilistic nature of our environment. Buss has a bunch of studies that show that parental investment is very much related to the degree of paternity certainty, for example. He also shows that infanticide is very much of an issue for foster children.
    Good point about the perversion of being tied to your humiliation, though. And that's a truly interesting angle concerning prehistorical rape. I still hesitate to put up another post on related theories since my previous blog got shut down after doing so.
    BTW, what's AEE and EAA?

    @James O & John: Last night I went out with an old buddy of mine and told him about the post. He surprised me with the revelation of another act of infidelity of that ex of mine which he heard of that must have happened early on in that relationship.

    @Prime: I admit that I have been "that guy" too. Multiple times. It is a tricky issue to talk about, I agree. I would never be able to do that to a friend (I did get propositioned once by the wife of one of my best friends and declined; I am still torn whether I should let him know about that or not). It absolutely is an eye opener to be in that position. As you said, these women will chase you mercilessly. And they do talk about their partners and relationship with a cold hearted non-chalantry exactly as you say. It is very well described in this famous anonymous post. I would have never believed that text if I wouldn't have had the exact same experience several times over. I mean this as a disclaimer to any guy who will get to have this option: Having this experience will ruin your last faith in female loyalty - forever.

    @Master Dogen: Thanks, bro. You are completely right - this incident (together with some more serious and maybe not entirely unrelated health shit that came down around that time) changed my life so much for the better that I really think back to it in deep gratitude. I am looking forward to yor post.

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  12. I'm not well-read on the subject, so certainly I'll assume that anyone who've actually studied the subject is right and I'm wrong.

    I just have a hard time seeing how there could be an evolutionary trigger to massively change estimated probability of paternity many years after birth.

    Obviously presumed fathers could be more abusive to kids dissimiliar to themselves, and even more so against kids they're 100% certain not to have sired. For instance allocate only 50% as much as resources to kids you're only 40% sure of paternity as kids you're 80% sure of.

    But I don't see any way of changing the implicit estimate from 80% to 0%, the way modern technology allows. Nagging uncertainty, irritation and abuse makes sense, but massive shifts in attitude less so.

    I'd also think most of these mechanisms comes from way beyond pre-human selection, meaning they're less shaped by gossip and explicit communication.

    "And that's a truly interesting angle concerning prehistorical rape. I still hesitate to put up another post on related theories since my previous blog got shut down after doing so."

    Yeah, I wouldn't touch that subject under any identity that could be tied to the real me.

    I'm thinking the more "help" and attention a raped women gets the more emotionally hurt she is. The fact that raped women frequently drops rape charges in order to avoid the public scrutiny supports that a little.

    I'd really like to find out if raped women are more likely to have sex with their boyfriends, or get a provider, but that's obviously a pretty sensitive subject.

    Obviously I'm not saying that rape should be ignored or excused, just that our current system is very misaligned with the inate drives of both the men and women involved.

    "BTW, what's AEE and EAA?"

    Ancestral Evolutionary Environment and a misspelling, respectively.

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  13. Great post. Thanks for sharing that with us. I'm sure most of us can relate. I know I've been there before.

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  14. Oh man, I've tried to get this sentiment out many, many times, but never quite put it as clearly as you justs did and couldn't make other people understand what I was saying. To be a cuckolded husband is like finding out you lost life, there may as well be a big ''Game Over'' sign that pops up out of the ground in front of you.

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  15. "A man has to decide whether he wants to sacrifice the joys and excitement of a never ending pussy-parade in his life for the ease and comfort offered by a stable relationship."

    What bare nonsense. It's definitely stemming from that ever inflated male ego.

    Most men don't have a choice of a "pussy parade" at all. Which is why they have no other choice than a 'beta'-relationship if they want sex on a regular basis. If that relationship is screwed up, you, inferior f*ckers, always still have your pr0n left.

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