As I was figuring out my new marital paradigm in the age of young kids and swallowing the red pill I was taking in any quality resource that I could. These resources set the table for my own change, and helped to form the new foundation of my marriage. After getting through as much information I could in the blogosphere from sources like Roissy, Athol Kay, Roosh V, and Keoni Galt, I moved on to books. While the The Married Man Sex Life Primer was a good starting point, I wanted to learn more about interacting with women so I had that knowledge base to better interact with my own wife. Two of the books I read was Neil Strauss’s The Game and Rules of the Game. While he started out focusing on the pickup artist (PUA) community, he became one himself. These are books every man should read, the first is more a story than methodology, while the second unpacks it with very good life (not just PUA stuff) lessons buried within.
So as I continued on my own journey, incorporating and experimenting with various ideas to improve my life and marriage (that I’ve talked about in various posts – here are some Cliff’s notes), I ended up discounting much of the PUA ideas that Strauss described due to the lack of applicability with my own life. I wanted a passionate marriage and sex life, not to be able to pick up and sleep with women.
I just wanted to be happy with my own woman, and not have to worry about her looking elsewhere for love, fulfillment, or sex.
Strauss’s new book The Truth takes a somewhat winding road, but ends up coming back to that very point and entirely in the Married Guys’ wheelhouse. I am adding it to my recommended reading list as there is a lot on figuring out your own issues, how they impact your relationships, and coming to be happy with one person for the rest of your life (or alternatively, examining your life and consciously making that decision to stay or move on).
Here are some of parts of the book I had some take away from, many of which are lessons learned from other teachers that Strauss picked up along the way:
- Strauss was in a traditional relationship, where both parties were imperfect. He found other women attractive and wasn’t able to control himself and cheated, feeling guilt and shame. Ultimately, the relationship didn’t work for many reasons. My takeaway was that many people can relate. They often don’t feel appreciated, or aren’t getting the love they need within the relationship, and when temptation comes knocking, it can feel all empowering to get attention or sex from someone new and exciting.
- Women’s needs and men’s needs in relationships are very different. If you aren’t getting these needs met within the relationship, you open the door for usurpers coming in.
- Men want and need (in no particular order): sex, companionship, physical attraction, domestic support, and admiration
- Women want and need: affection, conversation, honesty/openness, financial support, and family connection
- Much of the baggage we have as adults comes from our childhood. I had a post on this very subject over three years ago, I called it It all comes back to your youth. In The Truth, Strauss spent a considerable amount of time, effort, and money to work his way through these issues through intensive therapy to come out the other side a person who was more whole and capable of being fully present in a relationship, finding happiness from within his own person. This is a great idea, but difficult to be humble and admit you have issues. I personally think most people should look at this approach to improve.
- With this same thought, was a quote I really liked. To not address our own wounds from childhood likely means we continue to pass those same issues on to future generations:
Functional parenting starts with healing psychological wounds, the same way you heal physical wounds
- Through his therapy, he described our six core needs that we need (presumably for happiness) per his therapists. What are you doing in your life to meet your core needs?
- physical – obtained through exercise, good eating habits
- emotional – healthy relationships, stress management
- social – even introverted people need social connections
- intellectual – books, podcasts, learn – learn – learn
- spiritual – meditation, God, the Universe, whatever that means for you
- sexual – as I suspected, positive sexual connection is a need
- Of course Helen Fisher (biological/sexual anthropologist) makes an appearance. She describes the three brain systems for mating – 1) For Sex 2) for Romantic Love and 3) for Deep Attachment. After the initial intensity of the relationship wears off, romance and sex drives often swing towards other people, while attachments stays with the primary person. Romance/sex ebbing can be prevented by by the following – 1) novel and exciting things together (dopamine, romance rush), 2) make love regularly (oxytocin, sex bond), and 3) cut yourselves off from cheating opportunities. The sum of this is something I’ve said regularly – make sure you and your partner are continually thrilling enough to keep all three drives running smoothly.
- Regarding intelligence, this was my favorite quote in the entire book:
I used to think that intelligence came from books and knowledge and rational thought. But that’s not intelligence: It’s just information and interpretation. Real intelligence is when your mind and heart connect. That’s when you see the truth so clearly and unmistakably that you don’t have to think about it.
- In describing real love:
It’s when two (or more) hearts build a safe emotional, mental, and spiritual home that will stand no matter how much anyone changes on the inside or the outside. It demands only one true thing and expects only one thing: that each person be his or her own true self.
So lest you think this book is all puppy dogs and relationship-ice cream, it is full of group sex, drugs, polyamory, open relationships, Corey Feldman, and more self-reflection, self-doubt, and self-flagellation than a Woody Allen movie.
As we all try our best to find our own path to happiness in life and in our marriage and in our sex lives, it will always come down to ourselves. We can’t change other people, we can only change ourselves. We can drywall and patch our holes. We can change the way we love ourselves. We can find ways to put those skeletons in our closets into the burial plot where they belong. We can communicate better with our partners. We can stop lying to our partner and ourselves and be open and honest in our desires, wants, and needs. We can improve and be better tomorrow than we are today. It’s not easy. It doesn’t come without pain and setbacks. But it can happen if you want it bad enough.
Ultimately, the message contained within The Truth is the same one I spread here, though Strauss’s wordy journey takes a long time getting there. While it is a biography on Strauss’s own experiences, most of us can recognize parts of ourselves in his thoughts and actions. Hopefully your takeway from this book will be a positive one too.
Keep on keepin’ on. – AMD