When I was a little kid, one of my favorite games was playing with toy guns outside.

Maybe I’d be in WW2, or maybe on some alien planet. But my best friend and I would turn my quarter acre backyard into a vast imaginary landscape, replete with machine gun nests, enemy bases, and sniper dugouts.

Sunny days through all of elementary school, and even a good bit of middle school were spent like this. But by the time I entered high school, something had changed. I felt too old to be playing; I was self-conscious. I remember as late as age 15 I felt some nostalgia one day, and tried to go and enjoy the toy guns that had shaped my recreation for almost a decade. I lasted 5 minutes. I was grown up now; this wasn’t only inappropriate, it was boring. It was time for something different, something real that wasn’t an escape and would challenge me.

I think a lot about this when I listen to the Peter Pans in the manosphere. They proclaim, “if you move in with a woman, her desire for you will go down, and the relationship will get boring. Proximity decreases mystery and excitement. If you want to kill your sex life, get married.”

Accordingly, you are presented with two broad options:

1) if you don’t want kids: don’t move in, and date other women at the same time as her, both to offset the lack of fire and to create competition anxiety with her; end things if things don’t improve or she gets dramatic

2) if you want a traditional family: accept the loss of desire, and do what you can to mitigate it by remaining an attractive man other women are interested in; continue to game and put competition anxiety on her

Or in other words: pick one.

The red pill’s conclusion, no matter how they want to dance around it, is the closer you get to a woman the worse sex between you and her will be. Ergo, if you want the security of a wife or family, be prepared to have bad sex and be treated with less respect than if you were uncommitted.

The only problem with this red pill recommendation is refusing to move forward or move in with a woman doesn’t prevent this loss of initial lust and infatuation. It just delays it. If you’ve been with a girl for 5 years, she’s still going to get used to you, whether you live with her or not. The same outcome is inevitable.

Which means to the red pill, fundamentally, the problem is with humans themselves. They’re reptiles, “just not wired for long-term intimacy.” If you want good times with a woman, you need to go back to the uncertainty in the beginning. But the issue is, at the same time, most guys also want to move past the beginning. They want to get closer to a woman without losing that great sex and connection. They want a family, they want intimacy — they just don’t want to lose the excitement at the same time. Having to start over with a new girl over and over to get it is a somewhat depressing prospect.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can, truly, have it all.

But the bad news is it will probably be very painful for you to get it.

I want to make something very clear — something completely missed by the red pill that explains why their observations are often accurate, yet solutions fundamentally flawed.

The reason couples fight, sex declines, and resentment builds in committed relationships has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the two of you know each other better. It doesn’t have to do with excessive proximity, or lack of mystery. It is not some intrinsic feature of female nature that they stop wanting to fuck their husbands.

It’s because the couple becomes co-dependent.

It seems nearly universal, because co-dependence is a feature of 80-90% of couples, and I would argue 100% of first-time couples. The only relationships I know that avoided co-dependence from the beginning were seasoned veterans of emotional warfare who broke out of the pattern in their past relationship, and entered the new one with a profound sense of self-awareness and determination to not repeat the mistakes.

If the blue pill is “co-dependence is OK, here’s how to make it worse,” the red pill is the reaction to this lie; a formula to control the co-dependent dynamic, or minimize it altogether by reducing attachment. This is fine if you don’t care about investing in a woman (aka falling in love). But if you care about love, this simply offers a different way of losing.

In actuality, the only way you break out of co-dependence is brutal self-honesty and extreme ownership.

Taking responsibility for your own emotional triggers, rather than making them the fault of your woman. Validating yourself, rather than demanding validation from her.

Or in other words, growing up.

Suddenly, when you and your woman deal with this, there is more than enough eroticism to go around. You do not feel smothered or controlled by the other, so you are finally able to desire them again. It is not physical distance that is required, but emotional boundaries. You no longer need them; you get to want them.

Which is why as time has gone on, I’ve found all the symbolism around the red pill so ironic. Really, the movement is one big psychological projection.

“Wake up from your fairy tale, take the red pill”

Meanwhile, it’s the red pill that wants you to return to boyhood. It wants you to live in a world where girls are obsessed with the idea of you and will do anything to have you. It wants you to return to the backyard and play with toy guns, rather than actually risk yourself. It wants to arrest your development, rather than encourage you to move forward with life and face down the inevitable challenges that present themselves.

Which is why whenever clients tell me that they are afraid to move in with their vetted, high quality girl because of what they’ve heard online or experienced in the past, I don’t blow smoke up their ass. I tell them yes — they should expect things to become more difficult. Most likely, they are going to get into fights and deal with frustrations and misunderstandings.

Because that is what happens whenever you grapple with the next level. That is what happens when you face yourself through a woman.

You see the parts of you that are ugly and ashamed. The smaller parts of you, that are arrogant and controlling. That are scared, disempowering, and don’t want to die.

These are what stop you from having the relationship you want. These personal limitations. Not a woman. Not biology. Your state of consciousness, your self-awareness, your integrity. Your maturity.

I think it is fitting that the “Godfather of the Manosphere” is a middle aged man going through a mid-life crisis, desperate to return to his youth where he was a “rockstar.” It is for the most part a movement of older men with regrets, who want the opportunity to go back rather than forward. That is, of course, why they make such a point that men like themselves, unlike women in their same position, haven’t really lost their value. Like feminists, their worldview is all self-rationalization and ego.

Make no mistake, I am not telling you that you shouldn’t get a pretty younger woman if you want one. And I’m not telling you necessarily that you need to stop playing the field — whatever your age. If this truly makes you happy, then by all means continue to do it. It may well be suited to your disposition and have aligned intention. Even if it is simply a phase you are in, if it is the phase you are meant to be in, enjoy it.

The point is simply that you will not find satisfaction or fulfillment moving backwards. Youth is a gift, the early days of romance a revelation, but they are but one part of the pageantry of life. There is also a unique awe in seeing your wife when your child is born; a profound ecstasy only found in sex anchored by years of trust and surrender. A deeper devotion, only realized in crisis, when it is you and her against the world.

We complain about living in a childish world, and then we act like children. Change is inevitable. Wisdom is knowing where the current of your development is going, and moving forward with it. Wisdom is accepting life is an endless river; you will never stop swimming — best go with the current.

If you are exhausted and in pain — if you are drowning — it’s a sign you have lingered in the “old you” too long.

Time to evolve.

Those ready can apply here: www.patstedman.com/application

– Pat