Thoughts on Pair Bonding

TempestTCup has a new blog post up exploring “The Making of an Alpha Widow.” Her post covers (naturally enough) Alpha Widows, a subject that I have covered before, and also does some theorizing about pair bonding in general. The essence of her position can be summed up in these two paragraphs:

Dana and I both think that the Alpha Widow is caused by very strong feelings associated with sex and the breakup. These strong feelings might come from a woman being infatuated with a guy for a while and then finally having sex with her infatuation. If this leads to a longer relationship, she has other memories of him and if the relationship putters out, no Alpha Widow is made.

But, if a man and woman start dating and she develops strong feelings for him, and then at the height of her emotions towards him, he dumps her or quits talking to her, this is what creates an Alpha Widow: The one who got away.

Before I address Tempest’s theory I would like to briefly cover pair bonding in general. I have never really devoted a post to it specifically, so I would say it is about time.

The exact nature of female pair bonding is unknown right now, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. For one, I rather doubt you will see scientists delve into the topic, given how politically charged it is. In addition, brain scan technology is still developing, and at the moment very expensive. An effective and detailed study will require a broad sample size of women with varying levels of N’s, which further complicates matters. So for now I think it will be up to amateurs here in this part of the web to provide any thoughts and theories on the matter.

I should mention that while the exact cause is unknown, the results of broken female pair bonding are known. The most commonly cited reference is here. As for the mechanisms that create this kind of effect, here are some potential candidates:

1) The Alpha Widow Effect- This theory states that the results the Social Pathologist has uncovered are solely as a result of women becoming Alpha Widows. The reason why the risk of divorce increases the higher a woman’s N is because the odds of her becoming an Alpha Widow increase the more partners she has. Under this theory, a woman’s pair bonding mechanism doesn’t break, rather she simply has set the bar so high few men can ever hope to reach it. It is important to keep in mind that it isn’t a man’s placement (which N he is) that matters in whether he becomes the “one that got away”, it is the strength of the emotional connection that he establishes in the woman. This is the theory which Tempest and Dana advocate.

2) The Battery Effect- This theory states that woman have a certain amount of emotional attachment that they can establish with a individual man. The first man she mates with gets the full amount of attachment, or a 100% “charge”. After him though, she must “recharge” her emotional battery for every other man that she sleeps with. Unfortunately, each time she recharges the battery doesn’t go back to full capacity. Instead, the maximum amount of emotional bonding she can experience/provided diminishes, with the first “recharge” being the most dramatic.  So her first lover might get 100%, and the 2nd 80%, and the 3rd 75%, and so on. Eventually, the battery “breaks” and she can no longer emotionally connect with a man.

3) The Canvas Effect- This theory operates as something of a mix of the two previous theories. It treats the female pair bonding ability as a sort of canvas upon which men can “paint” themselves.  The skill and vigor with which the man paints himself upon the canvas determines the strength of the bond. The canvas has a limited ability to hold paint, however, and the more “painters”, the worse and worse each picture gets. This leads to a weaker ability to bond. Eventually the canvas simply no longer works as such. Furthermore, a painter who uses especially bright, vivid colors and bold strokes will leave such an impression that those who come after will not be able to paint the picture they want.

I suppose there might be other theories out there, but I have either never seen them or have forgotten about them. As for which one is right, well, they all have flaws with them. Women like Sarahsdaughter, who had very high N’s, but are still able to pair bond with their husbands, would seem to support the first theory. SD has said that she never really bonded strongly with the men before her husband, and thus never established the kind of emotional attachment which leads to Alpha Widowing. On the other hand, you have the fact that there is an obvious effect of a high H upon women, such that it is noticeable for those who know what to look for. The so-called “Thousand Cock Stare” (which involves a term I wouldn’t use in normal conversation) is an example of how women seem to “break” after enough sexual partners.

Personally, I am inclined towards the third theory. The Alpha Widow effect clearly exists, so we know that mechanic is in play. And there is enough evidence of a “number” effect to suggest that it can’t be Alpha Widowhood alone which affects female pair bonding. I should note that each theory has its advantages and disadvantages if true. The first theory is good news for women with high N’s, as it means they can still bond if their previous partners didn’t “leave a mark.” On the other hand, it also means that a man should be wary of a woman with an N of one, if that previous partner was a type likely to strongly imprint on the woman. The second theory has the opposite result: its awful for women with high N’s and far, far better for women with very low N’s. These advantages and disadvantages are important to keep in mind, if only because when women support different theories, their own personal experiences might incline them towards a theory which has a better outcome for them.

Lastly, I wanted to address Tempest’s final paragraphs:

Whereas I do believe that PUAs are creating a lot of Alpha Widows, I also believe that if you can make a woman feel those incredible highs and lows early on in a relationship, in accordance with all of the bonding chemicals of sex, you can become the exciting alpha that she ultimately bonds to.

You can become her new emotional high water mark and therefore cause yourself to replace the alpha she was widowed to. There have to be emotional highs and lows: a veritable roller-coaster of emotions. She needs the soaring highs and the depths of despair to make her bond fully if she is an Alpha Widow.

Sure, it would be great to stumble upon a nice fresh-faced woman with no previous experience or emotional distress, but these days of sex with and without relationships, it might be good insurance against the possibility of her inability to pair bond. This all sounds like a pain in the butt, but if it could possibly save a world of hurt in the future, it might all be worth it.

Also, women shouldn’t give men advice about women, so YMMV :D

Fortunately for Tempest, she ends her post with a reminder that a man shouldn’t listen to women for such advice. Otherwise, I would point out that she is engaged in a popular female tactic- shifting the burden of bad decision made by women from women onto men. As it is, her “suggestion” is worth addressing. Much of the way that society is structured now is set up to do just that: to shift the burden of errors and a lack of personal responsibility onto men. So my advice to men is to not let them get away with it. You are not responsible for the poor choices made by women. If a woman has gone and messed up her pair bonding ability, that is her problem, not yours.

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28 Comments

Filed under Alpha Widow, Attraction, Femininity, Marriage, Pair Bonding, Red Pill, Serial Monogamy, Sex, Women

28 responses to “Thoughts on Pair Bonding

  1. There’s tons of studies out on dopamine, oxytocin, and other hormonal things associated with pair bonding in pubmed and google scholar. Just google female promiscuity and it’s been studied in both humans, monkeys, mice, etc.

    The problem is that it’s not exactly an area of high interest given that the government doesn’t care particularly much about marriage and so there’s no incentives to fund anymore research.

    Humans tend to form memories on both the hardest/despair/toughest points in their life as well as their happiest/euphoric/ecstatic moments. So the “swing of emotions” from a high to a low is most likely what creates the impression of an “alpha” that imprints it deep into her memory.

  2. “So the “swing of emotions” from a high to a low is most likely what creates the impression of an “alpha” that imprints it deep into her memory.”

    Thus the term ‘damaged goods’.

    I personally would go with the mixture option from what I’ve seen in the world.

  3. Desmondo Jose Luis

    “In addition, brain scan technology is still developing, and at the moment very expensive.”

    In line with what Deep Strength said about dopamine, those love attraction brain scans correlate to the same part of the brain/effect (emotional high/dopamine fix/feelings of “haaaaapiness”) on the brain as skydiving and bungee jumping, so if you want a woman to think that she will always love you these days, apparently you have to take her skydiving/bungee jumping right before you propose to her, because that way her brain will be prepared/have the right chemical (spark) mix to bond her emotional happiness of skydiving/bungee jumping with the memory of your proposal, and for your sake she needs to have that high dopamine fix “haaaaaaapy” emotional feeling/memory associated with her memory of your proposal, or she might wake up one day and decide that she doesn’t love you anymore.

    God forbid some other dude takes her skydiving / bungee jumping while she’s dating you!

    Is this really what love/dating/marriage has come down to now?!
    It is just so ridiculous!

  4. Desmondo Jose Luis

    If I remember correctly, it is the same part of the brain that deals with major, life-threatening FEAR OF DEATH scenarios that causes the brain to overload on the right mix of chemicals to burn those memories into your brain forever, and if you share that memory with her with a romantic proposal, then she should hopefully remember feeling very HAPPY and (full of energy/life) ALIVE and associate those emotions with her memory of being with you.

    Or at least that it the theory.

  5. The theories can be combined. The trouble is there may not be any sound prediction algorithm for the pair bonding loss sustained with each.

    If the woman is capable or willing to emotionally imprint, the battery effect may be quite strong, as she engages with each. If she has the mindset, the battery effect might be smaller, but still present.

    Problem is, if shes engaging in casual sex and appearing little effected, she could simply be a sociopath, and very impaired at bonding at all.

    Presuming the tech even develops, suggesting a brain scan with a potentual gf, even as a pleasant outing, might not go down too well.

    The singles version of buying her power tools. Potentially useful, but unappreciated.

  6. can become the exciting alpha that she ultimately bonds to.

    So the imperative rests on the man, again?

    The woman has no responsibility?

  7. I never hear that term but that I think of MIL, sitting in an empty house with the blinds closed, going to bed at 830pm with a little help from some Tylenol PM… sad and alone.

    ‘Cause she was married to an alpha, and he died.

  8. I never hear that term but that I think of MIL, sitting in an empty house with the blinds closed, going to bed at 830pm with a little help from some Tylenol PM… sad and alone.

    ‘Cause she was married to an alpha, and he died.

    Is it because he was an alpha, or because they were deeply bonded. Frankly Hearth, I often think I’d look a lot like your MIL if SAM dies prematurely.

  9. Both, I expect. You should hear DH and SIL talk about him.

  10. “can become the exciting alpha that she ultimately bonds to.

    So the imperative rests on the man, again?

    The woman has no responsibility?”

    Since women respond mostly to emotion and tingles, and men to logic, where should the imperative rest? Right now, women are out in the world “having fun” throughout their twenties because they are allowed and encouraged to. I’m saying that if a man finds a woman, and finds her acceptable in the most important ways, if he wants her to bond to him, he should play with her emotions.

    Do you really think that women have the power to control their own pair-bonding? She can’t bond to someone who doesn’t attract her, so if the man doesn’t make himself attractive by playing with her emotions, she can’t force attraction to him, and no bonding will occur.

  11. @ Hearthie

    She isn’t an Alpha Widow, just a Widow. AW’s refer specifically to women who weren’t married to their “alpha.”

  12. @ Elspeth

    I suspect that the character of the man, the character of the woman and the amount/overall timing of bonding all have an effect. You have been with a very masculine man for about half your life now. That kind of bond is stronger than cement.

  13. @ Tempest

    I appreciate your honesty about all of this. Many women would simply deny that they were saying what you implied. You are right in the sense that women are reactive, and react to being conquered by a man. Disagree here thought:

    Do you really think that women have the power to control their own pair-bonding?

    Of course they do. The easiest, simplest way for a woman to control her pair-bonding is to NOT SLEEP AROUND. If she does that, then the man she eventually marries won’t have to overcome any previous “imprints.”

  14. “NOT SLEEP AROUND”

    Well, yes of course 🙂

    But for a bond to form, even for the most pure, there must be attraction, and emotions are a good way to form attraction. While the man is at it, he might as well bond as thoroughly as possible, even at the risk of creating an alpha widow.

    “women are reactive”

    Yes, that is what I was trying to say! Women can’t force the attraction necessary for bonding, they can only react to the man’s attractiveness, which he CAN control.

  15. Playing with emotions seems to imply elucidating a feeling of insecurity. (I think it was called a roller coaster of emotions in the original post). I wonder whether this shouldn’t be called emotional dependency rather than bonding. Dependency is what makes people cling. It’s fueled by the fear of losing something. It’s the excitement of possibility, the anticipation of what’s coming next, the disappointment coupled with persistent hope. That’s basic infatuation. Healthy attachment, though, is created through positive experiences together and learning over time that this person is a reliable source of goodness for you. Interestingly, psychologists writing about attachment theory have generally agreed that feelings of insecurity about the other’s level of love and devotion toward you are indicative of unhealthy attachment and less stable relationships. Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary come to mind as literary examples.

  16. he should play with her emotions.

    Sounds like pua talk. An ltr has to be founded on something more consistent.

    Do you really think that women have the power to control their own pair-bonding?

    Lets put that another way: do I really think women can manage their own emotional development in a healthy way?

    She can’t bond to someone who doesn’t attract her

    So, she can regulate what media she consumes, the people she associates with, and self question her own reactions to everyday people. Its practising good mental hygiene.

    if the man doesn’t make himself attractive by playing with her emotions, she can’t force attraction to him, and no bonding will occur.

    Thats a massive leap. An ltr is more of a dance, with the woman willing to lead. Attraction can grow from a small seed if she is willing to follow. Sadly, many women will not entrust themselves to that extent, and everyone loses.

    “women are reactive”

    Careful with that thought. It leads to denial of moral agency.

    There must be a spark of attraction initially, yes. But p,aying with her emotions?

    That smacks of manipulation, and not in a positive way. Helping manage and regulate her emotional state, for the better, is part and parcel of married life.

  17. I’m not so sure I really buy into the pair bonding concept. it feels new-ageish (I know that’s not a real word) and I think it also implies that in reality our capacity to love is finite, which is something I don’t agree with.

  18. You know Observer, I often disagree with you, but your last comment was very good.

    I was no paragon by any stretch, and my husband was no saint either, but play with my emotions, he did not. He touched them in all sorts of ways and tapped into stuff I didn’t know was there, but none of it was calculated.

    If you win someone through machinations, you have to keep that up for the duration. Sounds like an awful burden for a man to bear.

    I suspect that the character of the man, the character of the woman and the amount/overall timing of bonding all have an effect. You have been with a very masculine man for about half your life now. That kind of bond is stronger than cement.

    Indeed. Half my life exactly as of this writing.

  19. @ Maeve

    I don’t really think this is new-ageish. The Bible seems to support this as well. After all, the OT required that a man marry a virgin if he slept with her. Many other monogamous cultures also had similar interactions with virginity. Paternity wasn’t the sole reason for this, those cultures knew the general time of gestation. Rather, there was a long understanding that the few the sexual partners a woman had, the more likely she was to bond with her husband.

    Also, this pair-bonding mechanism isn’t the same thing as “love.” As Christians, we understand that love is based on action, whereas this process is more about sentiment, reaction and/or attachment.

  20. deti

    It appears to me pair bonding occurs through sex for the woman; and through prolonged exposure to and interaction with a woman, for a man.

  21. So the imperative rests on the man, again?

    The woman has no responsibility?

    The woman, should she choose to, can completely affect her ability to pair bond with her husband.

    Before I started reading Dalrock and SSM, I had never heard of pair bonding before. I have had to give it a lot of thought. I can’t stand to be that woman who says NAWALT. So I’ve tried as best I can to go back to when RLB and I were first married and struggling to analyze if part of the challenge was the result of me being an Alpha widow. I know there was a period of time after we were married that his natural Delta was something that made my attraction wane. But, during that time, was I thinking of anyone else or comparing him to anyone else? No. I was thinking of him prior to marriage. When he was gaming me. When I was the most twitterpated, crazy in love, can’t get him off my mind, head over heals, this guy is going to be the death of me girl you can imagine.

    So, RLB was my alpha and because he is not a natural Alpha, when he became more comfortable and that balance of beta/delta came out, it was like I lost that guy who I first tingled for. Back then, unfortunately, neither of us knew what was going on. The analysis of intersexual relations via the mansophere has been invaluable for me to come to understand it all.

    As for a woman’s responsibility. She must decide what she values. I love that RLB is a natural Delta who is very skilled at game. The balance provides the opportunity for the onus to be on both of us. It is a dance that we have become cognitive of. When he’s showing those alpha traits (using game that now comes naturally to him) I am back to that exciting, can’t get enough of you phase. When his natural compassion and softness (so to speak) comes through, I submit (which now comes naturally to me – after years of choosing obedience to God). I am aware of it and put aside selfishness and concern for how I am feeling and take that opportunity to submit to him as unto the Lord. (Submission when he is in the Alpha stage of the balance is a given). I serve/help him even more. The cycle continues. While I am concerning myself with his needs, he adores my submission and help, he then responds in an Alpha manner (non supplicating). The teasing/negs/audaciousness resumes.

    To answer your question, Observer, I am fully responsible for how I feel about/bond with my husband. Obedience to God is the choice and my responsibility. Bonding with the man I was created to help is the blessing.

  22. Augustina

    Here’s what works with pair bonding: both husband and wife are committed religious faithful people. If you look at the marriages that’s what you will see, over and over again. It’s not rocket science, people. You stay together because both husband and wife want to stay together, through thick and thin, through the inevitable ups and downs.

    This silliness that I read from the likes of “Tempest” about having to sexually take a woman on all sorts of ups and downs is not helpful advice. At all.

    The entire dating scene is the problem, at root. Add sex to it, and you make the emotions more intense. With dating, as soon as it gets difficult or boring, you leave. Dating teaches people how to break up, not how to stay together.

    Long term relationships like marriage are difficult. You’re with the same person day in and day out. Same annoying habits, same failings, same sex. Boring. Not at all like seeing 3 different guys in a week. Or skydiving or bungee jumping.

    You don’t learn responsibility by being irresponsible.

    And sin is damaging, spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally. Women who immerse themselves in sin such as fornication are damaged for those reasons. Also they have proven that they are self centered and hedonistic. Not the sort of person who will sacrifice to keep a marriage together.

  23. Augustina

    Sorry, I didn’t proofread. I meant to say if you look at marriages that last, you will find people who take their faith seriously. Not women still enthralled with their alphas and/or running on tingle fumes.

  24. So confusing. A alpha’s widow isn’t an alpha widow ’cause they were married? -laughs-

  25. That’s right Hearthie. They are both very similar, and yet very different. No one ever said it would be easy to understand this, and good thing too…

  26. Under no circumstances do I listen to either the advise or reasoning of women who have had a high number of sexual partners. My experience is those women all respond to men in general way too easily. When you listen to them you don’t really know whom you are hearing.

  27. So confusing. A alpha’s widow isn’t an alpha widow ’cause they were married? -laughs-

    I find that confusing as well, Hearth. Your MIL fits the bill to me, especially if she were contemplating marrying again. I’m sure she isn’t. I certainly wouldn’t.

    I understand why Donal answered the way he did, but it’s still weird that a woman can only be a alpha widow if she wasn’t married to the alpha in question. That to me is not an alpha widow. That’s a woman who slept around too much before getting married.

  28. Eric Stephens

    Dear Deti —

    Do you have a private email account? I wanted to tell you a few things in private. I enjoy your posts.

    Thanks,
    Eric
    ericstephens1000@yahoo.com

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