Posted a tweet last week that resonated with a lot of people:
Everyone knows at least one guy like this. You used to always see him out, he was friendly, maybe even the life of the party.
And then he meets a girl… and falls off the radar entirely.
Stops coming to parties and hangouts. Responds less and less to messages.
What’s going on? Why does this happen?
There are a few different specific case studies. But in every scenario there is a universal theme: the man has a serious need for female validation, and the woman is jealous and does not want the man’s attention anywhere besides her.
How this manifests is fairly predictable. She love-bombs him to make him focus more and more on her. And then once he is hooked, she begins to alienate him from his social group, and often his family as well.
There are two ways she may do this, based on the underlying dynamics:
- Approach #1 (Weak Man, Controlling Woman): If the woman is “stronger” she will complain more directly about the friends/family in question. She will state how she doesn’t feel good around them / accepted by them, and perhaps also underline how they also undermine the guy himself. This is a more aggressive manipulation; the woman overtly controls the man. But for weaker, conflict avoidant men this works well.
- Approach #2 (Bird with the Broken Wing): The other approach is more of a “girl game” approach, where the woman feigns weakness herself, and plays on a man’s guilt. “I don’t want to go out tonight, but it’s fine I’ll just stay here by myself.” “I’m not feeling well, just want a quiet night in” “Oh, I had already made plans for us to do this that night… but if you’d prefer to spend time with your friends…” This is for men who would bristle at overt control, but who have “savior complex” issues and lack developed discernment to grasp they are being manipulated.
Note that women are not confined to using one of these approaches, and often over the course of time they blend them, or switch. A woman who is initially “weak” will use approach #2, but may in time strengthen her position enough to start overtly severing the ties in #1 after they have already been weakened. In practice women will always use guilt, the question is whether it is more from a position of strength (do not challenge me!) or weakness (do not abandon me!).
In practice, approach #1 is more effective over a longer time frame than approach #2. And the reason for that is fairly simple: it takes a man less time to realize he is being manipulated than it does for him to work up the courage to disobey. Guys with “bird with the broken wing” women are usually looking for a way out within a year or two (unless she is smart and plays her hand very slowly; takes the long game of gradual attrition). Guys who are dominated by their woman on the other hand… it can take decades. And the abuse can become extreme.
Which is why if you see a woman doing either of these things to you, you should RUN.
A healthy woman does NOT want to separate you from your friends or family. She wants to integrate with them AND also wants to respect the sanctity of your own personal relationships.
The line of “how often” you should have one-on-one time with your guy friends once you are in a relationship is subjective, and depends on the relationship itself and the stage of life you’re at. But if you’re both unencumbered, living in the city… there is no reason you shouldn’t have time for a night out with friends 1-2x per week. Once you have kids and shared obligations, 1-2x a month is more reasonable. And this doesn’t preclude lunch, coffee etc which can be far more frequent.
The point of the above is not to delineate details, but to give the broad impression that your woman should have no problem with you seeing friends and family so long as you are a) nurturing your 1-1 relationship with her, and b) are not creating disproportionate burdens on her (i.e. you are out drinking every night while she is at home with the kids).
All this said, there are two caveats we need to acknowledge before we close this email out.
Sometimes it is not the woman who pushes the man away from his network, but the man himself. These guys are VERY emotionally needy with women and are addicted to spending time with them. The woman may not actually want the guy to act this way; indeed, she is likely to be turned off by it.
You can tell which guys are like this because it is usually a relationship pattern for them. They are with a girl, and then they disappear… only to reemerge after their girl leaves them (usually how it goes down)… and then meet a new girl and disappear again.
While any guy who allows himself to be cut off from his family and friends can be justifiably called “weak,” for most guys this occurs only because it is new to them, and they haven’t experienced it before. It’s not what they “want,” but they get trapped (married, kids) before they fully appreciate what is going on.
It’s a different story with the guys who leave their friends voluntarily and then come back again. If you know a guy like this, cut him out of your life — he would sell you out to a woman for a song. You can’t trust him.
And finally, there is the other caveat… which is that MAYBE, just maybe… the woman is RIGHT to get a guy to leave his friends and family
This is much less common, so you should not automatically assume this to be the case — certainly not 100% — but it does happen. Your woman may not want you to hang out with your old crew because they are indeed bad influences.
The way you ascertain this is simple: your friends and family ARE losers. All they do is drink, no ambition, crappy morals, co-dependent behavior. Maybe they are even abusive and manipulative towards YOU. When she pulls you away, she is doing this for your own good; she is trying to protect you from them.
Usually, however, when this comes into play… it is a mix of both them AND her manipulating you. She is in a fight with them about how they take advantage of you… because she wants to take advantage of you. Incidentally, it is much easier for such a woman to control a man, when her opposition is also trying to control him.
(Megan and Harry are a good example of this. No question she is a controlling woman… but is she entirely wrong about how the Royal Family has treated Harry?)
At any rate, enough said.
If you want to develop both the strength and discernment to avoid being controlled by women…
Apply to work with me here: www.patstedman.com/application