Intro, Objectives, & Ethics
As a strapping young lad there was no topic I found more vexing than women and dating. Every single emotionally painful moment I had from age 13 onward shared a common thread-- I felt like I just didn’t understand women AT ALL. In those sweet fleeting moments where I stumbled my way into having a girlfriend, I would act hopelessly needy, ultimately dooming the relationships to a premature ejection. (and yes, we will indeed talk about sex in this series, too.)
In brief moments of lucidity between the soul-crushing spells of unrequited yearning, I would find myself thinking “how come no one taught me ANYTHING about how to date?”
Ultimately, that question encapsulates my goal with this series. Men of all ages find themselves in a nearly ubiquitous drought of healthy dating advice. I emphasize healthy, because men have
plenty of outright BAD or UNHEALTHY advice available. Whether it’s a “red pill” movement that
always seems to devolve into woman-hating, terrible advice from women themselves (“just be yourself!”), pick-up artists with a culture of manipulation, or the disservice of modern rom-com movies which make fairytales seem to be the norm and not the exception. All of these contribute to a general confusion in men on how to date effectively, with forces pulling them in all directions.
To the women reading, while this will primarily be a series targeted at men, you may still find some value in understanding the inner workings of men's struggles. I encourage you to read with an open heart and mind, as I am going to try and lay things out CLEARLY and BLUNTLY…because let's be honest, that’s how us men prefer to receive. I can guarantee that somewhere within this article series I will make mistakes and you may even find yourself offended. To that I say-- AWESOME. I relish opportunities to deepen my knowledge in any particular area.
To the men reading, you too may find yourself deeply triggered. You may find core beliefs challenged. I am going to pull no punches here, which means talking absolutely realistically about things like height, attractiveness, earnings, and many more topics men can feel insecure about. My objective isn’t to injure your ego, rather to give you a real sense of the playing field. I ask you as well to read with an open heart and mind. If what you are currently doing when dating is working perfectly…why are you here? If there are areas of your romantic life you’d like to improve, proceed under the possibility that you may, indeed, learn something useful.
Now, if you are anything like I would be when reading this article, you may be having some form of the thought, “Alex, why the fuck should I listen to you about all of this?”
Fair question, my dear theoretical reader. As of writing this, I have coached upwards of 100 men in countless individual sessions, hearing their struggles day in, day out. This creates a deep, personal understanding of their struggles- both in meeting women in the first place, and in staying in healthy relationships once they’ve met someone. Additionally, relationship dynamics have been a near-obsession (with varying degrees of healthiness) of mine from around age 16 when I discovered that one could in fact improve on their dating skills. This includes forays into learning things from pick-up artists, researching and understanding the evolutionary psychology at work behind dating dynamics, and of course analysis of my own results (or lack thereof) at different points in my journey.
I want to emphasize that I am not coming to you as someone who has EVERYTHING FIGURED OUT. Rather, I am someone who has made heaps and heaps of mistakes, learned from most of them, and come out better as a result. I continue to make mistakes and learn to this day.
So what’s the objective with all of this?
Put simply, nothing would make me happier than to see men actually equipped with the tools to succeed in the dating world. By proxy, this would mean women experience drastically less creepiness from men, as most “creeps” are just tragically uncalibrated men who have no idea what to do when around women.
Put in more flowery language, the more men who are healthy in their dating habits, the less tolerance there becomes for men who aren’t. Each man who is awakened becomes his own node of light from which other men can awaken. Something, something, a wave of awakening, yadda yadda, and POOF!-- a better society.
This will be a comprehensive approach to dating for men. Not a shortcut. That means working on EVERYTHING, from establishing your ethics, to learning how to communicate, to learning where to meet women. From the nuts and bolts tactical (grooming, how to dress, why fitness matters) to the high level and spiritual (connection to your purpose, how to love yourself fully). We’ll cover the basics of body language, storytelling, humor, and cover less talked about but extremely impactful tools like building social ecosystems. Of course, we will also discuss sex and the role it plays in healthy relationships.
All of these pieces are part of an interlocking puzzle that creates your ideal relationship(s). Each piece builds upon the others, and you ignore any single piece at your own peril.
Sound good? Great. Let’s dive in.
Ethical Frameworks & Goals
With so many topics to cover, where shall we begin? With your MFin’ ETHICS of course. Before we enter into any type of relationship, it’s important that you’ve established your own personal code
of ethics. This will be your north star in tricky situations. A solid code of ethics is also the fundamental building block of self-respect, which is a major component of the mythical confidence. Beyond that, having a clear set of ethics will save you an unbelievable amount of TIME. It’s easy to identify situations and people who aren’t a good fit and move on quickly when you are actually clear on who you are and what you stand for.
Now, I’m NOT going to tell you all of your ethics. It’s not my place to create an ethical code for you, because I don’t know you. I can however give you some tools to uncover your own personal code of ethics, as well as make some recommendations on some very useful ethics to adopt.
Additionally, we are going to focus on creating what I call high-resolution ethical maps instead of creating low-resolution ethical maps. Low-resolution ethics are overly specific, informing behavior on a single situation but not instructing you on how to behave in other situations.
For example, perhaps you have a personal rule “I don’t fuck married women.” It’s a great start, but far too specific because it only tells you how to act in that one scenario. (Not to mention it isn’t even fully clear. Does this include Married but separated? Engaged? etc.) To clarify the ethic, we ask the question WHY? This is where each person might be different. Person A might say “I don’t fuck married women because it turns into too much drama.” and Person B might say “I don’t fuck married women because I don’t want anyone to feel hurt.”
These are better statements, but still not high-res ethics. Person A going one level deeper may say, “I don’t fuck married women because it turns into too much drama, and drama in my life takes me away from my purpose.” Ah! Now we have arrived at their ethical core for the surface level rule. The ethic for Person A is something along the lines of “I do not engage in drama because it distracts me from my purpose.”
Now looking at Person B, perhaps they dig down another level and say “I don’t fuck married women because I don’t want anyone to feel hurt, because other peoples well being is important to me.” So for B, the ethic is actually something like “I value people's well being and I want to minimize the harm I do to others.”
Now I want you to note here, that one of these ethics is not inherently BETTER than the other, even though at first glance many people may view Person B as a “better person”. It could be the case that the purpose Person A does not want to be distracted from is curing cancer, while the reason Person B values other people's well being so highly is they have crippling codependency issues. This is why your personal ethical map has a number of components, all of which exist in an ecosystem that gives you a clear picture of the best YOU.
As I mentioned, there are a number of sub-categories of things to consider beneath the umbrella term of ethics. I’ll walk you through them in sequence, ultimately building up to the construction of your personal ethical code.
First, we want to establish your core values. How do you like to be treated? What is sacred to you? There are some basic, relatively obvious core values most men hold, things like respect, communication, freedom, and honesty. Take these a layer deeper though and get SPECIFIC on what EXACTLY they mean to you.
As an example, let’s take respect.
Respect, to me, indicates that another person (in this case a romantic partner) values me and my opinion. If someone respects me, they will generally assume the BEST of me in a given scenario.
Since I highly value respect, I don’t spend time around people who belittle me, assume the worst of me, or actively speak badly of me to others. I also apply this filter to myself. If I find myself constantly questioning a friend's motives over time, I will likely drop that friend from my life.
You can see how this depth of understanding on what respect means to me assists me in drawing clear lines and boundaries on who is welcomed into my life. (More on the many nuances of boundaries later in this series.) When someone violates one of the definitions laid out above, I’m not sitting there questioning “do they respect me?”, I simply acknowledge that our core values are not in alignment, and move on.
It’s important when establishing your core values that you consider each value through the lens of your BEST self. The current day you may be cripplingly insecure or angry but you know deep down that “a woman who always does what I say” is NOT actually a core value of your best self. A good rule of thumb is that core values are focused on what you will or won’t accept for yourself, while ego-projections are typically focused on what you want to make someone else do. This rule applies broadly to the dating landscape. Ego says “I can’t believe that person did this to me!” while your true, highest self asks “in what ways have I contributed to allowing this?”
Now that you have taken the time to establish some of your core values, let’s take a look at the second component: your life goals and mission.
Life goals and mission are a critical part of developing your ethical code because they define the parameters of what your ethics should be AIMED AT. Life goals are the blueprint of what you are trying to build and ethics are the tools and instruction manual for the blueprint.
Most people are not actually clear on their life goals. I could spend an entire multi-part series on the topic of discovering your life goals (and maybe I will in the future) but for the moment I’ll focus on the basics.
If you are unclear on your life mission, I want you to focus on two areas; your CORE VALUES and your PASSIONS. Between these two things we can at least generate the first steps on your path to discovering your purpose.
As an example (I love examples if you can’t tell by this point) let’s say you have listed your core values as RESPECT, LOVE, and FREEDOM. Then, upon analyzing your passions, you find that you currently LOVE volunteering at the local community garden. As a kid you also really loved playing in the dirt and being outdoors.
We now have a map of something it would be at least useful for you to investigate as a career. As you begin the investigation into the potential passion, let’s say it’s being a regenerative farmer, the key is to keep your core values top of mind. So perhaps in your first job as a regenerative farmer you have a terrible boss who doesn’t respect you. Additionally, you find that your freedom is actually very restricted because of the long workdays required. Now you can “steer the ship” and adjust your course based off of the violations of your core values. Every new attempt at something in your areas of passion, and every subsequent discovery of alignment or misalignment with your values, slowly brings you a clearer picture of your purpose.
Again, I’m simplifying things somewhat here, but the important operating principle is; consider your passions, go actually attempt them, see how they align with your core values, iterate into new passions, attempt those, rinse & repeat.
It’s worth noting that women are typically not looking for you to have your WHOLE PATH 100% figured out-- they just want you to be on A PATH. To be attractive, you don’t need to know the whole journey, just be clear on your next steps.
If you happen to be one of the people who has a very clear objective purpose in mind, things are slightly easier. Identify what it is that you want to accomplish and then ask yourself what type of person would be able to accomplish that? Once you generate a list of their qualities, compare those qualities with a realistic view of your current qualities. The gaps between where you are and where you want to be are your marching orders in terms of self development.
The final piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is your personal ethic is wound awareness. By this I mean, an understanding of your own trauma, wounds, and triggers from your past.
Why is this important? For a simple reason, these wounds are the things that will prevent you from reaching your ideal ethical state.
Imagine this; when you were 12 years old your mom abandoned you and your dad for a life with the family of the man she was cheating with. As a result, you have a deep wound of ABANDONMENT specifically from the feminine. Now in the present day, one of your ethical paradigms you are trying to embody is keeping your heart open to the flow of love. You meet a beautiful woman and you begin to fall in love. The more you fall in love, the more you begin to feel anxious. You start lashing out at your girlfriend, becoming suspicious of all her actions. Eventually she can’t put up with your distrust and controlling behavior any longer and she breaks up with you. Your abandonment wound was like a banana peel you threw in your own path, eventually leading to the sabotage of your own goals.
To fully embody the ethical code we choose to adopt, it is required that we do a hard drive virus scan on all of our old wounds and triggers. Until we bring these patterns into the light, we will continue to play out old outdated blueprints of action, typically based on fear and avoidance. Again, I could write for hours about how to facilitate this process, but I’ll keep it simple and tactical. Ask yourself the following three questions IF YOU FEEL READY TO REALLY WORK ON THIS:
What are the most traumatic memories from your childhood/young adulthood?
From each of those traumatic memories, what was the coping strategy or behavioral pattern you adopted in an attempt to keep yourself safe?
Do those coping mechanisms you learned align with your current goals? If not, how could you begin to step into new patterns?
These are the basics of inner work. Identify the pattern, gain awareness of the roots of the pattern, get realistic on how the pattern obstructs you, and then develop a plan to replace the pattern. Therapy with a good therapist, or coaching with a quality life coach can accelerate this process dramatically.
You will also notice that as you identify your wounds, oftentimes your ethical code will be the OPPOSITE of the behavior that gave you the trauma. If you were abandoned like we laid out above, chances are a piece of your ethical code will end up being “I show up for those that I love when they need me.”
Ultimately, we now have a framework from which you can derive your ETHICAL CODE. Looking at your core values, life goals, and wounds you should start to piece together the foundations of your personal ethics. I’ll give you some examples below, but please take the time to develop and refine your OWN ethics.
Some of my ethics are:
I tell the Truth with Love as often as possible.
I seek to understand others more deeply so that I can communicate more clearly.
I aim to amplify the flow of love and kindness in all interactions.
I mentally occupy a mindset of abundance so that I do not harm others because of perceived scarcity.
I seek to always do what must be done, big or small, comfortable or uncomfortable in any given moment.
I prioritize time spent in silence so that I can serve the world with more clarity.
Again, these are examples. Take what works for you and modify it however you need for your own personal goals, values, and wounds. Your ethical code will go through many iterations over the course of your life.
I imagine you can see how having an abundance of clarity around my personal ethical code actually makes my life quite easy. It makes me far more DECISIVE (a core trait attractive to women) because I almost always know WHY I am making a particular decision. Any time I feel confused or lost, I refer back to my code of ethics, and things almost always become abundantly clear.
Now, lest you think we’ve gotten off track from this being about dating, let me illustrate why this is so central to being an attractive, whole partner. One of the most common occurrences when a man begins to gain the ability to attract women is that he loses himself in the relationship. Without clarity on what he stands for, why he stands for it, and where his life is going, he becomes subject to trying to always please his woman at any given moment. All sexually fulfilling relationships exist in polarities. So if all of a sudden the man abandons his purpose, he has also abandoned his masculinity. If the relationship is one where he was occupying the masculine polarity, and his partner was occupying the feminine pole, then she will likely lose attraction for him as he stops listening to his own internal compass. Ultimately the relationship crumbles and both parties are left dissatisfied.
When your ethical code is clearly delineated, it becomes much harder to abandon yourself. Being clear on who you are and where you are going is a SUPERPOWER in your ability to attract and keep a desirable partner. The more developed your sense of self is, the easier you will find everything else we are going to talk about in the following topics. I encourage you wholeheartedly to spend the EXTRA TIME on this step of the process. It will improve not just your dating life, but also your level of fulfillment, happiness, and clarity of purpose.
That's the end of part 1! Let me know what you think in the comments below.