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Mate guarding is a science-y term for possessiveness. Both sexes mate guard, but for reasons having to do with the inherent skew in reproductive value and goals between men and women, men are the sex who generally mate guard more often, and with more intensity. Men of the northlands, at any rate.

To be precise, beta men and lesser alphas are chronic mate guarders. Established alpha males don’t typically mate guard — at least not obviously — because they don’t fear their women cheating on them or falling under the spell of other men, and, less benignly, they redirect some of their relationship energy that would normally be spent on mate guarding toward hooking up with side lovers.

Beta males, whether consciously or not, sense more keenly the sexual interloper threat posed by other men and the wandering eyes of their own women. This heightened threat detection system is likely an evolved instinct that serves the useful purpose of keeping the lover of a beta male faithful, (or constrained in her ability to cheat).

Here’s where it gets interesting for philosophers and warriors of Game alike: While mate guarding may offer some temporary or discrete relationship security, multiple acts of mate guarding will paradoxically increase longer term relationship fragility. The mechanism by which this LTR instability is generated is a status feedback loop; if a man mate guards, his woman will subconsciously evaluate his romantic worth downward because (her sensitive idware will reason) only a beta male would feel the need to mate guard. An alpha male would not; his aloofness would be perceived as proof of his impenetrable high status.

Yes, when a beta male mate guards, his girlfriend will proclaim in the moment her ego-stroked thrill at his display of jealousy, but over time the accretion of those displays will erode her charitable judgment of his mate value. This is why women are viscerally disgusted by the thought of overly “possessive” boyfriends. It’s not the chauvinistic possessiveness per se that makes women wince (a shibboleth to which rationalizing feminists constantly allude); it’s the betatizing fallout that repulses women. No woman wants to think she’s hitched to a lower value man, just as no man wants to think he’s with a woman uglier than he can be expected to get.

It’s therefore in the master womanizer’s interest to avoid the trap of mate guarding. The temporary happy ego boost it might give your woman is not worth the long-term erosion in your mate status. If you doubt this, try to visualize scenarios of men in the act of mate guarding. Recall moments when you witnessed mate guarding by other men. Does “alpha male” spring to mind? Or do you feel something closer to pity for those men?

If you’re having trouble organizing your thoughts on the matter, a picture can help to wonderfully focus your mind:

Assuming for purposes of discussion that this isn’t a creep copping a cheap feel, who among you can restrain the impulse to mock this fingertip-affixed beta male boyfriend claiming ownership of his snoozing girlfriend’s thigh? This is what mate guarding frequently looks like: A quasi-pervy, insecure beta trying hard to let the world know that this is HIS girl, and you (or her) better not get any ideas. This is also why excessive PDA is beta.

When you think of alpha males, you picture a self-possessed (rather than possessive), somewhat standoffish dude with a girl gazing adoringly at him and squirming to wedge tighter into the nook of his chest. He might drape a noncommittal arm over her shoulders, but even that small gesture of mate guarding appears as if it had to be coerced from him. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to emulate this guy and not the guy in the photo above.

CH Maxim #57: Beta males mate guard, alpha males disregard.

Before the EXCEPTIONS ARE THE RULE crowd chimes in with their insipid blather, no one denies that there might be rare times when a forthright act of overt guardianship is necessary to remind an especially obstinate man or slutty woman of your boundaries. The rule to avoid mate guarding doesn’t mean avoid it at all costs. If the cost of avoidance is high enough, you’ll be better off breaking the rule. But if you find yourself breaking the NO MATE GUARDING rule a lot, you need to reassess exactly who in your relationship is the real break-up threat.

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