A topic that came up from a number of different guys in the feedback section of the reader survey was to cover how to transition back into “civilian life” after one is happy with his skill-set with women. I’ve already covered extensively the deleterious effects of obsessing about women well beyond the point that you need to. So how does one make the journey back? The transition back to “being normal” again was slow and painful for me, particularly because I do this as a job, but I eventually got there.
The best way to think about this process is in terms of 1) personal goals and 2) where you’re choosing to receive your validation.
Back when we started this entire journey and committed ourselves to this path, an aspect of that dedication was to choose to objectify and validate ourselves through our social lives and through women. To improve at anything, you must quantify and measure it. To quantify and measure something you must objectify it. And when you objectify a part of your emotional/social life, you’re effectively disconnecting yourself emotionally from people in a certain way.
You see this objectification and quantification in all sorts of forms: rating women, measuring difficulty of approaches, amount of girls in a set, lay counts, number closes, etc. There’s nothing morally wrong with this, and it’s particularly useful for an inexperienced guy to keep tabs on because he’s able to measure his improvement.
But two things happen when you get good with women. The first is that the numbers and scores begin to mean less and less to you. When you’re a virgin, laying two girls over a six-month period is a huge deal. When you’ve been with 55 women, laying two more in a week is cool, but not exactly an identity-shifting occasion. Your first so-called “10” will give you the biggest high for a week straight. Your fifth may just annoy you because she always has bad breath and complains a lot.
Getting good with women offers diminishing returns. The difference between being excellent at picking up women and being very good is usually not worth that extra effort; whereas the difference between being decent and being absolutely awful definitely is worth the effort.
The second side-effect of getting very good with women is that over an extended period of time, objectifying your social life will make you miserable. I found this out the hard way, as a lot of other guys in the PUA community did as well. Truth be told, we’re not meant to objectify and measure our emotional relationships and friendships. It’s disastrous for our emotional well-being. I still see this as an epidemic in that entire scene. You’ll see honest-to-god, serious threads discussing the reconnaissance opportunities presented by female-friendships and analyzing their group of friends in terms of social proof. You’ll see posts from guys who research charity organizations in order to calculate the best female/male ratio. It’s sickening. It’s very, very, VERY important for every guy getting into this stuff to remember to let go and simply enjoy the company of people every now and then. Not everything needs to be a measuring stick or a new process to learn.
With that said, here’s my advice to those guys who would like to “return to normal” after they’ve achieved a lot of their goals:
First, stop putting all pressure on yourself to perform or to achieve. This will probably be by far the hardest part. It took me years to undo myself from this, to get to the point where I could go sit in a bar and have a beer and see a hot girl and not feel the need to approach her. Passing up lays is another big one that fucked with my head for a long time. I would be in a situation where I knew I could probably sleep with a girl, but I knew it would take hours and a lot of time and effort. Or I could hang out with my friend and go home and get a good night’s sleep. Choosing the mundane option of going home and getting some sleep was really bizarre for me at first.
But ceasing to pressure yourself to pick up constantly will slowly remove it as a major source of validation for you. At first, it will feel strange and you’ll feel guilty or lazy for not pushing yourself in social situations. But eventually, you’ll reach a point where going out with some old friends and watching a ball game, having some beers, this will feel just as valuable and satisfying to you as picking up that blond on the other side of the bar would. It frees you up to enjoy the social/emotional aspects of your life you were so busy quantifying before.
This, in turn, will reattach your emotional involvement in your social life. You’ll begin to see just as much value, if not more, in just hanging out with some good friends and having fun, than you would in approaching a bunch of women and making out with them.
The beautiful thing about this, is that there’s nothing ever stopping you from pursuing women again. Your ability with women will always be in your back pocket. You can go out with no intention to meet a girl, hang out with your friends, and then suddenly see one and decide to approach her. There’s no pressure either way. And the best part? If she rejects you, you really and truly will not care. That’s no longer your purpose, that’s no longer where you derive your validation.
I recommend also stopping reading most or all pick up related forums and websites. This seems to be more significant for some guys more than others. Some still enjoy reading about the subject and learning more and thinking about social dynamics, whereas others really feel like they need to mentally tear themselves away completely to feel free to act however they choose.
And finally, I recommend shifting your focus away from banging tons of women to actually finding one you really enjoy a lot and dating her. Being a player and juggling four girls is awesome and everything, but it requires a lot of time, effort and energy, and in the long-run it’s not exactly a healthy way to live… both physically and emotionally.
Probably the biggest shift I’ve noticed since not really putting any pressure on myself to go out and improve anymore is that one night stands and casual sex seems to interest me less and less. It makes sense. Fast lays and casual sex are easy things to quantify and measure. Relationships and dating someone involve emotions, icky feelings and subjective situations where success can’t be defined. When you value improvement then the easy quick lays make sense. When you value general life well-being and emotional fulfillment, relationships make more sense.
This also plays back into the validation thing again. You’re eliminating your need to objectify that area of your life and you’re opening yourself to more emotional interactions. Think of it as shifting the hunt to quality instead of quantity. Emotional connections are always far more enjoyable and enriching than purely sexual ones.
These shifts, both psychologically and physically, will free up your motivation and energy to pursue other areas of your life. It’s typical that guys who leave the PUA scene generally see improvements in other areas of their lives: work, friends, hobbies, etc. Ironically, a lot of guys also experience an INCREASE in their results when they leave the scene for this reason: they have a healthier and more well-rounded lifestyle, AND they’re not nearly as outcome-dependent as they used to be.
When exactly you’re ready to leave will always be a personal question left up to you. It’s a question of diminishing returns. There is always room for improvement in every one of us. And hey, just because pick up isn’t your main focus doesn’t mean you won’t continue to still improve. But at some point you have to look at your life as a whole and make a reasonable judgment. Unfortunately, focusing very hard on this stuff over the period of years has major negative side-effects. When those side-effects begin to out-weigh the improvements you’re making, then it’s time to move on.