Downgrading or upgrading is when you consciously and purposefully change the relationship type of a particular woman from one to the other. If you have an MLTR who is fun to be with but suddenly starts doing a lot of drugs and gets in with a bad crowd, you might downgrade her to an FB. If you have an FB who turns out to be really smart, really enjoyable, and really responsible, maybe you upgrade her to an MLTR. If you have an MLTR who turns out to be amazing beyond belief, maybe you upgrade her to an OLTR. And so on.
Upgrading can only be done by you. A woman cannot upgrade herself. Of course a woman can ask for or demand that you upgrade her, but only you can actually do it. You never upgrade a woman just because she asks. If you do, it’s likely because you’re suffering from oneitis and/or scarcity mentality. Upgrading is something you do only after a lot of thought and calm, rational decision making.
Upgrading is also not something you do purely based on your feelings. As you older guys already know, sometimes you can have strong feelings for a woman who would not make a good long-term partner (MLTR or OLTR in this case). Upgrading someone just because you have feelings and for her and no other reason is a recipe for drama and problems down the road.
You may upgrade a woman when all the following conditions are true:
1. You have strong enough feelings for her, or think you likely can.
2. She has demonstrated a long track record of happy, low drama, low jealousy behavior with lots of enthusiastic sex. Important to remember: this is what she does, not what she says or promises. As always, ignore what she says and only watch what she does. “Long track record” can mean whatever you want it to mean, but my minimum is usually six months, and almost always after The Talk.
3. Her life is workable and not crazy. You shouldn’t be upgrading any women who are hardcore drug users, have super stressful lives with work or family, have massive health problems, or other things like that. Again, doing this will just result in problems for you down the road.
If all three of those conditions are true, you can upgrade her if you wish. If not, she’s not worthy of an upgrade. Maybe she will be later. Just keep being with her at her current relationship level and watching her.
How Do You Upgrade?
If she’s a FB you’re upgrading to an MLTR, you just do it. There is no discussion or talk. Just do it and enjoy it. Now that she’s an MLTR, you’re allowed to spend the night with her, take her out on romantic dates, discuss emotional topics with her, and experience other MLTR aspects. You still need to keep a 100% Alpha and nonmonogamous frame of course, and still need to be having sex with other women. Don’t get oneitis! Don’t get de facto monogamous! Getting an MLTR is not a license to start being a beta.
Upgrading an MLTR to an OLTR is serious business and much more complicated. It requires a second talk called the OLTR Talk, similar to The Talk but a little more detailed and expansive, mostly covering what you both want for your futures. Do you/she want kids? Do you/she want to get married? Are you/she going to be moving out of the city or country at some point? Do you/she have any problems in your family? What’s your/her financial situation look like? Does she understand you’ll never be 100% sexually monogamous, even if you do things like get married? These kinds of things and many other are discussed in The OLTR Talk, and the specifics of exactly how to have this talk are beyond the scope of this post. (I will extrapolate more on this in a future book I’ll be releasing next year.)
If she passes the OLTR Talk (and many women won’t!), then congrats, she’s your OLTR. You are no longer allowed to have any MLTRs, and all the women on the side must be FBs or one night stands only. On the plus side, you can now treat her like a full-on girlfriend and even use that word to describe her to others. You may now do things like see her more than once a week (if you want), meet each other’s family, move towards moving in together (if you want), and other heavy stuff. Again, you need to keep your frame though! Love her all you want, but don’t get oneitis, soft next her whenever you need to, keep sexing women on the side (at least sporadically), and keep your balls. Having an OLTR is not a license to start being a beta.
FBs cannot be upgraded to OLTRs. Upgrading an FB right to an OLTR would be insane. Consider an MLTR a “level” that a woman must enter and “graduate” from before she becomes your OLTR. I’ve had only two OLTRs in my life (one of them you could argue wasn’t even a full OLTR), and both of them took years at the FB and MLTR levels before I finally upgraded them to OLTR. OLTRs are great if you have the balls and the frame to do them, but the more reluctant and careful you are to upgrade women to an OLTR, the better your life will be.
As you might expect, downgrading a relationship is a little more dicey than upgrading. Upgrading is always a happy event that both you and her will enjoy. Downgrading is quite the opposite.
Downgrading should occur when one or more of the following become true:
1. You miscalculated and gave her MLTR or OLTR status when you should not have. This can happen sometimes no matter how careful you are. I’ve done it a few times with a MLTR or two in my day.
2. She starts giving you drama or problems, but such that aren’t quite serious enough for a soft next. Examples would be things she does that mildly irritate you or attitudes about life she has that you can’t stand. These things are not (necessarily) soft nextable offenses, but they are signals that perhaps this woman should be downgraded to a relationship that’s less serious.
3. Her behavior with you is great and stays great, but her life outside of you changes for the worse. Maybe she starts drinking too much or doing drugs. Maybe she becomes promiscuous in ways that threaten you (she doesn’t use a condom with men, or has a lot of drunk sex with men). Maybe she suddenly finds Jesus and starts lecturing you about religion or starts making frequent judgemental comments. Maybe she has a radical shift in her family or social life, like her horrible mother moves in with her or her best friend becomes seriously problematic. Even if your relationship stays fine, these are all signs that trouble may be coming, and a downgrade to FB is likely in order.
The beauty of FB relationships, and one of the reasons I’ve always loved them so much, is that a woman’s life can be fucked up, and it’s perfectly okay. If she’s an MLTR or OLTR, her life needs to be reasonably smooth and even-keeled. But if she’s an FB, hell, she can be as crazy and screwed up as she wants. She can do drugs, get drunk all the time, fuck guys left and right, have a boyfriend, be a total bitch to everyone (except you of course), go bankrupt, have a totally fucked up life, and it’s perfectly fine, sometimes even preferable (those crazy chicks are wonderful in bed!). Just make sure you wear condoms with her! Don’t be stupid.
Downgrading a woman to FB frees you of having to worry about all that crap. It’s nice. Downgrading, when it’s needed, is a good thing, for both you and her, and should not be feared. Just like with soft nexting, if you are afraid to downgrade a woman who needs it, then you probably have oneitis, and this should be a huge warning sign that you might be turning into a pussy.
How To Downgrade
Just like with soft nexting, downgrading requires you to have some level of confidence, outcome independence, and an Alpha frame. If you have oneitis, or are de facto monogamous, or are a beta, you probably won’t downgrade at all. Even if you try, you’ll probably do it wrong and just create more conflict and drama. Downgrading, when it needs to be done, must be done, and must be done correctly. Be strong.
One key item about downgrading: realize that she may just leave you. If you do this stuff right, it usually won’t happen, but it can. Be aware this is a distinct possibility and be prepared for it. If you’re taking my advice, you’re seeing multiple women already, so it should be no big deal.
Obviously, you can’t downgrade a FB, since FB is already the lowest level of nonmonogamous relationship. If an FB gets problematic, all you can do is soft or hard next, or back way off on the frequency you see her. I’ve had FBs that I only saw once every 6-8 weeks or less. Perfectly fine.
When downgrading from an MLTR to a FB, you just do it. There is no discussion at the outset. Say nothing. Just stop going out with her (hang out at your place or hers instead), and back off on the romantic stuff. Of course she will pick up on this and ask you what’s going on. Simply tell her, using your own words, that the two of you were going too fast and you need to back off a little bit. Be prepared for drama, because you might get some. (If you do, you know what to do: instant soft next!)
If she keeps her cool, you’re welcome to have a brief conversation about what you’re doing and why. A few dont’s here:
– Do not get into a long, drawn-out conversation. This is what she will want. Be a man and don’t fall for it. Mentally set a time limit for about 10 minutes, then end the conversation. Physically leave if you have to. Many of you more extroverted guys, or guys who lean in the Alpha Male 1.0 direction, will fall into her trap of having an hour long conversation with her that solves nothing and just riles up both of you for no reason.
– Do not use the words “casual,” “fuck buddy,” or “friends with benefits” in the conversation. This will set her off and you’ll hurt her feelings and get a mountain of drama for your trouble. Use words like having a more “relaxed” or “chill” relationship instead.
– Do not be afraid to soft next her ass right then and there if she starts giving you real drama. If she raises her voice, screams at you, starts crying “at you,” threatens you, throws down ultimatums, insults you, or anything like that, instant soft next! This is a good thing, since after the next is over and the relationship resumes, you will have demonstrated to her with crystal clarity why the relationship needed to be downgraded in the first place.
– Do not be a robotic asshole. Some of you more logical, rational, or INTJ guys like me are just going to robotically state the facts and then get irritated when she reacts emotionally. Try to have some empathy. I sometimes have trouble with this myself, but do your very best to not forget that you’re talking to an emotional, sometimes irrational woman, not a man, and not a computer. Be strong, but be nice too. It’s possible to be both at the same time. (That’s Alpha Male 2.0 in a nutshell; very strong, doesn’t take any crap, but also nice and relaxed.)
Downgrading an OLTR to a MLTR is tough. It will certainly require a very clear discussion right up front about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. In some cases, it will be uncomfortable but the transition will be a smooth one. In other cases, she’s going to be so angry or hurt that she’s just going to leave you altogether. As I said above, you should be prepared for this possibility anyway. And as I always say, if you do this right, the odds are very high that she’ll come back to you at some point down the road anyway, so don’t worry too much about it.
Downgrading an OLTR to an FB is going to be near impossible, but you could try it if you want. It’s usually easier to slowly downgrade them to an MLTR first, then if you want to keep going, downgrade to a FB later if you still want to.
If you date many MLTRs and find that you need to downgrade one or two, then it’s no big deal. It happens to the best of us, and often it’s not even our fault. Sometimes women trick us into thinking they’re something they’re not. Sometimes women change. It happens.
If you have to downgrade an OLTR, then that’s different. That usually means you fucked up. You upgraded a woman to OLTR that should never have been upgraded, and that’s on you. Once the downgrade is complete, you need to do some serious self reflection about what you did, why you did what you did, and how you can avoid making the same mistake in the future.
The same goes for if you’re downgrading MLTRs all the damn time. Downgrading should be a reasonably rare occurrence. If it’s happening left and right, then you’re doing this all wrong. You’re just assigning most or all women you have sex with MLTR status when they should be FBs. Some likely reasons you’re doing this are:
1. You’re getting needy / oneitisy.
3. You’re dating a lot of over-33 women who are all demanding MLTR (or higher) status when they don’t deserve it, and you’re caving in to their demands.
4. You’re a hyper-emotional guy and have no emotional control, when means you need to get some.
So that’s the deal on upgrading and downgrading! It’s a necessary skill if you want to get good at these kinds of relationships.