The Boxes Concept answers a lot of questions people often have about nonmonogamous relationships, such as:
- Can you fall in love with an MLTR?
- I get having sex with more than one woman, but can you actually be affectionate with more than one woman?
- How can I have sex with other people when I’m totally in love with someone?
- Could I actually be in love with more than one person?
The Boxes Concept will help you clarify much of the confusion you may have about yourself while in a relationship with a special someone (or someones). This is a revision and update of one of the most popular forum posts I made many years ago. If you understand the Boxes Concept, it will allay a lot of concerns you may have about having these kinds of relationships.
The Three Boxes
Imagine there are a certain number of boxes cemented into your brain. Everyone has boxes, but everyone has as different number and combination of boxes.
Every time you have sex with or start dating a woman, she gets “installed” into one of these boxes in your mind. Only one woman can fit into each box.
There are only three types of boxes:
Sex Box – A woman in this box is an FB-only. You have sex with her, and that’s it. Maybe you’re friends too, or maybe not. There is no romantic affection for this woman at all, and there are no emotional feelings or connection with her beyond basic friendship. It’s just sex.
Affection Box – A woman in this box you are both having sex with and romantically affectionate with. You really like her and have a connection with her. You cuddle, look into her eyes, tell her romantic things, and mean it. It’s the box for WDs, MLTRs, OLTRs, and girlfriends.
Love Box – A woman in a love box is someone you actually love. I’m not talking about oneitis or NRE. I’m taking about real love. This box is for high-end MLTRs, an OLTR, a serious girlfriend, or a wife.
As I said, everyone has a certain number of boxes installed in their brain, but everyone has a different combination of boxes. Interestingly, some people are actually lacking certain types of boxes. I’ll give you some examples in a minute, but first we need to nail down how the boxes function.
How The Boxes Work
The boxes follow these rules:
1. Each box you have can only house one woman per box. If a woman is a box, no other woman can enter this box until you remove the woman currently residing in it.
2. No woman can inhabit more than one box at a time.
3. You can move women from one box type to another.
4. Empty boxes are allowed.
5. You cannot create more boxes, or least not quickly. Creating new boxes in your brain is a very long, difficult process. Most people are simply stuck with the boxes they have.
For example, a guy might have sex with a hot chick a few times. She’s in one of his sex boxes. Over time, he realizes he has feelings for her. Internally, she’s pulled out of the sex box and placed in the affection box. Externally, he upgrades her from FB to MLTR.
Still later, he actually falls in love with her, so she gets pulled out of the affection box and into his love box. Externally, perhaps he upgrades her from MLTR to his single OLTR. Or maybe he just keeps her as a high-end MLTR. That’s up to him. (It is perfectly acceptable to love an MLTR. It’s certainly happened to me.)
The boxes only describe what’s going on internally in your mind. They do not necessarily represent what’s actually going on in your life. For example, you could have a married guy who loves his wife, thus having her in his love box. Over 20 years, he falls out of love with her but stays with her for the good of the kids or whatever. Now she’s out of his love box and into an affection box or a sex box, even though he’s still married to her.
Examples Of Different Box Combinations
Every man (and woman) has a different number of boxes installed in his brain. This determines what kinds of relationships he’s capable of structuring, and also anticipates problems hey may encounter in his relationship life.
To illustrate this, here are some examples and what they mean.
Example 1: Blackdragon
I, Blackdragon, look like this:
1 love box
2 affection boxes
infinity sex boxes
This configuration means several things. First, it means I can only love one woman at a time. I simply do not have the ability to actually love more than one woman at the exact same time. I know, because I’ve tried. I can’t do it. My mind and personality aren’t built that way. Only one woman can inhabit a box at a time, so if I have only one love box, if I love a woman, she’s the only woman I love. Period.
However, notice I also have two affection boxes. This means I can be romantically affectionate with two women at the same time, no problem. This also means that if I really pushed the envelope, I could be in love with one woman and be (somewhat) affectionate with two others. That’s a grand total of three MLTRs I could have at the same time.
Three MLTRs is a lot of damn work, especially with someone of my boxes configuration, so it’s very rare I have that many. I like to keep things to one or two MLTRs, max. The point here is that I’m emotionally capable of three.
If I had an OLTR, that means I would not be allowed to be affectionate with any other woman but her. However, I could still have sex on the side as long as the women were just FBs. If that were the case, I would have one woman in the love box, one or two women in my sex boxes, and my two affection boxes would be empty. Which would be perfectly fine with me.
Let’s talk about those sex boxes. I have infinite amount of those. Crazy! That means that in theory I could have infinity FBs on the side and be emotionally okay with that. Externally in the real world, infinity FBs would be impossible of course. The point is that the number of FBs I could have is limited only by external factors, like my schedule and energy levels. These days I rarely have more than two ongoing FBs, but that’s because my busy schedule couldn’t handle any more, not because I’m mentally incapable of it.
Two FBs plus one or two MLTRs means a total of three to four women at all times, usually three. That’s a good range for me. More than three takes more time, and my time is precious. Less than three threatens my constant flow of sex and raises the odds of betaization (and thus drama and rules) from the women in my life. Yuck…can’t have that. So three women (or so) is a good number for me, based on my internal limitations (my boxes) and my external limitaitons (my goals, lifestyle, and schedule).
Now let’s look at someone very different from me…
Example 2: Lover Guy
Let’s examine a more emotional open/poly relationship Alpha Male. I’ll call him “Lover Guy”. Real-life PUA examples of this hypothetical guy would be Zan, JWS, Nashville Playboy, or Johnny Soporno. If you don’t know who any of these men are, imagine a dashing, emotional, passionate Alpha Male like Casanova, and that will give you a good idea of what I’m talking about.
Lover Guy is definitely an Alpha, but he’s different than me. His brain looks like this:
Many love boxes
NO affection boxes
Few or zero sex boxes
Unlike me, Lover Guy can actually love more than one woman. What’s nice about Lover Guy is he doesn’t need to worry about not having affection…he always has it from the women in his love boxes, and he’s very good at keeping the love boxes full at all times.
Amazingly, he loves all the women he dates, so he doesn’t even have (or need) separate affection boxes. He’s is much less compartmentalized than I am, which is nice. The downside is this guy is in for much more relationship drama and ups-and-downs than I am. Pros and cons.
This is how some men can actually love more than one woman at a time. They have more than one love box in their brain, unlike myself.
Example 3: Extreme Pussy Beta Male
Now let’s look at the polar opposite from both Lover Guy and myself. This would be the absolute, needy, AFC beta. His brain looks like this:
1 love box
NO affection boxes
NO sex boxes
If you look at that for a minute, you’ll see the huge problems this guy is in for. He has no sex boxes and no affection boxes. That means as soon as this guy has sex with a woman, he instantly falls in “love” with her. Cue all the usual relationship and neediness problems.
This poor bastard is a complete slave to his emotions and to the woman he’s with. He lives a life of slavery, misery, worry, drama, jealousy, betaization, and pussification.
Even worse, if he starts to have sex with a second woman, he will automatically start falling in love with HER instead, because he only has one box, a love box. Bad news. This guy is in for a lifetime of worry, chaos, and major, major relationship problems.
Example 4: Typical Beta Male
Let’s move one level up from that hopeless bastard and look at the typical man, which in today’s era is a typical beta male. His brain looks like this:
1 love box
NO affection boxes
1 or 2 sex boxes
This guy is one notch better than the complete pussy, but not much. Unlike the pussy, the Typical Beta can indeed love one woman and have meaningless sex (or friends-only sex) with one or two other women without getting oneitis for them. He can’t be affectionate with more than one woman though; he doesn’t know how. That’s reserved only for the woman he loves.
As a result, like the complete pussy, Typical Beta is going to have his ass dominated by the woman he loves, and he’s got drama, problems, and major oneitis for her. He’ll likely cheat on her (since he can have sex with side women without getting affectionate), but his life will be severely limited by the fact that the woman he “loves” will dominate his life.
Example 5: Typical PUA
Now let’s look at something completely different: the stereotypical player. A PUA would look something like this:
1 love box (that is either always empty, or rapidly switching women all the time)
NO affection boxes
infinity sex boxes
This guy gets laid a lot, with lots of different chicks. He can have five or six one-night-stands in a month, in addition to four FBs on rotation, and feel perfectly fine about all of it. Many PUAs don’t have oneitis because they always keep their love box empty, and have no affection boxes.
On the other hand, many old school PUA guys like Mystery, Style, and David DeAngelo always have a woman in their one love box, and they just keep swapping her out for a new woman every few years, while sporadically having sex with random women on the side. This could almost be considered the PUA version of serial monogamy. It’s a very time consuming, up-and-down, high-drama way to live in my opinion, but it’s what these guys like.
What About Women?
So what about women’s boxes?
Women’s boxes work the same way as man’s boxes, but with one key difference. While a woman’s love boxes and sex boxes work the same as a mans, a woman’s affection boxes are temporary.
A man can have a someone in his affection box for 20 years, no problem. Not so for a woman. For her, the affection box is simply a temporary holding area for a man before she shoves him into either a love box or a sex box. No man can remain in a woman’s affection box for very long.
As a matter of fact, if a guy remains too long in a woman’s affection box, she’ll actually start to get uncomfortable. If you’re in her affection box, she quickly needs to move you in either her love box or a sex box so that she’s “comfortable” again. Don’t ever plan on being in a woman’s affection box for very long.
Keeping that in mind, here are some female examples. And please note I’m generalizing here, and there are always going to be unusual exceptions to every rule.
Example 6: Typical VYW (woman under the age of 23)
A very young woman, age 16 to around age 23, looks like this
1 love box
0-1 temporary affection boxes
Many sex boxes
Women this age have no problem fucking lots of dudes. However if they fall in love with a guy, he’s definitely going to be the only one (though she can still be having sex with other men).
Some VYW have affection boxes, some don’t have any, but even the ones that do only have one.
Example 7: Typical Woman
The typical woman between the age of 23 and 33 has a brain that looks like this:
1 love box
1 temporary affection box
1 sex box.
This woman is not quite as sexually promiscuous as the younger chicks, rarely having sex with more than two men at a time. Other than that, she’s structured about the same.
Example 8: Over Age 33 Woman
When a woman crosses over the age of doom, and ventures into that dark, ASD-filled land of over-33 females, she likely has a brain that looks like this:
1 love box (that is usually empty if the sex box is full)
NO affection boxes
1 sex box (that is usually empty if the love box is full)
Unlike younger women, older women don’t separate love and affection. Either she’s having sex with a man she “loves” or is “serious” with, or she’s having meaningless sex with a friend with benefits. That’s it…nothing else is allowed. She finds the concept of getting emotionally affectionate with a man she’s not “serious” with as offensive and slutty. (Because a “lady” doesn’t do that. Or something.)
Like all human beings, she can cheat (and statistically will cheat if the relationship lasts long enough). So she can love one guy and cheat on the side with another guy. That side-guy will be “just sex”. However, since she has no affection boxes, if she starts getting affectionate with the side-guy, she will start falling in love with him. She won’t be able to help it. Worse, since she has only one love box, she will stop loving the main guy she’s with. (I’ve sure you’ve seen this happen with women who cheat on husbands or serious boyfriends with a long-term side-guy.)
As you can see, the lower the number of boxes you have, the more difficult and problem-prone your relationship life will tend to be.
This boxes stuff is all conceptual. Now let’s talk about how to take this information into the practical world.
1. Identify your boxes. Which ones you have, how many you have, and which ones you lack. Just doing this is going to really shed some light on any recurring problems you’ve had in your relationship life.
2. Your goal should be to develop boxes in all three categories. If you want to be a happy, relaxed, confident, well-rounded, non-needy, guilt-free person, you should ideally have at least one love box, one affection box, and one sex box. If you have even more, that’s even better, but ideally you should have one in each category.
How do you develop new boxes you don’t already have? I’m not a psychologist so I don’t have any easy answers. I was more or less born with the boxes I have, so I’m lucky. However I’m sure I’ve added a few affection boxes as I grew and matured as an Alpha Male 2.0. So I can give you a few clues:
– Work on your confidence, outcome independence, and inner game. The more confident you are, and the more outcome independent you are, the more boxes your brain will “grow”.
– Date lots of women. By “date” I don’t mean go have a bunch of one-night-stands. That’s PUA stuff, not dating. I’m talking about having ongoing relationships even if they’re just FBs. Boxes are like muscle cells. They multiply with use.
– Get out of your comfort zone and practice different types of relationships. If you’ve been monogamous your whole life, try to do a single MLTR and see how it goes. If you’ve only had OLTRs, try an MLTR or two instead. If you’ve never had an OLTR, try one out. You get the idea.
One of the reasons I have a nice selection of boxes in my brain is because I’ve had just about every type of relationship you can possibly think of over the course of my life, including monogamy. My brain is very experienced and nuanced as a result.
3. Determine what would be the ideal boxes configuration for you.
For example, I have one love box, and this is perfectly fine for me. I have no desire whatsoever to create more love boxes. I respect men who have more than one love box, but frankly if I had more than one love box it would create more work and/or drama in my life and I’m not interested. Moreover, my two affection boxes are fine too. My current configuration works very for me, and will work for me long-term, so I’m good to go.
You must figure out the configuration that not only works for you, but works for your long-term goals in life. And then get to work to create that within yourself.
Possible Changes You’ll Need
Here are some examples of clearly dangerous configurations you may have.
If you have no love boxes, something is very wrong with you. You may be a victim of a childhood trauma or similar. You may require counseling or at least some very serious soul-searching to determine why this is.
On the other hand, if you have too many love boxes, you’re going to be living a life of constant, extreme and drama and emergencies. That’s no fun either (unless you enjoy drama).
If you have no affection boxes, and a lot of people don’t, you will have constant relationship problems because as soon as you encounter a woman you like more than an one-night-stand or FB, you’ll immediately get oneitis and start to betaize yourself. Bad news!
If you have too many affection boxes, your life is going to get very complicated very quickly, and you’re going to be very tired and stressed.
If you have no sex boxes, you’re going to be a very stuck-up, anal retentive, demanding, bossy prude. You’ll never have sex unless someone makes your “checklist” of screening items, and this often won’t happen. You’ll find yourself going without sex for long periods of time, and this isn’t healthy.
On the other hand, if you have too many sex boxes, you need to be damn sure that you are very responsible, deliberate, and careful when it comes to your sex life. I have “infinite” sex boxes, but I’m careful. I don’t do one-night-stands, I use condoms, I get frequent STD tests, I don’t sleep with complete strangers, I don’t have sex with huge numbers of women, I never get drunk, and I never get oneitis. (NRE sometimes, love rarely, but never oneitis.)
So having lots of sex boxes is okay, but you’d better have your shit together and a healthy dose of self-control. Otherwise you’re the definition of “promiscuous”, and you’ll have all kinds of problems, including STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Not cool.
That’s the Boxes Concept. I realize it’s a lot of information to assimilate. Re-read this article if you need to. I promise that once you understand this, it will be extremely helpful to you (as well as to the special women in your life).