Almost like clock-work, anytime a dude comes in here with the question: "Should I LTR this chick?", the answers are pretty much already given:
"No, you're too young. You shouldn't really be getting into LTRs before you're in your 30's."
"Wait until you've reached your SMV peak, and then you can do better!"
"She's got tattoos, you said? Naw, fuck that. She's for the streets."
"No. Because when you were spinning her as one of your plates, she made out with one of her orbiters. Red flag!"
It seems to always be some variation of either "X, Y, and Z is wrong with her", "X, Y, and Z is wrong with you", or "you're not ready to understand what you're getting yourself into". It's like the stars need to bloody align (much like with a lot of married chicks when it comes to sex with their husbands, but I digress). Basically, we tend to treat LTRs as some kind of end-of-the-line prison sentence you can't get out of, or some looming disaster on the horizon in the event it doesn't work out.
It's not that any of these assessments necessarily are wrong. No, they're probably quite accurate, and are examples of critical thinking well worth having in the back of your mind. However, there's a point where critical thinking becomes a neurosis - as if learning through failure and mistakes automatically would spell impending doom. Plate spinning, one-night-stands, friends-with-benefits, it's all well and good. But you also gotta ask yourself: "What am I actually training myself for?"
A base assumption:
The vast majority of guys, even in the redpillosphere, want "meaningful" relationships to women at some point. It might not be marriage - probably not - but guys want some form of lasting rapport with a member of the opposite sex; to ditch all their plates, and just be with one woman in some form of twosome-like arrangement.
If that weren't the case, we wouldn't even be talking about "vetting strategies". "Red flags" wouldn't be that big of a deal (beyond just "no crazy bitches"). And when guys eventually came to the conclusion that the dating market is fecked, that there aren't enough quality women out there, and that the juice isn't worth the squeeze, that conclusion wouldn't be one they came to so begrudgingly. No, they'd pop a bottle of champagne, secure in the knowledge that they were right all along, before skipping and hopping through life, hardly ever uttering a word about "those fecking whamen".
But alas, it is not the case.
This all tells a story about what men really want, which is "meaningful relationships to women" in some form or another. Now, you may read this, and think to yourself: "Naw, I don't want that". And you might be sincere in that, but that makes you an outlier. More probable than not, you are shitting yourself. So to you I say: It's alright to want that. It's completely normal, and doesn't make you "blue pill", or a "beta chump". Well, you might be those things, but it's not going to be for this reason alone.
The value of serial monogamy:
With the base assumption in mind, let's now return to the question: "What are you actually training yourself for?". That's right, all this plate spinning business, ONSs, FWB arrangements, they don't really train you for what you eventually probably want. If all you do is to spin plates throughout your 20's and early 30's, and then get "serious" with someone at 35, you're probably going to be in for a lot of surprises.
The redpillosphere is full of guys who did just that, only for it to become a bloody existential crisis when the one woman they went "serious" for dumps them, or don't wanna fuck them anymore. And the reason for that isn't that the woman was so special compared to all others. No, the reason is that the arrangement was so special compared to all other arrangements.
One of the most valuable lessons from being a serial monogamist, having a string of serious and semi-serious relationships come and go, is that it teaches you that it's not a big fucking deal. Ok, so you get your balls shat on, your heart broken, you failed to maintain frame, and you end up feeling like dog shit for a while. But it's all good, it's all character building. There's learning in that, and you're supposed to go through it - not just once, several times. Or the other way around: You're supposed to dump women it was fucking hard for you to dump. And through experience, you learn the proper way to dump someone without creating a vindictive enemy.
There's all sorts of learning in it, and what's more: It's the kind of learning that actually prepares you for what you eventually want (base assumption again). Unlike with plate-spinning, ONSs and FWBs, you learn to open yourself up for real emotional hurt, to have that hurt rammed through your chest, and to learn from experience that you'll come out of it on the other side just fine. Eventually, you look back, and you'll be glad you didn't end up with any one of all your past LTR's.
You don't want this kind of learning experience to be your first, when you're 35, and ready to "get serious" with someone, and possibly even starting a family. No, you should've had plenty of them by that time. And if you do, then hopefully what you'll be left with is this:
An LTR is not a big fucking deal.
So to you, the next guy that comes in here, asking if you should LTR some chick, I say: Yeah, you should. It'll be a valuable experience for you. The fact that you even ask, means that it's what you wanna do. So do what you wanna do. Just don't knock anyone up, and don't get entangled into some form of shitty contract, and you're all good.
You're probably not ready for it. She's probably not ready for it either. In fact, she's probably a piece of shit, and so are you. It's probably not going to work out. But you should still do it, and take away from it anything you can.
And one more thing: I'm not suggesting this as opposed to plate spinning and all that other stuff. But I am saying that you should do LTRs as well. You should learn to have frame even when you're emotionally invested. You should learn to dump someone even when it's fucking hard. And you should learn to get dumped even when it crushes your soul.
Comments and critique welcome.