The Princess Complex

Growing up, us girls watched the likes of Cinderella, Snow White, and Belle fall in love with a man whom she barely knew and live happily ever after. Books I read, movies I watched, and shows on TV all portrayed love as this perfect, easy task. Find a man and he’ll instantaneously fall in love with you. It wasn’t about lust, it was about serendipity. Fate brought us together and no matter where I am in my life, you and I are going to work out forever and ever. Maybe a few missteps will get in our way, but in two hours or less, our destiny will be sealed. So with all of these portrayals of love surrounding me for the last 30 years, it’s no wonder my ideals of a man and a relationship are skewed.

A great blog that I’ve mentioned before, Forty Days of Dating, explained this quite well: “Jessie wants love. She just wants to be a great girlfriend and to take care of her man. It just seems like she wants the perfect prototype to slide into her perfect boyfriend role.”

But that perfect boyfriend role doesn’t exist. Or if it does, I certainly haven’t found it, so it must be pretty illusive. I’ve met plenty of nice men who could be a Prince Charming if they tried hard enough or cared enough, but there’s always a flaw, something that makes me back away: he talks too much, he has bad teeth, he tries too hard, etc. So it makes me wonder, do I have a Princess Complex?

And I don’t mean that I act like a princess (though I’m sure a few people can attest to the fact that I have on occasion felt that pea under all those mattresses), but more that my idea of what I want from a man, what he can offer me, and how he’ll act is more fantasy than fiction. I’m looking for a prince, when they don’t exist. I have very high expectations for the men I meet and very rarely can they even come close to the standard that I’ve set.

So that leaves me with a few options: lower my standards, be a single old maid, or continue to date guys who can never match up to what I want. Two of the three of these choices suck big time. I am selective – some might call it picky – but maybe I am too critical and too harsh on the men I meet. Lowering my standards doesn’t mean they have to be low standards. Lowering my standards could mean, though, that I have the potential to meet men who aren’t princes, but can still be my Prince Charming.

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