Why Prince Charming Often Isn’t So Charming
I was browsing other WordPress blogs that used the tag “sex” yesterday. An astonishing number of blogs with this tag were written by women who were bemoaning the state of their relationships with their primary partner. Almost all of them were unhappy with their relationships for one reason or another and yet, none of them were thinking about leaving the relationship.
In retrospect, this isn’t all that astonishing. The vast majority of women have internalized the idea that their entire life is one big race towards getting into a monogamous relationship. Once they have found someone, anyone, who is willing to date them, they jump headfirst into the relationship and hold onto it for dear life. We’ve been taught this starting at a very young age.
Look at the relationship dynamic for any and all fairy tales. Girl meets boy, boy does some dramatic gesture (killing a dragon, searching the entire kingdom for her after a dance, etc.), and they decide to get married. What is this relationship based on? In most of these stories, they have spent a cumulative 24 hours together before getting married.
How about those coming-of-age stories that are marketed towards teenagers? If the main character is male, then the movie is all about the quest for the “girl of their dreams”, he does some dramatic gesture, and he will usually end up with this popular and gorgeous girl. If the main character is female, the movie is about how dorky she is in the beginning, then with a makeover, suddenly she is desired by the popular guy that she has been lusting over.
Romantic comedies, romance novels, and almost all other types of media that is marketed for women are guilty of this too. A serious relationship is what we are taught to desire above all other things, and we’re taught that we should take whoever is interested in us as soon as they show interest, no matter what. We’re taught we’re only worth something, we’re only “whole” when we have won the race for that serious relationship.
And this is the relationship dynamic that women are supposed to aspire to? This is the relationship dynamic that is held up as desirable? When did we stop being choosy and start waiting to be chosen?
It’s no wonder that so many women get into destructive relationships. We aren’t taught how to choose a partner wisely, instead, we’re taught that romance is all that matters. It is so easy for someone to be romantic for the first few months of a relationship. Surprising you with flowers, buying dinner, opening doors… All of this is simple. All of this takes absolutely zero real effort, and yet the vast majority of women melt into a puddle for the first person who acts romantically.
This desperation for a relationship can be incredibly destructive. I know of so many women (myself included) who have dismissed or permitted abusive behavior simply because they feel it is better to have a relationship and be unhappy than to be single and (supposedly) unhappy. I know of so many women who won’t push for their sex partner to use a condom, because it will “ruin the moment” or because they want to be “swept off of their feet”, and then they are surprised when they contract an STI from that partner.
So how do we remedy this? For me, it was dating. I specifically chose to not get into a serious relationship with anyone for a year. With few exceptions, if someone asked me out, I accepted. I dated as many people as I possibly could, and I got to know my dates. I learned a lot about myself, and I learned even more about the type of person that I wanted for a long-term relationship.
I would love to see more women do this. Dating can be both exhausting and emotionally taxing, but refusing to commit to a monogamous relationship right off the bat will allow you to learn more about your partner and will educate you about their personality. Becoming sexually active with that partner on your own terms (whether it is after the first date, three months into the relationship, or whenever) will also give you a sense of empowerment over your sexuality and your relationship.
Lastly, you should never be afraid to leave the relationship. If you feel uncomfortable, or if your partner doesn’t make you happy, then you should end the relationship. Life is too short to be unhappy, no matter how much energy or time you have invested.