I love my boyfriend in a very warm, comfortable and affectionate way. We are on almost the same page intellectually, and we never fight. Things are pretty much “no complaints” all around. On my end, though, it’s not really a passionate love and never has been. He’s the best guy I’ve ever dated, and I do love him, but there is a small part of me that still wants to hold out for at least a steamy love affair before settling down with the safe and comfortable guy (or just find a good guy who also presses my buttons). I’m happy and couldn’t bring myself to leave my guy, but I wonder if this desire for something more exciting will rear up one day and make a big pile of relationship-ruining drama. Should I interpret this feeling as a sign I should leave, even though I don’t want to right now? Or should I just roll with it and deal with it later, if it really becomes a bigger issue?
At moments like these, I want to drive up to Forest Lawn, find Walt Disney’s grave, dig up whatever part of him wasn’t cryogenically frozen, and bitch-slap him for infecting generations of American women with something I like to call “Prince Charming Disease.”
This is a terrible affliction that causes grown-ass women to ruin perfectly good relationships by pining away for a nebulous cartoon fiction: passionate, steamy, “happily ever after” love.
“Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella” are delicious fun when you’re a little girl, but fairy tales are lies we tell to children. The myth of Prince Charming has no business sneaking past Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and worming its way into your romantic expectations. Do you still write letters to the North Pole? Didn’t think so — and yet you’re still waiting to be swept off your feet.
You are happy in a stable, healthy relationship built on mutual love and respect with a man whom you consider your intellectual and emotional equal. Girl, you and I should be high-fiving like drunken frat boys at a strip club. Instead, you’re writing me about the the best guy you’ve ever dated like he’s the winter of your discontent.
You want to hold out for a steamy love affair? You actually used the word “steamy”? Are you kidding? Sure, you could find a guy who bends you over the furniture, but fresh sexual chemistry is a temporary high, and it isn’t gonna scratch your itch.
Your real problem is that you haven’t plowed through enough guys to realize that they’re all pretty much the same, and so every time the music swells at the end of a chick flick, you think you’re missing out on something magical.
Sorry, babe. Nobody is waiting around the corner on a white horse.
If you weren’t emotionally, intellectually or physically satisfied, that would be another story — just not this one. You’re happy, and nothing is broken except your childlike set of unrealistic romantic expectations, which would be quaint if they weren’t so damaging to adult relationships like yours.
2 thoughts on “On prince charming disease”
What an outstanding article, thank you so much for climbing this issue.
Being deeply reassured that a lot of people would talk about your perspectives, and I
showed your writing into a friend of mine. And that is when the arguments started…
We have different opinions but, obviously, no problem, be it only something regular or genuinely important, should destroy a real friendship.
In my humble view, which has the right to exist, the next purpose you have made cannot be questioned.
Been thinking about how you’ve helped mew with what you’ve written. I was just listening to Esther Perel’s podcast where a woman says she got married, had a baby, and did all of it because her mom mapped out some idea of success for her, which she got to the end of and realized it was a bag of lies. I have no sympathy for grown ass women who are realizing that the literal fairy tale lie their mothers told them didn’t amount to much. You can’t create a family and then go, “I’m unhappy because I did what mommy said and it didn’t work out,” when you’re like, 35. I wonder where the girl is now who wrote this. I’m old enough to hold on tight to the person I’ve been with for years now who is my equal, is funny, weird, interested and interesting, and *nice.* Never let that shit go!