As we get ready to move into February and Valentine's Day right around the corner, I thought it was the perfect time to share the interview I did with Fox News's producer and online contributor for FoxbusinessNews.com, Ashley Papa.
During our interview, we discussed the psychology behind the Prince Charming Syndrome. Papa's article did create controversy when it was first published. Some women reacted as if they'd been attacked and misunderstood by this Prince Charming phenomenon.
To make things clear, one must note, there is a difference between a woman who chooses to stay single, wait for the right relationship vs wait for Mr. Perfect. Men can also be vulnerable to this type of syndrome; one might assume in a man's case, this topic would be entitled, "The Princess Charming Factor."
In all fairness, both sexes can be guilty of this type of phenomenon. The following is the unedited interview I had with Ashley Papa about this topic.
Ashely Papa: First, is there anything you would like to say or add to explain the "Prince Charming Syndrome?"
Dr. Robi: The person who has the "Prince Charming Syndrome" is also someone who is very inflexible when it comes to love and relationships. They have such a romanticized version of what love should look like, they often find themselves either missing out on what could be a great relationship or find themselves in the wrong relationship or have no relationship at all.
Ashley Papa: In your profession, do you see many women doing this? And do you see this behavior among the general public of single women?
Dr. Robi: I definitely have a portion of my practice who fall into this category. I think everyone has an idealized image of what the perfect lover should look and feel like, but as people mature, they realize they are not perfect and their lover is not going to be perfect either. The women who fall into the category of "The Prince Charming Syndrome" are very often socially immature, have a resistance to being in a real relationship (whether they realize it or not), and/or have expectations that are too high which often set up their partners to fail.
Ashley Papa: Where do you think this mentality/list of requirements came from? Is it society?
Dr. Robi: You pose a great question. I think part of it comes from a psychological memory or wish. We want our lover to be able to care for us in the perfect way. To give us a feeling of oneness and wholeness. This is how we experienced being loved when we were babies. There was someone there to take care of all of our needs in the perfect way. Culturally, we live in a world which idealizes love, romanticizes love. Societally, we do a better job of showing what longing and sexual attraction looks like, more than what it actually means to be in love or in a loving relationship. So, yes, part of it is due to society, and part of it has to do with a psychological wish to have a perfect connection with another person, and then to be taken care of in the right kind of way.
Ashely Papa: What would you say to women who act this way and set the bar so high, yet still complain about being single?
Dr. Robi: I would simply tell them, if they are looking for perfection, they may have to stay single for the rest of their lives; if they were willing to do that, they should continue on as they are. During a session, I would ask them to explore some of their deeper issues and ask them to consider if this goal to find the perfect guy was a way for them to avoid intimacy or have a relationship at all.
Ashley Papa: What can women do to lower the bar they've set? What would you say are the MOST important things to look for in a man, and what can you go without?
Dr. Robi: I don't think women should lower any bar, but ask themselves what are their non- negotiables when it comes to choosing a partner. What can they flex on? This is a far better approach to consider when looking for the right kind of man, and then throw out the notion of lowering the bar. Never lower your bar!
Ashley Papa: Do you think this is women feeling entitled or the decay of the alpha male?
Dr. Robi: I think all women want the perfect prince charming, but mature women understand relationships exist in the real world, and in the real world, everyone has idiosyncrasies including real life princes.
Ashley Papa: What are some tips you would give women to be more open minded?
Dr. Robi: I think women are scared if they don't end up with Mr. Perfect, they are going to end up with Mr. Wrong. Relationships are hardly that black and white. I tell women, they are allowed to not like someone, but they should remain open to the type of person they would consider going out with. Women always have the option to wait for the perfect guy, but that's generally not a good strategy if you actually want to have a loving, long term relationship. There is a difference between falling in love with a fantasy and longing, and actually having a real and rewarding relationship. When women get mature and do a little work on themselves, they usually lose this Prince Charming fantasy and find a real man who can meet their real needs quite well.