Regardless of how cynical we claim to be, most of us want to find that one person who can sweep us off our feet. We might consider ourselves too old to believe in fairy tales, but we can’t deny that once upon a time, we dreamed of a happily ever after with our Prince Charming. By Disney’s standards (especially the early films), he was actually kind of perfect in every way — handsome, kindhearted and adventurous (if not a little bit superficial, sheltered and one-dimensional, but that’s another post altogether!).
However, there came a point in our history when we began to steer away from the traditional Prince Charming and instead gravitate toward his questionably-intentioned brother, the black sheep of the family. We no longer wanted that nearly effortless love story, but rather something darker, something with more depth. Compatibility and contentedness took a backseat to passion (often a euphemism for “nonstop arguing”) and extreme ups and downs. We now asserted that the perfect relationship required a lot of struggling in order to really be the right relationship… if you weren’t constantly questioning yourself, then you were obviously doing something wrong.
The Anti-Prince Charming has his own charm, but it doesn’t come in the form of carriage rides and the acquisition of glass slippers. The source of his allure can be a bit harder to place, but he has us convinced right away that if we aren’t in love with him now, we will be soon. The struggle throughout the relationship makes it even more exciting for us.
More than ever, we can attribute a lot of this to pop culture and what we’ve learned about relationships from an entertainment standpoint. Just look at this season of Gossip Girl — powerful queen bee Blair Waldorf has just gotten out of a relationship with the dangerous hotel heir Chuck Bass and is trying to regain some happiness through her work at a fashion magazine and through strengthening her presence on the Upper East Side. Healing from the breakup, she finds potential in two other young men: Dan Humphrey, the sarcastic and funny outsider from Brooklyn with whom she shares far more interests than she realizes, and Louis, a handsome prince from Monaco, whom she is also overwhelmingly compatible with and who has asked her to marry him.
Maybe I’m just partial because of my love for the Monaguese royalty (marry me, Pierre Casiraghi!), but when Blair considers leaving Prince Louis for Chuck, my heart just sank. When Chuck, of all people, tells her she deserves to be happy, she replies, “Chuck, that’s not the most important thing. People don’t write sonnets about being compatible or novels about shared life goals and stimulating conversation. The great loves are the crazy ones. L’amour fou.”
While I agree that compatibility isn’t the only ingredient to guaranteeing a happy relationship, I can’t support a relationship built on instability and games, even if that relationship is fictional. I’m all for working through the challenges and growing because of them, but when a relationship is based on only a chase and a few grand gestures, it’s time to end it. You can’t argue that it only hurts because you love the person so much, because anyone who actually has that power over you and is worth the time would never continue to hurt you.
I’m not saying you should forgo all conflicts and ignore someone who has flaws (because, let’s face it, we’re all flawed in some way), but maybe we should reconsider the Prince Charming we deserved all along… or at least, the more humanized version of him. Don’t pursue someone with the mere hope of rescuing or changing that person. Find someone who makes you happy most of the time and brings out the light from within you. — Tweet this!