The Problems with Prince Charming


It’s Valentine's week and if you’re not partnered up it can feel pretty bad. But if you’re interested in dating again or are currently dating, this is a good time to educate yourself on what to avoid in future mate. And it isn’t what you’d think.

If you’ve come out of a destructive relationship, you never want to want to experience that again, but good news! There are ways to tell if someone will be a future betrayer. Develop a heightened awareness of what to look out for and how a healthy partner should behave towards you and towards others. You’ll be prepared and better able to recognize when something is off which means you'll be able to trust your gut about the guy and let him go. 

The problem with Prince Charming is the word “charming.” If someone describes someone as “charming”, as in, “he’s so charming” that’s an indicator to stay far, far away from that person.

Coming out of my marriage, I learned that there were red flags waving before I got married, but I didn't recognize them as red flags. Emotional abusive behaviors are very subtle. I might have wondered about those red flags, but I justified or made excuses for them. I.e. we’re learning to communicate with each other, he’s a guy and I’m a woman - we’re different, we’re really independent, maybe I’m overthinking things.

People who are “charming” want the outside world to think they’re wonderful, outstanding upstanding human beings. They present their best self towards you and to other people in your life so that everyone says, “oh, he's great.” But there are signals that he’ll send that, even if he presents really well towards others, if you’re aware of the warning signs, you’ll be able to see the discrepancies. I.e. he presents this way, but he's really this way. 

There are two books I read that were difficult to get through, but helpful and informative. The first one is Living and Loving Beyond Betrayal by Dr. Steven Stosny and Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft

In this video, I’m going to walk you through some of the warning signs that future betrayers will exhibit early in your relationship using these books as points of reference.  

In Lundy Bancroft’s book, he says the early warning signs to look out for are:

  • He speaks disrespectfully about former partners. 
  • He's disrespectful towards you. 
  • He does favors for you or for other people in your life that are over the top generous and makes you feel uncomfortable. 
  • He's controlling (including in small ways).
  • He’s possessive. 
  • Nothing is ever his fault.
  • He pressures you for sex, and doesn’t care about your comfort level. [“If you love me, you’d have sex with me.” If he truly loved you, he wouldn't pressure you into having sex.]
  • He gets serious about your relationship really fast. [He says, “I love you” and talks about marriage and kids early on.] 
  • He intimidates you when he's angry. [You have a fight and you're like, “wow, he's off his rocker.” That's not good. It's okay to be angry, but if your anger is intimidating to that other person, and that person says it, if there's no acknowledgement of it like, “wow, I'm sorry. I didn't realize how I came across” and there's no change. That's a problem.]
  • He has double standards. [It's not okay for you to do certain things, but it's okay for him to do those things.] 
  • He treats you differently around other people. He might treat you better when you’re with others and do an about face the second those people disappear. 
  • He’s attracted to vulnerability. [If he’s older than you, he might flatter you and say, “Oh, you're so much more mature than me and you're amazing. You make me feel special.” etc., he's using that vulnerability of someone younger than him or someone who may have just gotten out of a bad relationship to his advantage.]

Steven Stosny says in his book says similar things, but slightly different. He says that warning signs to watch out for are:

  • Blaming. He blames his negative feelings and failures on someone else, never taking responsibility for his own actions. 
  • He's resentful. He thinks he's not getting the consideration, praise or attention that he deserves. He's entitled. He thinks he’s more special and deserves better treatment than others.
  • He acts superior. He’ll talk himself up and put other people down. 
  • He’s sarcastic. His sarcasm is hostile and devalues the person he’s being sarcastic towards.
  • He’s jealous. Even minor jealousy is a huge warning sign. He’ll eventually want to control who, what, when and where you’re able to interact with other people. Not cool. 
  • He rushes the relationship despite your discomfort with how fast things are going. 
  • He goes from being playful to angry really fast.

Prince Charming might put you on a pedestal and make you think that you're perfect. He wants someone who’s perfect and that's too much pressure for anyone. No one is perfect. We all put on our best faces on when we’re dating, but at some point, we want to wash the makeup off our face and be the casual version of ourselves. You shouldn’t be on a pedestal. That's a dangerous place to be. You’ll either fall off or be thrown off.

Prince Charming has problems. It’s easy to ignore those problems, push them aside or justify because Prince Charming puts on a good front. But if you heighten your awareness of what’s loving and what’s not in a relationship, you’ll be able to see more quickly where something’s off about that guy. You’ll be able to get out before you start really connecting with him. You don't want to be in a destructive relationship. It's hard to get out once you’re in. You want someone who’s already healthy, you don't want to hope that person will become healthy. Once you're locked into a relationship, those early warning signs that were there in the beginning will turn 1000 times worse.

I watched Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette in the winter of 2019. One of her bachelors was a guy named Luke P. If you watch clips from the show he’s a blatant example of someone who was manipulative, controlling, and who wanted power over Hannah B. 

In one episode, Hannah B is talking to Chris Harrison and she says, “I don't know if I'm falling in love with him or if he's making me go crazy.” And that my friend, is what Prince Charming will do. He wants you to fall in love with him, but he’ll also make you confused. If you know what to look out for, you can see Luke P exhibiting many of the warning signs already mentioned. A classic case of someone putting on the charm, making people think one thing of him, but actually treating Hannah B horribly, but not in obvious ways. You need to know what to look out for so you can avoid it right away.

When you know what the warning signs are, you have power to make better choices so you can avoid a relationship with Prince Charming.  

If you’re dating someone and you recognize some of these signs in his behavior, I encourage you to be willing to let that person go. 

Be in a relationship because you each enhance each other’s lives, not because you get your worth from being in a relationship. If you recognize any of the previously mentioned behaviors in your relationship, run for the hills. #worthit

Better to be in a good relationship with yourself than a bad relationship with someone else.


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