The Power of Fantasy and Overly Generous Women

“To answer your question,” said Abigail, “I always gave Oscar the benefit of the doubt. That’s how I put up with him.”                                                                                                          The Great Man by Kate Christensen

Women find it so easy to fall in love with their idea of who someone is and then maintain a foolish generosity towards the other person. They ignore actions that are a better source of truth and love to be seduced by words. The words make you feel good and if the words are being said by a married man who cheats on his wife, how easy it is to trick yourself into believing you’re special and it won’t happen to you. Listen to your own inner voice that offers the warning, to slow down and be careful, like the canaries did in the coal mines long ago. So often women share with me their sorrow and the consequences of not listening to their own inner voice. “I knew something was wrong,” or “How could I not know something was wrong?”(Certainly this is not the exclusive provenance of women). Here are only 4 of the many reasons women overcome their doubts, too often to their own misfortune:

1. We are all foolish for love.

2. We are afraid to be alone.

3. We are desperate.

4. We love our fantasies (and hate to acknowledge reality).

Often women can pinpoint the date when “things changed” and then when they ask, they are always reassured. It’s a very hard thing to learn to pay attention to the actions because words are so easy. It’s the words that nurture the fantasy. It’s the fantasy that women refuse to neglect. So imagine someone who is lovely in their 30’s and is attracted to a rich man in his 50’s, who has a reputation of being obnoxious. She loves the sex and the idea of being taken care of even when she knows deep down she’ll never survive his expectations. There is also the research based reality that older men have a greater likelihood of producing autistic children. The power of fantasy will beat the harsher reality every time. The early worries when dating such as, “Does he drink too much?” or “He really doesn’t want kids” are ignored until too much has been invested in the fantasy.

The Disney version of The Little Mermaid makes it acceptable to pay a great price for love. Did Cinderella need the fairy godmother ride to the ball or could she have walked? Sleeping Beauty would be at rest forever if the prince hadn’t rescued her. All of these examples are about women being passive and not taking care of themselves. I fell in love with Ellen Ripley in Aliens in 1979 because she was so courageous and powerful. (The American Film Institute made her the 8th greatest hero in cinema history)  I still remember sitting in the front row (because it was sold out) and knowing with certainty Ripley was fully capable of winning and being self-protective. It was a unique film experience and unforgettable.  Not since Annie Oakley on t.v. in 1959 was there any female character that strong.

Generosity and fantasy are an important part of the beginnings of love. We ignore the farts or honking laugh because we’re in love. Yet, fantasy should not erase real scary character flaws. Asking the nagging questions and risking the answers matters. Can we have fun together without dope or drinking? Can you choose me when it really matters or will your family of origin always come first? Do you have a lot of credit card debt? Have you been tested for STD’s?Are we monogamous? I’m very surprised how many people still have sex without a condom. They look ashamed when they admit it, and yet it still happens. Another example of over-generosity is that many spouses “forget” to even consider asking their partner who’ve admitted an affair whether or not they’ve used a condom.

What is the opposite of being overly generous? Take a moment to try to answer that before going on to the next sentence. I mentioned it when I described Ripley. Generosity matters and it needs to be balanced by self-protection. Swallowing only what’s told, hinted at or suggested is not enough. Self-protection doesn’t mean control. Love entails risk, generosity, failure, rejection, excitement, belief, respect, vulnerability, truth and a wise dose of self-protection.

We live in a difficult world and fantasies are very appealing. It’s why the whirlwind weekend vacation away is so powerful in fueling romance. Fantasy is seductive and offers relief. Instead of grabbing the idea; “At last, I’ve found him” too quickly, consider slowing things down to find out who someone is. As the comedian Steve Harvey says in his new book; how about no sex for 90 days? Sex, too quickly, is the fuel for fantasies which are then built without any infrastructure.

Another solution to the fantasy problem is to figure out how to enjoy your life alone. Volunteer, subscribe to the arts, take piano lessons or learn a language. Do something to make yourself and your life more interesting to you. Then you won’t be so quick to give it all up and leave yourself behind.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “The Power of Fantasy and Overly Generous Women

  1. kaylarobertson says:

    Rhoda,

    I know you’ve responded to my posts before and helped me out and I could use the help now. My boyfriend and I have to be apart for the holidays because of family situations. It’s so hard on me.

    I spend most of my time questioning if I really love him or if I’m just terrible and only want to control someone or if I only love him because he’s willing to put up with my insecure bullshit and if we won’t have anything left if I’m not insecure. I hate the way I am. I feel like I need to control his schedule. If I don’t know what he’s doing every moment I obsess. I’m just grouchy. I’ve tried finding other things to do and other things to occupy my mind, it just…it’s really really challenging for me. I do know that I love him- I couldn’t ask for a smarter guy who’s more sensitive or makes me laugh more. We’re like best friends. I’ve read on codependency like you suggested and I’m not sure that’s the issue. It’s really hard right now because I don’t look forward to actually talking to him so much as I just look forward to him calling me so that I know he’s thinking about me. I’ve tried to discover what I want, what I need but it’s not easy for me. I’ve tried several ways to “distract” myself (new hobbies, etc) and nothing seems to work.
    I try to respect him. I know what I’m doing is wrong and that he deserves better and maybe that’s what hurts most. I don’t know why he stays with me. I often ask him if he respects himself and knows that it shouldn’t be like this and tell him that just because I have a hard time trusting him, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t deserve trust.

    I’d really appreciate a post about something related or a reply. Thanks and enjoy the Holidays.

    Kayla

    • rhodasommer says:

      Codependency is a way to squelch anxiety with control. Learning to be able to be alone does not mean adding a few hobbies. It means down deep deciding to find out who you are and doing the hard work of defining yourself without somebody else doing it for you. Ask yourself do you want him to love you no matter what? That is not something grownups demand. Read Relationship triangles on the website to learn more about that. Thanks for continuing to read. Remember posts can’t be a substitute for counseling. I will write more about this in January.

      • kaylarobertson says:

        Thanks, Rhoda. I’ve read through that section a few times, I promise. It just seems so far away (being independent I mean). I’ve been in counseling but not of my counselors have done anything but seem like crackpots and piss me off. They say the same things again and again regardless of whether or not they make sense or help me out- that’s why I turn to you. Take Care!

      • rhodasommer says:

        If you don’t trust your therapist it’s not going to work. You have to be able to be honest with them when you disagree. They also have to be able to be honest with you about the work you have to do. Bring your anger into therapy and see if you can be a part of improving the relationship and not just miserable & stuck. Try to have a Merry Christmas even without your boyfriend. Rhoda

  2. kaylarobertson says:

    Thanks, Rhoda. I’m trying. A lot of them I just don’t like their approach. And I get worn down quickly- start to feel hopeless like it won’t matter if I say anything. I think a huge part of it is not hating myself. I get so angry at the way I am and think hed be better off without me. I swear it gets so frustrating I could beat my head off of a wall several times because I don’t understand why I think the way I do and can’t seem to change it. It’s so hard for me not to think about him all the time. And then I get angry at him for not calling me and then I feel bad because I know I shouldn’t be angry. I know you’ve seen the cycle a million times. I’m trying to trust him- that he loves me and can do things without me, etc. It’s really tough though and I know it should be. But I also feel terrible because when he doesn’t call I don’t worry that something’s gone wrong- I worry that he’s not thinking about me and therefore doesn’t love me. It’s just a big, looming, obnoxious pit in my stomach. that makes me feel terrible- like if I loved him enough I’d be worried about him, not just pissed off.

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your help but know that you’re a great blessing in my life. You’re great at what you do and it does make a difference.

    • rhodasommer says:

      You are Absolutely correct that men do this too & (500) Days of Summer (the movie) makes that clear. I just think that, while it is part of the human condition, women seem to relie on it more. All that Disney version of fairytales while Grim’s version prepared me for the world in a more real way. Thanks for reading.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s