Last week a talked a little bit about co-dependency and about the seemingly romantic but actually unhealthy attitudes some women have about love. This week let’s look at the men. Romance novels, especially secular romance novels, sometimes give awful ideas about what to look for in a man. The male lead in a romance novel is traditionally called a "hero," but the truth is that sometimes he is anything but.
Here are some typical romance heroes to avoid.
The Sweeper – You know, the guy who sweeps you off your feet. He comes out of nowhere and makes you dizzy with desire. He throws your life into to disarray, making you forget your goals and priorities, maybe even your family or religious values. Chances are, this guy is a controller. Possibly even an abuser. He wants to catch you quickly while you are off guard and before you can really see his true colors.
The First-Sighter – This guy decides in an instant that he is in love with you, and he simply must have you. Now, it is true that some intuitive people will sense a deep potential connection very early in a relationship, but those guys will be patient and willing to give time for things to grow and develop naturally. The first-sighter is more likely driven by physical attraction, chemistry, and lust. Don’t fall for it. Those things are short-lived, and once they wear off, you might find there is nothing more to the relationship. And the next time he falls in love with a woman at first sight, guess who will be left in the dust.
The Charmer – The charmer seems too good to be true—because he is. Everything out of his mouth is a compliment. He takes you to fancy places and buys you expensive gifts. When you really think hard enough about it, you might not really know who he is or what he wants out of life. But you like the way he makes you feel and you love how much he wants you. This guy is a class “A” manipulator, so expect to be manipulated for the rest of your life. And once you actually marry him, there’s no telling what you might actually have in store. He might be controlling, or a cheat, or a conman extraordinaire.
The Rescuer – The rescuer has to be a hero. He wants to fix you, to save you, and to make you a better person—because, let’s face it, you’re just a woman and clearly too weak to take care of yourself. Don’t get me wrong, a supportive, helpful man is worth his weight in gold. But he should respect you and see your strengths as well. In a healthy relationship, support goes both ways. The rescuer will probably want to call the shots for the rest of your life. He is another potential controller and/or abuser.
The Bad Boy – The bad boy always seems sexy. He’s wounded, and he’s misunderstood. If only he could find the right woman, all would be well. Except that it doesn’t works that way in the real world. Although you might temporarily bring out his better side, you can’t save the bad boy. You might be able to inspire him and point him in the right direction, but stay far, far away until you see ample evidence of lasting change. In truth, the bad boy will most likely remain a criminal, or unemployed loser, or drug-addict, drunk, gambler, rage-aholic, whatever it might be...and only get worse as life goes on.
Okay, those are some “heroes” to avoid. Maybe what we should be looking for isn’t a hero at all. Maybe we should be looking for regular guys with good character. I’ll talk more about that next time.
But for now, what are some things that you love in a regular guy/romance hero?