He’s devoted. Also sensitive. Oh, and he’s handsome.
And he is ruining your relationship. Okay, maybe Ryan Gosling is not actually doing anything wrong. He’s making a good buck entertaining grown up little girls. He appeals to those who like the Cinderella story. But he also reaches those who want someone a little more lifelike than that wooden Prince Charming.
It may sound silly, but the romance or romantic comedy genres really seem to have a subtle but persistent influence in our culture. If I had a nickel for every woman who has compared her relationship (unfavorably) to the one in the movie “The Notebook,” I could pay someone to restore a big beautiful dream house for me, shirtless.
The movie may be more than ten years old, but somehow that screen depiction of undying love has captured the imagination of women for what seems like all time.
Despite his many wonderful attributes, here are some of the ways this person should be on your “most wanted” list, but not in a good way:
- He sends the message of unconditional love and undying adoration and asks nothing of you, nothing at all. You are home in your robe and slippers eating Ben & Jerry’s and he looks longingly into your eyes the way your husband doesn’t because he’s not turned on by your ancient pajamas. Oh, wait, those are his ancient pajamas.
- He dedicates himself, with no hope or reason, to make you happy and to live a life that you would love because he can’t move on and go build a life around anything but your hopes and dreams. His needs are your needs, his dreams yours, his hopes, yours. You might want to tell him to “get a life,” but he won’t because he’s all about you. He just wants to be the handsome version of you. And he wants you to compare all men to him.
- He always looks great, smells great, and, in the end, says all of the right things, every time. Whoever you are dating, or married to, may seem pretty flawed by comparison.
- He encourages you to believe that true “love” is about finding Mr. Perfect out there waiting to make everything better for you, which can seriously mess with the important business of learning how to grow yourself and a relationship over time.
I could go on, but I wouldn’t want to risk hurting Ryan’s feelings. You get the point. The worst thing Ryan is doing is being the human equivalent of a couch and bucket of Ben & Jerry’s and maybe distracting people from seeing what’s right in front of us, and from seeing what WE need to do, for ourselves, which inspires others to be their best as well.
Margie Wheelhouse is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Springfield, Illinois. She helps couples build great relationships and repair broken ones.