When a woman is in a long-term relationship and it has grown stale, she tends to engage in what I call magical thinking. It’s part of the process of mourning the loss of romantic love; after the shock, denial, and betrayal fade, you begin to bargain with the powers that be. But then you realize that bargaining isn’t really getting you anywhere (unless you loop back to the denial stage) and you start casting around for lifelines.
Enter stage left: Prince Charming. He may be a coworker, a friend, or the husband of a friend (double jeopardy there). He listens to your complaints about your love life, he compliments you and tells you that your husband is a fool for not seeing the beauty and magnificence of you. He is charming and irresistible, but unfortunately he’s not real.
Let’s face it ladies, Prince Charming is not coming. If there’s a man in your life who is not your partner and who looks a lot like Prince Charming … run, don’t walk, away! If you land in the arms and the bed of another man to escape your current relationship, you’re just going to find out that it’s the same guy with a different face. It might take a month, a year, or even ten years to figure it out, but one day you’ll wake up and wonder how you ended up with the same guy in a different body. Do yourself a favor and wait at least a year before getting involved with someone else. And if you suspect your partner’s having an affair, let yourself be soothed by the fact that he’s getting another opportunity to work on the shit he’s trying to avoid with you.
It’s a shockingly common occurrence for this Prince Charming wannabe to come sniffing around. I think they’re attracted by the scent given off by a woman in a stale relationship. That scent is part boredom, part loneliness, and part built-up sexual tension (okay, it’s probably the last part they’re attracted to). And who knows, maybe they have their own fantasies about rescuing fair maidens. But the fact is, fairy tales aren’t real so don’t be fooled.
This man becomes extremely attractive to a woman in this situation for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he is a man paying attention to you, which is something your ego greatly appreciates. Second, because of this attention, he makes you feel attractive (and maybe younger) again. He actually listens to you, and pays you compliments—what more could you ask for? And third, the prospect of being alone is absolutely terrifying for most people, especially if you’ve been in a relationship for a long time.
Most women are unable to resist Prince Charming, but if you’re one of the lucky few, you will be amply rewarded. You’ll get the opportunity to get reacquainted with yourself, to uncover and remember what’s good and wonderful and sexy about you. When you’re happy with yourself, you’re better equipped to be happy in a relationship when the time comes.