In her book, Stupid about Men: 10 Rules for Getting Romance Right, marriage and family therapist Deborah Dunn says that even the smartest women sometimes become stupid when making choices in their relationships with men. Here, she explains how women are addicted to romance, and why they are often tempted to believe love will conquer all. Here's 10 questions to help us all figure out the mistakes we make, and WHY we make them!
1. Why do so many otherwise reasonable women behave irrationally in their relationships with men?
A: I've noticed this disturbing trend in my therapy practice, and it's an addiction to romance. Romance is a drug that prevents women from having to deal with the tougher issues in their life, like aging, finances, significant stress, problems with their children, and many other things. It's an avoidance that's very similar to how men use sex. With the rise in men's addiction to pornography and Internet sex, I've seen an equivalent rise in women's focus on and cravings for the ultimate romantic experience. We all want that to a degree, but that's not the primary goal of long-term relationships.
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2. What are long-term relationships intended to provide?
A: Stability, companionship, creation of a home and family if that's what you desire, and some sense of a safe place to come home to and deal with the cares of the world.
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3. So, how does all of this relate to stupid behavior?
A: Stupid behavior is how I describe irrational behaviour that throws caution to the wind and causes women to hook up with men who are unsuitable or dangerous. The warning signs are there but they let their romantic feelings override. The motives are wrong – they're looking for someone to give them the castle or, if they're very wounded and have had very bad experiences, someone who's going to heal those wounds. So they go into a relationship with an unrealistic expectation of what marriage or a long-term relationship is going to be. They look to that other person to heal those wounds when they really should be healing those wounds with a therapist.
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4. Why do you use fairytale narratives, referencing characters like Cinderella and Snow White, and how do they relate to some of the most common mistakes women make?