For all of the Disney loving fans out there, this next statement will probably upset you: Disney has killed romance. Well, maybe "killed" is too harsh. Disney has ruined romance. But how can Disney ruin romance when it practically invented it? How can Cinderella, Snow White, The Little Mermaid and all the other classic movies be bad for romance? The simple answer is that in real life, it doesn't work that way.
The long story is that it sets up a poor model for honest and true romance, with lofty and unrealistic expectations on what love is and how two people do fall in love. It reinforces the model that a man has to earn the right to be with a "good" woman, and a "good" woman is only good if she has a man trying to prove his worth to her.
This creates a dilemma for both men and women. Women are taught that if a man isn't trying to impress her, isn't trying to win over her love by showing how heroic he is or how worthy of her love he is, then something must be wrong with her. For if no man is willing to go to the ends of the earth for her and win her approval, then something must be flawed about her.
For the man, he feels as though he must do everything to win her approval. He has to do something that stands out, something that is heroic in her eyes, and only then will he receive the stamp of approval from her. The power is in the woman's hand. This creates the model that women believe that true love comes from the knight in shining armor that will sweep her off her feet and the man has to live up to that.
But here is the problem: in the real world, that isn't attractive. That's why this plot is reserved for movies. Sure, it is romantic, but it is not realistic. Why? Because this type of behavior for men is needy. Men feel like they need to do everything for the woman in order to get the woman to fall for them. They have to buy her a drink, they have to show her his monetary possessions, they have to go to the places she wants to go and do the activities she wants to do. The man believes that he must do what she wants to do because that will make her most happy. He has no boundaries. He becomes a push-over. And what is so attractive about a push-over? Nothing really.
True romance comes from a deep emotional connection between partners. It is a mutual understanding between both partners. The woman does not decide whether the man wins her over; there is no stamp of approval in real romance. Attractive behavior is not about trying to impress someone over. It comes from knowing one's individual wants and desires and trying to find someone who has similar wants and desires.
When that happens, a deeper emotional bond can blossom, which can turn into authentic romance. Even if a man finds a woman attractive or vice versa, if there is not an emotional spark between the two, a truly attractive person will have the strength to walk away from that situation and continue looking for someone more compatible. He or she has boundaries that prevent needy behavior that comes from trying to force another to like him or her.
If Disney has one idea right, it may be that there is the perfect person out there for you. Your "soulmate" is out there. However, you will never find him or her by trying to impress someone, or waiting for him to sweep you off your feet. He or she will not magically appear before your eyes. Know the type of person you want and go after them.