The upcoming release of Batman v Superman is a timely reminder that lots of women are looking for a Superman to sweep them off their feet. Someone exciting, mysterious, and full of big, romantic gestures. Unfortunately, these same men often have a dark side—just like Superman, they hide their vulnerabilities, can’t settle down, and prioritize their “missions” over their relationships.
So how does a woman in love tell the difference between a superhero and romantic kryptonite? Paul DePompo, PsyD is the founder of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Institute of Southern California and a trusted psychological consultant for Hollywood studios shares some advice to help women watch out for “supermen” who swoop in and out of your life. Bottom line–If you’re attracted to a Superhero type man, how can you make sure you don’t end up an angry Supervillainess?
MMSD: What is the allure when it comes to dating a Superhero-Type man?
Paul DePompo, PsyD: These men are exciting, attractive, chiseled, humorous and charming. ! They portray “limited edition” status. They have some mystery to them. There is a challenge to attain them. Their “bad boy going against authority and getting away with it” vibe is a big turn-on. These qualities make you feel like they are of higher worth! This “superhero” makes you feel: special, attractive, good enough, and stronger. The world seems open, full of possibilities, and conquerable.
MMSD: Sounds great. But, is there a component of “The rescued damsel-in-distress” fantasy at work?
Paul DePompo, PsyD: It is natural to want your man to be strong enough to come to your rescue, even if you don’t need him to. Superheroes are very drawn to damsels in distress. They are human and have their limitations so too often they leave their damsels in stress!
MMSD: How can this be a stressful dating choice?
Paul DePompo, PsyD: Initially, he swoops in and exceeds your expectations of what you need. The superhero has learned that this special power gets your love, appreciation, and admiration. Once you’re super into him … “Mission Accomplished!” Now he is on the lookout for other women in need.
Afraid that settling down would kill his superpowers, he is not willing to let go of the cape and tights. He sees himself as special and these missions are more important than close relationships. This ultimately leaves him with no close relationships and fears of settling.
MMSD:Can the Superhero be saved? If so, can’t this make the couple closer?
Paul DePompo, PsyD: You Cannot Save a Superhero, Only Self-Destruct Trying. Superheroes have their baggage to deal with before they can be in a healthy relationship. Though he has revealed some vulnerabilities to you, it doesn’t mean he wants to deal with them. He show you just enough of his soft human side to help you connect even closer. If he wanted that side of him to dominate, then he would just be Clark Kent! Your superhero would have to be ready to deal with the issues under his cape to experience a real relationship! More often than not, they would rather “fly-on” than dig deep.
MMSD:What is the most difficult part of dating a Superhero?
Paul DePompo, PsyD: In his current world, there is only room for one superhero. It isn’t possible to develop the intimacy needed for a good relationship if he is putting himself on a higher level. The result is that women can get trapped into thinking “they” are not good enough for him to make it work. The fact is that the superhero is simply not ready. It’s not his goal … and may never be. She is fighting to save “the perfect world” she desires with him, though “his world” is uninhabitable for the healthy relationship she deserves.
MMSD: What can someone who is currently dating a Superhero-type do for the possibility of good results?
Paul DePompo, PsyD: It’s important to reflect honestly on why you’re still on the pursuit for the caped man. Do you believe: “If he changes for me, then its true love;” “If I move on now, then it will all be for nothing?” Fact-checking these beliefs will help you see that your good intention is to “make it work.” Be assertive, flexible, and overall the best you and assess the results. It’s important to decide on if he never changes (which he likely won’t) is it worth it?
MMSD:That’s good advice. Any final thoughts to consider?
Paul DePompo, PsyD: Superheroes are entertaining. I would see them on the big-screen, but would not make them a part of my big-picture. Accepting that every superhero has his relational-limitations should strongly consider the values and true strengths that are most important for us to have a truly Super-Relationship. Thank you 😉