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Relationships: Dial down the hero complex?

There are times when we are most attracted to the people that really need us.  I think it’s especially true with men, who seem to have an innate need to protect and provide.  I often wonder how that drives the way we select mates.

Do you think that we have a little bit of the hero complex dynamic playing out in our relationships?

When I think of hero complex, I imagine someone who gets extreme pleasure from rescuing (perceived or otherwise) someone they are dating.  Whether it is financially, emotionally, or whatever need you believe you can and should fulfill – it’s what appeals to you.

Have you ever gone through a hero complex phase? Everyone you dated was  a “project,” or was someone you swooped in and saved from uncertain disaster.   How did that play out when they no longer needed to be rescued?

Everyone wants to feel needed, but how can you tell when your desire to be needed is actually problematic because you have to be the”hero?”

By Wise Diva, Misadventures in Atlanta Dating Blog

274 comments Add your comment

J LO

April 14th, 2011
7:45 am

I’m so Beautiful…who needs a Hero!

SlimNumeroUno

April 14th, 2011
8:14 am

Mawnin’

I’m not going to go as far as saying I seem to always gravitate towards someone I feel I can fulfill a need of…however, doesn’t everyone want to feel needed in some shape, form, or capacity? And if ‘needed’ is too strong of a word, don’t we all want to feel that we are ADDING something to the life of a person we’re dating?

Geechee

April 14th, 2011
8:19 am

My last wife was virtually bankrupt when I met her and I stepped in and made tough decisions for her, helped her sell her house, paid off a good chunk of her credit cards and moved her into my home & took care of her and her children while she worked through the rest of her debt.

Years later, as her career blossomed and she started making more money than me, I was amazed to find out that my money was her money and her money was her money. When she starting disrespecting me on all decisions, like the time she went out and bought a car without any discussions, we were done.

I’m done with being a hero. Give me an independent, self-assured, financially & emotionally stable woman only for now on.

Dan - Simply....Superior

April 14th, 2011
8:24 am

Eliza Dolittle

http://www.readabook.com

This problem has played out for centuries, you rescue the “wounded bird” and it poops in your hand the minute it gets better.

That’s why the addage remains true: “Don’t save [her], [she] don’t wanna be saved”

LeeH1

April 14th, 2011
8:57 am

Try to save a drowning woman, and she’ll pull you under. Then she will use your dumb carcass as her life raft.

Geechee

April 14th, 2011
9:02 am

And I patched up your broken wing
And hung around a while
Tried to keep your spirits up
And your fever down
I knew someday that you would fly away
For love’s the greatest healer to be found
So leave me if you need to
I will still remember
Angel flying too close to the ground

Willie Nelson excerpt from “Angel Flying too close to the Ground”

Fion

April 14th, 2011
9:19 am

@Geechee

Well, Geechee I usually don’t drink Bourbon (Brown Liquor for you Neophyte’s) before
Noon, but after that little piece of Willie, it’s Noon somewhere!!!!

Joe Mama

April 14th, 2011
9:28 am

What Geechee said.

AmazonRed™

April 14th, 2011
9:31 am

Morning all -

I’ve been on my own since I left for college, so I’m pretty good at being self-reliant. It’s hard for me to have others “help” me. Even if it’s sincere, you run the risk of it not being and a person trying to control you or expect something in return.

Since I will date a guy 10 years my senior, I found that that group is the one most trying to be a hero. However, it just comes across as you trying to be my dad. And I already have a great one, so no thanks.

Leggs

April 14th, 2011
9:37 am

Good morning!

A few years ago I ran into an old friend. He was glad to hear about my divorce since he’s been waiting in the wings for me to become single again. I laughed it off when he said this to me, but it struck a nerve for some reason. We exchanged numbers, went on a date or two, only to find out all he talked about was how he “needed to be needed.” He wanted to assist me with certain things, but the pull in my brain always had me decline his offers. I had a strong sense that if I allowed him to assist in whatever my plight might have been at the time I would be indebted to him. There was just something about him that had me saying “No” at all his offers. Not sure if this makes sense, but he “offered” too much all the time.

TenderRoni

April 14th, 2011
9:38 am

GM,
Is it going to be woman-bashing stories today..geesh

SlimNumeroUno

April 14th, 2011
9:39 am

Maybe i’m here to show you how to love again, or for the 1st time ever.
Take your heart up from Ice cold to Luke warm level
Set aside my own feelings, prune and set you free
But my heart too invested, to wanna let you go will be the death of me.

Everything I love I lose…so who was to think it wouldn’t include you?

*snap, snap, snap* ;-)

Dan - Simply....Superior

April 14th, 2011
9:43 am

You write that Slim?

Super Swiss

April 14th, 2011
9:47 am

Side note — this person could have used a hero… D@mn… “A train has made contact with a person…” — Well, I guess that’s one way to put it…

SlimNumeroUno

April 14th, 2011
9:47 am

Fion

April 14th, 2011
9:47 am

Slim, you eatin Mushrooms this early??????

Dan - Simply....Superior

April 14th, 2011
9:49 am

@Slim

That was really nice. That’s what’s up.

You going to/ever performed?

Malik

April 14th, 2011
9:54 am

This is such an ironic topic as I was laying in bed last nite analyzing my behavior in my most recent break up and discovered that I may have a bit of a HERO complex. I am college educated and well employed, yet my last 2 relationships have been with women that were in need of saving. We had good chemistry, but were not on par with life accomplishments. Subconciously, I think that this created a scenario for me in which it validated my manhood to be the one was the most stable in the relationship.
What I realize looking back is that I made a serious mistake. There is usually ALWAYS a reason a person hasn’t gotten their life together by 30-40 years old. These reason may not be visible on the surface but you will in time have your life effected by it. The lesson I have learned is that a relationship is often like a business partnership. Never go into business with someone who doesnt have the skills or a proven track record unless failure is your objective.

Geechee

April 14th, 2011
9:54 am

@Fion: I’ll drink with you.

SlimNumeroUno

April 14th, 2011
10:00 am

Fion – I’ve never had a desire to try shrooms especially given where they derive from. You probably aren’t that familiar with me but I like to write sometimes. Only high i’m on at the moment is this Medium cup of caffeine high ;-)

Dan – Thanks I really appreciate the compliment. I would like to get up the nerve to perform something i’ve written before but i have a MAJOR fear of public speaking. So i’m sure that performance is far off from happening any time soon.

SexyCool

April 14th, 2011
10:00 am

For a while, I had a tendency to get involved with dudes that needed some “propping up.” I would go into it telling myself that they had potential, that they just needed a good woman.

I learned the hard way, that all the “good woman” in the world is not enough to save some folks from the results of past bad decisions and continued inability to make good decisions.

There have been situations that I had to step away from because I didn’t want that person’s bad judgement to bring me down.

Fion

April 14th, 2011
10:01 am

@Malik

Straight talk, when you young and (dumb) ready to take the World by storm, you may get caught up and think you can be Sir Galahad to a woman.
After you go round the block a couple of times you learn real quick,

“Man if she ain’t ready to go leave her where you find her”.

SexyCool

April 14th, 2011
10:03 am

There is a difference between a man who has potential and is striving to reach it and you can partner with to make a nice life and a guy who’s just a regular phck-up and will drag you down and beat you over the head with his failure to launch.

TenderRoni

April 14th, 2011
10:05 am

@Slim- I liked the poem too, especially the first two lines.

SexyCool

April 14th, 2011
10:07 am

Malik – this -> “There is usually ALWAYS a reason a person hasn’t gotten their life together by 30-40 years old.” bears repeating.

Melania

April 14th, 2011
10:09 am

I think my Guardian Angel is Bi-Polar…SMDH

SexyCool

April 14th, 2011
10:09 am

Slim—snaps…

Dan - Simply....Superior

April 14th, 2011
10:12 am

@Slim

You got more courage in writing than you’ll ever need to perform.

You’ve done the hard part, the rest is easy; and when you get there, let me know – I wanna (free) ticket

Simple Man!!!!!

April 14th, 2011
10:13 am

Slim1 @ 9:39….
Nice….

Leggs

April 14th, 2011
10:15 am

@SlimNU ~ I’m your #1 fan (said like Kathy Bates in Misery). :wink:

SexyCool

April 14th, 2011
10:17 am

Uht-oh, SlimGoody. Watch out…or you’ll be chained to a bed with broken ankles.

SlimNumeroUno

April 14th, 2011
10:18 am

Leggs – I don’t know whether to give you a thank you hug or to run. :lol:

Thanks everybody :cry:

kimmie

April 14th, 2011
10:19 am

Morning All!

Agreeing with Malik, Amred & SCool. Especially SCool about the potential versus just plain lazy loser.

“Project”/needy men have never appealed to me.

It’s also a difference when you are already married to someone and an issue comes up with them. I’m loyal and will be by your side to help you thru the issue. But just coming out of the gate, just meeting someone with certain issues – work it out and get yourself together first.

Purple Rain

April 14th, 2011
10:25 am

I like for a woman to have her life in order or at least a plan. The only thing I have for her is love and motivation and dedication. If she wants me for more than that, I don’t have anything else to offer.

Dan - Simply....Superior

April 14th, 2011
10:26 am

I’m saying though,

How you know at what stage in the game you catch somebody?

I mean, that person could be down and not want to get up; or be on the way up. I guess that’s just my upbringing, I’ll be there to help pull you up but grounded enough not to fall in with you.

SexyCool

April 14th, 2011
10:29 am

Men I learned to avoid:
Multiple baby mommas
Not paying child support
Not actively involved in parenting or attempting to do so
Involved in criminal activity
Always trying to get over (different that trying to get ahead)
Always, ALWAYS seeking the hook-up or being the hook-up man
Lacking integrity
Underemployed / Unemployed
Momma’s boys
Stuffed shirts
Control freaks

SexyCool

April 14th, 2011
10:30 am

Oh…forgot…
Bad/No money management skills…
Lazy (thanks for the word, kimmie)

SexyCool

April 14th, 2011
10:35 am

Dan…this is where I learned to apply *my* 90 day/probationary period rule of keeping a rein on my emotions until I knew more about a person.

You can usually tell within a relatively short timefram whether or not a person is making strides or if they are stuck in place.

Most often, it shows in things like whether or not they do what they say they are going to do and in little things like whether or not they report to work when they are supposed to, how they talk about their plans and whether or not they are even making baby steps towards those plans or if they are just blowing smoke.

AmazonRed™

April 14th, 2011
10:38 am

this is where I learned to apply *my* 90 day/probationary period rule of keeping a rein on my emotions until I knew more about a person.

You can usually tell within a relatively short timefram whether or not a person is making strides or if they are stuck in place.

Amen! *puts $10 in the collection plate*

Take your time folks!

DreamsMaterialize "Free Me-Lo"

April 14th, 2011
10:39 am

Morning

I think it’s especially true with men, who seem to have an innate need to protect and provide.
I think it’s equally true of both genders. Women seem to have an innate need to nurture, and this leads them to try (usually unsuccessfully) to clean a guy up, dust him off, help him through some things. Helping another person reveals a strength in you, and everyone likes that feeling. We just have to try not to overextend ourselves.

Danelle- My Testimony

April 14th, 2011
10:40 am

@ Dan – Good point. I was that person that was down during a season in my life. Well educated, but who had been through some things…divorce, financial issues, you know the nightmare. Anyway, thank God the man that I met during that point in my life did not hold my circimstances against me. He gave me love, freindship and support ( not financial). Life has changed for me, I am back…great job, happy and at peace. He was my HERO and I am so greatful and proud of the man that recognized me through my darkness…looked over my faults to see my needs. He is now my fiance and I trust him with my good day and bad ones. Ladies, if a man can not see your worth despite of your circumstance….he may not be the man that God has sent.

Blessings to You all!

SlimNumeroUno

April 14th, 2011
10:40 am

SexyCool – that’s a pretty good list of red flags

kimmie

April 14th, 2011
10:46 am

How you know at what stage in the game you catch somebody?

Dan – Assess the situation and figure it out. It may depend on what the issues are and at what stage one is in their life. It’s a difference if you’re in your early 20’s and trying to find your way. It is a whole different ballgame at 30, 40+. And you can be a friend to someone and help them but not take on a romantic relationship with them.

SexyCool

April 14th, 2011
10:46 am

Danelle – glad to see you in a great place. I can hear the joy in heart.

I have been in that same place and know countless others that have as well. However, there is a different energy around a person who has a solid foundation and high motivation, determination as opposed to a person who lacks what is fundamental to improving their lot.

Purple Rain

April 14th, 2011
10:47 am

SexyCool what is Stuff Shirts, fat?

SexyCool

April 14th, 2011
10:49 am

(lol), P-lito. Siddity, arrogant, full of themselves, unbending, unyielding.

Raqi V

April 14th, 2011
10:49 am

Well Jesus is my Savior and Saving Power so I don’t need a hero. And I learned when I encounter someone that needs saving to point them to Jesus.

Raqi V

April 14th, 2011
10:52 am

SexyCool what is Stuff Shirts, fat?

PurpleR, you don’t know a lot of common things I have noticed.

Oh and I told my sister-friend last night that you named your son Dante. (You would have to know the whole story to know why that matters, so don’t ask)

Raqi V

April 14th, 2011
10:53 am

It’s nice to be wanted but the worst case of neediness I have encountered was with the Nature Guy.

i'm swiss™ ("FREE ME.LO")

April 14th, 2011
10:54 am

Raqi — BTW, you were right — Aunt Flo showed up last night…. (I’m gonna start calling you the “Womb Whisperer”) :lol: