I want you to imagine your perfect guy…

Your Prince Charming.

Imagine him sitting across from you, looking into your eyes, his smile warming your heart.

See his strong cheekbones, his hair falling over the nape of his neck, his square shoulders leaning towards you, the callused lines of his hands.

He is everything you ever imagined.

And he’s yours.

Now, you may not have met him yet…

But don’t you feel certain you will recognize him instantly?

You’ve been living with this dream for so long.

Every time you meet someone new, you automatically check to see if this guy is your Prince Charming. You search his gaze. Are there butterflies in your belly? Is this the man you’ve always been waiting for?

This is Prince Charming Syndrome.

It’s the tendency we all have to have a dream partner, our ideal person, and measure all of our real-life partners against it.

Prince Charming Syndrome is completely normal and natural, but it can have a dark side.

When you seek your Prince Charming in all the men you meet, you stop seeing the individual men in front of you.

You weigh them against an impossible ideal.

And you miss the possibility of real love with a real guy, a love that’s far better than any dream.

Real Love vs. Dream Love

One of the key traits of Prince Charming is that he’s perfect.

You don’t fight with Prince Charming. He never hurts you. He sweeps you off your feet. You have an absolute knowing that he is the one.

Real-life love doesn’t really work like that.

When it’s real love, you’re not falling in love with a dream. You’re falling in love with a real person.

This person has flaws, idiosyncrasies, and a past that isn’t perfect. They come to the relationship with different wants, needs, and expectations of the future.

The work of love is to come together with a deep commitment to honoring each other and negotiating the complexities of life.

But the dream of love can get in the way.

It’s so tempting to believe that there is someone out there who matches the fantasy you’ve had since you were a little girl.

When you find a man who seems to match that template, it feels like a miracle. All your dreams are coming true.

Then you are together for a while…

And the honeymoon period gives way to the reality check.

You start to realize all the way in which he doesn’t match up to the dream.

It feels like a huge let-down. You mistook him for your dream man. But he’s not Prince Charming at all. He’s just a guy.

You find yourself thinking, “I picked the wrong guy. I’d better keep searching.”

Prince Charming Syndrome keeps you chasing a dream instead of investing in the difficult, messy work of exploring life with someone new.

How can you defeat Prince Charming Syndrome to find real love?

These 3 tips can help.

#1. Check your expectations.

Prince Charming Syndrome weighs down relationships with so many expectations and assumptions.

You may not even be conscious of it, but on a subconscious level you’re thinking:

“If this guy is my dream guy, he will be like this, or he will do this.”

What you’re doing is trying to see if this guy fits the ideal in your head, rather than trying to get to know the very real man in front of you.

When you check your expectations at the door, you can explore a possible connection with a man with curiosity.

He doesn’t have to be your dream guy. He can just be who he is.

#2. Set your sights on a real guy.

Real guys will disappoint you.

They’ll say the wrong thing. They’ll forget to reply to your texts. They’ll fail to see some of the things that make you happy.

But you can’t have love any other way.

Real love isn’t necessarily love at first sight. It grows over time.

If you meet a guy for the first time and your heart doesn’t go pitter-patter, don’t cross him off your list.

Get to know him. Find out what makes him tick. Enjoy him for who he is, rather than hoping he turns out to be the man you want him to be.

#3. Focus on YOU, not him.

Just because you can’t have Prince Charming doesn’t mean you can’t have all the love you’ve ever dreamed of.

The trick is to switch your focus.

Instead of focusing on him—whether he meets your expectations, whether he lives up to the ideal inside your head—focus on yourself.

How do you want to feel when you’re in a really good, healthy relationship?

Do you want to feel safe? Seen? Secure?

Do you want to be able to talk about your feelings freely? Do you want to be able to talk about the future?

Then ask yourself the key question:

How do you FEEL when you are with this guy?

The feeling of a good, healthy relationship is a sign pointing you in the right direction—not the direction of Prince Charming, but the direction of love that can last.

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