Knight In Shining Armor Syndrome

Knight In Shining Armor Syndrome

Copyright (c) 2007 Lucia D

Unless you just came out of a coma, you know that the late Anna Nicole Smiths ex-boyfriend is Larry Birkhead. He has been in the news since he announced he was the father of Dannielynn. One interviewer asked him why he continued to stay in the relationship despite Anna Nicoles drug use. He said he thought he could "save her". He had "knight in shining armor syndrome".

In her book, "Why We Love" author Helen Fisher states that: Millions of years of protecting and providing for women has bred into the male brain this tendency to choose women they feel they need to save. What separates man from animal is his ability to think and reason. Just because it may be natural for men to be chivalrous, it doesnt mean they cant place a limit on just how far they will go.

Should they open a door, pull out a chair, take a womans hand when crossing the street or give her their jacket if shes cold? Absolutely. Should they try to save a woman whose life is a mess? They do so at their own peril.

Men try to save damsels in distress because it makes them feel powerful, in control and manly. Sometimes they are afraid of women and think they wont be rejected if they fix a womans problems. They hide their inadequacies behind what looks like strength. They know they dont have their act together, so instead of working on themselves theyd rather work on someone else. Such relationships are doomed to fail.

If these men really were strong, they would not be trying to save someone that appears to be a victim. They dont realize that aside from a few circumstances beyond ones control (acts of God, accidents, disease, etc.) ones position in life is based on who they are on the inside, not someone or something "out there". There is an axiom that says: There are no victims, only volunteers.

Knights believe that if the woman gets better, shell become the perfect girlfriend. The only problem is that if she does become healthy, she will not want to be with someone who is so flawed that he tolerated being with a "broken-winged bird". Healthy people do not want to be with unhealthy people.

On the other hand, if she doesnt get better, the man will never have the perfect girlfriend because he wont get his needs met. In addition, his fears of an intimate relationship will not be repaired by staying with an inadequate woman. Its a no-win situation.

Why else do men choose damsels in distress? According to Dr. Laura in her book, "Ten Things Men Do To Mess Up Their Lives" other reasons for "stupid chivalry" are: guilt for past transgressions and lifestyles, feelings of real or imagined inadequacies, fear of the pain of abandonment, loneliness, ego aggrandizement, fears about womens (aka Moms) approval and acceptance and a fragmented sense of masculinity. If youre currently trying to be a knight in shining armor, whats your reason?

Just because a man doesnt acknowledge that a woman is responsible for her circumstances, it doesnt mean those same circumstances wont come back to bite him in the butt at some future date. Larry Birkheads life is now chaotic as the result of trying to save a woman whose life was chaotic. Would you want to be in his shoes?


Lucia is a dating/relationship expert, syndicated columnist, author of "Lucias Lessons of Love" and host of the TV Show "The Art of Love". For more information, go to: