Slaying the Myth of the Romantic Hero

Releasing the Female Romantic Projection

I want to acknowledge Lyvea Rose for partaking in expansive and engaging conversations on the Romantic Hero themes portrayed in this blog, and for her insights on the current astrological conditions of Venus in Gemini. Lyvia says we are currently experiencing a great deal of energetic shifts in intimate relationships due to this astrological formation. Both men and women are being challenged to evolve and increase awareness of interpersonal patterns and relationships. As women, we can only take up the sword of our own awareness and slice through our own unconsciousness.


Have you ever found yourself caught in a romantic projection that expects a man to psychically know how to treat you to open your heart to love? Have you found yourself guilty of developing anger or resentment when he withdraws from you or retreats after romantically pursuing you? Have you closed your heart tight so you will never be hurt by another man following one rejection after another? If so, you had better read on!!!

Feminine Romantic Projections

As women we often confuse ourselves with our projections that we place on men in romantic relationships. We expect them to fulfil our every need and threaten to leave him until we either get what we want or walk away. The key is however, that if a man is not giving us what we want then we need to heal our own projection of him. This romantic projection is a fantasy. It is humanly unattainable. Being real in the now is mutually exclusive to our romantic projections. If he is withdrawing from us after a romantic rendezvous, then a good question to ask ourselves is “what is actually happening”? Does he really want to take our hand in marriage and father our children? Or is he saying “I’m not sure if I’m ready,” or maybe he is saying, “I’m having such a fabulous time being single and free!” Perhaps he is interested in pursuing getting to know us but really has no idea whether he wants a relationship. When we start saying “I don’t think he is the one” while feeling heartbroken and betrayed, because the day after meeting him he has not called to see how we are going, then we women really need a reality check.

Focusing on healing our own patterns as women, rather than trying to change him or getting him to see his flaws, is central to releasing our projections. Accepting and allowing him to be himself is a great way to begin a respectful friendship rather than creating a prison cell. Men have wounds from their relationships with the feminine including mother/son relationships, sibling relationships and intimate relationships. Pushing these projections onto him simply reinforces this wounding which often results in his need for freedom.  No one is capable of carrying that projection … think about it! We want a man who is wealthy, supportive, in touch with his feelings, romantically pursuing us (but only when we want it), and has the ability to take charge of the issues (financial, emotional, relationship and physical) leaving us women feeling completely safe and secure! And the sad reality is that a lot of men actually do want their women to feel happy and satisfied and are willing to work towards giving that to their partner…. within reasonable boundaries. Recognising our own projections and expectations as women is where we need to start when it comes to connecting with men.

Releasing The Female Romantic Projection

Recognizing the feminine projections we put on men is crucial for genuine connection to occur between men and women. How would you treat this guy if he was a valued friend? If you really believe you want a real connection with this man, how would you behave? Dropping our manipulation, imaginary projections and expectations that pressure intimate relationships will help real connection to occur. Men are generally strong on picking up body language and where people are at. Generally they need to protect themselves within masculine culture from judgement, criticism, physical fights and other injuries. So when they watch women and how we behave, they may be more aware than we are of our resentment, criticism, and impossible expectations.

The times when we are caught in heartbreak when we are not even in a committed relationship, or when a man does not met our romantic expectations, can be seen as a gift. These times are a healing crisis that crushes our romantic delusions about men and relationships. We can witness our thoughts and the emotional attachments to those thoughts, in order to see through this destructive pattern. Mindfulness can help us to practice non-attachment to the thoughts, images, and day dreams of romantic projection. As we open to awareness of the projections, we also need to be mindful of maintaining compassion and understanding for the feminine wounding. We need to forgive ourselves for holding impossibly high expectations for men in intimate relationships. With unconditional love for ourselves, we can see the thoughts, scheming plans, and the manipulation of men to reassure our insecurities and desires as woman.

Distinguishing Between Projection & The Need For Healthy Boundaries

I do want to make one distinction and that is the difference between romantic projection and the need for healthy boundaries. Men, like women, can have many destructive unhealthy patterns that recruit them into abusive, manipulative, cohesive, neglectful or disrespectful behaviour. When I talk about coming out of unrealistic expectations, I am not referring to the expectation of mutual respect of choice, time, sexuality, space, spirituality or beliefs. As we meet new people, we do need to know our values and assess whether other people align with those values or digress from them. The unhealthy expectations and projections that we women hold for men in intimate relationship tend to centre on what we want from them to show us that they love us. While men may willingly show their love, they should not be forced into it before they are ready. This is quite different from realistic expectations that we would want from anyone we know.

Cultivating Commitment Rather Than Forcing It

As women we are often looking for this elusive commitment from men in relationships. Living in the moment rather wishing for a fantasy commitment is essential for commitment to grow. Commitment is not a black and white concept that states… now we are together (or not together)! Commitment is about right action in relationship and being in the moment. We are always in the moment, not in the future or the past. Commitment grows if it is cultivated in the moment. So as women, rather than pushing the point about commitment with men in relationship, we can learn to encourage a process of allowing and giving to the evolution of the intimate connection itself.

Cultivating the relationship, trust and commitment in the moment is all about making conscious choice about our own reactions. This is based on awareness of our projections. As we heal our own emotional patterns and wounds we free up the pressure we put on men to fix things for us. It is wonderful when a man gives freely to his female partner, who in turn allows and receives his gifts. However, he needs to make the choice freely, and not conditionally. Disarming the romantic myth of the “superhuman male partner” helps us to see men as real people, and to learn about them for who they really are, rather than our projections that we place on them.

Questions for women….

Have you recognised yourself projecting an illusionary image on men?

How have you freed yourself (and him) from your romantic projections?


10 Responses to “Slaying the Myth of the Romantic Hero”

  • Another brilliant contribution Vanessa. Interesting observations by Lyvea Rose, as I have been surrounded by relationship coaches at every turn lately without even trying! I’m recognizing it’s about being the right partner rather than finding the right partner. I’m not quite sure how that’s going to happen, but it’s definitely in my awareness constantly lately, so it will be interesting how it pans out!

    • Hi Krishna, thank you for your comment. Yeah, that is interesting that you are surrounded with relationship coaches and the relationship theme is definitely out there at the moment! I agree completely… turning the mirror around and looking at ourselves while asking what can we give to a relationship rather than what can we get is essential!

      Great comment
      Lots of love

  • I think you nailed the idea of the superhuman male well.

    When you girls, attempt to put us on a pedestal or expect to live up to a similar expectation, you’ve already started to kill us from the inside. We males today read about the need for sharing vulnerabilities and connecting to our feminine side for stronger relationships.

    How can we do that, if you don’t give us wiggle room, the ability to fail in a loving and nurturing environment. We are human, we do want to explore the reasons we’ve had failures in previous relationships to find ways to be better partners in this relationship.

    We want the ability to make human mistakes but you often set the bar so high that we feel the cost of failure is too great. So, we either avoid it completely and allow you to emasculate us into submission and become great avoiders or, because you do expect us to fail at massive levels, we set upon a path to create hell for both of us. Not always consciously, but sometimes.

    We don’t expect you to be perfect, we love your flaws, they’re what keep reminding us of our similarities. Become congruent with the real you and allow us inside the barriers you use to keep people out, not only will we not use it against you, but we will happily use our own defences to strengthen them. We do this so much easier from the inside.

    • Hi Rodney, fantastic comment!

      If we look at the subject of body image, there are so many expectations about what is attractive and how we should look that makes us women lovable (or not, and usually not!). Its a huge expectation and If there is some physical condition then it can even be impossible.

      But what I find amazing is that with the exception of some young men in their teens, most men are not the ones with these expectations. The expectation of looking perfect is actually created by women (and then taken to a ridiculous degree by consumerism and marketing, but that’s another topic). Women put these huge expectations on themselves to be attractive at a physical level and we can be complete Hitlers! If this is a reflection of what what we women then put of men to be the romantric hero… then no wonder men run away!!!! There is a journey for women to come out of unrealistic expectations on themselves (especially their bodies) and then from their expectations on men.

      Thank you for your insightful comments
      Lots of love

  • Yes, another brilliant piece of thoughtful writing. I find the conversation about commitment interesting because I couldn’t help questioning the link between living in the now and being committed in a relationship. Does living in the now have a place for commitment? I don’t think so because some one living their life as they feel is ‘them’ with love and empowerment, the notion of commitment disappears. It becomes an oxymoron.

    Imagine two people living their lives with total love and empowerment (a great theory because none of us actually do this), their connection to one-another and to others would be profound. They would be on top of everything. And they would be open to everything that happens, so no commitment needed.

    A second point, which I may have raised before, I’m always amazed at women (and men for that matter) who want romance in their lives and don’t know what that romance entails; what it is for them. Once they do discover what their romance is, do they actually tell their partner? No. They expect he (or she) will know. I’m an intuitive (and I like to think I’m very good as well), I’m sure I don’t know what turns the women in my life on (from a romance perspective, don’t let your mind wander here). I have to ask them. And when I do, it’s normally the flowers and chocolates thing. This may be that romance you talk about at the beginning of you piece by the uncommitted man, and I’m sure, after the relationship has broadened, she will expect a lot more than what he is offering (and she is offering him) to make it a great relationship. I would argue that this is what scares the guy off, not commitment, but a true understanding of what her needs are.

    Once again, great, piece. Keep up the good work.

    • Hi Intuitive Andrew, thank you for your great comments!

      I especially like what you wrote at the end of the comment above… that men are scared off by her expectations which are not expressed or even given. This feels so right!!! When I look back at my relationships, some men said I expected too much, but I couldn’t figure out what they meant. I think there is some more detail to the female perspective here too (I’ve been looking within for years on this one)… you have just inspired another blog!!!! One on commitment in the now and one on what is happening for her when he feels she is expecting too much from relationship.

      Thank you Andrew, your comments are very appreciated!
      Lots of love

  • Paul Mischefski:

    Wonderful piece Vanessa, full of insight and reality.

    Such a refreshing change to so much of the “pop-culture romantic fantasy” we see perpetuated in glossy magazines.

    It is writing and understanding like this, covering both male and female aspects, that can help our culture “grow up” and mature around the area of relationship and connection.

    Am reminded of a wonderful old saying “To be understood, seek first to understand”.



    • Thank you Paul, a much appreciated comment! I agree, there is way too much destructive information out there that works against a real male-female connection. It is vital for us to start to honour ourselves (first) and then each other for our similarities and differences for us to all heal. The potential of relationship between the genders is beautiful! I hold onto this vision through all the pain and all the harm we cause to ourselves and each other.

      I am loving your comments
      Lots of love

  • Wonderful Vanessa! So honoured to have an imput into our marvellous and deep-thinking practice as a holistic counsellor!

    • Hi Lyvea, thank you so much for your comment and for your input into my thoughts behind this blog. Astrological psychology is amazing and I’m loving being inspired by the stars!!!!

      Lots of love

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