The Cinderella Complex

Cinderella Complex

Based on Colette Dowling’s 1981 book The Cinderella complex:,The Cinderella complex is an unconscious desire to be taken care of by others, based primarily on a fear of being independent.

Frankly, I am a insulted by that theory because I think that most women want to be independent. Could I be wrong? Since it is an “unconscious” desire, perhaps it is hidden from the waking consciousness. I acknowledge that everyone wants to be happy and safe, but why would anyone want to be dependant on someone else? No, I just don’t buy it.

I have always felt that the “Cinderella Complex,” (if there is such an affliction) is the idea that you can (and should ) live happily ever after with a man, or the belief that someday “your prince will come,” or a handsome knight in shinning armor will ride up on his white horse and rescue you from some dreaded fate. The Cinderella Complex, is the idea that you have a soul mate somewhere, and maybe you will meet him some day. So you keep looking.

knight208.jpg Fantasy

This is the fantasy we have been brought up with. If you don’t believe me, try reading a few romance novels. Never mind reading, just look at the cover of the books. These books will take you all the way to the climax of romance satisfaction and then end with the “and they lived happily ever after” fantasy. Nope I have not read these books, I don’t have to. I already know the ending.

Romance Novels Romance Novels

It’s a hook with a juicy worm. Don’t bite. The “Happily ever after” is never explored in these stories because they don’t want you to know the truth. Besides, that’s no longer a romance. It is a drama, or a horror story, like “The burning Bed.” or “Sleeping with the enemy.” or “Married with children.” Relationships are not that simple. Romance is temporary. Marriage is an institution. Just be prepared for the “happily ever after.”

If I am way off base here, I would like to hear from someone who is living the “happily ever after with the opposite sex. I will ask for your spouse’s phone number to confirm it of course. It has to be happy on both sides to qualify.

Your HusbandYour Wife

The Happy Couple

If you are going to get married here is my advice: To women:

1. Don’t (You won’t take it so..)

2. Do a criminal background check.

3. Talk to his ex-wife.

4. Make him fill out an application.

6. Check his work record and his credit record.

7. Make sure he can support you and the child you will make.

8. Get your own bank account and your own income or job.

9. Get a pre-nuptial agreement and a deposit.

10. Take inventory about what you both want and expect out of the relationship.

For a Man: All of the above applies to men also.


All in good humor of course. Have fun folks! Live the dream.

Published in: on September 12, 2006 at 3:53 am  Comments (18)  

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18 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I wonder , were to find boyfriend to my sister? Joke:)
    My online friends propose this link to use –TOP10 – As for me, I think life is now!!!

  2. Hi there, its interesting to read your perspective on this as I have been looking online for further information.

    I feel its very easy for a woman to fear independance. I have since realised while a huge part of me strongly desires independance a big part of my conditioning has led me to most of my life (until now) be dependant on others.

    This is not just related to men. I guess it depends what learning you are brought up with.

    When I was a child I was given money from my parents and I realise now I discovered a way, back then, of feeling loved, and lovable as a person. If I was able to be financially or emotionally dependant on another (partner, parents etc etc..) then in some warped sense of self my unconcious mind felt loved. Many women & men may have this fear of independance because their unconcious links dependancy with love due to previous human experiences as a youth.

    I know I long for independance, yet I also realise now I have this dualistic feeling of a fear of independance. My unconcious feels if I am independant how will people love me. Its all self worth stuff which i am working through.

    I also know from my own experience and talking to other woman the cinderella complex is easy to see in many women. The movies and media portray (even in this day and age!) women as weak and man comes and saves woman on a big white horse. So it stands to reason many women would be conditioned to believe this, if they did not have any other positive empowering role models as a young person.

    Anyway just a few of my thoughts,


  3. if it’s no any gus who is perfect for a gal
    I think she should be single live coz it’s more happy than live with a bad guy
    I love single

  4. 7. Make sure he can support you and the child you will make.

    this confuses me,
    because the entire point of the cinderella complex is to offer awareness to women and their dependancy issues so we can move on to a more independent lifestyle…but your comment about making sure a potential husband can support you contradicts the subject of independence.

  5. You said:
    “this confuses me,
    because the entire point of the cinderella complex is to offer awareness to women and their dependancy issues so we can move on to a more independent lifestyle…”

    This was not meant to be a review of the book. The traditional marriage has a man supporting a woman who is raising his children. Having and raising children is a job for both partners, but women sometimes end up without the support she needs, and has to raise the children herself and support the man too.

    My advice was not to marry a man who would not hold up his end of it. (That is, if she wants to get married and raise children.) That’s a full time job.

    I don’t think women have an “unconscious” fear of independence, I think they fear being left with three kids and no income and a husband who is not helping support raise his children.

  6. Cinderella complex is psychological obsession of lower and middle class women to get married with higher class men.

  7. Did you even read the book?

  8. You wrote all that about me – didn’t you.
    Married at 19, and left to bring up three kids on my own, working every hour God sends to keep them.

    I have been divorced from 1987, and I have been asked to get married again three times. Each time I said to them ask me again when we’re together three years – it never happened – he was gone well before the three year mark. I had changed, the spark had gone and it was time to move on. I’m talking about lovers – not friends – two different species, they don’t really mix that well.

    I really enjoyed your blog, thank you.

    It’s for mugs! Raising children maybe.

  9. OK – I will qualify my upcoming statement with the fact that I’m a divorced single mother who has not remarried in the 10 yrs since my divorce. I put myself through college, and am very successful in my career. I made stupid decisions in my choice for a mate when I was too young to know any better.

    Now, that said, I have to chime in with a scientific fact that we are genetically inclined as women to seek security and we are wired to nurture. While not all women feel this way, it’s wired into our DNA. While perfectly capable of handling things on my own, I would LOVE for a strong partner to be in my life who could help LEAD (yes I said it) the household. Strong family units have leaders – they are usually fathers. Fathers are EXTREMELY important to the family.

    I have had some good and some bad dating experiences. I make better choices in that arena the older I get. What I’m saying is that there are definitely men out there who share the wish for a strong family – who are loyal and strong and hard-working and caring and giving. They do exist.

    I’m choosing to not be bitter and take responsibility for what I put into motion with my decisions. As for the Cinderella complex? Well I don’t take offense at all. It’s hard to argue with DNA.

  10. A lot of women have an ingrained desire to keep their family together and protected at all cost, they don’t like break ups. They can be miserable in their marriage and sacrifice their sanity for the sake of keeping up a front for their children, to keep the sanction of the marriage as a protective wall for them. If the children were to see the cracks which she works overtime to keep repairing, she feels it would be disastrous for them and their own future relationships.

    At least.. this is what my own mother would have me believe and it nigh caused me to have a breakdown. I believe the Cinderella complex to be about scarification and hoping that by being “good” you will one day triumph, so basically you need to be in a bad relationship you don’t want to leave, for whatever reason and keep looking on the horizon for a glimmer of hope, the true “prince” to come and rescue you. Instead, you could confront the relationship you are in and see what changes could be made. It couldn’t have been bad to begin with, so what made it that way? Instead of looking for outside options, look within to make changes. Even if it ends in divorce after all.

  11. Oh this was a hoot. I was told we all are affected by the Cinderalla Complex but really its what little girls are taught growing up in their disfunctional homes playing Barbies.

    So many of us had alcholic fathers or mothers and experienced some form of abuse (mental, physical or sexual)…but life must go on…

    So I say “So-What” its over…lets get over it and move on.

    Many are also Co-dependent-food-addicted hopeless romantics but hey…we can become anything we want to be.

    Lets live.

  12. And talk not of abused husbands who are only seen as cash dispensers and cheap labor. How twisted the world has become. We women ALWAYS have the idea of having a back door – we can be executive but when the pressure gets to mush, we can have a child and stay at home. And when all else fails, we can sue, get the house and car and get back to the pressure job again…

  13. […] { June 18, 2010 @ 10:42 +00:00Jun } · { Uncategorized } Based on Colette Dowling's 1981 book The Cinderella complex:,The Cinderella complex is an unconscious desire to be taken care of by others, based primarily on a fear of being independent. Frankly, I am a insulted by that theory because I think that most women want to be independent. Could I be wrong? Since it is an “unconscious” desire, perhaps it is hidden from the waking consciousness. I acknowledge that everyone wants to be happy and safe, but … Read More […]

  14. The very virulence with which feminists deny all things that run counter to feminism is the other side of the coin of the Cinderella Complex. For thousands of years (and continuing in some parts of the world), women were basically property. They had no expectations for a future without marriage….and in fact, something was considered wrong with them if they did not secure a mate (some were discarded or killed). That is a lot of conditioning on women as a whole….and while as a society we’ve moved past that, there are still attitudes that linger from that conditioning. If your great-grandmother was a die-hard believer in a woman being worthless unless she could find a good man to be entirely devoted to, then that’s what your grandmother was raised to believe. And even if your grandmother rejected the entire idea, aspects of how she was raised are going to affect how she raised your mother. It may not be anything overt, but in the same way someone who has taken a step back from the religion they were raised with not quite able to say “I don’t believe in god”, there’s an irrational fear of what-if.

    On the other hand, you have those who will not accept a middle ground lest society slip back into old ways or linger in complaisance. No, women are not quite equal yet. There *is* middle ground to cover, but it may take another generation or 2 to overcome the gender identity handicap of the 50s and prior. Let’s face it, most of what’s wrong with America now is a symptom of Cold War era propaganda. Years of paranoia, mistrust, and fear of the unknown/death are bound to leave some negative effects….

  15. It\\\’s important to know about people if you are planning to hire them as employees or contractors, or anyone else with access to things that are important to you.

    You can\\\’t tell by looking at someone if they are trustworthy. The best thing to do is to do a criminal background check. You can do them online in minutes and then feel secure that you did your homework. You can never be too careful.

  16. see i love how women make men out to be knights in armor and ride in to save them from a bad situation but live in the real life men don’t do things like that and there is nothing worse than a woman who thinks that a man is there to bring in the bacon and bread and support her shopping habbits when she “thinks she needs 50 pairs of shoes and countless thousands of hand bags” no man is there to give till he runs out of money and he can’t be babied that was his mothers job not the role of a wife/girlfriend, most women yes look for this fabled man to come save them yes but in actuality those kind of men only live in fairy tales hince the real man is flawed i am a man so i know i have flaws and don’t like a woman to see me as i can do no wrong and feels the need to come to me with every decision she has her own mind and needs to use it that is the classic sign of the cinderella complex, the need for a man to be perfect like in the stories and cling to him like she is gonna loose him if she don’t do everything perfect. contrary to popular thoughts women are flawed just as men and for a woman to say she is perfect her pride is bigger than she can see cuz there is not a mortal on this planet that is perfect everyone has flaws and for a woman to think there is a knight in shiny armor or a prince out there they really need to live in the now. life ain’t no fairy tale ending its rough but can have beautiful moments but far from perfect i figured i should set my thoughs out there so i could help people see that there are men that see that they are far from perfect and hope that women see this too.

  17. Hi, very interesting. I just learned about the Cinderella Complex, but it seems to me, more like a new term to mock the realization of every woman. The fact that you are being taken care of, does not mean that woman becomes a parasite. This term belittle the “stay at home mom” who has more work than even her husband, it takes away the word “family”, “team work (you do this, i’ll do that), working together in different aspect of life to bring this precious business called “family” to be a wonderful experience that will benefit our children and ourselves.

    I would like to think that she, the author, use the term “Cinderella Complex” it implies someone who is willing to give nothing in exchange for being taking care, not at home, not anywhere.

    There is something that every man wants in a woman, and there is something that every woman wants in a man and that is “protection” (not over protection) which does not exactly means taking care of her financially only.

  18. Warning ! Warning ! It’s probably not true.

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