Posted on September 9th, 2013
Ever wonder whether Cinderella and Prince Charming really “lived happily ever after?” Most likely the answer is no.
Of course they were intensely happy at first, as any two people would be in the wonderfulness of new love. Their happiness was exceptional, with majestic public events, glorious state dinners, every moment of social life heightened to dazzling perfection.
Eventually, however, Cinderella felt her feelings of unworthiness and of not belonging creeping back in. Since the Prince was being so princely, at first she blamed herself, she was defective. But finally she had to admit it—she was also disappointed in him.
The Prince was charming in the way that a prince can be, but there was something aloof about him. When she complained to him about this, he put her off. After all, he was a prince, and hadn’t he already done something grand for her with the glass slipper? Now he was just going around being princely, dedicating bridges and showing up at festivals, and oh, what’s for dinner?
When Cinderella pushed the Prince further, talking about her need to have him show up emotionally, he got all wrinkly looking. As a Prince, he knew very well how to put on the grand gesture, but about daily emotional engagement he knew nada. He offered her a summer castle down the coast, but he couldn’t offer her attention to her malaise.
So over the years, they came to a stalemate, which they both struggle with accepting. They went about their grand duties together, but Princess Cinderella felt empty and had developed a sourness about life. The Prince wondered if he should have taken his mother’s advice—never marry a commoner.
Is this situation hopeless?
Not at all, with some therapy. Cinderella, first of all, needs to sort out her past from her present, and to accept that no matter how glorious her present day life is, it won’t fix the deep hurts of the past. Only she can heal these hurts, through giving herself the kind of love and attention she didn’t get from others in her past. The Prince needs to learn too, how to pay attention to his feelings rather than to his duties, to develop an interior life rather than just an exterior life, so that in his life with Cinderella he can be her connected husband rather than her prince.
While they are doing this work, it would also be very helpful for the two to be in couples counseling, so they can be aware of what is changing in their partner (since Cinderella and the Prince don’t usually talk about these things), and to learn how to have a safe, intimate connection with each other.
They won’t live happily ever after, but they can live happily, facing life together.
Posted in Marriage and Couples