Your ideas are always welcome and always insightful. I don’t know exactly what the answer is, because women can do this also. It’s the cultural narrative of the handsome prince who is going to save us, and what he gets in return is the beautiful and ever adoring princess who is so grateful for having been saved. I’m so glad that Disney stopped hawking that shit because it’s destructive all around. I really think I was in college before I began to fully dismantle this and to realize that men were just people and that I could have an identity that wasn’t antecedent to my relationship to a man.
In truth, real relationships with real people is a much better thing — not the sanitized, Instagram kind of surface type world, but that requires vulnerability and being willing to be seen, warts and all. In the zero-sum construct of the dominance hierarchy, if you don’t win, you lose, so it’s difficult for people to allow themselves to go there, but for those who head in that direction, I think their experience of friendship and love is a deeper one.