When you think of Peter Pan chances are you think of the many different versions of films you grew up watching and enjoying. You might remember adventures with the lost boys, Wendy, Hook, Tiger Lily and that crazy crocodile. It’s an old tale that everyone’s heard of at least once during their childhood. However, did it ever occur to you that Peter Pan’s character could be symbolic to a modern day dating issue?
Puer Aeternus in Latin means eternal boy. Another term as coined by the urban dictionary is “manolescent” which is a noun that describes a man of any age who shirks adult responsibilities. I personally don’t favor this term because it implies that only men can have these traits. While the majority of articles and examples written are about men, women can also find themselves avoiding similar responsibilities.
While the term “Peter Pan Syndrome” has not yet been recognized in the DSM (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) as a psychopathology disorder, the behaviors have been grouped into symptoms to assist people in trying to figure out what they’re dealing with. Psychologically it is typically a grown man who has an adolescent range of emotions. Many times they will lead a provisional life in fear of gaining too much responsibility in which there is no escape.
Women who find themselves attracted to or in relationships with “Peter Pan’s” are said to have the “Wendy Syndrome,” which is basically needing to be mother-like in a romantic relationship to offset the irresponsibility of their partners. There is usually a dependency that makes a woman feel fulfilled at the beginning of the relationship. However, once it progresses and the typical subjects of living together, getting married or having children are brought up, the strain caused by “Peter’s” resistance will usually end it.
While the beginning of a relationship with a Peter Pan can feel just like the movie, fun, magical, captivating and spontaneous, life’s responsibilities will inevitably disrupt the fantasy. Unfortunately, many Peter’s have adopted unhealthy life mottos such as “live for today” and “rules are made to be broken.” While the rush of excitement in dating someone like this can feel amazing it is not realistic to think that any long-term relationship can stay at this place for very long. Eventually, there needs to be a deeper connection created which is what Peter is incapable of.
Some symptoms that are distinguishable are:
Either excessive outbursts of emotion or blunt in effect
Anger, sometimes to the point of wrath
Happiness that can turn into extreme panic
Frustration that leads to self-pity and/or depression
They have difficulty expressing feelings of love
They always feel guilty
They can have difficulty relaxing
Individuals with this syndrome have difficulties building strong and genuine relationships with peers and will often feel alone. Even those with bulked up social calendars filled with plans every week/weekend are usually only filling in space/time the best they can. When given a closer look at their social circle it will soon become clear that they have many and don’t have a tight-knit circle of friends with which to build deep, meaningful bonds with.
Peter’s are also known to not be bothered by wrongs they have done. They will usually point blame on other people to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. They run away from real problems concerning their weaknesses using any method possible which can lead to their use of drugs, alcohol, and sex in an attempt to escape confrontation or any obstacle in life.
While it’s not impossible to date a Peter Pan and some may find the exhilaration, in the beginning, outweighs the heartache. In the end, people should still be aware of the signs to look for. Life is full of enough difficulties to navigate through. When given the chance to better your life with the power that knowledge brings, you should do it as often as possible.
Article by Jessica Martin