I’ve talked a lot about the various subsets of geek guys who have issues with relating to women as individuals, rather than an idolized goddess figure. They are the ones who dream about being the great hero, riding in on their charger (or motorcycle, muscle car, what have you) to save the damsel in distress.
We’ve talked about the Nice Guy, and the perils of the Geek Girl fantasy. They’re the ones who try to live by a self-imposed anachronistic code of chivalry and gallantry.
Her fears and constant need for reassurance can be alluring at first; after all, the White Knight loves to be needed and being able to assuage her fears will make him feel strong.
Over time, however, that need becomes increasingly unreasonable and unmanageable; she goes from needing reassurance to requiring his presence at all hours.
He needs frequent reassurance from his partner that no, she really love him, everything’s alright, she appreciates him, etc. More than anything else, the White Knight fears losing her approval – or worse, being abandoned.
For all of the White Knight’s supposed altruism, ultimately the story is all about White Knights are frequently manipulative or even controlling, in the guise of “for her own good”; once again, he needs to maintain his position as champion, caregiver, defender and aide, lest he not only lose the role of “hero” and the sympathy and admiration that comes with it, but the for him to be there in the first place.
It’s worth noting that White Knights aren’t actively abusive, just passive aggressive and clingy to the point of being almost smothering.
Of course, for all of his championing of the ill girl or emotionally troubled, real life inevitably sets in.
The initial thrill wears off and leaves them stuck in a relationship with emotional vampire, who drains the life out of him as he struggles to try to meet her needs.
As appealing as the fantasy is, the reality is that helping someone with emotional or physical trauma or addiction issues is never easy, simple, pretty or terribly glamorous. It means dealing with setbacks – not ones that are suitably-dramatic-but-easily-overcome, but ones that can undo of dealing with them.
When that realization finally sinks in, the addictive rush and thrill of the fantasy start to pale and the reality begins to assert itself.
The White Knight then finds himself faced with a choice: abandon the fantasy and deal with the woman as she is…
or make up an excuse and eject himself from the relationship, only to repeat the process again with another suitably “broken bird”.