It can’t be helped–sometimes you just fall in love with someone who’s your role model, and you find it difficult to have a normal relationship. Why? Because, you can act like you’re equals, talk as if you’re peers; but, if in your mind you have given your partner a heightened status, it will prevent you from ever feeling really empowered in the relationship.

  • The young actress who falls in love with her director
  • The college student who falls in love with her professor
  • The personal secretary who falls in love with her boss
  • The new salesperson who falls in love with the Marketing Director

Woman looking up admiring man atop tableAll of these people may be making the same mistake: They may be falling for potential partners whom they’ve already put on a pedestal. Theirs won’t be an equal relationship–the balance of power is inequitable before the relationship even starts, because of the lofty status their role model partners hold in their eyes.


You Have Put Your Partner On A Pedestal When The Following Occurs:

  • You feel he or she is more intelligent than you are.
  • You quote him or her a lot: “Ed says…” or “Ed believes…” or “Ed told me…”
  • You never challenge your partner on his opinions, beliefs, etc., because you just assume he knows more than you do.
  • You go out of your way to let people know whom you’re involved with in order to impress them.
  • You feel there’s no way you could ever achieve as much or become as great as your partner.
  • You often do things not because you feel they’re right but only because your partner thinks that’s what you should do.
  • You often say, “I’m so lucky to be with (name of your mate),” not just because you love him but because you feel it’s some sort of fluke that he chose you.
  • You would give anything to be more like your partner.

It’s important to emphasize here that it’s not the difference in the status of the two partners that makes the relationship fail, but the attitudes of both–one who looks to the other as the role model, and the second who doesn’t mind at all stepping up on that pedestal. There’s nothing wrong in being with someone who’s smarter and more accomplished or whatever, as long as both of you maintain your own sense of self!

Why You Might Fall In Love With Role Models:

You’re falling in love with Mom or Dad. If you never got the kind of attention you wanted from one of your parents, you might attract an authority figure for a partner when you grow older, to finally get the sense of protection and guidance you missed out on as a child. The opposite can be true as well: If you got a tremendous amount of attention from parents and were perhaps too emotionally enmeshed with them, you might find it difficult to break away from the parent-child role, especially if you felt controlled by them, and thus attract a powerful figure who treats you as less competent than he or she is and keeps you in a childlike role.

You are emotionally or spiritually empty. If you are emotionally or spiritually empty, you may be looking for someone not really to love but to just fill the void. When you have a weak sense of self, you might be attracted to individuals with a particularly powerful sense of self and make them your role models. More likely than not though, you might not be falling in love with the persons themselves–but only with the power and self-confidence they possess.

If you realize that you’ve put your partner on a pedestal, don’t expect him or her to step down. You’re the one who keeps your partner up there by not respecting your own opinion, not asking for what you want, and not loving yourself enough. The only way a relationship can work is if you love and admire yourself as much as you love and admire your partner, and he on the other hand is willing to relinquish his role as your mentor.