Ask any woman who's either had a troubled relationship with a man, "drama kings" are out there. But as Dalma Heyn writes in her latest book "Drama Kings: The Men Who Drive Strong Women Crazy," women aren't sitting around and taking it anymore. They are realizing they can have a much more fulfilling life on their own as a single woman. And this type of thinking represents a huge shift in a society that has previously cast women first and foremost in the role of wife and mother, says Heyn, who is also the author of "The Erotic Silence of the American Wife" and "Marriage Shock."
As Heyn describes in the book's preface, the "fatal flaw" of a Drama King is that while he appears to have so many desirable qualities that draw the woman to him in the first place, he can't give her what she wants. For example, his "boyish charm" might really be a "arrested development" or his "refreshing laid-backness" turns out to be "an inability to connect." After leaving these toxic men, women become stronger and realize what they really want in life and how to get it.
Below is the first chapter of "Drama Kings."
Chapter One: All the Kings' Women
Love me in full being.
-- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Love Poems
Maureen Fisher says she has it all.
At thirty-eight, she is healthy, the mother of an adored teenage son, Timothy, and the marketing director of the biggest sports equipment store in Florida. She and Timothy live in a small house forty minutes from Tampa. Timothy's father, Maureen's ex-husband, Christopher, lives close by, popping over several times a week when Maureen works late so Timothy won't be alone. Maureen's relationship with Christopher is good, now that their divorce is well behind them and Timothy's well-being is their only concern. She has three dear, close friends; a Tibetan terrier; and aging parents she is happy to support.
Has it all? Let's see: Did she forget to mention a man?
No, she didn't forget. Maureen knows she doesn't fit the picture of the woman she was supposed to have become at her age, complete with the lifetime husband, or lifetime partner, or a potential one, or at least someone. Yet there is no one on the horizon, and she is as content as can be. She's not even looking.
I only began to recognize that I'm truly happy -- maybe even happiest -- without a guy when I did some serious thinking about what's right for me. I had to deconstruct all the myths about women's happiness; challenge all the assumptions, the promises, the dreams laid out for me by my family, my friends, even the stories I grew up on. I had to learn to read those newspaper items -- "Distraught Woman Can't Find Man!" "Unmarried Woman Shoots Self!" Because not to have a man at thirty-eight means I don't have the one thing I've been told all my life is the only thing. So for that part of me that was taught I'm not a full human being without this "other half," it's like having a missing psychic limb. But that's programming, not my own reaction, and I'm not manipulated anymore.
I've been with a slew of goofy guys, and I didn't want to stay with any of them. Some were appealing, some tyrannical, and some just ridiculous; some were fun and sexy and wild; and some were not so good for Timothy. I went through sadness, weirdness, desperation, until it hit me like a slap: I don't have to try so hard to be in a relationship! I don't have to suffer for a man! I live wonderfully without any of them!