In high school I learned about the “Ophelia Syndrome”. If y’all remember Hamlet, then you remember Ophelia; she was the crazy girlfriend who wanted to marry him until he told her to get her ass to a nunnery.
A woman with the Ophelia syndrome is one whose feelings and opinions are based on others. Ophelia is that girl who at the beginning of the relationship was interesting, funny and had her own life. But…as the relationship progressed, she started to like what you liked, do what you did, and took interest in the things you took interest in.
Basically, Ophelia is the chameleon in a relationship. Driven by insecurity, she needs to be reassured that she is loved, valued, talented, smart, blah blah blahblahblah.
Ophelia will play games so that you can prove your love for her. If you don’t tell her that she’s pretty enough, she’ll flirt with other guys to get YOUR attention. Presents must be the ones she has hinted at repeatedly and even then she may find fault with it…until someone tells her it’s a great present. The irony of the relationship is that Ophelia will never be satisfied because she’ll always feel as if something is missing or not good enough.
This dependence on others for one’s thoughts extends beyond the boundaries of the relationship. When posed with a question, her response is usually “I don’t know, what do you think?” She’s like this with coworkers, bosses, parents, teachers, friends…if she is not told, she has no effing clue. Let’s face it guys: Ophelia is nothing but fucking drama.
Even Hamlet in his madness says to her “if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them…”
Why Are You Attracted to Her? I don’t know. If you’ve ever had a relationship with an Ophelia, fill me in please…
I’ve known many Ophelias, been friends with a few, and I have always felt bad for them – but worse for the men in their lives. Especially when you guys fight. The screaming…the tears…the threats of suicide…all because you don’t “love (her) anymore”. Relationships with the Ophelias of the world eventually become toxic…c’mon, there is only so much one person can take.
One of my exes was with an Ophelia before meeting me. It’s been years since WE broke up so I have no problem telling you this story:
They were together for two years and living together for one when the conversation turned to ring sizes. He hesitated…she flipped out. They fought. She packed a suitcase and went to her parents – IN ALBERTA (ahem, they lived in Toronto).
Yes, he booked a flight and pleaded with her to come home.
Yes, he bought a ring.
Yes, she came back. Ring was almost two carats. “Almost.”
A few years later…ups, downs and some more fights. Then, she broke up with him. Packed a bag. Moved to her brother’s (who thankfully lived in the 416). Told only a select few about the breakup. He found out from his best friend (who worked with her) that she was still wearing the ring (but would try to keep her left hand hidden).
To the ex, she would send emails about her life “being over” and that she was “lonely”. She had no idea how she should feel about their relationship or the breakup. She asked her parents, her friends, her brother, her brother’s girlfriend and then she asked HIM if he thought she had made the right decision.
Let me repeat: she asked the man she dumped whether he thought she had made the right decision in dumping him.
Since she moved out of their home, he was faced with staring at all their stuff on a daily basis; and it was a constant reminder that after 5 plus years, their relationship was over. He asked “are you coming for your things?” She said “yes, as soon as I’m up to it…”
A month later…
He can’t take it anymore. He starts to pack up her stuff. He takes three days off from work to move it over to her brother’s. He moves her belongings for her. He has arranged for her mail to be redirected. He’s found two apartments for her to look at…he’s hurt, he’s torn, and he’s confused as all fuck.
She’s also taken some time off and when he arrives at her brother’s, Ophelia there, lying on the couch. She still wants to know if he loves her and if she’s made the right decision. It’s all she can think about. As she lies there, he asks how she’s doing. She hasn’t eaten…could he go to McDonald’s and get a Filet-o-Fish with Big Mac Sauce?
He goes to McDonald’s…brings the food…and before leaving says:
“I want the fucking ring back.”
Why is she like this? I refuse to play amateur psychologist, I have no idea what is running through the mind of an Ophelia. It’s my opinion that her happiness is never her own and to be with one is a losing battle. You could also tell her to get her ass to a nunnery. Granted, she may throw herself into a proverbial river or into a real one, but unless you are a shrink, honey you can’t help her.
How to get rid of one: learn Hamlet’s speech. You’ll need to rip it off like a band-aid. The slow letting her down easy won’t work. Let her hate you; that way she’s not focusing the anger internally. No contact. No “how are you doing?” checking in emails or text…get a friend of hers to do that.
Do you wife her? Yes. It’s called proposal by ultimatum… (“I need a ring…”)
Darling boys: Ophelia is probably the hardest woman to date. She will take a lot of your energy and attention. Tread lightly…