A Post for the Men Who Want to “Save” Women

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The other day, I was engaged in a discussion about relationships with @fromraewithlove and @MadameMonarch. I did more listening (reading) than participating, but I put forth one point that led me to this article:

Men who play Cap’n Save ‘Em need to better evaluate which women may actually need to be saved.

At some point or another, most men have played the role of Cap’n Save ‘Em.  Half of us won’t admit it, while the other half may not realize it.  Now familiar with the term? Well, Cap’n Save ‘Em is the man who runs to the aid of women who need or act like they need saving.  He’s the guy whose exceptional level of chivalry is deemed thirst, no matter how misplaced it is.

The Cap’n doesn’t really have any special powers.  What he does have is a (often wrong) wish to be all things to all women.  Nobody can do that but Jesus. It’s a tiring, stressful, thankless job.  Often times, Mon Cap-ee-tan is the source of his own stress.  Here he is, running to help a woman who may not even need his help.  Worse yet is the woman who doesn’t want his help.

The Cap’n has the energy and want to do some good in a woman’s life, any woman’s life, but nowhere to channel this energy.  He’s met the lady that doesn’t need him, but like Johnny 5, it doesn’t compute.  So what does he do?  He finds other women to direct the energy toward. Little does he know it’s to his own detriment.

All of the energy and effort the Cap’n has expended that hasn’t been reciprocated can lead to resentment.  Who is Cap’n supposed to be mad at though?  The women who took advantage of his assistance?  Not hardly.  The only one he should be mad at is himself.  Nobody held the proverbial gun to his head and made him do anything for anyone.

His compulsions and assumptions brought him to the point he’s at.  Not every Cap’n is going to be able to disregard these factors.  There are things that he can be done to guard against them getting out of hand though.  Things like:

1) What made him want to become a Captain in the first place – There’s a saying: “how can a person know where they’re going if they don’t know where they came from?”  If he doesn’t know why he is always trying to save every woman, he’s going to continue attempting to save each one.

2) Identify why chosen women “needs to be saved”- What is going on with her that makes her so special?  Is there history with her? Have others tried to “save” her and been rebuffed?  A man is going to be putting time and effort into “getting this lady right.” It’s best to make sure he knows what he’s getting into.

3) Know your target savee – Not every woman is a damsel in distress.  There are certain clues that women give off that help identify those who are.

4) Know when to let go – There’s a marked difference between giving up and giving in.  Giving up implies failure to meet a desired result.  Giving in implies having the wisdom to know the desired result isn’t achieveable.  It’s okay to not save each one.

5) Don’t rush out trying to save the next one, especially if the last one didn’t need or want you – Take some time and really just relax.  Analyze what went wrong, or right.

6) Realize that it’s okay to not be Cap. – Maybe it’s time to hang up the cape.  Understand that there is a woman who’ll appreciate the time and energy that is expended.  She’ll not want a savior, but a man who at least possesses the qualities — a man that can be there should she need him.

I stated earlier that some women take advantage of the (non)superheroes whom they meet.  Not all, but some. And it’s going to keep happening.  The best these men can do is not let their experiences with one woman affect their interactions with another.

What advice would you give to men who feel compelled to try to save women? How would you define Cap’n Save ‘Em? Looking forward to your thoughts. 

Source: Darrk Gable from The GLiP Post

Darrk Gable is a man on a mission to expand minds, including his.  He has latent talents that are just starting to arrive on the scene. Darrk looks at life from a biblical practical aspect and shares truths that are self evident. If folks don’t agree, well God bless ‘em anyway.

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  • MahoganyDefined

    Very interesting article! Would it be safe to say that this can also relate to female "Cap’n Save ‘Em"s as well?

    • Darrk Gable

      Yeah, they can. When a woman’s mindset is attuned to “he’ll come around”, that’s a prime example.

    • http://www.disillusionedblackgirl.com/2009/03/princess-save-bro.html Miss A

      The same way men try to rush to a woman's aid, women rush to save a man. However I think it manifests itself most of the time in terms of 'fixing'. I think many women try and 'fix' a man they see as broken, or tune him up/change him into something she wants him to be. I think women have to understand that men will change (or accept rescue), but they will only change for the one they want to change for. And only when they're ready. So absolutely this can apply to women.
      My recent post 'Shiny Object' Syndrome

  • Mdot

    I am a woman but after reading this I realized that I have been playing "Cap'n". This just spoke to my life and my situation. Time to make some changes. Thanks a million.

  • fromcletodal

    I have been guilty of being Captain Save a H#* once in my life. I didn’t know it at the time…but it was an experience that I wouldn’t take back. I feel like I was supposed to be that for her at that time because she was living in terrible living conditions and she really had no way out of her family life. I was 18 and so was she. It lasted about three years and once my job was done, she moved on. Lesson learned :)

  • Witisizem

    The key point of this article being:

    “The Cap’n doesn’t really have any special powers. What he does have is a (often wrong) wish to be all things to all women. Nobody can do that but Jesus. It’s a tiring, stressful, thankless job. Often times, Mon Cap-ee-tan is the source of his own stress. Here he is, running to help a woman who may not even need his help. Worse yet is the woman who doesn’t want his help.”

    She probably didn’t ask for help. Even if she asked for help, she might not have really wanted it-some people just love to talk about their problems without finding a solution for them.

    What Cap’n thinks might be “chivalry” could be interpreted as condescension: “what makes you think I need help?,” “do I look dysfunctional to you?,” some might ask. Captain Save-Em can also be synonymous with playing the “martyr” role: “after ALL I’ve done for you?!…” No one even asked you, playboy. Some types of narcissists have a tendency to do this. Additionally, if the Cap’n Save-Em/self-made martyr/narcissist focuses on the other person’s problems, they don’t have to focus so much on their own problems.

    Little side note: one of my exes told me the story about how he got into an argument with his ex-girl and tried to pull that “after all I did for you?!” crap and he was met with EXACTLY what she thought of it, namely that he thought too highly of himself to be helping someone when he had his own problems to work out. Interestingly enough, if I’d have heard that story a bit earlier, we could’ve avoided the relationship altogether. Don’t nobody want to feel like their partner constantly feels the need to “save” people. And if s/he ain’t saving you (cause, you know, you’re stable), they might look into other people they think they can save…

    Captain Save-Ems irk the mess out of me because, at the end of the day, their actions are just masking their misplaced priorities and feelings of poor self-worth. (Smoker voice) Ain’t nobody got time for that.

    • Darrk Gable

      To your end point about misplaced priorities, that I’ll agree with. It can stem from being a people pleaser, as it did with me. wanting all women, even if they didn’t want or need it. The poor self worth though? Meh… Many of the folk who exude the Cap aesthetic have a good sense of who they are. Their issue tends to be where they fit.

      • Witisizem

        For clarity: Poor self-worth, meaning, the image is based on something false. Not necessarily "who you are", as you're referring to, but the value you place on yourself. And "where they fit," meaning their role in that person's life? If so, who are they letting define that role? I may be off on what you're trying to say with that line so correct me if I'm wrong.

        What made you want to keep trying to "save" people "even if they didn't want or need it"?

        You (generally speaking, now, not personally) may know who you are, but what value have you placed on yourself since you're constantly trying to help someone that possibly doesn't need or want your help? OR, what value have you placed on yourself if you are always looking, subconsciously or deliberately, for someone so (perceptibly) dysfunctional that you think you are the one to save them?

        And it may also be my perception of the so-called Save Ems that I've personally known and witnessed in action…seems like if it ain't broke, they don't want it. Or, they act like they do like put-together people but secretly or openly crave some kinda of "*t*ruckery" to spice things up. Not to harp on your "good sense of who they are" point but, yeah, how many times have you heard "I am a (insert positive attribute here)" and their behavior shows that ain't the case? Like people who say "I know I am a good man/woman." Oh, forreal? But you dating someone with 5 kids by 5 different daddies, went to jail 8 times, etc. etc.

        • Darrk Gable

          Understood. If anything perhaps they have a problem thinking too highly of themselves? I think my thing was pride. Couple that with the “people pleaser” and needing to fix things, and there exists the recipe for my type of Captain-ism.

        • Witisizem

          True, true.

  • Paul B.

    I've been there about 10 years, though I didn't know it then, but after reading this post, it is obvious that's what I was doing at the time. I realize that it was a waste of time and resources, because the time and resources I wasted on the one I was trying to save could've been better spent on the woman that's worth loving now.

    • paulb31

      *ago*

  • Larry

    "What advice would you give to men who feel compelled to try to save women?"

    Well based on the definition given in the post-'the man who runs to the aid of women who need or act like they need saving.' , I suppose the advice I would embark upon them would be to try to hone levels of discernment in those situations. Nothing wrong with wanting to help people in general, but one shouldn't feel obligated to do so in all situations involving those of the opposite gender.

    "How would you define Cap’n Save ‘Em?"

    Personally when I think of the term Cap'n Save a garden tool 'Em I think of a man using his resources to help a woman in order to gain some "political capital" if you will and in turn believes this will set him a part from the competition if his goal is obtain some sort of romantic endeavor (relationship, $ex, both, etc…)

    • Bree

      Cosign on all that Larry.

      • LBoogie

        agree on the definition…to me a capt'n is doing it for some type of personal gain…it is not being done in the genuine sense of really wanting to "save" her. I think of them as doing it in order to a. get some type of return…usually sexual
        b. have some type of control over the person i.e. the "you owe me" state of mind

  • http://singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery WisdomIsMisery

    I tried to save a [Garden Tool] once. I even wrote about it on my personal site. Got a lot of side-emails as a result. Actually, it might have inspired the most side-emails I've ever gotten. Anyway…

    What advice would you give to men who feel compelled to try to save women? How would you define Cap’n Save ‘Em? Looking forward to your thoughts.

    Honestly, I think there is no harm in getting at least one Cap'n Save 'Em type relationship under your belt. You learn a lot about yourself as a result, and if you can get over your ego, you're generally no worse for the wear. Further, you helped lift a man/woman up in their time of need. As long as you don't drown in the process of trying to save them, no harm, no foul. In my case, I found a woman at the bottom and I tried to lift her up. She pulled me down somewhat, and I think in the end we met half way. (FTR, I wrote about this here: http://www.singleblackmale.org/2011/05/20/you-can… It sucked at the time, but as I look back, I generally don't have any hard feelings. Just one of many life's lessons. I think were people fail, as Amaris eloquently pointed out above, is they get into a HABIT of trying to save others because they generally lack something in themselves that allows them to stand alone. It's like the pretty girl that hangs with ugly girls so she can feel prettier or in the relative, the "tall man" (5'10) who hangs out with short dudes (5'6) just so he can stand out. We all have our coping mechanisms, but as long as you treat it as a lesson learned instead of a repeat mistake, I think it's good to have these types of experience.

    Lastly, there's nothing to say all women/men who want/need to be saved can't be saved. The most important step is that they WANT to save themselves. You're not going to save someone who insist on drowning. You'll just drown with them. This is why I highly recommend you not be the FIRST man/woman to try to save a woman/man. lol That usually ends in tragedy and you end up getting Good Luck Chuck'd when they go on with their lives – nice and repaired because of your doing – and marry someone who didn't put in half the work as you, yet gets all the benefits.

    • http://glippost.wordpress.com Darrk Gable

      True. I can’t eem front. There were a couple of times, I knew my work was for somebody else’s benefit. It surely didn’t stop me from trying to build ‘em up and encouraging them though.

  • http://fromraewithlove.com/ Rae

    Awwww! This is a great post. Per our discussion you know I had to give up that idea of saving negroes. I'm into saving myself at this point! I'm so glad you put this out there B!!! *applause*
    My recent post Competition In Love – Why I Don’t Compete

    • Darrk Gable

      That discussion was definitely the foundation for it.

  • Dr. J

    I don't really attract too many fixer uppers… so I really have never had this problem. I've always had pretty high self-esteem and a really good idea of what I deserved so … I don't know maybe I have an elitist approach to dating. I think as you get older you find yourself not necessarily being a lifeguard but just a model citizen. I think for a long time I would dismiss a lot of women by saying, "she's all messed up in the head, I don't have time for that" and now i'm more like "well let's see how her conditioning became so conditioned". That's really the indicator of whether you should save a person or not. If someone is in the position that they are in because of their own volition then… I can't really save her. But if it's someone who genuinely put their best foot forward and ended up getting a bad shake (maybe more than a few times) then i'm more patient.

    All that to say,

    1) You will date a woman who was cheated on several times and now she has trust issues, that's going to happen and you have to figure out if she can be fixed or if she's stuck that way.
    2) You will have women who really don't know how to be girlfriends because they've always been in pseudo situations without titles which often times don't include the real objectives and expectations of a relationship… you have to figure out if that was her desire because of a fear of commitment or just happenstance.
    3) You will meet women who when they were young thought they were "sexually liberated" and had "sexual politics" and then when they got older figured out that they had no clue what they were doing and sleeping with the homies was a bad idea…. leave them on the side of the road and keep moving bruh.

    All that to say, it happens that you have to save someone and it's not because of a shady past but it's because bad things sometimes happen to good people. I'm not a lifeguard but as a model citizen I don't mind lending a helping hand.

    • paulb31

      Pretty much hit the nail on the head there. You owe it to yourself to put yourself in the best position possible. It's common knowledge that nobody's perfect, but that doesn't excuse willful dysfunction though either. Love them for who they are along the way to who they're growing to be, but feel free to them when they choose to be stagnant.

  • amaris79

    I honestly think the same of "Captain Save-Em's" that I think of women who CONSTANTLY take on "projects:
    They lack the confidence that they THEMSELVES are "enough" to be worthy of the person (so to speak, gimme a sec), so they invest in "hud homes" to give them leverage.
    Thinks about it. I often find with my friends, male AND female, after probing them following the demise of their relationship w' the "thug" or "vixen", that they often times could not name a reason WHY their mate would stay with them other than the fact that they "upgraded" him/her or was "with them when they had nothing". So…your personality, intelligence, compatibility, none of this was enough?

    • amaris79

      I'll go even further. I've introduced women & men (and I'm am NOT exempt, I immediately sought therapy when I noticed I did this) to potentials that were, for all intents & purposes, "perfect". MEANING, that there was nothing WRONG with them, emotionally sound, gainfully employed, comfortably living (and NOT by "hustling) and watched them, for lack of a better term, wither. The women adopted a baby voice and said they weren't 'interesting'. The men griped about her being "too independent" (I know these women, They are some catering mo'fo's. I knw it wasn't true). It was baffling.
      Listen, I am SOOOO a work in progress but dammit one thing I HAVE learned is I'm a great woman because I'm a great woman, not because of what I can do for you. And whoever I will end up with I will take, totally, from jump, because he is 'enough' as well. I welcome evolution, but I'm not here to change anyone.

    • http://fromraewithlove.com/ Rae

      Loved your comment….
      My recent post Competition In Love – Why I Don’t Compete

  • http://www.zazzle.com/dzodesigns DZO

    I agree most comments that if woman doesn't want to be save than don't try to save them. "what would make a man want to save a woman", well drinking the cool aid of our society that is believing that we live in a Brady Bunch world there is no such thing as wicked behavior (notice I said behavior). The old saying applies you can lead horse to water but you can't make it drink. Just concentrate on a woman that trying to help them self.
    My recent post Summer Heat Greeting Cards

  • Bree

    Wow….I didn't know black lifeguards close to or over 30 existed…….what can I say, I grew up in the city.

  • Bree

    I don't think there is anything wrong with helping someone, and you shouldn't always give to receive, but give just because you want to or because you care enough about the person to help them.
    I know a few men who are "Cap N Save Em's."
    My advice to them is always:
    Never let anyone take your kindness for a weakness and play you.
    Never let anyone bring you down.
    You can do bad all by yourself, you don't need any help.
    You can't and shouldn't try to "save" anyone but yourself and your children. (and even with your kids you can only do but so much).
    The best thing you can do is to help people help themselves. "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for the rest of his life, and never go hungry again." Thats my motto and I stick to it.

  • Sith King Jordan

    some people are servers.

    i would posit that they just need to temper their energy to help/serve others in a relationship.

  • RCU

    I've seen this happen first hand to someone. It was my actual relative that used this nice guy over and over. When she needed her brakes fixed and didnt have the money, he paid. Same thing for tires, or any other emergency she had. He wined and dined her and in the end every time she would return to another ragedy dude who sorry and didnt have a dime or the ability to help her in any of the financial binds she found herself in. It was quite sad and I often felt bad for the dude.

  • Rick Ronson

    All you have to do is test women.

    DONT LOSE MONEY TESTING THEM CAUSE ITS EXPENSIVE.

    The goal is to see which ones give back…so give something you enjoy too
    that way you get something out of it. Like movies Dinner or a trip somewhere.

    If you notice this bitch never ever digs in her purse….drop her ass quick

    No matter what you have heard or seen there is no excuse for that shit.
    Now you may die trying to find a bitch that will give back equal because
    most dont feel they have to…Women give cheap ass gifts…if you gave
    someof the shit women give you would get dumped.

    I mean what the fuck is cologne? Bitch do i STINK? I can afford cologne.

    Oh its the thought? I thought about giving you 5 karats then.

    Yall stop letting these _____ get away with murder they will stop cutting up.

    I hate this new rap music but there is one song I love

    “These hoes be acting up…..cause these niggas be lettin em!”

  • wisdom

    Church

  • j

    This is hitting close to home, I use to date a captain save em… he would always have some new damsel in distress story which ultimately ended the relationship. He just needed to be every woman’s man. #hilarious funny enough, isn’t he always the guy running around liking everybody’s pictures…and I gotta say no woman wants to date that guy. He is just too desperate, he is the male equivalent of the girl who will/has smashed anybody.

  • dantefiero

    Was there not some post about all women having a past?
    If all women have a past that means all if not most men are captains right?
    Its my opinion that all women want a captain they just want to pick who their captain is.

  • jamesmichelson

    I salute such men who have came forward to save women. It is indeed noble.

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