Why Are Women Obsessing Over Outlander?

Are many women longing to be with “the love of their lives” and feel they aren’t?

Last year I kept seeing comments about the show Outlander on my social media feeds. The posts became so frequent and intense that I became incredibly intrigued. What was stirring all this discussion—what was the obsession about?

One of my closest friends was so captivated by the show that she spoke about her actual, real grief that she had watched the last episode available and had to wait for the next season. She has since begun reading the book series and started watching all the shows over again. I kept thinking, What on Earth is possessing her and so many other women? So I started watching the shows.

Now I get it. I became sucked into the Outlander rabbit hole, fascinated with my own interest in the show. What was it that was actually making me want to watch it and keep running episode scenes through my mind?

I’m pretty sure the one answer to those questions is: Jamie Fraser.

I shook my head, embarrassed that I was too old (I’m 47) to have a “crush” on a TV character, but I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I just too curious about human nature, so I had to put my psychotherapist hat on in attempt to analyze this. I couldn’t help myself particularly after following the man who plays Jamie Fraser, Sam Heughan, on Instagram (I cant believe I’m admitting that). But the hilarious thing is that once I did that, Instagram showed me all my family members and friends who were ALSO following him! WHY?!?!

Maybe it is because we need a break from parenting and adult life? Or maybe it is that we desire to feel so loved, as it appears Jamie loves Claire? Or is the hot sex between the two of them?

When I listen to the women who speak to me in counselling sessions and through my parenting Facebook page, a common theme exists that they feel unseen, unimportant, and have lost themselves in the world of being a mother and a wife. I often hear these words: “Wow, marriage is hard,” mixed in with, “No one told me that parenting was going to be this rough!”

It’s not surprising to me that thousands of women have fallen for Jamie Fraser. He has the romantic, attentive “love language” most of us want to hear. He is loyal, chivalrous, strong, respectful, principled, honourable, and fierce. He isn’t distracted by his phone or work and puts his woman first. I’m pretty sure most of us want our man to declare, “I loved her well.”

Plus, he’s hot. There’s that.

Something that the character Claire said has also really stuck with me: “He is the love of my life.” How many of us would say that about our partner?

I am grateful to say that I would use those words about my guy – my husband is the love of my life. But it hasn’t always been that way. We have had several important conversations over the last year in particular with a renewed commitment to liking, loving, and adoring each other. It does take effort to do these things on a regular basis and it’s an effort that is very important to me.

Are many women longing to be with “the love of their lives” and feel they aren’t?

Many years back, I read the book What Makes Love Last? by John Gottman, PhD. It’s a very good read with specific suggestions for growing closer with our partner. These suggestions revolve around learning to speak up for ourselves and to use the words of Brené Brown, being able to say, “The story I’m telling myself about this now is…”

Gottman also goes through the various communication styles and how those can work for and against keeping two people together. He claims to be able to tell fairly quickly if a relationship will last or not.

I think that many of us go too long without getting our love and adoration buckets filled. We can certainly feel loved by those around us, but it’s different than feeling in love when we’re exhausted and in a state of depletion. I often have times when I wish someone was nurturing me as much as I’m nurturing others. Thankfully, I have learned to be able to say this to those I love so I don’t end up running myself into the ground (it did take a few times of doing this before finding my words).

I wonder if vicariously getting the love and adoration buckets filled by watching Jamie and Claire together drives the Outlander obsession? I’d love to hear your take on this!

Are we admitting that we secretly want a gentleman to sleep outside our doorstep to make sure we’re safe? I can certainly see the appeal and the sense of safety that would bring.

So, whether there’s some kind of need being filled, escape being made from life, interest in the style or genre of the show, or just an appreciation of hotness, I definitely watched the season opener. Did you?




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Andrea Loewen Nair is a former teacher & psychotherapist and founder of Infinity School in London, Ontario Canada. She specializes in the connection between parents and their children and also teacher-coaching. She has been our most-read writer at YMC for 2013, 2014 and 2015! Andrea's parenting and teaching help can be found here and on her social media.