Several years ago, I met this guy named Stephen whom I used to describe as the smartest man I ever met. He must have skipped a grade or two somewhere along the line because he was 23 with an MBA and was running his own business. “A real life Doogie Howser” I mused. Granted, the TV character was a 14-year-old doctor, but it was the first comparison I thought of.
I admired intelligent men long before I met Stephen, but I was beginning to believe that I would have to give up on ever meeting a guy who valued education. Instead, I kept meeting boys who answered the “what’s your favorite book?” question with a nonchalant “I don’t read.” Some guys I met were so intellectually lost, I wondered how they even made it through the day.
Stephen and I met through friends. He certainly wasn’t the most handsome guy in a crowd, but he dressed well and his quick wit and social personality took up where his looks left off. After talking to him a lot and (platonically) hanging out with him a little bit, I started to like him. Correction: I became absolutely enamored with him. We would talk about everything: politics, current events, entertainment, business, whatever. He became one of my favorite people to talk to and debate topics with.
Unfortunately, I was looking for a relationship and Stephen only wanted sex. Of course, that’s my simple assessment of the situation in hindsight. At the time, I was loath to admit I wanted a relationship because I felt that admission would scare men away. And apparently he was loath to admit he was just chasing panties because that admission might’ve scared women away.
So instead of being honest with each other, we played this fake friendship/pseudo-relationship thing. I pretended I was okay with him not wanting to be in a relationship with me and he pretended that it wasn’t about me and that he just didn’t want a relationship period. He had excuses for days too. One of them was that he had just gotten out of a serious relationship. I foolishly interpreted that as a legitimate yet time-sensitive reason, one that would easily go away after a few weeks or months of hanging out with me. Now I realize that if a man wants to be in a relationship with a woman, he will marry her the day after a divorce, if not, he will use that “just got out a serious relationship” excuse for years after a not-serious-at-all breakup.
I didn’t know that then though, so I just played along believing his lies that he cared about me. He would get jealous when other guys would talk to me and I saw that as proof that he really wanted us to be together. I assumed we were days away from becoming official. Slowly, I discovered that his intelligence went beyond the books as he was adept at playing me. He had no intention of taking things further and only kept me around to stroke his massive ego.
Me, I was so busy singing his praises about his intelligence, business sense, and any other impressive qualities and accomplishments, I had unwittingly placed him on an a pedestal. And when you put someone on a pedestal, they’re automatically looking down at you. It seemed the more respect I had for him, the less respect I had for myself. I kept thinking that if I was more of this or less of that then he wouldn’t be able to resist calling me his “girlfriend.” All I could see was his rights and my wrongs and it was making me uncharacteristically down on myself. I was all “he’s a genius” and “he’s so smart” when I should have been saying “he’s an arrogant, heartless jerk with a Napoleon Complex who looks like a squirrel” and “I deserve better than the way he is treating me.”
Our thoughts are so powerful and I finally realized that if I was going to walk away from him for real then I needed to bring him back to Earth in my mind. The way to do that was to tell myself the truth about him and the situation. No more heaping compliments or making excuses for him. It was time to rip off the blinders and be honest about who I was dealing with. I was only adding to my own pain by telling myself that he was the perfect guy. Was he really perfect? Clearly not. For all my “he’s sooo smart,” he wasn’t intelligent enough to get into a relationship with me, so I guess he wasn’t such a genius after all.
What I wish I’d known sooner is that no man is perfect, and too often we end up projecting perfection onto a man despite his blatant shortcomings. Once I stopped wishing things would change, and admitted nothing would change, something did change: Me. I walked away. It’s much easier to gain perspective when we’re being truthful with ourselves about what is really going on. Taking an objective look will likely result in realizing when we’ve dodged a bullet. Looking back, I know I did. Besides, he wasn’t that cute anyway.
Have you ever found yourself thinking more highly of a guy then he deserved?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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