Pushing Him Off The Pedestal: Sometimes Getting Over A Guy Starts With Your Thoughts

August 6, 2012  |  

Source: Shutterstock

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

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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  • Sophia

    O.M.G. Thank you so much for this article! I have been struggling with this for almost a year now and just had the sense to google this today as “the spell” has finally worn off for me! I am quite surprised to see just how many women have gone through this EXACT SAME experience. It’s really odd how for all of us it starts out as not seeing the person as somebody we could be attracted to, developing feelings for them and falling HARD.. then back to reality.

  • Anonymous

    To any women who read this article: PLEASE LISTEN TO THE ADVICE. Because I wish I was given this type of advice given to me 2 years ago when I was infatuated with a ex-guy associate who didn’t like me in that type of way (and who I later learned betrayed me, and talked s— about me and didn’t care about me and YES I made hella, continuous excuses for him, even to friends who didn’t understand why I was into him when he wasn’t into me). I had to learn a month and a half ago to let him go as a fantasy/crush/boyfriend/future hubby and I stopped putting him on a pedestal, I took his name out of my vocabulary, I stopped looking him up on social networking websites, and I stopped remininscing on the times me and him chopped it up and the good convos we had. And I had to come back to reality AND accept the reality that me and him will never be bf and gf or hook up. YES that was a hard a– pill for me to swallow. PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS ADVICE WOMEN WHO READ THIS ARTICLE so that u can hopefully be saved from alot of wasted energy, time, and heartbreak behind a guy who isn’t infatuated with u the way u are with him and so u can transfer that wasted energy and time into yourself. Stay blessed.

  • Kizdalad

    Thank you for this column! LOL Spot on! I just got out of relationship purgatory situation with a man just like this. I made the same mistakes. My favorite line was this: 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. My guy was short and sort of looked like a squirrel too. LMAO I laughed out loud when I read this. Thank you again!

  • Professor

    I have to admit I have been in this situation. I was with a man who I thought the world of, and he claimed I was heaven sent. I put him up on a pedestal so much that I felt guilty for not being able to overlook his anger issues at times. In my eyesight he had so many attributes that would make him the perfect husband, that I convinced myself that his flaws wasnt that bad smh.Not only did he have anger issues, but this high class educated man was a compulsive liar, emotionally unstable, and constantly bragged on how he could play mind games & cheat if he wanted too (crazy)! After 3 years I finally got tired of being hurt, and literally walked out the door with no explanation to him. I have not had any contact with him in over 7 months, and I made a vow to myself that I would never again put another man on a pedestal and never again justify insanity!

  • Bee

    Ah! This was so refreshing to read. I was recently in a situation similar to this and have been struggling to find a way to truly get over this dude. This article is most definitely appreciated!

  • Yogadivanyc


  • Phoenix

    I went through this exact same thing very recently and I was in denial about a lot of things. It has taken me a lot to let go and still trying to do so. Thanks for writing this. I just pray I can get to a point of where I never look back!

  • JustSaying

    I met this guy in college who I absolutely adored. He was smart, career oriented, and was full of so much motivation. Seeing him work to achieve his goals was a complete turn on. He pretty much told me that I was the perfect girl, I would make the perfect girlfriend, I was worth it, and everything we did together was mind blowing good. We even ate the same. We were literally like the same person. But sadly, he didn’t want commitment, he just wanted sex. He told me time and time again how he didn’t want a relationship because of school, and I went along with it even though I didn’t want to. We went from talking everyday to not talking at all. I don’t see the point in being played. I’ll leave the games to kids.

  • FML

    Yes. The guy was a complete idiot that lacked common sense. He was addicted to drugs and was a serious alcoholic, but I thought the world of him. After all, he was in college. Lol. He would promise me he would do better and made me believe that everyone was out to get him, but me. He told me he loved me, wanted to be with me, wanted to start a future with me, but instead left me for his white girlfriend that continuously dogged him. Not only that he left me with an STD and a miscarriage. Wrap it up people. One time could change it all. We don’t talk anymore, at all, never again, and from what I know he is still with his dog of a girlfriend.

  • mm

    And when you put someone on.a pedestal they are automatically looking down on you…wow..so true

  • L-Boogie

    Men and their arrogance can really push women to an ugly place. This mainly includes the ones that you have not effed.

  • supafabs

    Unfortunately, I know this all too well. I married an average looking man and he became my “idol”…Five years later, we’re getting a divorce. I made him my life and pumped his ego up. I made so many excuses as to why he didn’t return the favor (or treat me as well as my friend’s husbands). Finally, I had to say “U ARE NOT IDRIS ELBA!” LOL. Sigh. You live and learn…

    • Island Girl

      I lasted for FIFTEEN years and am getting a divorce. I should have listened to that inner voice that was telling me to leave so long ago!! You definitely live and learn….


    Man don’t I know this story too well i was in my situation for 10 yrs and 2 kids… I’m ready to walk away and my mind frame is slowly starting to change. Once I came to the realization that I’m too young for the bs and I have plenty of confidence in myself to find someone else who will cherish what I have to offer versus playing games like everything is my fault instead of the truth that he was a liar and cheat! Yes this article just motivated me even more!

  • enitan

    i definitely identify with this article. Great post!

  • Learnedmylessonquick

    Oh my gawd! This article was so on point. I could have written this article, this was my story! But you know what, this experience teaches you that you deserve someone who is going to appreciate you, love you and respect you. What matter is that you internalize this lesson and you make room for something good to come into your life. Good riddance.

  • sayitaintso

    We must be dating the same man lol. The only difference with my story, I have this 1 year rule with men. If the dating has not progressed i’m honest to say i’m ready to be in a relationship, marry and have kids and it’s obvious that’s not what you want. They are women out there for your picking with no expectations, and don’t mind the sex-that-leads-to -nowhere plan but that’s not me. We are still cool. I talk about my Ideal Mr. Right in front of him, the house i will get with my children and he is not part of it. He is not happy that i keep telling him to continue his search for Mrs. Right elsewhere. I have a goal for myself and you are either with me or your not. It’s that simple.

  • OSHH

    Great for you!!!!! We have to be careful and not make folk idols and or little g gods in our lives esp with those whom we love….. parents. children, spouses, dear friends etc.
    You can admire and respect certain attributes and accomplishments in folk but always remember from whom those blessings flow.
    What I liked most about this artcle, is that it’s a clear example of wolves coming in all guises , “playas’ are no relegated to just so called thugs or bad boys.
    Laides please allow a man to show and prove that he is not only into you but right for you, before you ever invest emotionally.
    Chile if I had followed this sage advice when I was a younger girl and woman, I would have saved myself ALOT of grief!!!!!!!

    • Na Na

      Yess! That had been a downfall of mines before, thinking that only “thugs” or bad guys could be players. But the clean cut-educated Wall Street types are just as much if not more players. Lol @ it now.