In My Mind

by Jamilah Lemieux

I’ve built emotional monuments to men in their absence. And while I’d like to be ashamed over that, I know I’m not alone. I’ve seen my girlfriends and their girlfriends do it. I’ve seen it done in movies. We’ve allowed men who aren’t really that present in our lives to be exceedingly present in our hearts. The unrequited lovers. The flaky fella who has time for you every now and again. The ex you didn’t want to be an ex. The one who skipped out after a couple of amazing (or so you thought) dates.

Since there is a dearth of real, actual time spent with these men, we deal with them on a fantasy level. We allow ourselves to paint this perfect picture of them in our minds. And we dream ourselves compatible with this perfect man in this perfect relationship. The only flaw he has is his inability to see just how happy he could be if he only realized you were the illest chick in the world.

The irony for me: there have been occasions when I have departed the fantasy and had some face time with my should-be boos, only to be very disappointed by what that actually looked like. In some cases, I was able to wake up from the dream; in others, I tried to ignore the lack of compatibility and the character flaws that would have been deal-breakers in other men and choose to keep the fantasy torch burning.

In the instances in which I went on to have relationships with these guys, the feeling of satisfaction I got from getting something I had long wanted was often better than the actual dating. And there was some truth in the things I had imagined. They weren’t bad times at all. But I do myself a disservice by letting these men who aren’t really here (*gestures around the room*) be all up in here (*taps head and heart simultaneously*). I’m too dope to give so much to someone who either chooses to or is unable to give the same to me.

I’m not saying all women do this or that men never see too much in a woman because she isn’t really there to be seen. But I’ve certainly seen enough women do this to know it’s not in our best interest. I’ve come to accept that more often than not, when a man isn’t there, I shouldn’t want so badly for him to be. I want to be wanted and if I’m not, then I should want for something else. If you are sleeping on me, then I don’t need to dream on. If someone can “deny themselves the pleasure of my company” (peace to Zora), I can deny them the space in my heart that should be saved for someone who wants it.

  • march pisces

    great post and nope, you are not alone *as i slowly raise my hand*…

  • march pisces

    hell, to be honest it’s nice to know that i’m not alone.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    Yes be done with the phantom menaces in all actuality, and never allow yourself to be so otherwise occupied again.

  • Roses

    *slowly raising my hand with you* lol Hey I had some great times regardless…But I know better now and will do better :)

  • P

    I did it ONLY once in my lifetime. And will not ever go back there again. The sad part is not that the person didn’t choose me. It was b/c I allowed myself to dwell in a “pity-party” far too long.

    As the saying goes – we all live and learn. That was years ago. It’s a great feeling to learn you lead a more peaceful and meaningful life once you let go of what isn’t meant for you.

    Great article and every woman need to read this. Most have done it and it is easy to do especially if you were truly into someone.

  • Nick

    I needed this post in my life. So do a lot of other women, they just don’t know it yet lol.

  • Brittney Hood

    I can’t believe I made it past the first paragraph. I so needed this honesty. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who has done such a thing.

    Keep it up Clutch, it’s awesome to be able to come to a place, and read and comment with like-minded individuals!

  • Jess

    This post is nourishment. Thank you.

  • B.Payne

    And all of these years, I thought there was something wrong with me!

    I’m so much better with my “fantasies” now but there was a time when I almost believed that we were together…almost. That’s how powerful that mind really is…so imagine if we put at least 30 percent of what we’ve spent thinking about someone on something more beneficial like goals and manifesting them.

  • Smilez_920

    1) A lot of women can’t handle rejection. Most try to coddle the feeling of rejection with hope instead of reality. Hope is saying “maybe he’s just busy” or ignoring the fact that he jump in and out of your life without a second thought.
    2) Women build up fantasies about men before they know them. Sometimes we look at our check list and if a guy has a few of the basics we try to turn him into the deluxe edition. Think about it most of the day dreaming is about a tall, handsome, man with a decent to good job, went to college and graduated. Most women will see that on the resume and begin placing that man in a fantasy, assuming what he will be instead of letting him show us who he is.
    3) Some women want a relationship and not a man/partner. Some women simply want someone to fill in the fantasy relationship they’ve already created in their head. So every guy seems like the one, when in reality you and him don’t mesh for a good reason.

    Honestly the only way to avoid this is to, not take everything to heart, don’t jump the gun, don’t doubt yourself and what you bring to the table and remember that it’s ok for people not to want what you have, it doesn’t make you a bad person.

  • Danielle

    Girl, you wrote that about me! I totally needed to read this. Thanks for sharing!

  • JN

    Listen, Clutch, I’ma need you to leave me and my pretend boyfriends alone. All of them.

  • solfresh

    Wow, welp glad to know I’m not the only one who is/has gone through this!
    Sometimes I actually feel ashamed for having taken so long (a year and 1/2) to get over a guy I didn’t even have a “public” relationship with. At the time, he did everything different than most guys I dealt with and I couldn’t deny the butterflies. But when he started being flaky, I swore up and down it would get better. Then I became the revolving door for a bit until he left and eventually got a gf.

    I overcompensated on the good things and ignored the bad which were blaring red flags. It even got to the point where I waited for him, and began looking at my my life as if it wasn’t good enough without him there.

    I’m hella glad I got through that phase. But it’s hard to lose an image of something that was once/potentially good when it’s not every day you connect with someone or have butterflies.

    It’s all a process though, I think. Sometimes you gotta ignore the heart when the facts say otherwise.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    Not ignore but guard the heart, guard it well while using your mind to reason, discernment, and listen to your intuition

  • mEE


  • Kristen

    “In my mind, I’ll always be his lady” – In my best Heather Headley voice

    SMH you want to talk about RELEVANCE?? This here article is it. Clutch, once again you smacked me with the smart broom.

  • gg


  • mbm1ame

    This article is so me. I’m contemplating whether or not I should forward this to a guy I’m txting.

  • Htown

    OMG this article here was GOOD!!!

    “when a man isn’t there, I shouldn’t want so badly for him to be”. Yes said very well!

  • Htown

    Thanks for that advice, it really spoke something to me!!!!

  • march pisces

    i’m about to shut it down for the day, but i just had to say this is one of the best post that i have read in the 9 months or so that i have been reading clutch.

    thanks again to the author!

  • ChaCha

    I think a lot of us have been in that exact same situation before. I was 19-20 at the time and inexperienced. When my head was finally clear, it made me wonder what the hell I was thinking.

  • Melissa

    All things in their own time and this understanding is due. I repeat a quote often in my head for these situations “examine carefully the things you most desire”. After I remind myself of this quote I then get very real with my answers and often enough I leave said party alone because the answers do not meet my real needs and wants.

  • Kay

    This article was spot on! I spent some time in my younger years in what I thought was intense love with a guy and when we broke up, I was devastated. Finally a friend of mine was like, “Well, what so great about him?” I stammered out about how cute he was but couldn’t think of anything else. I spent an entire summer trying to think on this and realized I never really liked the guy. I had sold myself on the IDEA of him, but I just never really clicked with him, at least not in the way I wanted. Once I realized this, I was able to let go. I saw the guy in question recently and we talked for a few minutes and I thought “What did I ever see in this guy?” Yep. We sell ourselves the fantasy or the great potential of the man we want him to be. “He could be so good if….,” “If only he’d…,” Deal with what you have and you’ll probably see things a lot clearer.

  • Overseas_Honeybee

    Wow. Thank you for putting these words out into the atmosphere. This is me. I had to walk away and come back the first time I read this. I can think of a million reasons why we should not be together but I still find myself in the same boat as the author. I was the one who ended it because I deserved more than what he was willing to offer. He would never know I placed him on an emotional monument. I cut contact and I keep any interactions brief and to the point. I look forward to the day when I can completely let go of any thoughts of him but perhaps that comes with more prayer, healing and time. The heart is indeed deceitful … who can know it.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    Overseas_Honeybee…. It has been years for me and to this day I still love him, but I also know I could never be with him and all the reasons why. Honestly you don’t forget, you just let go, and move on.

  • Laneé

    PREACH!!! I’m battling this right now. I always do this with men, I create some sort of fantasy in my mind of what it will be like when they finally come around and fall madly in love with me. I know I’m an amazing woman and a lot of men want to date me, but my silly self chooses the ones I have to chase instead of being with someone who wants me right away…which is what I want. Lately, I’ve been falling into the this destructive pattern with someone who dissed me in dating before but I still have hope *crossing fingers and rolling my eyes*. Stupid I know. But I’m working on letting this go and opening myself, heart, mind and life to someone who wants me completely. I know I will get what I want if I stop looking in the wrong direction.

  • rastaman

    “Women are keepers of hope” , word I heard from an older lady early on in my romantic life. My experiences have done nothing to make that any less true.

  • Overseas_Honeybee

    @OSHH Thanks sis:) Agreed. I doubt any of us could ever really forget anyone who has touched our hearts. The future awaits.

  • Ashley S.C. Walls

    This post translates to more than intimate relationships. I think we as women often create grandiose relationships with our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, etc. It is what allows us to expect less or accept less than what we imagined from our intimate partners. Good post. Thanks for sharing.

  • solfresh

    Oh yes, this is the biggest lesson out of that experience.

  • kelly1920

    great piece. loved the play on IN MY MIND by heather headly

  • cheriehughestown

    Absolutely. I know I am still very young and learning lessons about womanhood. I appreciate real talk about what I should deem acceptable and disrespectful. There is clarity in this message: Just because you are good, faithful, and stay positive doesn’t mean a person will catch on all of a sudden. It is helpful for self but then one has to move on.

  • Melissa

    OMG, this is me too! Still trying to get over a break-up that happened 5 months ago because he still lives in my head! Now how do/ can we move on???

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