The Man In My Head: What It's Like Chasing Romance That May Not Exist

by Sheena Sharma

I blame movies, Nicholas Sparks novels and sensationalist news stories about everlasting love.

I even blame that friend of a third-removed cousin who found her happily ever after.

It's only these instances — the ones so atypical from the Average Joe's story — we hear about and these are the ones that resonate with us.

Life, to me, is about the pursuit of love. There are things we do in work and as hobbies that make us whole, but we are always looking for that perfect partner; the one we dreamt up in our heads who is a conglomerate of everything good we've ever known.

And yet, we're never guaranteed that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There are moments when we're let down and then there are moments when our faith is restored.

But, what doesn't change is the sliver of hope that a shining knight will come sweep us off our feet.

Searching for a romance that may not exist is both beautiful and haunting. It's beautiful because the journey is a process of growth and self-realization, but it's haunting because despite all the great loves we experience, we don't want to give up on that man in our heads.

The man in my head has a powerful voice; he tells me he's not far away and to keep reaching, even in moments of soul-crushing loneliness.

The man in my head is so deeply engrained in me that every man I date may really just be a combination of him and a handful of projections of my "perfect" man.

The man in my head is so omnipresent that I am never sure whether other men are capable of loving me how he could, or if they are merely stepping stones to him.

Searching for the man in my head is a war in its own right. I'm fighting uphill, all the while warding off the enemy (he who is anything but the man in my head), and just trying to make it safely home.

I open up my heart while searching for the shining knight, but my heart shuts when someone doesn't give me a stomach flip the way the man in my head could.

My heart has a mind of its own — stubborn, loud and ruthless. It battles with my brain and usually wins by landslides.

Such a heart is what makes a hopeless romantic forever hopeful and it usually ends up being one of her greatest faults.

The hopeless romantic gets scolded by those who are more reasonable.

So, she shifts and shapes her expectations to appease them, even though she is going against everything in which she steadfastly believes.

The voices of the more reasonable always seem to get overshadowed by the voice of the man in her head, and she becomes not only a soldier, but also a prisoner of her own war.

So, the hopeless romantic gets tired of the accusations. Still, despite being berated for what she holds to be true, she continues to live by her picturesque ideal that one rainy and miserable day, it will all come to fruition.

She'll be walking down the sidewalk and drop a dollar bill when — all of a sudden — the man in her head will walk out from her head onto the sidewalk.

He'll pick up her dollar bill, say "hello" and from that very moment, she'll just know. And, until that day, she'll remain a brave soldier.

The man in my head has an impossibly strong grip on me — one that I can't shake — and it's a dangerous thing.