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Wanting the Unavailable

July 29, 2010 1 comment

Why do  we chase men and women who are emotionally unavailable?

Most people think they are specially equipped with radar to detect the right person – if not at first sight, at least by the second date. but a common bind for many is that you are only attracted to unavailable partners.  Your radar hones in on those who are destined to leave you in the end.  You are caught up in cycles of abandonment.

If this describes your love life, it may be that while you believe you are looking for a relationship, you are in fact seeking infatuation. When someone comes along who wants to be with you, he or she is too easy-to-get to arouse that “required level of insecurity.”  If you can’t feel those yearning, craving sensations, you think you aren’t “in love.” So you keep pursuing partners who offer an “emotional challenge” in order to stay infatuated.

What is this chase all about?

Many people are afraid of commitment — they fear both abandonment and engulfment — and pursue unavailable partners to avoid risking a real relationship.  Another cause lies buried in your early relationship with your parents.  Maybe you felt rejected or dismissed, or struggled to win their approval or recognition.  Now as an adult you’re easily “hooked” when someone pushes these old insecurity buttons.  Another cause is low self-esteem:  You wouldn’t want anyone who would want you.  You place yourself in one-down position to others, making yourself more easily dismissed. You may stay in the drama of pursuing hard-to-get lovers in order to distract yourself from an old wound.

To break the cycle:

  1. The first step is to recognize whether you have this problem.
  2. Question your motives: Are you looking for the emotional high of infatuation or are you seeking a trusting, loving, mutual relationship? In other words are you seeking romance instead of relationship?
  3. Reexamine your values about who is a “good catch.” False notions about love, about what a relationship is supposed to be, and about what kind of partner to choose, may be keeping you outside of love.  Revamp your old values left over from high school — the ones based on looks, money, status and the size of a person’s ego, rather than on his/her capacity for love and connection.
  4. Recognize that these patterns don’t just go away because you’ve become aware of them.  You have to change behavior.  Open yourself to new truths, new values, new experiences, and new people.
  5. Make breaking this pattern a primary goal of self-improvement and therapy.  As you aim toward your higher self, you become capable of mutual relationship.
  6. Be suspicious of your gut — when you feel attracted to someone, it may be because he/she is emotionally unavailable.  Your gut most likely go you into this pattern in the first place.  As you change your values, you’ll learn to distinguish being “attracted” from being “interested” in a truly emotionally reliable partner.
  7. Be suspicious of your notion that you “just haven’t met the right person.”  Maybe the right person came by and was too available — and it turned you off.
  8. Ask your prospective lovers how they ended their past relationships. Reading between the lines, you may be able to spot and abandoner — someone who can’t commit and who blames it on their former partners’ supposed inadequacies and faults in order to justify breaking up with them.
  9. Learn to tolerate being loved.  The feelings of trust, mutuality, and security are different from the intense emotional high of insecurity.  After pursuing unavailable partners, being loved takes some getting used to.
  10. When you find someone who is worthy of trust and commitment, rather than expect love to be an infatuated feeling that “washes over you.” think of love as an action verb that involves conscious choice and caring actions.
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