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Why am I so hooked on emotionally unavailable men?
I know they’re bad for me but I can’t get enough of them. I keep repeating the same patterns over and over again.
Have you also dated your fair share of emotionally unavailable men?
If you find yourself in this position, you’re not the only one. In fact, it’s more common than not. Just to be clear, this isn’t gender-specific; a woman can be emotionally unavailable too. But I am writing from the perspective of a woman about these types of men.
The truth is we gravitate toward what we know. So when we find ourselves being drawn toward the indifferent, detached guy, we’re really just operating from our earlier wounds. There’s a little girl inside of us who is screaming “this feels familiar, this feels familiar.” This could be a result of having had an emotionally distant parent, of having been abandoned as a child, or actually feeling as though we too are “emotionally unavailable.”
As a result, we feel like this kind of relationship is normal, when really it isn’t. It’s just familiar. And we feel like we don’t deserve more than that. Healthy relationships don’t really align with us.
The emotionally unavailable man is the kind of person who isn’t able to connect emotionally with us in the way that we need and require. We rarely, if ever, feel held or supported when we’re with him. He subconsciously (or even consciously) puts up a wall from getting too emotionally invested—keeping us at arm’s length at all times. Sometimes it is evident he is emotionally unavailable from the very start of a relationship, sometimes it takes a few months to realize what he is really like. So, if he has all these not-so-great qualities, then why can we not get enough of him?
Here are just a few reasons why there is often a certain appeal to this kind of guy:
It’s the confidence
A lot of emotionally unavailable men come across as confident. Macho, macho. It’s the way he holds himself. He seems to have no insecurities (that we can see). He’s sure of himself. In a way, he’s untouchable. And women can find this quite hot.
Of course, the downside to this is that sometimes he can actually be quite self-centered and always put himself first (and you last).
It’s the charm
Yes, he is cold and indifferent, but God, he knows how to sweep us right off our feet. He has all the right words. He knows what to say. He oozes sensuality and knows how to get what he wants. The problem is he’s not really looking for a serious emotional connection, maybe just a fling. Maybe it’s just a little game to boost his self-image. So, yes, he’s charming, but then he ghosts you. You don’t hear from him in weeks, months even. It’s like he dropped off the face of the Earth.
Ouch. Massive ouch.
It’s the mystery
Mr. Emotionally Unavailable is usually very mysterious. And who doesn’t like a bit of mystery? He never gives away too much about himself. He is often secretive about his past. You keep wanting to find out more but he’s definitely not an open book. And so it becomes a hopeless chase.
But what I’ve realized is most of the time, it’s best to not know anything about their pasts…
It’s your desire to fix him
You’ve got a good heart, and you love deeply. And naturally, you want him to show some sort of reciprocity. You want to see his soft, vulnerable side. You want to see the emotional side of him. Relationships are about balance after all. You want to help fix him.
But he’s not yours to “fix.” It’s up to him to work on himself (and that’s if he wants to). We often think that emotionally unavailable people do not hold the capacity to feel love, but this simply isn’t true. What it really is is conditioning, a form of protection from getting hurt, from exposing their hearts. These wounds run deep and take time to heal.
Again, only he can work on himself. Take care of yourself first.
The desire to be enough for him
You want to earn his love so badly. He’s a challenge, and who doesn’t like a challenge? There’s a certain thrill to trying to gain the love of someone who doesn’t know how to show it.
We want the things we can’t have…
Imagine the gratification you will feel when they fall for you. It will all be worth it, right?
But usually, this is a battle lost. And we need to learn to pick our battles wisely.
It hurts, but it rarely ever ends well when we fall for the emotionally unavailable one. We end up hurt and disappointed. We end up abandoned. That initial appeal fades pretty quickly when we start to see the reality of things. And the only thing to do is to stop recreating these patterns. To start choosing partners who show us the love we do deserve. Partners who are not afraid to voice their feelings for us. Isn’t that what love is all about?