The Heartbreaking Truth About Why We Always Want People We Can Never Have

The Heartbreaking Truth About Why We Want People We Can Never Have
Blake Lisk

I’ve been dealing with the interminable struggle of wanting someone I can’t have for a while now. I’m not going to lie – it sucks. I’d do just about anything to meet someone else and know that dating him wouldn’t be an impossibility – in fact, he might even make it feel simple and easy. Someone who would be honest and open, who would make sure that I know he wants only me and that he’ll do whatever it takes to have me in his life.

I’ve gone so long without meeting anyone who I can imagine dating seriously that I’m starting to wonder if I’m growing or regressing. When I began my journey of self-reflection and self-discovery over two years ago, I was determined to become a better, happier person. This has definitely happened and I don’t regret a minute of my complicated journey. It’s necessary and it’s definitely still a work in progress. I have a long way to go – but I’m okay with it. That’s the human condition. I’m grateful that I realized I needed to change.

I’ve learned a lot about the way I function in relationships and I understand why I made the mistakes of my past. I thought that because of this, I’d suddenly identify the right man for me and that he would recognize me back. Unfortunately this hasn’t happened. Yes, I’ve made progress. I can see my mistakes sooner and I try very hard not to repeat them.

The fact that I’m still making errors and choosing the wrong men, though, makes me very nervous.

I’ve gotten so accustomed to my single life that I don’t even want to deal with dating. Every time I tentatively take another chance on it, I’m sorely disappointed. It makes me realize anew that my life is better when I’m not allowing some man to toy with my emotions. I choose poorly so regularly that I don’t trust myself to choose anyone at all. I don’t want to be vulnerable with men when it seems that they will do and say anything to get what they want and then drop me cold. It’s exhausting.

I have gotten much better at recognizing red flags in potential partners and also at recognizing the mechanisms behind my own dysfunctional behavior. What I haven’t figured out is how to stop wanting the wrong guy. I make such an effort to desire the men I logically should, but I’ve never been any good at faking emotions. It’s not fair to me or to them.

It seems I simply swap out one dysfunctional behavior for another when it comes to dating, and right now that behavior is wanting people I know I will never have. I’m sure I do this because it’s safe – it may feel awful to know that it’ll never happen for us, but it’s manageable.

It isn’t as terrifying as giving my affection and attention to someone who might break me apart.

So what I want to know is: how do I stop clicking with the wrong people? Why do I only have chemistry with men who are unavailable in some way, be it emotional or otherwise? This is a heavy issue, one that undeniably impedes my dating life, and I don’t know how to change who attracts me. I’m in a vicious cycle where I know I shouldn’t date the men I like, so I do my best to walk away, but then I end up alone because I’m not attracted to anyone else.

I’m still working every single day to grow and evolve, but this is the one area I feel most stunted and I’m having quite the difficult time. I’m so frustrated – every time I meet someone who gives me the faintest glimmer of hope, like this last man I’m still trying to erase from my mind, I realize that for whatever reason, it won’t work. It gets to the point, though, where I’m not sure if that’s reality or something I tell myself so that I never get in too deep emotionally.

The result, for the time being, is that I’m gathering a group of decent male friends – something I had lost when I was in a serious relationship. I’m glad to have them, but it’s also often sad to know that I’m surrounded by good men who are already taken by other women. Sure, I know that I don’t actually want to date most of them – but I’m also starting to lose hope that I will find a single guy who is right for me in this confusing, complicated dating landscape.

I don’t know what to do, so I’m not doing anything. I’m turning inward and attempting to figure out why I’m torturing myself, all the while trying to stop wanting someone who clearly doesn’t want me, and so very fed up with myself for always letting my abandonment issues dictate my love life. I know that I’m feeding into my feelings of worthlessness by chasing that which cannot be, but I can’t seem to change the behavior. I absolutely hate it. I know that I can’t make my mommy love me by getting some unobtainable man to want me, and yet I keep chasing in spite of myself.

I don’t want to believe that I’m so broken inside that I will never be in a functional, healthy relationship. But sometimes it honestly feels like an impossibility. I know I don’t have to be perfect to have love in my life. I know that I’m a wonderful person who deserves to give and receive affection. I’m just not sure right now if I’ll ever be capable of making the right choices when it comes to romantic relationships, and that scares me. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Amy Horton

Speak your truth. Be kind. Stay present. And don’t forget to play!

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