Why You’re Drawn to Emotionally Unavailable Men (And How To Heal)

Do you find that you are mostly (or only!) drawn to emotionally unavailable men who can’t give you the commitment you want? Maybe you feel frustrated by this, you want to find love… and yet, you can’t summon even a flicker of attraction for the guys who are available and seem really interested in you.

Maybe you think the heart wants what it wants… and you can’t help who you are drawn to. Maybe you’re aware that you only seem attracted to emotionally unavailable men but you don’t know why or how to fix it.

Well, you’ve landed in the right place. I’m going to explain exactly why you’re drawn to emotionally unavailable men and how to break the pattern. Buckle up, we’re going deep with this one!

First, let’s look at why…

1. It’s a distraction.

There is no greater way to hide from yourself than in someone else’s problems.   

And emotionally unavailable men usually have a lot of them! They are unavailable for a reason, or many. It could be a divorce, the death of a loved one, a traumatic breakup, or childhood. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to commit to anyone until his life is in order. Maybe he’s having financial issues or emotional issues. And most men won’t want to be “seen” when they are off their game like this.

It’s so easy to get lost in him and his issues and what’s going on with his life. You don’t have to focus on yourself, you can put off dealing with yourself and what’s going on in your life and devote yourself to getting him back not rack.

Maybe he’s not just emotionally unavailable, but he’s actually unavailable, as in married. Now, this is a great place to hide because you’ve created a whole drama for yourself. There’s suspense, there is so much unknown, there is sneaking around, there are high stakes… it’s like you’re living in your own movie and you get to hopefully be the triumphant heroine and persevere and get the guy!

2. Playing savior makes you feel good about yourself.

If you lack self-esteem then trying to save this man from himself can give you a feeling of purpose and meaning. He needs you. And it can be nice to feel needed. This is the trap of codependent relationships, the weak person needs the strong so much they almost can’t function without them… and the strong person is addicted to being the savior.

Here’s the thing with emotionally unavailable men… they do still also enjoy the closeness and connection of having someone there even if they won’t or can’t commit. This gives you just enough rope to hang onto.

You may also think that by saving him, you’re almost buying his love and loyalty. I see this happen all the time. I see women left shattered and devastated when their emotionally unavailable guy leaves for good. She doesn’t understand. How can he do this to me? I did everything for him! I helped him! I healed him! And then he left me?! It’s not right, it’s not fair.

3. You feel connected to his darkness.

A lot of the time, we are drawn to someone who is lost and alone because we also feel lost and alone, we feel connected to his trauma and his darkness. And there is a comfort in the familiarity, in what feels like home… even if that home is totally dysfunctional and not in our best interest.

It may not even be him that you want, it’s a feeling of being seen and accepted for who you truly are.

4. You are also emotionally unavailable.

Here is a key relationship concept: Like attracts like. An emotionally healthy person will attract another emotionally healthy person. An emotionally unavailable person will attract another emotionally unavailable person.

Now you might be thinking: What are you talking about, Sabrina? I’m not emotionally unavailable, I’m dying for a relationship

OK … but if you’re consistently going for guys who are emotionally unavailable and won’t commit, it’s probably because deep down you don’t believe you are worthy of love, and this probably stems back to your childhood as most issues in our adult lives do!

You may be going for guys who won’t commit to you because deep down you feel unworthy of love and these guys simply validate the way you already feel about yourself. The subconscious mind is always looking to prove itself right, so while you might be desperate for a relationship, you’re setting yourself up to fail by going for guys who can’t give you what.

5. You’re using him as validation.

Maybe you think you’ll gain self-esteem by winning this guy over and getting him to commit.

You erroneously believe that all you need to do is get him to commit and then you’ll finally be happy and whole and healed and you’ll finally feel worthy and all those insecurities you’ve been carrying around like toilet paper stuck to your shoe will evaporate.

This is just a trap, this is another distraction, it’s a way of avoiding doing the work necessary to actually build self-esteem. Instead, you think, OK, I just need to focus on winning him over and then I’ll be golden!

Now that we’ve discussed why it happens, let’s look at some solutions to break the cycle.

1. Identify the problem.

You need to examine why you’re drawn to him. The reason you feel that pull is because there is something in it for you … you wouldn’t be there otherwise.

It’s filling a void or scratching an itch. Maybe it’s touching on old wounds and traumas. Figure out what it is exactly. Sometimes that can be all it takes for those knots to start loosening and for you to break free of this destructive pattern.

2. Work on your self-worth.

If deep down you don’t believe you’re worthy of love so you are drawn to people who validate that. So work on your worth!

Take care of yourself, really good care.  When you do this, you are sending the message to yourself that you are valuable and worthy- you can’t really expect other people to treat you well if you don’t treat yourself so nicely!

Eat well, exercise, go outside, nourish yourself, create a relaxing morning or evening routine, and get on a good supplement regimen. It’s not just about the physical, it’s also about nourishing your mind and your soul. Feed them positive books and podcasts. Surround yourself with positive people. Create an environment that elevates you, not one that brings you down or keeps you stuck.

3. Get to know yourself.

How can you love or even like yourself when you don’t know yourself? And trust me, most people don’t know themselves as well as they think.

Take some time and visualize your ideal day, think of it from start to finish: What time do you wake up? What do you do first? Where do you go? What do you do? Who do you spend time with?

Now try to incorporate some of those elements into your daily life. When you map it out in your mind, you may realize that you aren’t living your life in a way that reaps the most joy and fulfillment.

You also need to make an effort to tap into that thing that makes you feel alive. We all have that thing. The thing that reminds us why we’ve been put on this earth. Do more of that thing.

4. Heal your trauma.

I hate to break it to you, but time doesn’t heal all wounds. Time makes memories foggy, but that pain will still be there and will remain there until you confront it. If you ignore it, it will get activated at the most unlikely times, suddenly ripping through you. Maybe you have an extreme emotional reaction to something minor, maybe you suddenly feel flushed and break out in hives, maybe you feel inexplicably anxious by something innocuous. That’s your trauma talking.

I know it’s scary to face. You feel like you’re just going to fall into some great black hole and never claw your way out. And it will be tough, but it will be endlessly rewarding so you have to go there.

Some people can deal with it on their own with some job books or through journaling or meditation. Others may need a coach or therapist or a hypnotist or a shaman, there is so much out there these days so find what speaks to you!

Sabrina Bendory is a writer and entrepreneur. She is the author of You’re Overthinking It, a definitive book on dating and self-love.

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