Chasing those emotionally unavailable

A moment ago I stumbled upon a wise post by one of our forum members (I'd give a proper citation but then the spotlight might be unwelcome) that made me stop for a moment and think. So, what is it that makes us pursue those emotionally unavailable?

Folks that don't want commitment, those who have not grown up yet, those who are in "situations", etc. etc. attract a disproportionate amount of attention, while, rationally speaking, they should be seen as not quite desirable.

I suppose it wouldn't be as simple as the forbidden fruit effect. After all, we usually don't know right from start how they are. So what can it be? The superficial charm of the NPD or the psychopath? The bad boy lure? The lost child / damsel in distress mechanics?

Let's have a discussion.

Do you mean only as it relates to Catholics, or the whole lot of humanity? I tend to believe people who aren't Catholic or religious tend to be more apt to fall prey to those "emotionally unavailable" simply because in secular society (which tends to be very "ME" oriented), people aren't so uh, emotionally available. Know what I mean?

Although what do I know?

I dunno...I'm guilty of this that's for sure lol - "chasing the dream" - I call it. I was often drawn to men who seemed to be always moving, or were about to move, or who lived in another state or COUNTRY! I thought "what the heck? Why not go for it?" Well...in these instances, these men, were not looking for anything serious. And to be honest, if I were to seriously examine the inner workings of my subconscious, I'd have to say I wasn't either...for who would pursue something that resembles only the bare trappings of a relationship? Who would want that?

So yes, there was a point in my life where my self-esteem was pretty darn low, and I not only accepted, but was drawn to those "relationships" where I subsisted on mere scraps...tawdry compliments thrown my way, blah blah...words...words...that offered as the occasional ego boost. But where did it get me? Nowhere. Nowhere.

Now if one were to examine my past, and the nightmare of my childhood you could see the pattern that was shaped...I had abandonment issues, I expected it in a way...and they say those from abuse backgrounds often repeat the past in their current lives in order to re-live it in the present in order to "fix" the damage that was once done. But...well, I've lived and learned. I now know you can't fix another person, you can't CHANGE another person...and you certainly can't control another person. The only person you can control is yourself.

So if someone is emotionally unavailable...stringing you along or giving you the "slow-drip" as I've once heard it coined (gotta love that phrase lol!) then you kinda have to look at yourself and say "huh, what is it about ME that drives me to such people?" Afterall, we're the only commonality in all our relationships. So if they're not working out repeatedly, or we find ourselves drawn to "trouble" - then it would be wise to examine one's own core and see just what the heck is going on.

I firmly believe that anyone with a strong and healthy self-esteem (not EGO by the way...there's a big difference) - but with a healthy self-esteem wouldn't tolerate the emotionally unavailables out there and would quickly recognize such behavior and move on.

Of course this is just my observation...so there ya have it...my two cents. ;)

When I let this happen to me (falling for someone emotionally unavailable) I think it was a self esteem issue. I was flattered by empty compliments and preferred to believe that they were true rather than see the reality of the situation, because I so badly wanted them to be true. I chose to ignore every single one of my friends to whom it was apparent he was a selfish narcissist.

There was also an element of brokenness that I suppose I was trying to "fix" as well as somewhat of a forbidden fruit effect...I wanted what I couldn't have.

After college we didn't see much of each other anyway, so my obsession waned, but I don't think I ever really was able to get over it until I met someone who treated me the way I was supposed to be treated- someone who called when he said he would, made it clear he liked me and never kept me waiting or played games, and never ever took advantage of my kindness. I just woke up and thought "OH...this is what it's supposed to be like!"

I guess maybe because of that I think it's so important that parents are good role models to their kids regarding how to treat one another. If I had a good example of this growing up I would have already known what it was "supposed to be like" and possibly recognized that much earlier, and avoided a lot of heartache in the meantime. I hope that when I'm married I remember this and do my best to make sure my children understand how they should be treated by the way I treat my husband and the way he treats me, so that when they're out on their own they won't waste any time on someone who doesn't value them.

1 Like

[quote="chevalier, post:1, topic:220448"]
A moment ago I stumbled upon a wise post by one of our forum members (I'd give a proper citation but then the spotlight might be unwelcome) that made me stop for a moment and think. So, what is it that makes us pursue those emotionally unavailable?

Folks that don't want commitment, those who have not grown up yet, those who are in "situations", etc. etc. attract a disproportionate amount of attention, while, rationally speaking, they should be seen as not quite desirable.

I suppose it wouldn't be as simple as the forbidden fruit effect. After all, we usually don't know right from start how they are. So what can it be? The superficial charm of the NPD or the psychopath? The bad boy lure? The lost child / damsel in distress mechanics?

Let's have a discussion.

[/quote]

After years of reading women's magazines and a multitude of books about relationship, along with having listened to people like Dr. Ray and Dr. Laura on the radio, I feel I can contribute to this discussion. :p

A variety of things could be going on in such situations. In no particular order, these possibilities come to my mind.

1) The knight that rescues the damsel in distress (and the female equivalent of that) can feel "good" about themselves. It's like being someone's personal social worker and savior, all rolled up in one. Those who aren't thinking someone's stupid for staying with a looser, will think they're a good person. They want to be seen as a good person, and the other makes them look good.

2) It could be "familiar" to them--notice the root word "family" from which we get the word familiar. The other person may be attracted to someone in order to have another chance at fixing some family problem in the past. ( ie. the child of the alcoholic who doesn't drink but who falls for a heavy drinker, etc.)

3) The other person's sin may attract them. Sin is tempting. They get close to the sin without personally committing it by enable others to commit it. In some way, they find that sin attractive.

4) The person is immature and doesn't really want a healthy, mature relationship--at least not at the present time. A mistress involved with a married man probably doesn't want the commitment and responsibilty of a full-time, marital relationship.

5) Lust--and confusing lust with love. Emotionally unavailable people may not return love, but they can return physical sexual affection and they may look physically attractive. The physical parts of a relationship, like looks and ...(ahem, you know) might be the primary reason they stay together.

[quote="gardenswithkids, post:4, topic:220448"]
After years of reading women's magazines and a multitude of books about relationship, along with having listened to people like Dr. Ray and Dr. Laura on the radio, I feel I can contribute to this discussion. :p

[/quote]

Sure! That's how lawyers prepare for discussions with experts! :p

[quote="chevalier, post:1, topic:220448"]
A moment ago I stumbled upon a wise post by one of our forum members (I'd give a proper citation but then the spotlight might be unwelcome) that made me stop for a moment and think. So, what is it that makes us pursue those emotionally unavailable?

Folks that don't want commitment, those who have not grown up yet, those who are in "situations", etc. etc. attract a disproportionate amount of attention, while, rationally speaking, they should be seen as not quite desirable.

I suppose it wouldn't be as simple as the forbidden fruit effect. After all, we usually don't know right from start how they are. So what can it be? The superficial charm of the NPD or the psychopath? The bad boy lure? The lost child / damsel in distress mechanics?

Let's have a discussion.

[/quote]

There're a few reasons I can think of.

[LIST=1]
*]People want what they can't have.
*]People who are emotionally unavailable are usually those who have many choices, so they're in no hurry to make a decision.
*]Women tend to think they can change a man, and turn it into a project of sorts.
*]And sometimes it's just an ego thing.
[/LIST]

I think the advantage of the emotionally unavailable person is that I do not have to show them my true feelings.

Also as others have said in a different manner, if person X hurt me in the past and never apologized, I date someone who will hurt me the same way hoping to get them to apologize so I can win over person X or at least fool myself into thinking it didn’t happen.

Also, I was treated a certain way as a child (details not necessary) so when men treate me a certain negative way, I didn’t know at the time it was wrong.

And lastly, emotionally unavailable is a vague term. Maybe their strenghts are different and your issues are not something they can help with but another person would be very supported by them. Not to mention, everyone has a difference depth to them. Some people can feel extremly connect on a level that someone else would consider not available.

CM

These are ALL just wonderful responses! And a great topic Chevalier.....

I think for a man who falls for an unavailable woman emotionally, it's the pursuit of the chase. I really do believe as Pope John II said, "The man loves, the woman responds". I think it's human nature for men to be the chasers, the pursuors. If a woman is the chaser, the relationship will probably be doomed. I think the man needs to go after a woman with all his heart, and if he wins her, she will be his prize love......if she's clearly not interested in him after a while, he should forget about her and move on.

However, I think a woman who wants an emotionally unavailable man, it's a total self-esteem issue. If a woman thinks highly of herself and loves herself, she will not settle for crumbs, but will want a man who is nuts about her and shows her so!

My 2 cents.....

P.S. I listen to Dr. Laura often. She's a total feminist who believes women though should stay home to raise their kids. She advocates not marrying a boy but a man! (good one)....not a momma's boy....(good one)....and not taking any **** from any man.....(good one)......:shrug:

PSS: I can really relate to what one poster said about family....being familiar.......sometimes people want what's familiar......even if it's not healthy or good for them......I often wonder why I would even want my cheating husband back???????FAMILY.........kids........familiar.......:blush::confused: for him to only continue on hurting me.....NO THANKS!

“I think the advantage of the emotionally unavailable person is that I do not have to show them my true feelings.”

CMCS: this is so true…this just keeps people on a string huh???

It’s also a very cowardly way to behave NOT showing your true feelings.

I hate to admit this but I'm definitely guilty of that. It drives me crazy when I think someone showed initial interest and then doesn't want me anymore so it pulls me in. I really hate that and I'm slowly learning to stop this unhealthy cycle.

I'm determined to find someone that wants me, is emotionally healthy and available, and does not have withdrawing patterns that make me so anxious. The more they pull away, the closer I try to get and then I just end up hurt. So, no more of that for me!

1 Like

Looking back at it - I realize that as independent as the two of us were all of a sudden my xh all of a sudden needed my support more and more for situations with his parents, his daughter, his health, and then after our pre-Cana we got married and it got abusive really quickly because he almost hated me for supporting him and when I needed support for my health with my accident when I could no longer work his answer was to leave me. Hey why not he had been having affairs the whole time, NPD will do that to you.

So Chev - come on start some CAF gossip which unavailable CAF chick are you crushing on??? :p

[quote="cmscms, post:7, topic:220448"]
And lastly, emotionally unavailable is a vague term. Maybe their strenghts are different and your issues are not something they can help with but another person would be very supported by them. Not to mention, everyone has a difference depth to them.

[/quote]

Examples include people who don't want commitment, who are not prepared for it, who use the word "situation" to justify letting people down after a little bit of romance, those who give the "LJBF" line in which the "J" part is a sad joke (Bridget Jones offered a definition of this kind of friendship).

I suppose certain issues which date back a bit create a shutoff valve, much like many disorders can be blamed on childhood and some on formative periods in the adult life.

Some people can feel extremly connect on a level that someone else would consider not available.

Yes, I know. Generally wasn't speaking of that possibility but wouldn't like to limit our scope of discussion. It's certainly possible some of the emotionally unavailables need connection on a different level or need more effort or rarer qualities in the attempter in order to establish that connection. Which would prove that all those knight or nurse wannabies might know what they are doing on some level, just fail in practical terms. That would be a bit of a revolutionary conclusion but I admit I've wondered at times if it could indeed be true. Hope I haven't distorted your original thought.

Thanks.

I think for a man who falls for an unavailable woman emotionally, it’s the pursuit of the chase. I really do believe as Pope John II said, “The man loves, the woman responds”. I think it’s human nature for men to be the chasers, the pursuors. If a woman is the chaser, the relationship will probably be doomed. I think the man needs to go after a woman with all his heart, and if he wins her, she will be his prize love…if she’s clearly not interested in him after a while, he should forget about her and move on.

Could be. I suppose there are many stories of real people which fall in this category. Admittedly, they do not sound attractive to me. While I certainly wouldn’t mind helping someone out of a problem, be it a physical predicament or a more emotional, spiritual one, connected with something real, I somehow fail to see the glory and the prize in making a spoilt heiress acknowledge my presence. :wink: If you ask me, this archetype (from late age knights up to Victorian gents) is dysfunctional. It’s the father’s job, basically.

By the way, in my experience with emotionally unavailable women, the surest way to gain their interest is to lose yours. On the other hand, sometimes, if they start off interested in you, they may lose it if you return it.

However, I think a woman who wants an emotionally unavailable man, it’s a total self-esteem issue. If a woman thinks highly of herself and loves herself, she will not settle for crumbs, but will want a man who is nuts about her and shows her so!

My 2 cents…

I would think so too. To be honest, I prefer people who think a little too low about themselves than a little too high, so I would probably not value high self esteem as much, but overall, I agree.

P.S. I listen to Dr. Laura often. She’s a total feminist who believes women though should stay home to raise their kids. She advocates not marrying a boy but a man! (good one)…not a momma’s boy…(good one)…and not taking any **** from any man…(good one)…:shrug:

That’s a good one. He will not likely change from a slob that chews gum and holds his hands in his pockets when talking to her into her prince charming. To be honest, I apply a version of this to women (e.g. not returning calls, not keeping promises, going for number one).

PSS: I can really relate to what one poster said about family…being familiar…sometimes people want what’s familiar…even if it’s not healthy or good for them…I often wonder why I would even want my cheating husband back???FAMILY…kids…familiar…:blush::confused: for him to only continue on hurting me…NO THANKS!

I suppose there is plenty of dysfunctional families around and so people repeat the patterns they know from parents, but as much as dysfunctional families start somewhere, functional ones also do, so it’s possible to break out of that “heritage”.

Let’s keep it going…

(By all means, anybody, feel free to disagree with me.)

Yup. There’s an e-book on it out in the webspace. Some 500 pages. I’m going through it just in case. Psychologists have found an increase in female NPD occurrence in the US (while males are still 75% of the cases) and I doubt it’s different in other developed countries.

So Chev - come on start some CAF gossip which unavailable CAF chick are you crushing on??? :stuck_out_tongue:

Not crushing on anybody at the moment. :stuck_out_tongue:

I can only say why I seemed to always go for the emotionally unavailable guy when I was younger. Its a combination of what a lot of posters have already said, low self esteem mainly. I didn't have a bad family background though, my parents were married for over 50
years and had a great marriage, but they didn't talk to me about what to expect when I started to date. I was very naive and very vulnerable. The subject of boys and dating made BOTH my parents very, very uncomfortable. Their talk about premarital sex was "just say no", nothing about how to weed out the good guys from the bad.

I was so naive. I floundered, I constantly picked the wrong guy, not necessarily the bad boy but just the one that would rather string somebody along. College was a mess. I think sometimes its the desperation of having to have a serious boyfriend and be engaged if not the last year of college at least soon after, that drives some girls to constantly pick the wrong guy to date or crush on. Girls, and I might be wrong but guys as well, confuse lust for love. Emotionally unavailable people do know lust even though they don't know commitment. When you do have such low esteem, its like a magnet and the only people that seem to show interest in you, are the ones that are emotionally unavailabe it seems.

Plus, I think subconsciously, its a way to stay in your comfort zone. As long as you pick an emotionally unavailable person, you can say its always their fault that the relationship didn't work out. There is only one person to blame. It can't possbily be your fault, you will tell all your friends how much you tried to make the relationship work and they will reassure you the guy is a big, fat jerk and you deserve so much better. You never have to look at yourself as being part of the problem. You never have to take the blame, or take a real hard look at yourself in the mirror and do some real work on your esteem and life. There are too many Lifetime tv movies out there about the low self esteem girl that meets the emotionally unavailable man and she changes him forever and they live happily ever after. Its easy to play the long suffering heroine than it is to do what you need to do to be healthy, and then be in a healthy relationship.

For me, good chemistry has always included being open and playful. So no, I’ve never chased an emotionally unavailable woman. Or if I did, it didn’t last much longer than finding that out.

Patrice:

I really liked your post above!!!:thumbsup:

You know when I was young, I had many "suitors" chasing me, and I only liked them as friends. Most of my good friends when I was in my teens, and 20's were men.... They all now are wonderful decent hard-working successful Christian/Catholic men. I just didn't feel any "chemistry" with them. That is why I never liked them in that way. It had nothing to do with them or me being "emotionally unavailable" Then my husband came along, and boom, bam, fireworks.....;) like never before......It's so hard to explain. Did I bother to "get to REALLY know him? NO. Did I bother to analyze his family of origin? NO. Should have. We instantly were like glue........married 22 years.....kids.....then he had an affair. broke everything, most of all, my heart.:( You just never know what will happen in life. I guess one of the other men who wanted to marry me could have done the same.....

My point------much of love is simply that inexplainable "chemistry" thing. It either is there or it's not. Funny, even after my h broke my heart, when I see him STILL, he makes me weak in the knees. Always has. He is the most handsome man in the whole world. Chemistry......for me anyway.....he's been off seeking greener pastures......and will end up in a bed of cement......:shrug:

So......I guess I will always love him.....but relationships take 2.......3 actually, God included. A man who cheats certainly does not know God......

"Watch over your heart with diligence, for from it flow the springs of life"........Bible.....

P.S. watching an Asian movie last night which was good "ZHU YU's train"......about a girl hopelessly in love with a poet.....a line in the movie caught my eye:

"if it's in your heart, you know it's true, if it is not, it never will be"

[quote="PatriceA, post:14, topic:220448"]

Plus, I think subconsciously, its a way to stay in your comfort zone. As long as you pick an emotionally unavailable person, you can say its always their fault that the relationship didn't work out. There is only one person to blame. It can't possbily be your fault, you will tell all your friends how much you tried to make the relationship work and they will reassure you the guy is a big, fat jerk and you deserve so much better. You never have to look at yourself as being part of the problem. You never have to take the blame, or take a real hard look at yourself in the mirror and do some real work on your esteem and life. There are too many Lifetime tv movies out there about the low self esteem girl that meets the emotionally unavailable man and she changes him forever and they live happily ever after. Its easy to play the long suffering heroine than it is to do what you need to do to be healthy, and then be in a healthy relationship.

[/quote]

Yeah this I totally agree with! Good point PatriceA. When I think about the details of these "emotionally unavailables" as I like to call 'em...well, it's true. I wasn't looking at myself at all. I was doing the exact opposite. When I was pursuing such relationships it was usually because I was running FROM something...some aspect of my life I didn't really want to deal with at the time, and pursuing this emotionally unavailable man took my mind off of it. Sure at the time, I wouldn't or didn't see it that way...but looking back, in retrospect, I know that that was exactly what was going on. For I wasn't pursing the MAN himself, I was pursuing the idea of the man, the idea of who he was or rather who I wanted him to be. It was like fantasy island...I was living in a dream world. And it's much easier to pursue a dream or fiction, than the real thing...it's much easier to live in fantasy world than to live in reality. Proof of this was, when the man finally DID show interest guess what happened? I LOST interest. Why? Because HE wasn't what I thought he'd be. And how could he be? Because what I wanted was my "creation" - not him. So not only did I do myself a disservice, but I also did HIM a disservice...because it's a complete waste of time to go chasing rainbows.

[quote="Corinne3, post:16, topic:220448"]
Patrice:

I really liked your post above!!!:thumbsup:

You know when I was young, I had many "suitors" chasing me, and I only liked them as friends. Most of my good friends when I was in my teens, and 20's were men.... They all now are wonderful decent hard-working successful Christian/Catholic men. I just didn't feel any "chemistry" with them. That is why I never liked them in that way. It had nothing to do with them or me being "emotionally unavailable" Then my husband came along, and boom, bam, fireworks.....;) like never before......It's so hard to explain. Did I bother to "get to REALLY know him? NO. Did I bother to analyze his family of origin? NO. Should have. We instantly were like glue........married 22 years.....kids.....then he had an affair. broke everything, most of all, my heart.:( You just never know what will happen in life. I guess one of the other men who wanted to marry me could have done the same.....

My point------much of love is simply that inexplainable "chemistry" thing. It either is there or it's not. Funny, even after my h broke my heart, when I see him STILL, he makes me weak in the knees. Always has. He is the most handsome man in the whole world. Chemistry......for me anyway.....he's been off seeking greener pastures......and will end up in a bed of cement......:shrug:

So......I guess I will always love him.....but relationships take 2.......3 actually, God included. A man who cheats certainly does not know God......

"Watch over your heart with diligence, for from it flow the springs of life"........Bible.....

P.S. watching an Asian movie last night which was good "ZHU YU's train"......about a girl hopelessly in love with a poet.....a line in the movie caught my eye:

"if it's in your heart, you know it's true, if it is not, it never will be"

[/quote]

:( Sorry to hear about your situation Corinne...sounds like your ex is the one chasing rainbows now. "The grass is always greener" as they say. Someday he'll see reality, although probably when it's too late...although I shouldn't say that...who knows???

P.S...of course you'd still love him! :) 22 years with someone - and children together!!! is no small thing. Your feelings are completely understandable! And natural I'd say!

[quote="chevalier, post:13, topic:220448"]
Thanks.

Yup. There's an e-book on it out in the webspace. Some 500 pages. I'm going through it just in case. Psychologists have found an increase in female NPD occurrence in the US (while males are still 75% of the cases) and I doubt it's different in other developed countries.

[/quote]

Hey I meant that he had the NPD.

Blue Sprite:

Hey…Thank you for your wonderful post!

Aren’t we all just bound by Jesus and His wonderful Catholic Church? I am so thankful for this!:thumbsup:

BTW thank you everyone who has offered advice for my marriage. Praise God! I love you all! :thumbsup:

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