Why Am I a Magnet for Unavailable Men

A woman who's always with unavailable men, hugging her boyfriend who's not paying attention to her.

Someone asked me on Twitter the other day: “Do you ever wonder why women like us continue to meet and be attracted to emotionally unavailable men?” And I was like WHOA. Sometimes you just need to see your own bad habits in writing to really stop and ask yourself “Why DO I do that?!”

Truth be told, this is an issue I have struggled with in my dating life for as long as I can remember. I often feel like a magnet for unavailable men: Men who are emotionally unavailable, physically unavailable, or in some really unfortunate cases, both. This can range anywhere from men who are just getting out of serious relationships, coming off of a divorce, or live across the country.

When you see a pattern like this repeat itself over and over in your life, it’s wise to take a pause and try to get to the root of the problem. Because it’s not usually just about the thrill of the chase or wanting what you can’t have. It’s usually about something much deeper… something you likely don’t want to admit to or about yourself.

But the only way to stop making self-defeating choices is to confront your own self-defeating behaviors head on. So let’s dive right in, shall we? Why DO we always seem to turn away the emotionally mature men and yearn for the emotionally stunted ones?

Fear of commitment.
Yes, ladies, it’s not just the menfolk. We can be scared of commitment, too. Remember the movie
Runaway Bride? As much as I think I want to settle down and can’t wait to be married, the pull of the single life is strong. Especially if you, like me, have been single for the majority of your life.

Us single ladies have complete freedom, march to the beat of our own drummers, and don’t answer to anyone. And yes, singleness can sometimes be lonely and exhausting and challenging… but it can also be wild and footloose and fancy free.

I am 40 now and very set in my own ways. And the idea of someone coming into my life and completely changing it all around is a little scary to me. So I think sometimes I push away the men who I know inherently would make great life partners because they represent being tied down and gravitate toward the ones who I know deep down there’s never any real chance they’ll commit.

How do you fix this internal glitch, you ask? Well, I’ll let you know when I figure it out. But therapy is helping me get to the bottom of my commitment phobia one step at a time and is a huge part of my self-care routine. I highly recommend you incorporate it into yours, too.

We are not emotionally available to ourselves.
Meaning, we aren’t great about tending to our own emotional needs, so why would we be attracted to men who are? Other people tend to adopt the same attitude about us that we have about us… and if we are neglectful of ourselves, we will seek out others who are neglectful of us, too. That’s why self-love is sooooooo important! It sets the tone for our entire lives, and especially our love lives. How YOU treat you teaches others how to treat you.

And finally: Lack of self-worth.
This goes hand-in-hand with #2. If we don’t believe that we are worthy of the very best love and life has to offer, and if we don’t believe we are deserving of full-on, no-holds-barred, emotionally-engaged partners, we will never attract those types of people to us. We will always settle for the love we THINK we deserve, and if our self-worth tank is empty, the relationships we choose will be just as empty. Here’s the thing: YOU ARE WORTHY OF SOMEONE WHO REALLY, REALLY LOVES YOU. You are worthy of someone who shows up for you, physically and emotionally. You are worthy of the BEST love. Of readily available love. Or unconditional love. Of brave, bold love. But YOU have to believe it to receive it.

Ultimately, like most things in life, attracting the kind of partner you want and deserve starts with YOU. There is no magic elixir or love potion or self-help book that can bring you love that you don’t see yourself as worthy of. When YOU show up for you, when YOU honor and respect you, and when YOU love you…others will, too. It really is as simple as that.

Mandy Hale

Bestselling Author

Blogger turned New York Times bestselling author Mandy Hale is the creator of The Single Woman social media movement that has revolutionized what it means to be single. The author of four books, Mandy’s empowering message reaches millions of women across the world every day.

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