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Why does others disinterest peak my own interest?

(5 Posts)
Toothlesswonder Thu 28-Jul-11 19:26:36

Have namechanged because I am so embarrassed by this problem I have with relationships.

It has always been like this for as long as I can remember. If a man I like shows indifference or disinterest I immediately feel hugely more attracted to him and (this is the embarrassing bit - often pursue him desperately.) However, I can't be that desperate for a relationship because if a man shows he is really interested in me it turns me off quicker than a cold shower and I don't want him.

The pattern is the same even with online dating. I reject the men who show genuine interest and only really fancy the ones who don't.

I recognise that this is not healthy and it is something I would like to change. I am not a stupid woman and I'm well aware that I am devaluing myself by chasing people who show through their actions that they are not that interested in me. But a man who is really keen kills any attraction I may have had for him stone dead.

Does anyone else recognise this in themselves? Has anyone been like this in the past and gone on to form healthier relationship patterns? How does one actually go about improving their self esteem?

SingOut Thu 28-Jul-11 19:38:07

It's pique grin

I don't know, I'm quite similar. I think it goes back to childhood for me and the patterns set there, the ways my own mum behaved around men that I kind of learned were 'normal'. Also my dad left before I was born, so I think that'd have some bearing. Unavailable (be it emotionally, physically or preferably both! My serious relationships have tended towards long distance with cold or repressed men) really does it for me! blush

And I also read this which may go some way towards explaining in a superficial sense. It's a human response, but at the same time - self esteem can play a big part. Feeling like people have to be won, or that you want to heal difficult of distant people, or that you don't deserve someone really 'into you' so you - subconsciously - go for people not that bothered, are all probably quite deeply rooted inner things which have developed over time due to stuff that's happened earlier in your life.

I'll watch this with interest though, so I really don't know how to shift this pattern, even though I can see why it might have come about. It ain't budging.

Toothlesswonder Thu 28-Jul-11 20:07:38

Thanks for the link SingOut. It's interesting that a lot of relationship advice seems to boil down to what the author of that article is essentially saying - play hard to get if you want him to want you.

I don't doubt that it can work (I should know!) but my problems with that strategy are two-fold. Firstly it all seems a bit dishonest and manipulative, and a bit sexist too - all this men should always do the chasing stuff doesn't sit quite right with me. Secondly, playing hard to get is all very well when you're not that into someone anyway, it's easy to do, but when I really like someone I find it almost impossible!

Plus the men I like never chase me anyway so if I want to have a relationship with someone I actually find attractive, I've no choice but to do the chasing. sad

Helltotheno Thu 28-Jul-11 20:29:21

I know in my case it's probably down to 'dad' issues, ie dad being emotionally unavailable. As a woman, if your dad was emotionally distant when you were young, there's a tendency to find emotionally cold/distant men attractive. For me, it was always part of the challenge to land those men but when I did, it didn't really make for the best relationship cos they were still emotionally unreachable. The opposite (ie men who chased me) made me run a mile, even though some of them were great people. I dunno, you're right, it's not a good way to be. I suppose one option is to explore childhood issues through counselling? Sorry I can't help you any more but I empathise with you, it makes life more difficult!

Toothlesswonder Thu 28-Jul-11 20:40:42

Yes - without wishing to sound all boo hoo - my mother left me with my adoptive father when I was small in order to pursue another relationship. She quickly became pregnant with another child as a result too. I still always saw her (at weekends and stuff) but I never lived with her again. To make matters worse my single father then went on to sexually abuse me.

Now I realise I'm an adult now and must take ownership of my own issues, but without wishing to blame my parents, I still feel like yourselves that some of my relationship issues may have roots in my childhood.

Could it be that by trying to 'win people over' I'm trying to somehow resolve my issues around my mother abandoning me? The behaviour feels dangerously compulsive somehow. I know it's wrong and that it's doing me no good but I can't help myself.

I see a counseller once a week and have discussed some of this with her but I just find it so embarrassing.

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