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For anyone else who's been attracted to an "emotionally unavailable" man

(4 Posts)
outlookfoggy Mon 01-Feb-16 17:12:00

I have just ended things with a man who blew hot and cold on me. One minute he was all over me and the next minute he'd go off the grid for days. I was stuck in a cycle for a few months of wondering what I had done.

I don't see myself as having issues with men, and have always had good long term relationships but I sat there this weekend and properly evaluated the last few years of my life and have discovered that I have for some reason felt attracted more than once to men on some level that were not bringing all of it to the table. Which for a logical and confident woman like me makes little sense.

Now in the initial stages of dating i am pretty tough. They have to tick all the boxes and they have to me good men with good histories but despite me feigning the appearance of being discerning, I have found I am most attached to the ones who are hard work. The other ones, I have remained pretty distant from.

Those two stand out as ones who really hurt me / really got my affection and attention were one a year ago who was very nice, attentive, attracted to me and doing all the right things but he had a job where he travelled 85% of the time and he was not really looking to settle down and he kept a lot of emotional distance and space; and the other was a man most recently who was quite emotionally distant at times and blew hot and cold on me.

Both really liked me / found me attractive, but neither were truly looking to fall in love and have a committed relationship. With me or with anyone. And both gave off a lot of signs of that.

I don't see myself as weak, lost, needy or afraid to love so I kept just not understanding this. But when I look back on when this started, it was after a very, very painful and unexpected separation a few years ago.

Today I came across this article and for me it rang true.

For anyone else maybe stuck in a cycle with an "unavailable" man - perhaps it will also help you out?! I have copied and pasted it as I know many women have problems with these men who are half in and half out and perhaps there is something you find rings a bell?

Have you ever been with someone or, to be more precise, tried to be with someone who is emotionally unavailable? You want this person so much, the chemistry between you two may be amazing, you may have deep intimate conversations with each other and even go out on dates a few times and yet, something is definitely missing and you feel unsatisfied. This person just would not commit to a full blown relationship with you

Why are you so attracted to this person if you know the two of you can't be together? If you really believe that you want to be in a loving committed relationship with someone wholeheartedly, why is it that you still chose to stay in a situation that, you know deep inside, will get you nowhere? Do you really believe that you can change this person's mind about being with you or do you just make yourself believe it because you feel like you have no other choice?

Let's look at this simple analogy that may open your eyes a bit, scuba diving. Have you ever done scuba diving? One of the rules of this sport is that you have to have someone to dive in with you. You need at least one partner who will watch your back just in case if something happens to you or your equipment. Every person who makes a choice to dive into the water takes a full responsibility for his or her life. People who are not ready for this or people who have fear of being underwater, feel claustrophobic inside a scuba suit, or fear of any water creature that might attack them, do not go underwater. They choose to stay in the boat. If you take the concept of water as being in a relationship and anything above water, i.e. boat or shore as single scene, then a typical emotionally unavailable man or a woman is someone who prefers to stay in the boat. They may be extremely fascinated with water creatures, they love dolphins and they love to swim as long as their head is above the water level, but they just don't want to dive in with you

Now, to see a bigger picture, imagine yourself, the one who really wants to be in a relationship, jumping into the water, looking up at the guy in the boat wondering why he won't jump in with you. From your point of view, all you can see is this poor person in the boat who misses out on all the fun and the experience of watching the wonders of the sea. You try to convince him or her, explain it to them what they're missing, tell them it's not as bad at they think, sometimes even try a few tricks to get this person to jump in and yet, nothing you can do gets them to fully dive into the water with you. They give you ten thousand reasons and excuses, the water is too cold, their suit doesn't fit them, they watched the movie Jaws the night before

You get hurt, frustrated, disappointed, wonder what you did wrong or what is wrong with you and yet, there is one important thing you refuse to acknowledge. The fact that you're the one who isn't experiencing all the wonders of the sea and that it is your fault that you don't. You keep hanging around the surface of the water in your scuba gear, refusing to go under and experience it all the fun yourself. Sounds pretty silly, doesn't it? And yet, if you waste your time trying to get an emotionally unavailable man to commit, that's exactly what you're doing. Why is this so appealing to you? Why does the person in the boat seem a lot more attractive to you than someone under the water?

The truth is, whether you see it or not, you are not entirely ready to go underwater. You feel like you want to be there all the way but something holds you back. And you want this person to jump after you from the boat because you want to avoid your fear of facing the deep waters alone. And it's not only the fear of water (intimacy) you're experiencing, it is also the fear of rejection. The person in the boat can't really reject you as a partner because they don't want to be anybody's partner - they don't want to dive. While someone underwater can refuse to be your partner for a number of reasons, some of which you may not want to know. As much as you try to avoid getting hurt, the person in the boat will hurt you far more than someone underwater who could say "no" to you as a partner, because the guy in the boat will string you along and keep you lingering at the surface, preventing you from fully experiencing the wonder of being in a relationship

It helped me a lot to acknowledge I am not fully ready to go under the water, and so I am drawn to people who perhaps are afraid of getting out of the boat.

This has helped me feel an awful lot better today, so hope it helped someone else too

ocelot7 Mon 01-Feb-16 17:27:09

I found this helpful in thinking about the man who recently did this to me (& me having missed several warning signs too...) but I don't recognise that I don't want to go under the water - I just so want it to be with him.... sad

outlookfoggy Mon 01-Feb-16 17:52:03

I think when you want to be with soneone who isn't treating you the best anyone has ever treated have to look at why you would want that though.

We all can miss people and want them but why miss someone who wasn't treating you right?

It's not even logical.

And yes, I do think we can help who we want. I think you have to start to truly want better and believe you deserve it!

I'd rather be alone than with someone who made me cry and feel rejected.

Maybe feeling ready to be loved properly is a big part of meeting Mr right?

ocelot7 Mon 01-Feb-16 19:32:31

Yes & I am working on feeling worthy of being loved : the complication for me is also never having felt to have connected with a man this way & to have had so much in common - in my 50s!- & so how to decide to settle for less in those ways sad I didn't deliberately go for someone with so much baggage!

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