Why It’s So Easy To Keep Attracting Emotionally Unavailable People

You might be putting all the blame on them for having commitment issues or not treating you right, but a lot of what makes you keep attracting emotionally unavailable people might actually have to do more with you than with them.

Our Relationships Are Our Mirrors

man with mirror face
Photo Credit: Alex Iby / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Alex Iby / Unsplash

Relationships teach us the biggest lessons and shape our thoughts and desires that define who we are. Depending on the kind of relationships we get ourselves into, we mirror our flaws and weaknesses in them, and we either heal from those flaws or dive deeper into them.

You Might Have An Avoidant Attachment Style

man giving back to woman
Photo Credit: Milan Popovic / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Milan Popovic / Unsplash

Maybe they’re not the problem. Maybe you’re afraid of commitment and struggle with intimacy and emotional connection. Those things tend to have roots going all the way back to your childhood.

The relationship that a child and a parent develop in the first few years of life creates the foundation for how we interact in our adult relationships, including romantic ones. That’s what shapes your attachment style.

Some Part Of You Is Also Unavailable

man and woman hug in sunset
Photo Credit: Neonbrand / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Neonbrand / Unsplash

The reason for this can vary from previous heartbreak to just not being ready, but it all comes down to some part of you also being unavailable. Even if you consciously want commitment, look deep down to see if you might not fear true intimacy or losing your sense of self in the relationship.

You’re Afraid Of Getting Hurt Again

woman puts hand on her head
Photo Credit: Ang Nguyen / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Ang Nguyen / Unsplash

It’s possible that subconsciously you’re avoiding committing to loving partners because you’re scared the relationship will fail.

As therapist Christine Tolman explained to Talkspace, “An emotionally unavailable person may be a safe option. Since that person guards their own emotions so closely, there is a decreased risk of emotional engagement with anyone else.” They become a safe option and a more superficial connection.

You’re Attracting People At Your Level Of Woundedness

wounded hands with bandaid
Photo Credit: Brian Patrick Taglog / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Brian Patrick Taglog / Unsplash

We’re all wounded somehow from past experiences, but the level of woundedness depends on the level at which we ignore or distract ourselves from our emotional pain.

This includes partaking in things that aren’t in our best interests, like being with someone who isn’t for us.

We Love Those Who Love Us As We Love Ourselves

woman holding heart lights
Photo Credit: Bart Larue / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Bart Larue / Unsplash

This might be hard to hear, but to love yourself is to recognize and acknowledge your feelings and do what’s in your own best interests. You can’t just give that responsibility to a partner.

Often, the degree to which we let a partner be unloving to us is similar to the amount we love ourselves. This means that we find ourselves attracted to people who struggle to love themselves just as we struggle to love ourselves.

There Are A Lot Of Them In The Dating Pool

Tinder app on iphone
Photo Credit: Kon Karampelas / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Kon Karampelas / Unsplash

Sadly, modern dating is full of emotionally unavailable partners. They’re the kind of people who never get too close and are always the breaker-uppers.

In fact, some studies show that those who remarried, post-divorce, are more likely to divorce again because they tend to suppress emotions and get over partners real quick.

Your Caregiver Was Distant

Family in denim
Photo Credit: John Mark Smith / Unsplash
Photo Credit: John Mark Smith / Unsplash

If one of your parents was absent from your life or emotionally unavailable, it’s not uncommon to be drawn to the same type of partner repeatedly. We gravitate towards what feels familiar.

We hope that this time will be different and we’ll break the pattern even though, subconsciously, we feel like we don’t deserve that love or that we have to earn it.

We Love The Thrill Of The Chase

woman running in mountains
Photo Credit: josh Gordon / unsplash
Photo Credit: josh Gordon / unsplash

It’s a tale as old as time: we want what we can’t have. Part of chasing an emotionally unavailable person is referred to as intermittent reinforcement.

This means we chase after rewards that are not constant, like cute texts or good dates, but since that person is emotionally unavailable, these rewards are not constant and that makes us crave them more.

You Tend To Want To Fix People

man kisses woman on the cheek
Photo Credit: Sharon Mccutcheon / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Sharon Mccutcheon / Unsplash

If you’re an empath, have traits of codependency, or just love taking care of people, you might tend to gravitate towards people you think you can “heal.”

Be careful, because this in itself is a toxic pattern for some, where you are likely giving more than you get out of the relationships.

You’re Attracted To The Opposite Of What You Need

woman rests hand on cheek thinking
Photo Credit: Kevin Turcios / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Kevin Turcios / Unsplash

They don’t even have to be emotionally unavailable in general for a toxic relationship to form: if someone who desires closeness dates someone who craves independence, that mismatch can create problems.

The partners we are attracted to often turn out to be the ones who reinforce our deepest insecurities. What we believe about love attracts specific partners.

You Put Your Own Needs And Feelings Second

woma and man and dog
Photo Credit: Chewy / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Chewy / Unsplash

You’re the kind of person who is used to always taking care of others, and you often forget to do the same for yourself. The problem is, if you can’t make sure you’re taken care of yourself, then how can you take care of someone else?

You Get Caught Up Living A Fantasy

woman looks out sunny window
Photo Credit: Caleb George / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Caleb George / Unsplash

Often, we go for people who are bad for us because we get stuck only seeing their potential and the fantasy of how good the relationship could be instead of seeing the reality of the situation.

We settle for this fantasy because we hold on to the hope that one day, things will get better, or we hold on to the good days even if the bad days outnumber them.

Create The Right Tone

person looking out the distance from rock
Photo Credit: Christopher Sardegna / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Christopher Sardegna / Unsplash

By now you’ve learned that you can’t control others, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t set the tone for you your relationship from the get-go.

Depending on what you do, say, how you present yourself, and even how you feel, you can enable a relationship dynamic that will respect you and a partner who will commit.

You Need To Create Space In Your Relationships

couple holds arms
Photo Credit: Heather Mount / unsplash
Photo Credit: Heather Mount / unsplash

That’s the space you need to give and receive love. If you attract partners that can’t give you love, it’s likely due to you not being receptive to love. You need to take the space to love yourself and open yourself up to attract a partner who is the same.

To Break The Cycle, Identify The Root Of The Wound

woman crutches on couch
Photo Credit: Victoria Borodinova / Pexels
Photo Credit: Victoria Borodinova / Pexels

Rather than simply blaming them for being emotionally unavailable and moving on, try identifying the root of why you’re going for them in the first place. Are you trying to fill a void? Do they have similar traits to one of your parents or a former partner? Are you trying to prove something to yourself?

Identify the feelings of confusion, shame, and rejection, your feelings of being unlovable or not good enough, and try to trace back where they originally developed.

Make Yourself A List Of Non-Negotiable Red Flags

red flag on beach chair
Photo Credit: Karolina Garbowska / Pexels
Photo Credit: Karolina Garbowska / Pexels

You might have been attracting emotionally unavailable partners so far, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break the cycle. Prevent the next one by having a preset list of requirements that you won’t let yourself settle from.

It’s a good way to keep yourself accountable as well as to look for what’s best for you.

Try Dating Someone You Wouldn’t Normally

couple coffee date
Photo Credit: Jonathan J Castellon / Unsplahs
Photo Credit: Jonathan J Castellon / Unsplahs

Another way to break the cycle is to take a chance on someone you wouldn’t normally look twice at. You’d be surprised at how much someone can grow on you past a first impression.

Eventually, this might even reshape the kind of partners and relationships you seek.

Listen To Your Own Intuition

woman puts hands on her chest
Photo Credit: Giulia bertelli / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Giulia bertelli / Unsplash

Actually listen to how you feel around a person you’re dating. Take the time to meditate or journal after seeing them to consciously analyze how they make you feel rather than letting your subconscious experiences guide you.

Learn About The Law Of Attraction

man and woman on romantic date
Photo Credit: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

The law of attraction states that “like attracts like,” so the way that you present yourself is likely to attract the same kind of person. The lesson is, if you come off as unavailable, you will attract someone who is also unavailable, and you might even get taken advantage of.