Why You Keep Going After Unavailable Guys, As Told By A Relationship Expert

By

I've been writing about relationships for nearly 10 years now, from both my personal and professional experiences. I've gathered that there is one main obstacle preventing women from getting the love they want: They want the guys who don't want them.

I'm an expert on the subject because for far too many years, the only guys who held any sort of intrigue for me were the ones I couldn't quite have. I didn't want the ones who were head over heels in love with me and willing to do anything for me. I wanted to want them and everything they offered, but I just didn't.

The heart wants what the heart wants, right? Before I started dating my now-husband, I dated a guy I'll call Kevin. Kevin was yet another classic case of the type of guy I just couldn't seem to resist. He was charming, charismatic, confident, fun and always slightly beyond my grasp. He also had some deep-seated emotional problems to deal with, not to mention some major commitment issues.

He is the type of guy I refer to as a "damage case," a guy who has a lot of potential hidden under a pile of issues. He was the "bad boy" who needed to be saved. Like many other women, I wanted to be his healer. I wanted to be the woman who inspired him to break through his walls and finally commit.

Damage cases are like super sexy shoes that are brutally uncomfortable. When you look at them, they're amazing. They're beautiful and sexy, and you have to have them.

But when you wear them, you're in agony. When you take them off, there's a sense of euphoric relief. But this feeling doesn't come from gaining something positive. It comes from removing something negative: pain. This experience is the same as dating unavailable guys.

They seem to be everything you want. They're so enticing, and you can't resist them. But when you have them, you just feel pain and discomfort.

Your stomach is in knots as you wait for the next text, or for a sign he truly cares. Then, he gives you some sort of indication that he does. You're ecstatic; you feel a rush of euphoria.

But then, he pulls back again. You're back in those unbearable shoes. On and on it goes.

When I was younger, I kept chasing the high of removing those painful shoes. I thought if only "X" would happen, I would have that taking-shoes-off feeling forever. As I got older, I realized I didn't want to be on that roller coaster ride anymore. I decided a comfortable pair of shoes that gave me the support I needed and a steady feeling of ease was much better than a sporadic, shocking jolt of relief.

Kevin was the catalyst for this realization. It had been a while since I had chased after a damage case. I thought I had nipped that problem in the bud.

Then, he came along and got me all twisted like a pretzel. It was devastating on many levels, but especially so to my ego. I mean, I was supposed to know better at this point. I'm a relationship expert, for crying out loud.

After a series of letdowns, high hopes and thinking things would be different – followed by crushing disappointment and feeling like a fool for once again thinking the same story would have a different ending – I made a firm resolution to end the cycle for good. I realized I had to make a lasting change that would lead me to the kind of love and relationship I really wanted. I was going to finally figure out why I kept going after the guys who didn't want me.

After being crushed by Kevin yet again, I decided to sit down and ask myself some really tough questions: What was I getting out of this relationship? Why was I so drawn to him, even though I objectively knew he wouldn't be a good long-term partner?

What had he even given me? I did a lot for him, but what had he ever actually done to show me he cared? The answer was "nothing."

I was getting nothing out of the relationship except for quick shots of temporary validation whenever he seemed to reciprocate my interest. That is just very sad. Then, I realized I'm not the kind of woman who needs that kind of thing anymore.

Maybe I did when I was younger. But I'm not that girl anymore, and I don't need to repeat history in order to subconsciously mend some old wounds.

Next, I looked at why I kept going back to Kevin, even though it was clear the relationship was a dead end. I thought long and hard about what I was getting from him that kept drawing me back in. The answer went even beyond validation.

I realized that with Kevin, I felt less alone. Maybe I even felt a  little understood. Like me, he was a little lost and hurt. This made me feel a little OK in my own world of lost and hurt.

I also considered what I was giving to the relationship (if you could even call it that) and why. Why was I so invested in solving his issues? Why was I so wrapped up in getting inside his head?

The reason, I believe, is that getting lost in his drama was an escape from dealing with my own life and issues. I felt like I had a mission and a purpose. For whatever reason, that felt kind of nice (at least for a little while).

Once I saw the situation for what it was, it lost all appeal to me. Instead of feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't get him to commit in the way I wanted, I felt sorry for him for having so many issues. These issues prevented him from committing to the awesome woman he had right in front of him.

Soon after I had processed all of this and healed, my high school sweetheart – who I had never quite gotten over – resurfaced. On our first date, I could tell by the way he was looking at me that he was into it.

He had graduated from being a damage case, and he now looked to be husband material. He was taking me seriously, and I could trust him. There was no hunt. There was no chase. There were no guessing games.

I knew how he felt. I didn't even have to ask. It was just so obvious.

I knew I was cured from my damage case addiction because the fact that he wanted me didn't turn me off. Instead, it made him even more appealing. Long story short, we are now married.

In case you're wondering, Kevin is still as single and afraid of commitment as ever. No hard feelings, though. I still run into him here and there, and we're friendly. But, I can't help but laugh to myself when I think about all the inner turmoil he caused me.

Although, when I think about it, he was also the catalyst that got me emotionally ready to be in a relationship with my husband. So maybe I owe him a "thank you."

The reason I share this story is because I hope you can take the same path I did and find a similar happy ending. Remember: Damage cases are a waste.

Wanting a guy who doesn't want you is a tragedy. Time is a precious thing to waste. So, get to work and undo the faulty wiring that leads you to the guys who can't appreciate you.

More than anything else, the path that leads to lasting love involves making yourself a vessel to receive love. If you only want guys who can't want you back, you are blocked.

So make the decision, right here and now, to push yourself to break free. Clear away all the obstacles that are preventing you from getting what you truly want.

Sign up for the ANM newsletter for daily relationship reality checks, and be sure to check out our bestselling book, "10 Things Every Woman Needs To Know About Men," for answers to all your burning questions.