Have you ever caught yourself lusting after someone you knew was unavailable? Maybe they're married, just got out of a relationship, or just started seeing someone, but you can't help but picture yourself with them. Well, you're not alone, and there might be a reason you keep falling for people who can't fall back. So, here's what it means if you're always attracted to people who are off limits, because it probably isn't a coincidence. At least, not according to experts.
"Certain individuals have an unconscious desire to play at love while remaining safe from the vulnerability of love," Susan Winter, bestselling author and relationship expert, tells Elite Daily. If you keep chasing after or wanting to be with someone who literally just can't be with you, you might be afraid of falling in love and getting hurt. "Attraction to an unavailable partner allows for the thrill of the emotional journey without the threat of real intimacy," Winter explains. "It’s an odd construct that satisfies the need to feel alive and desirous, yet remain safe."
That certainly might help explain why you keep falling for people even though you know it won't work out in the end.
However, that might not be the only reason you're only going for people who are unavailable. "Being attracted to people that are taken or emotionally unavailable can be due to a combination of nature and nurture," Dr. Benjamin Ritter, founder of Live for Yourself Consulting and The Breakup Supplement, tells Elite Daily. "You may feel that someone that is taken or emotionally unavailable is of higher status, which is a survival trait, because they are already claimed, and aren't showering you with attention."
In some ways, wanting someone who you can't have is simply part of what makes you human. It's anthropological, and there's nothing wrong with you if you can relate. However, experts also recommend taking a closer look at what's going on, mentally. "It would be important to explore why you are attracted to people that are off limits, the actual traits, characteristics, and behaviors that attract you, and when the feelings of attraction began," Ritter says. "There could be a very personal connection between your desire, such as earning or winning someone over, or the safety of never being able to have them, that could reveal the foundation of your attraction."
It can be hard to fully open up to someone, so it's totally understandable if that's what you're going through. But, if you hope to one day find someone you can start a serious relationship with, then you might want to attempt to switch gears and focus on finding someone who can commit to you fully. "Chasing someone is a waste of your energy," Ritter explains. "Instead, state your intentions, then move on with your life. It's much better to make your feelings known then it is to lie behind a facade of 'let's be friends' or constant adoration."
Sure, having short flings (or just admiring from afar) might feel fun and easy, but if the object of your affections is taken or unavailable, look closely within yourself. Try to understand why you keep going after people who can't reciprocate your feelings, and do your best to find someone who can. You deserve to be happy, and you deserve to find someone who can make you happy. Accepting that someone in a relationship probably can't do that for you is the first step.