This week’s question comes from Laura:
“Hi Orna and Matthew,
I am so glad I found you – you give the best dating advice. Its no doubt the universe pointed me in your direction just as I really need you!
I have been addicted to emotionally unavailable men for 20 years and in the past few years, have pulled myself away – like an alcoholic coming off liquor. But, the feelings are still there – like the alcoholic smelling alcohol and being consumed by the longing for it! My current situation involves a male friend, with whom I’ve got close to (as friends) quickly over the last few months. He’s in a difficult emotional situation himself and in a relationship that he does not have much time for (but is too scared to leave, I imagine). I feel stuck.
A large part of me wants to tear myself away quickly as I have developed the habit of doing when I find the addiction coming back. But this is heart wrenching (he is a friend after all, and we have a connection) and I wonder is there not another way? I am blocking myself from revealing my true feelings to him, as I don’t trust they’re coming from an empowered place – also I am terrified of rejection and feel rejected even before I share my feelings (I know, part of my pattern). If I carry on in the ‘friendship’, in which there is obviously physical attraction, I know I will get more and more frustrated.
What do you suggest? I can’t keep chasing emotionally unavailable men. I know I am missing a different way of looking at this situation and need someone to point it out to me!
Thanks so much.”
Thank you so much for reaching out to us and sharing your dilemma. We hear from a lot of women who are attracted to emotionally unavailable men, and we want you to know that there is a way to break this pattern so you can have the soul-satisfying, and long-lasting love you desire.
Your Attraction To Emotionally Unavailable Men Is A False Positive
The feeling you are equating with attraction for a lasting love relationship is actually a false positive. Just like any test where a false positive exists it’s because the experiment is missing important data.
Let’s back up to lay a little groundwork so you understand what is going on with this pattern. If you’ve been paying attention to what we teach, you know how important it is to understand Your Love Imprint® – the wound from childhood that is blocking you from the love you want.
Your Love Imprint is how you learned to receive love in your family of origin and determines the patterns that show up in your intimate relationships.
You’ve already identified that you’ve been addicted to emotionally unavailable men, and it seems you understand how that comes from your family of origin.
The next step is to realize that your subconscious is guiding you toward this familiar experience and recognizes the match in these unavailable men you are hung up on.
It is the recognition of the familiar that triggers the attraction. This could be called a “false attraction” or a false positive because it is keeping you stuck in the pattern. You are feeling stuck because it is FAMILIAR and for no other reason.
Don’t Confuse A Fear Response With Attraction
A great way to reframe the feeling is to recognize it is a fear response instead of an excitement response. What we mean is that when you feel this familiar feeling of attraction towards an emotionally unavailable man, that it is your subconscious’ way of saying to you “Run away! Danger ahead!”
Fear and excitement are experienced exactly the same in your body (shortness of breath, increased heart rate, sweaty palms, etc.), the difference is in what you are saying to yourself about the experience (your inner dialog).
Imagine you are standing in line for a roller coaster. You could be thinking, “Oh my God! What am I doing?! I’ve got to get out of here!” Or you could be thinking, “This is going to be awesome!” Either way your physiological experience will be the same.
From now on, when you feel that old feeling of attraction you can think to yourself “Run away! Heartbreak ahead!”
Your strategy of tearing yourself away quickly from emotionally unavailable men is spot on. You are not going to get the love you want from this man. He is not able to give you what you need and isn’t suddenly going to be become available.
A Sound Attraction Is An Unknown Feeling For You
When you are in a healthy relationship, you will feel differently. You will feel attracted to the person, but it will not be that well-known uncontrollable feeling. You will feel the attraction in a completely new way; it will feel like something you’ve never felt before.
Love is a grounding feeling, not one that knocks you off balance. Many people have described it as feeling curious and comfortable at the same time (that’s how it was for us). However you experience it, please know you will not feel bonkers or out of control like with emotionally unavailable men. It certainly won’t have the same obsessive uncontrollable energy of your past addiction.
Your response to emotionally unavailable men is not grounded and leaves you feeling insecure and uneasy. Your analogy to an addiction is accurate. This is not what love feels like.
Like the Bible verse states, “Love is thoughtful. Love is kind… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
We would guess that you’ve never experienced love like this in your intimate relationships.
To Break This Pattern Take A New, Different Action
Now, let’s talk about this current situation. No matter how close you are as friends, and how much that voice inside tells you it may be different this time, this man is unavailable.
You said it yourself; he is in a relationship with another woman. No matter how much he expresses a desire to get out, he is not available. Therefore, you shouldn’t waste another minute wondering what might be or what could be.
One of the best ways to break an old way of being is to do something completely different. Take a new action – one you’ve never taken before.
You’ve probably heard the old saying that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity. This voice inside of you that is rationalizing why it will be different with this guy is insane.
Ignore it; tell it to go away! Condemn this voice inside you from continuing to give you this bad advice. In short, tell it to shut up, and then commit to never listening to it again.
The desire to share your feelings with him is part of an old strategy. It’s an attempt to get what you need from a man who is not capable of giving it to you. Nothing good will come of taking this action. If he wanted more from you, he would take clear and obvious actions towards making that happen.
But he isn’t doing that and you sharing your feelings and desires isn’t going to suddenly change the situation.
You Have To Say No To Everything That Is Not What You Desire
Cut off all contact with him. Here’s your script: “Because of the attraction we have for one another (or) the attraction I feel for you, I feel it is in my best interest to not continue on with our friendship. I truly wish the best for you, and more importantly I wish the best for myself. You are with someone and I am not. This is really difficult for me to take good care of myself in this way, so please honor my request and do not contact me.”
Do not answer his calls or respond to his texts or emails. He is now off limits to you. If he becomes persistent, that tells you he the kind of person who cannot honor your requests and does not respect you. This is also how he would behave in a relationship with you.
Do you want to be with someone who honors and respects your requests? Or would you prefer to get involved in the same situation where you end up heartbroken by some guy who pursued you until he caught you… and then moved on?
We know that this is not an easy action to take. That part of you that thinks getting him to love you will solve your problems will resist taking this action and justify why it is important for you to remain friends.
This part of you is doing you no favors. Use your desire to have lasting love with an available man to push through your resistance.
Connect With That Little Girl Inside Of You Who Feels Rejected And Ignored
You’re attraction to emotionally unavailable men comes from your early childhood relationships in your family of origin. It doesn’t matter if it was your mother, father, or both who were emotionally unavailable to you. That little girl didn’t get the love she needed from them.
Your job is to let her know that she is loveable and that she can get everything she needs from you. The love you seek is inside of you and is reflected back to you through the eyes of your beloved. You don’t get love from another. You share love with your soulmate.
Reconnecting with that little girl inside of you is the most loving and healthy thing you can do for yourself. She probably feels abandoned by you and doesn’t trust you to take care of her, but we promise that if you are committed to repairing the relationship with your inner child that the rewards are limitless.
To start repairing that relationship, set up a weekly practice of going on Inner Child Dates.
The Inner Child Dates begin a lifelong practice of self-love. You feel this addiction to unavailable men because your inner child is trying to heal herself through these relationships. This is not a good strategy. You need to be the one to heal yourself. By taking care of your inner child (and therefore yourself) you will begin to learn what self-love really feels like.
As you raise the level at which you value yourself, you will find a new kind of man attractive – those who are capable of being emotionally available to create a real lasting loving partnership with you.
If you would like to go into the love laboratory with us to discover the data that is blocking you from the love you want schedule Your Love Imprint® Session with us today.
Love and Abundance,