This week’s question comes from Laura:
Hi Orna and Matthew,
I am so glad I found you – you give the best dating advice. It’s no doubt the universe pointed me in your direction just as I really need you!
I have been addicted to 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 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 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 story. This is something we hear a lot and want you to know that there is a new way to be in this situation that will help you break this pattern.
First, we want 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™. Your Love Imprint is how you learned to receive love in your family of origin and determines the pattern that shows up in your adult relationships.
You’ve already identified that you’ve been addicted to unavailable men and it seems you understand how that fits into your family of origin. The next step is to realize that this familiarity is what your subconscious is recognizing in these men. And that recognition triggers the attraction. This could be called a “false attraction” because it is keeping you in this pattern – and it is doing so simply because it is FAMILIAR and for no other reason.
A great way to reframe the feeling is to recognize that it is a fear response instead of an excitement response. What we mean is that when you feel this old feeling of attraction towards a 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 this line!” or you could be thinking, “This is going to be awesome!” Either way your physical 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!”
When you are in a healthy relationship, you will feel differently. You will feel attracted to the person, but it will not be that old uncontrollable feeling.
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 (we know that is how it was for us). However you experience it, know that it will not make you feel unbalanced or out of control. It certainly won’t have the same uncontrollable energy of your past addiction.
Now, let’s talk about this current situation. No matter how close you are as a friend 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 isn’t available to you. 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 different than what you’ve been doing. Take a different action. You’ve probably heard the old saying that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. That voice inside that is trying to rationalize why this guy will be different than the rest is insane. Ignore it; tell it to go away, this voice inside you is now condemned from giving you this continued bad advice.
Here’s what to do instead, 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 gets more persistent, honestly, that tells you the kind of person he is and would be as a partner. 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?
The Inner Child Dates will be the beginning of a 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 begin to attract more quality men who are actually available to you.
Please keep us posted on your path to love.
Love and Abundance,