Why Do I Attract Emotionally Unavailable Men?

 By Nina Atwood

Dear Nina: I just bought the book [Temptations of the Single Girl] and it couldn’t have come at a better time. My boyfriend of 8 months and I broke up today. We both cried a lot today together and I discovered that I attract emotionally UNAVAILABLE men. I don’t know why and hopefully can get an insight to why? Billy has been divorced for 4 years after being married for 21yrs. Why does a man make his heart hard and afraid to love again? I would love to hear from you. Thank you and I look forward to reading your book, Pepper

Dear Pepper,

I’m so sorry for the pain you’re going through right now. I have been in the exact same position in the past – crying my eyes out over an emotionally unavailable guy. In fact, crying WITH the guy (a strange scenario, as I couldn’t help but wonder why he was grieving so heavily if he didn’t want our relationship). I’ll comment on that part later.

My journey to a wonderful marriage with an emotionally available man began with confronting the same reality you are dealing with – I, too, attracted the emotionally unavailable men in droves! I had to go inward a lot to uncover the “why,” and for me it was familiarity. I grew up without the presence of a loving and strong father, so my “blueprint” for relationships with men was all about trying to fix things that couldn’t be fixed.

The paradox was that out loud I said I wanted an available guy, but deep down I didn’t feel deserving. You see, I finally realized that when a woman truly believes she deserves an emotionally available guy, she doesn’t need to talk about it, she lives it. The wounded guys, the aloof men, the still-attached-to-someone-else guys, the guys trapped in the past of a love that got away, or WHATEVER it is that keeps them from committing – those guys lost their appeal for me. I simply was no longer attracted to those kinds of guys, or if I was, all I had to do was briefly reflect on how that had turned out in the past and the attraction was gone. That was my breakthrough. How did I get there?

All of the processes that I recommend in Temptations of the Single Girl – those were the practices that gave me my inner compass, that gave me the unyielding resolution to never again settle for an emotionally unavailabe guy! It was that very strong commitment to ME that broke the pattern.

Women who attract emotionally unavailable men do so because someone significant failed to stand up for them earlier in life. Someone essential to building a healthy blueprint wasn’t there, or was abusive, or was neglectful. What women in this situation come away with is the deep-down feeling that they are not worthy of a great guy who adores them, that relationships are a struggle.

The good news is that you can change that blueprint! That’s why I wrote the book – to help women change the course of their lives so that they never again settle for anything less than a great relationship. So, hang in there, Pepper! Keep taking little steps in the direction of loving yourself first, men second. Build that inner compass that tells you early on that he’s going to break your heart so you just don’t go there.

Why do these guys shut down at some point? Their blueprint for relationships is also damanged. They get scared and run away because they don’t have an inner compass that assures them that they are strong enough to handle the ups and downs of an intimate relationship.


Entry Filed under: Advice for Women,Ask the Singlescoach®

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gaia  |  April 2nd, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    I had several of these experiences, and I believe that unfortunately we still learn by trial and error, and our heart needs to be broken a few times untill we realize there is a pattern going on. Sometimes we believe our “apetite” has changed, that this man is different, he is “more” this or that…However, the older we get the more attentive we have to be, because the symptoms of an unavailable man can be subtler and subtler. Somewhere in the way we lost that antenna that says “dont go there”.
    I believe we first have to search inside for those parts of ourselves that are “unavailable”, we might say we are available, that we want a committed relationship…but one part of us, deep inside may read “danger, dont go there”, that fear as Nina wisely says, is so deeply rooted in our emotional insecurity (not being good enough, not deserving, being raised in emotinally abusive environments, etc.), that we have to dig deep to remove it.
    Seeing the blueprint, is the first big step for soul search, and I trust that if instead of closing up, we take the courage to open up our wounds, then our heart will be really open to attract the right person for us.
    There is great sufi’s quote that says “break my heart in such a way, that there is room for infinite love”.

  • 2. Eldeen  |  August 16th, 2008 at 9:35 am

    oh m y gosh you are so right i dont think i am worthy of a real relationship thank you so much i need the help

  • 3. Jill  |  December 8th, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    My father was emotionally unavailable and although I love him, I don’t want to marry a man like him. A man I dated 12 years ago recently got in touch with me again. He broke my heart back then. I find myself attracted to him because i cared so deeply all those years ago… even though he never really told me why he contacted me again. I WANT and DESERVE an emotionally available man… I will not settle for someone who is wounded and someone I have to take care of. I have to keep telling myself this while I look deeply inside to convince myself that I AM worthy!

  • 4. Believe  |  December 22nd, 2008 at 7:51 am

    The comment about our blueprint of a man in our own history (probably our fathers) is absolutely on target.

    When you don’t have the experience of a loving, emotionally present, healthy male who is supportive and truly sees you and who is unwaivering loving, it is so very hard to imagine what that feels like or know what to expect in that scenario.

    We all believe we want to be happy, but not knowing what happiness in a relationship with a male feels like, not knowing how it feels to receive from an emotionally present man, can leave us blind. Not knowing what we are grasping for. Not knowing how to attract it. Without clarity or vision of what we seek, we won’t manifest what we truly desire.

    I grew up with a dad who was entirely devoted to us as his family and children, but had no sense of supporting us as individuals. As a result, I attract decent men, who appreciate me, but don’t actually feed my spirit or nurture me.

    I have to begin imagining (or maybe watching movies or reading stories that provide) examples of nurturing men who still feel strong and masculine.

    They exist as much as we do as women who are strong and feminine.

    Just imagine.

  • 5. katieb  |  January 25th, 2013 at 9:18 am

    My mother was an alcoholic and a depressive who raised me on her own and there was definitely some neglect going on there, although I know it wasn’t deliberate. She was distant and preoccupied with her problems.

    I didn’t attract emotionally unavailable guys until my late 20s, before that I had pretty good, healthy relationships. But in the last 6 years I’ve had disaster after disaster:- a pot addict, a serial cheat, an abuser and most recently a damaged man 18 months out of a divorce who was completely emotionally closed off. I could not get close to him and he blew hot and cold all the time, I didn’t know my arse from my elbow. (hint: When a guy spends a lot of the first date slagging off his ex wife, referring to her as “it” just run, run for the hills……)

    He ended up finishing with me by text message 2 weeks ago, probably because I drove him mad with my constant neediness/insecurity. It was kind of a relief.

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