Why do we love to love and then hate unavailable people? You know the guy who is uncomfortable with expressing how he feels or the girl who has to have complete control of every situation or never needs anything or any help. For many of us to gravitate towards these types of people, does that mean we are codependent? Could it be that we subconsciously drift to people that feel familiar to us and what was modeled to us as children? Or could it be a combination of those things and everything, because the list can go on and on. I want to explore these reasons today in several ways.
Co-dependency on a personal level is one that I wrestle with when speaking on whether that’s a persons’ issue or not in why they gravitate towards unavailable people. Mostly because of where the origin of the word came from and how loosely we use the word nowadays to tell people that they care too much about a particular situation or person and that may or may not make them codependent; but for the purpose of this article we will speak on what the word has evolved to in today’s culture and the undeniable traits co-dependents have with people who tend to take on caretaking in a relationship, who always seems to be in people-pleasing mode and can’t say no, lack of boundaries and communication skills. Whether they were raised or had an alcoholic in their family or not.
The definition of codependency today is excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one who requires support on account of an illness or addiction. Codependency within childhood can look something like a parent being an alcoholic or an addict of another substance and the child stepping up to make life bearable for their parent and possibly siblings. Catering to the parent’s and siblings’ needs. In a way enabling the parent’s addictive behaviors further and teaching themselves to disregard their own wants and needs for the sake of others. Which introduces behaviors like lack of boundaries or even knowing what boundaries are, poor self-esteem, reactivity, and lack of self-image within childhood and adulthood if it’s not nipped in the bud early on. The situation listed above can easily be placed in a lot of situations without drugs or alcohol so I see how the word codependent and codependency expanded to what it is today.
If you’re someone who finds themselves in relationship dynamics with someone where you feel you can’t say no to them, you don’t set boundaries for yourself and others that benefit you in the relationship, or you lack self-image. You may be someone that gets involved so deeply with a person that whatever they need and want in the relationship is the identity of the relationship and even yourself. This also comes from a lack of boundaries and can easily make a person enmesh their lives into another person without even realizing it because without boundaries you can’t really affirm what you stand for and who you are. These are just to name a few, being someone that is codependent or that has codependent tendencies you will easily gravitate towards unavailable partners who take advantage of you due to their own lack of self-image and own insecurities that you may see and want to cater to. If this is you and you’re tired of landing in these dynamics, going to a professional would be my first suggestion. So that they can help you peel back the layers to your particular story and why you end up in these dynamics if you can’t afford to seek professional help. To start here are some tips to help you break away from codependency.
- First, you have to understand the difference between codependency and love. Even though we are evolving, most of society thinks that if you love somebody in an adult relationship you put all of their needs, their wants, and happiness above yours and make all of it your business this is not true. In a healthy loving relationship boundaries, needs, and wants are respected and communicated by both partners. You don’t have to constantly sacrifice yourself to receive love only to feel resentful afterward.
- When you’ve never really set boundaries before it’s hard to know where you end and where you begin when it comes to your relationship or even people in general. If something happens where you feel you have to do something or something is asked of you and you have any inkling to say no. Just say it, a lot of people preach that no is a complete sentence and it surely is but if this is a struggle for you at first however you get your no out is fine, and when you begin to feel bad afterward understand that it’s going to take time to break the habit just like any other habit your body will go through withdrawal symptoms whether in the mind or physically.
- This leads to my last tip, neurons that fire together wire together. When we do and learn something new our brains form new connections and neurons and make existing neural pathways stronger or weaker. So do something for you that you’ve always wanted to do or try something new that piques your interest. For me, it was podcasting and learning from professionals all around the world. For you, it could be that or a class or even taking up a new hobby. Changing things up and learning new things can also help you in molding your own identity and setting boundaries for yourself.
Now you can totally be on the other end of the spectrum where you aren’t considered a codependent or have codependency tendencies want a deeply intimate relationship and still gravitate towards unavailable people who may ghost you, have issues expressing themselves, or you may even be the person doing the above due to fear of rejection when things get too intimate or be that person where I’m a reject you before you reject me and at the first sign of a person not hitting you back fast enough you block them to get relief and move on to the next. I have listed the following reasons and examples for why a person may attract unavailable people or why you may actually be unavailable and don’t know it.
Your parent or role model relationships you watched unfold in childhood could mirror your relationship patterns today. Research shows that our subconscious and nervous system seeks out what is or seems familiar to us as humans. Even if it’s the opposite of what we consciously want. Our subconscious runs 95% of our brain only leaving a measly 5% to the conscious so the first thing is bringing certain scenarios to the conscious mind. One example could be both parents were in your life but seemed distant from you and each other. This could make a person very surface level, getting deeper with a person may be difficult. A person who looks at and wants a healthy relationship wants balance as far as communication. So you tend to only gravitate more towards people like yourself where the relationship has no real depth or someone who tends to put in way more than you do creating an imbalance in the relationship which can create problems in the long term if the person decides they want something more fulfilling for themselves. You could have also seen a relationship dynamic modeled to you where there was a complete imbalance, one person was way more invested in the other and in your mind, you figured this is how all relationship dynamics are and you decided you were going to be one or the other early on to avoid what the other person may have experienced being on the side of the spectrum you chose to stay away from. On one end of the spectrum, you could turn into the person who invests way too much in relationships because what was modeled to you showed you on a subconscious level that you have to prove your love by sacrificing your wants and needs for another to love you or you could fall totally under the other side of the spectrum where you become controlling, or overly independent to avoid being on the other side of the spectrum of doing too much to keep the relationship together.
Subconsciously these events and others can make you unavailable to healthy relationship dynamics. People in healthy relationship dynamics are conscious of their partner, they both speak openly on their boundaries, their needs wants, and desires, it may even be slow at first. If one has a nervous system that’s used to chaos, they will subconsciously seek without awareness of it, and something healthy may come off boring to them. You may also be subconsciously unaware that you fear commitment, true intimacy, fear of losing your sense of self, or just plan being hurt. As hard as it is to admit for some, sometimes it’s just easier to stay with the unavailable person due to you not having to be or do certain things to obtain that fulfilling relationship you want consciously.
This leads to my other point of fear in rejections or fears period. Something we all have to go through in one way or another in dating and relationships but sometimes we create this fear in our heads before it even manifests in the physical. Self-sabotaging our chances to obtain a healthy relationship due to past experiences or past experiences of others. The I’m a reject you before you reject me example comes to mind as an example. In the beginning of getting to know someone new, some people tend to feel that a person doesn’t like them if they are not writing back on a dating app or texting fast enough to their liking. Despite the person modeling healthy behaviors on a first date or expressing they work a lot, or whatever in the beginning. Instead of treating the dating experience for what it is, collecting data and getting to know new people to see who would be the best fit for you. You grow angry and resentful before anything even transpires for real and block them to get relief from this feeling and move on to the next person. Or another example could be you have a friend of the same sex you like that dogs people out in relationships due to their internal issues on why they can’t do right by others. If you let it, this can also blur your judgment and prevent you from trusting yourself when you do like somebody because you’ve subconsciously put all men or women in a box and you push people away that don’t fit into this box that could give you what you want in a relationship. So you gravitate towards people who prove the point of this box you created because anything else may make you unconsciously feel uncomfortable and you don’t know how to handle anything else other than what was modeled to you or these ridiculous boxes you’ve created to put people in. So in fear that the person will notice you drop the ball in some type of way sabotaging what also could have been.
There’s a lot of other examples of how and why we attract unavailable partners or why we ourselves may be unavailable but wanted to share some of the examples I’ve seen in others and experienced in my own life. I’m hoping this blog post resonates with you and inspires you to listen or even join the Playing4Keeps podcast and look out for the dating app that will be available this year. If you can relate to this post please comment below with your own stories here or on our website.