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Why You Keep Attracting Unavailable Partners and 6 Ways to Break The Cycle

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Attracting Unavailable Partners? Break the Cycle with Learning

I’ve attracted some “unavailable” partners into my life. But I’ve also been a reader of self-help books, especially when it comes to love and romance. And that probably saved me from wasting my time with even more unavailable people.

Learn how to break the cycle of attracting unavailable partners.

Shopping List for Why You Keep Attracting Unavailable Partners

In my late 20’s, early 30’s I was a “late bloomer” living on the wild isle of Manhattan. It was the go-go late 1990’s and early 2000’s (when men on this cutthroat island outnumbered women one-to-eight, or so the statisticians said…). To get in-depth answers to my most pressing issues and questions about attracting men and finding love, I looked to books. I was eager to make one of these seemingly winning, entitled, date-jaded, NYC “players” fall in love with and commit to little old me. Little did I know that many men who seemed like they wanted a girlfriend were truly unavailable (to me, at least) and not looking for the same things.

Chasing Unavailable Partners Before The Self-Help Books

Back in the days before streaming TV, friends would gather at each other’s apartments to watch fresh episodes of “Sex and the City.” While the show was entertaining, it repeated what I was already experiencing in real life. The fashions and witty banter didn’t give me any insights or skillful ballast for finding my perfect match. I was searching on such long-running dating sites as and Eharmony.

After hours spent filling out Eharmony’s invasive questionnaire, its bot spat back that due to some anomalies in my personality, I matched less than 99.9999% of their hundreds of thousands of members. And therefore, they could not offer me even a paid membership! Devastating. I knew I was a bit “weird” and “eccentric” (now we might recognize it as neurodivergent). But to be rejected by a paid dating site? The whole population of a dating site now “unavailable” to me? Unconscionable. I needed expert books to help me get a guy!

My Secret Love Library for Getting An (Available) Guy

Disheartened with finding my true love, I was an utter hot mess until I discovered such crusty (but still relevant!) classics like, “The Rules,” and “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “The Power of the Pussy.” Life and love game-changers, for sure!

The Rules for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right
He's Just Not That Into You
Power of the Pussy

Once I applied all the principles taught in those near-mythical books, my love life transformed into a tight ship. Not the Love Boat, exactly. More of a military gun boat, or I dare say: a stealthy submarine with keen bullshit radars sharking through the toxic dating waters of Gotham.

I’d still recommend these now-vintage books (and the principles within them) to women looking to bring a high-value, high-quality man into their life. These are unprecedented times for romance apps designed for wasting women’s (and men’s) time with fake profiles, “highlight reels” of people’s lives on social media, and “personal branding” so we feel we can know someone instantaneously.

When have we known a time of such easy swiping of perfectly great people away? When has “ghosting,” and “cat-fishing” (or other unpleasant and boorish behaviors that have emerged from the online world) been part of the everyday vernacular?

These times call for a return to embrace these old-fashioned manners and ideals (yes, clearly defined gender roles – there I said it – call me old-fashioned!). Alterations to “the new normal” in love tech are needed more than ever. Who agrees that it would be wonderful for women to be courted and get back into their feminine? Who agrees how welcome it would be if men could step back into their “hunter” and provider role and feel free to open doors for women again? Sorry if you don’t agree, but this is my article, after all.

Well, back to me overcoming my battle with attracting unavailable partners… Now armed with my “getting- and keeping-a-man knowledge” handed down through the generations (then downloaded by authors into convenient self-help books), I had a clearer mind with a strategic plan. I became a keen detector of the “unavailables.” I’d set up a solid base of operations for happier relationships that hurt less.

These books reminded me that I am actually a goddess (for someone who’d appreciate my quirks). I learned that when I met that special someone, I should conduct myself as a goddess, and set up my boundaries as one. I should expect the best man for me (or men) to be a little worshipful and fascinated by my light, happily-occupied and mysterious nature (a facade, essentially).

These books taught that I should evaluate him discreetly through conversational cues. I should pay close attention to his “actions, not his words.” AND, this needed to occur without overwhelming him with intel on me: “Warm words, cool actions,” on my side, these authors taught. And finally, if there was a great connection, I should benevolently string him along until the next (sexual) dog treat (well, not to that extreme, but you get the picture).

Right or wrong, some of my books delicately reminded me to keep revelations of personal baggage, craziness, neuroses, and the outrageous family dysfunctions to a bare minimum (like the fact of my father’s arsenal of weapons hidden in every nook and cranny of my childhood home). All to avoid scaring off the poor soul before he stepped into my smoke-and-mirrors booby trap.

Learning From Embarrassing Mistakes with Unavailable Love Interests

Before those romantic advice books came into my consciousness, I had hit a new bottom in terms of unavailable partners. And not in the fun way.

I remember crying into some reluctant, non-committal turd’s office voice mail (actually, his name was David, and at the time I still considered him a rare “catch” even though I still didn’t have his personal number at home). I was sobbing because over several months’ time, I’d come to care for David. But dashing David only took me out to cool places on Wednesday nights and never on Saturdays or away for a weekend. Finally losing my cool, I cried into his voice mail, whining through my stuffed nose:

“You don’t even invite me for a casual game of pool near your place in Greenwich Village on a rainy Saturday afternoon! Like you would a good friend, EVEN THOUGH we sleep together on Wednesday nights! When I am I ever going to be your Saturday girl?!” (*Please note the above quote was sprinkled with much more vulgar words).

Well, the upgrade to Saturdays never came. And Wicked Wednesdays got cancelled. And I am sure I was the laughingstock of the men-only Wall Street brokers’ bullpen where my crush could broadcast messages for all to hear on his speaker phone.

Why Do We Fall For Unavailable Partners?

I think the answers lie in examining our past experiences and upbringing styles of attachment.

I’ve confessed one of MY faux pas with those romantic “Unavailables.” Are YOU puzzled by why YOU keep attracting unavailable romantic partners?

Let’s delve into this cringe-worthy topic and in such a way where I don’t have to confess to any more embarrassing moments (and believe me, there are more). While everyone’s situation is unique, we can explore various psychological frameworks to gain insights. If you’re eager to dive deeper into these theories, I recommend checking out the referenced self-help books.

Books for Dealing With Emotionally Unavailable Partners

So here are some psychological explanations to why you may be chasing after, crushing on or continuing on a go-nowhere journey with those unavailable partners:

1.     Attachment Theory: According to attachment theory, our early experiences with our parents (depending on their “availability” to us) shape our attachment styles, influencing our romantic choices. If someone grew up with inconsistent or unavailable caregivers, they may develop an anxious attachment style. This can lead them to seek out partners who mirror those early experiences, perpetuating the cycle of unavailability. Are you interested in understanding unavailable partners?

Attached Attachment Theory

If you’re curious to learn more about attachment theory and its implications for relationships, “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller is a must-read. It offers practical insights and strategies for understanding attachment styles and building healthier connections.

2.     Family Dynamics: Family dynamics play a significant role in our romantic choices. Sometimes, individuals may have observed a parent or caregiver who pursued unavailable partners, and this behavior can be internalized. Freudian psychology might suggest that unresolved Oedipal or Electra complexes could also influence one’s choice of romantic partners.

Running on Empty Book

Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect” by Jonice Webb explores how our upbringing can impact our adult relationships. By understanding and addressing emotional neglect from our families, we can break free from patterns that attract unavailable partners.

3.     Repetition Compulsion: Freudian psychology introduces the concept of repetition compulsion, which suggests that we unconsciously recreate unresolved experiences from our past. This repetition allows us to gain a sense of control or mastery over those experiences. So, if someone has had difficulty obtaining commitment in the past, they might unknowingly gravitate toward unavailable partners in an attempt to resolve those earlier issues.

If you want to delve into Freudian theories and their impact on relationships, “Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy” by Irvin D. Yalom is a thought-provoking read. It offers captivating stories that illustrate how unconscious patterns can shape our romantic choices.

4.     Low Self-Worth: Individuals with low self-worth may feel more comfortable with partners who are unavailable because deep down, they believe they don’t deserve a committed and available partner. This can stem from childhood experiences or negative self-perception. Working on building self-esteem and challenging negative beliefs about oneself can be crucial for breaking this cycle.

Gifts of Iimperfection book

To explore self-worth and its impact on relationships, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brené Brown is a transformative book. Also, any videos by Brené Brown(such as her Ted Talks here) are helpful. Her book helps readers cultivate self-compassion and embrace their authentic selves, fostering healthier relationship dynamics. Also, look into Marisa Peer’s books, (and self-hypnosis programs) on self-confidence, titled “Ultimate Confidence: The Secrets To Feeling Great About Yourself Every Day.

5.     Fear of Intimacy: Fear of intimacy can lead to attracting unavailable partners as a protective mechanism. This fear can arise due to past hurts, rejection, or a fear of vulnerability. By choosing partners who are unavailable, they create a safe distance and avoid the potential pain that can come with true emotional intimacy.

Daring To Love Book

If you’d like to overcome this fear and cultivate more intimate connections, “Daring to Love: Move Beyond Fear of Intimacy, Embrace Vulnerability, and Create Lasting Connections ” by Tamsen Firestone is an insightful resource. It offers practical strategies to address and overcome fear of intimacy, paving the way for fulfilling relationships.

Breaking the Cycle of Unavailable Partners: Self-Compassion, Discipline, and Embracing Your Desire For Commitment

Now that you have become more aware of what may behind your choices of unavailable partners, let’s explore some effortful ways to break the cycle of attracting those “dead-end” relationships (if your intention is indeed to pursue a long-term or committed relationship).

Getting Past Your Breakup

But first, if some damage has already been done by choosing unavailable partners along the way…and if you’re interested in practical steps and exercises to overcome it: “Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You” by Susan J. Elliott is a helpful guide. It provides actionable advice to heal from past relationships, develop self-awareness, and attract healthier partners. This book should help you in overcoming patterns of attracting unavailable partners.

Six Ways To Break the Cycle of Choosing Unavailable Partners:

1. Self-reflection: Take some time to reflect on past relationships and patterns. Understanding your attachment style and identifying any unresolved issues can provide valuable insights.

2. Setting Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries regarding what you want and deserve in a relationship. Don’t settle for less than you desire and communicate your needs openly.

3. Expand your social circle: Engage in activities that expose you to new people who align with your relationship goals. Join clubs, attend social events, or try online dating to widen your pool of potential partners.

4. Work on self-esteem: Focus on building your self-confidence and recognizing your self-worth. Engaging in activities that make you feel good about yourself can help attract partners who value and appreciate you.

5. Therapy or counseling: Seeking professional help can provide a safe space to explore deeper emotional issues and gain valuable guidance on breaking patterns and developing healthier relationships. Online platforms like can offer a discreet, convenient manner to engage in even a few sessions of counseling for support as you break hindering patterns.

Talk Space Online Therapy
Includes online therapy, psychiatry (medication). ☺︎ Insurance accepted
Calmerry Friendly, affordable therapy via internet/texting.
Online-Therapy for Senior Citizens Instant help, on any device, wherever you are. Couples, too.

Discreet Online Therapy Options for Sunset Soulmates

6. Practice self-care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote your overall well-being. When you prioritize your own happiness and fulfillment, you naturally become more attractive to available partners.

A Final Word on How To Connect With an Emotionally Unavailable Man or Woman

Remember, breaking patterns of dealing with an emotionless partner takes time and self-compassion. Embrace the journey, and with a light-hearted (open-eyed) approach, you’ll be well on your way to attracting the right kind of lover into your life!

And what about that unavailable David who I embarrassed myself with, by groveling and crying over the scraps he tossed me? He’s probably with his perfect Saturday rainy afternoon pool-playing partner. Uh, knocking his balls around. Good for him. I never liked playing pool that much, anyway.

Shop the Book List For This Article

Stop Attracting Unavailable Partners

Books Shopping List

Here is a helpful list of the books mentioned in the article on “Why You Keep Attracting Unavailable Partners.”

Please shop some or all on

The Rules,” Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider

He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

The Power of the Pussy.” by Kara King, Romy Nordlinger, et al.

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect” by Jonice Webb

Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy” by Irvin D. Yalom

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brené Brown

Ultimate Confidence: The Secrets To Feeling Great About Yourself Every Day” by Marisa Peer

Daring to Love: Move Beyond Fear of Intimacy, Embrace Vulnerability, and Create Lasting Connections” by Tamsen Firestone

Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You” by Susan J. Elliott

Book List for Overcoming Unavailability

Download The Book Shopping List for this Article Here.


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