“My boyfriend doesn’t want to commit.”
“My girlfriend says she loves me but won’t move in with me.”
“Why does my ex keep calling me after we broke up?”
If any of these statements sound familiar, you might wonder if something is wrong with you. Why can’t you find someone who wants a relationship with you?
The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with you. Unavailable partners are everywhere. They’re so common that it’s easy to think they’re normal or acceptable. Let’s look at their signs and how to stop attracting them.
Signs an Emotionally Unavailable Partner Is Attracted to You
Before we dive into the signs, let’s take a moment to define what emotional unavailability is.
Emotional unavailability is a state of being where one person in a relationship has difficulty opening up and sharing their feelings with their partner. This can be caused by unresolved childhood issues or trauma, but it often happens because the person feels something wrong with them and doesn’t deserve love or happiness.
Emotional unavailability can make it difficult for your partner to show love in healthy ways — like affection, empathy, and physical intimacy — because they feel unworthy of receiving those things themselves. When you date someone emotionally unavailable, it may feel like they don’t care about you or aren’t invested in the relationship because they aren’t giving you the attention or affection you need and deserve.
Emotionally unavailable partners often feel like they have something to hide or protect — including their feelings for you. Here are some signs that an emotionally unavailable partner is attracted to you:
- They’re hard to get a hold of.
An emotionally unavailable partner will often make it difficult for you to contact them. They may not answer your calls or texts, or they’ll make plans at the last minute, which makes it difficult for you to plan around their schedule.
- They’re quick to anger.
Suppose your partner becomes angry whenever you want to talk about something serious or intimate. In that case, this is a red flag that they don’t want to deal with their feelings, especially regarding emotional intimacy and vulnerability.
- They’re always in control.
An emotionally unavailable person will often try to keep control of situations when they feel out of control — it’s easier than facing the reality that they may not be strong enough to handle whatever situation they’ve gotten themselves into.
- They ask you to change your behavior.
Such people crave relationships but have trouble committing to them because they don’t want to give up their old habits. They may even ask you to change your behavior to fit their needs better. This can lead to an unhealthy relationship dynamic where one person feels like they are constantly compromising for the other person’s sake — which is never healthy for either party involved in the relationship.
- They avoid eye contact when talking about intimate topics.
This is a common sign among people who aren’t comfortable talking about their feelings and emotions. They may feel awkward or uncomfortable discussing things like sex or intimacy with a new partner, so they’ll avoid making eye contact while talking about these topics.
- They’re not willing to commit.
If your partner isn’t willing to commit, they’re most likely still trying to figure out who they are as an individual and where their life is going. Commitment often means giving up some of the freedom we may enjoy while single and taking on new responsibilities that come with being part of a couple — things like sharing expenses and making decisions about plans.
- They seem to be distracted when they spend time with you.
When an emotionally unavailable partner does want to spend time with you, it may not feel like quality time. They might seem distracted and preoccupied as they look at their phone while they are supposed to be conversing with you or watching TV together. Even if they seem attentive during these interactions, watch out for signs that they are just going through the motions instead of connecting with you on an emotional level.
Related Read: Here’s What to Do When You’re Tired of Begging for Attention?
Why Do You Keep Attracting Unavailable Partners?
Have you ever asked yourself, “Why do I keep attracting unavailable partners?” The reason is that you subconsciously seek to fulfill a deep emotional need. And your subconscious mind is operating on autopilot, so it can be challenging to see what’s happening.
Well, for one thing, we tend to be attracted to people who share traits with our parents. So if your mom was unavailable or emotionally distant (or even abusive), you might have been subconsciously attracted to partners who fit that description.
This can be helpful in some ways — they may have similar interests or be more accessible to talk to than others — but it also means that they have many of the issues and baggage they’re bringing into the relationship. A few more reasons to attract unavailable partners are given below:
- You have low self-esteem and feel like you don’t deserve better. You may also think that if you were “good enough,” they would love you back or change their behavior. But the truth is that an unhealthy relationship doesn’t make you a wrong person; it just means you’re with someone who isn’t right for you.
- You want to fix or improve their behavior, so they’ll love you back. This is called co-dependency, and it’s not good for either of you — mainly because it won’t work! If someone doesn’t want to be with you for who you are, there’s nothing that will change their mind, no matter how much time or effort you put into it.
- You need to figure out what you want in a relationship. If you need clarification about what kind of person would make you happy and what your ideal relationship looks like, you may be attracting people who aren’t compatible with you. You might also attract people who need more time to be ready for a serious relationship or look for something else.
Can childhood trauma impact the people you attract? Definitely yes. Here’s why:
- You experience your childhood wounds in all of your relationships.
- You have not healed your childhood wounds, so they continue to draw similar situations into your life.
- The reason why you are attracted to unavailable partners is that they reflect what you believe about yourself, which is that you are not good enough, not lovable, and not deserving of love and happiness, in other words: “I am unlovable.”
When someone is unavailable, it means they’re not ready for a relationship with anyone — even if they are telling you otherwise and even if they seem like they might be a good fit for you.
It’s not your fault. It’s not your partner’s fault. It’s not anyone else’s fault. We’re all just doing the best we can at the time with what we’ve got. And what you need to know is that it’s not about changing who you are, how you feel, or how much love you have to give.
You may wonder why you’re still attracting these individuals into your life when you’re unhappy with the outcome. The truth is that there are no guarantees in life, but there are some things you can do to help yourself attract more available partners into your life.
How to Stop Attracting Unavailable Partners?
When you meet someone who seems like the perfect partner, it’s easy to convince yourself that they are a good match for you. After all, it’s easy to see what you want to see and ignore the warning signs.
But when your relationship fizzles out, it can be challenging to understand why things didn’t work out. Did your partner just get cold feet? Did they have a change of heart? Or were they never emotionally available in the first place?
So how do you stop attracting unavailable partners? Here are four steps:
- Don’t try to change your partner into someone else; instead, accept them as they are today.
- Learn how to communicate clearly, so everyone knows what they want in a relationship.
- Avoid people with “co-dependent” personalities; they need people around them all the time but are unwilling or unable to invest in building long-term relationships.
- Find other people to spend time with — whether hanging out with friends or taking classes/tutoring sessions; it’s important to have interests outside of dating so that if things don’t work out with anyone else, at least there’s something else going on in your life.
- Be honest with yourself about what you want from a relationship, what you can tolerate and what you cannot tolerate in a partner or situation that is less than ideal for you right now but maybe acceptable later down the road when you have healed more or are better equipped to deal with the issues involved in being involved with someone who is unavailable (or abusive).
Work on your own emotional availability (or lack thereof). You may unconsciously project your own emotional unavailability onto potential partners by not being able to commit or by attracting people who won’t commit themselves to you. It’s important that you work on yourself first to become more emotionally available and ready to share yourself with others in a loving way.
Related Read: How to Deal With Unrequited Love?
We all have a story about a love relationship that didn’t work out. Maybe it was with a family member, friend, or partner.
The truth is we might attract what we feel. If you feel lonely, you might attract people who are unavailable to you. If you feel insecure in your relationships, you might attract people who are not suitable for you.
You cannot change the past, but you can change how you feel today and into the future. It starts with learning to love yourself unconditionally and being kind to yourself when things don’t go as planned. This is often easier said than done because many of us have been conditioned to think that if we don’t feel good enough, there must be something wrong with us (which isn’t true).