Most of us have been in this position before: You start talking to a woman who seems absolutely perfect for you. You get along so well, you like all the same things, and you couldn’t possibly imagine your life without her in it. She’s everything you ever wanted out of life.
But then comes the catch.
Maybe she has a girlfriend. Maybe she has a boyfriend. Maybe she has a spouse. Maybe she’s just not interested in dating – whatsoever – or maybe she’s just not into women. No matter what the problem is, it sucks.
So what does it mean if you’re always in this type of situation? Is it bad luck, or are you consciously chasing the women you have no chance with?
If it happens occasionally, chances are, it’s just bad timing. But if it happens more frequently, you’re probably sabotaging yourself. We’ve compiled a few situations that can cause you to chase unavailable women, and some ideas for how to fix the problem(s).
Please note that it’s entirely possible that more than one category applies, but it’s also important that you try to focus on fixing one issue at a time – and effectively pull yourself out of the “dating pool” while you’re figuring things out. Yes, it can take a while – but isn’t your lifelong happiness worth spending some time to work on it?
Problem #1: You’re insecure and self-sabotaging.
If you have low self-esteem, it’s entirely possible that you’re chasing after unavailable women, subconsciously, to “excuse” their rejection of you. It’s not me, you tell yourself. It’s just because she’s unavailable. In some ways, it’s good to find an outlet for these feelings of rejection, instead of placing the blame entirely on yourself – but if you’re seeking out the unavailable women, no matter how unintentional it might seem, your reassurances aren’t going to do anything for your self-esteem. Instead, they’re going to exaggerate the amount of rejection you’d feel if you were just confident in yourself.
Believe me – I know that self-esteem doesn’t come naturally. It’s actually really, really hard for some of us – and it took me a really long time to have a little bit of self-confidence. It seems like someone else is the path to self-esteem – but it’s self-esteem because it comes from within. Instead of trying to find someone right now, you should focus on building yourself up.
For many people, positive affirmations can help. Every day, tell yourself, I am just as worthy of love and respect as anyone else. I will no longer settle for less than what I deserve. If I change my thoughts, I change my world. Of course, the affirmations alone aren’t going to fix everything, especially if you only try them once or twice and then give up. But, if you keep telling yourself positive things for long enough, eventually they’ll become an ingrained part of your thought process – and that is a remarkable feeling.
Problem #2: You’re in denial about your own issues.
For most people, it’s easier to find fault in someone else than to admit to our own shortcomings. As much as we may know that we’re not fulfilling our own potential, that doesn’t make it easier to accept the individual flaws. It can be even more difficult when someone else has been eager to point out your flaws, as we’re programmed to either go on the defensive or to accept their words as pure truth (and, in my experience, it’s never the right one at the right time).
Realistically, the things that people think about you doesn’t exactly matter – but, to some degree, they should be paid attention to. If someone is telling you negative things about how you come across to others, it’s easiest to deny these things and assume that the person was just being mean. But if you want to work on being the best version of yourself (and stop blaming the person who never asked you to fall for them), you need to pay close attention to these things.
I recommend asking the people who are close to you about your top five strengths and weaknesses. They may be afraid of hurting your feelings, so you’ll need to assure them that you’re asking so that you can become a better person. The things they say may really hurt your feelings anyway – but you need to try to take the information as objectively as possible. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
This exercise won’t work unless the people are completely honest with you, so avoid anyone who usually compliments you just for the sake of making you feel good. As wonderful as these people usually are, this is not their time to shine.
Problem #3: You’re after a challenge.
Human nature thrives on challenges. If we don’t challenge ourselves, we never grow. Those struggling to avoid falling for unavailable women are often trying to subconsciously validate themselves through the love of another. We feel that, if we can get them to love us, then we’re worthy – and only if we can convince them that we’re worthy.
This can lead to a negative cycle of challenge, low self-esteem, and even denial all wrapped into one ugly little package. Each of these problems is likely to repeat itself until it’s directly addressed, so the faster you identify the problem and start working toward a solution, the better off you’ll be. That’s not to say that you should rush through the solution – the journey is just as important.
I find that it’s helpful to focus on challenging myself in other areas instead. Find a “substitute habit” that you can challenge yourself with – maybe a new skill you’ve wanted to master, or a new class you want to take. There are a number of challenge prompts available on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – try searching for #PFSixWordChallenge, #MinimalisticMay, or #RockYourHandwriting, to name a few.
If you need a lot of distraction, try all three – and search for more! Just make sure you’re not punishing yourself if you can’t follow through. These types of challenges are meant to be fun, so if it’s not bringing you joy, drop it.
Problem #4: You have a martyr complex.
It’s not a nice thought, but some people like to make themselves into the victim. It’s not always a conscious effort, but it is a very real possibility that your subconscious is seeking out pity. I promise, I’m saying this to help you – it’s a dangerous place to be in, and for as long as you paint yourself as a victim, you will be a victim. Women with this type of a complex tend to attract people who prey on their vulnerabilities, their insecurities, and even manipulate them into being more of a victim.
There might be something more to your victim complex, though – it’s not even necessarily about the women themselves. Some people are able to paint themselves as the victim in almost any situation, and it is a narcissistic behavior (which is a mental health issue that should be evaluated by a psychiatric professional).
Realistically, I fell into this category for a long time. I had always been told that true love causes pain, which I took to mean that, if I wasn’t hurting, I couldn’t possibly be in love. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Real love makes you feel better, not worse. If someone is causing you pain, it’s not love that you’re feeling.
I recommend speaking with a counselor or trusted friend to sort these feelings out. But remember, any negative comments they have for you are meant as constructive criticisms and should not be used to intensify your complex – they’re meant to help you move forward.
Problem #5: Your fantasies are your safety net.
Reality can be painful. This is pretty much true for everyone, but some people feel it more strongly than others, and if that’s the case for you, it’s likely that your “situationship” with this unavailable person is built on a need to live in this fantasy world you’ve created. It’s easier to say that the problem is this woman who doesn’t want you, even if she made it clear she wasn’t interested in – and, in fact, especially if she made that clear from the start.
As comfortable as it can be to live inside our fantasies, it’s not healthy in all situations. Generally, if it gets to the point that you can’t separate the facts from the fantasies, it’s dangerous and it helps to create this alternate world where you’re the victim – see problem #4. It can also damage your self-esteem (#1) and help perpetuate the denial of your personal flaws (#2). This is, of course, a dangerous combination – and it often results in a lot of unnecessary pain.
Instead of holding tight to your fantasy world, you’ll need to separate the two in your mind – completely. Identify where your feelings went astray, and try to find the underlying cause for your false feelings of love for this person. (As possible as it is to love someone who doesn’t return the feelings, the idea that this is a good situation is entirely created in your mind.)
It may be helpful to write in a journal, or to write letters from “fact” you to “fiction” you – just remember that the distinction is the most important part. Don’t journal as if you were really living in your fantasy world, or things will become even more difficult to sort out.
Problem #6: You have unrealistic expectations of control.
There are many people who feel the need to be in control of their situations at all times. As someone who struggles daily with OCD, anxiety, and eating disorders, this is definitely something I can relate to – but there is a difference between the situations you can control and the situations you can’t. Another person should never be on the list of things you try to control – it’s not only going to leave you disappointed, but it’s also highly unethical.
Let’s think about this for a minute: At its simplest, the entire idea of “the friendzone” relies on a sense of entitlement. Reality doesn’t work like that, though. You can’t (or shouldn’t) control someone else. You have no rights over another human being – only the privileges they choose to allow you. If dating/sex are not on that list of privileges, any attempts to sway their opinion are selfish and manipulative.
If a sense of control is that important to you, you should try focusing on the things about yourself that you can control – but if you struggle with any of the issues I mentioned earlier in this section, you’ll need to take extra care to focus on positive changes. I definitely understand that it can be difficult sometimes (and as always, if you need someone to talk to, I’m always here!)
Here’s another journal plug, though: Writing things down gives you a greater likelihood of achieving the success you want – which is all the more reason to make sure things stay positive. Any negativity in your journal will have the power to stick in your mind longer, specifically because you wrote it down. While you shouldn’t fully deny this negativity, you’ll need to try and find a way to frame it more positively. I promise you, you’re worth it.