“The Truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realise that the situation is over, you cannot move forward”
I am open about my tendency to ‘fall’ for guys who are emotionally unavailable. It’s been a decade long pattern that I couldn’t seem to break. I liked to think the connection was just too strong, in reality my self-esteem was too low and I stayed in fantasy land for too long.
These guys could literally stand in front of me themselves waving a red flag in my face, and I would dodge it, choosing instead to hold on to the rations of affection that were on offer. These relationships lasted from months to years.
I previously wrote about how to stop attracting the unavailable guy – well I am going back a step. How do you let go when it’s happening, when you’re in it.
The unavailable man will show up in many forms. He will go from hot to cold (and cold to hot), he will postpone/cancel dates, he will disappear for days and weeks, he will be interested in one thing, he will text you regularly and see you rarely, he is too busy to let you know he is busy, and the list goes on. You will feel a shift and change in his behaviour and you will be guessing where you stand.
Whether it is through myself, clients or single friends, I have crossed paths with too many unavailable men than I care to admit. The unavailable man dilemma is a real thing, if you’re looking for a healthy relationship something has to change.
I do have to stress – it’s not a one way street… you are attracting these people.
If you’re reading this, I am guessing you have had or are having a similar experience – you are ready to gain back control of your life and to finally invite healthy relationships your way. You want to build your self-esteem and you want to have the strength to walk away (actually I expect you secretly want him back, that’s fine. Your emotions and thoughts will contradict themselves and you will feel pulled in opposite directions but stick with it).
You know in your heart walking away is the best thing for you, but it is so hard isn’t it?
Being hard doesn’t make something impossible. Let me tell you something, walking away feels SO good AND you get your life (and sanity) back.
You think your situation is different? You have things in common, this one showed interest in your job, the last time you saw each other he was attentive, he talked about your future together…
Understandably you are thinking you just need to remind him of your connection. But look, Mr Unavailable wants (needs?) to be adored, he knows what to say and do to have you adore him. Some of them don’t even know they are doing it. You think it’s connection, they think they are irresistible – both people are getting what they need, for the moment.
I recently wrote about how I intended to stop dating Mr unavailable. Well, I have to admit to you, a Mr Unavailable strutted into my life towards the end of the summer. I knew I was in trouble. My new-found self-esteem was at risk and I knew it. I went with it anyway, old habits came out (*face palm!*). However, along with the old habits, I observed changes in me and the relationship.
I made decisions (not caring as much if he didn’t like my choices) which is a big deal for me, I didn’t change plans for him, I was myself around him and most importantly it didn’t drag out as long as the previous. As soon as I felt the shift (followed by some casual ghosting) something magical happened…I WENT ABOUT MY LIFE. I did not reach out, I did not convince myself I will never meet anyone else, I did not text him after too many vinos. Who am I?
I spent two weeks feeling pretty down, not about him as such. I had worked so hard on my self-worth and here I was back in this cycle. However, I have come to realise, breaking this chain of events will not happen overnight, no matter how aware of it you are, your self esteem will have ups and downs and old habits really do die hard – congratulations – you’re a normal person!
It feels like a miracle to be in this position. I had to get straight to it and share this with you. I have thought a lot about what worked for me and how I found the strength to put myself first, let go of the fantasy and be the girl I’ve dreamed of being. So here they are:
He went from being interested and texting you daily to…crickets. It doesn’t make sense does it? No matter how much you try, you can’t make sense of the sudden change. I know how disheartened you feel and so of course you want answers, you think that will help the pain go away. It won’t, you will drive yourself crazy trying to work this out. Accept it doesn’t make sense and stop giving your mind the exhausting job of working it out. Next time you catch your thoughts spiralling, stop them in their tracks and remind yourself it’s soul destroying to carry on. This is when a bit of hope can come in handy, one day you will look back and be thankful this didn’t happen.
In fact, click HERE to read my blog post on how Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe from Friends!) gets me through these tough times.
Don’t chase him. This is where I would usually slip up. This might be the hardest part of the process especially in the early days and if this is your first time. It will take all of your strength. The following points will give you some ideas on making this stage easier. The best advice I ever read (I’m not sure where) is that you need to treat this like a drug – go through the withdrawals, the need, the pull and the want to contact. Deny every excuse you come up with to reach out and lower your standards once more. When the temptation comes around, remember nothing you say will change his mind, he might see you again once or twice but it won’t be for the relationship you want. The longer you chase, the longer this stays alive in your mind. You get over this now, or you get over it later.
Look, don’t go into every relationship with your exes in mind, definitely not. But when your instinct kicks in and tells you something is off, it is perfectly fine to look back. This relationship is not new to me; I expect it isn’t new to you. So ask yourself, what do you wish you could have done for your self-esteem last time? This 100% has been a game changer for me; I find it easier to walk away now by looking at these experiences. I’ve reached the point of being grateful the relationships didn’t work out, because I see clearer now without my rose tinted glasses. I maintain that you have the right to ask where you stand. I have a history of calling guys out when they pull back to find out where I stand. The most recent time, I didn’t even bother. Looking back means I already know what happens when you reach out. I didn’t need a lame excuse and it isn’t my job to teach him how to treat a woman.
I am using these terms interchangeably here – essentially they are how you see yourself, value yourself and what you believe you deserve. Think about that for a moment. Do you value yourself? If the answer is yes, then you will be putting this stuff in action already. If the answer is no, you need to focus on you and building yourself up, not chasing someone who is wasting your precious, precious time.
I have found it frustrating when someone challenges my self-worth just because I like a guy – that’s because I want to want the guy without my self-worth being touched. The truth is, if you’re giving time and energy to someone who doesn’t even see you, that reflects what you think you deserve, that reflects your self-esteem.
It’s totally normal that one second you will recognise your value and swear off this guy, only five minutes later you will remember the fun moments (moments, that’s it!) and be planning your next move to get him back. Ride out the low waves. Acknowledge the waves, they are normal, they are part of your growth. Tell yourself you are enough without this person, even if you don’t quite believe it, say it anyway and those low waves will break quicker and quicker. Feed your self-worth.
I don’t know how or why this guy has left, but he has. Ouch! but true. The only thing left of him now is in your imagination. If you’re anything like me, you have created quite a catch in that brain of yours. Listen to the stories you are spinning. You have jumped on one thing he did, said or has and now you believe you have a future and can’t let go of that idea. He wasn’t on the same page. It’s so frustrating to realise that. Fear not, time is not wasted because you live and learn.
This is a big one for me. Dating is supposed to be fun! Yeah at the beginning everything is a bit unclear and uncertain, however it should be exciting. If it got to the point where you were in limbo, feeling anxious and miserable – then let this go. Recently when this person went off the grid, I quickly realised it didn’t feel fun – that early in the game, I’m looking for fun. Being clear on that meant I was able to leave him to it.
Going over shoulda, woulda, couldas is keeping you stuck in this spot. It’s not about what you did say, didn’t do, should have done. You are taking this on as a personal failure when that’s not the case. This is dating, this is the way it is, especially when dating unavailable people.
Beating yourself up is a reaction to the feeling of rejection, it only reinforces the belief you are unworthy of this person. There were two people in this relationship, there were things you didn’t like about them too, only you’ve covered them up and decided they don’t matter.
I’ve done a lot of soul-searching when it comes to my longstanding attraction to these guys. I can see how attachment issues have led to this pattern of fantasy living and chasing people who can never truly, truly hurt me. Understand yourself and you will find it easier to change. My go to woman is Nat Lue, author of the blog ‘baggage reclaim’ and all round queen. You can read Natalie’s blog here.
To be honest, in the early days if you need to distract yourself then do, but to truly overcome this, you will need to go deeper than distraction. Find what really feeds your soul and makes you feel happy inside. Discover a passion, do something you have put off, create something new. Not only will this take your focus off this person, doing things you enjoy will give you a sense of self-respect. Once you respect yourself, you will be more selective about what and who you let in your life.
As always, anytime you deviate from any of the above, whether it be a text, stalking his social media or drunk calling – forgive yourself and forget about it. The worst you’ve done is feed their ego. No biggie.
Don’t forget to give yourself a gold star. This stuff is not easy. Rather than go hard on yourself, do the opposite. Acknowledge the progress and be proud. You are becoming the best version of yourself and will soon be inviting a healthy relationship your way.
They are genuinely the things that work for me. Writing them down makes it seem easy, it’s not easy but it is very possible. Like I said, do this now or do it later.
If you want to move on from this guy and break this cycle, you have to seriously get on board with loving yourself and stop looking for cheap dates to bring you moments of happiness. You do not need these people to accept you to be happy, there is so much more to happiness and life. Find something that excites you, it won’t just turn up.
Relax a little, there’s way more to you than the person you are dating. Old habits will show up, but that doesn’t mean change can’t exist along side it. Which one will win? You decide.
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Carly Ann xx