Fair warning, my loves: today’s topic is a fucking juicy one. We’ve talked about this before, but today, I’m coming at it from a different angle. We’re going to talk about why the emotionally unavailable man is so damn addictive.
Why do we always gravitate toward this kind of man? We know he’s bad for us. We know that ultimately, no matter how great it feels at the start, it’s going to end up feeling like absolute shit. And in spite of all that knowledge, It’s like a moth to a flame. Why do we do this to ourselves? Let me tell you exactly why.
First, we need to talk about what the emotionally unavailable man actually is.
This is someone who sometimes acts like you are his girlfriend, but he’s either told you straight up that you’re never going to be in a relationship, or he dodges all conversations around commitment, intimacy, things like that. Pretty much everything is on his terms, not yours.
We have all been touched by the emotionally unavailable man at some point, either in our own relationships or through a friend’s relationship. Let’s be real: this has to stop.
The most important thing you need to know? That there is no amount of convincing that you can do to get this man to be with you. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. You just can’t make it happen.
I’ve been there. You’re talking to your friends about this guy, and they don’t understand what the fucking appeal is. This guy treats you like shit, and yet you’re leaving yourself on call for him. He’s never going to give you what you want. He’s either straight up told you it’s not going to happen, or you try to have the “What are we?” conversation, and he just won’t engage. He’s shutting you down. So why, why, why do we get so hooked on this guy?
Here’s why it can be so addictive: when it’s good, it’s so good. You’ve never laughed this much. The sex is fucking incredible. You feel so connected. You love who you are when you’re with him. So when your friends sit you down and tell you he’s no good, you’re trying to tell them, “No, he’s just traumatized and wounded.” Let’s be real: these are all very valid things, but you’re not going to convince him to be with you no matter how long you sit and wait for him to heal. No matter how good it feels when it’s good, the relationship is mostly bad. Don’t try to tell yourself or others that it’s not. Making you cum or making you laugh—or the very deadly combination of making you cum and making you laugh—does not a relationship make.
Most of the time, you’re upset that he won’t commit to you, and you feel like if you can just figure out how to crack open his heart, it will be perfect. You are vying for his love and—hear this—his approval. And, honestly? It’s not about the man himself. He could be anyone.
The addiction to the emotionally unavailable man stems from this desire to be chosen. They’ve actually done studies on this phenomenon involving the slot machines at casinos. When it comes to the games that you play at casinos, the ones that pay out steadily and consistently over time are far less addictive than the ones where you actually lose more often. Because when you win, you win big.
You are not in love with this emotionally unavailable man. Essentially, you are addicted to the game of the relationship. Those intermittent hits of pleasure and joy are giving your brain dopamine. You’re literally addicted to this emotionally unavailable man, because the man who gives you little hits here and there is going to be far more addicting than the man who is there consistently.
The guy who you know is reliable, who’s going to show up, who texts when he says he’s going to text, who calls when he says he’s going to call…when you have a date planned, he shows up. When you’re going through something, he’s supportive. And you know what else? He’s the guy you fucking friend-zoned. Because if you are used to having to fight for your love, then the guy who is there consistently isn’t going to be anywhere near as interesting to you romantically, because he feels boring.
We’ve been taught that love feels like getting butterflies in your stomach. Bitch, that is anxiety. The emotionally unavailable man that’s making your tummy do flips is doing so because your nervous system is literally trying to warn you about him, and instead, you’re all giddy over the butterflies.
We’re not going there anymore. We’re not doing that. We need to be willing to let go of our drug. You wouldn’t tell an alcoholic that if they just tried harder, then they’d be magically cured, and they could still have alcohol every day. You can’t have this addiction to this emotionally unavailable man who gives you fucking nothing and say, “Oh, we’ll be friends.”You will not. Maybe one day that can happen, but stop trying to say that you’re okay with something that you’re not okay with. That’s just settling for scraps, and we are not about settling here.
This is what happens when our addiction to sporadic hits of validation and attention wins over our addiction to loving ourselves.
You say you want a relationship, but if you continue to entertain this bare minimum from the emotionally unavailable man? You’re proving you don’t actually want a relationship. You want your fucking ego stroked. If you wanted a relationship, you would go find someone who wants a relationship, but you aren’t. You want your ego stroked by these tiny hits of validation.
This emotionally unavailable man gives you almost nothing, but sometimes he tells you that you’re beautiful. Or maybe he tells you that he’s never met anyone like you. Maybe he tells you how special you are. If he fully believed that, if it really mattered to him, he would be in a relationship with you.
I say this with so much love: the longer that you entertain this shit, the further away the relationship of your dreams gets.
When you are addicted to this instant gratification, there is no way to attract the relationship you want. It’s like junk food. Rather than having some really nourishing food that feels good for your system in the long run, you just want a sugar high. It feels great in the moment, but you feel like shit the next day, and this is exactly what you’re doing with the emotionally unavailable man.
When you get these tiny hits here and there, you become much, much more addicted. Going back to the casino, think of the person with a gambling addiction who sits at the casino for hours and hours on end because they’re waiting for that hit. They’ve gotten it before, and no matter how many times they lose, they’re going to stay until they get that one win.
For you, maybe you’ve gotten your emotionally unavailable man to open up once, so you think you can get him to do it again. You think that if you just hang out there until he’s going through something, you can show that you’re really there for him, even though he’s never there for you.
You are not supposed to be in a relationship to play someone’s therapist. That’s why there are actual therapists out there.
If you want to break this addiction to the emotionally unavailable man, you have to be willing to have some fucking standards around what you will and will not tolerate in a relationship. This is why I created my program Swipe Right, because when you just throw out blanket statements like, “I want someone who’s emotionally available,” what the fuck does that even mean? What does that look like to you?
In Swipe Right, we go through this module where I take you through a process of how to actually get clear on what your ideal relationship means for you and what your non-negotiables are. It’s all well and good for you to have this awareness and have these standards, but if you don’t actually act on them, it’s for nothing. This is about realigning your devotion so that your devotion is to yourself first and foremost, and that means breaking this addiction to those ego hits.
It doesn’t have to be a constant fight. If you’re done dating the emotionally unavailable man and you want to date someone different, then I highly suggest you join Swipe Right: https://michellepanning.com/swipe-right
Be sure to connect with me over on Instagram. I’d love to hear what you thought of this post and what your major takeaways were. Or head over to my website to learn more about how we can work through your relationship journey together.
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”