For reasons often unrealized by women themselves, women make themselves unavailable for the love they claim to be ready for and seeking. How can a man spot this type of woman though, a woman whose intention may be to love wholeheartedly but who subconsciously sabotages her chances at committing to a thriving, progressive, fulfilling relationship?
The reality is the answer to this is not beneficial to men alone. By avoiding their own truth, women are actually notorious for breaking their own hearts. And yet, they do it. Maybe you have broken your own heart, too.
Maybe you’re the kind of woman who overlooks small details early on in favor of the bigger picture or maybe you overlook the reality of a man in favor of the potential of who you know he can become once he resolves x, y, or z. Perhaps, you’ve always been the fantasy girl, the girl men prop up on a pedestal and have to win over, only to then find yourself feeling overlooked in the very moment you’ve begun to reciprocate his admiration.
How come love never works out in your favor? If you’ve asked yourself this then chances are you are an unavailable woman regardless of what you say.
See, when you haven’t really looked at your relationship history, it’s easy to think that the only thing that has been standing between you and the love you so desire is the man himself. And yet, often it is you. If you have difficulty finding and keeping the love you are after, these are the signs that the reason is you don’t trust that you are ready for “the one.”
15 You don’t initiate.
Catering to more traditional values, you believe men should reach out first, if not always. The idea being that if a man is interested, he should show it. Only, in 2016, so should you. Expecting otherwise is a sign that you are reluctant to show up for this relationship. Even if you respond immediately to his texts and always make yourself available for a date, the fact that you are not initiating the forward momentum of your relationship is a sign that you are more comfortable with it standing still. Think about it, he realizes that he’s never heard from you first so he begins to doubt your interest in him, just as you would, and because of this doubt, he for once waits to hear from you. Only, you don’t initiate any interaction and therefore the potential of a perfectly good relationship dies off.
That doesn’t make you an available woman, that makes you a woman who hides behind rules, traditions, expectations, and ultimately power plays to mask your own self-doubt. The inability to initiate an experience is rooted in the discomfort of what you have to offer and therein the fear of rejection. If you’re waiting till he reaches out to you, it’s not because that’s “the way it should be.” It’s because you’re waiting for validation, the green light and buzzing phone that suggests you're currently good enough to be invited into a man’s world.
14 You consult your friends for every text message.
This plays off the prior sign, and again is a demonstration of you doubting your own worth. That may sound over the top, but essentially is that not what you’re trying to elevate? You’re consulting with friends about what the better thing to write is in the hopes that what you do say leaves him with either the “right” impression of you or a more impressive one.
What you have to ask yourself is, how does the involvement of my friends in my relationship benefit my relationship? Unfortunately, while having your friends craft your text messages may be totally innocent, it doesn’t help build you up from within. In fact, it only perpetuates your self-doubt, leaving you more estranged from the courage and confidence that is characteristic of an available woman. So, while your friends texting skills may earn you another date, it won’t help you cultivate a deeper, stronger relationship down the line. Ultimately, if you don’t lead with your own voice early on, it’s only a matter of time till you begin doubting whether the man you’re dating is attracted to you or the voices of all your friends.
13 You’re a yes girl.
At first glance, you’re a man’s dream. You’re down for anything, even if that means playing down your relationship and keeping it super casual. If that’s what makes him happy, that’s what makes you happy. Eventually though, you find yourself bawling in the back of a cab because you have no idea what you mean to him. The biggest challenge of all is you’re too afraid to bring this up. You’re embarrassed because you know that all along you’ve been playing it cool when really you’ve been dying inside, hoping he wants you. The reality is that just because you weren’t giving him any signs that you were really, really interested doesn’t mean you haven’t been waiting on pins and needles for a sign from him.
The bottom line is you haven’t been completely honest with him and you don’t know what to do about it. So much of your hesitation has been wound up in the fear that any little thing that you say, do, or offer will ruin what’s between you, which is exactly why you’ve been withholding your own voice and just saying yes, yes, yes like a bobbing head. You think that showing up with your needs, desires, and opinions screams “I want a commitment” and you’re afraid this will overwhelm him, so much so that he’ll drop you. But the thing is that is what you want. You want a commitment but you don't believe you’re worth committing to. Until you realize that you are lovable, being a yes woman is an unavailable woman’s most charming disguise.
12 You chase down challenges.
You either put men on pedestals or you’ve got your eyes on a man that’s just out of your reach, and you do this for the very reason that they both are just out of your reach. Chasers crave those who, in their own eyes, are above them because it’s actually safe. It’s safe because what’s driving your desire is the belief that this person is unattainable. Even if you were to get in a relationship with a man you place on a pedestal, you’d be entering into a relationship built and substantiated by a fantasy. It’s an unrealistic relationship which is perfect for an unavailable woman.
There are benefits to being a chaser. For starters, you often feel like your quality of life goes up when you are invited into the world of a man you’ve placed on a pedestal. No doubt, this is a wonderful reprieve from your own reality. This kind of relationship is also motivating you to reach higher than you expected for yourself. Naturally, this is a boost to your esteem. But, that’s also all it is. What this means for you is that any importance or self-respect that you garnered for yourself by being in this relationship will vanish when the relationship ends. This is because everything about this relationship is circumstantial, especially the feelings. Remember, what sparked the relationship was the image of someone. And why that’s been so important is that the pursuit of this fantasy person is actually the pursuit of a higher image of yourself. By being with someone who is “a 10” or just out of your reach, you feel like for once you have proof that you’ve made it, so to speak, that you are more than you once were, that you are, in fact, enough.
The downside is, these relationships have inequality built into them and therefore they rarely thrive. If you are chaser, seldom will you leave the relationship feeling deserving or, in your mind, “qualified” for a relationship with a man of equal merit to your ex. This is because the breakup will make you feel like an imposture who never was deserving enough. This can be the ultimate rejection. To overthrow the despair that often comes from being rejected by your prior fantasy as well as his world, it is likely that you will try to chase down an even greater and more unrealistic challenge. Again, this an unavailable woman’s dream for the very reason that it takes her as far away as possible from her own reality.
11 You turn your partner into a project.
Also known as rescuer syndrome or savior complex, nothing engages your heart more than a man who could use some, well, help. But what may start off as helping him balance work and romance and open up about his feelings, quickly turns into your man becoming a project only you can fix. This happens when his own unavailability makes you anxious about his interest in you and, even more, the reality of how successful this relationship can actually be. Instead of acknowledging early on that there’s just something missing from the relationship itself, the anxiety you feel about your partner’s own unavailability becomes a pain point for your ego. Your ego begins to tell you that even if he has commitment issues, if you’re good enough, he’ll work to overcome them. Essentially, the desire here is to be the exception to his rule. Your ego also tells you that it’s time for you to step up and go to work. It’s time for you to shine. The positive here is that by guiding your partner, often against his will, most rescuers do end up discovering their own voice. However, this is at the expense of you committing yourself to an unavailable person all for your ego. Your ego helps you rationalize your eventual frustration and dissatisfaction in the relationship by saying that this is what a committed relationship is all about, aka, “you have to work on it.”
Only what happens is, you end up working on salvaging the initial spark and trying to save your partner from himself. Even deeper is the reality that who you are really trying to save is you. You are trying to save yourself from any proof that you’re in a dead end relationship with an unavailable man, which you’ve known all along. This is why what appears selfless is actually a syndrome based in selfishness. You don’t want to appear like you’re wasting your time spinning your wheels, so you fixate on what your partner needs to change about himself even more. Of course, this makes a man feel undesirable as well as disrespected. But you do it for your ego, and because you’re an unavailable woman being with an unavailable man does genuinely appeal to you because it buys you time to figure out who you are and also put off becoming that.
10 You’re a serial monogamist.
Even if the person you’re dating is a good match on paper because you’ve rushed into this relationship, you’re heart really isn’t able to be in it. Often what you’ll wind up doing is inadvertently sabotaging the relationship you’re in because you secretly feel guilty that your ex is still on your mind. You’ll find yourself in a trap of comparison, pinning your current boyfriend against your ex, and you’ll let yourself do this because it occupies your otherwise grieving mind, allows you to stay psychically connected to your ex rather than let him go, and because it distracts you from giving yourself entirely to a relationship you are not prepared to show up for.
These bandaid relationships will only cause you more agony though because as they accumulate, the unresolved emotions surrounding your exes do too. Ultimately, what you’re avoiding will always be there waiting for you and until you can confront it, you will remain unavailable to both the right man and the man beside you.
9 You have high visions for yourself.
You’re the kind of woman who’s going places. At least, that’s your plan, and one you travel toward with tunnel vision. This is partly symptomatic of your tendency toward perfectionism. Stirring just beneath your every move is a restless suspicion that you could be doing more, that this isn’t yet enough, that you’re not giving life your all, and that once you do, you will be able to show up in every aspect of your life with greater impact. In other words, given time, you will love greater and you will be greater to love. This is the reality you’re headed towards and you’re in lust with who you will be then and who you will meet there.
In many ways, your pursuits are noble and your integrity intact. You are open to life experiences and are accepting of others. Men are often your great joy because, as down as you are on yourself, whenever you’re with a man you feel energized and lighter. That’s because around him, you’re present. You’re connected to all you already are. The truth is you can love these men. In fact, you often do since it’s the only relationship you actually have in your life with anything where you let yourself be and find yourself enjoying it.
Where your feelings fall apart is when you leave a man, when you go back home and you’re sitting with yourself. You suddenly remember that you don’t like where you are. You begin to think that the man you were just with was purely a distraction. An escape. He’s an example, you tell yourself, of your talent for jeopardizing your potential, of being lazy, of falling short and playing small. As an unavailable woman, these kind of relationships are the biggest tease because you really don’t know where you’re most yourself. You don’t know which path will have you feeling the most alive. And because you believe in all you can be, and secretly are ashamed of who you currently are, you hold men at a distance because you are afraid they will convince that you are good enough, that you are great. You’re afraid that they will keep you where you are and, as an unavailable woman, that would be the ultimate devastation and betrayal.
8 You’re spinning your wheels.
Literally. You’re a SoulCycle junkie. While taking care of yourself is admirable, you’ve taken it to the next level. So much so that you’re actually using self-care to jeopardize your chances of committing to anyone beyond yourself. Like so many women, it’s likely you got into fitness in hopes of reconnecting with your body, clearing your mind, getting healthy, and feeling better about yourself. What you may not have predicted was that what started as a plan to feel better, has grown into you wanting to become better than yourself.
As an unavailable woman, this demand is insatiable and you love that. You love that from the outside no one really has a right to encourage you to workout less because, for all intents and purposes, you’re doing the right thing for yourself. The only thing is, you’re not doing the right thing for your dating life. You see, fitness has actually become your way of prolonging your unavailability since it’s now the measure for how “dateable” you believe yourself to be. For someone like you, it’s easy to think that once you reach a certain goal, look a certain way, or feel a certain way about yourself then you’ll be ready to begin dating a quality man. The catch is, because you can always be better, you’ll never feel ready to arrive as you are. For an unavailable woman, this game plan is a win-win.
7 You fall for men who are difficult to date.
You keep finding yourself in long-distance relationships. Of course, you have no idea how this happens or why your luck is so bad but you have a track record of falling in love with a man who is literally out of reach. What makes this relationship so fascinating is the contradictory nature of so much of it. For instance, a relationship that seemingly provokes so much inconvenience—airplanes, extra income, waiting period, absence in general—is actually desirable because its inconvenience is convenient. As an unavailable woman, you’d never, ever admit to this but you’re benefiting from the built in distance in this relationship. Maybe you have a career that you’re getting off the ground or are in graduate school. Perhaps, beneath it all you just aren’t thrilled about your day-to-day life and know that anyone around you wouldn’t be swept away by it either, or maybe you just need another reality to look forward to.
LDRs are especially appealing in circumstances like these because as distressful as distance can make you, there’s also a comfort in knowing you have a relationship to fall back on or look forward to. For the hyper stressed and busy, they also provide you a welcomed sense of relief because at least you don’t have to be out trying to find someone. So, even if you rarely see your significant other, there’s a sense that he is there and you are working toward something special.
These relationships, however, thrive off their illusionary, ‘if-when’ nature as well as the high impact that comes from the anticipation brewing while apart and then the adventure when brought together. It’s easy to mistake your desire in a relationship like this because so much of what you are committed to is based in what’s yet to come. This is an ideal situation for an unavailable woman who is in total denial because what screams commitaphobe from the outside, often feels like the ultimate sacrifice and commitment from within. Unfortunately, the most probable outcome is that you will fall in love with hope while sacrificing your day-to-day livelihood for a future relationship that never arrives. How perfect.
6 You light up when he talks about himself or you.
Believe it or not, your interest in discovering everything about him as well as his feelings toward you is classic unavailable behavior. What happens is the more you focus on him, the less the focus has to be on you. This is an ideal strategy for a woman who isn’t actually available because it sets you up to take in another without ever having to give much of yourself away.
The cherry on top is if you’re the fantasy girl. A man who puts you on a pedestal, typically is able to reel you in when you’re in a place in your life that you’re questioning yourself and where you stand. A man who talks you up and is open about his own life can at once take the focus off your own self-doubt and at the same time remind you of your value. As an unavailable woman, this kind of relationship recharges your batteries and, most importantly, manages to redirect and re-inspire the vision you hold of yourself. In other words, it helps you move on. Because of this, you often will appreciate this man long after your relationship with him ends for the very reason that he was there for you and believed in you when you had almost lost faith in yourself.
5 You’re on every dating app.
You know the saying: When you are everywhere, you are nowhere. Well, if you’re swiping through every dating app then your dating life is, in fact, going nowhere. This may sound counterintuitive and while you may believe that all your app activity is a sign of your proactivity, you are actually headed for a rude awakening.
The truth of the matter is that overextending yourself across several dating platforms doesn’t make you more available, it actually sets you up to spread yourself too thin. In due time, you’ll probably find yourself talking about the superficiality of these resources and the connections you made through them. Your apathy will drive you to retreat from the platforms all together, successfully keeping you unavailable and unattached.
4 Your favorite words are “why” and “what-if.”
For someone like you, there is no more perfect partner than the man who got away. The feelings you felt and the potential you sensed arrest your heart. You just can’t give up something that was so good. Your friends will probably tell you that you’re making it into more than it was or you’re only focusing on the good in the relationship which was little and far between. To you, though, your friends are biased and cynical of love. In a twisted way, you may even believe they envy your relationship and thus are trying to discourage you from a love they’ve never found.
The reality is your friends aren’t blinded by the idea of love like you are. They aren’t trying to hold on to something that isn’t meant for them. As an unavailable woman, that’s exactly what you’re doing when you continue to invest your heart in the possibility of rekindling an old romance. This is never just any romance, either. The relationships you can’t let go of are often the ones which were tortured or brief. Both scenarios appeal to you because they give you so much to think about. With a brief relationship, you can fantasize about what may have been or what can still be. And with a tortured relationship, you can consume yourself with wondering why he did this or that. In either case, the more you have to think about a relationship the better because, as an unavailable woman, you'd rather be in your mind than available to the world.
3 You're scared to be yourself.
If you suffer from overwhelm in any area of your life, chances are you can’t handle digital dating. It’s the paradox of choice, of course. Too many choices actually causes you to choose no one. What happens is that the more options you have, the more prone you are to second-guess yourself. Unfortunately, as an unavailable woman, that’s where you thrive. Naturally, you don’t let on to this. If anything, you over compensate for it.
Secretly self-conscious that others can tell you have no idea what you want, what is right for you, or whether you actually have anything special to offer anyone, (again you’re great at second-guessing everything about yourself), you go after anyone and everyone. You invest your imagination in every possibility and give men more than enough chances to win you over. Basically, because you want to prove that you can have anyone if you really wanted to, you’re totally manic when it comes to dating. You talk about all the matches you’ve made on this app and that app, and then claim that the interest everyone takes in you is exhausting. I mean, he’s just way too intense! So, you back away. But, you back away not because he’s coming on strong and that turns you off but because he’s coming on strong and you’re afraid that, if he gets any closer, the real you will turn him off.
As an unavailable woman, this is how you begin to backpedal. You say that his interest in you is over the top which is code for you doubting your own self. Again, that’s just what you do. You doubt whether anyone could actually be interested in who you know yourself to be. Sabotaging yourself with choice overwhelm then is not a surprising technique when it comes to being an unavailable woman. Being that you already doubt who you are and who is best for you, apps work in your favor especially, triggering your natural anxiety and creating a barrier of entry which, of course, is convenient if you want to remain in your comfort zone but also need to feel like you’re a wanted woman at a swipe’s notice.
2 You’re an incurable romantic.
In fact, you don’t believe that being a hopeless romantic makes you hopeless at all. Yet, consult any of your boyfriends and they’ll tell you that they never feel like they’re good enough. In other words, you make them feel like the hopeless one. The truth is this dynamic is what gives you the freedom to go all in because, for an unavailable woman, there’s safety in what can never materialize.
Because your vision of love is so unrealistic, your relationships fall short of what you imagine they can be. Often times, you’ll fault the man you’re with, claiming he’s just not ready for “the one” and true love. The catch is, you’re not ready for real love. Expecting the impossible is proof that you are not open to what is possible. Consequentially, the grand vision you have for your partner and your relationship will overwhelm him and backfire. So rather than inspiring him to greatness, your expectations will only serve as a nagging reminder that he isn’t enough for you. In a roundabout way, you will push him out of the relationship, which in actuality is part of the unavailable woman's dream.
1 You’re a chameleon.
One season, you’re waxing your board, hitting the waves, and leaving it all behind to chart stars and live off the island and the next, you’ve perfected the shoulder tie with a Polo, devoted your Saturdays to croquet with the extended family, and bought a Bichon named Chardonnay. This is actually tame for you. There was that one time that you signed up on JDate after an ancestry chart suggested you’re fifth great-grandfather may have had a Jewish stepmother.
Being the unavailable woman you are, you see yourself in every man. Not just a shade of yourself either, but your entire identity. Of course, your friends think that every time you take up a new love interest you become completely unrecognizable. Your family, on the other hand, blame themselves and threaten estrangement if you actually carry on like this. You’re not Jewish. You hate the beach. You’re allergic to dogs. The taste of white wine makes you flinch and you once said Republicans should exist on an island all their own without any access to fresh water. Yet, you’re madly in love with men who are these stereotypes and require you to also be.
So, you keep on doing it. You keep falling in and out. You keep becoming and unbecoming. Quite frankly, you don’t belong in any of these alternate universes and while you are periodically, if not pathologically, convinced, deep down you know that in the long run you’ll never survive. As an unavailable woman, this retreat from the very reality of who you are has the perfect built in exit plan. And, you know what? That kind of excites you because you’re already looking forward to the day your future kids stumble upon all the old photo albums of you in your youth and you get to brush it off as your wild years.