We've all heard one major stereotype about men: they don't like to show their emotions (or maybe they don't feel things as strongly or intensely as us women do). It's the whole "real men don't cry" thing. Of course, stereotypes are huge generalizations that aren't always true and are sometimes downright insulting. If we've dated good, decent guys, or are lucky enough to call one our boyfriend, we know that the stereotype isn't always correct. Guys are just as capable of feeling and showing their emotions as we are. We hate being called overemotional by guys, so we should probably stop thinking that they don't ever cry at sad movies or when something tough happens in their lives. It's only fair.
There's another side to this story, though, and that includes guys who are emotionally unavailable (those that manipulate and won't admit how they feel about us) or just plain damaged (those who are almost too emotional or who use us). A lot of us have dated guys like this and totally regretted it and sworn to never go down that path ever again. Thanks to Reddit, we can hear stories from a lot of women who have had those terrible experiences. Read on for 20 heartbreaking confessions from women who dated someone who's emotionally damaged.
20 "I dated a guy last year who was emotionally unavailable... He smashed my heart into about 5 million pieces."
This girl confessed on Reddit that when she dated an emotionally unavailable guy, she tried "taking things really slow" and "being really patient" but that didn't work. She was convinced that she had done something wrong and that she just wasn't "good enough" for him.
It's definitely heartbreaking to hear this story because, chances are, we've all been there. Who hasn't dated a guy and figured that we could be "good enough" for him if we just tried hard enough or was a perfect girlfriend? Eventually, we figured out that nothing we did would work because he wasn't emotionally mature enough to date us, and that was that. It's always best to move on from a person like this and find someone who can handle their emotions like a grown-up.
19 "Don't do it. I (21F) just got out of a relationship with a guy who is 'emotionally unavailable.' It's a quick way to find yourself going crazy over someone who won't ever love you. It's a pretty big waste of time."
This girl got it 100 percent correct with her post in a Reddit thread about emotionally unavailable men: when a guy can't tell you how he feels about your or talks about anything real or important, there's no reason to keep seeing him. You'll never change him and it's not for lack of trying. It's because he's not interested in changing and there's just nothing that you can do about it.
When a guy truly cares about you and falls in love with you, you'll know. He'll tell you how he feels about you all the time and will be so sweet, you won't even believe that you got this lucky. When that's not happening, it's not you -- it's him. It really and truly is him.
18 "I like to try to 'save them.' So far...hasn't worked out. They need to save themselves."
How completely true is this?! If you've ever tried to "save" a guy who was really messed up, then this Reddit confession is probably really easy to relate to.
When a guy complains all the time about how horrible his life or how other people treat him, when he maybe enjoys a few too many drinks or substances to numb the pain, when he manipulates you by swearing that no one will ever love you as much as him -- these are all signs that you're with someone who is definitely messed up. He's not good enough for you and he never will be. It's impossible to save someone because it's not your job. As this girl said, it's his job to save himself and figure his stuff out. You can't do it for him and you definitely shouldn't.
17 "From my teenage years into my 30's I only dated people who were emotionally unavailable... I was too busy acting out and pushing away anybody who might actually love me."
Sometimes a guy who is emotionally unavailable or damaged seems really attractive. After all, we're taught that a "real man" doesn't cry or show emotions and that he can handle whatever comes his way without acting "girly." Yup, that's super insulting and condescending, but that's what we're taught and told.
It's really good that this woman figured out her pattern of dating emotionally unavailable men and stopped doing that. It would be awesome if we never dated someone like this, but of course we all make mistakes in love, especially when we're younger. We can be attracted to a guy who doesn't have his stuff together but it's really not that attractive when we stop and think about it and analyze the situation. Thankfully, we all live and learn, right?
16 "He doesn't mean it when he says he's not good at this relationship thing... he keeps coming around and he'll see the light. i'll save him, even, when everyone else couldn't!"
This girl also said in her Reddit confession, "it stems of course from childhood rejection and thinking that if i were good enough, i'd win my father's love." While it's inspiring and really cool that she figured out what was going on and can be so frank and honest about her dating patterns, it's also pretty heartbreaking that she has gone through something so difficult.
No one deserves to grow up with a parent who doesn't love them and care about them the way that a parent should. Absolutely no one. It's horrible that people do and that so many childhoods are without love. Even if we didn't grow up like that, we can all relate to the other part of this confession: that we can force a guy to be a good boyfriend. Been there, done that, and we're always wrong. Every single time.
15 "My last relationship was an emotionally difficult one, my partner was constantly undermining me (privately and publicly) and I wanted out almost two years before we separated."
This girl became depressed and their relationship went downhill from there. There were constant arguments and it sounds like the last straw was when she cheated on him.
We might not realize that if someone "undermines" us, he's emotionally damaged and this isn't something that should be happening. It's all too easy to believe that he's right and that we should feel bad about ourselves. After all, no one's perfect. But this is exactly the worst thing to think and the wrong thing to think. No one should treat us like this. It's a heartbreaking story because this girl went through so much and ended up cheating on him, and that must have been rough because then she had to feel guilty. But, really, she was in a terrible situation, so this does make sense.
14 "I dated some emotionally messed up men. Then I learned my lesson. My theory is there's something attractive about wanting to comfort someone or even help 'fix' them. But you can't fix someone else and the baggage that emotional damage brings with it is usually huge."
This girl said it perfectly and so eloquently: dating an emotionally damaged person is never going to work out. It'll never be attractive or fun or interesting. It'll just end in heartbreak.
It can seem kind of hot and amazing to picture yourself as a guy's savior. But as some of the other confessions on this list prove, it's not going to be pretty and it's not a good idea. It's much better to find a guy who is going to be able to sustain a healthy, happy relationship where things are equal and you can both process and talk about your emotions. Without that, your relationship really doesn't have a hope or chance of thriving or even surviving. It's just not going to happen and you're going to suffer more than you ever need to.
13 "I was a mess myself... I wanted to fix them and I wanted them to fix me. Obviously that didn't work out. I spent some time by myself, got a lot more stable, and met an incredibly emotionally stable guy."
This girl brings up something that definitely happens a lot: the feeling that you're "messed up" so if you meet a guy who seems to be a mess as well, it's going to be a perfect match. The two of you will fall madly in love and help each other out. You'll figure it out together and come out the other side much healthier and happier.
Of course, it's very innocent to assume that's going to happen. Most of the time, the guy is going to keep on being a big old mess and you won't able to help him or stop him from spiraling even further. You have to leave in order to move on with your life and get healthier. You just won't be able to stick around.
12 "ALSO realized, through therapy, that I had never actually asked myself... what my needs and my values were... when you grow up being taught that your needs and emotions and values don't matter at all, you tend not to pay them much mind as an adult."
Awww. Don't you just want to give this girl a big hug?!
Seriously, though, so many of us can probably relate to this Reddit confession because we do have to recognize what we need from a partner before we can get into a relationship. If you've dated someone who didn't care about you and made it all about them, that means that they were emotionally damaged. They just didn't get what being a partner even means and how you're supposed to act. If you grew up in a really happy home and had a great childhood, you could still get older and fall for guys who don't know how to treat you properly. But it's definitely logical that would be even worse and dating would be even more difficult if you had some childhood baggage to work through.
11 "It is an unfortunate truth that many of the men who are confident, and therefore sultry and at least seemingly interesting, are also frequently horrible"
This girl continued her confession on Reddit with, "It's a vicious cycle; having more than one woman available to them makes them feel good about themselves, and then that confidence attracts more women."
Yes. So much yes. Every woman has been attracted to least one guy who seemed even hotter because he was charming and he knew exactly how good he looked. He used his hotness as a form of power and seduced us and before we knew it, we had totally and completely fallen for him. Of course, after a while we realized that he was all wrong for us and that he had no concept of how to treat us and he didn't know how to be emotionally mature, either. While attraction is an important part of a relationship, it's not everything, and making sure that someone is a good person is really crucial.
10 "Several years ago I started dating someone new. As I was telling my co-worker about him, she said, 'Why do you always choose men who can't commit?'... I realized she was absolutely right"
Oh man. If this sounds like it could be you, then you're not alone.
It might sound completely confusing to date guys who would never commit to you, but for any of us who have done that, we're nodding our heads because it always seemed like a good idea at the time. We figured that we could change the guy that we were seeing. We could convince him that he would make a great boyfriend and that being in a relationship would be better than being single. And the fact that he didn't want to commit was kind of interesting since he seemed like a total free spirit. Right? These are common things that we all think. But a guy who won't commit is just a guy who is emotionally damaged and nothing could be less attractive.
9 "I get men to fall for me by being a fixer-upper, an insecure broken doll, and attract codependent guys. Because There Is Always Something Wrong With Me."
This girl's Reddit confession brings up an interesting, important point: when someone is codependent, it means that they're emotionally damaged. Feeling like your partner needs to be absolutely everything to you because you don't want to do anything or go anywhere without them isn't the best way to be. Actually, it's the worst, and you'll be looking at a broken heart and a failed relationship before you know it.
When guys are codependent, they want to know everything that you're doing and with who. All the time. They text you constantly, they whine when you go out without them, and they manipulate you. It's horrible and no one should ever be with someone who acts like that. This is a heartbreaking confession on two levels: because she dated codependent guys but also because she was insecure and didn't realize her own self-worth.
8 "I had to realize that I was choosing these men because I was not ready for a truly intimate relationship, these unavailable men were placeholders and excuses I could use to turn people down."
Sometimes we do things in order to protect ourselves. That's the case with this particular Reddit confession.
If you don't think that you can really be close with someone, you're going to date people who don't want to be close to you. It's pretty smart, actually, until you realize how bad this is for you. It sounds like this girl figured out what she was doing and stopped, which is honestly really inspiring. It's not easy to admit when you're doing something that isn't doing you any favors. It's much easier to just shrug it off and keep at it. Once we all realize what we're worth and that we can really be close to someone, it's safe to say that's when the magic happens and we can meet our dream guy.
7 "I was looking for a closeness with someone that I didn't get with my own family growing up... if a relationship wasn't going well, it wasn't because I had picked the wrong person, it was because I wasn't trying hard enough..."
How many times have we all convinced ourselves that we were the problems in our relationships... when the relationship (and the person that we were dating) was the actual issue?
It's most likely way too many to count. Hopefully, we've all lived and learned and realized what not to do in our next (or current) relationship. We always feel like a bad relationship was a waste of time, but really, if we learned something and made some positive changes in our lives after the breakup, at least some good came out of the toxic experience. It's really sad to hear that this girl was looking for a guy that she could be close with because she missed out on a close family and that she always blamed herself for her relationship troubles.
6 "I helped a depressed guy then was a year older then me and then he fell in love with me, but he was so depressing and negative, I eventually became like him... I had to get away from it, and that when I realized I shouldn't invest my love-feelings for those type of people."
It's really awesome that this girl realized which kinds of guys she should never date. We always talk about who our type is, but we should be focusing on who our type isn't just as much, if not more. We need to weed out the emotionally unavailable and damaged guys when we're going on dates and that's going to help us out so much. We won't waste time and end up with the wrong people.
When we're in a relationship, we tend to get influenced by that person, for better or for worse. If the other person is really toxic and negative, then it's for worse. We might start thinking and talking and acting like them, and that's pretty bad. That sounds like what happened here, and it's heartbreaking for sure.
5 "Every time I date a nice guy I get bored and dump him... It has a terrible emotional toll, and I really hope I can stop being this way."
Oh, the issue of nice guys. The problem, of course, is that there are a lot of so-called "nice guys" who are really very mean. They prey on your good nature and pretend to be nicer than they really are. They act charming and complain about how other people (other women in particular) treat them and make you feel super sorry for them. Once you fall for them, they show their true selves and you can't believe that you were so naive.
Unfortunately, this happens to everyone. Don't feel bad if you've fallen for this. Just remind yourself that a guy who claims to be super nice is probably not and he's being really emotionally abusive. When you really do meet a decent guy, don't let him go.
4 "I was in an aggressive relationship for years and it took getting away from that for me to realize how short I consistently sold myself... I am now married to a man who puts me first, make our relationship a priority, and doesn't make me work hard for it."
There's an interesting common thread among many of these confessions: if you don't think that you deserve to have real love, you won't get it. You'll end up dating horrible people who don't care about you and who don't treat you the way that you should be treated.
That's what happened here, and it's really heartbreaking to hear. It's amazing that she's in a really good marriage and found such a great guy. The way that she describes her husband is honestly what we should all be looking for in a boyfriend or husband. It really doesn't get any better than a guy who considers you and the relationship a priority, does it? Nope. It really doesn't. Let's agree to find someone who sounds exactly like this.
3 "I don't feel like I can talk to him... When I have a significant setback, who do I turn to? My friends, but not him. I feel like I have this whole emotional world inside of me that he doesn't care to be in touch with and knows nothing about."
This Reddit confession is a bit different from the others. This girl was talking about her boyfriend and she felt that the relationship was going well and was pretty solid... but she wasn't thrilled about one thing: she couldn't talk to him.
It honestly sounds awful to date someone like this and it's hard to say that she really is in a happy relationship if this is what's going on. You really can't be with someone who you can't talk to. You should be able to talk to your partner about absolutely anything and everything. They should always be there for you and should always be your greatest support system. If someone can't handle your emotions, they shouldn't be with you. And that's really the long and the short of it.
2 "Throughout my dating life, I have been attracted to unavailable or awful men. My first boyfriend was emotionally aggressive, But even as I was coping with depression, I had love at first sight with a borderline womanizing man. Next, I fell in love with a guy in a serious relationship, and ended up helping him emotionally cheat."
It's really sad to hear this confession and it sounds like this girl has had a really tough time dating.
From an emotionally abusive boyfriend to a guy who had a substance abuse problem and was cheating to a guy who was already coupled up, none of these guys were suitable partners. This is the kind of situation where you totally know what's up and you know that you have no business dating these people... but leaving them is easier said than done. You can convince yourself of basically anything and can say that it's all good even when it's totally bad. When a guy is emotionally abusive and makes you feel horrible about yourself, that's emotional damage for sure, and you should never stay in a relationship like that.
1 "It took me such a long time to realize this never-ending spiral... Growing up I never really had true friends. I was bullied a bit and became really reserved. So when anyone would show attention (just friendly, mind you) I'd attach myself to them and develop feelings."
We all have patterns when it comes to how we live our lives. We thrive on routine and schedules and for better or for worse, do the same things all the time. Sometimes that's bad, like when we can't stop skipping workouts to lie on the couch and trade vegetables for pizza more times than we should. Sometimes it's good, like when we finally figure out some healthy habits and stick to them.
We also have patterns with dating, and it sounds like this girl was in a really bad, unhealthy one. Because she had a rough childhood without friends and with a lot of bullying, she started becoming interested in any guy who seemed to like her, and that continued. This is a truly heartbreaking thing to hear. We all need to remember how amazing we are and only date guys who see that... and who are pretty amazing themselves (and who can cope with their emotions, of course).