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Falling in Love with an Unavailable Person

by Susan Peabody , A.B., Author of Addiction to Love; Overcoming Addiction and Dependency in Relationships .

Do you have a history of falling in love with an unavailable people and wonder why this keeps happening? The following is a list of some of the most common reasons people keep falling into this trap. Are any of these reasons, your reasons?

Reminders of our first love: We are often attracted to people who remind us of our first love. If a persons first love was an absent or emotionally unavailable parent, then he or she is often attracted to unavailable people, and this is the kind of person we pursue. We do this out of habit, despite the pain it will cause us later on.

Looking for the happy ending: We can choose them as partners in order to recreate the past and change the ending. We often become obsessed trying to gain, through their current partner, the love we never got as a child. It is our inner child forcing his or her will on us despite the painful consequences.

Miscalculations: We do not choose an unavailable person. We just fall in love before we find out the person is unavailable. Then, because we have become so dependent, we refuse to give up and move on.

Unrequited Love: We only fall in love with the person of our dreams. Since no such person really exists, we project their fantasies onto someone and then see in that person only what we want to see. These completely unavailable people are a good target for this kind of projection because the we never really gets to know them. They are always who the we want them to be.

Excitement: Chasing after someone who is unavailable can be exciting. It can really get the adrenalin going, not to mention the libido. Sometimes we go after unavailable people because we are addicted to the chase.

Unconscious Fear of Intimacy: While we consciously obsess about love, some of us have an underlying fear of intimacy. Choosing to fall in love with someone who is unavailable (to one degree or another) is one way to avoid facing this fear.

Becoming Dependent on an Abusive Partner

Most in abusive relationships fall in love or get married before they find out their partner is abusive. The abusive partner keeps this hidden until the trap is sprung. After the abuse starts, some of us continue to love our abuser. We tell ourselves that we are just taking the good with the bad.

Dependency on the relationship: Sometimes we are dependent on the relationship, and we would rather suffer physical pain than endure the emotional pain of breaking up. They cannot tolerate separation anxiety.

Low self-esteem: Sometimes we have such low self-esteem that we don't think we deserve any better. So we just stick with it. They think this is better than nothing.

Abusive parents: Sometimes we had an abusive parent so this abuse is not out of the ordinary for them. It is seen as the norm. It may even be equated with love. An abusive parent can also be loving, so battered children grow up confusing love with abuse. This confusion becomes a distorted value which influences them as adults.

Neighborhood norm: In some case, abuse may seem ordinary because all of their friends are being abused as well. In some neighborhoods domestic violence is the norm. It may seem futile to try and change the status quo.

It's my fault: Sometimes we blame ourselves rather than their partner. We are sure it is our own fault that we did something to provoke our partner. Sometimes we even think we deserve the abuse. We keep trying to change ourselves so it won't happen again.

Gullibility: Sometimes we are gullible and don't learn from the past. We believe our partner when he or she says the abuse will never happen again. Like children, we cling to the fantasy that this person will change.

Sympathy: Sometimes we feel sorry for our partner when he or she asks for forgiveness. We know our partner is sick so we decide to take care of him or her rather than end the relationship. Caretakers are used to putting the needs of others before their own. This is misguided compassion.

Loyalty: Sometime we feel that we made a commitment and we must be loyal no matter what - that it would be wrong to change their mind. We feel guilty if we reject someone, even if that someone is abusing us. This is misguided loyalty.

Fear of abandonment: Sometimes we fear of abandonment onto their partners.

Fear of revenge: Sometimes we are terrified of leaving an abusive partner because we fear revenge or because we are financially dependent on this person.

Martyr's complex: Some of us have a martyr's complex. We feel superior when we suffer in the name of love. We wear abuse like a badge of courage. In a twisted sort of way this actually elevates our self-esteem. Christians especially fall into this trap. They think that because Christ died on the cross for the sins of mankind that we should die on the cross for the sins of our partner. Some Christians read in the Bible that "love bears all things" and we think that this includes abuse. I don't think it does. Non-Christians fall into this trap also. They listen to the song "Stand by your man," and think it is romantic to stick with a relationship no matter what.

Making up: Sometimes we don't like being abused, but we like making up. For instance, when their partner is begging for forgiveness we feel superior and in control. They like the attention. They like the flowers and apologies, so we talk themselves into believing that these gestures of remorse actually make up for the abuse.

Negative attention: Sometimes we are so starved for attention that even negative attention will do. We might tell ourselves that if he/she didn't love me so much he/she wouldn't be so angry. This is twisted thinking and can lead to trouble.

Sexual stimulation: Some of us find some aspects of abuse sexually stimulating, so we endure the pain to get the pleasure that follows.




Archived Departments: Books

Archived Articles: The Perceptions of the Loved-one and the BPD are Very Different
Borderline Personality Disorder Personal Story
Borderline Personality Disorder - A Clinical Perspective
Take the First Step Toward Improving Your Relationship
Supporting a Loved-one with BPD
Helping a Loved One with BPD Seek Treatment
Treatment of BPD The Effects of a Mother with BPD on Her Children
Surviving a Break-up with Someone Suffering with BPD
Leaving A Partner with BPD
Free On-Line Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program (CBT)
Depression: Stop Being Tortured by Your Own Thoughts
Codependency: When Our Emotional Issues Affect Our True Availability
Sexual Addiction: When the Sex is Too Important
The Characteristics of Healthy Relationships


Updated: 06/03/14