Q: Why am I only attracted to emotionally unavailable guys?


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Expert advice from our partner ChickRx.

Q: Why am I only attracted to emotionally unavailable guys?

A: Wow. How much time do you have? People can spend years in therapy uncovering the roots to problems like these. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this, so I will speak generally.

Oftentimes, women who find themselves attracted to men who are unable or unwilling to commit emotionally have had unstable or insecure relationships with one or both parents. Whether the parents were abusive, neglectful or otherwise rejecting, children grow up feeling insecure about themselves and their worthiness to be loved by anyone.

As an adult, attraction to men who are unavailable or rejecting can serve two purposes. First, if you know that someone is unavailable, then you risk nothing in pursuing them, as you already expect the rejection—i.e., the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know.

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And secondly, chasing after a rejecting man replicates the rejection you may have felt as a child. You may hope to win over the unavailable man, which would be the ultimate triumph, disproving the belief that you are unlovable.

Unfortunately, the part that usually takes years to figure out is that the unavailable man is just that...unavailable. It's not that if you were taller, thinner, smarter, prettier or bustier then he would want you. His unavailability is his problem, not yours. Looking to him to validate your self worth will end like it always has: in disappointment.

Expert answer by: Melanie Zermeno, MD, a psychiatrist in West Hollywood, Calif., and an assistant professor of Psychiatry at UCLA. Read more answers to this question, or ask your own.

This article originally appeared on ChickRx