Top signs you are attracted to the emotionally unavailable

Do you find yourself in a cycle of relationships with emotionally unavailable partners again and again? Do you wonder why you keep being attracted to the same type of person again and again? 

Sadly many adults struggle with intimate relationships because as children they survived heartbreaking neglect.

Perhaps for whatever reason-your parent/s or caregiver had their hands full with mental health issues/work/addictions or romances. Growing up with an emotionally unavailable caregiver might mean that you pursue relationships with emotionally unavailable partners in your adult life.
This can happen because as a young child you internalised the parental neglect and wrongly believed, “I must deserve this bad treatment.”
When this young child (you) grows up with these unconscious beliefs in place they choose partners who confirm that sense of not being worthy of good treatment. They pick partners who in the same way may be critical or distant or detached.
It feels ‘comfortable’ because it is the love you’re used to.

If you felt easily dismissed by your parent or had to fight hard to get any recognition from them growing up, then you can easily get ‘hooked’ again by partners that you have to pursue that play hard to get.



“If only I could get that detached and distant person to love us then I must be worthy enough to love” is a common thought process.
If you have low self esteem then it would feel alien and strange to be with someone who genuinely wants you! You feel more comfortable being with someone when you are in the lower position which makes you more easily used and dismissed and thus repeating the abandonment cycle again.


Therapy can help you break those unconscious patterns of being attracted to the same type of partner again and again.


I hate it when I hear people say “trust your gut!” It’s important to be very suspicious of your gut if you’re profoundly attracted to someone. Those ‘gut feelings’ are what caused these patterns of attraction to the wrong people!


Your ‘gut’ might make you feel very attracted to those same types that are only pursuing you when you’re not available and as soon as they ‘catch’ you they lose interest in you. This can destroy your self esteem. Therapy sessions can help you change your values and your actions and stop relying on your gut (or unconscious) attractions.



Signs you are in a bad pattern of relationships with emotionally unavailable partners;

-You usually fall for partners who will never ever settle down or commit to you and will often cheat on you multiple times.

-You focus a lot on pleasing your partner and trying to appease their needs and wants whereas your needs and wants seem to fall by the wayside. This isn’t a healthy relationship by the way!

-You feel incomplete unless you are in a relationship or needed.

-You feel incomplete unless you are getting sexual validation from someone.

-You find yourself in relationships that are very one sided where you are prepared to do anything to fix things and they say you’re ‘needy.’


-You are a ‘rescuer’ and want to ‘fix’ your faulty partner rather than accept that what you see is what you get. You may get an emotional high from helping or be quite codepedent.

-You are searching more for the ‘high’ feelings of infatuation and romance rather than a trusting, mutal, mature, relationship.

-You feel like you’re the one that is always more emotionally invested in the relationship than your partners.

-You try hard to mould yourself into the person you think your partner wants.

-Perhaps you are emotionally unavailable yourself and you’re attracted what you give out.

-You aren’t attracted to calm, consistent and kind people that don’t play games because you’re not attracted to them and don’t feel any ‘spark.’

-You are always attracted to ‘bad boys’ or ‘wild girls.’

-You think the hottest sex ever is when you’re trying to seduce or convince a hard to get person to be with you.

-You assume the highs and lows of anxiety, suspense, inconsistency and games are signs of chemistry. (they aren’t)

-You’re only sexually attracted to emotionally unavailable types.

-You believe you have to work super dooper hard to keep your partner interested because they’re so much more worthy and fascinating than you and they could easily lose interest and find someone else at the click of a finger.

-Your parter has all the power and control in the relationship and everything is set by their terms never yours.

-You desire a lot of closeness in a relationship but keep being with people who push you away and want a lot of alone time.

-You get trapped in dead end relationships that aren’t going anywhere for years and fall for the appeal of where the person could be rather than who they are today.

-People tell you that you just haven’t met the ‘right person’ when the reality is probably that you already have met the right person long ago but you were turned off by them because they were too ‘available.’


Start to change your view of the definition of ‘love’ rather than a feeling that washes you away see it as actions that show consistency, kindness and caring.

When you’re dating someone ask them how they ended their past relationships and read between the lines to see if you can spot an emotionally unavailable abandoner. These abandoners cannot commit to a relationship and have all sorts of justifications for ending a relationship with someone-often blaming it on their exes ‘neediness.’  This wasn’t the reason. They broke up with their ex because they are emotionally unavailable.

In the honeymoon phase of a relationship it can be hard to see who someone truly is that’s why it’s important to look at their relationship history. Don’t try to convince yourself that you’re different and special and now that you’re here you can change them! That’s like juggling broken glass.

Don’t look at their relationship history through rose coloured glasses. Who they were in their relationships in the past reveals their present capacity for intimacy.


Please remember you can fall for someone who is totally and utterly wrong for you.

It is possible to break these patterns with the help of a therapist.

Going within is where the solutions lie. Perhaps it is time to take a break from dating and do some work on yourself with a therapist rather than continue this destructive cycle of toxic relationships with unavailable partners.  Take some downtime with me in confidential skype sessions so that you can take the power back and not keep repeating these painful and often soul destroying cycles with your relationships.

Are you just a booty call but want more?


Are you a booty call, friend with benefits, fallback or in a casual relationship when you want more?

Many people want the companionship and regular sex of someone with the least amount of effort possible. This is fine if you’re both on the same page with this, but I see so many clients who want commitment and possibly children but they get stuck in relationships going nowhere fast. Their pain and dissatisfaction is heartbreaking.

Our instant online gratification hook-up culture has extinguished our relationship expectations. Nihilistic and jaded anti-love sentiment can make us way too casual about ourselves. I see so many clients trying to convince themselves they won’t “catch feelings” and that they can keep it simply physical. Just stop. Your values are important and you can clearly articulate what you want.

Hopper, Excursion into Philosophy 1959

How to tell if you’re in a pseudo relationship

They’ve told you they don’t want a relationship or anything serious right now but you still stick around. You can’t change their mind. You can’t prove yourself to them. You won’t win by waiting it out after a year of casual sex. You’re not a car that needs multiple test drives.

You’ve been giving all of yourself whilst requiring nothing more than a bare minimum in return. This reflects how little you value yourself and what you’ll tolerate.

You have a history of casual relationships because you run from people who want serious commitment from you because it feels “uncomfortable”. You might be commitment phobic yourself and the “challenge” of the emotionally unavailable person means you don’t have to look within and confront your fears about commitment, abandonment and how loveable you are.

Your sexual partner doesn’t make time to see you regularly, doesn’t follow through fast enough after dates, isn’t interested in meeting your friends, family or you theirs. You may have ignored red flags and desperately don’t want to be alone.

There’s no emotional and sexual boundaries. They exploit kink and polyamorous identities as “excuses” for their bad behaviour. Respectful behaviour is important for any identity or lifestyle.


Your sexual partner keeps you at arms length and avoids emotional intimacy. The “relationship” isn’t developing and a year later you’re still their “once a week shag”.

You settle for crumbs and focus obsessively on them. Yeah, sure they like your company, like sex with you, maybe they did a nice thing for you last week… You might focus on that one tiny thing so much that you block out the negatives.

You hope by having sex you will get emotional intimacy. Don’t. If you get emotionally attached to people you’re being sexual with, take your time getting to know them first! Sex can bond you to the wrong person for years.

If you want a committed partner and you’ve been dating someone for a few months but they still don’t know what they want, it’s time to hold your head up high and say goodbye. You can’t force someone to commit. Stop clinging desperately to what you don’t want when you could be out there finding what you do want. You deserve it.

Cat O Dowd
Sex Therapist & Couples Counsellor

Art- Narcissus and Echo: Solomon Joseph.

Excursion into Philosophy and Summer in the City:  Edward Hopper