Mr. Unavailable (and My Unfortunate Attraction)
I clearly have a “type.” If I’ve learned anything since I started dating 18 months ago, it’s that.
He’s typically tall. Handsome. Witty/funny. Loves music. And (probably the most defining characteristic) he’s emotionally unavailable.
Hell, he could be short and bald with no personality or talent and if he’s emotionally unavailable, I’d probably be attracted. I think I just described George Costanza, so maybe not. But I wouldn’t rule him out.
The men I’ve felt the strongest chemistry with are those who’ve recently ended relationships (and are still distracted with feelings for their ex), narcissists (who can only fake emotional availability), widowers (who are still in love with their late wives), and commitment-phobes (who remain aloof for a myriad of reasons, including a former cheating spouse and mommy issues).
Shrinks will tell you that “like attracts like” so this clearly means I’m emotionally unavailable myself to some degree, but that’s another blog post and probably a few therapy sessions.
Right now, let’s talk about Ted. Because he’s the one who currently has my attention and is, perhaps, the most emotionally unavailable man I’ve met in the past 18 months.
I met Ted 6 months ago. He lives 1800 miles from my home, but in a city I travel to frequently, so he’s physically unavailable, too, with the exception of a few select days once every 2 or 3 months. When you’re turned on by unavailability, this adds fuel to the fire. We chatted for a few months before we actually had a date and I could tell our chemistry would be off the hook.
Our first date was one of my favorites. I was completely comfortable, incredibly attracted and lost in every moment with him. We chatted over cocktails, flirted over dinner (I seriously forgot to eat my Drunken Noodles, I was so distracted by his eyes) and got cozy on the couch in the back of a dive bar. Physically, he’s one of the most handsome men I know. Personality-wise, one of the kindest and most humble. His voice? No other word but sexy. Maybe orgasmic. Could he make me cum by just talking? Possibly . . . this is a good test for next time.
But Ted is about as emotionally unavailable as they come. He was just 2 years out of a 27-year-long relationship with a woman who treated him like shit. Lying, cheating, manipulating–I don’t know this woman, but from the stories he’s told, she sounds like a soulless bitch. She secretly poked holes in his condoms. She slept with his friends. She sold her 4-bedroom house and bought a 1-bedroom condo when their daughter said, “I want to live with dad” after their divorce.
To say that he’s leery of getting attached again is probably an understatement.
Add to this his teenage daughter who’s struggled with serious behavioral problems, and you have one very exhausted and preoccupied man.
And emotionally unavailable. Most definitely, 100 percent, unabashedly emotionally unavailable.
We’ve seen each other a few different times over the months. Sent many texts back and forth. Talked about our dysfunctional childhoods, alcoholic parents and failed marriages. Our amazing kids. Our busy careers. We have an exciting attraction and great sexual chemistry and similar interests/values and wonderfully fun witty banter and personalities that mesh.
And all of this will never go anywhere beyond where it’s already gone.
That, my friends, is a hard pill to swallow but the very honest reality of being attracted to men who are simply not available. If he was available, would it all still be this magical? I want to believe “yes,” but my history suggests otherwise.
I was married for 20 years to a man who didn’t tell me he loved me until the night he proposed. For much of our marriage, I felt like I was walking in a fog, trying hard to bridge the space between us but never really being able to find my way. After that I was in a relationship for 5 years with a narcissist who faked love and intimacy for the opportunity to manipulate and control.
To say that I’m afraid of repeating history is another understatement–thus (most likely) my own form of emotional unavailability.
But here’s my small victory: I’ve finally recognized my pattern. My “type.” Took me long enough, I know. This might sound weird, but I seriously had not put “intense chemistry” with “emotional unavailability” together until recently. I’m a smart woman, fairly insightful, intuitive and not afraid of self-help books and conversations on a therapist’s couch. But I had never really grasped my undeniable attraction to unavailability quite like I have recently.
Thank God for small victories, right? Sometimes that’s all we need to get us on the path to winning the bigger battle.
I don’t know what dating will look like now with this valuable insight under my belt–maybe different or, hell, maybe more of the same. I do believe this might be a battle I have to fight the rest of my life. No doubt it began long before I was even aware of it.
But I have a great collection of Pinot Noir, girlfriends who can relate, and a steely resolve to figure this shit out. I may be flawed, but at least I’m a fucking warrior. And I’m well armed to fight my demons.
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