I hear it over and over: “Are there any available men?” “Why are all the women I attract unavailable?”

Laura asked me the following:

I find that I attract men who are unavailable. I meet nice men who are fun to be around, but when it comes to becoming serious they always say, “I’m not ready right now.” What is it within me or that I need to seek out within myself to find out why I attract men who act like they want a relationship, but always say they are not ready? Could you give me insight on what I need to do to attract a loving mate and not unavailable men?

There are two issues that often contribute to this situation.

1. Often, when a person consistently attracts unavailable people, it is because there is some unconscious fear of rejection and/or fear of engulfment that may actually be causing you to be unavailable — even though you believe you are available.

Since people attract each other at their common level of woundedness or their common level of health, an unavailable person’s fear of commitment likely mirrors your fear of commitment. If you are a person who keeps meeting unavailable people, you might want to honestly look within to see if your fears of rejection or fears of engulfment (losing the other or losing yourself) may be causing you to be unavailable.

It’s easy to believe you are open and available, and that others are unavailable, but this is often not the case at all. If you are afraid of commitment, then it might unconsciously feel safe to you to be in a relationship with someone who you know is unavailable. Often, people who fear commitment — due to their fear of rejection/engulfment — are attracted to married people. Being in a relationship with an unavailable married person might actually feel safe to them!

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who didn’t want to commit, and then you broke up with him or her because of it, only to hear that he or she got married not long after your breakup? If so, it is easy to see that something else was going on there. What was going on may have to do with the second issue.

2. The second issue is that you may be abandoning yourself when you get into a relationship. If, when you really like someone, you make the other responsible for your feelings of lovability, security and worth, then the other’s fear of engulfment and resulting resistance might get triggered.

Self-abandonment is a key issue in creating relationship problems. If you are abandoning yourself by not taking responsibility for your own feelings of safety and self-worth, and you then make the other responsible for making you feel okay, he or she will likely experience you as needy — and this might scare them. Self-abandonment becomes a pull on the other person to make you okay, and many people get scared when they feel pulled on. Their fear of losing themselves and being controlled by your neediness might become a big issue. They might go into major resistance to being open with you.

Often, a person with a fear of rejection attracts a person with a fear of engulfment. If you have a fear of rejection — because of rejecting and abandoning yourself — then you may try to control in order to not be rejected when you are in a relationship. Your controlling behavior may trigger the other’s fear of engulfment — because he or she doesn’t know how to not abandon themselves when being pulled at and demanded of. Because they have never learned how to take responsibility for themselves and their own feelings, and they may feel responsible for your feelings, they do the only thing they know to feel safe — withdraw and resist.

If you really want a relationship and you keep attracting unavailable people, then you need to do your own inner work to heal your fear of rejection and/or your fear of engulfment.

The Inner Bonding process is a powerful process for healing these fears. I have worked with thousands of clients who met their partner and got married after doing their Inner Bonding work and healing their fears.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a relationship expert, best-selling author, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah. To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week eCourse, “The Intimate Relationship Toolbox” – the first two weeks are free! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.

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