10 months ago

Dating Unavailable People Will Destroy Your Sanity


People can be unavailable for different reasons.

Maybe they’re not available for the kind of relationship you’re looking for. They might want casual short term dating and you’re looking for something more serious.

Maybe they’re unavailable for your kind of relationship style. Some folks need constant communication and others prefer a lighter touch.

Or they might be unavailable because they’re just not interested in you and you’re not picking up the hints.

I don’t believe in emotional unavailability; I don’t make a distinction between the kinds of unavailability.  You’re either available, or you’re not.


I’ve been there before more times than I care to admit

I’ve fallen for a handful of women that weren’t available for the kind of relationship I wanted, and every time I went through the wringer because of it. I came out the other end a complete mess and I couldn’t understand why it was happening to me.

No matter how much I tried or what I did, nothing changed the fact that she simply couldn’t give me what I wanted.

I even dated someone who wasn’t available for 6 months, and it was the most devastating relationship of my life. It’s amazing how much damage can be created in such a short period of time. And it’s amazing that I stayed for as long as I did.

To be fair, she didn’t know she wasn’t available, and nor did I. Or perhaps I did but I kept hoping that she’s start showing up for me the way I needed to be shown up for.

She never did.

Hope springs eternal

That’s what my therapist told me. I paid thousands of dollars for that piece of advice. It’s worth at least twice that. You can have it for free.

Going after unavailable women is like going to the hardware store for bread. You look around, ask the salesperson where the bread is. They look at you weird and say, “There’s no bread here, we’re a hardware store.”

The next day you hope that maybe things will have changed. Still no bread at the hardware store.

And so it goes.

Hope springs eternal because there’s no end to the spring of hope. You can wake up everyday thinking that maybe today, things will be different. Maybe today she won’t flake on me like she’s flaked before. Maybe today she’ll finally give me the love and affection that I so desperate want and need in this relationship.

But. Alas. No bread today.

So why do we keep going to the hardware store for bread?

We keep dating unavailable people because we want love

We’re humans and we’re hardwired for connection. We’re social creatures and we have a desperate need to love, and to feel love. Or at least I do. Maybe you do too.

It’s normal to want love.

It just sucks when we’re trying to get it from people who can’t give it to us. And that’s pretty normal too.

It’s easy to get roped up in the possibility that we’ve found a special person that will love us and care for us.

We’ve met someone that might show up for us in some capacity. Maybe they don’t completely show up for us the way we want them to but perhaps with time they will.

Red flag city

There are plenty of red flags early on that someone isn’t available, but I certainly don’t want to see them.

My crazy ex gave me several. Cancelling plans at the last minute, often being late with no explanation, not replying to texts or dropping off in the middle of a deep text conversation (I don’t use text for deep conversations anymore).

I don’t blame her for any of this by the way, I was a total nightmare to date. She was probably doing what she needed to do to take care of herself.

I’ve dated other women that slowly started disappearing. They took longer to respond to me via text, didn’t commit to plans until the last minute, or would cancel and not reschedule.

They were slowly ghosting me which is lame and cowardly.

But it was lamer still for me to stick around hoping that things would change. Maybe they’ll have bread tomorrow.

No bread.

They can’t give you what you want

Unavailable people can’t give you what you want. They have different priorities in life and unfortunately, you’re not one of them.


That can hurt. I know.

They’re doing the best they can with what they have, and sometimes the best is pretty shitty. Dating them can be a huge disappointment, but it doesn’t have to be.

The problem with unavailable people is they sometimes don’t know they’re unavailable. Or they do know and they’ll keep stringing you around because they know you’ll stick around and they like to keep their options open.

Either way, I’m not interested in games. I don’t know the rules and I don’t want to play.

Your options

Luckily you have several and you get to choose. One is the clear winner but I’ll let you decide which.

1. Lower your expectations

Simply lower your expectations (and your standards) and accept what love and attention they have to give. You’re hurting because there’s a gap between what love and attention you want and what you’re getting. Reset your expectations.

2. Make demands on them

Start demanding that they love you the way you need to be loved. This is a great option if you love to alienate people and start fights. This didn’t work for me but YMMV.

3. Flush the flake

Stay close to those that love you and flush the flakes. Life is too short to be pinning for flakes and unavailable people. Watch the red flags and go your own way when you realize you’re not getting your needs met.

Meet me halfway

I’d rather be alone than be jerked around by someone who either doesn’t know what they want, doesn’t want to be honest with me about how they feel, or wants to string me along for the ride.

I’m not asking for much. I don’t expect anyone to give me everything I want, or to love me just the way I need to be loved. But I do expect to be with someone who’s willing to meet me halfway. Let’s take a ride together, side by side.

We all deserve the best kind of love out there. Life is too short to be wasting it with people who don’t want to be with you.

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Shaun Galanos

Shaun Galanos is The Love Drive. He believes we all deserve love and works to help men (and women) develop more intimate relationships through honest and playful communication. He lives, writes, and makes videos in Montreal.

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