We hear this story a lot, and it's a heartbreaking one. Can you relate?
You fall for someone. You fall hard. She looks like everything you've ever wanted, and there's just one problem: she's not available.
Maybe she's involved with someone else. Maybe they're unhappy together; perhaps she even confides in you about her relationship troubles. Yet she's not leaving.
Maybe she's straight. She gives you plenty of eye contact and hugs, schedules lots of intimate time with you, and you're sure she's flirting - but then she tells you she's just not attracted to women.
Maybe she's just not ready. She had her heart broken by someone else, and she doesn't want to risk it again. Or she wants to play the field right now, rather than commit. Or she thinks you're great, and she's flattered, but she just doesn't feel "that way" about you.
Or maybe she's hot and cold - sometimes into you, sometimes not. You never know when she's going to be excited to see you, or when she'll tell you she's busy for the next month. When she'll text you multiple times a day, or when you won't hear back from her for weeks. It's agonizing, crazy-making, and ultimately heartbreaking.
Over time, you may waste months or even years of your life daydreaming about her, telling your friends about her every little gesture to try to decipher its meaning, trying to win her over or win her back -- or just hurting.
So what gives? Why are those wonderful women just not into you? Or, more to the point, why do you get so attracted to women who aren't into you (and perhaps find yourself just not interested in the women who do want you?)
First off, we want you to know you've got our compassion. This is an incredibly painful experience to have even once - and unbelievably painful to have over and over. We totally get why it can make you just want to close up your heart for good.
But we also want you to know that if this is your pattern, there are reasons for it - and you can heal them. You don't have to be stuck falling for women who aren't available.
Repeat: you do not have to be stuck falling for women who are not available!
Sure, you can't help who you get attracted to. None of us can. But you can help what you do about it.
Here's what I mean. If you're driving your car and someone in the back seat yells, begs, pleads or cajoles you to "Run that red light! Go on, just keep going! Don't stop!" -- do you have to run the red light? Of course not!
For most of us, when we get attracted to someone, our brains go into limerence overdrive. (Limerence is the name for the brain state of feeling "high on love," which actually means stoned on lust.) So even when you know better, that part of you keeps telling you to do things that are really not wise - like spend time daydreaming, hoping, wishing, fantasizing, longing, trying to interpret her every move, and basically having a full-on relationship with her in your head (even if she has no idea you feel this way!)
The first important step in breaking this pattern is simply to remember that while you don't have control over your feelings, you do have control over your actions - and, by controlling your actions, you will also eventually shift your feelings.
When you have feelings for someone, it's not a signal to press the gas pedal down. Instead, from the Conscious Girlfriend standpoint, it's a signal to find out more. Get more information. Observe, assess, stay curious. Who is she? What draws you to her? Is she ready for a relationship? Is she single, interested in women, healed from her past? Does she want a relationship similar to the one you want (i.e. do you have similar relationship goals, priorities and visions?) And, most importantly, does she have the skills to have a happy, healthy relationship?
And of course, you should be asking these questions of yourself, as well. Are you healed from your past? Are you clear on what you want in the future? And do you have the skills to create it?
We talk about those skills a lot. We use the acronym "CATCH" to describe both what's involved in being a "catch," and how someone else needs to be in order to be a "catch" for you. Briefly:
Compassionate toward self and others
Aware of what she feels when she feels it
Tolerates her feelings without blowing up, shutting down or self-medicating
Communicates without blame, self-blame or defensiveness
Happy to learn and grow
When you feel attracted to someone, we strongly suggest that you focus not on how great she is, not on how you can get her to like you or want you or love you, not on what her texts or lack of texts means... but on the question of whether she's a "catch," and whether she is actually right for you.
And if she's not available, she's not right for you. Period.
So often we hear from women whose crushes or dates tell them, "I'm not ready for a relationship" - and who refuse to believe what they hear, but keep on pursuing, waiting, wishing and hoping.
This is a recipe for disaster! If she tells you she's not ready - or if you see signs that tell you that - believe her! Believe those signs!
It takes courage and self-discipline to turn away from someone who you're crushed out on. It takes confidence that someone else will come along - someone who excites you and is available and into you. It takes being able to hold onto the big picture, rather than letting yourself get swept away on the wild, crazy ride of infatuation. But you can do it. And you're worth it.
Why are unavailable women so damned attractive, anyway? There can be lots of reasons, but in working with thousands of women, we've seen a few pop up over and over:
1) If you're not completely sure you deserve the love you want - if you're afraid, deep down, that you're flawed, broken or unlovable - then you may tend to get attracted to women who are not available because, deep down, the experience feels so familiar. When they're not into you, it "proves" what part of you believed all along.
2) If you're not completely sure you can hold your ground in relationships - if you're someone who tends to lose yourself or pick needy or controlling women, or if you yourself are just not ready for love, even though you're lonely- then falling for someone who's less than fully available is actually a way to stay safe.
The remedy for #1 is self-compassion, and learning to really value yourself. This can feel hard to imagine, but due to neuroplasticity - our brains' ability to be re-wired - it's totally do-able. Even if you grew up feeling unloved and trying to win the approval of emotionally unavailable parent(s). Even if you grew up being told you weren't lovable. The past does not have to define your future.
The remedy for #2 is also self-compassion, learning to really value yourself - and gaining the skills to ask for what you need, and the belief that you can fully be yourself and still be loved. You don't have to betray yourself for the connection you crave. Again, these changes are totally do-able!
The best way we know of to make these shifts is through taking the 12-week Roadmap class ("Roadmap" is short for The 12-Week Roadmap To Conscious Lesbian Dating and Lasting Love. Yep, that's a mouthful! It's also a comprehensive online experience that can change your life. You'll get audio and written lessons weekly, and meet every two weeks for group coaching with a wonderful group of women who really get your challenges, and share your aims. You'll also receive one-on-one coaching, and plenty of support through our secret Facebook group. Women tell us over and over again that the Roadmap has changed their lives. We know it can change yours, too. And we've got a new class starting in just a few weeks, so check it out here!
But even if now is not the right time for you to take the Roadmap, we hope this article has given you some insight and some hope. Plenty of lesbians and queer women have broken the pattern of falling for unavailable women - and have found healthy, happy love with a woman who truly wants and cherishes them. It is possible. You can get there. And we're rooting for you!