Why Do Good Women Pick the Wrong Men?

we accept the love we think we deserve

Why do great women pick people who treat them poorly? Smart, beautiful, incredible individuals – who give 110% to a man who in return, are only half-vested, part-time, and approach the relationship with a “me”, not “we” mentality.

And while your friends see that your relationship is unhealthy, and your rational mind does too, you just can’t seem to get out.  You know deep down inside that the person is not right for you, but make justifications and excuses over and over again.  You stay. You try even harder. You’re hooked.

Why does this happen?

1. The more you invest, the more vested you become.

When you don’t get the love and attention you want, it may seem natural to give more.  You invest more – only to find yourself more disappointed, depleted and feeling insignificant with each attempt to create/repair the connection. This is what psychologist Dr. Jeremy Nicholson calls the principle of “sunk costs”.

“Doing favors for others and treating them well, leads us to value and love them…They do all of the “doing”. They are the ones waiting on their partner, doing good deeds, buying gifts, etc. As a result, they have a lot of love (sunk costs) for their date or mate. But, their partner has not invested. They have not given a thing. So, they are not at all in love or committed.”

Before you engage in another act of love, ask yourself what your true intention is. Are you giving without expectation of receiving anything back in return? Are you keeping score? Or, is there a part of your giving that is rooted in the hopes you will get love and acknowledgement in return? If there isn’t a foundation of love, respect and commitment with the person you’re dating, giving more and doing nice things will not cause them to love you more, it’ll only result in you becoming increasingly attached.

2. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Perhaps you had an unstable male figure in your life as a child, or your first relationship was one that left you hurt and wounded. It is possible that you are choosing relationships that repeat the unavailability, rejection or abandonment issues that were familiar in your earliest relationship with the opposite sex. In a sense, you seek comfort in that familiar scenario – even if it is one filled with angst. These are attractions of deprivation, and it’s possible it stems from your childhood.

The problem is, the longer you continue the cycle, the more your sense of self-worth erodes, making it harder and harder to remove yourself from the pleasure/pain pattern of unhealthy, inaccessible relationships.

I once started to develop feelings for someone and as I started to open up to him, he reacted with aloofness and indifference. It was clear he was emotionally unavailable to me. My natural reaction was to try harder, initiate more, and stick around in hopes he would turn around.

This is what I would have done in my early twenties, but a decade later,  I’ve learned to recognize the signs of an unhealthy dynamic. My craving and desire to make it work with a guy like him is similar to those same attractions in my early twenties. I admit, I was attracted and craving a connection with a man who was unavailable.  But what’s different now is my response.

I can choose to not engage. I can recognize that I’m worth more than to invest in someone who likes me just a little, but not enough. And this, is the decision that starts to break the unhealthy cycle.

Don’t ever forget your worth. The moment you accept less than your worth, you will get less. The moment you tolerate disrespect and disregard, you set precedent.

3. It’s chemical.

Dr. Larry Young, the director for Translational Social Neuroscience, notes that experiencing a loss from a partner – such as a separation or death, is akin to an addict craving drugs. A study showed that voles separated from their vole partner showed high levels of a stress chemical, corticosterone, and experienced an overwhelming anxiety due to their partner loss.  The voles are driven to go “home” to their partner because only then does the oxytocin (the feel good hormone associated with pair bonding) can help ease the anxiety the separation caused.

Dr. Young states that the vole behaviour is similar to humans  – they come back not because they are positively motivated to be with their partners, but because they want the misery of separation to stop.

“We have this normal together, whatever that normal is. And the bad feeling forces you to come back.”

He points out that both men and women who have been verbally or physically abused often refuse to leave those relationships similarly to how drugs addicts cannot leave their relationship with drugs. They are chemically hooked. Then, “They rationalize their choice to stay by focusing on positive traits their partner might possess.” Sound familiar?

I truly believe that when it doesn’t work out with someone in the present, it is because it is meant to work out with someone else in the future. But you can’t leave it all up to fate. There’s work to be done on your part too. Each relationship that comes in your life is the universe’s way of delivering a lesson for you to learn. If you don’t learn that lesson and evolve, you will only face the same issues with each relationship moving forward. If you want to avoid a lifetime of dating the wrong men, you have to be conscious of the old wounds you need to heal and take action to stop destructive habits and patterns.  After all, you have to be the “right one” until you will meet the “right one”.

 

Disclaimer: This is not a bash on men. I am a woman and writing from a woman’s point of view. You can flip the genders and the same points would apply.

 

52 Comments

  • Reply June 25, 2016

    SortingHat

    It’s like gambling. You become addicted to it and become ruined and unhappy therefore you hit rock bottom before realizing the issue on hand.

    There is a very good reason that gambling is a deadly sin and Jesus overthrew the money changers.

  • Reply August 15, 2016

    Cj

    Single people are so so damaged and jaded by their mid to late 20s it seems these days, I wonder if it’s even worth trying to find something real anymore. I consider myself a rational good guy (I understand the concept of self bias, but I try to be) and I have to say the dating culture out there is so so toxic. I did have lots of trouble getting dates from High School through college until my businesses and career took off in my mid 20s. After I bought my house and began living my current lifestyle, I am finally getting dates. Unfortunately it feels like everyone is so paranoid, distrustful, and disrespectful towards each other that I don’t think it’s even worth looking to get married anymore. I’ll just opt out of the market and adopt kids in a few years, and I’ve never been into no strings attached sex which is all anyone seems to want anymore. Maybe if I had found the right girl 10 years ago before some other guys came through and left her mentally scarred she’d actually still be able to open up and believe there is a good man out there who will treat her right and that she’s worth that. I guess not dating much till recently has kinda sheltered me from all this crap. What a shame.

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Tim

    I get very upset about this whole subject, and I actually think in the past it pushed me towards depression. I met so many aggressive, angry, dismissive women that I just stopped looking.

    The nice, decent men get sidelined and the beaters, cheaters and down the streeters get their pick of silly women, who seem to throw themselves at the worst man they can find. Why bother being decent or nice if the only men who women seem attracted to are the bad boys, losers and absolute shits?

  • Reply September 7, 2016

    J

    I’ve decided that I cannot compete anymore. I’ve always been the pretty faced girl, smart and talented but I seemed to only attract guys that are just not emotionally available. After a while, my weight and the way I feel about myself manifests itself as mistrust and major insecurity. So why bother dating anyone? I wish I could just have meaningless sex but my heart somehow needs more. I’ve tried dating outside my norm and still..FAIL! Either they show zero affection, do the bare minimal to keep a lukewarm relationship going or they cheat.

    I am just exhausted by it all. I’d rather be single.

  • Reply September 11, 2016

    cassie

    I agree with J above this dating thing is so disheartening. I feel like I put myself out there and my heart gets torn to shreds I just wanna focus on me and believe that if there is a plan for me it will naturally fall into place. I’m getting to the point tho that I really don’t believe this either….

  • Reply September 20, 2016

    MORGAN

    I am one of these women. I am pretty, sexy, smart, and charming. I have never had a problem finding a date yet I choose men that are emotionally unavailable. What I believe women are looking for is passion. It makes us feel alive. When you give a woman what she craves she has the power to be everything a man wants and needs. There is nothing wrong with nice guys but they seem to lack this quality. Unfortunately it’s all the men that are bad for us that excite us. Even the emotionally unavailable ones. We just want to feel something inside us. It’s really very simple. I am so tired of dating. The emotionally unavailable cannot meet my needs, the bad boys can’t meet my needs and the nice guys can’t meet my needs. I just want a partner that can match me what I am able to offer. Are we as women just expecting too much???

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