We all know them: Those independent, seemingly unbreakable, strong women. The ones who are absolutely incredible, but are often single. When they do decide to attempt a relationship, they always seem to pick emotionally unavailable men. Perhaps you’re reading this and realizing this is you. Either way, let’s break down the reasons.
Strong Women and Traumatic Love
From the outside, strong women seem to have it all together. They are sharp, witty, independent, and appear to be full of confidence. These women, however, have insecurities and self-esteem issues just like everyone else, they are just typically better at disguising it. (1)
This is why they fall into what psychologist Seth Meyers calls Relationship Repetition Syndrome. According to Meyers, these women are doing what’s known as “emotional chasing”. (1) This refers to women who chase after validation from men who are unwilling to give it. They are not naive, they can see the red flags and know that this new guy is just the same as all of the rest. Despite this, they continue to pursue and stick around for these men because if they come around, they have the validation of being the woman who “changed” him. (1)
Who Are Emotionally Unavailable Men?
The men that these strong women continuously end up with are those who ultimately won’t commit or settle down. (1) These men could be:
- Married or in another relationship (1)
- Someone who continuously cheats on the woman herself (1)
- Men who aren’t genuinely interested in her but pretend like they are for their own reasons (sex, validation, etc) (2)
These men will show interest initially, however, it won’t last. Then just when you’ve said “I’m done with this!” they’ll send you a message, call, or reach out in some way and reel you back in. They are playing a game that you know you are in, and yet so many strong women keep playing. (2)
How To Tell if You Are An Emotional Chaser
You’re probably looking at your own love life and wondering if you are an emotional chaser. According to Dr. Seth, the following are characteristics of an emotional chaser (3):
- You tend to fall for men who ultimately won’t commit and settle down or who will cheat on you
- You are usually more emotionally committed to the relationship than your partner is
- You feel like your partner has all the control and power in the relationship
- You often feel less worthy than your partner, as if your partner were more interesting or desirable than you are
- You believe you have to work hard to keep him interested because you’re afraid he will otherwise leave and find someone else
- You try to shape yourself into being what you think your partner wants
Thankfully, he says that there are ways to help break you out of that relationship repetition syndrome and finally find the love you deserve.
How to Break Relationship Repetition Syndrome
Dr. Seth says the first step in breaking yourself out of this cycle is to try and pick out patterns you tend to follow in terms of relationships and question the reasons behind them. (3) Some good questions to start out with are (3):
- What is the trait that you look for most when you meet a man?
- What are the traits – or warning signs – you look out for and avoid when you meet a man?
- What do you believe the purpose of a romantic relationship is?
- What lessons have you learned so far from your past relationships?
From there, you can take steps to help yourself break out of the cycle. Dr. Seth suggests writing a letter to all of your exes where you imagine reading it out to each of them. This letter is your opportunity to vent about how they hurt you, why you are angry, and what you deserve from your next relationship. (3)
Another important factor in your recovery is to talk to your friends and family about it. Opening up and admitting your problem – in this case, dating emotionally unavailable men – allows them to help you with it. Let them know you are trying to stop this pattern and ask for their help to let you do so. (3)
Lastly, spend time around happy couples. Talk to them and find out what brought them together, what qualities they believe are important for a healthy relationship, and how they emotionally support one another. (3)
Strong Women Are Strong
Though all of these may lead you to think that these so-called “strong women” are actually weak, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, they have a bad habit that is hard to break. However, they also have proven themselves to be resilient, loyal, patient, hard-working, and willing to commit to something they care about.
If you know women who have a habit of falling for these emotionally unavailable men, reach out and encourage them. If you are one of these incredibly strong women who have a habit of undervaluing themselves, hear this: You are worthy. You do not need anyone to validate how incredible you are because you already are that all on your own.
As soon as you learn to value yourself and commit to stopping this pattern, you will be ready and available for a love that actually deserves you.
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