Being the Other Woman: The Truth about Being Drawn to Unavailable Men

Being the Other Woman: The Truth about Being Drawn to Unavailable Men

Though the majority of women seek and are attracted to relationships and partners that are present, devoted and available, not all of them do. As one article posted in psychology today states; more women than most women would care to admit, do in fact seek and gravitate towards men who are unavailable. In my years of practicing as a therapist specializing in relationships and couple counseling in Palo Alto, this is something I too can testify to.

Degrees of Unavailability

Unavailable men or partners like most other things exist on a spectrum. You can have a man who is single and pre-occupied with their work or career and that would class as unavailable. You can have a man who is against commitment and all over the place and that would also class as unavailability. All this said, when it comes to the height of unavailability, unfaithful partners and married men take the cake.

Being Drawn to Committed Men and Others Who Are Unavailable

Whether you’ve taken up the role of mistress for someone who is married or are simply hanging around in the hopes of being appreciated by someone who is not that into you, it’s unhealthy. For starters, you’re not a priority for them – quite the contrary, they would probably perceive you as more of a convenience.

The question is why do some of us do this? Particularly in situations where the man we’re attracted to is married or committed, why do we risk our pride and the lives of others in search of partnership?



One reason why women might be drawn to unavailable men is deep rooted issues with self-esteem. They may take what is offered by way of emotional and physical attention even if it is inadequate. They may try to make up for where the person’s original partner might have fallen inadequate. They also often put up with emotional abuse and exploitation that most women would possibly never.

All this is because of the subconscious idea that if the unavailable person in question responds to their advances, rather if their devotion is reciprocated, that will stand as evidence of their worthiness. The trouble with this model is that in most cases reciprocation never comes. In cases where it does, it is often short lived as the basis for it is all skewered.

Personal Space and Commitment Phobia

Another reason many women who opt for unavailable men might do so due to a personal need for more space as well as a fear of commitment. This is a little more conscious than the example above and is found to be convenient for both parties in a sense. Real relationships take work, effort and compromise. Affairs – not so much!

The unavailable man has access to another shoulder, ear, and intimate supporter. The woman in question has her space, her freedom and the ability to do exactly what she pleases and how she pleases to. The problem here is usually when the unavailable man is married and committed. In such instances, it is not uncommon to have families and entire lives turned upside down just because of the insensitivity and lack of empathy showed by the two individuals engaging with each other.

Developmental Trauma

Finally, developmental trauma is another thing that often lies under the compulsion or urge to connect with men who are not fully available. Individuals who grow up in homes where one or both care givers may have been absent, unavailable or consistently distracted may seek similar dynamics unknowingly when searching for partners.

Alternatively, individuals who grow up with a parent who is constantly seeking intimacy outside their marriage or relationship may subconsciously normalize or internalize such behavior. Since both these scenarios relate to deeply buried developmental material, it is important to seek therapy to overcome them.

What’s So Wrong Anyway?

There are a number of things wrong with seeking and gravitating to unavailable men. In cases where the man in question is not committed, it is still damaging to your own self-esteem and emotional health. In cases where the man in question is married or has a family, the damages extend beyond you and to the existing partner or spouse as well as the persons children. To be less subtle, it can be nothing short of wrecking a home.

In Conclusion

No one is good and no one is evil but there are times when we can all be pretty messed up and toxic for ourselves and others around us. If you feel you’re someone who tends to find themselves with one unavailable man after another, maybe it’s time to do some work. Connect with a therapist, work on what makes you do what you do and find ways to live a life that is safer, healthier and more fulfilling! Not one defined by lies, secrets, sneaking around and harm to others beyond ourselves.

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