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Why Does a Person Pursue Men Who Are Unavailable?

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Why does a person pursue men who are unavailable? Examples:
1. Attracted and “tried” dating a guy in high school who was gay but not out of the closet.
2. Asked out guys that were off limits in college, such as resident advisor and leader of organozation (both students who said they weren’t “allowed”to date other students.
3. A man that lived in another state and would hook up on his business trips. I’ve always suspected he was married.
4. A man with no relationship experience who was emotionally the equivalent of a teenager.
5. A man who was recently divorced with two kids and did not want to remarry or have more kids.
6. A man who was still married.
7. A man who lives in another country, doesn’t speak English, has no money, and cannot come to the US unless get a marriage Visa.

Why does this happen over and over?

Why Does a Person Pursue Men Who Are Unavailable?

Answered by on -


Without talking to you and getting to know you, I can only make some very general guesses:

Sometimes a person both wants a relationship and is terrified of having one. The solution is to have the fantasy of a romance but to pursue men who aren’t really available.

Sometimes it’s important to a woman’s self-esteem to try to get a man to break rules or to get away from someone else. Succeeding certifies that she is special. Of course, it is a false way to build self-esteem and the failures only make her feel worse.

Another possibility is the desire to feel superior as a way to feel “safe”. By choosing men who are immature, married or unable to get a visa, the woman could feel she is more in control.

Or something else. Or some combination.

Bottom line: If you are writing about yourself, I strongly urge you to get into therapy. You already know that you won’t find real love and a long lasting relationship if you keep repeating this pattern. Therapy will help you understand yourself better and perhaps develop the capacity to find genuine, reciprocal love.

I wish you well,
Dr. Marie

Why Does a Person Pursue Men Who Are Unavailable?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Why Does a Person Pursue Men Who Are Unavailable?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 Sep 2018 (Originally: 9 Sep 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 5 Sep 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.