If you’ve struggled with an attraction to unavailable men as I have, you MUST subscribe to Natalie Lue’s blog Baggage Reclaim. The recently married recovered love addict offers frequent sage advice on how not to abandon yourself while dating and relating with men. I can only imagine the legions of women she has helped with her no-nonsense take no prisoners approach which reminds us that the only person we control in this life is ourselves. Perhaps most importantly she professes that you must judge people by their actions rather than their words.
Natalie’s book Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl talks about the very real affliction called love addiction and what you need to do to get out from under it. Love addiction is nothing to laugh about and the stress it brings on can actually cause illness and even death, especially by suicide.
Most often, the sufferer spent a childhood experiencing “love” as conditional, something to be worked for and never gained from a father or mother or other caregiver. It only makes sense that unattainable love would feel ‘right’ to these folks even though it’s so wrong.
Women suffering from love addiction cannot tolerate nice guys and continue to pursue men who will only hurt them. In this way, says Natalie, the woman must be willing to admit she is the common denominator in every failed relationship and the men are not the only ones to blame.
What many Fallback Girls (so called because they allow themselves to be treated as an option) don’t realize is that they, too, are unavailable, as fearful of intimacy and commitment as the men they can’t help attracting. We choose people who reflect our beliefs, says Natalie, and if we believe we are unlovable, guess what we will attract?
Fallback girls also fear being vulnerable with a man which prevents them from being themselves and taking care of their own needs. They are always anticipating what he wants and abandoning themselves. Ironically, this drives the man further away.
WITH CASUAL SEX WOMEN, NOT MEN, GET PENALIZED. I have been saying this publicly and being criticized for it for a very long time so I am grateful to be able to write it and credit the words to another woman who agrees with me! Casual sex is not liberating, ladies. Quite the opposite. The longer you make a man wait for sex, the more he will value you. (Those words are mine.)
Natalie offers solutions by suggesting you get wise about what healthy relationships look like. (I read Harville Hendrix’ Getting the Love You Want to help me.) She warns that because you believe relationships mean drama you find it impossible to be attracted to a nice guy who lacks the negativity that feels like home to you. In the end, however, “Drama isn’t love. Pain isn’t love. Drama is drama. Pain is pain.” Well said.
Overcoming love addiction requires building up your shattered self-esteem. In short, it requires getting a life. You MUST get the focus off of him and onto yourself. As Natalie proclaims: “Self-esteem is giving yourself the very love you’re seeking from another.” I can attest to how much harder this is done than said. We’re talking about a true addiction here, you can’t kick it over night. But with dedication and lots of reading and listening and even therapy you can find a way to love yourself in a way that will make you feel you have been let out of prison. If you’re like me, you will have slips but you get back up and carry on knowing that it is progress rather than perfection you’re after. You have to be kind to yourself and celebrate small victories.
Once you’ve decided to cut an unavailable man loose you must not call/text/otherwise try to reach him. Natalie calls this No Contact or NC. Take it one day at a time if you have to. Have a girlfriendyou can call when you really want to call him. Sit on your hands. Read Natalie’s book. Do not call him. Do not. It will be excruciating. It might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But one day you will wake up and realize you’re over him.
Now is a good time to set boundaries which Natalie says are essential for a healthy relationship. What are those you ask? They are something healthy people possess which tell others what they will and will not tolerate. I discovered them about a year and a half ago I’m sad to confess. Now I have a one-strike rule (as opposed to three) with new men in my life. I figure if they aren’t trying at the very beginning it can only get worse as time goes on. As a recovered love addict I now embrace the fact that there are millions of men out there for me and as Natalie says, “dating is a discovery phase”. You’ve got to know your values and be willing to stand by them and weed out the guys who try to compromise them.
Now if a guy texts me after three months of going AWOL, rather than get excited I confidently text back. “Lose my number. This is intrusive.” When another fellow texts me while he’s “in town” I text back “No thanks, I’m looking for something more. Take care.” With every loser I flick off my shirt, I am making room for a good man who is worthy of my time and attention.
I now spend a good part of my day determining whether what I’m doing feels good and if it doesn’t, I change either my attitude or my circumstances so it does. Feeling good has become my first priority and it is an essential part of being a woman. I have written here previously the words of Dr. Pat Allen and I repeat: “Women need to feel good to do good. Men need to do good to feel good.” Natalie concurs with Dr. Allen when she states simply:
GET A LIFE AND FEEL GOOD!
Amen to that. If you saw yourself in this post, you will benefit from Natalie’s book. It offers great wisdom and insight along with practical solutions for breaking free from the lure of Mr. Unavailable and learning to love and value yourself.