The Epiphany That Made Me Stop Dating Unavailable Men
I've learned that relationships mirror our beliefs back to us. In other words, the patterns that occur in romantic love are clues to what we believe about ourselves and relationships.
I know this concept through and through. I've dedicated my life to helping others transform their relationships by changing their internal realities. Even though all this is true, you better believe I still felt annoyed, frustrated and disheartened when the man I was intimately involved with began to feel "unavailable" to me.
Again? I'm feeling this again?
Yes. Again. I realized that I had more work to do. (Ugh.)
Relationships are a process.
It's a journey, not a destination. You don't arrive at perfection with another person and stay there forever; you have to keep striving toward growth. This, believe it or not, is what keeps things interesting. It was obviously time for me to get back to work.
To understand why this man began to feel unavailable to me, I first had to understand myself better. Specifically, I had to see how I was being unavailable to love. I started by asking myself some tough questions: What are the ways I'm being unavailable in this relationship? What beliefs are keeping me from fully committing to another person?
I wasn't surprised by what I found.
Turns out, I'm actually terrified to be "all in" with another person.
That's right. I'm quite unavailable myself.
When I got real with myself, I recognized that I had chosen to date "casually" as a way to keep one foot out of the relationship I was in. I got involved with a man, then moved across the country! I mean, how unavailable is that?!
The reason I did all these unavailable things was because I feared commitment. I feared losing myself, feeling trapped, love not lasting, feeling stifled, feeling limited, on and on. There they were — my fears about commitment — staring me right in the face. No wonder this pattern of dating "unavailable men" was still hanging around in my life. I was unavailable! Therefore my partner was obviously going to feel unavailable, too.
Once I understood my role in the situation, I could move onto the next step of transformation: Choosing to believe a different reality. Could I believe that by making myself fully available to a man, I could actually be more fulfilled in a relationship than I am now? When I asked myself this question and listened to my truth, the answer was a resounding yes.
Deep within my heart, I knew that by being available for love, I could be even happier than I had ever been in relationships before. And so, my transformation began. My work from now on is to be available in relationships. To show up. To open my heart. To really go for it. I'm committed to doing so, so I know I'm on my way.
We can't look outside ourselves to understand why patterns are happening; we need to search within. When I recognized that my own limiting beliefs were holding me back, I had the power to change them. These changes in my beliefs, and subsequent actions, make me more available for love. This is the only way for me to get what I really want, which is a relationship with someone who is completely available to me.
So now it's your turn.
Do you have a pattern in relationships that you're ready to change? If so, answer the following questions to begin your process of transformation:
- What pattern is repeating in your relationships?
- What belief or fear about relationships is keeping you stuck in this pattern?
- What do you need to believe in order for this pattern to change?
The answers to these questions could transform your entire experience in love.
Remember: Any dilemma that reoccurs in relationships is a dilemma that is reoccurring within you. When you face that dilemma and change your beliefs, you will see changes in your reality. Change yourself, and your world will change, too.
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a holistic and spiritual approach to relationships. She has worked with thousands of clients on improving their relationships with others and themselves, and she's also the instructor of the popular mindbodygreen courses How To Become The Most Attractive Version Of Yourself and How To Attract A Partner.