If I had to describe my type in one word, it’d be “unavailable”.

I like the guys from out of town. The ones in an open but committed relationship with their husband or boyfriend…or boyfriends. The ones who take 8-10 business days to respond to your text.

I often pursue things with these kinds of guys.  I regularly chat and hook up with men in open relationships or marriages. In fact, I’ve done it so many times it’s become a calling card of mine. And if I’m drunk at a gay party, chances are I’m making out with some guy  from Cleveland or the dude who only exchanges Instagram handles not phone numbers. 

I know my scenario may not be the most relatable, especially for straight people who only practice monogamy. But I think the reasons I do it might be.

I think many of us know how frustrating and useless it feels to pour energy into relationships we know will never pan out. 

I think many of us know how it feels to prioritize people who could never and would never prioritize us. 

And I know many of us have sent countless texts and spent countless hours providing emotional labor for people who only see us as a welcomed distraction.

Or embarrassingly carried on one-sided conversations with people we knew didn’t care an ounce about us.

So, why do we do it? I’m no psychiatrist, but I’ve got some guesses.

1. We do it because we want attention

There’s something deeply satisfying about capturing the attention of someone who’s already committed to another person, or attracting someone from outside of our orbit.

It makes us feel special. Who doesn’t love feeling wanted by someone who shouldn’t want us? It’s like being plucked out of obscurity by someone who sees a spark in you they shouldn’t be able to see.

2. We do it because it’s safe

When I pursue an unavailable guy, it’s often because I know things won’t work out. I get to experience the thrill of the chase, the lust, and the tragedy in a formulaic way.

 It’s like watching a horror movie when you already know the ending. 

And when things work out, it’s not because the two of you weren’t compatible. It’s not because you weren’t good enough or because you were too pushy or scared or selfish. It’s because things could never work out. It’s a relationship without self-reflection or accountability.

And lastly,

3. We do it because we’re not sure we deserve love

For a long time, I thought I was mature enough to pursue unavailable men. I thought I could just have fun without developing feelings or wanting more. I thought we were a match made in heaven because I believed I was unavailable as them.

But that wasn’t true. When I pursued these men, I hung on their every word. I gave them all of my attention. I prioritize them above everyone else.

And I think I did it because I believed I could win them over if I worked hard enough. I could convince them I was the one that they should be with—that I was not only worth loving, but worth loving more than others.

Because love wasn’t an exchange it was a competition. One I needed to win.

I chased after disinterested guys because I believed I could convince them to care about me. I could prove to them I was worth loving. And I rejected available guys who liked me because I felt their affection had come too easily.

My problem wasn’t that guys didn’t  love me. My problem was that I didn’t think love was something I was entitled to. It was something I had to fight for. Because I didn’t inherently deserve it. 

I’ve wasted a colossal amount of time and energy on  doomed “relationships”, and with very little to show for it. 

There’s no return on investment with these relationships. Unavailable people will always take more than they give. And it’s because their  wants and needs are different than ours.  They already have what they need—and it isn’t us. We can’t blame them for not wanting us as much as we want them. We can’t be mad at them if they get more out of the situation than we do.

 We can’t switch up the game and expect them to still play. 

As RuPaul the fracker once said, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell can you love somebody else?” And it’s true. We can’t have healthy relationships if we don’t believe we’re deserving of love. We can’t find love if we only  chase after what’s unavailable. Winning the love of another will never lead us to loving ourselves.

Finding self love takes a long time. And it can be incredibly tempting to pursue these types of relationships to fill the void that exists when we don’t fully love ourselves.  Because isn’t it better to feel those fuzzy feelings and experience heartache than to experience nothing at all?

Instead of thinking of this issue as a matter of love, think of it as an issue of time. Instead of asking yourself, “Am I worthy of this person’s love?” ask yourself, “is this relationship worthy of my time and energy?” “What else could I put time and energy towards?” “What could I do that would actually pay off?”

What if you got a full 8 hours of sleep instead of staying up until 2AM texting some guy who you’ll never see again?

What if you danced with the guy who’s actually single instead of the man’s who’s got a boyfriend back at home?

What if you texted a friend you love instead of sending yet another message to a guy who’s just going to respond with “good. hbu?”

Chances are you’d be a lot happier in the long run.