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­­­­­How to Let Go of Unavailable People (and Places and Things)

photo: vv@ldzen on flickr

photo: vv@ldzen on flickr

We’ve all been there.

There’s that special someone. Someone who is totally out of reach. But still we pine for them. We want them. If only we could have them, our whole lives would be so much better.

The first part of my life was filled with this kind of torture growth opportunity.

Indeed, it seemed that the more unavailable someone was, the more I was attracted to them.

Good times!

photo: Vincent on flickr

photo: Vincent on flickr

And yet, even though my adventures with the unattainable weren’t working for me, I persisted.

Yes, I knew that attraction to the unavailable kept me from true intimacy with an actual person. Yes, I knew that I would have to let go of this pattern to truly be happy.

 But I couldn’t seem to help myself.

My last great adventure with the unavailable came with a woman I met through a mutual friend.

She appeared to be everything I was looking for. She was gay. She was single. She even looked like my internal image of the perfect partner.

And yet, as I got to know her, I began to find multiple barriers to intimacy. Substance abuse. Lack of empathy for others. An inability to be honest.

And that was just the small stuff!

Despite these barriers, I still pined for this woman. It made no sense. But she made me feel . . . special. She made me feel . . . alive.

photo: Courtney Carmody on flickr

photo: Courtney Carmody on flickr

It felt as though pursuing her would bring me some sort of amazing reward that only she could provide.

This went on for years. Others came and went, but my attention seemed to invariably shift back to her. The possibility of her.

Finally, it came to a head.

Given that most of the action was taking place in my mind, that’s where the resolution happened.

As I was making dinner one night, I was anticipating/dreading/fantasizing about seeing her soon. Maybe it could still work out. Maybe she really was the one for me. Maybe she’d changed.

As my mind persisted in the old, tired patterns, a new idea came in.

Ask your Higher Self.

photo: Alex Griffioen on flickr

photo: Alex Griffioen on flickr

There are many ways to dialogue with our Inner Knower. I have often done so by journaling or automatic writing. But this time it was just me and my mind. I opened to a different view. A higher one.

And this is what I heard:

You think that by being in a relationship with this woman, you will feel better. But that is not the case. Being in a relationship with her will make you miserable.

photo: Ryan Weisgerber on flickr

photo: Ryan Weisgerber on flickr

It was such a powerful thought, I had to stop what I was doing. I put down the knife I was using to make my salad, and I basked in the awareness of what I’d been told.

It was true, I could feel it immediately. I was finally ready to hear it.

And from that moment on, my attraction to her greatly diminished.

It’s not that it was gone altogether. I still tried to entertain the notion of her as a possible partner. But every time I did, I remembered what I’d been told.

She will make you miserable.

A few days after dialoguing with my Higher Power, I had a revelation.

Obsessing about this woman had made me miserable. And yet while I was in the middle of the obsession, my brain was telling me that the only way to feel better was to fulfill my obsession. My brain was telling me that this fulfillment was the cure for my misery.

But once I let go of the obsession, I woke up. I realized that my addiction to the unavailable was the cause of my misery, not the cure.

Like any good addiction, I had been fooled into thinking that help was found in the harmful.

Tricky, tricky!

There was another revelation that came after my Higher Power’s intervention. I realized that part of the allure of unavailable people (or places or things) is the idea that if I can just make myself “better,” then I can have the desired, unavailable thing.

But “better” is elusive, and ultimately impossible. Given that the object of desire is unavailable, there is no “better” that will bring it to us. “Better” is a stick we use to hurt ourselves. It’s “proof” of our unworthiness.

Crazy, yes. But it’s all part of the addiction. And addiction, by nature, is cunning and baffling.

Which is why the Divine/Higher Power/Grace/Love is the only answer.

photo: Peter Shanks on flickr

photo: Peter Shanks on flickr

There was one more gift for me in this particular round of chasing the unavailable.

When it was all said and done, I saw that the real unavailable person in the scenario was me. I was unavailable to myself and my own life. I was ignoring my own needs and desires. And my own worth.

Once I fully connected with my Higher Self, I was able to unhitch my claws from that which was bringing me pain. I was able to open to the love within and around me.

And, eventually, I opened to a real-life relationship with an amazing, real-life person.

photo: Sharon Dunn on flickr

photo: Sharon Dunn on flickr

I’m not saying I’ve never pined after unavailable people, places and things again. But I’ve been quicker to ask for Help. To remember my worthiness. And to not abandon myself in the process.

Ultimately, my adventures with the un-available catapulted me into an opposite state:


To myself. To my wife. And to the Divine.

That’s where the magic really happens.

photo: Karen Fry on flickr

photo: Karen Fry on flickr

Have you had adventures with the unavailable? Share your comments below!

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30 Responses to ­­­­­How to Let Go of Unavailable People (and Places and Things)

  1. River October 29, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    Great article. It is very pertainent to me as I have discovered this pattern in myself only this year. I get much of what you say intellectually. I figured out that I am not available to myself. But the being ready to hear all this seems to be the trickiest part of all. I have treated for being open but that is so scary. What if (yeah that old bad habit too) I let myself down *again* which is what my ego keeps yelling! I seem to have an issue with trusting me. Now ain’t that just a twist in my panties!

    The not so flowing River.

    • Z Egloff October 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      Hi River,

      It sounds as though you on are your way – which is extremely appropriate, given the flow of your name and who you are.

      In my own experience, becoming conscious of an old pattern, and then simply observing this, even when I am “acting out” this pattern, is THE healing process. In time, this “simple” awareness changes everything, all on its own. Without having to “do” anything differently.

      Of course, asking the Divine for Help is also awesome. But/and with self-defeating patterns, the practice of awareness – and the compassion that grows in relation to this awareness, and that comes with it – is so healing, so transformational.

      I hope this makes sense. Like I say, just discovering the pattern is huge. Then opening to bringing compassion and awareness to yourself, no matter what, will bring wonderous things. Just sayin’. :)

      Thank you for your comment and your courage and your awareness.


  2. Barbara October 29, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    Oh yea. I was part of this same thinking group myself. My self worth was based on the drive to change myself for the unavailable. I changed myself so many time and in so many ways, mostly by fear of not being loved, that I was lost and drifting.
    Some very pointed events occurred and I began to see that I too was just hurting myself.
    I am continuing to re discover who I am and learning to be the real me and not a shift changer when I meet other or pushed by things. Sometimes the familiarity of my old ways tries to return but I am more aware and can now see better the true me and the love of self brings me more joy.
    You are amazing.

    • Z Egloff October 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      Hi Barbara,

      I can totally relate to this. The idea of shifting and changing according to someone else’s needs – or what I think their needs are – is sooooo familiar to me. I still catch myself doing this at times, but it definitely gets less and less compelling all the time.

      Isn’t it awesome to really come into ourselves? To love and respect ourselves enough to know that we can be ourselves, no matter what anyone else wants us to be. (Or what we imagine they want us to be!)

      Thank you for your comment and for your honesty! :)


  3. Jill October 29, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    I like this, Z, and I can relate to it myself. I spent my first 30 years attracted to people who were either unavailable or potentially harmful. And I was ultimately the most unavailable one in each scenario. Wouldn’t it have been nice to just realize that, and save all the trouble and obsessing? So glad that’s over. We passed that test. Love and happiness to you, always.

    • Z Egloff October 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      Hi Jill,

      Yes, it is such a huge relief to be on the other side of that obsessing. And, like I say, when I catch those old habits coming forward again, I can be gentle with myself about it. And move on. Praise Spirit!! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!


  4. Karen October 29, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    I so appreciate your openness in sharing your journey, Z.

    I’ve come to believe that no matter what our obsession might be — an unavailable person, food, drugs, alcohol, dieting, possessions, you name it — it’s just an indicator of what we REALLY want, which is alignment with ourselves, much as you’ve indicated.

    It can be tough to hit these obsessions “head on,” but as we work on deliberately choosing thoughts that feel better when we think them, our relationship with ourself begins to improve and the obsessions begin to GRADUALLY subside.

    Our eternal Inner Being is always joyful, and as we keep moving in the direction of feeling the same way (baby steps), we begin to manifest what we so deeply wanted all along — seeing life as our Inner Being does. And from that place, everything else we want starts to flow into our experience.

    Once we learn to align with our joy, we don’t depend on anything “out there” to keep us happy, for we know how to do it on our own. And we can truly enjoy everything “out there,” with no strings attached.

    • Z Egloff October 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      I agree – learning to align with who we truly are allows everything to just get better and better and better. And, in the process, those things that don’t make us feel very good – even though we want them to – become less and less compelling. There are so many different ways to approach this, just as there are so many different approaches to spiritual growth and alignment. There’s no one right way. But/and they all end up in the same place: alignment with Source/Love/Life. And that’s always awesome!!

      Thank you for your comment! :)


  5. Unicorn Love October 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    I have been experiencing the obsession for an ex partner. (I don’t like using the term “ex,” but for this I will.) I have been believing that if i were a better, healthier person then i could get her back and we could live happily ever after. One revelation i had recently is that I need to let her go and live my OWN authentic life. So that’s what I have started to do. I am living my own life and having a blast doing it. I still obsess about her, and think that we are meant for each other everyday, but there are moments that i forget about her because i am so involved with my own happy experience. These moments are happening more frequently, and lasting longer. I am facing the right direction and I am feeling joy, an emotion I have not experienced since i was a child. It’s even gotten to the point where there are moments that i forget about “needing” a romantic relationship because i am so happy being with myself!

    • Z Egloff October 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

      Hello Unicorn Love!

      I totally relate to what you are saying here. It sounds like you are doing SO well with allowing all of your emotions and also moving forward in self love. Awesome!! In many ways, these kinds of experiences can be huge portals for great love within ourselves. It’s especially wonderful that you are feeling a joy that you haven’t felt since you were a kid. Sending lots of love and blessings to you!!


  6. Laura October 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    I have successfully been tied to many whose expectations were so vague and fickle that I ran myself in circles inventing and fulfilling expectations in the hopes of meeting the Mark. Now I know there is no mark, wherever and however I am is just right, and is leading to my finding deeper understanding of my own wants and needs for my growth, joy, sense of peace. It is still in me to create imaginary expectations when I am around new people, and yet, not as much or as complete as before. I can see my attachment to wanting to please others before myself as my place to learn. Learning to trust my intuitive self with lots of love and laughter, I am often free of this hindrance. It can reappear out of the blue and I feel twelve years old and awkward. Awkward and twelve are a good starting point for developing new habits and responses. And I do love that silly girl! Life is a wonderful trip, and I am beginning to trust the flow.

    • Z Egloff October 30, 2013 at 11:52 am #

      Hi Laura,

      What a wonderful process, as you describe it. I like that you include the little-kid part of us that can get activated when we get snared in the web of trying to meet others’ expectations – or the expectations that we make up in our own heads about what we think others want from us.

      I also love that you love your little twelve-year old. Sweet sweet!

      Thank you for your comments! :)


  7. Marcy October 29, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Wow. What a profound insight: “I saw that the real unavailable person in the scenario was me.” I’m letting that one in and have its way with me. Thank you my friend. XO

    • Z Egloff October 30, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      Hi Marcy!!

      I know, right? It was a bit of shock to me when I realized that piece. But there you have it – sometimes growth is like a brick to the head. At least, that’s how it was for me. For you, I’m sure there will be glitter involved somehow!! :)


    • Aloha Lani November 2, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      Another wonderful, insightful article, Z.
      Mahalo! (Thanks! ~in Hawai’ian)

      Totally relate.

      It has taken being run over by a truck (serious, chronic illness, car accidents) for me to *get* that the point is to be available to myself.

      That all those times where I felt life, or the other person, or a situation was letting me down, I actually was letting myself down – either via expectations, or ignoring my own needs, or denial of what was going on.

      I am learning who I am & how to love myself… I am also becoming more aware of dynamics & co-creations.

      After a life-time of people-pleasing, I have had to learn how to listen within – to my body, to my soul, to discover my heart’s desires.
      And to trust that I have every right to my needs & desires, & to live in joy, peace & harmony…

      Of course, part of the process is also learning how to meet those needs in healthy ways… going within, reconnecting with my inner Divine… where ‘needs’ shift… and as I open my heart, the Love fills me.

      Currently I have chosen to be alone (i.e. not in a romantic relationship). It is an interesting journey to discover how to enjoy life solo, not depending on the outside world… being able to interact, enjoy being with others, yet also enjoying time alone.

      Valuing myself more allows me to choose Love more. And how wonderful that it is always available! (Despite thinking it isn’t.)


      • Z Egloff November 5, 2013 at 11:55 am #

        Aloha Lani!

        I love that you are respecting yourself and your needs, and allowing yourself the time to be there for yourself, not needing to be in a romantic relationship. I know that, for me, the greatest gift I bring to my current relationship is my ability to love my own company! And I was, and am, only able to get that by allowing time for solitude.

        I also love that you speak of taking the time to listen to your own needs and desires, and then meeting those needs in healthy ways. What a blessing! :)


  8. Sherry November 1, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Perfect, Z. I’m going to save this one!

    • Z Egloff November 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      Hi Sherry,

      Awesome. I love being saved! :)


  9. Natasha November 1, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Oh my, today as I read your article, I am face with this very issue. It was yesterday that someone pointed this very issue out to me. I have been crying ever since. This was my life, repeated over and over. Today, that doesn’t serve me. Today, I realize that I am enough and all these years of thinking who I was, I am not. My sacred journey continues and I am the caterpillar in a cocoon awaiting to blossom into a butterfly. Thank you Z for posted this. I was ready to hear it.

    • Z Egloff November 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      Hi Natasha!

      Wow – sounds like a powerful revelation. At least for me, anything that brings up lots of tears is a big movement and shift and release and healing. So I am grateful that this is all moving for you. And I love that you are getting that you are enough! This is SO important and healing and loving to see this and feel this and get this.

      Love Love,


  10. Aloha Lani November 2, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    Thanks for another wonderful article!

    I just reread it (helps me integrate, get new insights)…
    And I caught something I had missed:

    “Ultimately, my adventures with the un-available catapulted me into an opposite state:


    To myself. To my wife. And to the Divine.

    That’s where the magic really happens…”

    I love that you see them as adventures!
    And, it gives me hope that I shall heal enough, feel whole enough, so that I too can attract a loving, mutually respectful, inspired & inspiring relationship.

    Here, here to BEING AVAILABLE!!!


    • Z Egloff November 5, 2013 at 11:59 am #

      Aloha Lani!

      Yeah, that piece about being unavailable to myself was a revelation to me. And seeing the whole thing as an adventure has helped a LOT.

      The main thing for me was just taking the whole journey one step at a time. I needed to be alone to be with myself for many years. And then, when the time came when I had the desire to be in a relationship again, I continued to “work it” on the inner level to help me be discerning in who I chose to interact with. And who not to!

      It continues to be an adventure, every day! Blessings to you on your adventure and journeyl!!


  11. Becka November 5, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    Hmmm… wish I could share a story here, but I don’t have ANY experiences of THAT. None at all…

    • Z Egloff November 5, 2013 at 11:35 am #

      Hey Becka,

      I guess you’ll just have to imagine how it is for folks like me. You know, if you can even IMAGINE how it might be. But you probably can’t. Given that you’re never had ANYTHING like this ever happen to you. 😉


  12. Georgia Davis November 8, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    OMG, so appropriate for many stages of my life. Whilst recently writing my autobiography for studies I was reminded of the theme I have followed of, “If I make you happy, I will feel loveable” and that was especially true with those who were a)VERY unhappy, b)depressed, c)addicted personalities, etc…all those emotionally unavailable people. When I got a taste of being with people who love me just for who I am, rather than what I can do for them…ie: The One Heart Choir, the people in Al-Anon, all the lovely people who are courting the Divine within at CSL(SR and beyond)…I asked myself, “How do I bring this into the rest of my life?” The answer was to love myself the way I felt they loved me. It’s all me and my reflection anyway. Because the other trick of it is….letting go of trying to “make” anyone be any other way than they already are (ie, loving them) Thanks for the wonderful post Z-bert! Love ya…G

    • Z Egloff November 8, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

      Hi Georgia,

      Yes, I can see that having people who fit into those A, B, and C categories is certainly VERY appealing if we’re going for the You/happy = Me/loveable formulation. I think it’s SO awesome that you now know how wonderful and loveable you are now. Just because. And that you’re surrounded by other people who know it too – both about themselves and you! Yay you!! :)


  13. Sandi G November 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    This is so my situation right now. I am affirming that the relationship is over but still clinging to the hope that things will change. My eye-opener was when I asked a question of him and he answered the way I thought he would and I suddenly knew that he could be telling the truth or not…and I didn’t know which to believe…I realized that I could not trust him, believe him or know what was a lie and what was the truth. I made the decision that I don’t want to be with anyone that I can’t trust. I choose to have my next best person and I am looking forward to finding that person who is my own perfect partner.
    Thanks Sandi

    • Z Egloff November 13, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      Hi Sandi,

      Trust is such a huge factor in a relationship. It sounds like you’re getting really clear about what you need and deserve in a relationship – awesome!! I love that you are now opening to moving on and finding someone more compatible with you and your desires. And so it is! :)


  14. Linette S September 29, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    I was with my girlfriend for 3 years and three months. It hurt because I was 16 when we began dating and I was too naive to know that my loving her couldn’t fix her. Her issues stemmed from a long list of childhood and adolescent traumas. She was always emotionally unavailable. Even when she would tell me how amazing I was and how she couldn’t wait to marry me and have kids together, this was all over text. She couldn’t look me in the eye and make me feel it in person. I held on for a long time. This breakup just happened 3 days ago. How do I learn who I am without her and be okay with that to find happiness with myself and a future partner? How do I become okay with not having that future we planned together?

    • Z Egloff October 1, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      Hi Linette,

      First of all, I am so sorry about the breakup. Breakups are hard. They just are. And in time, everything really does get better. But when things really hurt, it can be hard to believe that things will be better. But they will.

      The BEST thing you can do is to surround yourself with people who love you. And that includes learning to love yourself. Also easier said than done. It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. But over time, with the love of friends and yourself, you WILL find someone who loves you for you. And who is available.

      Being attracted to unavailable people is a way that some people – my (past) self included – push away people who really are available. For me, I blamed the unavailable people, but what was also true was that I wasn’t yet ready for a more available relationship. Eventually, though, I was. And it is SO worth waiting for.

      So hang in there!! You’re worth it!! :)


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