It’s one of the most common complaints – ‘I always go for the wrong sort of man.’ The trouble is, even if you know it, it isn’t easy to change who you’re attracted to overnight.
‘Women are often attracted to the kind of man who doesn’t call them back,’ says Jacqui Marson, author of The Curse Of Lovely (Piatkus, £8.99). ‘If you’re familiar with Attachment Theory [where our earliest experiences with our primary caregivers determine whether we’re secure in our future relationships], then you’d say these men have attachment-avoidant patterns. We’re culturally conditioned to think of this unpredictable behaviour as exciting and romantic – the kind of man you have to capture and tame. The reality is, it’s not healthy.’
Breaking this pattern takes work, but it is worth noting that attraction is based on more than one emotion. We might lust after the man who doesn’t seem interested because we’re primed to think of them as mysterious and sexy, but we might also feel genuine warmth at seeing the man who is always interested in what we’ve got to say. Lust might win out over warmth, but these feelings can change over time.
Think back on men you rejected in the past and ask yourself why. Was it because they seemed boring? Is it possible that you interpreted ‘dependable’ as ‘dull’? Look at your friends who are in long-term relationships – are their partners dependable?
Awareness of what attracts you, and what that attraction is based on, can give fresh insight and might encourage you to try dating different kinds of people. ‘Attachment can often be more of a conscious choice,’ says psychologist Jeremy Nicholson.