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How do I allow myself to be properly loved or pursued by potential suitors?

June 16, 2021

My dating history has been... not great. I’ve noticed my pattern was to heavily pursue or attract men who do not respect me or value me even though I invest so much in them and allowed myself to be used for sex in hopes they’d love me.

In the background though, there have been a few decent guys who have heavily pursued me and were able to without issue give me what I’d beg or wish for in the men I went after— going on dates, taking it slow physically, being there for me, respecting my boundaries, accepting me etc. very enthusiastically. I felt like I didn’t have to “try” with them, and it felt weird that they’d check on me as a person and cared about what I wanted or how I felt on things. If they tried to make a move on me, like a kiss or hold my hand after a few dates, I’d shut down and feel very uncomfortable, leading me to break up with them shortly after. There wasn’t anything wrong in the attraction department either. This was the exact opposite behavior of what I’d do with the men that I’d pursue— things would go really fast and I felt I had to keep giving to get an ounce of their “love” and attention.

It makes me uncomfortable that logically, I don’t have to manage or control a person to love me, as bad as that sounds (I learned about that from reading “Women Who Love Too Much”)

Looking back, I see the error in doing that but in the present, I’m not sure how to open myself up for healthy love and affection. As a woman, how do you let yourself be pursued or loved?

I haven’t dated since December 2019 when I broke up with my LVX of 2.5 years. I’m not saying I’m ready to date now, but I’d like to be better at being turned on or drawn to men who pursue me without feeling uncomfortable or unworthy. I still feel deep down that I am attracted to dysfunction. It’s really uncomfortable seeing a man really excited about me and willing to put effort in, which I know is just bare minimum.

Have you been through the same? What are some ways to improve? Any books/podcasts/recommendations/tips are appreciated.

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Post Information
Title How do I allow myself to be properly loved or pursued by potential suitors?
Author dancedancedance83
Upvotes 79
Comments 4
Date June 16, 2021 1:17 AM UTC (1 year ago)
Subreddit /r/askFDS
Archive Link https://theredarchive.com/r/askFDS/how-do-i-allow-myself-to-be-properly-loved-or.791764
Original Link https://old.reddit.com/r/AskFDS/comments/o0tdrb/how_do_i_allow_myself_to_be_properly_loved_or/

[–]AcadiaLeather5071 32 points33 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

It sounds like you’re not used to healthy love... it’s not normal to feel “wrong” when someone shows they care about you.

You may have had relationships in the past (family or otherwise) that shaped how you look at relationships. You have this narrative that you have to beg for love or prove yourself. Maybe you push people away because you’re scared of intimacy. Not sex, but emotional closeness. You’re drawn to avoidant/uncaring partners because in a way it makes you feel safe and less vulnerable.

You should really look into attachment styles and also codependency.

Also- please go to therapy. I feel like that’s really the only option here.

[–]dancedancedance83[S] 8 points9 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Thanks. I don't necessarily feel "wrong" per se-- words I'd used to describe it is "awkward," "confused," "uncomfortable," "cold." But I am definitely myself around them; I don't feel the need to filter myself around them and it's probably because I don't have anything to lose because I'm not chasing them. I have had guys really put their feelings out on the line for me and I am in genuine disbelief or confusion. Not to be funny but it plays out like this meme.

That's when I start backing away.

I have shared with an unavailable partner in the past that I was afraid to get close to people, mainly because my family system is fucked up and they really affected me-- I come from a very enmeshed, controlling and toxic family; luckily now I have limited or no contact with a lot of them and work on breaking the patterns that came from being in the family. I am a very emotional person and even moreso when I'm vulnerable in an intimate setting. I feel childlike. Feeling seen makes it seem like I'm exposing a fraud of myself, even when logically that's not true. We did share some emotional intimacy but he also broke my heart the most because the intimacy was largely on his terms and very inconsistent. It was crumbs. So it felt like chasing a high and dating two different people.

For your recco's, thank you-- I'm in therapy, though we haven't really touched on this topic too much because I swore off talking about dating because I wanted a break. I believe I have an anxious attachment style but my therapist thinks it's more disorganized/fearful avoidant and I actively address codependency issues (sought their perspective as well). I've learned/still learning to be more emotionally honest with myself, it's just uncomfortable receiving it from other people.

[–]kittycakes22 23 points24 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Leaving a comment because I have the exact same problem, perhaps I'm just emotionally unavailable myself, so I desire those types of men. Therapy and awareness of my attachment issues has not made any difference. So if anyone has advice I'd like to know too.

[–]Human_Summer_1709 18 points19 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I've very recently started looking into "Shadow Work." It's basically a sort of self-therapy - you get in touch with the "shadow" part of your psyche and try to integrate it with your conscious psyche. The idea is that your shadow self was the part of you that was abused, invalidated, etc. Usually this goes back to childhood. So it's about being 1000% honest with yourself about that part of you, healing that part of you, validating it (no matter how "bad" or "wrong" you make think it is). I think that might be helpful to you in working through your issues regarding accepting love, dating, etc.

Here are some links to get you started if you're interested:




Self-guided workbook pdf for shadow work:


You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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