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A few months ago Mel got in touch with me. She’s beautiful, fun, outgoing, creative, runs a successful business as an attorney etc etc. Guess who she’s pining for? A guy from the wrong side of the tracks who deals drugs, has spent time in prison and has gone back to his child’s mother. She’s known him since she was child and had worked hard to get out and achieve more than counterparts in her neighbourhood and yet her entire life has derailed in a matter of months because this loser doesn’t want to be with her.
Even she doesn’t understand why she wants to be with him as all he has going for him is being great in bed and very good looking. But the reason why she wants him isn’t because she actually wants and loves him but because she is seeking validation of her worthiness and self-worth because she doesn’t understand how and why he has come not to want her.
Katie is practically stalking a guy who has cheated on her, slapped her about, and told her he’s done with her.
Even though Val’s guy took off with thirty grand of her money and left her struggling with debts, her biggest concern is not how to get the money back or how to recover, but why he chose to be with the other, seemingly less attractive, less successful woman instead of her.
Countless women have shared stories with me of being involved with a guy who blew hot and cold, used them for sex, still had a wife or girlfriend, cheated on them, disappeared regularly, took their money, used them for a job, used them to gain access to their friends or to enhance their career, was disliked by all and sundry, or whatever the story is, and you know what?
Every, single, last woman was still expressing disbelief that somebody who had behaved without love, care, trust, and respect and had shown themselves to be a poor relationship partner, didn’t want them.
It’s almost like it doesn’t matter what shitty qualities these guys have – we want the validation.
I too remember not being that into an ex and yet I stuck out the relationship on and off for two years. Why? Because aside from my ego not being able to take it and wanting to ‘prove’ myself to him and not having enough self-respect, I also suffered with I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome also known more crudely as Why The Eff Doesn’t This Loser Want Me!
This is the behaviours and mindset centred around the bewildered disbelief you experience when someone that you secretly or even openly acknowledge as being a poor choice for a relationship or ‘beneath you’, doesn’t want you. You’ll struggle to accept that the relationship is over and/or that they’ve moved on with someone else and at it’s worst, the rejection will cause you to feel trapped in your feelings and have you reacting to it and doing things that at their best are embarrassing and at their worst, humiliating.
The confusion kicks in because in knowing that they’re not good enough for you and that you actually can and should do better, you wonder what is wrong with you that someone ‘like them’ doesn’t want you. You will also fall prey to I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome if like a lot of people with dodgy love habits, you have a habit of being involved with people who you know don’t quite stack up because you think it will be easier for them to love you and that you are less likely to lose them or be rejected by them. If I had a pound for every woman who has ever emailed or commented expressing abject horror at the fact that her habitually emotionally unavailable guy or assclown doesn’t want her, I’d be a very rich woman.
Why doesn’t this asshole want me? I think the fact that he’s regarded as an asshole is enough of an indicator that it’s time for you to stop wanting him.
Who does he think he is rejecting me? You can’t assume a position of always being the one to reject or choosing people on the basis of them being less likely to reject you because you think you bring more to the table.
How did it go from him chasing a disinterested me to me pounding down his door trying to win him back? This in itself indicates that you’ve become more interested because they’re less interested which is a very unhealthy situation because your hook is rejection.
I know he’s no good for me but I can’t understand why he doesn’t love/want me? If you know he’s no good for you, why are you concerning yourself with why they don’t want you when you should be concerning yourself with getting the hell away from them? This is your ego getting out of whack as you’ve decided that you need to get ‘love’ from a ‘broken’ source and can’t cope with the fact that someone who has blatantly demonstrated their inability won’t revolutionise the wheel for you.
I’m a smart, educated, attractive, successful woman – why doesn’t he want to be with me? How could he choose her over me? Even if you do genuinely believe you have something more to offer, they don’t have to take it and what you think they want and need, is not the same as what they think they want and need – it’s not up to you.
Seeking validation is about getting confirmation that something is true and many people are caught in the trap of basing their lives around the cumbersome task of seeking validation instead of working on their own self-esteem and validating themselves within healthier partnerings.
Not interested in the person that wants them, they want the person, no matter how lacking in character they are, to confirm their worthiness by wanting them.
We really need to wise up, toughen up, smell the proverbial coffee and grow some backbone and self-respect.
If you are experiencing I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome, it’s time to have a little conversation with your ego because the fact that you want someone because you think it’s outrageous that they don’t want you and your ego can’t cope with it, is, aside from being outrageous, a signal that the relationship was doomed.
People who have I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome are reliant on feeling like they’re on a pedestal and in fact, have a bit of a superiority complex which in itself is disrespectful to anyone who they’re involved with.
For the person on the receiving end of I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome, they’re often wondering what the hell you see in them and it’s their own ego that had them chasing you or wanting to be with you in the first place. They might have thought they didn’t stand a cats hope in hell of being with you but from the moment you gave them the time of day, it became a black mark against you and they recognised that in you wanting to be with them, there was very likely something wrong with you.
As I said to Mel, don’t you think your drug dealing ex was wondering what why a woman who’d busted her proverbial nuts to overcome her upbringing and become an attorney, was doing with him? I actually said to her: What the hell are you doing with this guy?
If any doubt, write down everything about this guy on a piece of paper, and then ask yourself why the hell your ego is struggling to process why they don’t want you and why you’re not racing to distance yourself from them.
If these people have any sense, they shouldn’t want you and while you may not thank me or them now, they’re actually doing you a massive favour and setting you free, hopefully to do better by yourself.
For some of you, part of the whole I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome is about being used to getting what you want and being caught short when someone doesn’t dance to your beat. The danger is that when you’re used to getting what you want, not only will your ego struggle with the rejection, but you may also find that you coast into relationships because you don’t really ever have to try. What you may see if you look back over your relationships is that some of them were half-hearted.
For me, I got over myself and realised that soothing my ego at the expense of my self-esteem was not something that was worth throwing my life away on. I had to cut my losses because it was pretty galling when I realised that I had stayed in a relationship with someone who I hadn’t actually been attracted to, who I hadn’t really actually liked, and who even after all that time I still couldn’t really come up with any overriding reasons to stay, and all this because my ego couldn’t cope with the fact that they didn’t want me.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Because we don’t want to get love from someone with the capabilities to treat us with love, care, trust, and respect – we want to get it from someone who feeds into our beliefs and mirrors our pattern and so when someone doesn’t want us, it confirms the negative stuff that we openly and quietly think about ourselves. And I should stress – by capability, it’s not about you thinking they can love you because you think they loved someone else or you experienced it briefly. It’s consistently having the ability to love you over a sustained period of time.
Never demand that someone love you because you have a sense of entitlement to their love.
You are not entitled to their love and you’re certainly not more entitled to it because they’re a ‘loser’ and you’re not, so surely they should want you.
If you continue to pursue them instead of working your way through the loss and processing the ‘rejection’, you will alienate them because you’ll be like a disgruntled customer who just won’t take no for an answer and that is wholly unattractive and will cause you to lose your dignity and self-respect even if you don’t realise it initially.
Make no mistake – if you become obsessed with the questions that your ego raises, you will watch everything in your life take a battering. I’ve seen people lose their family, friends, health, career, money and more because they’re too busy struggling with their ego.
From the moment someone doesn’t want you, it’s time for you to start working on not wanting them and accepting that it’s over, whether it’s the relationship or the dream. If you habitually want people that don’t want you, you need to examine your own genuine capacity for a relationship, as you are hiding behind the illusions of being hijacked by your imagination and you’re only getting interested when you know they can’t/won’t reciprocate which is of course, a sign of your own emotional unavailability.
The fact that someone doesn’t want you, is a red flag and makes you fundamentally incompatible which means it’s time to opt out, process the loss, and accept. If you focus on doing this, your ego will catch up with the rest of you. If you focus on obsessing about them not wanting you, the sense of rejection will just increase. You have to decide where you want to put your energies.
Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .
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