While some people openly admit to being competitive, I’ve often found that many people who are, don’t see themselves in that way. Because they’re perfectionists, people pleasers and often prone to comparison, self-criticism and highlighting how they’re not ‘good enough’, they don’t regard themselves as having or showing a strong desire to be more successful than others. It’s like, I’m not getting what I want so how can I be competitive? This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’ve wondered, Why am I with an emotionally unavailable person?, the answer to this lies in acknowledging that you’re competing with someone or something.
In my first book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, I explain that the ‘fallback’ is the person who takes the passenger role in the relationship and who allows the other party to default to or fall back on them for sex, a shoulder to lean on, an ego stroke and basically anything else that involves sacrificing their needs. Which role we take up and the type of unavailable relationship, provide clues about who/what we’re competing with. Note: while the book was originally for women, men can be in any of these roles plus these dynamics apply in same-sex relationships.
The Yo-Yo Girl competes with the next partner.
Going back and forth with someone who cant break, won’t break but also isn’t committing to a relationship, is about competing to see if we still have the power to draw the person back. Even if it means remaining in an unworkable situation, we want to be the best at it.
The Buffer competes with the ex(es).
We strive to be better than their ex so that they will choose us to move their affections to. We make ourselves indispensable, try to figure out how to be different to the ex in the areas where we think they went wrong, or we try to be as good as or better in areas where we compare ourselves. Sometimes we choose someone whose ex represents what we feel insecure about. We then try to feel superior with something we value ourselves for (e.g. intelligence, success) while also wanting validation about what we criticise or doubt ourselves for. Yeah, messy.