In every single email and telephone discussion I have had with the many Fallback Girls, every, single, last one, has revealed that there were some, or even a lot of things that made them uncomfortable or got their ‘spidey senses’ going in the early days of the relationship, such as the blowing hot and cold and the ever changing excuses, and yet, nothing. They didn’t do anything, or at least not anything constructive that would truly benefit them. Now I don’t deny that these men are assclowns, fronters, and morphers, and some of them are extremely good at being deceptive, but the one thing that Fallback Girls are guilty of is blindly pursuing their own agenda, even though they have signals to the contrary.
The reason why you slot in so well when Mr Unavailables blow hot and cold, is that aside from the fact that it caters to your drama meter, you become ‘the pursuer’. Suddenly the tables are turned and you are no longer being pursued by them like those giddy, heady, times when you first met and he made you feel like the centre of his universe, and instead, when you pursue him despite him having a lukewarm or cold front and him disrespecting you and your boundaries, you become the pursuer, and no matter what takes place after this, you are the Fallback Girl that is pursuing her idea of the relationship and him, that is beyond the capacity of what he has to offer, and he is just the passive, lazy, Mr Unavailable who is along for the ride because you keep pursuing and you keep offering yourself.
In being ‘the pursuer’, you have become so heavily invested in the idea of him and the relationship that the reality of who he is has not caught up with the fantasy created by your betting on potential. Despite poor behaviour from him and lots of red flag behaviour, you are still trying to make the quintessential pigs ear into a silk purse. You are not only ignoring clear signals and indicators of who he is and what you’re going to get, but you’re ignoring what he says or shows he wants because you think that you know better. You think that your love is all that he needs and you have decided that you’re going to love him so he’s got to love you.
Now I can guarantee that this pretty hard for you to digest, because in most Fallback Girls’ minds, they believe that their Mr Unavailable is doing the bulk of the pursuing but in actual fact, it’s you. As I mentioned before, when Mr Unavailables use blowing hot and cold to maintain The Status Quo, it sends a signal to us to prove ourselves to them and also turn up the drama meter.
The only reason why a woman pursues a man who is a total flip-flapper who doesn’t know his arse from his elbow is because she has low self-esteem and is afraid to let go of the idea of him and the relationship and accept the reality.
You pursue him because him pulling away triggers your flight or fight reflex and you’re too scared to walk away, so you fight for it instead.
You pursue him because you believe that something you have said or done has triggered his pulling away, so you pursue him to make things right, but instead show him that you don’t care enough about yourself.
You pursue him because you are focused on the initial great behaviour rather than the reality of the majority of his behaviour. You believe the beginning is an indicator of the end.
You pursue him because men like this appear far more attractive when they appear to be less interested in you.
You pursue him because it sets off your internal fears, which combined with the very real external fears (his behaviour), set off the drama meter.
You pursue him because it’s your relationship pattern.
You pursue him because you are heavily emotionally invested, even though there is very little substance and want to justify your investment.
But most of all, you pursue him because you want to demonstrate that you’re the ‘right’ girl for him so that he can validate you so that you don’t have to go through believing you’ve been rejected. You can just about cope with the small rejections with each withdrawal but if you don’t win back some attention from him, that would be total rejection.
You pursue him, you pursue your own agenda, you pursue the relationship, and you pursue the dream that has arise from betting on potential. After a while, you’re so blindly focused on what you believe are your feelings and of course, the anxiety and insecurity generated by your fears, that the reality of the situation and the reality of who he is, no longer matter.
I’m often asked why do emotionally unavailable men keep coming back when they know they can’t give you what they want, and aside from the fact that these guys are users, they do it because you keep offering it, and after a while, it’s almost like they shrug and go ‘Oh OK then!’ and succumb to taking what’s on offer.
Unfortunately, no matter what you intended, every time you throw yourself at the mercy of this guy, he perceives you as desperate, needy, foolish, but also fair game.
This is how they manage to let themselves off the hook: they believe that you’re pursuing things even though they have shown who they are, and that they’re only giving you what you want (or their watered down version of it), when in actual fact, they’re taking advantage of your low self-esteem and enjoying the fringe benefits.
They are still pursuing you, it’s just that it is rarely to the extent that they did at the beginning of the relationship unless they truly believe that they are in serious danger of losing their ego stroke. The difference with Mr Unavailable after the beginning of the relationship, is he switches from giving you, let’s say 80% attention and effort, to drip feeding you various levels of attention and effort, to which you respond disproportionately because he has managed down your expectations.
So if you take the typical relationship, the tone gets set and he reduces down to 50, 40, 30, 20, or even 10% attention and effort instead of the original 80%, and you respond to whatever he throws you with often as much as 100% of your attention and effort.
This switch of control and effort is what creates much of the difficulty with letting go of Mr Unavailables. In being so focused on his initial behaviour and your expectations of him, you don’t even notice the switch in who’s doing the pursuing and you are unaware of what you are doing to exacerbate the situation.
You have to let go of your expectations of him and replace your thoughts and aspirations about him with the very real him. You also have to stop believing that whatever effort and attention you give a relationship is reciprocated because in reality, this only happens in relationships with solid foundations, with people with healthy levels of self-esteem, and who both have both of their feet firmly in the relationship with minimal baggage. That is not you, and it’s certainly not him.
You have got to let go of this idea of he runs, you chase, you run a little, so he chases, and building a negative relationship cycle. Many women believe that it’s not a relationship worth having if they didn’t fight for it, but I think they’d take a very different view if they looked at it from the perspective of repeatedly pursuing these men. Despite the evolving of the sexes, most women still want the man to do the pursuing yet Fallback Girls are pursuer’s. Some of you are downright obvious about it and others are more subtle, placing themselves in just the right situation to gain his attention and draw him back in.
A classic example is the Fallback Girl who works with her Mr Unavailable, who makes sure he sees her looking hot to trot, or talking to another guy, or spreads rumours that she’s with someone new. Yes, like the typical assclown Mr Unavailable, he’ll come running, but, she pursued him. Fallback Girls keep finding a reason to set the wheels in motion again when in fact, it should be their opportunity to bail.
You must stop making excuses for their behaviour and treat them like grown men who are responsible adults, accountable for their own behaviour. And you need to apply the same rules to yourself. You may believe that he just needs time, that he’s emotionally immature, and that you know that you’re destined to be together but aside from attempting to raise these men from the ground up, it’s like treating them children and assuming that you know better. These men aren’t trying to be got!
And here’s the kicker: every time you ‘pursue’ this guy and engage with him, it’s like disregarding your judgement of the situation. Pursuing Mr Unavailables is about wanting more than what is on offer, even though he is effectively out of emotional stock. As you learn to be happier with you, you’ll lose the urge to pursue and put yourself at the mercy of these men.
This excerpt is taken from Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl by NML/Natalie Lue, the founder of Baggage Reclaim.