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Posted February 10, Reviewed by Matt Huston. Key Points: Being attracted to emotionally unavailable men may be due to confusing physical arousal for a romantic connection. Taking steps to spark arousal with a "nice" partner could help break the cycle and lead to a more fulfilling relationship.
Would you like to change this pattern so you can finally start enjoying a great relationship and quit wasting time with men who play hot-and-cold with your emotions? The science of psychology may come to your rescue. In a classic study of social psychology, Dutton and Aron conducted an experiment in which a female experimenter stood at the end of two different bridges and asked random men who crossed the bridge to tell a short story.
What the researchers found was that the men who crossed the scary bridge were more likely to use sexual imagery in their stories.
They were also more likely to later call the woman after receiving her phone during the experiment—even though it was the same woman at the end of both bridges. Why did the men crossing the scary bridge use more sexual content and seem to find the female experimenter more attractive than the men who crossed the safe bridge? The suggest that these men may have misattributed their arousal symptoms such as increased heart rate or sweaty palms that arose from crossing a highly stimulating, albeit somewhat scary bridge to a romantic or sexual attraction to the woman.
If you experience this in your own dating life, you might want to learn how to see good guys as more exciting and the not-so-good guys as less so. Here are some tips for doing so. Your first step will be to make a list of "Scary Bridge" behaviors. Scary Bridge behaviors are behaviors that are undesirable in a dating partner, and which therefore may result in considerable worry or irritation for you. Unfortunately, this worry or irritation might be misattributed to an attraction for the man who is provoking the worry or irritation.
Your list may include the following:. To your body, it makes no difference—if there are sudden changes or periods of uncertainty, your level of physiological arousal can get heightened. In addition to your Scary Bridge list, you will also want to make a list of "Safe Bridge" behaviors. These are behaviors that you may have ly seen as sappy or boringbut which are often found in kind, romantically-interested guys.
Your list of Safe Bridge behaviors may include the following:. Reading this, you may be thinking that you do like it when a guy does some of the Safe Bridge things above, yet you still find yourself attracted to unavailable men.
But consider the context of those behaviors. If you find yourself attracted to men who do Safe Bridge behaviors inconsistently, these behaviors may excite you mainly due to their rarity. Intermittent reinforcement is actually the most excitement provoking—this is why casinos set slot machines to give rewards in a randomly ordered manner where the user never knows what to expect and keeps chasing the rewards. After making your list of Scary Bridge and Safe Bridge behaviors, you will next want to change the way you see these behaviors. The goal is to get to the point where you can roll your eyes at these behaviors rather than getting tantalized by them.
You will also want to re-slot Safe Bridge behaviors. Below are some ideas on how to see nice guys as more exciting:.
If you are able to successfully re-slot Safe Bridge and Scary Bridge behaviors, this could go a long way towards reducing frustration in your dating life. I have seen my clients and readers of my dating book apply the principles in this article to great success. Chloe Carmichael, Ph. Chloe Carmichael Ph. The High-Functioning Hotspot. About the Author. Online: DrChloe. Read Next. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness. Family Life Child Development Parenting.
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Why Don't Girls Like Nice Guys?