Last Updated on August 9, 2023 by Angela Vaz

I blame the media.

I blame books.

I blame society for always perpetuating the idea that falling in love happens when you help someone get over extreme hurt.

It’s cast everywhere.

A woman is in pain. Man friend helps her get over the pain. The woman and man fall in love.

Man is a bad boy, always chasing drugs and alcohol. He finds love in a good woman. He changes forever, and they live happily ever after.

Almost every single rom-com in the 90s went along a similar trope.

It was hard to miss.

It was drilled into our young minds that love means helping someone find their purpose; love means helping them overcome their troubled past.

But that’s the thing; loving someone doesn’t mean becoming their therapist.

In fact, that’s not love – that’s charity.

I fell in love with a troubled guy; he showed signs of abuse and unhealed trauma. I thought my love would change him.

It didn’t.

He became an abusive alcoholic who eventually cheated on me.

I spent 10 years in that relationship before leaving.

I don’t regret that relationship – there were important lessons to be learned, and I learned them.

I became kinder, more patient, and understanding toward people in abusive relationships.

I’ve helped dozens of women get out of them by educating them and talking to them about how abuse shouldn’t be normalized or excused.

And today, I’m here to tell you that abuse of any kind should not be tolerated.

It doesn’t matter if it’s just emotional or mental.

So, if you’re attracting tons of broken guys – you’re not the problem exactly.

Your filters are.

Once you correct those filters and start looking for emotionally mature men, you’ll stop finding broken guys sexy or alluring.

So, let’s dive in.

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11 reasons why you attract broken guys or emotionally unavailable guys

1. You are way too empathetic and kind

you are way too kind

Being kind is definitely a gift.

It is natural to help people and be generous – good for you.

But simultaneously, you must be aware of who you are helping – you must draw boundaries.

Because when you are too kind or good-natured, people will take advantage of you.

And that’s going to lead to problems.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you are a very good listener and are extremely non-judgmental. By constantly making yourself available, people who are going through difficult times will be attracted to you because they are looking for someone to listen to their problems.

These guys are drawn to women who love to listen and women who offer emotional support.

He might share his problems, and you being kind and empathetic, will probably share similar stories to help them heal and feel heard.

It’s important to find a balance between empathy and setting healthy boundaries.

While being empathetic is a valuable trait, it’s also essential to ensure that your well-being isn’t compromised by constantly attracting and trying to help those struggling.

Draw boundaries.

Let me tell you how I did that.

  • If a guy called me to complain about his girlfriend/wife, I’d gently tell them that I was the wrong person to discuss this with. I’d tell them to get a therapist or speak to their girlfriend/wife directly because that will help solve the issue.
  • If they called me at odd hours or hours I am unavailable; I’d explain I’m not free and it’s not a good time to talk.

Again, you don’t want to be someone’s therapist.

This is why it’s important to draw boundaries when a guy is sharing their personal problems with you.

2. You have low self-esteem

you have low self-esteem

This was me in college.

I felt I was broken and didn’t believe I deserved enough.

As women, we are often corrected and put in place from a young age.

Not having strong role-model parents or suffering from bullying can contribute to low self-esteem.

What happens is we tend to seek external validation to feel better about ourselves.

We’ll go out of the way to form relationships with people who are broken, even if it’s not healthy or genuine, only because we love that external validation.

And because we fear rejection, we’ll actively seek out broken guys because, deep down, we feel we may not stand a chance with anyone else.

This low self-esteem can lead to a pattern of attracting and maintaining relationships with people who reinforce these negative beliefs about ourselves.

My ex did this – he constantly told me that I was not good-looking because of my acne and curly hair and constantly made me believe that he was doing me a favor by being in a relationship with me.

This is why it’s so important to get out of this mindset.

You are enough.

You deserve way more than you give yourself credit for.

You deserve love – you deserve to be in a healthy relationship.

Your past doesn’t matter.

Your childhood doesn’t matter.

You deserve love.

You need to realize that your worth doesn’t depend on your relationship with anyone else. It’s only dependent on how you see yourself.

If you do struggle with low self-esteem, please seek therapy.

Also, practice self-care and self-love.

Read my guide on loving yourself as a single person.

3. You don’t know what you want

you don't know what you want

Maybe you’re going with the flow.

Or maybe you’re experimenting.

Either way – that’s alright.

But know this: when you do not know what you want in a relationship, you can inadvertently attract broken guys.

If you’re unsure about your desires, you might be more susceptible to manipulation by guys who recognize this in you.

Some people take advantage of this and may push their own needs and desires onto you.

Or maybe you lack clarity about what you want so you may tolerate unhealthy or harmful behaviors.

If you constantly avoid conflict, broken guys might use this to their advantage and manipulate you into avoiding crucial decisions.

Take some time to work on yourself and gain clarity about the following:

  • What do you want from dating?
  • What type of relationship are you seeking?
  • What are your desires and needs?

Learn how to set healthy boundaries and work on your self-confidence.

You may also want to seek therapy or counseling to aid with your personal growth.

4. You are in emotional pain

you are in emotional painu

Never, ever start a relationship when you’re in pain.

I made this mistake after I got out of my first relationship. I was broken and sad and entered a relationship with the first man who showed me kindness.

It didn’t work out.

There was no drama, but both of us were emotionally not stable to make the relationship work.

You can form friendships but not enter a relationship when you’re in pain.

You’ll dump a lot of emotional baggage onto the next person – it’s unfair to them.

Moreover, you won’t see things clearly when you’re in pain.

Your perspective will be unclear, and you’ll make snap judgments that will not be healthy for you.

Heal from your pain, work towards a place of healing and peace, and while you’ve progressed, only begin dating.

I talk about all the dating advice I followed after I had healed here.

5. You have this strong desire to fix broken people

you have this strong desire to fix people

This is also called the savior complex.

It’s a desire to fix others where you believe that you’re the only one who can help or save someone from their struggles.

The thing is, broken guys pick up on this and intentionally or unintentionally play into it.

Because you are so compassionate, understanding, and kind, broken guys will lean on you more and more for help.

This will help you validate your own sense of worth and make them more dependent on you.

But it will lead to both of you overlooking compatibility.

You will never be able to depend on them emotionally because they will always be unavailable.

There is a huge lack of balance in this type of relationship.

That’s why reflecting on your motivation to fix others is very important.

Know that a healthy relationship means that both of you should want to fix yourselves.

There should be mutual support and respect – that balance is crucial.

When you help someone else, it should not come at the cost of your own well-being.

6. You haven’t healed from your past

you haven't healed from the past

Perhaps you had a difficult childhood.

Maybe you were abused as a child or brought up around addicts.

And deep down, you’ve normalized that behavior.

We are often attracted to what we are familiar with.

You have to understand that this happens on a subconscious level. We may genuinely not be aware of it and may even try to avoid it – but deep down, that’s what we are attracted to.

It takes some amount of conscious rewiring to get past this.

If you genuinely find abusive people or broken people attractive, I highly suggest talking to a therapist and discovering your why.

Because you deserve to be with someone who loves you, respects you for who you are, and is kind and gentle.

7. You chase that high of fixing people

you chase that high of fixing people

You may genuinely love that high of fixing broken guys.

And deep down, you find emotionally mature men who have it together – boring.

You feel good about yourself when you help broken guys sort out their problems; it gives you a sense of power.

And maybe you feel you can’t build a relationship with someone who’s emotionally mature and stable because you don’t feel you can contribute to them or their life.

Please know that this is not true.

I reached a stage in my life where I started attracting emotionally mature men – and I’m currently in a loving and respectful relationship with a man I’ve been dating for 2 years.

We don’t have drama; we speak about anything and everything that’s bothering us, we can talk to each other about anything without getting upset, and we solve disagreements by talking.

There are no mind games, no violence, no sarcasm or arguments.

We do disagree, but we have the tools to work with that – and by openly communicating, we sort out all those issues.

8. You wear your heart on your sleeve

you wear your heart on your sleeve

People who are extremely passionate on the first date or go out of the way to win you over by being super polite, getting you gifts, etc., are genuinely masking something.

People who are sorted and emotionally mature know that a relationship takes time.

They don’t rush things.

They patiently date and try to get to know the person on a deeper level at a pace they and their partners are comfortable with.

This is something I took a long time to understand.

So don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.

Know that it’s okay to take your time getting to know someone, and if someone is rushing you or constantly putting pressure on you to take it forward, back away.

This person is not meant for you.

9. You don’t know how to say no

you don't know how to say no

I know what it’s like to be a people-pleaser.

I’ve suffered from this all my life.

I would do homework for guys who asked me to because I didn’t know how to say no.

I often went out of the way to help people who needed money and never saw a dime back.

I’ve gone out of the way to do favors for people even when deep down I had wanted to say no.

And not knowing to say no can actually be very dangerous for you.

Sometimes, when you want to say no but don’t, you allow someone to walk all over you.

People who can’t say no often attract guys who are jealous, possessive, abusive, and downright dangerous.

Please know that if someone doesn’t respect your “no”s, it means that they are abusive.

It’s only a matter of time, before it gets worse.

People who don’t take your boundaries seriously or don’t respect you for what you say will constantly keep pushing that line further until you feel trapped and suffocated.

I remember how it started with my ex.

He wanted me to avoid certain guys because “he didn’t trust them.”

Later, became my close friends and cousins.

After 2 years, it became my own mother.

I remember sneaking calls to her when he left the house because he would always pick a fight with me if I were on the phone with my mom.

It always starts with the little things – and slowly moves upward till it becomes downright unmanageable.

Learn to say no – you’ll save yourself from so much heartache.

10. You don’t love yourself

you don't love yourself

I always thought “self-love” was for hippies and sissies.

I was messed up, I know.

But self-love basically means being kind to yourself and not ignoring yourself when your body or mind is trying to tell you it’s being harmed.

It means showing yourself the same kindness you would show a small child.

When you don’t love yourself, you constantly try to drown out your thoughts and voice by hanging out with others.

You can’t handle silence or being by yourself.

You feel bored easily, and you suffer from loneliness.

Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely.

We all end up being alone sometimes, but when you don’t love yourself, being alone becomes unbearable.

This means that if you don’t love yourself, you’ll seek people even if they’re not good for you.

Because you’re that desperate not to be alone.

This can mean saying yes to the wrong people – because you’re too impatient to spend more time searching for the right one.

So, if this is you, please take some time to fall in love with yourself. Start healing and doing more things you love.

Do things that make your heart sing – discover what that could be.

Maybe it’s playing guitar, cracking jokes in front of an audience, painting landscapes, or dancing.

Do more of that – rediscover your passions.

And read my guide on learning to fall in love with yourself.

11. You’re desperate for a relationship

you are desperate for a relationship

I know how you feel.

When my first ex left me for someone else, I was distraught.

I was keen on entering a relationship because I wanted to gain back all the years I had lost.

But relationships don’t work that way.

You cannot forcefully meet someone and fall in love.

It happens in its own time.

Please don’t buy into this myth that there is only 1 person out there for you, and you need to go find them.

There are countless people out there for you.

And as you keep evolving, changing, and becoming a better person, you’ll meet better people.

The truth is you have to focus on what you can control.

Become a better version of yourself.

The more you try to force yourself to meet new people and force love – the more it will get away from you.

Date, by all means, put yourself out there.

But take it easy.

Don’t put your whole life on hold trying to find someone.

Take your time – enjoy life.

Appreciate being single.

Being single isn’t a curse. It simply means you haven’t found the right relationship yet.

So, don’t feel like your self-worth depends on your relationship status.

Focus on growth – enjoy yourself dating in the meanwhile.

When you are desperate for a relationship, you’ll say yes to the wrong people and ignore a lot of red flags.

So, don’t go down this route.

Learn to love being single, and you’ll notice that your life will change dramatically.

You don’t need to be with someone to be happy.

I learned this lesson too late in life.


I would be patting myself on the back if I were you.

Let me tell you why.

You’re tired of being strung along in bad relationships.

You’re tired of attracting broken guys.

You’ve already recognized a pattern and reached a very important step – self-awareness.

It only goes up from here.

Now that you’ve recognized your habits, you can correct them.

You can adjust your filters, work on yourself, and attract emotionally healthy men.

As you start working on yourself and becoming more independent and happy being single, you’ll attract very different people.

Start recognizing your desires and needs and re-evaluate them

And most importantly, work on yourself.

If you have trouble staying unbiased, talk to a therapist/counselor.

Seeking therapy was the best decision I ever made – there were so many issues that were holding me back from happiness, and once I sorted those out – my life changed and became so much better.

I hope this article helps you.

Here are some more posts you may find helpful:

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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