Why Am I Holding Onto Someone Who Doesn’t Want Me?

Although the reasons for this could be the exceptionality of the person, the real reasons lie in your psychological needs. Of course, we can stick to these shallow reasons, but it is interesting to read about how much more complex we are than we think.

A man and a woman look at each other

The answer you expect to find here is along the lines of: Because that person has marked your life. Because you’re not mentally strong enough. Because you haven’t had the chance to prove yourself. You’ve had an exceptional person in your life.

However, if you’re looking for a more complex but perhaps far more important answer, continue reading this text. We’ll discuss the unconscious mechanisms that keep you attached to someone.

I caution you—this text may seem strange or unconvincing to you, but that’s because you’re not familiar with your unconscious and the mechanisms that sustain it.

Holding on to someone who doesn’t want you serves a purpose.

Man and woman breaking up

There are unconscious and subconscious forces at work within us that determine our path in life.

Our unconscious directs us, while what we consciously desire has less influence. Of course, if we wish, the conscious part can lead us (I decide to exercise or study because it’s good for me). However, the unconscious is far more influential and will govern us whenever we don’t make a different decision.

That’s why I say that unconscious mechanisms within you make that person significant to you. These mechanisms preserve something within you, so today’s topic is: what are these mechanisms.

This is a series: You’re attached to someone – You can’t detach from them = Some mechanisms are at play – These mechanisms serve a purpose – Below is a list of reasons.

  • None of these answers will please you. But they may be very true.
  • The point is not for you to like them but to understand yourself and your subconscious tendencies.

A list of reasons why you unconsciously cling to that person:

  1. Maybe on purpose so you don’t move forward in life
  2. Or you’re afraid to move forward 
  3. You’re punishing yourself for such a loss 
  4. Your learned masochism 
  5. Maybe you’re superstitious
  6. You have a skewed perception of idealization

Note: Many of my clients do not doubt the things I will mention below. People usually think that what is happening in front of them – that’s it. However, there is always some background. What we can all see (both my clients and me and you in yourself and in your friends) is usually only the most superficial layer. What is important and what really needs to be faced are the things below the surface. And there are character traits, fears, habits, etc.

1. To not move forward in life

Sad man

Someone leaving you gives you an excuse not to move forward because you have no idea what to do next.

It could be that some character trait is holding you back: laziness, lack of energy, neuroses, etc.

Maybe the things ahead of you seem too heavy or require too much sacrifice, so your unconscious chooses not to approach them. However, I needed an excuse – I couldn’t move forward in life because I was in love with that person.

Solution: Whatever your underlying reason for not moving forward, the only solution is to confront it.

Your stagnation (in being in love with that person) will only delay things. You can delay them until the end of your life (you already have a good excuse), or you can confront what you dislike sooner or later. If it’s later – you’ve just wasted precious time.

Excuse (I was in love with that person, so I didn’t move forward) won’t help you feel better because, at the end of the day, you know what the truth is.

Why Do I Still Have Feelings For Someone Who Rejected Me?

2. You’re afraid to move forward

Woman in bad relationship

Although you may think it’s a simple matter: I’m hurt and fearful of getting hurt again.

It’s a more significant and profound fear. This fear is composed of the fear that someone will show us that we’re not valuable enough, that someone will show us that our qualities mean nothing, that someone will easily replace us, and that someone will show everyone else that we’re not anything special. So, it’s about deep ego wounds from the inability to absorb ego blows.

Solution: It’s necessary to understand your fears. Where do they come from, how real are they, etc. And then find techniques on how to manage them and move forward.After that, it is necessary to train yourself to face your fears more maturely and realistically. To cut them and discard them if they are imaginary. To learn to move forward despite our fears. This is often well done in psychotherapy. A good option for someone could be CBT or REBT.

The Best Way To Make Someone Regret Leaving You

3. You’re punishing yourself for such a loss

Attractive man sitting

Maybe someone convinced you, or you convinced yourself that you’re responsible for that breakup, and now you have a need to punish yourself.

There’s no better and more ultimate punishment than to think every day about what you’ve lost, to torture yourself with it, not to move forward, etc.

Some examples from my clients:

  • A girl’s parents punished and criticized her for everything she did. She continued to punish herself throughout her life.
  • Another girl was never punished for anything, but she decided to punish herself and continued that mechanism. When she makes a mistake, she punishes herself.

Solution: Understand your inclination towards self-punishment. With good self-analysis, you can identify its root cause on your own. But a psychotherapist or psychoanalyst can assist you.

Once you understand this inclination, you must find ways to stop self-punishing. For example, remember that you’re doing this to yourself, and consciously halt that habit when you catch yourself doing it.

How long does it take to feel better after a breakup?

4. Your learned masochism

A beautiful woman

Considering that masochism involves deriving pleasure from inflicting pain on oneself, we can say that you even find some satisfaction in suffering.

And although this may seem odd to you, remember that people actively engage in S&M activities where they enjoy sexual masochism. Therefore, finding pleasure in emotional or psychological masochism could be your thing.

Solution: What I would suggest here is to first decide whether you want to admit that you enjoy this (as a form of emotional-mental fetish. Enjoy suffering) or you don’t want to have this form of masochism. If you don’t, you can seek a therapist to help you find suitable techniques.

In order for people to change things, they usually need some motivation to do so. Let’s say repeated painful experiences are good motivation. However, it is different with masochism because it is about enjoying pain. So we have a prefix – enjoyment. For this reason, it is necessary to first make a decision, whether to continue with this or whether it is still necessary to change it. If you decide to change, perhaps it is best to contact a clinical psychologist for something like this.

5. You might be superstitious

You believe that if you punish yourself enough, the heavens/God/Higher power/Karma/Destiny will favor you, and the person will return to you.

When in trouble, many people turn to higher powers and hope they will take care of them when they are helpless.

It is interesting that the superstition does not have to be recognizable even to the person who practices it. Let’s say, people who just “shake their heads” when problematic things happen to them and say: It will be solved, without taking any personal action – they belong to the profile of superstitious people… because “someone”, “something” will solve their problem.

Solution: Consider this and whether you want to continue with superstition. I’m not a big fan of this because surrendering our lives to a higher power means we have no control over our lives. Also, in that way, we lose the opportunity to take action. Because usually, one prevails: a higher power or us.

I suggest taking matters into your own hands and doing everything you can to fix things. After you’ve done everything you can to regain that person, do everything you can to give yourself a chance for a good life.

Why do I want someone who doesn’t want me?

6. You have a skewed perception of idealization 

Man and woman in love

You always hold yourself lower than other people, or did it happen in this particular case? It’s possible that the person “sold” you a story that they are better than you, and you can’t see them realistically.

This idealization is maintained because it creates a feedback loop:

This person is ideal, rare, and unique – if they wanted me, that means I’m exceptional, too.

If you are the first version, this is, of course, a much more complex story and has nothing to do with your self-image. Here, it will probably be necessary to consult a psychotherapist. But let’s say that in that case, you will be dealing with yourself.
If you are in the second case, you will also deal with that person. You will analyze them, but also yourself in a way: why are you receptive to other people’s suggestions? Why don’t you look at that person more objectively? Who is the more powerful force here: that person and their believability, or your need to believe.

Solution: The solution lies in working on ourselves to become truly exceptional. In that case, we won’t need another person to maintain such an opinion of us. And of course, the second necessary thing is critical thinking and observing things objectively.

A more straightforward solution is to bring down that person and decide that:

  • They are not exceptional – if they can’t see how great you are
  • There’s no need to think they are exceptional: Their qualities don’t define you. 
  • They are exceptional, but so are you. You just aren’t meant for each other.
  • That person is nothing special, and you just made a mistake when you judged them.