Why Do We Like People and Things We Cannot Get?

Paradoxically, people fall for unachievable things, ideas, and people. That is to say, people usually tend to appreciate things, which they do not own, or people who are to a certain extent unavailable or not reachable. Keep reading if you want to find out the reasons for such behavior.

The willing to have unachievable things

Aspect of curiosityGeorge Loewenstein,  an American educator who studies the link between economics and psychology, is famous for his “Information-Gap Theory,” which explains that when people feel a gap between what they know and what they want to know, there is a process happening that triggers curiosity, and, as a result, a person wants that unknown even more, in order to fill in the gap.

This might explain the tendency, which can be observed starting from our simple wishes of possessing a certain thing like clothes, willing to have a different lifestyle, living at another place, having another type of body, etc. Another aspect from which this phenomenon can be observed in relationships when people want to have and idealize unavailable partners but tend to underestimate the ones who are near. In this piece, we will have a look at this phenomenon precisely from the point of view of relationships and will try to figure out its causes and outcomes, as well as the possible ways of solution.


Unattainable  partners

We all have experienced at least once in our life having a crush on a person we saw for one time and we knew very well that this will be just that – there is no possible continuation of this scenario, yet the feelings we were experiencing were very intense, we even might have dreamed of having our future with them. Another example of a similar feature can be some of the summer vacation romances, long-distance relationships, or the so-called illegal relationships, which are quite often the case among teenagers.

Summer romance

The common thing in all of these cases is a certain barrier, and obstacle to get the desired thing – love, in this case, which paradoxically makes the feeling even stronger. People, who find themselves in such situation, usually tend to upraise themselves by believing that their feelings are strong enough despite all the difficulties/distance/bans, etc. However, the most paradoxical aspect of all this story is the fact that it is actually the impossibility of having what we strive for that makes us feel what we feel. In other words, the feelings we experience are so intense precisely because we cannot have them in our real everyday life.

This idAre Fairy Tales our inspirationea, in terms of relationships, is also being fed by external social factors. Think of all the fairytales like Cinderella, which makes you believe that you really can be with a prince, being a simple maid. Romeo and Juliet and the very clear idea of the prohibited relationships that caused, although a very tragic but full of feelings love story. Titanic and the concept of both almost unrealistic relationships with the limited time for love. Dozens of books and movies like this, which are naturally being read and seen in the young or teenager age, ensure youth that such things and relationships are beautiful or almost magical but the opposite side of the coin, which is the real one, is that the youth later search and fall for similar scenarios, which lead nowhere but to disappointments.

That is why it is so important to be aware and follow the sources of healthy, realistic, and trivially simple examples because, as a matter of fact, those are the ones you should follow to have actually what you are happy with and not running after illusions.


The “easy” way

Another side of the painful truth is that, although such people seem to go through hard times of separating, the endless waiting time for the new possibility to feel loved, and no guarantee of continuation of such relationship, they actually choose this way very carefully for one simple reason – it is easier.

Couple enjoying relaxing picnic time in a park

It is easier to create a common area for a certain period of time, always having a way out. it is easier because, in such a condition, the possibility to disappoint or get disappointed is lower. It is ultimately easier to select a happy place and a certain amount of happy time: hours, days, weeks but not longer, and come back to your reality and your personal space. But sadly this is a big lie. However, such people would rather choose to control a sad, heartbreaking situation or even a lie, rather than become vulnerable and unable to control a happy and healthy situation.

The point is that once people enter a ‘normal’ relationship, where both partners are permanently available, it requires way more work and effort. This happens because there is no longer a justification to distance or literally escape from the partner. In such relations both start to work on creating a lasting healthy connection. Naturally, the possibility of getting hurt or disappointed is very high. Both start to see each other’s ‘dark sides’ and get to know each other in moments of ups and downs. Partners open themselves to each other and learn to trust, which can either bring reciprocal happiness or disappointment.

Not many people have enough examples or experiences that would make them robust to enter the relationship, where mutual trust and at the same time risk are being present. On the other hand, this can also be caused due to a negative experience from childhood when we were left or humiliated. As a result, a child on the subconscious level decides never to open to someone wholly or trust to that extent that it can hurt. Such uncertainty or negative memories from the past scares people more than the fact of having obstacles in being permanently available for each other. That is why they tend to find all the possible ways to justify their temporary happiness that can be, well a simple illusion.

Therefore, it can quite often be the case that the impossible situation with the unreachable people are not so romantic because you found ‘the one’ but simply because we are following a pattern to protect ourselves, which we might not even be aware of.



Having acknowledged the pattern of own behavior and the core reason for ‘affection’, one can start thinking of how to normalize the situation and stop going in the loop of dysfunctional relationships.

Daily routines dont seem to be attractive enough

In such a situation, the very first thing worth mentioning is self-esteem. People with low self-esteem in general fall for dysfunctional relationships, one of which is also with an unavailable partner. Therefore, the initial thing is to work on own confidence and self-esteem, in order to be brave and mature enough to attract the same mature and healthy partner and to enter a real healthy relation.

The next step is to understand the difference between illusions, fantasies, or dreams, and real life. The wish to fulfill the fantasies can not only lead to disappointments but a person can also get greatly hurt by real-life situations, which are so different from the fairytales.

It is also very significant to give up an idea of willingness to prove to ourselves and others that we “deserve” to have those unavailable ones. This aspect, however, is also related to the first point – working on self-esteem, as then you will have simply no need to prove anything to anyone.

Last but not least, stop placing superhuman characteristics on your object of desire and focus on what you have around, at this moment, as it is often the case that the best and most appropriate things for you are actually quite near and do not require drama or unbearable efforts to be reached.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney

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