The Irresistible Lure of the Unavailable: A Dive into the Human Heart

For many, the allure of love is often found in those who are near, accessible, and very much within our grasp. Yet, peculiarly enough, the heart sometimes veers in an entirely different direction. This video from the School of Life titled “The Charms of Unavailable People” throws light on this intriguing paradox of human emotion.

“Though one might imagine that it’s the available ones who charm us, the curious truth is that very often it’s the elusive, not-returning-our-calls ones that really develop a power over us.” From falling for someone continents away to being drawn to a married individual, to the heartbreaking allure of someone with limited days due to a grave illness, all of these situations share a common thread – the external obstacles of love. Such barriers paradoxically intensify our yearnings, making the love seem all the more potent, almost forbidden.

One may argue that true love should overcome all barriers, but reality often writes a different script. Sometimes, the very challenges that should keep two individuals apart become the glue that binds them tighter. These challenges paradoxically stoke our desire, making the heart yearn more fiercely against the odds. On the flip side, those in a seemingly secure relationship might find it crumbling, leaving them grappling with pain, trust issues, and a shattered heart.

Childhood plays a significant role in how we handle such emotional trials. Those raised with consistent love and care find it slightly easier to move on from heartbreaks. In contrast, others might struggle more, clinging on to impossible relationships, seeking love in hidden corners, and risking it all for moments of ephemeral happiness.

While the mysteries of the heart remain vast and complex, one truth shines clear – treading carefully in the realm of love might eventually lead us to the right destination. For love, in its truest form, is a bond shared with someone who understands, cherishes, and grows with us over time.

So, if you’ve ever wondered about the magnetic pull of someone just out of reach, or questioned why your heart beats for someone so clearly “wrong” for you, this video offers some illuminating insights. Dive in, and discover the charming, painful, and bewildering journey of loving the unavailable.

Being Well Podcast: Attachment Theory & EFT with Dr. Sue Johnson

In this episode of the Being Well Podcast, hosts Forrest and Rick Hanson speak to an exceptional guest, Dr. Sue Johnson, the pioneering force behind Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Dr. Johnson, known for her transformative work in attachment theory, engages in a deep and thoughtful dialogue that is certain to broaden and inform your understanding of relationships.

We are treated to the fascinating story of Dr. Johnson’s development of EFT. This valuable context provides a strong foundation what follows. The hosts and Dr. Johnson then transition into an exploration of relationships, emphasizing their nature as emotional bonds over mere transactional bargains.

One of the standout elements of this episode is the enlightening discussion around the role of the amygdala in solidifying skills learnt in therapy. Alongside this, the conversation around vulnerability’s significant role in forming genuine, fulfilling connections is truly powerful, equipping listeners with essential knowledge to cultivate healthier relationships.

Forrest and Rick Hanson expertly guide the dialogue, covering topics from the importance of good examples of bonding conversations, the transformative effect of changing how one relates to oneself, and the appropriate contexts for using EFT versus Internal Family Systems. A particularly poignant segment of the podcast involves the recognition of helplessness, a novel perspective that may empower listeners in their own personal growth journeys.

Towards the end of the episode, the hosts and Dr. Johnson reflect on the balance between individualism and vulnerability, a pertinent topic for many navigating relationships in today’s world.

The breadth of Dr. Johnson’s knowledge, gathered from her expansive career as a clinical psychologist, researcher, professor, and EFT founder, radiates throughout this episode. Her acclaimed contributions, including her best-selling book “Hold Me Tight”, make her a reputable source of wisdom for anyone aiming to build secure and emotionally healthy relationships. This episode of the Being Well Podcast is an enlightening deep-dive into the realm of relationships, providing a harmonious blend of theoretical understanding and practical advice.

Hold Me Tight Couples Exercise #2

This is the second in a series of exercises which can be found in the Hold Me Tight Workbook A Couple’s Guide For a Lifetime of Love by Dr Sue Johnson.

The acronym A.R.E stands for Accessibility, Responsiveness, and Engagement, which are crucial elements in love relationships. The strength of a relationship is found when we find ourselves asking questions like, “Do I matter to you? Can I reach you? Are you emotionally available to me? Can I rely on you to respond when I need you? Will you engage with me and give me your attention?” These A.R.E. questions often remains hidden under the surface during recurring arguments that revolve around practical concerns such as chores, personality differences, sex, children, and finances. Partners who feel secure and loved can navigate these differences and issues collaboratively, whereas those who don’t tend to channel their relationship problems and fears into constant disagreements.


Does your partner’s perception of how accessible, responsive, and emotionally engaged you are, fit with your view of yourself and how safe your relationship is? Read each statement and answer T (true) or F (false). You can complete the questionnaire individually, then either reflect on the answers on your own, or discuss your answers together.

From your viewpoint, is your partner available to you?

  1. I can get my partner’s attention easily. T F
  2. My partner is easy to connect with emotionally. T F
  3. My partner shows me that I come first with them. T F
  4. I am not feeling lonely or shut out in this relationship. T F
  5. I can share my deepest feelings with my partner. They will listen. T F

From your viewpoint, is your partner responsive to you?

  1. If I need connection and comfort, they will be there for me. T F
  2. My partner responds to signals that I need them to come close. T F
  3. I find I can lean on my partner when I am anxious or unsure. T F
  4. Even when we fight or disagree, I know that I am important to my partner and we will find a way to come together. T F
  5. If I need reassurance about how important I am to my partner, I can get it. T F

Are you positively emotionally engaged with one another?

  1. I feel comfortable being close to and trusting my partner. T F
  2. I can confide in my partner about almost anything. T F
  3. I feel confident, even when we are apart, that we’re connected to one another. T F
  4. I know that my partner cares about my joys, hurts, and fears. T F
  5. I feel safe enough to take emotional risks with my partner. T F

How to Make Love Last Forever

This insightful video from the School of Life is aptly titled “How to Make Love Last Forever”. At the dawn of relationships, it’s usual to find ourselves immersed in a powerful wave of admiration and longing for our partners.

We relish their company, continually preoccupied with their myriad abilities and accomplishments. Yet, as time passes, this fervour cools, a phenomenon often attributed to the mundanity of constant exposure. This video explores the deeper, psychologically complex reasons behind this shift, which reveal a far more optimistic perspective. Our initial infatuation and experience is the hope we have that our relationship can be all that we truly long for. However we also need to do the work and truly understand who we are if these seeds are to grow and produce the fruit of love.

Alaine de Botton – Why You Will Marry The Wrong Person

I was recently captivated by this thought provoking presentation by Alain de Botton on stage at The School of Life, where he unravelled some profound notions first presented in his thought-provoking New Yorker essay, “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.”

With his trademark blend of wisdom, wit, and vulnerability, de Botton delves into the complexities of modern relationships, challenging conventional beliefs and offering a compelling perspective on the elusive nature of true love. I particularly loved the way he explored the delicate balance between our yearning for happiness and the inevitable imperfections that accompany human connection. In this video de Botton talks about how rage is an indicator of the hope that things can be better in our relationship, a theme we explore in EFT as well. Watch it alone or with your partner to seed some hope in your relationships.

Hold Me Tight Couples Exercise #1

Welcome to a series of relationship exercises designed to strengthen your emotional bond with your partner using the Hold Me Tight Workbook A Couple’s Guide For a Lifetime of Love by Dr Sue Johnson. As Sue Johnson writes, ‘Love relationships are not bargains; they are emotional bonds based on our innate need for safe and emotional connection.’


Attachment theory underpins the vital role our loved ones play in providing us with a sense of safety and security in our lives. When emotionally distant or unresponsive, we may experience feelings of isolation and helplessness, triggering emotions like anger, sadness, hurt, and fear. Fear triggers the amygdala, the part of our brain that detects danger, and is a natural response that activates when our relationship is threatened. In this state, our actions may become reactive and impulsive, resulting in two common patterns: demanding or withdrawing.

These responses are unconscious and may give us temporary relief, but if they persist, they can create a cycle of insecurity that drives partners apart. As both partners become defensive, they start assuming the worst about each other and their relationship, leading to a lack of safety in their relationship. This delicate dance of panic and fear requires partners to move in sync, or else they risk stepping on each other’s toes.

To better understand your own steps in this dance, try this introspective journal exercise from Dr Sue Johnson. By becoming aware of your individual responses, you can start identifying and addressing the dynamics of your relationship with your partner.

Journal Exercise

Our fears are wired into our brains. Everyone has them. Can you pinpoint or identify your fears? Listen to the feelings you have, and find, at the core, any fear or anxiety that involves being rejected or abandoned by your partner. To help you get in touch with your internal experience, here are a few of the common feelings or qualities of demanders and withdrawers. Check off the ones you resonate with.


  • Frightened of their aloneness; scared they’re not wanted
  • Afraid of being abandoned
  • Frightened of their feelings of hurt
  • Scared of being invisible


  • Frightened of rejection
  • Scared of their experience of disappointing their partner-coming up short
  • Afraid of failure
  • Overwhelmed
  • Numbed or frozen with fear
  • Afraid of being judged or criticized

Reflect on and write down what scares you most, and then invite your partner to do the same. Share your reflections with each other.

What is your attachment style?

By recognizing your own attachment style, you can gain insight into your patterns of behavior and begin to make changes that will lead to more secure and fulfilling relationships.