How do I stop being attracted to the wrong man?

My ex husband and I split about seven years ago since then I have only been attracted to one kind of man. I don’t search them out but every time I find myself attracted to someone they are tall (over 6'2"), chunky, married, and sell drugs. I don’t know how it happens but I can walk in a room of 2000 people I know nothing about and find the one married drug dealer and he will be the only one I’m attracted to. So question is how do I fix this?

First you decide, then you change. They are inseparable.

04-13-16-27-40 / 27

Hello Diner. You have done a lot of work already to fix this: You realize it’s an unhealthy pattern that you want to break That is an excellent start. These next steps are a bit more challenging, but not insurmountable if you really want to change. Here is what’s happening.

The mind has a self-preserving ability to convince itself that it is correct. It’s also extraordinarily good at recognizing patterns and fitting things into patterns. Yes. Your brain can and does change your perception and memory to fit its recognized patterns, like those who believe they see a specific time on a digital clock more often. Your brain is just good at convincing you what is its reality and ignoring the rest. We talk about it in this Fortune. Understand that I’m not trying to discount your observations, Diner. Rather, consider that you probably have been attracted to people who aren’t married drug dealers of a specific build. Otherwise, you possess an ability that the Drug Enforcement Agency would love to have. So either you don’t exclusively find drug dealers, or you really need to call the federal government.

You may be just attracted to their charisma. It’s likely that drug dealers have the dark triad of personalities needed to do their kind of illicit business: narcissism (strong sense of egotism and pride); Machiavellianism (ability to manipulate others for personal gain); and psychopathy (callousness and anti-establishment behavior). Studies have found these personalities in men to be very useful in attracting mates–so it’s no surprise you’d find men like these attractive.[1]

As for their being married, that may just be an outcome of their charismatic personalities, the value in marriage your local culture promotes, or the size of your dating pool. Again, I doubt you have a special ability (or curse) to find married men in the same way you don’t subconsciously seek out felons.

Fortunately, studies also show that what a woman finds attractive can change more easily than a man’s depending on cultural influences and different situational factors. These factors naturally change over a woman’s life.[2]

Putting this together, here are suggestions:

1. Understand that these men you’re finding are not compatible. You simply aren’t at a point where married men committing felonies mesh well with your goals.

2. Give other guys a chance. Keep an open mind. You have a natural ability to change your “type” based on what you need in your life.

3. Use your understanding of personality traits to make better choices. Other legal professions require these same traits to thrive such as lawyers, executives, and salespeople.

4. Expand your dating pool. Fortune Cookies thrive in areas with high foot traffic and nice restaurants. You should too.

Diner, I know changing your attraction type seems impossible, but for women, it is at least more likely than men. That will help you find partners better suited for your future and your long term goals. Good luck, and happy dating.




[1] Jonason P. K., Li N. P., Webster G. W., Schmitt D. P. (2009). The Dark Triad: Facilitating short-term mating in men. European Journal of Personality 23: 5–18. doi:10.1002/per.698

[2] Baumeister, R. F. (2000). Gender differences in erotic plasticity: The female sex drive as socially flexible and responsive. Psychological Bulletin 126(3): 347-374. doi: 10.1037//0033-2909.126.3.347