05/05/2015 06:17 pm ET Updated May 05, 2016

6 Reasons Why You Might Be Attracting Damaged Men

I received an email on Divorced Girl smiling from a reader stating that she "only attracts damaged men."

I had to wonder, 'What does 'damaged' mean? I have to assume that to my reader, "damaged" means divorced or someone who has most likely suffered a bad breakup, only because why else would she be reaching out to DIVORCED Girl Smiling?

What would make her refer to these men as damaged? I'm thinking it's most likely because the exhibit behavior that makes it difficult to sustain a healthy romantic relationship. Possibilities that come to mind include substance abuse, cheating, emotional abuse, depression, bitterness, and fear of commitment. Kind of makes sense, right?

So, I started to think, why would she (or any woman) attract damaged men? By the way, this all applies to women, as well. In other words, women can be damaged, too.

Here are six potential reasons why you might be attracting damaged men (or women):

1. Low self-esteem. In my opinion, people with low self-esteem, who don't think they can attract someone better than a person exhibiting these bad behaviors tend to go after damaged men (or women.)

2. You don't want to be alone. Some people can't stand not being in a relationship. They view being single as lonely and sad. (Which is my theory for people who rush into second marriages). And so, they settle for someone they know isn't right, because in their mind, it's better than not having someone.

3. You're stuck in a pattern. Here's an example. A person's father cheated on their mom and they knew it growing up but no one talked about it. Then let's say they married a man who cheated and they got divorced. Now, they get into relationships with guys who cheat, because that's all they know. There is a subconscious comfort in the familiarity and they don't realize that they need to break this awful pattern and attract a different kind of man.

4. You don't like or love yourself. A lack of self-love almost always leads to people dating men (or women) who aren't right for them. Maybe they are even punishing themselves by going after people who don't treat them well or make them happy.

5. You subconsciously don't want to be involved with anyone. People who don't want to be in a relationship will often go after men (or women) they know they aren't ending up with because it's safe. Maybe they get involved with someone who is much younger or much older, or someone just out of a long-term relationship, or someone of a different cultural background, because it's safe. Or, they attract a big drinker, and they continue to date him for a long time because in their mind, they are saying "this guy is great to date, but I would never marry someone who drinks this much." So, if there's no way it's going to turn into a marriage, and in their mind, they don't want marriage, that works out perfectly.

6. Isn't every man (and woman) damaged in a way? I'll come right out and say it. I'm damaged. That doesn't make me a bad person, or a person who can't have a successful relationship in the future. But let's call a spade a spade. A divorced person (and really, anyone who is older and who has lived a life) is in a way, damaged.

Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially" for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.