When you give your all in a relationship, you naturally expect your partner to do the same. Relationships require effort and commitment in order to work, but an emotionally unavailable partner will see a relationship quite differently. Emotionally unavailable people either have relationships with multiple people at a time to avoid serious commitment, or tend to steer clear of relationships altogether, usually due to childhood trauma or fear of emotional intimacy.
Also, emotionally unavailable people normally share an unhealthy upbringing, raised in a controlling or abusive environment. A lifelong study of people in England, Scotland and Wales found that people who perceived their parents as overly controlling or encouraged dependence had lower levels of happiness and overall mental well-being later on in life. So, if you have an emotionally unavailable partner, this behavior likely stems from problems they faced during childhood that have stuck with them ever since.
However, even if you have an emotionally unavailable partner, the signs might not always jump out at you. Read on to discover some common red flags.
Here are 10 signs you have an emotionally unavailable partner:
1. They send you mixed messages.
An emotionally unavailable partner will tell you they want a relationship one second, only to change their mind shortly after. They can’t ever seem to make up their mind, and you can’t wrap your head around their cryptic messages and confusing behavior. An emotionally available person will tell you their intentions up front, and stick to them. If you notice that the person you have an interest in comes on very strongly, only to back away and keep leading you on, you probably have an emotionally unavailable partner.
2. They are already in a relationship with someone else.
This one should definitely raise some red flags – people already in a relationship obviously are emotionally unavailable, but they may not even tell you about their relationship. You will probably have to find out on your own, as this type of person clearly doesn’t care to disclose important information like this from the get-go. In today’s world, many people have open relationships, and as long as everyone involved feels comfortable, then that’s fine.
What we’re talking about here is someone who hides their relationships from others so they don’t have to commit to just one person. An emotionally unavailable partner will keep many aspects of their life from you, as they don’t want to become too emotionally attached or invested in you.
3. An emotionally unavailable partner will only consider their own feelings.
People who aren’t in touch with their emotions will appear very selfish and narcissistic. They don’t ever ask about your own feelings or bother with making sure you feel secure and happy in the relationship. Every action and decision they make in life only serves to fuel their own egotistical desires, and they will always put themselves before you. If this sounds like your relationship, you likely have an emotionally unavailable partner.
4. They only seem interested in the physical side of your relationship.
An emotionally unavailable partner will only seem interested in the sexual part of your relationship, and nothing more. A person out of touch with their emotions can’t offer much else, and they won’t even try. They have decided that shallow, base-level relationships will satisfy them, and they have committed to living a life without true emotional intimacy. An emotionally unavailable partner will avoid deep conversations with you, but won’t reveal their true intentions in the relationship. They will leave that to you to figure out.
5. An emotionally unavailable partner won’t commit fully to you.
They won’t ever offer their full selves to you, because they don’t know how. They have only known distant, superficial relationships, and keep everyone they know at arm’s length. An emotionally unavailable partner will give you every excuse in the world as to why they can’t commit to you.
6. They prefer talking through text and emails, rather than on the phone or in person.
An emotionally unavailable partner will avoid talking in an intimate setting the majority of the time. They give you excuses as to why they can’t meet up with you in person or talk on the phone, and prefer texting and emailing instead. If you have a partner like this, it definitely points to emotional insecurity and fear of intimacy, because face-to-face interactions require much more vulnerability than they feel comfortable with.
7. You never feel you like you can read them.
An emotionally unavailable partner will seem difficult to understand, and dealing with them will often feel like solving a jigsaw puzzle. You try to put all the pieces together, but they just don’t seem to fit. Once you feel like you have a handle on them, they will throw you a curve ball and expect you to catch it. They probably aren’t aware of their mixed signals and difficult demeanor, which makes it all the more frustrating to deal with an emotionally unavailable partner.
8. An emotionally unavailable partner will seem cold and distant.
Being in a relationship with them probably feels like having a relationship with just yourself. You might feel alone most of the time because they will show no signs of compassion or care when you need them the most. An emotionally unavailable partner doesn’t have the capacity to give themselves fully to another, because they have been taught from an early age unhealthy practices. They will distance themselves from you as an act of personal protection from getting hurt.
9. They give you the green light, only to retreat and take back what they said.
They might say they want a committed relationship one day, only to contract what they said the next day. They don’t seem to know what they truly want, or can’t fully give themselves to the relationship because of their fear of emotional intimacy. An emotionally unavailable partner will take you on a rollercoaster ride, but you will feel like getting off at the next available exit instead of sticking around for more of their games.
10. They don’t want to introduce you to friends or family.
An emotionally unavailable partner will avoid encounters where you would have to meet their loved ones, as they don’t want it to seem too serious between you two. They would prefer to lead you on and may even give you hope for meeting their family and friends in the future, but beware, it will probably never happen. They wouldn’t want to get in too deep, in fear of not being able to make it out with their emotions intact.
4 signs of the inability to connect with others.
One of the necessary ingredients in a healthy emotional relationship with another person is the ability to be present for that person. Being emotionally available means having the capacity to empathize with a person going through something difficult or challenging and providing support, encouragement, and genuine caring about their experience from a selfless and unselfish perspective.
The flip side of this is an emotionally unavailable person. This is a person that does not respond on that emotional level, often resulting in feelings of confusion, loneliness, abandonment, and even isolation even when the partner is physically present. In some cases, this emotional unavailability extends to children of the relationship, and the spouse may feel like he or she is a single parent even though the other partner is at least physically present.
Often people who are emotionally unavailable are people that seem cold and distant, or perhaps aloof and simply “above it all.” They tend to be highly focused on winning or achieving their specific goals, but they never consider how their need to win may be creating feelings of loss, lack of self-esteem, and frustration.
Learning to spot people who are emotionally unavailable is essential to avoid being drawn into a relationship with someone who does not have the capability to provide emotional support and empathy to their partner. At the same time, these people are often highly critical of themselves, and they may be perfectionists and people who have significant emotional trauma and relationship issues in their lives. In some cases, adults who are emotionally unavailable may have had traumatic childhoods or grown up in families where they were emotionally abused or where the display of emotions was seen as negative or as a challenge to family dynamics.
Signs of Emotional Unavailability in Adults
The following are classic signs of the inability to connect with people on an emotional level:
- Extremely analytical – people that focus on the facts or the analysis of an issue but never talk about feelings or express how they feel are often emotionally unavailable.
- Avoid affection and emotional situations – people who are not comfortable showing their emotions strive to avoid any type of emotional situation. They may not want to be present for goodbyes, and they may create conflict to “blow up” a potentially emotional discussion, or they may simply not respond to an attempt to show appreciation, recognition, or love.
- Limit friends and interactions – emotionally unavailable people tend to relate well to work colleagues in work settings, but they tend to avoid social situations where there is more likelihood of emotions and interpersonal relationships being the focus of the conversation.
- They dismiss or discourage your emotional states or make fun of your emotional responses – this is common, and making a joke or telling a partner not to feel emotional about a topic is a common mechanism for the emotionally unavailable to try to control the discussion.
Emotionally unavailable people can change, but they have to recognize the problem and learn to be comfortable with their own emotions before they can be present for their partner.
Intimacy and connection are important for maintaining a long-lasting relationship. Without it, your relationship may feel cold and distant. If those are the words you’d use to describe your relationship, experts say, you may be with an emotionally absent partner.
“Being with an emotionally unavailable or absent partner can be exquisitely painful, almost like physical pain,” Marilee Feldman, licensed clinical professional counselor and founder of Life Counseling Institute, tells Bustle. “On the surface, everything about your relationship can seem great. Your partner may be a really nice person. But they just don’t know how to speak the language of emotion or allow it in themselves or others.”
That’s a pretty big problem, especially when you’re in a relationship. In a healthy and truly connected relationship, you should feel emotionally safe. You should be able to turn to your partner for love and support whenever you need it, and you’ll also feel like you can tell them anything without fear of being judged. But when you’re with someone who’s emotionally absent, you won’t always get that.
“Often people who are emotionally unavailable admit they’re ‘not good in relationships,’ aren’t ready for a commitment and/or don’t stay in relationships long-term,” Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed clinical psychologist and board certified neurotherapist, tells Bustle. “Really listen and hear what the person says before you get too emotionally invested. They will never admit to this directly, but they give huge signs. All you have to do is read between the lines.”
So here are some signs you’re with an emotionally absent partner, according to experts.
They DonвЂ™t Allow Themselves To Be Vulnerable Around You
If your partner never allows themselves to display any vulnerability or need, they may be emotionally absent. According to Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, this type of behavior may stem from past hurt and disappointment. “Perfectionism and isolation may have been their coping skills in order to defend against having any needs that others may not meet,” Scott-Hudson says. “Perfectionism can mask needs for closeness and intimacy and help guard against any vulnerability.” For them, vulnerability is seen as a weakness. Unfortunately, you need vulnerability in order to have intimacy and form an emotional attachment. A partner who can’t be vulnerable around you is also a partner who can’t show you their true self.
They Use Humor Or Storytelling To Deflect
“When something requires a heartfelt response, they’ll often use humor or story-telling to deflect the seriousness of whatвЂ™s happening,” psychotherapist Michelle Farris, tells Bustle. They don’t react this way because they’re insensitive or bad people. According to Farris, they do this because they usually aren’t connected to themselves emotionally. “As a result, itвЂ™s difficult for them to acknowledge their own pain,” she says. “In a relationship, they donвЂ™t recognize other peopleвЂ™s pain and that makes them appear less supportive.” It’s easier to laugh off a serious topic than deal with the heaviness of it. However, it can make you feel like what you have to say doesn’t really matter.
Number 4: Is your partner empathetic?
If you are here, then that means you are unsure about your partner’s emotional quotient. This might be because you are feeling neglected or unheard in your relationship. “ Emotional unavailability ” describes a person who’s evasive, avoids meeting up, or simply doesn’t like to talk about their feelings. That person might also have difficulties with trusting people, bursts of anger, forming, and honoring commitments.
Such people tend to create barriers between themselves and other people to avoid or prolong any kind of emotional intimacy. These individuals don’t necessarily run away from relationships. They might seek out a normal relationship but the problem arises when they are not ready to commit to it full time. According to EA assessment, developed by Biringen et al. (1998) and Biringen (2008), scales of determining emotional availability in an adult are sensitivity, structuring, non-intrusiveness, and non-hostility. That’s why it’s necessary to recognize if your partner is struggling with emotional unavailability?
I am no Zulie Rane or Kris Gage but I am going to try and break it down to 6 basic questions you can ask yourself to figure it all out.
1. Is Your Partner Saying That He/She Is Not Ready To Commit?
Has your partner told you that marriage or serious dating scares them? Have they literally spelled out that they are not good at relationships? If the answer is yes, then it might be because their past relationships didn’t go as they wished, or they got hurt, or a thousand other reasons that they as an individual need to look into. Take them for their word. Do not victimize them or think you can fix them. Don’t take it as a challenge. More often than not people already know what their behavioral issues are, what they struggle with. They are telling you their truth. LISTEN. Listen to understand, don’t listen to react. This is not about you, or your need to fix someone.
2. Does Your Partner Often Dictate How You Should Feel?
Do you often come across a conversation where you express your feelings about a certain event and your partner immediately disregards it? As emotionally unavailable people don’t possess the same emotional quotient as others, they see things differently. They won’t feel with as much enthusiasm as you might. But this can become very frustrating for you as you will always feel that your opinion is undermined. You might even think that you are overreacting or overindulging. But the fact of the matter remains that no one should be told how to feel, as every individual reacts to life experiences in their way.
“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”― Charlotte Bronte
3. Do They Share Their Problems Or Are They Ready To Hear Yours?
This one is a tricky one, sometimes introverts or shy people also prefer not to share their problems. But the crux of the matter is that “is your partner ready to hear yours?” If the answer to both these questions is a negative one then that’s a red flag. Most emotionally unavailable people have a hard time listening to others’ problems, they are so involved in their own lives that actually listening to others, doesn’t seem very productive or appealing to them. So they deviate any conversation which is headed towards any kind of vulnerability. Often making you feel lonely in a relationship.
4. Is Your Partner Empathetic?
In any circumstance, observation is your biggest and most crucial weapon. Notice how your partner treats the people who are inferior to them. Are they rude to that random waiter who served dinner the other day? Are they kind to a stranger on the street? Is empathy a word you would attach to his/her character description? People who are in touch with their emotions tend to be kinder in nature as they can imagine what it would feel like to be in someone else’s shoes. They are more considerate.
5. Is Your Partner Not Good At Showing Or Receiving Appreciation?
Emotionally unavailable people are often uncomfortable with “appreciation” — an emotion, as that entails an acknowledgment of someone else’s active participation in their well-being. It’s not just restricted to receiving appreciation they also lack the ability to show that they are thankful. They will do anything to devalue any gesture done by you just so they don’t have put it in words, how much that said gesture meant to them. Verbal communication can be very difficult for them. And as most people like to be validated in a relationship this might taint your perspective about your partner.
When you make the obvious mysterious, then mysterious becomes unavailable. — Walter Draby Bannard
6. Is Evasiveness Their Go-To Move?
Delayed texts, constant change of topics when future of the relationship is mentioned, evasiveness regarding spending time together are all telltale signs that your partner is not being completely transparent to you. Everyone is entitled to their privacy in a relationship, but lack of communication or physical distancing because of above mentioned causes might become downfall for any tangible relationship. If your partner constantly keeps mystery around their life or their past, then that might make you feel like an outsider, which in turn results in unhappiness.
It is completely possible that you traced some of the qualities of emotionally unavailable people within yourself while reading the above list of questions. But this doesn’t mean that you or all your relationships are doomed. The takeaway in any relationship solution is — “Communication is the key.” So if all the questions mentioned above pulled up red flags in your head then it doesn’t mean that you abandon the ship and run for your life. Words and intentional efforts might heal your issues, just make sure that it’s not at the expense of your or your partner’s mental health.
Intimate relationships require balancing closeness and distance, interdependence and autonomy. Healthier relationships flow between these poles with both partners seeking either side of the spectrum at various times.
However, when one partner consistently takes a position of distancing and autonomy, intimacy can suffer or become non-existent.
Here are 16 characteristics to look for that can help you recognize avoidant or unavailable partners:
1) Commitment shy
Avoidant partners may avoid making long-term plans or talking about the future of your relationship. They may be vague or non-committal when asked what they want. When you propose a trip or activity that could bring you closer, they may say something such as, That might be nice, but avoid moving ahead. They may have a history of being the one who ends relationships and of preemptively leaving partners for fear of being left.
2) Not fully invested in the present
Avoidant partners may idealize a previous relationship. They may hold on to fantasies about a past lover in a way that makes a past relationship feel somehow unfinished, unresolved, or still alive in the present, making them less emotionally available to you.
3) Buzz kills
They may sabotage a relationship when things are going well by becoming childish, angry, sullen or picky. The closer you start to feel to them or the more you desire a deeper commitment, the more they may pull back, expressing a wish to see other people or becoming less communicative.
4) Buzz words
Avoidant partners tend to talk more about independence rather than closeness, freedom rather than intimacy, and self-reliance rather than interdependence. They fear clingy people or being seen as clingy themselves.
Avoidant or unavailable partners tend to believe they can only depend on themselves. In a crisis, they often put up walls and want to handle things on their own. Their motto: Im all Ive got.
Avoidant partners may find it difficult to trust others. They may view you in negative ways or see your actions in the worst possible light, suspecting that you are out to take advantage of them or restrict their freedom.
7) Mixed messages
Avoidant partners maintain distance by sending mixed signals, sometimes drawing you in with bids for closeness, other times pushing you away. They may say one thing but do another, such as telling you they want to spend more time together but then cramming their schedule with other commitments.
Avoidant partners often prefer to make decisions on their own even decisions that affect you. They may decide things about finances, career, travel or other plans and tell you only after it is too late to change. They tend to prefer solo rather than collaborative planning and decision-making.
9) Limited affection
They may be stingy with physical affection or show physical affection only during sex. Their libido may diminish the closer you get or the deeper the relationship grows. They may say I love you sparingly or without much feeling.
10) Lots of conditions
They may have rigid rules, find it difficult to be flexible, or let you know that certain things such as their job, freedom, or family of originare higher priorities than you and your relationship. They may set in stone some condition at the start of a relationship, for example, saying something like, I am not the marrying type, or I will never give up my freedom for anything or anyone, or I could never imagine living with someone.
They may stonewall when you want to address relationship issues. They may detach or threaten to leave if your feelings (or theirs) become too intense.
Avoidant partners may be quick to find fault with you. They may have a checklist of near-impossible standards in a partner, ensuring that no one can measure up. They may focus on what is not working or what could become a problem rather than embracing the positives in your relationship, thus dampening feelings and slowing a relationships growth.
13) Limited communication
They may want to limit conversations or daily contact, often bristling at suggestions that they text or call when they are out for the evening, traveling, running late or at the end of the day. They may become overwhelmed when you want to talk about the relationship.
14) Not feeling-friendly
Avoidant partners may fail to acknowledge your feelings or rarely express their own emotions. They may not know how to handle emotional conversations or issues. If you have an emotional response, they may tell you it makes no sense or try to reason you out of your feelings. They may call you too sensitive.
It may seem like there is always something more important than you or the relationship. They may fantasize about or dwell on how much more freedom they had when they were single. They may say it is much easier to be alone, as they can make their own decisions and answer to no one.
When you most need them, avoidant partners may find ways not to be there. They may say you are the cause of any relationship issues. They may find it difficult to see their own part in problems.
People have an avoidant style or are unavailable for many reasons. Often, an avoidant stance stems from repeated experiences early in life where they felt dismissed, pressured, taken advantage of, or not valued by one or more key caregivers.
At their core, avoidant partners tend to believe that no one will ever meet their needs. They expect that others do not want them to thrive or will not allow them to be themselves. They also may fear that they cannot measure up to what others want. In response, they wall themselves off for protection.
While we can have empathy for early-life wounds that led someone to an avoidant style, if you are in a relationship with an avoidant or unavailable partner, these distancing techniques may leave you with many of the following difficult emotions, such as feeling:
- Not valued
- Emotionally deprived
- Unable to truly connect
- Held at arms length
- Not good enough
- As though you are doing something wrong
Such feelings, if experienced too often or too intensely, may ultimately make a relationship non-sustainable.
Read Part Two of this blog to learn ways you can work with an avoidant partner to increase cooperation, communication and closeness.
Standoffish guy by Kurhan Dartboard by Gustavo Frazao Head in sand by Elnur Heartbreak by Drobot Dean
“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”
Being in a relationship with a partner who’s emotionally unavailable can be taxing and painful. Sometimes we cannot tell if the person will be available or committed in the beginning so we go along for the ride until we find out the truth. This comes about in many ways, with one person being evasive or unable to connect, while the other slowly feels more lonely and frustrated.
Certain people cannot be emotionally available until they’ve sought out the help they need, or get past an emotional trauma.
For example, a married man or woman will not be fully available for another relationship on the side, just as a struggling addict will not have a relationship as their top priority. Some people cannot connect fully due to a trauma in their past, such as an abusive relationship with their parent or spouse; or even a past relationship turned sour.
A healthy way to deal with an emotional unavailable partner is to meet them with honesty, kindness, and compassion. But, the second step is to see if they can be reciprocative. When you find that you’ve given all you can and are still not receiving in return, then it is time to take a closer look at the person, or relationship, and look for tell-tale signs of an unavailable partner.
If you did not see the red flags earlier on, here are some things to look out for if you find that your relationship leaves you feeling alone and unsatisfied.
They are in an unavailable circumstance
Whether they are married, in love with someone else, addicted to a substance, or experiencing a loss such as divorce or death, these people are otherwise occupied. So though these people can generally be attentive and available, they are in circumstances that may cause them to be evasive.
They still flirt a lot
Someone who overly flatters or carries on with flirting past the initial dating stage is not usually interested in the long-haul relationship. Their mindset is still in the pick-up scene, and they generally prefer the chase to the catch.
This also keeps the relationship on an overly shallow level instead of allowing for deeper level connections that is found past flattery.
They do not compromise
When a person is unwilling to compromise, they will not work to get the know the other person, or their wants and needs. They will always insist on their way, even if it hurts the other. Imagine trying to have a relationship with someone who covers their ears and says “la la la” everytime you want to speak to them.
They can be very attentive when things are going their way, but emotionally unavailable when it’s time to compromise or work together.
They blame past relationships
Watch how a person talks about their past relationships. In every breakup there is a point where both must realize that they don’t fit. Someone who only blames the other for the bad, does not take responsibility for their own shortcomings and issues.
An emotionally unavailable person will not be able to recognize what they could have done better, but will only lament on how the other was to blame.
They are perfectionists
A person who can find a flaw in anything is usually looking for an excuse to end the relationship and move on, so that they do not have to be too intimate or deal with messy emotions. In reality they are not ready, or unavailable for a relationship, and therefore become picky about their partners.
They are secretive
People who are completely closed off tend to keep a lot of secrets, and do not like you meddling in their business.
There is a difference between getting to know someone who is in their shell, and trying to pull out information from someone who wants to stay behind closed doors.
These are signs that they are not ready to be involved or have you “snooping” in their life.
A person who portrays strong signs of anger issues, is usually demanding and can lead to emotional abuse in the relationship as well. Notice the way they treat waiters, or other people around you.
This is a telling way to see where this person will go when they are triggered or bothered. It can also show a general lack of self-awareness, or ability to empathize with others. These signs should not be ignored as many of these can turn ugly and abusive.
Stay away from people who are cocky and braggy. People who are overindulgent in their arrogance usually suffer from a low self-esteem. In order to be fully present and vulnerable in a relationship, a person has to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses.
Going through a trauma
Notice any trauma that the person may have had from the past. Some people may even say it straight out, but notice the way in which they say it. Have they healed from this trauma, or are they still wounded and holding on to it? Does the trauma affect them in their connecting to others?
Someone who is an addict can very well live a functional life. In fact, like a workaholic, some would say, have everything under control.
But on the other side of this addiction they are unable to be fully present in the relationship, because essentially their addiction is a second relationship in which they give their time, attention, and energy.
Every person deserves to be in a loving and healthy relationship. Even if a partner is a good and kind person, and causes no abuse, there is no excuse for feeling alone and unfulfilled.
Talk to your emotionally unavailable partner honestly about the signs that you observe, and what can or can’t be fixed. We give love and energy in every relationship, and should expect the same in return.
If you’re dating someone who is emotionally unavailable, you’ll probably wind up feeling neglected and dissatisfied. Maybe they disappear for days at a time or fail to return your phone calls. Maybe they say they want a relationship, but they criticize you for trying to label it.
There are many different reasons for distance in a relationship. You may even be surprised to know that the situation could have as much to do with you as with your partner, especially if it’s a pattern for you.
Emotional unavailability poses serious obstacles to love and commitment, but you may be able to work things out. Get your love life back on track with this guide to changing or leaving this kind of challenging relationship.
Working on Relationships with Emotionally Unavailable Partners
Emotional unavailability can be a long term or temporary condition. For example, if your potential partner was recently divorced, they may need a little time to adjust. Even if someone is a bit ambivalent by nature, they may be able to change if they really want to.
Try these strategies to connect better:
- Listen closely. If your date tells you that they’re not interested in a serious relationship right now, believe them. You may prevent a great deal of frustration for both of you.
- Focus on actions. What if someone tells you that you’re their soulmate, but they keep making other plans on Saturday nights? When their actions and their words contradict each other, pay more attention to what they really do.
- Address the issue. Are you living in denial? Being honest about your relationship is the first step towards making positive changes. You may be able to help your partner open up, but only if they want it for themselves.
- Set boundaries. Honour your needs. Be assertive about how you expect others to treat you and how you will respond if they exceed your limits.
- Risk vulnerability. If your partner has trouble sharing their feelings, you may be tempted to shut down too. On the other hand, if you remain vulnerable and authentic, you may be able to show them that there are healthier alternatives.
- Stop abuse. Emotional unavailability may sometimes lead to abuse. Contact a local hotline if you think you need help ending a relationship that is putting your safety and wellbeing at risk.
Avoiding Relationships with Emotionally Unavailable Partners
Developing intimacy is often difficult, so you might want to remove as many obstacles as you can.
These strategies will help you to select partners who will love and accept you for who you are:
- Look for patterns. Examine your track record. If you often find yourself dating someone who is married or is just way too mysterious, you may be uncomfortable making a commitment too.
- Go online. Dating sites make it easy to discover new options and get lots of practice. Browse online and create your own profile.
- Pace yourself. When you’re dating someone, get to know them before you become infatuated. The first few dates are like an interview. You will either want them in your life, or you won’t. The trick is to ask questions, and carefully listen for the answers.You’ll be able to see them more clearly.
- Pursue your interests. You might want to take a break from dating while you revise your strategy. Do what you love, where you can mingle with others who have similar interests. You’ll enjoy yourself, and you might meet new friends and romantic prospects.
- Seek counselling. Life Coaches and therapists, can help individuals or couples with commitment issues. We have several coaches to choose from, right here on our Empath Match Site.
Be honest with yourself about whether you’re satisfied with your romantic relationships or need to change your approach to dating. If you want genuine intimacy, you also need to be emotionally available. If you know you have issues being emotionally available, you are more likely to attract an emotionally unavailable date or romantic partner. Check out our Coaches tab.
Unrequited love is probably one of the hardest situations ever. The truth is some people are just commitment-phobes or emotionally unavailable for a relationship, it does not necessarily mean that they have intentionally set out to hurt you.
But, intentionally or not, nobody deserves to be at the receiving end of such a relationship.
We all deserve to be with people who are ready and willing to love and commit to us like we are to them.
So how do you identify an emotionally unavailable partner to protect yourself from such an unhealthy relationship?
They Are Unavailable
An emotionally unavailable partner is, literally, unavailable. Life can get the best of us sometimes and keep us busy. However, we all give priority to what we consider important.
If you have a partner who is ghosting you, who you cannot say, with certainty, will contact you, reply you or reach out to you, you might be in a relationship with someone who is not ready to commit.
Couples should be involved in each other’s lives and be considerate enough to carry their partner along. It is not normal to be ghosted in a relationship.
They Invalidate Your Feelings
One thing this set of people are great at is making it seem like you are crazy for showing emotions or expressing your feelings.
They will accuse you of being too intense, too dramatic, too needy or too sensitive. In fact, the emotional abuse is so intense you might begin to believe you are the problem.
If you are sure you are not insecure and it is clear that your feelings are constantly invalidated, you are probably dealing with an emotionally unavailable person.
They Flee From Emotional Intimacy
Another thing that stands out is how they flee from any form of emotional intimacy. They might always be down for physical intimacy but they are never ready for emotional intimacy.
They are not interested in discussing conflicts, having deep conversations about your relationship or each other.
You cannot really say that you know them and vice versa because they always evade such discussions.
A person who loves you and wants to be in your life will want to have a meaningful connection with you.
They Have A History
We should, absolutely, not judge people based on their past; it is possible for people to change and we should always encourage and applaud the change.
However, when someone’s past matches their present character, believe them. If your partner has never had a long term relationship or any serious relationship and they are still acting inconsistent with you, that likely is who they are.
They Are Defensive
People who are unemotionally distant are usually out of touch with their emotions and because of that, they find it hard to communicate their feelings.
Therefore, when issues are raised, they usually go on the defensive and blame everybody else, but themselves, for everything.
They are never ready to acknowledge and confront their part in a conflict and they will likely make it all about you.
You Do All The Work
A relationship is a partnership; both partners have to put in the work for a relationship to work.
They should both be giving and taking or one person will become drained from giving and getting nothing back.
However, if you are in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable person, you are likely to do all the work into holding the relationship together.
You Know In Your Guts
Our instincts are very powerful and the truth is that we always know when something is right for us or not.
The problem is that we are usually too afraid to confront what we know in our guts. If you can feel it in your guts that your partner is not emotionally available, don’t ignore it, investigate why your instinct is giving you the red flag signals.
In This Article
Disagreements and arguments in marriage are very common, as you stay longer in a relationship, you tend to get used to these disagreements and then they become less frequent. However, there are cases where you just realize that you’re not really growing into the marriage and you might find yourself being married to an emotionally withdrawn husband .
Getting that silent treatment or that feeling that your husband is physically present but is distant with you maybe one of the things that women just hate. Women, in general hate being given this treatment but what triggers a man to choose to be emotionally unavailable to his wife?
Signs that your husband is emotionally withdrawn
Do you feel that you no longer have that strong emotional connection with a man ? Do you feel that your husband has started being emotionally withdrawn not just to you but with your marriage as well?
If you do, then you might need to start analyzing what has caused his emotional withdrawal first and then work on how you can connect with your emotionally withdrawn husband.
First things first, you have to remember that the person who knows your husband well is you and you know if you have married an overly emotional man or not. Let’s start from here and let’s see the signs when a man shuts down emotionally .
- Lack of emotional connection in relationship or marriage will show in obvious decisions such as his plans for the weekend or his vacation. If you see that he has already made some plans and that doesn’t include you then it means he prefers to be alone. While we all need some time alone from our spouses, if it happens all the time, that means it’s because of being emotionally distant.
- He doesn’t care. You’re hurt and sad and you try to tell him but he shrugs it off like it’s nothing. You vent out and even cry but he continues to watch his ball game or play games on his phone. It’s a very direct way of showing he that he doesn’t care.
- An emotionally withdrawn husband can cause feeling inadequate in relationship or your marriage. You may feel that all your efforts to fix the marriage doesn’t work. You may see that your husband can commit verbally but doesn’t really do anything to change your current situation.
- Emotional withdrawal in relationships can take a toll in any marriage. When you feel that all he does is criticize or blames you for any inconvenience, when all he does is see your mistakes and makes you feel like a burden then know that your husband is already showing a sign that he is emotionally unavailable for you and your marriage.
- We all know that one of the most common signs a man is emotionally connected to you is when he reciprocates or initiates intimacy. Lack thereof means he’s no longer invested in your relationship.
Reasons why men choose to withdraw emotionally
We may want to know now why this happens. Some of us might realize that it’s partly our fault but some may also be clueless about what’s happening.
Before we can assume that he’s seeing someone else, we might need to first know the most common reasons why you have an emotionally withdrawn husband and what we can do to fix it.
1. He’s hurt
How aware are you of the signs a man is hurt emotionally ? Or how about the different emotional triggers for men that can cause them to turn into an emotionally withdrawn husband ?
We have to understand that it’s not only us who will get hurt and sometimes when a man is hurt emotionally , instead of yelling, crying, and venting their frustrations, they choose to get distant.
Did something happen between the two of you? Was there a death in the family? Was there anything that might have caused your husband to choose to get distant?
2. He loves you
We know. This may sound contradicting but look at it this way, why men withdraw when they like you or loves you is because they don’t want the issue to become bigger or more complicated.
For example, you’re crying and you’re angry and you see him emotionally distant or it may seem that he doesn’t care. Analyze this first. Your husband may just want to give the issue some time and doesn’t want to make it into a big deal.
Remember, men deal with hurt differently than we do so maybe he just wants the issue to end.
3. He doesn’t know what to do anymore
Women want to talk about the problems and search for a solution. It can sure sound like a debate sometimes but it’s a way to cope with stress and disagreements. How about men?
Why do guys shut down when stressed and how to get him to open up emotionally with us? Men, when they feel that they can no longer do anything to solve the problem or they feel that it’s too overwhelming and they know that they’re not able to give a solution – they shut down.
They just choose to get distant, relax, take time and just drift away. Sometimes, doing this can actually help problems but taking too much time being emotionally unavailable will cause more issue in the future.
Importance of emotional intimacy – how to get it back
Now that it’s clearer what causes an emotionally withdrawn husband , it’s now time to know how to emotionally connect with a man and where we can start.
What to do when a man withdraws from your relationship? At the first time that this happens, give him the space that he needs . Respect the time that your husband needs to think and analyze the situation.
We all need space and sometimes, a man needs this space to recharge. However, if it happens constantly that is when you need to know what to do when a man withdraws from you more often than needed.
The second step is communication and be sure that you know how to listen. We all have our own monsters to fight and as his spouse, it’s your duty to know what to do when someone shuts down emotionally .
We just don’t talk and talk about what he needs to do or what you should take etc. We need to listen. Your husband might have something to say too.
3. Work together
There is no perfect marriage so we have to know how to stop being so emotional in a relationship . We’re not here to seek attention and to be pacified. We’re here to learn how to make our marriage work and shutting down emotionally is definitely not the solution.
Working with an emotionally withdrawn husband may become a challenge but as they say, the first few years of your marriage is the toughest.
There’s always something to learn, there’s always something to discover but if you know how to hold on to the person you love, then you can find ways to reconnect with him again and achieve a stronger bond as husband and wife.