Have you often come across the term “emotionally unavailable” and are curious to know what it actually means?
Did you or your loved one have a hard time dealing with emotions?
Perhaps you doubt that your personal relationships are chaotic because you just can’t be “into” the relationship as much as your partner, or vice versa?
Well, then you’ve reached the one-stop answer for all your questions about emotional unavailability.
Suppose you found someone who suits you perfectly, you think alike, have common interests, and feel you’re just made for each other until you notice… they don’t respond to your emotional needs.
That’s when you started doubting their intentions. Honestly, it may not always be because they don’t love you enough, it may be because they’re emotionally unavailable.
So now let’s first begin with…
Emotionally Unavailable Infographic
What does it mean to be emotionally unavailable?
A person is emotionally unavailable when they distance themselves from any emotional connections of their loved ones and close ones. They either withdraw or make a big deal out of the situation when anyone tries to know them better.
If someone avoids or evades discussing their personal feelings or flares up when someone else brings up an emotionally intimidating topic, you call them emotionally unavailable.
Don’t confuse them with introverts because they might love talking, sharing, or boasting about their achievements, and still keep the doors closed.
If you share your part of the story like your achievements in life, they won’t turn away. Yet, if you discuss some deep emotional issue or feeling, they’ll possibly brush it off… because they will not be willing to support you in times of crisis.
Sometimes your partner’s emotional unavailability might make you question whether they really like you or if they’re with you just to kill time.
All that said and done. Often some people mistake the “self-importance” trait of emotional unavailability as Narcissism. So, let’s help you identify each without any confusion.
Emotionally Unavailable vs Narcissism
Narcissism and emotional unavailability might have common grounds but narcissists blow the self-praise out of proportion, feel they’re the best of all, and deserve the best. They might also have a constant thirst for power and attention and hardly empathize with others.
Although you might find out that the traits of an emotionally unavailable person are somewhat similar to Narcissism, they are two different things.
For instance, emotionally unavailable people face troubles when they attempt to express their feelings or understand others’.
However, a person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) might feel superior to others or think they’re way more important than everyone else and prioritize themselves at any point.
A few more traits you might observe are feelings of entitlement with a constant necessity and urge to succeed in life so that others recognize, praise, and admire them.
If you come across a narcissist, you might also observe that they continuously show low compassion to their surroundings.
But, is emotional unavailability real or just a word from the dictionary?
The Science behind Emotionally Unavailable
Emotional unavailability is a real thing and psychologists can examine it with a 6-step emotional availability assessment. Although it was originally for parent-child relationships, it’s useful for all relationships.
If a person is just not bothered about others’ feelings or whether (s)he is unable to empathize with others because of a mental health condition, you can’t tell without proper assessment.
If your partner’s responses towards your emotions disturb you or their lack of emotional intimacy worries you, here’s the good news… science definitely backs it but only after proper examination.
Psychologists can conduct a six-step emotional availability examination to find out whether you and your partner can share any emotional connection.
1. A parent’s sensitivity to the child’s efforts
2. A parent’s efforts behind the child’s structuring or upbringing
3. A parent’s generosity in allowing the child to choose the best for them, aka non-intrusiveness
4. A parent’s ability to not direct their negativity on the child aka non-hostility
5. A child’s responsiveness to the parent’s words, and
6. A child’s involvement or yearning for the parent’s presence.
Although this examination is mainly used to help in parenting, you can find help from it in your marital or romantic relationships too… irrespective of age.
Psychologists might classify you and your partner is emotionally unavailable, complicated, unattached, or disturbed. But the classification process is not easy for a layman to interpret.
If your romantic life or your partner’s lack of emotional intimacy troubles you, let’s check for…
15 Emotionally unavailable signs of your Partner
If you’re with someone who doesn’t support you or accepts support from you, you might think that they’re emotionally unavailable. Well, if your suspicions are true or not, let’s check from this list…
1. The communication is off!
Your partner may be extremely hardworking and busy making a better living. But let’s admit it, everyone needs a breather from their busy schedule and they can absolutely come to you during that break.
They can’t get into the mushy talk for hours during their breaks, but a small “I’ll get back to you when I’m done” text isn’t too hard.
If you check your phone throughout the day yet find no responses from them, your partner might be emotionally unavailable.
2. Commitment is a no-go
One of the most dominant signs of emotional unavailability is when your partner tries to brush away from commitment-related discussions.
If you’re not in a committed relationship yet, and you try to strike a conversation around it, listen to what they have to say…
If they push it back later, they’re not as invested in this relationship as you, or simply they’re “emotionally unavailable”.
To ensure it, say “I love your company and wonder if we can take our relationship to the next level?”
This way you’ll not force them into the relationship and also communicate your intentions.
If they still brush you off and make excuses to delay this conversation, you’re too good for this emotionally unavailable person.
3. They fear emotional intimacy
No matter how much you love each other, you need to spend some time away from each other to keep the spark alike. Likewise, you also need to spend time together, go on dates, have a heart-to-heart conversation, etc.
But you may not always be available for the bonding sessions due to various reasons.
So, if your partner always needs space and time for themselves, they are using this space as an excuse to hide their fear of emotional intimacy.
So, mate, understand that you’re dating an emotionally unavailable person who needs medical help and healing.
4. There’s no “name” to your relationship
If your partner is not ready to call themselves publicly exclusive for you, what can be more disheartening?
Whether you guys are in a committed relationship or just friends with benefits, how will you or anybody outside the relationship understand that?
You must ensure the name of your relationship before it’s too late to back off with your heart in one piece. Don’t give your ALL because you love them.
Emotionally unavailable women/men don’t entertain such topics due to their fear of commitment. So, if your man/woman does the same, that’s a warning sign for your relationship.
5. The perfectionism puts you off
Your partner might be a perfectionist about their professional and personal life, and that’s wonderful. However, if they impose their perfectionism on you, they’ll push you out of your comfort zone.
If you’re a laid-back person and value comfort, you might face difficulties meeting your partner’s expectations.
For instance, if your partner prefers you in high heels or chiseled abs, you’ll possibly go out of your way to flaunt your sexiest side to keep them with you, despite the troubles.
However, you’ll never be able to satisfy their growing demands with your efforts – another trait of emotionally unavailable partners.
6. You solve a puzzle better than their emotions
If your partner hops from one extreme to another extreme in minutes, you’re bound to feel uncomfortable.
Questions like, “Does he love me?” or, “Does she imagine a future with me?” will always be lurking in your head.
Perhaps, you brushed it off initially and thought you unnecessarily overthink. Yet, nowadays, you can’t but give in to these thoughts.
You’re not at fault though because your partner’s inconsistent investment in the relationship plays with your thoughts.
If you continuously feel loved and unloved on a loop in your romantic relationship, they might be emotionally unavailable.
7. You have no idea about their needs
In healthy relationships, you won’t notice the partners hiding their real feelings or deep emotional needs.
For instance, if your partner is never straightforward about their expectations from this committed relationship, how will you proceed?
If they want to deepen the relationship, they must express their requirements. Otherwise, you’ll assume something and do the opposite of what they want.
Perhaps, you always worry about your partner’s thoughts on your actions. Is it because they give you genuine feedback or they don’t give you any hints until you do something?
He/she is emotionally unavailable if it’s the latter.
8. They always have something else to do
How frequently do you spend time together? Spending time doesn’t always imply going out or having fun, you can also spend time and bond while you laze in the living room.
Or, perhaps, whenever you snuggle in their arms, they refuse you with “I’m busy now, don’t disturb me”.
They possibly always use the same excuse about their hectic schedule.
For instance, even if you plan everything on their off-day and they just need to reach the venue, they disappoint you repeatedly.
This is one of the most prominent characteristics of an emotionally unavailable partner – they will ALWAYS prioritize their own needs.
9. They ALWAYS misunderstand you
When you approach your partner with your emotional needs or try to connect to them emotionally, how does your partner react?
Does he patiently listen and try to connect with you? Or, even if he’s busy at the moment, does he try to get back to you later? Then you don’t need to worry about anything.
However, if your partner always dismisses you or looks down on you because you reached out with “something so trivial”, you’ll feel misunderstood.
When your partner often turns you down during such times, understand that there’s something seriously off. A person in love will never do this.
10. They have a hyperactive defense mechanism
Even if your partner usually stays distant and mysterious about their emotions and thoughts, yet went ahead to tell you something deep (subconsciously)… how do they react?
But before that how do you feel…
…of course, you feel a bit closer to your partner and cater to their emotional needs and yearn to know more.
But once you show love to their concealed emotions, they will never accept it with open arms (unlike other emotionally available people)
Even worse when they refuse it with, “Nobody needs such stupid emotions”
Emotionally unavailable people keep their walls so high, that they try to push away anything or anyone who threatens to knock it down.
11. They never show affection towards you
You need affection from your partner not because you’re needy, but because everyone needs emotional support.
So, how frequently does your partner tell you “I love you” or show a romantic gesture towards you?
Your partner might not verbally confess to you all day, instead, they might convey their feelings with their actions. Then that may be because your partner is more of a doer and less of a talker.
But if your partner refuses to be affectionate towards you, it’s one of many signs of an emotionally unavailable partner.
12. “Emotions make you weak”
Your emotions expose your vulnerable side, so you only bear it in front of people you can trust with your eyes closed.
But if your partner refuses to show any kind of emotions in front of you, it’s a definite sign of their emotional unavailability.
Do they also advise you to keep your emotions hidden? That’s because they can’t show any affection to you when you need it.
People who are emotionally unavailable avoid sharing any personal matters and may also not be as empathetic towards others’ troublesome experiences.
If you observe similar signs, that’s your red flag.
13. They won’t change, NO MATTER WHAT
Like everyone else, even you desire some time and attention from your partner.
So, do they try to make time for you? Or, do you find yourself alone even when you need a hug or a pat on your back?
Honestly, if it’s the latter and they avoid your needs with petty excuses all the time, then you’re dealing with an emotionally unavailable partner.
But before you reach a conclusion, make sure you know whether this “unavailability” is intentional or genuine.
14. They keep you away from their inner circle
Since you started dating, how many times did he/she take you to meet with their family members?
Do they give off a vibe that says “I’m unsure about living a future together so why bother involving loved ones in this uncertainty?” or anything close to that?
Does his inner circle know about you or your existence? Do they often try to dismiss conversations about family or friends?
If you can’t answer it right away then it’s a sign, you’re in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable partner.
15. Your unavailability is attractive!
Possibly you played hard to get at the beginning of your relationship, and your partner chased you to the end of the world. Don’t feel guilty over it because many relationships begin like that.
But after a while, when you hit it off with the relationship and tried to get closer to your significant other… How was their reaction?
Did they love you like before? Or, did you feel that the flame of love withered once they got you?
If that was the only time your partner showed love to you, this is a warning sign.
If you didn’t find many similarities from above with your partner, but your instincts say that something might be wrong with you, then you may want to know…
15 Emotionally Unavailable signs of You
If you often struggle to express your emotions and see your relationship suffering due to it, it’s best to be sorry now than regret it later.
After all, if you know yourself a bit more, it might help you with your future relationship.
1. You find similarities in 9to5 jobs and relationships
Relationships need effort so you think the efforts are as hard as any job.
Do you step back from romantic relationships because you can’t handle more responsibilities in your life?
Well, mate, you need to understand that if you give and invest a lot of time and emotions in relationships, you’ll also equally receive that much time and nourishment from your partner.
Your thoughts about a relationship being burdensome to your current schedule are your mind’s way to pacify your emotional unavailability.
You possibly fear connecting to others and steer clear of romance and relationships to save yourself from confrontation.
2. You don’t like to answer “What’s on your mind?”
You, being a human, have lots of pain, regrets, hopes, and yearnings… but how many people are aware of them? You may not be close to your parents, but did you share it with a friend or a partner?
If you answered no, then either you’re ashamed of them, or you fear others judging you. You might say “I want to protect my heart”.
But you’ve lost multiple chances to build emotional bonds because you can’t afford to share what’s on your mind. This is one of the signs of an emotionally unavailable person.
3. Being “available” excites you
When you want to engage in relationships with multiple people… in fact, if it thrills you, there’s certainly something wrong.
Call it outdated but an exclusive relationship proves to be healthy in the long term. However, if you think that you don’t need a long-term relationship, then why is that?
Do you feel emotions are a lot of work, or you don’t have time to “play house”? Perhaps, you’re just not ready for a real relationship?
All of these imply you’re emotionally unavailable and it’s time you face it head-on!
4. “Virtual relationships” attracts you
Do you feel that you’ll choose someone from the virtual world more easily than from someone in front of you?
Let’s rephrase it: Do you feel virtual dating is more attractive than real-life dating?
Perhaps you love how the other person compliments you on a virtual screen… all while you can still be in your cocoon.
Whereas in a real-life relationship, you must be available to the other person when they need your emotional support, but you’re not ready for that.
If you agree, it might be because you’re emotionally unavailable and too lazy for the real deal.
5. You’re suspicious about everyone
When someone gets friendly with you, what’s your first reaction?
Do you greet them with equal warmth but still stay alert? Do you take your time to understand them while they continue? That’s a good sign, nothing’s wrong with you.
However, do you never let your walls down no matter how much they try? If that’s the case, then you passively wait until the other party gets tired and leaves of their own accord.
If you belong to the second lot, you must tend to your emotional concerns sooner because you’re possibly emotionally unavailable.
6. You love the chase
Initially, in relationships, if you played the hot and cold games to create tension amidst you both, fair enough. But once you heated up the environment, did you tend to their needs?
Did you stay with your partner and offer them emotional support? Or, are you still at the chasing game?
If you find the chasing game more interesting than the relationship itself, then you’re possibly a manipulative person and aren’t even aware of it.
This might be because of your emotional unavailability and it’s time to rethink what you want from them.
7. You abandon in a heartbeat
If you don’t give toxicity a second chance, that’s actually a great trait. So, don’t doubt your decision if you removed some unnecessarily dramatic people from your life.
However, when you come across difficulties, do you make a run or confront them bravely? You might not always be ready to face the hard times, but you must look back at the situation to fix things.
You might feel abandoning is much better than taking the hassle of working on a relationship, which is one of the signs of emotionally unavailable people.
8. Your relationship history reeks of emotional unavailability
If you’re an emotionally unavailable person, you will easily connect with the likes of you.
This is not a stereotype, rather you’re comfortable with emotionally detached people because they don’t have expectations.
Although you’ll love the detachment because everything seems easier, you also crave attention deep inside. And this is why you drifted apart from your emotionally detached partners.
Perhaps, you experienced similar situations more than once. You love the initial phase of detachment, yet once you want more, you close yourself because of an unknown fear.
9. You fear losing independence
Suppose you love your independence the most and think a romantic relationship might snatch away your freedom.
Or, you think a romantic partner will strip off your independence because of the emotional dependency.
Perhaps, you think that being on your own and leading your life on your terms is far more comfortable than syncing with someone else.
Well, it’s your life and you call the shots for it, but you can never engage in a healthy romantic relationship in this way.
If you can’t adjust and balance with your romantic interest’s needs, you’re probably emotionally unavailable.
10. You like shallow small talks
When you flirt with someone, do you talk a lot about shallow things like appearance and image? Or, do you think about the soul’s beauty?
Perhaps, you feel that physical appearance, social and professional achievements, and money are all that you’ll ever need to attract a partner. So, your conversations usually consist of a lot of boasting.
Moreover, you like to compare your accomplishments to feel superior over others to your romantic interest.
But sometimes this doesn’t work out when you want a relationship and you absolutely fail to understand what went wrong – another trait of emotional unavailability.
11. You never dated seriously
No matter how many people you dated, what was your ultimate goal? In the end, what did you want from the relationship?
Did you ever want your lover to become a spouse? Or, even an inseparable part of your life?
Perhaps you were just playing for some flirting and feel-good times. Meanwhile, you (probably) also enjoyed the perks of physical intimacy, and everything was so happy and so fulfilling.
If you never imagined your partner as your life partner, or if they were never in your future plans, you weren’t even serious – that’s because you’re emotionally unavailable!
12. You’re still hungover someone/thing
If you lost something precious in your past and that memory still pains you, you might find it hard to emotionally connect with anything or anyone again.
You possibly had huge expectations from yourself or dreamed of a happy life together with another person. Yet, for some reason, that person left you shattering all your dreams and hopes.
You’re probably stuck in the past and fear losing someone/something precious all over again. This might signify that you’re emotionally unavailable and need some serious help and support.
13. You don’t spill your past
How do you feel about your past? Of course, you have all kinds of memories, happy, sad, funny, and even angry ones.
But have you tried sharing about it with your close ones? This question is not limited only to your romantic partner because you must understand your extent and willingness to open up in general.
If you feel that you hardly ever talked out to your closest loved one about your emotional turmoil, then you’re not comfortable expressing yourself.
Yet, if you’re boastful about your accomplishments and don’t find trouble in making small talks, then you’re emotionally unavailable.
14. You joke about serious issues
Did you ever try to brush away an important issue with sarcasm? Perhaps, your partner told you something really upsetting but you didn’t react the normal way.
Instead of being hurt or aggressive, you suppressed all surging emotions with sarcasm.
You possibly justify your actions by saying “I’ll do anything to protect myself and my emotions from this cruel world”.
Or, “They don’t deserve to witness my emotions.”
If this kind of scenario rings a bell in your head, you fear showing vulnerabilities – which is already a sign of emotional unavailability.
15. You prefer sex over emotional intimacy
If you find yourself craving sex from your partner even before you create any emotional connection, you’re possibly emotionally unavailable.
As a result, you’ll choose sex over a heart-to-heart discussion about life.
This is one of the most common signs of emotionally unavailable men but this doesn’t mean it is absent in emotionally unavailable women.
Usually, when you can’t have a deeply emotional conversation with your partner, you take the easy route out – lead them to bed to change the topic.
But the problem still persists, leading to broken relationships.
After learning about your and your partner’s emotional availability, you might question…
What causes emotional unavailability? (why am i emotionally unavailable?)
A bad emotional experience, lack of recovery from the experience, emotionally unavailable parents, or mental health issues might cause emotional unavailability.
A person cannot become emotionally unavailable because they feel like it. There can be deep-rooted and valid reasons behind their situation.
And if either one of you in your relationship is emotionally unavailable, you must give another shot to save your relationship.
But before that, let me help you identify the reasons you (or your partner) are suffering from this:
1. You experienced a bad relationship
If your last romantic partner cheated on you, didn’t return your feelings, you guys broke up with hard feelings or if they were emotionally abusive, it might result in your emotional unavailability.
Such experiences might cultivate a fear of bad relationships in you, which later exhibits itself as your withdrawn nature towards romantic relationships.
You always fear that your current relationship will also leave you shattered, and so keep your walls up high.
Your one-time bad relationship left a permanent scar in your subconscious which doesn’t allow you to open up to your new partners.
2. You didn’t go through the recovery period
Usually, after a bad relationship, your friends urge you to date once again. Although they suggest it with honest concern towards your feelings, they aren’t aware of your feelings.
If you don’t move on and recover from your last relationship, you can’t possibly give away your entire heart to a new person.
If you still think of how your ex didn’t return your feelings and shed tears for them, how will you give any attention to the new person?
Lack of healing from traumatic experiences leads to emotional unavailability.
3. You have emotionally distanced roots
If your parent figure never showed any love or tenderness to the young you… you’ve now accepted this cold behavior as the normal attitude.
Say for instance, in your childhood, when you scored the highest in any subject and told your parents, how did they react?
Did they encourage you with a hug or a pat? Or did they passively dismiss you with a “Keep up the good job” without any visible excitement?
Whatever your parents pick, you think “That’s how it should be”. So, if it was the latter for you, that may be the reason why you’re so emotionally unavailable.
4. You have mental health issues
If you’re suffering from any mental health concerns like depression, you might face difficulties connecting with your loved ones during any crisis.
At that moment, your first response might be fleeing from the situation or distancing yourself from everyone around you. So, emotional unavailability might become a direct consequence of your mental state.
You might find yourself giving up on your happiness even though it means the world to you because you can’t accept the emotional and mental pressure all at once.
This slowly develops into emotional unavailability without your notice.
5. You disappointed yourself
In the past, if you aspired for a huge promotion, job offer, or were on the verge of fulfilling some dream, yet it crashed at the last moment, it might be a reason why you’ve created such walls around you.
You possibly stopped tending to your emotions after that and made a habit out of it. Perhaps, you fear that if you involve your emotions and feelings, everything will go wrong.
In such situations, you might subconsciously grow emotionally unavailable with time and it becomes a deep issue in your regular life.
You possibly fear disappointing and hurting yourself once again and choose the easier way.
After learning the reasons, you might feel bad for your relationship and your partner and want to do something to sustain the relationship. For that, learn…
How to not be emotionally unavailable?
If you’re emotionally unavailable and your circumstances are impacting your life, you can help yourself with these small steps…
1. Hunt down your fears
Everyone has a fear, and you too are afraid of something which pulls you back from being emotionally available.
You might fear that people will leave you behind once they know you better. Or, you fear that people will hurt you intentionally if you open up.
Whatever it is, is it really worth your attention? Are you really protecting yourself with this attitude?
Rather, you harmed and sabotaged many prospective relationships in your life while you pacified your fears.
So now, change your ways and notice how your life changes for the better, to find happiness.
2. Make a negativity journal
You never thought about noting down your negative thoughts. Possibly because you fear pessimism will overpower you…
Know that negativity journals are much healthier than you think because you’re giving away your emotional baggage to something forever.
However, prepare some tissues beforehand because you’ll resurface your old feelings and will be done with them for good.
If the thought of revisiting your past scares you, know that you’re living in your past every moment, so how’s it any different?
Perhaps the feelings will be more intense, but you’ll make it through.
3. Keep your inner circle happy
Hopefully, you have someone in your life that makes you happy or motivates you to live another day. Even if you feel you’re all on your own, look around carefully.
Perhaps a friend who stays with you no matter how much you disregard them, or a family member who checks on you every time.
If you think you really have nobody to count on, then find someone to share your happiness with. Perhaps, visit an orphanage and share some happiness with them.
Tell them that they matter and encourage yourself with good feelings.
4. Forgive people who betrayed you
If you went through a bad relationship (or friendship), it definitely sucks to think about it now.
However, if he/she doesn’t hold a light to you so why think that falling in love or befriending that person was a huge mistake and you can’t repeat that?
Your emotions are justified but holding back from living your life… not so much. Forgive the wrongdoers, because the grudge isn’t helping you.
Start responding to all the people who have been trying to knock down your walls and see how it turns your life upside down.
5. Follow a positivity journal
Now that you’ve made a negativity journal, let’s return to the mainstream. Make a positivity journal where you’ll pen down each and everything you love about yourself.
If you’re already boastful, you might feel that you don’t need any more of that.
But let me tell you, the good things you tell others about yourself, that’s too superficial – the ones that you will write in this journal will not only be honest but will also impact you positively.
Write down something meaningful, like the stray cat you pet today, or the blind person you helped cross the road.
All of us are amazing and unique in our own forms – but you tend to forget during depressing times… and this journal will help you remember it.
6. Chant optimism like a mantra
No, you can’t stop after writing these good things about yourself. Read it out loud and let it sweep into your system so much so that you memorize it.
Look in the mirror in the morning and tell your image something encouraging like “You’re the best”, or “You rock!” If the thought sounds funny, there are more reasons to do it.
Find another reason to start your day with a smile.
Don’t let your emotions overpower you, be vulnerable when you’re talking to yourself. Say, “I know you hate that, but we don’t have a choice, we’ll get through.”
7. Learn to communicate
In your childhood, your parents taught you, “Don’t use this word, it’s nasty”, or “Don’t talk back to your elders, that’s disrespectful.”
Nobody cared to teach you how to communicate, instead, they gave you small pointers to please others with your verbal skills.
So, it’s time to brush up on some real soft skills. You’re not preparing for a job though; you’re preparing for a beautiful life ahead of you.
Listen to others, try connecting with their thoughts and give a shoulder others can lean on. You won’t hurt yourself if you support someone in their darkest hours without any expectations.
8. Dump the negativity
You wrote in your negativity journal, but was that enough? Think not? Then it’s time to get rid of them for good. When you feel your negativity is way more than you can express on texts, be verbal.
Call up someone to share your thoughts. Are you scared? Do you dread something? Perhaps you can’t sleep at night because you fear you’ll have bad dreams once again.
If you don’t have anybody to talk to, go to a bar and share your story with a decent-looking person. Sounds crazy? But it is just as much fun and thrilling.
9. Don’t find comfort in toxic addictions
Whether you drink or smoke, do you indulge in it for refreshment and pleasure, or is it because you’re depressed and hopeless?
When you feel down, you indulge excessively in anything… even if it’s simply edible. You can wolf down more food when you’re low, which is never good.
Excess of anything becomes harmful so when you’re sad, don’t partake in addictions. You’ll harm yourself in the long run, but if you say “YOLO”, you’re up for a real fun ride.
Don’t let these depressive emotions worsen your future health to the point of no return.
10. Don’t judge without a title
Nobody is a saint, everyone judges others… and gaining control of this habit isn’t an easy task. So, start with lowering the volume of your inner voice.
When you see a person and immediately start psychoanalyzing every small detail about what they do, you have too much time on your hand.
Return to your work, grab a coffee, and you’ll have no time to think about others.
Imagine, if you stood there judging some random Joe, then someone else also got the chance to judge you.
I’m sure you won’t like that either… so, let the change begin with you.
11. Share the kindness
Be a little kinder to everybody else… starting today. Don’t compete with Mother Teresa, rather show one act of real kindness in your whole day and make it a habit.
You can’t abandon this habit after a few days. Even if the whole day goes bad, and everyone on your radar is messing up everything, make sure you are kind to yourself and others surrounding you.
Remember, you can’t achieve this overnight but stay at it… the world can definitely use some kindness.
12. Dawdle a bit
Until now, you came across many guides to be emotionally available and possibly ran out of breath for the dos and don’ts.
But understand that you don’t have to do it in a flash, take your own time climbing up the ladder.
If in the process you want to slow down, you’re free to do so. Remember as long as you are making progress, it’s good, no matter how slow it is.
Don’t let the negativity overwhelm you… now, that you’re one step closer to a healthier life.
You’ll face unique types of emotions, and they might not be pleasurable. But that’s what you’re fighting against – the inner demons.
13. Let your partner “in”
If you’re seeing someone right now, talk to them about their situation.
Of course, you can’t share too much about yourself, that’s your problem so how can you straight away do the opposite, right?
Instead of sharing your darkest secrets, let them in on the situation, and ask them to stand by you whenever you feel like giving up.
Eventually, you’ll find more lovable sides of your partner, and think “This person deserves to know all of my stories.”
14. Hang out with happily-ever-afters
If you’re in a relationship, look for other happy couples in the vicinity. Perhaps, a great couple in the neighborhood, or in your friend circle.
Even better if you plan an outing with other couples like a group couple’s date. You’ll learn how couples interact and it’s normal to show any type of emotion to your significant other.
When you look at other happy and healthy couples, you’ll crave that same feeling and learn to trust others.
Don’t compare your performance to create new setbacks. Instead, learn to express yourself to your partner.
15. Seek your therapist
Well, your phase of emotional unavailability might not be the same as the next person’s.
So, if you feel your situation is way out of proportion, or you can’t help yourself with the points mentioned above, it’s only wise to look for a therapist.
A therapist can show you a new route out of your condition. They will pull out the real probable causes of your emotional unavailability and work on it directly.
They’ll be more direct about your condition and propose better ways to get rid of the issues.
However, if you already have a willing partner, pitch them in and sign up for couples’ counseling if you’re looking for a healthy future together.
But, what if your partner or a loved one is emotionally unavailable? What would you do then?
How to deal with someone who is emotionally unavailable?
When your partner or a loved one is emotionally unavailable, you must take care of the situation wisely.
To begin with, here are some suggestions.
1. Tally with the list
Go to the top and tally with the signs of an emotionally unavailable partner section. How many similarities do you notice between the list and this person?
While you check for signs, ensure you don’t exaggerate anything. Keep things as they are and connect the dots.
Also, be very observant because some of the signs might not be as vivid as the others. Perhaps they are insecure yet suppress the feelings with their mean behavior.
Or they react aggressively when you talk about emotions and try to hide it in “I don’t feel like talking today”, so examine closely.
2. Identify the cause
Next is finding the probable cause of their issue. What really began this entire emotionally unavailable journey? Was it a past relationship or was it a parenting issue?
If it’s a relationship, then they might recover quickly. However, if it was a parenting problem, then this issue is their “normal” and it’ll need more effort.
If it’s a mental health concern, they’ll need medical attention too.
Once you find the actual reason behind it, you can make an escape route easily for your loved one.
3. Notice if they’re honest
Bring up the topic “emotional unavailability” to them and share your take on their situation. Observe how they react to your explanation.
Are they accepting your opinion or getting extremely defensive?
However, if the situation is too serious, you might offend them but there’s no choice left for you. You need to share your opinions if you want them to heal.
They might accuse you of insulting them so make sure you don’t break down from their hurtful words and confront them anyway. You must take a little heat to reach the oasis of your life.
4. Throw more self-centrism
Instead of saying “You become defensive when we discuss commitment things”, say “I need you to talk a bit more about our relationship”
For their betterment, make yourself look like the needy one. You might feel that you are belittling yourself, but at this point, is that really your concern?
You’ll decrease the effects of the “attack” or “accusation” of their emotional unavailability a little and it will be a lubricant to this confrontation.
They’ll think that you actually need them and as a bonus, share some emotions with you.
5. Check on yourself
At this point, you’re almost the caregiver of the other person. If you feel it’s burdensome, I won’t blame you.
You might feel that this person continuously rejects your goodwill and brushes it off, and that’s somewhat disrespectful. If you don’t feel so great about the continuous rejections, tend to yourself.
Don’t let the other person’s vibes engulf your optimistic ones. Ensure you don’t become emotionally unavailable while tending to their issue.
You’re the rescuer here, so don’t ignore yourself while you play the hero. What good will it be if you heal them only to fall sick yourself?
6. Avoid preaching
You are trying to save a person and perhaps a relationship, too. So, don’t bother directing how they must feel.
Say, for instance, you tell a stubborn child to do something, you’ll irritate them and they won’t like to do it. The same can happen with this person.
Suppose, they’re upset and you tell them “Think about the positive side” – that’ll do more damage than good.
It’ll lead to misunderstandings in your relationship if you’re not careful about what you tell them. So, take your time to assess their mood before you say anything or act in a certain manner.
7. Bring up therapy
When nothing seems to work, introduce them to the idea of therapy. They might deny it or refer to it as a waste of time and resources. So, try to convince them in a witty way.
Perhaps, ask them to try it as an act of joy. You can accompany them through the therapy or also seek couple therapy.
Explain that there’s nothing wrong with treating an illness and you’ll also get an outsider’s view on your relationship free of any kind of biases.
8. Retreat and wait
If this person had no idea about emotional unavailability, they’ll take more time to understand it completely. Any rush during this situation might result in an opposite result.
Don’t force them to take treatment at home or from experts. Leave them on their own and allow them to understand what might be wrong and what options they have to fix them.
Don’t expect them to make up their mind within a day so let them think through and choose for themselves.
Also, your physical and emotional distance from them will help them understand the severity of the situation.
9. Evaluate your actions
Meanwhile, you give them space, also contemplate on the fact whether you’re at fault and causing this behavior.
Don’t deny this possibility instantly, instead think about how you treat them.
Do you give them enough space for themselves? Are you clear and transparent with your feelings and expectations?
Sometimes, human beings subconsciously expect their loved ones to understand everything even when they don’t mention it.
When the other person can’t guess or act according to those silent wishes, they get upset.
If that’s your case, then you must work on yourself and wait for the other’s response.
10. Discuss points of dissatisfaction
Talk with your emotionally unavailable partner and try to identify aspects where they are dissatisfied with you. If they blame it on you, try to understand their point of view.
Sometimes, emotionally unavailable people like to play the blame game to cover their emotional shortcomings.
Learn your partner’s opinion about the situation. Perhaps, they’re imagining certain things and you can clear them with some discussions. Or, you might really find some issue with yourself to work on.
However, don’t let their accusations pull you down.
11. Are you also emotionally unavailable?
If your relationship history consisted of a series of emotionally unavailable people, then you might also be emotionally unavailable.
So, from the signs of being emotional yourself, how many did you match? Did you relate to the majority of the signs?
Suppose you are, then possibly, your partner learned some of the traits from you.
Subconsciously, humans learn things that they perceive regularly. Don’t blame yourself for their situation, instead, get therapy and recover together.
12. Practice some tips yourself
While you deal with emotionally unavailable people, your words won’t come across them as strongly as your actions.
Even if you’re not an emotionally unavailable person, practice ways to deal with your own emotional unavailability.
Perhaps, follow a negative journal, or indulge yourself in a pep talk every morning. Show your partner that it’s not that hard or shameful to follow any of them.
While they brood over their closed emotions, show how they can do much better with some steps in their life.
13. Note their reactions
After you tried on all the different tips regularly for, say, a week, what’s the response?
How did they handle it? Do they say “It’s useless”, or do they notice you for a while and turn their back? Or, do they get defensive and accuse you of mocking them?
Different people will react differently and you must observe their reactions. This will tell you where things are headed and how you can further benefit.
Note down their reactions and speak with an expert about it.
14. Ask them what they want
So far you did your best giving them all of your energy whether on-stage or behind-the-scenes. You did everything possible for them because you want a healthy relationship.
But if they stick to their grounds, that’s similar to emotional abuse. Whether this person is your parent, friend, or partner, you have your limits.
If you think there’s no progress, ask them directly what they want.
Do they want to continue this emotionally distant game or do they want to open up more? With that, you can make your next move.
15. Learn to accept defeat
If this emotionally unavailable person isn’t ready to compromise for you, then why compromise yourself?
Your efforts possibly went to vain, but you’ll have no regrets or thoughts like “If only I was a bit more patient.”
Well, you put up your best to that person and that’s enough for your part. If it’s an emotionally unavailable partner, break up with them, because you can’t afford emotional abuse forever.
Whereas, if it’s a family member, give up and accept that they’ll not change their ways.
All that said and done. Here are some more questions about emotional unavailability to help you give a detailed understanding of the subject.
Emotional unavailability is a rather new concept and you can have several questions about it, including…
Your emotional unavailability will result in superficial relationships which will lead you to disappoint your partner multiple times.
However, repeated disappointments and broken relationships will hint at the problem someday. That’s when you’ll understand you must leave behind some emotional baggage and heal yourself.
Your emotional unavailability doesn’t itself label you as bad or unlovable.
So, as long as you’re willing to accept that you need some change for working things out in your romantic life or any personal relationships, you’re a good person.
Know your emotional depths and ponder on stretching them for better personal relationships. Of course, you might fail and start from the beginning, but that’s not enough to call quits.
Your relationships and your loved one’s reactions will help you identify the dysfunctional parts and tend to them.
If you feel guilty for “using” relationships to overcome your situation, don’t forget you’ll live a better life with them afterward.
For the emotionally unavailable, dealing with emotions isn’t easy, so they might be incapable of identifying or showing emotions of love.
They can fall in love, without doubt, however, they might not express it verbally. There’s no guarantee they’ll identify “love” immediately.
You might feel anxious and express frustration because of it. After all, they fear emotional intimacy, and deep within they’re afraid of you rejecting their emotions.
Such fears cloud their feelings of love, and so they create high walls around them.
They don’t “not love” intentionally, rather it’s a subconscious reflex that is afraid of a cold rejection but actually missing out on the warmth of love.
Emotionally unavailable people can hardly show or identify their real feelings. Even if they love you, they won’t know.
Similarly, even if they feel intensely about you, they’ll do something for you rather than say it.
Not because they want to express their love but because something about you lingered in their mind and they can only ease their mind once they do something for you.
They won’t confess their love but will show it with their actions. However, the actions also won’t be as obvious as you want them to be.
For instance, if you absentmindedly said that you hate waking up with the sun at your face, they might hang a blackout curtain and behave like they “just wanted a change”.
They might not make you feel special with a date night, but they might cook or order takeout to help you relax on a tough day.
All emotionally unavailable people might not react the same to feelings. Similar to falling in love or showing love, “missing emotions” also don’t come easy to them.
They might not try to save a relationship when you say “I don’t think I can connect with you”, because that’ll show vulnerabilities.
Neither will they ask you to return once you leave. But they’ll definitely miss you if they cared about or loved you.
If they love you, they’ll subconsciously think about you and miss you in your absence. Again, they won’t be obvious, but they might send you something you like to make your day.
They might forward something funny to grab your attention when they miss you instead of “I miss you” texts.
A word from ThePleasantRelationship
If you or your partner is emotionally unavailable, continuing your relationship can become tough because of a lack of assurance. However, that doesn’t indicate you must break up or get a divorce.
In such times, you must speak to them clearly about what you need from each other and what’s valuable to you two.
When you talk it out slowly and know each other’s thought processes, you’ll find a new ray of hope. In worse cases, you can also seek therapy and find your way out of this rut.
Once you set your heart on your relationship, and your eyes on each other, nothing will seem impossible.
Surabhi wakes up every day with a drive to craft words that can create a soulful impact. Creatively adventurous, she is always seeking to learn new skills and acquire new experiences. With a hidden soft corner for languages (especially Urdu), she writes poetry occasionally, binges on romantic shows, and LOVES to talk. A hustler, admirer, chaser, Surabhi is just another-someone who refused to give up on her dreams. She says, she is just somebody who’s trying to make herself a writer and for now, she’s just writing...