Let’s say you’ve dated someone for about 6 months. You have a lot in common, not to mention wonderful sexual chemistry, but something seems to be out of reach. They might be shy about conversations about emotional unavailability.
What makes a partner emotional unavailability?
Recognizing an emotional lack of availability can be difficult. In many cases, emotional unavailability people can make you feel good about yourself and optimistic about the future of your relationship.
But if you never communicate more intimately after an encouraging start, they may not be able to sustain anything beyond informal engagement for the time being.
The signs below can help you recognize a partner’s emotional disadvantage.
They don’t like planning
Emotionally unavailable people often show less tendency to make commitments, whether these commitments are secondary or more important.
You might propose to meet next week. They enthusiastically agree so she asks for the day that works for them.
They say “Let me check it out and get back to you,” but you won’t hear a response.
Or they might say, “I’m going to pencil.” But when the time is right, they have a wonderful excuse for not being able to do so.
They call the shots
When you see each other, they tend to choose what you do – usually an activity that aligns with their routine.
They might show the final episode of their favorite show on Netflix, even if you haven’t watched it before. Or, they may ask you to help them around the house.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a problem, especially if they seem receptive to your suggestions.
But if they never ask what you want to do, or seem upset when you don’t want to keep up with their plan, it might be time to take a closer look at the relationship.
You do all the relationship work
Don’t I remember the last time they sent a text that wasn’t a direct response? Are you a little disappointed that they never set a date or initiated any plans?
If you’ve done all the calls, texting, and planning, there’s a good chance they’re emotionally unavailable. They enjoy spending time with you, for sure, when it feels right for them. But they don’t want to work for it, so if you don’t achieve things, they likely won’t.
When you’re not spending time together, you rarely hear from them. It may take days to respond to messages or completely ignore some messages, especially messages with meaning.
They might say, “I’d rather talk about the important stuff in person.” Of course, on the surface, that’s cool, until they actually do it.
They avoid the word “relationship.”
Emotional unavailability can involve concerns of commitment and intimacy. You might engage in relationship behaviors with someone – going on dates, spending the night together, and meeting each other’s friends – but they don’t want to talk about establishing a formal relationship.
As long as you keep dating casually, things are fine. But when you try to build a deeper commitment, they hold back.
Be careful if someone sees you:
- They say they want to keep things normal
- He talks a lot about the pre-modern
- He talks about unrequited feelings for a friend
- He says they have a fear of commitment
You can always capture them at a time when they feel ready to work for a change. Usually, however, the person who says these things means it.
You never seem to get close
At the beginning of a relationship, they openly share their weaknesses or say how much they enjoy spending time together. But things don’t get serious.
It’s tempting to try to get things working with someone who seems distant. You might think that they just need to find the right person. If you can get to them when no one else can, then your relationship probably lasts, right? You just have to try a little harder.
This is how emotional unavailability can land you.
Unless they do some work themselves, you’ll continue to invest energy in the relationship to get closer one day. Meanwhile, they will continue to avoid reciprocity, so you will drain yourself until you feel emotionally exhausted that you cannot continue.
They reflect your feelings instead of presenting your own
Pay attention to how someone responds when sharing feelings.
Are they uniquely expressing their feelings? Or does it reflect what you are saying, “I feel the same way”?
People don’t always like talking about emotions, but in a relationship it’s important to communicate on an emotional level.
If your partner can’t open up, even when you initiate a conversation and ask direct questions, he may be emotional unavailability.
They show up late or blow up plans
Not fulfilling obligations or constantly appearing late is a subtle way to keep a person at a distance.
Your partner might still care and even apologize sincerely.
But they may care more about what they want and have a hard time restructuring their life to fit you into it. In other words, they are not ready to prioritize the needs of the relationship over their own.
Could I be an emotionally unavailable person?
Some of the signs mentioned above might have resonated with you as traits you noticed about yourself, or things that previous partners pointed out to you.
A lack of emotional availability does not mean that you have made a mistake. You may not fully realize how you appear in your relationships.
Here are some signs to keep in mind.
When obligations get close, you want to roll back
Last week, I made plans for a date tomorrow. You were excited then, but giving up your free time now is the last thing you want to do.
You must take time for yourself. If you end up canceling plans with your partner too often, ask yourself why you feel the need to avoid spending so much time together.
You work by keeping your options open
If you want a committed relationship, at some point you’ll need to focus on one partner (or in a non-monogamous relationship, your primary partner).
But instead of discussing with your current partner about relationship goals like long-term commitment or exclusivity, you can keep hitting, sticking to dates, and keeping your eyes generally open for greener pastures.
You might not want to settle with someone who isn’t quite right. But this mindset can limit your ability to dedicate time and energy to someone you care about. It’s not always possible to find a “perfect” match, but you can still have a great relationship with someone a little less than perfect.
You are worried about losing yourself in a relationship
If you are very independent, you may worry that approaching a romantic partner may cause you to lose that independence. You probably want to do things your way and according to your schedule and you don’t want to change your life to fit someone else’s life.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but it might just make you less available. In a healthy relationship, partners balance individual needs with their romantic commitment. It may take some time and exploration to learn how to do it the way that works best for you.
If someone has betrayed your trust in the past, you may avoid exposing your weaknesses to anyone else. You may prefer to keep your feelings and thoughts closed so that no one is using them against you.
When a partner urges you to open up and talk about how you feel, you respond by closing the topic or changing the topic.
She eventually persists with emotional unavailability people
If you have a pattern of relationships with emotionally distant partners, consider whether you take it back.
At first, it might seem easy and fun dating people who don’t emotionally ask you much. But if deep down, you want more of the relationship, these ups and downs won’t satisfy you for long.