If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone who’s emotionally unavailable, you know the pain of not being able to get close to the one you love. They’re evasive, make excuses, or are just inept when it comes to talking about feelings or the relationship. Some use anger, criticism, or activities to create distance. You end up feeling alone, depressed, unimportant, or rejected. Usually, women complain about emotionally unavailable men. Yet many aren’t aware that they’re emotionally unavailable, too. Getting hooked on someone unavailable (think Mr. Big and Carrie Bradshaw) disguises your problem, keeping you in denial of your own unavailability.
There are several types of unavailability — both temporary and chronic. Some people have always been unavailable due to mental illness and/or a troubled childhood. Others temporarily make something a higher priority than a relationship, such as a family obligation, education, a project, or a health concern. People who are recently divorced or widowed may temporarily not be ready to get involved with someone new. In the middle are those who are too afraid to risk falling in love, because they’ve been hurt by one or more relationships, which may include being hurt by a parent when they were a child. Often these different reasons for unavailability overlap, and it’s difficult to ascertain whether the problem is chronic or will pass.
If you’re looking for a close, committed relationship, a person who’s living in another state, or married, or still in love with someone else is not going to be there for you. Similarly, addicts, including workaholics, are unavailable because their addiction is the priority, and it controls them. Still others give the appearance of availability and speak openly about their feelings and their past. You don’t realize until you’re already in a relationship that they’re unable to really connect emotionally or make a commitment.
Definition from Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT
1. He Doesn’t Open Up to You
One of the most common signs is that he doesn’t reveal or show his actual feelings around you.
And while you may want him to open up and be able to express his emotions, he never lets down his guard around you to say what’s really on his mind. For example, rather than confiding in you and talking about a bad day at the office or a disappointing night out with friends, he chooses to keep his feelings bottled up inside and not express to you what’s he’s actually thinking. And if your man is this complicated and hard to read, it’s actually not hard to see that he’s emotionally unavailable and detached.
2. He’s Not Comfortable With Your Emotions
An emotionally unavailable man is also not receptive or supportive when you express your feelings to him. For example, if your man becomes uncomfortable, put off, frustrated, or withdrawn when you choose to open up and be vulnerable around him, this is an indicator that he’s not good at handling emotions—both his as well as yours. In a deep, meaningful, and long-lasting relationship, you and your partner should lend an ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a helping hand, but if your man isn’t willing or able to be there for you when you need him the most, this is a sign that you’re with a guy who’s emotionally unavailable.
3. His Past Remains a Mystery to You
In addition, this type of man is also hardly ever open, honest, and forthright with you about the happenings in his past. And while he certainly doesn’t need to divulge every single detail about his relationship history and life story, it’s important to keep in mind that having a strong relationship means that you and your partner openly share with one another and get to know each other on a deeper level.
However, if he chooses to keep you completely in the dark about key details of his past, this can be a sign that he’s emotionally cut off since he’s refusing to let you know more about his life. When a man chooses to be a closed book, the writing is on the wall that he’s emotionally unavailable to you.
4. He Often Resorts to Sarcasm
Have you noticed that he brushes everything off with a joke or sarcastic comment? Rather than expressing anger, fear, sadness, or disappointment, an emotionally unavailable man turns things into a joke in order to avoid dealing with raw emotions and to remain strong and unfazed in your eyes. For instance, even if your man is upset and hurt that he was passed over for a promotion, he’ll somehow turn it into a joke and laugh it off in front of you so as to not actually have to process, deal with, and talk about what he’s really feeling inside. When he uses sarcasm as a defense mechanism and resorts to laughter over honesty, it’s clear that he’s cutting himself off emotionally from you.
5. He’s Slow to Commit to You
An emotionally unavailable man is typically not willing or able to truly commit to you and be loyal to you. This type of man will often want to keep things casual and undefined so as to not deal with any of the emotional components that go into a long-term relationship.
Men who are emotionally unavailable will often jump from fling to fling because they don’t have to fully invest more than what they’re willing to or comfortable doing. If you’d like to take your relationship with a man to the next level but he wants to remain unattached, friends with benefits, or keep his options open, this can be a clear sign that he’s emotionally unavailable.
6. He Chooses Physical Intimacy Over Emotional Intimacy
It’s also quite common for this type of man to want to be physical with you before an emotional connection has been established. Emotionally unavailable men often choose physical intimacy over emotional intimacy so as to not have to deal with the messiness, seriousness, or complications that emotions can bring into a relationship.
Why these type of men should be avoided
I know and I get it he is the ambiguous guy that will always keep you guessing and keep you “on your toes” (for reference, “on your toes,” is a polite way of saying He is basically Mind Fucking you.
You’re more unhappy than you are happy, you can’t move on and you don’t know what to do. It’s awful because you’ve seen him be so amazing.
THE ONLY way that you can move on, process your feelings and get your sanity back is by being real about who he is, who he’s been and who he will NEVER be. This is a guy that no matter who he is with, he’ll never have genuine emotional intimacy. He is incapable of it and it’s not your job to pull emotional rabbits out of the magical hat.
You keep giving him chances and making excuses because you’re in a relationship that REFLECTS the nonexistent one you have with yourself . We attract people that mirror how we feel about ourselves. If you felt better about and were honest with yourself, there’s no way that you’d put up with this, no matter how much time you’ve invested. I know It’s hard and I know It’s painfully but truthfully speaking you deserve better than having your energy Fucked with and possibly your PH balance as well. This guy knows the difference between right and wrong and not only does he not care to change, but he makes you feel like there is something wrong with you that’s “causing” his behavior. (FLAPS RED FLAG THAT READS GASLIGHTING IN YOUR FACE)
My story of the officer
I had a huge Come to Jesus Moment on the officer and sadly realized he was one of the emotionally unavailable men that was described above . He literally shuts down goes in this mode and will place me on do not disturb he is short in his responses with me , and is not willing to provide anything more than Surface level discussions . I know limited information about him and he seems very detached in this whole getting to know one another and trying to have something of substance later on down the line. My mother recently had a heart attack and he was kind of nonchalant when I discussed this with him knowing the fact that our relationship was not that great he was very ho hum about it. What I could gather about how he dated in the past was he kind of meets a woman , has sex and then they are in love / Together and then he begins his getting to know doesn’t like her about a year or two in and then it’s over and he repeats this over and over again. When I brought this to his attention I was called dramatic and then acted like I was sensitive and that he was joking when he called me dramatic. Now just a slight reminder this was his second chance to date me he had a chance 2 years ago and ghosted me after I wanted to see what the next step would be with us since the Panamanian aka Nate was at this point wanting us to be a couple and I wanted to see what he wanted to do . So he went Ghost and I started my commitment with Nate. I Feel a sense of Deja Vu and instead of Nate it will be the advisor
I have been willing to be open and express my unhappiness in his shut downs and check outs and was met with a dismissal of my feelings and he actually hung up in my face angry and called back immediately to just give me a verbal dump of his issues , he then went on to say that I am his peace and he calls me to feel better and I was trying to argue with him and just messed up his mood . Great an emotionally unavailable, energy vampire , Gaslighting Narcissist. Yep time to lean all the fucking way back.