Characteristics of an emotionally unavailable man

Am I with an Emotionally Unavailable Man? — Integrative Psychotherapy Mental Health Blog

You’re sitting in your cozy New York apartment and are staring at your computer screen, wide awake at 3am. For some reason, you can’t sleep but you don’t know why. Then you go to your google browser and click “ Why don’t I feel calm in my relationship”? and scroll through a few blogs and info graphs.

Then you write “How to know if the guy I’m with loves me”… and you find a few juicy articles with some basic examples that let you know if your man is “into you”..but then you see a term in the corner of the page that says “but, beware of the emotionally unavailable partner”, and you stare at those words for a few long moments.

You head back to google and click “How To Know If My Man Is Emotionally Available” and boom, you hit the jackpot. Your “mister” may not be emotionally available and that’s what this anxiety has been about. This is what’s been keeping you with a nagging feeling of doubt, insecurity and fear.

What does it mean if someone is emotionally unavailable?

Signs he IS Available!

It means that the person has a difficult time relating to and understanding your emotions (as well as their own). They may not fully comprehend or know how to engage with and reciprocate love in a way that feels fulfilling; physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually.

An Emotionally unavailable person often has a fear or a blockage to emotional intimacy, leaving the other person feeling like they are grasping for more, left feeling misunderstood, emotionally unsatisfied and confused.

Relationships, while sometimes challenging, are meant to come with a feeling of security, excitement and calm.

So, if you’re feeling unsteady, and uncertain about how your partner feels about you, you may want to have a conversation with them. At the same time, if you think they may be unavailable, your plan of action may be a bit more nuanced so you don’t keep feeling confused.

Here are 10 signs of an emotionally unavailable man.

1. When it comes to real-life conversations, they run.

You enjoy being in each others’ company and have a really playful dynamic, sexually. The conversation flows smoothly when it’s about friends, plans for dinner or your clothing choice. However, when you start sharing more emotionally about your family, or discuss your plans for your future, he checks out. An emotionally unavailable man has a difficult time knowing how to engage in the real-stuff conversations. In some instances, he may have some capacity to listen, but is emotionally shutting that part of himself down so that you don’t get too close. If that’s the case, you will likely feel shut down and alone. Healthy relationships are ones where your partner wants you to feel connected with, heard and supported.

2. Their relationship history speaks loudly

Though we can’t judge all people solely based on their history, when it comes to relationships, it’s important to take note of the person’s relationship history. The ways we operate in relationships (engage, respond, love, reciprocate, listen) are based on patterned responses that are often automatic and unconscious. Therefore, if someone has operated in a certain way in the past, unless they’ve done some really introspective work and made conscious shifts, it’s more than likely they will repeat their old patterns in their current relationships.

When it comes to past relationships of men who are emotionally unavailable, you’ll either see that they have never been in a real relationship- and have only had casual “flings” or “situation-ships”. They may have primarily had “friends with benefits”, or they’ve had relationships that were toxic, codependent or chronically unfulfilling. You may hear them sharing a narrative blaming the other person or thinking that it was the other person at fault, without hearing the person taking accountability for their part of the dynamic. You may notice a pattern where they leave the relationship just as it’s about to get serious, or if they end things because they are afraid of “getting stuck”. These are all signs of someone who has fear associated with emotional intimacy.

They have emotional blockages that hold them back from seeing that, though relationships do come with responsibility, healthy love can also be freeing, invigorating and deeply nourishing.

If there is a level of health and emotional awareness, you would hear the person take accountability in some form. Here are some examples; “I wasn’t really able to be present”, or “I acted like needy child and there was no way we were going to last”, or “ I was afraid of intimacy so I only attracted chaotic partners” or “ I don’t know what it was, but I definitely had a part on the experience”. )

3. Intermittent Responsiveness

When we are in a healthy relationship, there is a level of interaction and responsiveness, in person and via phone. When someone is emotionally unavailable, their communication will reflect that. There will be times that they reach out and engage with you, and there will be times where they go silent and respond hours later. We all know that sometimes we get busy, and it’s ok to sometimes not be responsive. But when it comes to someone who is emotionally non-present, there will be a normalizing of this lack of communication or intermittent emotional presence. If you feel like you’re grasping for a response, or you’re reaching to know that you matter to them, please take a breath and pause.

Do not stay engaged in a cycle with someone who isn’t able to reciprocate healthy communication and care.

4. The Energy is Non-Committal

Do you know that calm feeling you get when you spend time with someone who just loves you? Think about your best friend from childhood, or your sister or a close colleague who just shows up for you, in the good times and the bad. Our bodies know the energy that surrounds us. Somatic Therapy speaks about this concept, that we have a “felt sense” a feeling that gives us the “good feels” or “yucky feels”. When it comes to being with someone emotionally unavailable, your body gets this anxious, irritable energy because you can sense his energy of non-commitment.

Though he may have adorable dimples, or a lovable laugh, and makes you smile, you end up feeling a bitter taste in your heart.

His energy of non commitment comes across when he fits you into his “free time” or cancels plans last minute. He won’t be making sure you’re on this “priority list”, and when you start noticing your position in his life, you start feeling bad about yourself and this often causes a dent to your self esteem. Yeah, not a good thing to stay engaged with!

5. You feel insecure and misunderstood

Half of being understood is about your words landing, but the other half is about the person truly caring about how you’re feeling and valuing your emotions. When Mr. Unavailable is the one you’re investing emotionally in, you’ll likely feel dismissed, and misunderstood. He may be “listening” to the words you’re staying, but he isn’t truly taking the energy to understand you, get to fully grasp how the situation you’re sharing impacted you, and he may even get frustrated when you seem hurt by his lack of care. He may tell you that you’re too needy and are complicated because “he’s trying”. Hearing this can leave you feeling insecure and bad about yourself. You may think you’re feeling bad because of what he said about you needing too much, but really the insecurity is about the fact that you’re engaging with someone who isn’t giving you a feeling of safety and security.

You deserve to feel secure, valued and for y0ur partner to be attentive to you; please do not take criticism about your (reasonable) emotional needs to heart.

6. Defensiveness is their second name

A sign of an emotionally available man!

He will likely have some kind of awareness that he isn’t showing up in the way you’re wanting and needing. Because of this, if he says something that lands wrong or if you question something about his motive, you’ll hear a defensive response. This irritability on his end is because he’s operating with a sense of self denial (he may tell himself he doesn’t need a more emotional relationship, or he may want to be in a relationship, but not with you, and he needs to keep all the true feelings far away from himself so he doesn’t feel compelled to make changes).

It’s not your job to help someone be less defensive; it’s your job to listen to his actions and energy and decide if this is healthy for you (hint: it likely is not!)

Now, in healthy relationships, we all have defensiveness that can come up, and those are work-able with. However, when it’s in a relationship that is wobbly and had little emotional connection, and there is a lot of defensiveness, you want to be careful and notice that.

7. Lacking excitement, romance and growing love

Healthy, emotionally fulfilling relationships grow with time. Though the initial infatuation settles, what does grow is a feeling of excitement of being with someone who understands you, a growing romantic dynamic that comes with ease and an anchoring love and connectedness. Relationships the steady foundations to our emotional health, and when you’re in a healthy relationship, you will feel steadier.

This doesn’t mean you wont have conflict, but it means that you have the capacity to move past disagreements and grow, together. Your love becomes richer and more calming to both of you, as you stay emotionally attuned and caring to one another, and to the relationship.

But when you’re with someone emotionally unavailable, you won’t feel any of the warm fuzzy feelings around your heart. You may have some good feelings, but there’s a feeling of stagnation where the good isn’t growing and the love is deepening. If you notice a lack of spark and joy, don’t ignore that feeling; listen in.

8. Judgement around sharing emotions instead of vulnerability being seen as beautiful.

Relationships are all about vulnerability, trust and care. Sharing emotions is about letting someone else into our heart and giving them a chance at getting closer to us. When someone is emotionally unavailable, they are terrified of emotions. They are afraid of sharing because they likely have their own fears about opening up to someone. But since they have a fierce wall of protection, you may not get to see their feelings, but when you share yours, you will be met with a feeling of judgement.

But please do know that just because he has fears about getting attached and responding to your emotional sharing, it does not mean that your feelings are bad or wrong to share. Judgement about your emotions may be a warning sign that he will either continuously shut you down emotionally, or will leave when he feels threatened emotionally. This is a toxic dynamic to stay in, so please honor your heart and find a way to leave the relationship if this dynamic is present.

When you’re with someone emotionally available, you’ve got this!

9. Out of Touch With Reality

Some men who are unavailable are living in a fantasy world and are out of touch with reality. They may have big plans, big ideas and are living in a mental space that is disconnected from reality. This may be a defense because they may have a lot of pain about their family of origin, or may feel like they are falling behind professionally or socially.

However, a healthy man is aware of his reality and take small yet smart steps towards growing. If your man is unavailable, you may notice that he’s simply out of touch with reality, not just with you and your relationship, but in a lot of areas in life.

This may give you comfort, as his limitations are clearly not about you, but are about him. And even if he is in touch with reality, but is emotionally unavailable- it still isn’t about you. The only problem that belongs to you is that you are choosing to stay engaged with someone who isn’t capable of respecting you in the way you need.

10. Confusion

You may feel a floaty feeling of confusion when you speak with them, or you may just feel confused when you spend time with them. On the one hand, you like what you have and it has sweet parts, but something leaves you feeling confused and unclear. If you feel this way, it’s coming from somewhere; I wouldn’t brush it away. If you were in a healthy relationship or if your man has the capacity to emotionally engage, I’d bring up the feeling and say “Hey, I notice I’m feeling kinda confused about us, or something between us feels confusing, can we chat about it please?”.

This kind of conversation can provide a space to openly share and to come to a place of tending to whatever it is that’s coming up from your end, his end, or an implicit dynamic between the two of you. However, with someone unavailable, this kind of conversation may go in circles or you may get answers that don’t settle you. You aren’t meant to feel confused in a relationship.

If you’re reading this, know that relationships can be fulfilling.

As social creatures, we need each other. However, we need others who are healthy enough to engage in real relationships. Now, if you are with someone who is loving and kind and has some limits, I would not put them on the “black list” just because they struggle. All relationships struggle, however, in healthy enough ones, both parties are open, truthful, clear and committed to the relationship and can tolerate the uncomfortable conversations.

However, if you are with someone who isn’t able to offer emotional availability and you ARE able to be emotionally available, then this blog is for you. I hope this information can clarify some facts so you feel less confused and more clear about your relationship.

I know that shifting relationships and taking in new information can feel overwhelming, or maybe even frightening.

Please take a breath and just take the information in slowly. Most often, we land up in unavailable relationships without realizing, or because there’s an unconscious attraction to people like that because of our own fears or negative beliefs about ourselves.

Sometimes, getting the right support from friends, family or a mentor or therapist, is the smartest route when making shifts in your relationship. If you are needing some individualized attention and one-on-one counseling to help support you as you make relationship shifts, reach out. We are here for you.

Our goal at Integrative Psychotherapy is about helping you have richer relationships….

And even more than that, we are here to do the deep work so we can help you heal from negative beliefs that keep you pulled into unfulfilling relationships or dynamics in your life.

New York Counseling for Improving Your Relationships

We get it, and our skilled clinicians have helped individuals do the work that allows for richer relationships. We utilize talk therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Attachment Informed Therapy, Parts Work/IFS, Creative Arts and Mind-Body Somatic Therapy to help you make shifts in your day to day relationships as well as tending to any unconscious patterns so you can make lasting changes in your life.

And wherever you are at today, reading this page, please do know that my heart is sending warm wishes to yours.

I truly believe that as you gain awareness and skills, you can and will invite more fulfilling relationships. As long as you are devoted to your heart, and to being in emotionally healthy relationships, you will have that. It may take time, but your commitment to health will guide you there.

Sending you strength and care,


Esther and the Integrative Team


And, get your some FREE downloadable worksheets and download to deepen your connection with yourself and engage in some mindfulness activities..and more. Click here for access to FREE content made with you in mind!

Attachment Theory, Abandonment Trauma, Love and Relationships, Somatic PsychotherapyEsther GoldsteinEmdr for trauma, relationships and attachment, relationships counseling nassau county, emotional hunger counseling nassau, emotionally unavailable16 Comments


21 Signs of Emotionally Unavailable Men (Characteristics to pay attention to)

Being with an emotionally unavailable man can make a woman doubt herself and question whether or not her guy really trusts and loves her.

It’s extremely painful to feel shut out by your partner and unable to connect on a deep and intimate level.

Most women want to be in a relationship in which they can fully express themselves and feel heard and understood.

They also want a man who is willing to share his emotions and show some vulnerability.

When he does this, a man is showing his woman that he trusts and cares for her enough to reveal his inner world.

When the woman doesn’t judge or criticize when her guy opens up, he feels validated — and she feels loved and respected.

It’s a win for both partners.

What’s in this post:


Is He Emotionally Unavailable?

You may be wondering, “How does an emotionally unavailable man behave?”

Your guy seems to be an unemotional man, and it’s normal to question whether or not this is temporary or part of his personality.

If you have an emotionally unavailable boyfriend, it’s quite possible he’s holding back to feel more confident in your commitment to each other before he reveals more of himself.

But when you’re in a romantic relationship, you expect it to deepen over time. You expect your boyfriend or partner to grow closer emotionally so that you create a “couple bubble” of intimacy between you.

If you are open, trustworthy, and authentic, you expect the same from your partner.

But when your man can’t open up, can only focus on himself or on superficial topics, and he refuses to reveal his “softer underbelly,” this is a sign the relationship is bound to stagnate and will eventually wither away.

How the Emotionally Unavailable Man Impacts You

A relationship with an emotionally unavailable man can be deeply traumatizing.

These kinds of relationships can damage you twice: once by the emotional abandonment of the man you love, and then by the feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem his detachment creates.

Whether it’s intentional or not, emotional unavailability is a form of emotional abuse.

For the woman involved with an emotionally unavailable man, it feels as though you’re being deprived of the one thing you need most in a relationship — real love.

  • Even if your partner says he loves you, his behavior and demeanor make you feel unworthy of love.
  • You do backflips trying to win crumbs of connection and closeness until you believe crumbs are the best you’ll ever get and all you deserve.
  • You keep trying harder, thinking you can somehow reach him and unlock his emotions.

Men who show emotionally unavailable characteristics are not just the handsome, superficial charmers. They come in all looks, shapes, and personality types and have a variety of backgrounds and life experiences.

Some can have bursts of real intimacy and passion, followed by periods of pulling back and coldness. Others never reveal an intimate, authentic desire for closeness.

Emotional unavailability doesn’t necessarily mean a man is shallow, selfish, or intentionally unavailable. He may long for closeness, but he simply doesn’t know how to achieve it.

Says writer Sile Walsh for The Good Men Project . . .

“Being emotionally available is not that easy for any of us. And for a man in a society where we give our men such mixed messages, it’s no surprise that both the people asking men to be emotionally available and the men who are trying to achieve it are confused. My strong male clients desperately want to connect with friends, lovers, and family in a very real way. But often they have no model of what that looks like and how to do it.”

Whether they are impacted by societal expectations, their childhood experiences, or a narcissistic personality, emotionally unavailable men are missing the most rewarding and blissful facet of a love relationship: intimacy.

All too often, it takes a long time for women to figure out they’re involved with this type of man. They invest vast chunks of their time and emotional energy trying to “win” love and affection, only to realize it’s not forthcoming.

Before you invest any more time with a man who can’t or won’t allow closeness and intimacy, it’s important to recognize the traits of this type of guy.

1. Difficulty Expressing Emotions and Feelings

No matter how hard you try, you can’t scratch the surface of this guy’s emotions. He is uncomfortable talking about his true feelings of love, pain, shame, guilt or any other feeling that might make him appear “weak” and vulnerable.

He has learned to ignore and deny his negative emotions in particular, and has become emotionally “color blind.”

He has a protective wall around his emotions and can get angry, confused, or defensive if you try to penetrate it.

Sometimes he may give you a glimpse of his interior world, only to pull back and block you out once again.

2. Resistant to Committing

These men often fear commitment because they know it will require more of them than they are capable of giving.

Committing to one person means revealing more of themselves and taking the risks involved with intimacy.

This fear of commitment is more than just wanting to keep their options open. It’s a systemic fear of being overwhelmed by uncomfortable emotions and the needs of their partner.

They need a quick escape route which commitment prevents.

3. Has a Hard Time Saying “I Love You”

If he does commit or sticks around long enough for you to feel like a committed couple, he can’t or won’t say, “I love you.”

You’ve been ready to say it to him for ages. Maybe you’ve already said it. Many times. But he gets embarrassed, changes the subject, or pulls away.

Saying those three little words is another form of commitment to him that he can’t abide. Those words mean something, like, “I’m here for you and plan to stick around.”

So the fact that he can’t say them, especially if you’ve been together for six months or more, should be a red flag he’s hedging his bets or just can’t cope with that much closeness.

4. Acts Distant, Above It All, Too Cool

In an effort to protect himself, the emotionally unavailable man will create a persona that initially seems mysterious and cool. But over time, you want and need to know the person behind the mystery man.

Unfortunately, this guy has spent a lot of time and energy crafting the way he presents himself to the world, and he’s not about to drop the facade. He may not even know who is behind it.

It is an attractive barrier that keeps others, even you, at arm’s distance so he doesn’t have to cope with the uncertainty and discomfort of too much closeness which makes him feel vulnerable or overwhelmed.

5. Inability or Unwillingness to Be Vulnerable

The fear of vulnerability is the fear of showing your true self. This fear often stems from a deeper fear of abandonment. It also reflects a cultural attitude about how men should behave and never show weakness.

If he reveals his inner world and less-than-confident emotions, you may see him as weak and unattractive and want to leave him. Or you may shame him just as other men have done in the past when he’s opened up or shown emotion.

He may also have a fear of engulfment, the feeling he is losing himself in the relationship. By revealing his true self to you, he may lose control of himself because he unconsciously worries you may control or dominate him.

6. Uncomfortable Discussing Emotional Topics

You want your love partner to be there for you when you are dealing with painful or confusing emotions. Sadly, the emotionally distant man has difficulty being fully present with your feelings.

He can’t simply listen with empathy and support your feelings. Either he deflects his discomfort by offering practical solutions, or he dismisses your feelings altogether by diminishing them or not listening to you.

You may notice your guy looking at his phone, checking the time, or changing the subject when you talk about something he finds uncomfortable.

7. Can’t Be Vulnerable During Sex

If there were ever a time to show your deeper emotions, express your feelings for one another, and ask for what you want, it’s during sex.

Making love is exactly that — a physical expression of your feelings for one another that manifests in words, expressions, and touch. But no so much for men who are emotionally distant.

  • During lovemaking, does your partner avoid eye contact and intimate talk?
  • Does he get right to business without kissing you or engaging in foreplay?
  • Does he get up quickly to shower after you finish, leaving you confused about your desirability?
  • Does he refuse to to talk about your needs in the bedroom or his disconnection during sex?

When your man can’t be intimate during your most intimate time, you feel like there’s something wrong or that you’re turning him off in some way. But his demeanor makes it impossible to talk to him about it.

8. Gets Defensive and Quick to Anger

Anger is a socially acceptable emotion for men, and often it is the go-to reaction when things get too “touchy feely” or intimate with your guy.

If you suggest something like, “You seem really sad today,” his response is reactive and defensive. “I’m not sad. Don’t tell me how I’m feeling. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

This defensiveness and anger can pop up any time he feels threatened, vulnerable, or trapped. He uses this anger to prevent you from trying to poke around in his emotions again.

9. Suggests You Are Too Sensitive or Needy

Deflecting the blame on to you is a common strategy for emotionally unavailable men.

Rather than accepting or acknowledging his inability to connect and share his feelings, this man will turn the tables to suggest your needs are unacceptable or over the top.

In his mind, your desire for closeness and intimacy reflects a weakness on your part, not a deficiency on his.

Even if you are more sensitive or need more emotional connection than your guy does, he needs to step up and be there for you. A couple can learn how to accommodate each other’s needs without losing themselves.

10. Quick to Blame Others

When someone says or does something that reflects poorly on your guy’s demeanor or behavior, he is quick to blame the other person rather than examine the possibility of his own flaws.

Often emotionally distant men are lacking in empathy and view the world through the lens of their skewed perceptions. They can’t or won’t see how their words and behaviors are impacting other people.

When someone highlights this issue, the emotionally unavailable man will deny and attack. Quite often, the object of his attach is you. Because, after all, you are the one person trying the hardest to get through to him.

11. Rarely Self-Reflective or Self-Aware

Emotionally unavailable men don’t spend much time reflecting on their own behaviors and personal growth. They aren’t motivated to become more self-aware and empathic.

These men have trouble stepping back to look at themselves and how they are impacting others, particularly you. They are much more comfortable with achievement, action, and control.

He likes the idea of having you around. You may provide him with comfort, security, and a sense of belonging. But he can’t (or won’t) provide the same for you. He may long for a deeper connection, but the pain of letting down his walls is too great to risk it.

12. Difficulty Showing Non-Sexual Affection

Emotionally distant men can view physical touch as overwhelming or unnecessary unless it leads to sex or is part of sex. They don’t often initiate hugging, cuddling, or hand-holding.

They might feel uncomfortable with public displays of affection or act put upon if you request physical affection. You might notice they pull away or stiffen up when you are affectionate with them.

They might even appear disgusted or agitated when you touch them because it feels like an invasion rather than an intimate, loving gesture.

13. Disinterested in Your Feelings and Needs

If you try to express your relationship needs — for more intimacy, affection, and closeness — he will either give you lip service, diminish your feelings, or blow you off entirely.

He doesn’t want to hear that he’s not enough and that you need more from him. That’s either a blow to his ego or a confusing conundrum that he doesn’t understand.

“What does she want from me? I don’t get it, why am I not enough?”

14. Often Self-Centered and Needing Attention

Men who are emotionally detached are often too busy with themselves to have much more to give to you.

They want constant attention, affirmation, and praise, and they may view you as an extension of themselves whose sole purpose is to make them look good.

Your needs and desires are a distraction that puts the focus on the wrong person: you rather than him.

Behind this need for attention may be a deeply insecure, needy person who needs constant propping up. This is sad, but it’s not a healthy foundation for an intimate relationship.

15. Overly Focused on Sex but Not Emotional Closeness

Some unemotional guys want sex all the time. Just sex — not lovemaking. The only time this man can get close to you is through sex. But sex for him is not a mutual expression of love and intimacy, it’s a physical release or a conquest.

Sex becomes a way to unburden himself of the tension of keeping it all together and staying in control, but tenderness, intimate expressions, cuddling, and affection are rarely part of the scenario. Once sex is over, this man will quickly move on his next project or fall asleep right away.

16. Avoids Sex Altogether

Some of these men will avoid sex or initiate it infrequently because sex itself is too intimate and requires too much from him. This can affect his libido and performance.

He may know that you want more from him during a sexual encounter, and he can’t or won’t give it. So he simply avoids having sex with you. It feels like too much trouble.

Because he is unable to let down and be vulnerable with you, his stress levels may be so high that he is rarely in the mood for sex. It just feels like another chore.

17. Spends Too Much Time with Pornography

Looking at pornography doesn’t require an emotional commitment or intimacy. He can find sexual gratification without the discomfort and demands of a real relationship.

A man’s addiction to pornography can contribute to his lack of interest in you sexually. It further diminishes any intimacy between you.

18. Inability to Deal with Conflict

Conflict is inevitable even in the closest relationships. But a man who is emotionally unavailable will do everything he can to avoid conflict because it involves expressing emotions.

He may clam up, leave the room, or shut you down with yelling and anger. He can’t have a healthy conversation where you both express your concerns, fears, and needs in the relationship.

19. Gives You Mixed Signals

Your guy may be able open up and be close to you on occasion. And these occasions give you a lot of hope. He is capable of showing his emotions. He can give you an loving look during sex. He wants to hear about your problems.

You’ve been given a glimpse of his inner world, and you want more. You deserve more. But as soon as you think you’ve finally won his trust, he closes back up and pulls up the barriers.

These mixed signals are almost more painful than him being unavailable 24/7. You know he’s in there somewhere because you’ve seen it. But when he shuts down, it feels like yet another rejection.

20. Let’s You Do All of the Relationship Work

You’ve tried to have talks about improving your relationship. You’ve suggested counseling, books, and courses. But he’s never interested. Or he aggressively dismisses the idea.

When conflict arises, you are the first to apologize or make repairs. You accommodate his moods and lack of availability by trying to win him over or make him laugh.

His efforts at improving or maintaining the health of the relationship are minimal. The idea of talking about “problems” or even admitting they exist is unthinkable to him.

21. Avoids Talking about the Future

You see a future with your guy, and why not? You’ve been together for a long time. You’ve been thinking about marriage, a family, and a lifetime together.

But he seems to be living in a different time zone. Or planet. Every time you bring up the future or what his intentions are, he clams up or shuts down. He doesn’t want to talk about it.

And why should he? Things are just fine right now. At least they are for him. Your needs and desires are secondary. Or thirdary. Or nonexistent. Talking about the future means he has to address the real emotions and concerns you have — and that might mess up everything.

Can An Emotionally Unavailable Man Change?

The answer is maybe. But the harder realization is that you can’t change him. He has to desire change on his own. If you end the relationship, he might realize what he’s lost and do the work to become more available. But that would likely take:

  • Serious work with a counselor.
  • The desire to address past issues that have impacted his ability to be vulnerable.
  • The willingness to accept how his unavailability has impacted you (and other women in his life).
  • Consistent actions to show he has changed and wants to be emotionally available.

If you’ve been married for years to your tuned-out guy, you may be willing to invest more time to wait for him to grow and connect with you.

If you’re not married or officially partnered, and you’re not sure he is willing to invest time and work into changing, then the onus is on you to make the change and end the relationship.

Maybe things will work out down the road; maybe they won’t. But either way, you’ve prioritized yourself and your legitimate need for a real relationship. And you deserve nothing less.

Now you know the signs of an emotionally unavailable man. What will you do?

Are you noticing some of these traits with your boyfriend, partner, or spouse? Have they been going on for a long time?

If so, I urge you to talk with a counselor to share your concerns.

If your guy is highly motivated to improve his emotional skills, there’s hope for your relationship and your ability to enjoy a deeper, more intimate connection.

More Related Articles:

22 Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship

17 Traits Of An Emotionally Unavailable Husband

8 Signs of Narcissistic Abuse

However, if he is defensive, emotionally abusive, and unwilling to work on himself through counseling, this is a huge red flag that you may never find the love you want and need with this man.

The longer you allow him to remain emotionally detached, the more difficult it will be to extricate yourself.

As hard as it may be to cut the cord with someone you may still love, letting go is the best thing you can do for your self-esteem and ongoing happiness.

7 signs of an emotionally unavailable partner

Let's start with the main thing: it is really difficult for an emotionally unavailable person to share his feelings and really get close to other people. As a rule, there is a crisis of trust and a fear of intimacy behind this - this causes him to be fickle and avoid relationships.

Usually the reasons for this are in a complex intricacies of personality traits and painful experiences (especially loss, rejection or abandonment). All this forms the style of behavior with others. nine0003

Such people are often called toxic or narcissistic traits are attributed to them. Sometimes this is true, but more often it is not. Early loss or the painful experience of rejection can indeed be difficult to bear. And the extreme degree of natural shyness makes a person close against his will.

It can be difficult for these people to give up their defenses, the prospect of intimacy with others scares them so much. What else makes them different?

1. They are afraid of deep conversations

It is not easy for them to plunge into the world of feelings and emotions - they are ready to listen to a partner, but only for the time being. At the moment when it becomes completely unbearable, they simply change the subject, and when they are required to make any commitments, they feel cornered. nine0003

2. Intimacy for them always coexists with fear

Love and close relationships always come with an “add-on weight” in the form of inevitable (as it seems to them) conflicts, life dramas or potential rejection - everything that happened to them before.

3. They have real trust problems

If a person has suffered a lot, it is difficult for him to enter into any relationship with an open heart - it is too scary to be vulnerable again and experience new pain.

4. They do not know how to express feelings

Often, emotionally unavailable people simply do not have the skill of expressing everything that is on their souls. This does not mean that experiences are alien to them, they just do not know how to share them.

5. Often they easily and quickly cut ties with people

Moreover, any ties, including family ones. Which, of course, brings a lot of suffering to others. But at the same time, the person himself is sure that it will be easier this way than painfully choosing words and explaining himself, risking offending another.

6. They often choose a relationship at a distance

Or they enter into a relationship with a person who is not free - it's easier to keep the distance they need and not take the “next step”.

7. They are interested in others, slowly opening up in response

Asking questions and listening to answers is easier for them than talking about themselves. And the interlocutor, as a rule, such attention and interest is extremely pleasant - until it becomes clear that he himself did not know anything about the partner.

What to do - run away?

First of all, you need to understand that not all emotionally unavailable people are toxic. Most are not to blame for the chosen style of behavior, moreover, they usually have good reasons. If you have patience and let the person begin to trust you, he can open up and become a great partner.

But the main thing is to understand how you yourself feel in these relationships. If it’s hard, if doubts gnaw and nothing changes over time, perhaps you should ask yourself the question: is it worth it? Your life and your happiness is above all. nine0003

why we choose such partners and how to change it., Psychology - Gestalt Club

If one of the partners refuses his share aggressiveness, freezes feelings, the other is forced to show them in double size.

Someone needs to show us that it's cold here and it hurts here and dangerous. Someone needs to bring to life, point to "frostbite", teach to adequately express their emotions.

I often remind my clients that if they demonstrate indifference, pride, apathy, "do not pay attention", then the partners have no choice but to provoke the manifestation life. nine0003

It's better than nothing at all. Than watch included "frost", it is better to look at the tears.
Aggression, hatred, provocations are used.

A man needs a woman's emotionality.
This is how he re-establishes contact with his anima (female component of the male psyche), legalizes his emotions. If next to him an emotionally frostbitten woman, a man goes into a social stereotype - expresses its masculinity through aggression.

How does the male anima manifest itself? nine0003

The formation of the anima of a man is influenced by his mother.
She is the first and important legalizing emotional figure.

If the mother's behavior was indifferent, cold, reserved, then the boy grows up without an example of presenting his emotionality in communication.
Mother unable to contain (contain) strong feelings child, returns them back without explaining what happened to him happening.
The child does not experience well-established emotional relationships, a positive example of presenting and reflecting your feelings. To him it is difficult to deal with them, to cope with the power of their emotionality and then he concludes that feelings are superfluous. nine0003

Having lost contact with his Anima, the boy goes into social stereotype - devalues ​​emotionality, denoting one's own masculinity through strength and aggression.

The situation is much worse if the mother not only could not digest complex childhood experiences, but also placed in the child their own worries.

When one's own and mother's complex feelings become prohibitively many, the child is faced with intolerable mental suffering.

Protection is triggered - the psyche turns off the "problem zone". nine0053 Contact with sensitivity and emotionality (one's anima) forbidden, repressed as painful.

In adulthood, this manifests itself as an emotional inaccessibility.

As an adult, such a man seeks to repeat the relationship, who were in the family of origin. Women's emotions will be for him unbearable. He will avoid the pain of meeting emotions defend against them: devalue, throw away projections, ignore, deny the feelings of a woman.

What does a woman do?

More often than not, enters rescue mode, believing he can conquer the "ice". She is looking for reasons for emotional unavailability men in themselves, changes tactics and strategies of behavior, fights in looking for a solution to the problem.
Only the reason for emotional unavailability is not in her.

Another question is appropriate: why did she choose such a man?
Why, despite all the pain, does he maintain this connection?

So let's look at the main reasons.

1. Fear of intimacy.
That's how it happens. With your mind, you wish for the most tender and happy relationships, and your subconscious is waving a red rag and shouting: "Stop, don't go there. It's bad there."
If we recall that the basic principle of the work of the unconscious is the principle of safety and pleasure, it is possible assume that the relationship for you is associated with something where not at all safe and not much fun. The reason may lie in patterns of the first relationship that you remember from childhood - relationships dads and moms or other significant figures. nine0053 Then contacting an unavailable partner is a great way to avoid true intimacy, to protect yourself from spiritual wounds.

2. As a child, did you feel unwanted or abandoned.
Lack of attention, care and warmth is more of a norm for you than pathology. In your picture of the world, love is conditional and without splashes, care - in case of emergency (for example, illness). in your head it does not come that one can love without struggle and suffering.
As an adult, you unconsciously strive to reproduce the model relationships in which you feel natural. You find a partner who will make you feel unwanted and abandoned. You, without realizing it, are reading men, next to who have a chance to work through their childhood trauma. nine0053 By the way, an emotionally unavailable man "about you" also will solve its development problems.
You complement each other with your childhood neuroses.

3. You have low self-esteem.
If you grew up in a family where there were clear rules and distribution of responsibilities, and the children were in the status of disenfranchised members family, then, quite possibly, you consider yourself unworthy of love. A small child forms his image based on those messages sent to him by the outside world. If praised and love, he learns to love himself. If rejected and punished, he forms an image of himself as a bad person. nine0053 If you have low self-esteem, you are ashamed to take other people's time, to tell your opinion. Do you feel sorry for buying things for yourself or decorations. You sacrifice your interests for the benefit of others, you believe in what others say about you, adjust to their expectations. Your self-esteem is in the light of the partner's reflected perception of you. If he's happy, you're good. Dissatisfied - "self-destructive."

Deep down you don't believe you deserve happiness; quicker you think you have to earn the right to enjoy life. nine0003

4. Relationships are not for you value.
Perhaps, at this stage, your priorities in life are not relationships at all, but career, study, self-development, friends. Or something else. Perhaps your value is freedom and fulfillment, and relationships make it hard to get that. When goals and values ​​contradict each other, you will choose such partners who will keep you at a distance from each other friend.

parents, you overreact to a familiar type emotionally unavailable man. nine0097
You are trying to change him with your love. Do you want to be useful and needed. " Do you think that the responsibility for making good relations are entirely entrusted to us.
Therefore choose emotionally absent men who strengthen the feeling that everything depends only on you.
Perhaps you have unsuccessfully fought for the love of your parents and now trying to restore "justice" with your partner.

But whatever was missing or painful in the past, in anyway this is what you are trying to "fix" in present. nine0003

6. Relationship with an emotionally unavailable man is trying not to take responsibility for your life.
You are a pro in guessing the feelings and actions of a man, clairvoyant to him needs, but do not want to know anything about their needs. You lost contact with their own feelings. Are you afraid to take decisions about your life, take responsibility for the consequences of the choice.
In fact, you do not know anything about yourself, you are afraid to face unpleasant realizations about your life, so it’s easier for you to escape into "improvement" of another person's life. nine0053 As you delve into a dramatic relationship, you refuse to look inside yourself.

Is it possible to get out of the vicious circle of relationships with an emotionally unavailable partner?

In this place, I propose to stand and look at the situation from a different angle.

As you know, everything is in ourselves.

The outer world is a reflection of the inner world. Consequently, an unavailable partner reflects what is already in you. He can not to bring into your perception of yourself nothing that was not there before him. It can only enhance what is. nine0003

There is happiness and interest in life - a partner will enhance this.
There is dislike for oneself - it will become more.
There is a fear of intimacy - next to a partner you will never be feel safe.
No belief that you deserve care and love - you will be strengthened in his belief.

As I said, you respond emotionally to a familiar type inaccessible people.
Trying to recreate the childhood emotional experience of relationships with close people who once behaved with you in a similar way. You are accustomed to the change of encouraging and repulsive style behavior of a loved one. In your life scenario, this is "about love". nine0003

There is always room in a relationship with an inaccessible man the dream that this time things could be different. You "going back to the bad object" for fear of ending hopes for understanding and care, which you greatly need.

You live in a dream world where the man you are unhappy with turns into the man he should be from your point of view vision and which it will certainly become thanks to your efforts.
This means that, having overcome its inaccessibility, you will acquire what What you need is unconditional love, security, intimacy. nine0003

Do you understand?
i.e. there is always a place for the hope of "winning" a partner and as prize to receive personal happiness.

I repeat that everything is in you.
There is nothing in your relationship that is not about you. "Problems in relationships” are problems of internal trouble, consisting of unresolved psychological problems.

It is pointless to remake a partner, save, win, "do good", heal his psychological trauma, speaking in the role of the therapist. You cannot be held responsible for the decisions and other people's actions, but you can always tell them about how may or may not be with you. nine0003

The most frequently asked question in such cases is “What make?".
I answer - to understand yourself, to abandon the usual life scenarios, work with your limiting beliefs.

Sounds abstract and not clear what exactly is needed change?

Then some practical advice: raise your self-esteem, determine what you want from your relationship respect for personal boundaries, do not take responsibility "for two" on your fragile shoulders, keep the balance give-and-take, contact people who will help you figure it out with your fears and beliefs.

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