Everything in your life seems to be falling into place: the respect of your colleagues, the adoration of your friends, the love of your family.
But if there is one area that seems to be lagging, that would be your love life. And not for want of trying.
It’s not that you have neglected your love life or anything. You’ve gone out with different guys, and yet nothing seems to click.
Until you met him. He’s everything a woman can ask for: smart, sexy, funny, and successful.
And yet, after months of going out, your relationship, or whatever you want to call it, seems to be heading nowhere.
You might be dealing with an emotionally unavailable man. Dating coach Evan Marc Katz shares his insights on how to deal with an emotionally unavailable partner.
Is he emotionally unavailable or not?
The phrase “emotionally unavailable” has been bandied around, making it easy for some women to label their partners as such.
However, if a man seems emotionally distant or reluctant to commit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is an emotionally unavailable person.
Some men avoid making a commitment with their partners simply because they are trying to be cautious. Perhaps he just ended a long-term relationship, and he might still be smarting from the pain.
Or maybe your guy is timid. He might be seeking a long-term relationship, and he can see a future spent with you. It’s just that he wants to move at his own pace.
It is also possible that the guy you’ve been going out with is not attracted to you or the timing is simply off.
In any of these scenarios, you are not dealing with an emotionally unavailable man.
Anatomy of emotionally unavailable men
Who exactly is the emotionally unavailable man?
Emotionally unavailable people, both men and women, share a few qualities. These include emotional distance, indifference to their partners’ feelings, and inability to commit to relationships despite their pronouncements.
Plenty of women remain committed to their emotionally unavailable partners because these guys often show enthusiasm and do just enough to keep you hooked and hopeful.
That is not to say that these dudes are incapable of feeling or downright evil. It’s just for one reason or another, these men cannot commit to their partners, leaving them dissatisfied.
What causes emotional unavailability in men?
Although emotionally unavailable people share a few basic qualities, the underlying cause of this condition can differ from one person to another.
Some men choose to prioritize their careers. In their minds, committing to a relationship might mean making their work take the backseat. Conversely, entering into a committed relationship while pursuing career goals can undermine their partnership.
It’s also possible that a man becomes emotionally available after a traumatic experience, say a death in the family or leaving a harrowing relationship with a toxic or cheating partner.
In most of these instances, emotional unavailability is temporary. In fact, some emotionally unavailable people do move on and enter loving and committed relationships.
However, there are also emotionally unavailable men whose issues run deep in their psyche due to a traumatizing childhood. Some had emotionally unavailable parents.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out if a person’s emotional unavailability is temporary or not unless if that person goes to a professional for evaluation.
Signs of an emotionally unavailable partner
It can be difficult to determine whether a person is emotionally unavailable or not. In fact, it is fairly easy to fall in love and enter into a relationship with one.
That’s because they are charming, and they have the uncanny ability to make their partners feel good.
But once you are in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable man, there are a few telltale signs that you’ll notice the longer you stay with him.
You don’t know what to label your relationship
You don’t know exactly what to call your relationship even after going out for months.
That’s because emotionally unavailable men tend to prefer casual relationships. They’ll do all the work necessary to engage you.
But that’s all that, with no hope for progress.
Your relationship feels stagnant
Emotionally unavailable people have a tendency to start off a relationship fast. They want to skip the usual rhythm of a relationship, which requires a degree of vulnerability and emotional intimacy that they are incapable of providing.
After the initial thrill, you feel that your relationship with an emotional unavailable has not progressed to the next level.
Emotionally unavailable people do not let their guard down
You’re always wondering what your partner is feeling or thinking. That’s because he does not open to you or makes himself vulnerable.
No matter how long you’ve been in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable person, he’ll just clam up at the slightest prodding.
Your partner treats everything like a joke
Part of his allure is his humor. But the longer you stay with him, you notice that he tries to deflect your attempts of emotional intimacy or vulnerability with jokes.
People who are emotionally unavailable use humor to gain control of a conversation, shielding them from the need to address a situation with emotional honesty.
You bear the brunt of the work in your relationship
When you are in a relationship with someone emotionally unavailable, it feels like you are doing most of the work in the relationship.
After he has wooed you, he’ll take the backseat and take a passive role.
Emotionally unavailable people avoid putting in the work because they think that being a real partner requires emotional investment which they cannot afford to give.
There’s no emotional intimacy
An emotionally unavailable guy has no problem being physically intimate toward you. For this type of guy, sex is a substitute for real emotional intimacy.
Plus, physical intimacy does not require the work and vulnerability involved in emotional intimacy.
Should you stay in your relationship with an emotionally unavailable guy
There are plenty of women who stay with emotionally unavailable partners. There are a handful of women who end up with their happily-ever-afters. But some find themselves languishing in a relationship that’s neither here nor there.
The question here is whether you should hope that things will turn around or if you should call it quits with your partner.
The truth is, you can hope and wish that things will turn around. But an emotionally unavailable person will do just the bare minimum to keep you. Eventually, you will find yourself confused and emotionally drained.
Although emotional unavailability can be temporary, and your partner can become emotionally intimate with you, you really can’t tell when and if things will turn better.