Identifying the emotionally unavailable partner

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone emotionally unavailable, you know the pain of not being able to get close to the one you love. They’re evasive, make excuses, or 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 women aren’t aware they’re emotionally unavailable too. Getting hooked on someone unavailable 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 make something a higher priority than a relationship, such as a family obligation, education, a project, or a health concern. People 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 living in another state, or who is 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, some people 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.

Pretty much the entire point of being in a relationship is to be open, honest, and available to another person. So when your partner is showing signs of being unavailable, it can make the whole thing feel like an impossibility. Not to mention entirely pointless.

To save yourself from having to deal with anything like that in the long term Here’s a list of some subtle red flags that may signal unavailability, especially when several add up. They apply to both genders. 

1. They Are A Little Too Charming -Flirting with flattery.

Men who are too flattering, like charmers and wooers may also be adept listeners and communicators. Often good at short-term intimacy, some allure with self-disclosure and vulnerability, but they prefer the chase to the catch.

These charming, suave people are pretty good at acting like they care. And hey, sometimes they do. But often it’s an act — and a confusing one at that. Their focus is on short term intimacy, appearing to be open, revealing, and vulnerable, but in reality, they’re after you for all the wrong reasons.

2. They Are Super Judgmental and Controlling.

They are someone who won’t be inconvenienced to modify his or her routine for you. Typically, commitment phobics are inflexible and loathe compromise. Relationships revolve around them. We all have the occasional day when we’re feeling particularly cranky, or judgmental towards the world. But people who are emotionally unavailable live in this state more often than not. They also tend to be cold and critical.

3. They aren’t good at relationships

Your date may hint or even admit that he or she isn’t good at relationship or doesn’t believe in or isn’t ready for marriage. Listen to these negative facts and believe them. Ignore vulnerability, bragging, and compliments.

Often times, emotionally unavailable people will drop some pretty major hints. They might say things like “I’m not good at relationships,” or I don’t really believe in marriage, Of course they are entitled to their opinion, but take it as a pretty blatant sign that they won’t be much for opening up.

4. The Past will reveal they are not down for long term relationships

When peeking into their past, you find out that they’ve never sustained a long term relationship. Even if married they exhibit these signs of unavailability. “If they haven’t been able to sustain anything that lasts past a few months, it’s normally because they can’t open up or don’t want to commit to anyone long enough to form that emotional connection,”

Find out if the person has had a long-term relationship and why it ended. You may learn that prior relationships ended at the stage when intimacy normally develops.

5. Perfection Seekers.  

These people look for and find a fatal flaw in the opposite sex and then move on.  The problem is that they’re scared of intimacy. When they can’t find imperfection, their anxiety rises. Given time, they will find an excuse to end the relationship.  Don’t be tempted to believe you’re better than their past partners.

6. They Are Rude To Everyone Else and have Anger issues.  

It’s one thing to be nice to you (a person they are likely trying to impress), but take note if your partner or date is rude to others. For example, if they are rude to a waiter or taxi driver, it may be indicative of pent- up anger. It’s not exactly a sign that someone is going to be warm, or caring to you. This type of person is demanding and probably emotionally abusive.

7. Arrogance. 

Avoid someone who brags and acts cocky, signaling low self-esteem. It takes confidence to be intimate and committed.

8. Lateness.  

Chronic lateness is inconsiderate, and can also indicate the person is avoiding relationship, but don’t assume that punctuality means he or she’s a catch.

9. Invasiveness or Evasiveness.  

Secrecy, evasiveness, or inappropriate questions too soon about money or sex, for example, indicate a hidden agenda and unwillingness to allow a relationship to unfold. Conversely, someone may conceal his or her past due to shame, which may create an obstacle to getting close.

10. They Keep Conversations Light

You try to talk about the future, and he shuts it down. You bring up a story about your past, and suddenly she glazes over. It seems they simply can’t be bothered, unless the conversation is lighthearted. “There’s nothing wrong with some superficial topics, but someone who’s reliably fixated on keeping things light ‘n’ easy may be unwilling, or unable, to commit.”

11. They’re Quick To Blame Everyone Else

These anti-emotion types won’t be in touch with themselves, and therefore won’t be able to own up to their mistakes. Instead, they’ll be all about blaming everyone else. This finger pointing game will be very obvious, and very annoying.

12. They Are Horrible At Making Plans

Whenever you try to make plans, they will always throw out that “maybe,” Nothing is ever nailed down, and the future seems anything but certain. This is likely due to their fear of commitment, and it’s not likely something you want to deal with.

Of course, people can change. But those who are emotionally unavailable will likely be pretty unwilling to do so. It can be tough to have someone like this in your life, so think twice before getting too involved

13. Seduction-They Aren’t About That Physical Contact

Beware of sexual cues given too early. Seducers avoid authenticity because they don’t believe they’re enough to keep a partner. Once the relationship gets real, they’ll sabotage it. Seduction is a power-play and about conquest. 

While everyone has different requirements for what constitutes “personal space,” wanting too much of it can sometimes be a sign of emotional unavailibility “They don’t like to be touched or have people sitting too close to them,” And they might not be super down for hugs, or cuddling. It can really become a problem if closeness is something you need in a relationship

While everyone has different requirements for what constitutes “personal space,” wanting too much of it can sometimes be a sign of emotional unavailability “They don’t like to be touched or have people sitting too close to them,” And they might not be super down for hugs, or cuddling. It can really become a problem if closeness is something you need in a relationship

Emotionally unavailable people are all over the place. They throw you emotional crumbs or enticing hints of their potential to be loving, then withdraw suddenly. It may be their mildly sweet attempt at being open and caring, but it usually just ends up as an emotional rollercoaster.

14. They Literally Can’t When It Comes To Conflict

These people shut down the moment conflict arises. Perhaps a simple disagreement causes them to throw a temper tantrum, or they get quiet the moment a debate occurs. Others may even walk out and end the relationship for the smallest reason.

An emotionally available person will be ready and willing to chat and reach a resolution. But emotionally unavailable people- Not so much.

It seems so obvious that dating someone like this would be a bad idea. I mean, who would purposefully choose to be with someone who lacks the ability to be loving and caring? And yet so many of us do it. We get caught up with the charming guy who whisks us out on dates, and then ghosts us days later. Or the girl who is kind of intriguingly distant, only to find out that she’s never going to open up.

It might be fun at first, but it’s no surprise that dating someone like this can be downright exhausting. After all, a lack of emotion is sort of like an anti-relationship. “With emotional availability comes warmth, empathy, compromise, flexibility, and compassion — all things that contribute to positive relationships and usually not present in someone who is emotionally unavailable”. 

Most people reveal their emotional availability early on. Pay attention to the facts, especially if there’s mutual attraction. Even if the person seems to be Mr. or Mrs. Right, yet is emotionally unavailable, you’re left with nothing but pain. If you overlook, deny, or rationalize to avoid short-term disappointment, you run the risk of enduring long-term misery.

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