All of us, men and women alike, tend to be wary about who we trust with our hearts. Perhaps we’ve been hurt, hurt others, or seen our loved ones hurt in the past, so we hesitate to commit on an emotional level.
Eventually, however, a certain amount of emotional connection is required to make a relationship work. When people are emotionally distant or even emotionally unavailable, it can put your relationship in serious jeopardy.
But how can you know if that guy or girl you’re dating is distant or unavailable emotionally? Here are a few signs of emotional unavailability to watch out for:
Lack of communication. Emotionally unavailable men and women both feel like they «need their space», so they’ll feel like the time they spend apart from you is «their time». Every good relationship is built on communication, and it’s perfectly normal for you two to stay in touch throughout the day or week. If he or she goes for days without touching base, it’s a pretty clear sign.
Some guys like to get sexual on the first or second date, rather than letting the relationship take its time to develop. This could be a warning sign for you, as it could indicate that they’re simply looking for a «conquest» before moving on to the next woman. Emotional intimacy scares them, so once it moves past the hot and heavy sex stuff, they’ll be ready cut bait and disappear.
They say they’re not ready for a relationship. A lot of women (and men, for that matter) see it as a challenge when their date says things like, «I’m not ready for commitment» or «I’m not a relationship person». Don’t try to be the one that «fixes» them. Take that statement at face value—it’s usually a pretty clear truth, one you won’t hear them repeat often once you start giving them what they want.
They «do» charming.
Some men and women are naturally charming, while others put it on as a facade, a trick to get the attention of their targets. They pretend to be interested and enthusiastic, but it’s just an act intended to get you to develop short-term intimacy so you’ll sleep with them. They’re all about the chase, but once they’ve got what they want, you’ll see the real side of them beneath the charming facade.
The size of their ego. Men tend to be much more egotistical than women, but there is such a thing as «too egotistical». Emotionally unavailable people tend to be conceited braggarts, but this egotism is usually intended to hide low self-esteem and emotional immaturity. People who are emotionally healthy, on the other hand, are quietly confident.
When you hang out with him or her, you always do what they want, but they’ll never do what you want. They may always have a genuine (or genuine-sounding) excuse why not, but the truth is that you’re always going to them, compromising for them, or doing what they like. Emotionally unavailable people tend to be very self-centered, and they are very inflexible when it comes to compromise.
Their attitudes towards other. While he or she may be nice to you, watch how they are with the Uber driver, the waiter, the valet, or anyone else they encounter. The way they treat others is a good indication of their emotional health. They don’t have to be Mother Theresa or Saint Francis, but compassion and empathy are two signs of good emotional health.
It’s never their fault.
No matter what happens, the blame always rests on someone else’s shoulders. You made him yell at you, or her parents are to blame for the way she responds to your romantic overtures. Emotionally immature people are often incapable of accepting their role in anything, from arguments to failed relationships to career failures.
Disengaging. While he or she was full-on attentive at the beginning, now that the relationship has progressed to intimacy and emotions, they’re starting to grow distant. Maybe they work longer hours, or they spend more time away from home than they used to. Sometimes they’ll avoid difficult conversations, or they’ll simply avoid you because they know you want to confront them. Some may even begin to drink or start to keep secrets. This is a sure-fire sign you’re in a relationship that’s heading in the direction of «crash and burn».
Not everyone has had a chance to enjoy long-term relationships in their past, but often there’s a reason why. Commitment issues, emotional unavailability, and emotional immaturity are three of the most common reasons. If your guy or girl hasn’t ever had a steady relationship that lasted more than a few months, it could be a sign that there’s something going on. If he or she has had A LOT of short-term relationships, that’s an even clearer warning sign!
Past trauma. A lot of people have «inner demons» they’re afraid of confronting. Emotionally healthy people ultimately do get around to dealing with those issues, but people (especially guys, who hate to appear vulnerable) who don’t are usually emotionally stunted by those traumas. You aren’t your partner’s therapist, so it’s not on you to «fix» them. However, if they’re unwilling to face those issues, it’s a pretty clear sign that they’re not in the right emotional head-space for a real relationship.
They hate the «F-word»: future.
Talk about the future scares the crap out of them, because it signals emotional intimacy and long-term commitment. If they refuse to even think or talk about any sort of future together, that could be a clear sign that your relationship has an expiration date—in your partner’s mind, at least.
Everyone has some issues or emotional baggage that they carry through life, so you can’t expect that all the men or women you date will be perfect. However, you also need to be honest with yourself when it comes to dealing with potential romantic partners. If they’re emotionally unavailable, you’re in for a rocky relationship that will waste a few weeks, months, or even years of your life. Better end it now and find someone who is actually right for you!