The Four Signs of Emotionally Unavailable Men
As human beings, each of us is a pool of emotions– and any changes to this pool influence our behavior. To the extreme, excessive emotions can fuel psychological problems like anxiety, depression, or drug and alcohol abuse.
Ladies, have you ever had a partner whose words did not match his actions? Have you met a man who loves the chase; but once you respond positively, he stops calling.
Or a male partner who is in a relationship with you and with someone else at the same? All of this sounds ridiculous, right? But you might also find it to be irritating and heartbreaking.
Warning – you might have an emotionally unavailable man on your hands. So, what then? Often you are left with a confused mind – not knowing how to handle the situation. Continue reading for signs and ideas on how to deal with an emotionally unavailable man.
Although being in a relationship with such man does not involve physical assault by default, it is detrimental to your mental health and feelings (heart and mind), so pay close attention.
EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY IS A REALITY OF LIFE
Firstly, let’s define what emotional unavailability is.
Does it mean the same as emotional ignorance?
Emotionally unavailable people do not even realize their emotional state – regardless of whether they are ignorant or intelligent. Among the things they know and recognize is that they are right, fine, and need attention.
In most cases, they will not value or pay attention to your concerns or they will only criticize you. Such people expect to be cared for, yet there is no way you can do that because they simply will not allow you to.
In the case you are in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable man, just one small question or comment from you regarding any of his actions could ruin it all.
He can simply put an end to your speech by telling you a phrase along the lines of, “I don’t like the way you speak with food in your mouth,” or “I’ll handle that” if you have a concern that needs to be addressed.
He would not want to speak about the issue at hand – no matter how hard you try.
Who on Earth would not love to be listened to?
Communication makes us better people in our families, marriages, and social groups. But when communication break-down happens the then relationship slowly starts to die. The most common reason for this is one of the partners becoming emotionally unavailable.
It literally means “communication death” because one partner (the emotionally unavailable one) deprives the other of the right to expression thus lowering the victim’s self-confidence, and this is where confusion and desperation sets in.
Emotional unavailability affects both partners in a relationship regardless of what kind of relations is in question. But have you ever wondered what are the possible causes for this seemingly destructive emotion?
WHAT MAKES A MAN EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE?
Just like any natural phenomena, emotional unavailability in men can be caused by several natural factors which include:
- Poor role models – Men’s behaviors (especially the social aspect – that entails communication skills) are greatly influenced by the people they look up to as role models. For instance, their fathers. If the role model exhibited negative characters, then chances are that the man (or the boy) will foster the same destructive characters that led to his role model becoming emotionally unavailable. Such a man will often have trouble communicating his feelings, especially to their spouse.
- The society – Men are viewed to be powerful, strong and (if you like) unapproachable individuals. Even as a small boy, he is expected not to be crying over any small issue because “crying is for girls”– this is what you will always hear from the society. This, together with other factors (that promote improper socialization) harms a man’s ability to connect with others at an intimate emotional level.
- Traumatic encounters/experiences – Traumatic events prevent one from outgrowing their fears. This factor alone is enough to prevent a man from being there for you in your relationship since it deters him from acknowledging his feelings and problems as well.
- Undeserving response to emotions – As indicated earlier, the society expects men to be problem/issue solvers and not the other way around. This means that they are not supposed to share their issues or experiences as this would be a sign of defeat or cowardice. You can almost imagine how this culture has enormous effects on the man’s social life – specifically on their long-lasting relationships like marriage.
SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY IN RELATIONSHIPS
Being in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable individual does you more harm than good because this leaves you frustrated, full of pain and lonely.
By being unavailable emotionally, it means he is absent in every aspect of your relationship because emotions are what make the connection between two humans.
Going by this alone, it essentially means that there will be no emotional connection between the two of you thus, leading to a “dead relationship”.
Often referred to as “defense mechanism,” emotional unavailability negatively impacts relationships. It takes a severe toll on your self-esteem (as the victim).
This type of men will always have an excuse to justify their behavior. For instance, because he is avoiding your company (they will often do this to avoid intimacy between the two of you) he will offer excuses such as:
- Staying up in the office till late.
- Always hanging out with friends.
- Always on business trips.
- Blaming you for anything and everything.
- Constantly making fun of you.
- Using sarcasm or unpleasant tone of voice.
- Saying phrases with conditions: “If you don’t—————, I’ll————-“ and “I love you, but———————-. “
He would do any or all these just to avoid you or make you feel unwanted – to push you away.
Also, be on the lookout for the following common signs of emotionally unavailable men:
1. They exhibit robot-like characteristics
It does sound funny, right? If this is your man, then the truth is that he keeps you guessing about his feelings given that regardless of whether he is happy, sad or tired he exhibits similar characteristics.
Personally, I think this is torture – psychological torture for that matter. As a human being, you cannot read one’s mind, although they say it is possible for soul mates – this does not work to a great extent.
Any time you raise an issue, it hits a dead end with no constructive feedback. Sometimes this ends up in an anger-filled yell. By the way, such people only express emotions through anger – which is the only emotion you can read from them. Other than that, they are always “fine”.
It is unimaginable how the lack of proper communication can be detrimental to your relationship considering that the role of communication is to address the parties’ unfilled needs, and in this case, one party is not willing (due to several factors which may include stress, suspicions, and doubts about the relationship).
Also, it could be that you are too needy that he feels you only need him to fill some sort of emotional void for you. In this case, he will withdraw and keep things to himself while also avoiding you.
2. They are self-centered
Everything they say is about “me”– “I need…” “My party…” “My car…”These men consider only what favors them. If you’re saying, “yes, this is him now…” then you must have noticed that he rarely speaks about your areas of interest.
For instance, you are home from work, feeling frustrated about how the boss mishandled you back at work. Then here you are trying to share with him hoping that he will offer you encouragement words or some sort of love feeling to cover it all, and then he suddenly gets up from the seat and says, “I’m leaving for my birthday party.”
“What? This could be a joke…” – how come he didn’t even let you know that he’ll be celebrating his birthday?
Always be prepared for big surprises from this kind of men because they plan and do things without putting you in the picture – it’s all about what’s convenient for them. Note: They view the relationship as something to serve them.
3. They are perfectionists
Anything that proceeds from your mouth will never be good enough for such men. They’ll be ever criticizing everything you do (big or small) and everything about you. But notice that this is just a way to keep them at an emotional distance.
Such men can utter annoying statements to include how you eat, dress, walk, talk…they will say, “I don’t like how you eat”, or “Why don’t you dress like so and so” – he is always comparing you to others. Then you realize, he’s no longer interested in you.
4. Anger is the often-expressed emotion in them
You will never see anything in between their emotions other than anger and the phrase “fine”–“I’m fine” or “Everything is fine.” When you get this as a response, do not insist on putting across your concern. Instead, take back your statement and wait for the right time. You can as well inquire if he is able to engage in constructive discussion.
Always ensure that you periodically request for hearing checks for an enhanced communication process.
Do not be surprised by how much an emotionally unstable man will be quick to defend himself and pass on the blame to others – this is their known trait. It is quite difficult to engage such men in a discussion (knowing well that they are easily aroused to anger).
HOW TO HANDLE AN EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE MEN
If the man in your life ticked off all the boxes for signs of emotionally unavailable men and you still wish to fight for your relationship, then first things must come first.
And that is – get to understand yourself and find out what you want out of your relationship. If after your soul-searching and situation analysis you find out that the main reason for your rocky relationship is your partner’s emotional unavailability, then you read below for ways how to handle him.
The most important thing to do at this point is to try to be respectful and accommodative of your partner. This indeed requires some skills on how to handle the entire process – such as:
- Be patient – set yourself a time limit for your patience period. This may not be easy for you especially if you have reached that point of calling it a quit. But if there is still some hope, give it some more time but with a deadline. If the time passed and nothing changes for the better, then you should exit the relationship – otherwise, you may wait forever. Simply walk out and stop wasting your time there.
- Give him space – do not push them to open emotionally, as this will only worsen the situation. At this stage, you want to do everything possible to make him share his feelings and concerns with you. So, approach him with at most care – keenly craft your statement and deliver it in a respectful manner (after getting the permission to do so from him).This tactic can yield unexpected results considering that he may decide to open-up because of his appreciation of you respecting his space.
- Pay close attention to what he says – it is important to listen to what he says directly and indirectly, instead of selectively hearing what you wish to hear from you. Emotionally unavailable men will show you or some will even tell you that they are not interested in making long-term plans with you. In such a case, do not waste your time thinking that he will one day change his mind and commit – you will be lying to yourself. Collect yourself and simply move on. Only stay if there is a long-term commitment plan and not a “potential” long-term
In addition,considering trying the following actions before you close this chapter of your life:
- It is evident that communication is lacking between the two of you at this point, and if it exists, then it is inadequate. To improve your communication with such a person, you need to become your true self – speak out your heart and feelings with no pretense.
- If you want him to listen to you, inquire if he has time to listen to you or periodically ask for hearing checks.
- Willing to learn his needs, feels, or thoughts? Ask – but be aware that he may not be able to identify or describe these things considering the already existing harm to his psychological well-being.
- At times you may wish to share how his unavailability affects you (which seems difficult). You can use these simple steps to do so:
- First, take note of how you feel around him – when you are together.
- Ask if he is okay with having a constructive discussion.
- If the response is “Yes,” go ahead and deliver a respectful message like “I always long to be by your side, but sometimes it seems difficult because I can’t figure out your feelings towards me.” or “When you don’t answer my questions, I feel————-.”
Nevertheless, avoid responses that will degrade your relationship further by triggering the obvious negative reactions. These include statements or actions like:
- Complaining and criticizing: For instance, “You mean this is how you pay me back after all I’ve done for you?”
- Questioning: For example, “Why don’t you care about me?” –meaning that he is irresponsible and careless (which indicates a negative trait).
- Judging and name-calling: For instance, “People who care less about their partners are inhuman, don’t you think?”
- Irritation and resentment: “Is it hard to call and inform me that you’ll be late?”
- Name tagging – Referring to people with undeserving names. For example, “Poor Tom, he is just a poor church mouse.”
- Slander and gossip – “Have you heard that she went to the doctor only to realize that she isn’t pregnant?”.
You could be saying now, “But I’ve tried all these to no avail!”. Then do not stay in a relationship with the “I’ll change him” perception. It is not practical to change someone, only they have this power.
Be honest with yourself – do not say, “I’ll learn to cope with his weaknesses” when deep inside you know perfectly well that you will not do that.
A healthy relationship requires a huge investment of time, love and of course being there for one another. To ascertain your decision, ask yourself a simple question “Will I stay happy if things remained the way they are?”.
If the answer is no or you are in doubt; then maybe it is time to pack your bags.
In simple terms, emotional unavailability can be described as the impotence and reluctance to express feelings or emotions, thoughts, or needs.
It is undeniable that emotional unavailability is hard to deal with, especially on the victim’s side, as it requires a great level of understanding and patience (most individuals tend to give up on after a while).
Very few individuals understand and know the contributing factors thus calling for more awareness through writing, physical mobilization, and through open public forums.
If you are in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable man, consider the following summarized ways of how to handle this situation:
- Learn, adapt and express empathic listening
- Keep your true self in charge – do not pretend to be what you are not. For instance, do not lie by saying things like “I feel good when I’m around you,” and deep inside you know this is false.
- Maintain a respectful and genuine respect attitude—that can be seen and felt through your actions.
- Get to understand the causes of emotional unavailability.
- Be clear about your feelings, opinions, rights, and needs. Express yourself freely in a respectful manner (negative and attitude-loaded responses will put off your conversation instantly).
Lastly, begin by acknowledging that emotionally unavailable people are not bad by default since it is okay to be emotionally unavailable at some point in life.
Nevertheless, of course, be mindful and ensure that it does not take a toll on your relationship forever.
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