Dating an emotionally unavailable person can make the relationship feel like it’s a lot of work. Watch out for the warning signs.
Among the several secrets behind a long-lasting relationship, one of the most important ones are intimacy and emotional connection. If you can’t relate to either of those in your relationship, then there are chances that your partner is emotionally absent.
"Being with an emotionally unavailable or absent partner can be exquisitely painful, almost like physical pain," Marilee Feldman, licensed clinical professional counselor and founder of Life Counseling Institute, tells Bustle. "On the surface, everything about your relationship can seem great. Your partner may be a really nice person. But they just don't know how to speak the language of emotion or allow it in themselves or others."
People who aren’t emotionally available label themselves as ‘not being good in a relationship’ and claim to not be able to hold a long-term commitment. So watch out for the warning signs before emotionally investing yourself in that person. Here are the tell-tale signs of an emotionally unavailable partner:
They don’t allow themselves to be vulnerable around you
If your partner never displays any sort of vulnerability in front of you, or refrains from talking about things that worry him, he could be emotionally unavailable. "Perfectionism and isolation may have been their coping skills in order to defend against having any needs that others may not meet," said Scott-Hudson, a licensed psychotherapist. Vulnerability is important to form an emotional attachment with your partner.
They use humour to deflect serious matters
"When something requires a heartfelt response, they'll often use humour or story-telling to deflect the seriousness of what’s happening," psychotherapist Michelle Farris said. In a relationship, if you don’t recognise the other person’s pain, it hurts the bond. It makes them appear less supportive and can make you feel that what you have to say doesn’t matter.
They shut down when you need emotional support
An emotionally absent partner will not only not share his pain with you, but also not support you emotionally. The classic example would be a person who shuts down and becomes less verbal when their partner is experiencing upset feelings," Feldman said. Is not like your partner doesn’t want to support you, it’s just that they don’t know how to.
They're evasive and lack responsibility
Emotionally unavailable people are extremely evasive. "It’s hard to get a clear read on them and they're only available when it's convenient for them," Dr. Jackson says. They won’t reply to your texts and only respond when it is convenient for them They will never take responsibility for any problems in the relationship either.
You always feel like you're chasing after them
"When a person is emotionally unavailable, you end up chasing them for love rather than experiencing it," Farris says. 90 per cent of the time, it will be you initiating dates and meet ups. The relationship will feel like a lot of work and it will feel like the other person is not reciprocating at all. Have realistic expectations from your partner if he/she is emotionally unavailable.