The search for love can be both thrilling and overwhelming, as we celebrate when we find it and tirelessly pursue it when it eludes us. There are some relationships, however, in which someone feels emotionally unavailable, distant from their partner, and unable or unwilling to authentically express their feelings or be intimate. If you’ve found yourself wondering if you’re dating an emotionally unavailable man, here are 6 Signs That He is Emotionally Unavailable: How to Deal With a Distant Partner.
What is Being Emotionally Unavailable?
Before jumping into how to spot if your partner is emotionally unavailable, it is first important to discuss what being emotionally unavailable actually means. Being emotionally unavailable is a characteristic trait that is typically characterized by an inability or unwillingness to connect with people on a deeper level. This doesn’t mean someone can’t have relationships, but rather that they are uninterested in the more meaningful aspects of a relationship such as taking time to get to know one another, processing their emotions and fears, resolving conflict and feeling genuine empathy.
It is important to note that individuals who are emotionally unavailable might not necessarily be emotionally stunted, as some of them still experience a wide variety of emotions, but they may find it difficult to express them. Therefore, if you find yourself in a relationship with a partner who is distant, it is likely that they are emotionally unavailable. Here are some signs to watch out for:
Signs that He is Emotionally Unavailable
- They Avoid Deeper Conversation
If your partner is emotionally unavailable, they will likely avoid deeper conversations, find excuses not to talk or discussing difficult topics, or steer conversations back to the surface level. This is because emotionally unavailable individuals are typically not interested in addressing their emotions, what their partner is saying or how their actions make their partner feel. Therefore, if your common conversations rarely touch on your emotions or feelings, and instead consist of superficial topics such as work, drinking plans or weekend trips, it could be a sign that your partner is emotionally closed off.
- They Don’t Open Up
Coming on the back of the previous point, a sure-fire sign that your partner is emotionally unavailable is if they rarely open up to you, if at all. Emotionally unavailable partners are likely to be vague and dismissive when asked personal questions and may avoid talking about topics that could push them outside of their comfort zone.
- They are Uninterested in Resolution
In an emotionally healthy relationship, couples will work together to resolve disagreements and conflicts. When it comes to an emotionally unavailable partner, if they feel uncomfortable, they may choose to downplay, ignore or argue instead of discuss and resolve. Furthermore, if your partner refuses to acknowledge your feelings, apologizes insincerely or blames you for how they are feeling, it could be a sign that they are not interested in the resolution process.
- They Withdraw into Themsleves
It is a common sign of emotional distance when a partner withdraws into themselves. This could look like when a partner withdraws emotionally, physically leaving the room or focusing intently on an activity like their phone, TV or laptop, whenever the conversation gets deep or challenging. If you feel like your partner suddenly withdraws or is less present during certain conversations, it may be a warning sign that they are emotionally incapacitated.
- They Don’t Take Responsibility
Emotionally unavailable partners are often vague when it comes to taking responsibility for their actions, instead deflecting the blame for conflicts onto their partner or other things outside of their control. This means that if your partner consistently tries to place responsibility on you, their coworkers, their friends or family for why something went wrong, or tries to make you feel like it’s your fault, this could be a sign that they are unable to take responsibility for their own behavior.
- They Rely on Their Actions
Finally, another sign that your partner is emotionally unavailable is if they rely solely on their actions. It is often the case that an emotionally unavailable partner might take an action as a substitute for expressing their emotions as they feel more comfortable in actually doing something than they do in talking. Actions can fill in the relationship void, sometimes making the individual feel closer and more connected. For example, your partner may suggest that you both have a hike, or that they take you out on a nice dinner, rather than talk about how their day went.
How to Deal With a Distant Partner
So, what can you do if you are in a relationship with a partner who is emotionally unavailable? Here are some tips for how to deal with a distant partner:
- Learn to Accept Your Partner
The first thing to do is to accept your partner as they are. Just like with any relationship, in order for it to work and be healthier, both parties need to ultimately accept one another and come to terms with the fact that your partner is emotionally unavailable. Showing understanding and learning to accept your partner’s limitations is key, as it will help maintain respect for one another in the relationship.
Communication is also vital in any relationship and it is still important, even when your partner is emotionally unavailable. When your partner begins to shut down and withdraw, try to be understanding of this, but don’t be afraid to assert your needs if they’re not being met. Start slow by sharing your thoughts and feelings and keep it simple and direct.
- Create Personal Space
It is also wise to learn to create personal space and time away, so that you can resist the urge to become too emotionally invested in someone who may not reciprocate your feelings. While it is important to create some separation and distance, every relationship requires two equal, committed partners, so set boundaries with your partner about how much you can handle and what you need from them.
- Talk to a Counsellor
Finally, if you are still struggling to come to terms with your world or cope with a distant partner, talking to a counsellor could be beneficial. Seeking the help of a professional can provide the opportunity to process what is happening in the relationship, voice your needs and explore how to keep yourself safe and empowered when determining if the relationship is still beneficial for you.
Navigating a relationship with a partner who is emotionally unavailable is a tricky business and it is important to know how to identify the signs and establish an effective plan to ensure your needs are being met while also respecting your partner’s needs. The most important thing is to get yourself into a space of self-acceptance and be honest with yourself about what you can and can’t handle. With a bit of honesty and patience, you will be well equipped to build and enjoy a healthy, fulfilling relationship.