Wondering if you're dating an emotionally unavailable guy or a guy with emotional availability? When it comes to being in a relationship, emotional connections take things from fun to serious. For some women, the desire to build a deep emotional connection plays a big part in their search for a guy to date. But what happens when you find yourself investing time and effort into a relationship where the guy doesn’t seem to be reciprocating your desire for an emotional connection? It could mean that you’re dating an emotionally unavailable person. Dealing with people who lack emotional connection can be tricky when you both want different things; it can leave you feeling alone, depressed, unimportant, and undesirable.
Read on to learn what causes emotional unavailability, traits of these men, and tips on what to do if you find yourself in a relationship with someone who lacks an emotional connection with you.
These reasons all fall under two categories: temporary or chronic.
These are reasons that have come about due to a life event. He could have something else in his life that he dedicates his time and effort to, such as his job, family members, furthering education, or even a health concern. A man that has been recently divorced or widowed often finds himself becoming emotionally detached for some time while he grieves the lost relationship.
This situation is also possible for men that have recently ended a long-term relationship. Sometimes a breakup can lead to emotionally unavailable people who want to date for some time before finding another severe partner.
For some emotionally distant men, the underlying reasons are more severe and lead to a chronic emotional issue. Research has shown that parents who aren’t emotionally available for their sons have a higher risk of raising men who are emotionally unavailable themselves. Some men suffering from mental health concerns may also experience difficulties with emotions. In addition, men who have been burned by love before may find it challenging to get over those hurt feelings and are afraid of making an emotional connection again.
Often the best solution is treatment from a mental health professional, who can help the man assess these problems and find ways to overcome them to be comfortable with emotions again.
There are specific characteristics of emotionally unavailable men that a woman can look for when assessing her relationship. The traits of these men can vary depending on both the man and the situation. If a man shows just one or two of the characteristics listed, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is an emotionally detached man. But if you notice that your significant other has more than just one or two of the traits listed for characteristics of emotionally distant men, there is a chance that he might have a problem with emotion.
One of the most common characteristics of an emotionally unavailable man is his reluctance to reveal his feelings to you. Discussing how you’re feeling is a normal part of a healthy relationship, but a detached man will not be comfortable doing this. Sharing feelings means letting your guard down, which is what emotionally unavailable men absolutely do not want to do.
For instance, he’ll avoid confiding even everyday occurrences from his week, like how a tough meeting with his boss went or disappointment about having plans canceled.
He’ll choose to discuss more mundane topics instead of emotional ones, sticking to facts rather than sharing anything that touches on his feelings.
Another characteristic of an emotionally unavailable man is that he is either not interested in or uncomfortable expressing his own feelings or emotions. Emotionally distant men have trouble with all emotions, not just their own.
Healthy relationships involve vulnerability and having someone willing to listen to you and help you through tough times. Emotionally distant men aren’t willing to deal with emotionally charged situations, making them unable to maintain normal romantic relationships.
An emotionally unavailable man is rarely, if ever, open and honest about events in his past, when it comes to relationships and when it comes to his life experiences. While no one needs to confess every single detail about their past and their failed relationships, being able to share details about yourself is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship.
Still, if your boyfriend keeps you in the dark about his past, even after you’ve been together for a while, these may be signs of a lack of emotional vulnerability.
Have you noticed that your boyfriend manages to turn every serious moment into a joke or responds with sarcasm? Another characteristic of emotionally unavailable men is that they often chose this tactic to avoid expressing any strong emotions, such as anger, disappointment, fear, or sadness.
So if you notice that your man reacts to bad news with a joke, or your expressions of emotion with sarcasm, these can be signs of an emotionally unavailable man.
Some men are either not able or unwilling to commit to another person in a relationship. He’ll do his best to keep things casual, even going so far as to avoid calling you his girlfriend, to avoid committing to you. Commitment involves an emotional investment from both people in a relationship, exactly what he is trying to avoid. Instead, men who lack emotional maturity will often have very short relationships, never staying with a woman long enough to require any investment on their part. If you’ve approached the idea of taking your relationship to the next level and he’s been unreceptive or tried to change the subject, there is little chance of your relationship becoming any more than what it is now.
Physical intimacy is a natural part of a romantic relationship, and it isn’t uncommon for men to be interested in initiating a physical relationship before they’ve established an emotional connection.
If your boyfriend deflects your attempts to talk about your relationship or your emotions by initiating physical intimacy, there is a good chance that he is an emotionally unavailable man.
The traits of an emotionally unavailable man aren’t hard to read, but they can be hard to deal with, especially if you’ve found yourself married to an emotionally distant man. There is a difference between being emotionally unavailable and simply being bad at handling emotions.
The difference is whether or not a man is just awkward at handling emotions. If he tries to avoid them entirely, avoidance is the key factor that defines emotionally distant men. If your boyfriend avoids “labeling” your relationship, discussing his feelings, or reacts negatively when you express your emotions, it’s likely he is emotionally detached and that your relationship is unlikely to progress any farther than it already is.
An emotionally distant man isn’t necessarily a broken man; he just hasn’t learned or has forgotten how to deal with emotions. Dealing with an emotionally unavailable man isn’t impossible. You can approach the idea of going to couples counseling with him or having him go to individual therapy to try and address his problems.
There is a good chance he’ll refuse, but if you approach it straightforwardly, he may be receptive. Tell him that you’re interested in continuing your relationship, and mention how you believe you make you two a good fit for each other. If he’s the type of man willing to try and change, he should be willing to address his issues. If he isn’t, you’ll know it is time to move on from the relationship.
If you’ve found yourself in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable man and aren’t sure how to deal with it, try setting up an appointment with a licensed therapist here at ReGain. We connect people with therapists that can help deal with many types of problems, including those that can arise from dealing with emotionally distant men.
Unlike in-person counseling, we offer convenient online sessions that can be done from your computer, tablet, or phone whenever it best suits your schedule. Don’t let dealing with emotionally unavailable men affect your mental well-being; let a licensed therapist help you learn how to work through this journey, even if your boyfriend isn’t willing to participate.
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This means the non-preparedness or willingness to stay loyal and committed to a relationship. He'll rather keep things undefined and casual with you to avoid dealing with the deeper elements that come with long-term relationships.
These types of men will jump from one fling to another because they’ve not invested in the relationship more than they are comfortable with or willing to.
If you’d rather want to define your relationship and introduce more commitment elements with a guy, but he’d rather prefer friends with benefits or entertain the prospects of dating other girls and moving on from you, this can be a very clear indication that he is not ready for a relationship.
Yes, a man who is not ready for commitment can fall in love, but they won’t go head over heels with just any charming lady out there. A recent survey of 172 college students shows that men fall in love earlier than women. This only makes it evident that a guy's feelings can change, which may take the relationship in a different direction.
Do these men change?
While most psychologically unavailable persons rarely change, some do. With the different dips and vicissitudes of life, these men may change how they’ve always been.
But it is important to note that psychologically inattentive men do not just automatically change into individuals capable of commitment, respect, communication, loyalty, love, and empathy overnight.
They may be our fathers, brothers, sons, boyfriends, or husbands. They find it hard to express feelings, and most times, they seem less concerned with hearing and relating to a woman’s feelings. These men may ignore, withdraw, or become angry or defensive when they’re asked to become vulnerable or committed in their relationships.
To connect with them:
He probably had a difficult childhood with sexual or psychological abuses, a distant father, a dominant mother, or a controlling guardian. Relating with you at the core may not be convenient for him.
It is important not to be too reactive when issues of your past hurt or trauma arise to avert his plans to open up to you. This will aid in a faster connection with your psychologically inattentive partner.
Psychologically inattentive individuals are abhorrent of accusations. What works the magic on them is feeling. Just like every other normal human being, they have feelings too. They are different from others because they can be hideous with their feelings.
Most men are usually straightforward, and they love to tackle their problems head-on. Vague accusations or not making your complaints clear-cuts seldom facilitate the desired connections. Requesting for some minutes with him to discuss essential topics with you because of your loneliness may send the message that you’d like to connect more with him.
Arguing that he hides his feelings from you will normally lead to fewer connections, truncating your plans for an invitation to bear your deepest feelings to him. Gently seek to know if he'll like to share his feelings about something important to you. This could help strengthen your bonds.
If he shares his feelings and thoughts with you, don’t yield to the temptation to extract more from him than he’d love to offer willingly. You’re essentially preparing a fertile ground for more disclosure of these feelings and thoughts with you next time. Plus, you are protecting your mental health from the hurt of over-expectation.
The term psychologically inattentive means, for some reason, a person fails at expressing their feelings fully. Most psychologically inattentive individuals have experienced hurdles at a particular point in their lives that express their feelings with great difficulty.
They're normally less optimistic and cynical of people and circumstances. If a close relative or acquaintance is abnormally judgmental of you, there's some probability that he connects with you or is excessively self-critical.
One way psychologically inattentive people can help themselves is to connect with their core and feelings before sharing some psychological intimacy with other people.
Almost every psychologically inattentive person has depression or/and anxiety sessions, but they are frequently not aware of this because of their lack of touch with their feelings.
The emergence of anxiety can be traced to fear. The latter is one of the major causes: fear of becoming overwhelmed, fear of intimacy, fear of hurt, fear of prejudice, unjustifiable fear of death or/and fear of baring your true worth.
A careful look into the life of a psychologically inattentive individual will reveal that they’d faced incidences of inadequacies, shame, and other forms of bad feelings.
When is a guy hurt?
A severe psychological injury arises when a guy becomes lost in his problems and no longer contributes or cares about his intimacy with his partner whatsoever.
In some of the best instances, a hurt guy will take conscious efforts to work on his issues and himself to help him develop a healthy love relationship.
That said; let’s take a look at some of the signs that show that a person has been hurt psychologically:
The fact that a guy still clings to past events says a lot about the degree of his psychological injury. Even when he may say otherwise, there’re chances that the pain is still somewhere hidden in his heart.
Pain from previous disappointments, rejection, and depression can be difficult to do away with. Even when you think you are relatively free from them, they’d still come back, hanging around your sanity like vultures looking for what to prey on.
A guy with a psychological injury resembles a wounded tiger. He is always on the run, seeking shelter and a place to find refuge. He does not like to get involved in conflicts and always seeks to protect himself from them.
He concentrates on his needs and his overall health because, at his core, he is still trying to survive. But, like every living soul out there, he still desires emotional intimacy and affections. Psychologically injured men will find it hard to express their emotions or return affections.
3) He is not comfortable opening up to you
Even though a hurt person may open up to you when he is vulnerable, one way of knowing that your person has been psychologically hurt is that he is not comfortable opening up to you or regrets it when he does.
This can be traced to the feeling of exposure which he'll not appreciate.
When your guy is a control freak and emotionally abusive, it could signify that he has been psychologically injured. This often manifests as a lack of trust in you. So, rather than entrusting you with a joint partnership, he’ll rather do it himself.
One of the problems that men who have been psychologically hurt before the face is the difficulty in revealing their object of attraction and love. He bottles up everything, even his feelings for you.
You can tell a psychologically injured guy by the way he courts validation and attention.
His low self-image and warped self-esteem continuously remind him that he isn't sufficient enough. It is like a discontented judge is regularly sentencing him inside the four walls of his mental jail. He feels inadequate and is ashamed of himself – for no sensible reason.
Trying to identify emotional accessibility can sometimes be difficult. Many psychologically inattentive individuals have a special talent for making you feel specials and optimistic about the prospect of your relationship with them.
But when you don’t rekindle the deep bonds after what seems like a hopeful start, then he may not have what it takes to maintain it further than the present casual connection. The following signs will help you identify an psychologically inattentive person:
Like we noted earlier, psychologically inattentive men have a lesser inclination to stick to commitments, whether they're major or minor commitments.
When you see each other, they tend to choose what you do — usually an activity that aligns with their typical routine. They might put on the latest episode of their favorite Netflix show, even though you’ve never seen it. Or maybe they ask you to help them out around the house.
He is often domineering and likes to instruct you on what to do – usually a routine that mirrors his normal activities. He may play the newest episode of his favorite soap opera, not caring if you like it or not. Or he may tell you to help him do some housework, not minding if you are in the mood or not.
So, you can’t recall when last he sent you a non-reply message? Feeling disappointed that he doesn’t initiate a date or set up plans to take your relationship to the next level? If you are the one doing all the planning, testing, and calling, then it shows that they’re emotionally immature.
Constantly coming late or not keeping to commitments is a clever way of keeping your distance from someone. Your guy may still apologize for this and still show some signs that he cares.
The no-contact principle also works on men. While it is true that the psychology of a male is a far cry from that of a female, feelings and realities are often very similar in both genders.
Male psychology is wired to respond to reverse psychology. This means that he'll respond to the direct opposite of his expectations.
Rather than chasing him, looking for closure, calling, or texting, vanish from his life. That is the only way you can make him feel, “I made a huge mistake by breaking up with her.”