EVERYTHING IS AMAZING BUT... THEY'RE JUST EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE.
Have you ever dated someone for a few months; you have so much in common, they make you laugh, they treat you real good, not to mention you have great sexual chemistry, but something seems a little off? ..."Oh everything is amazing but... they're just emotionally unavailable!!" 😑 — Yep! We certainly hear this term a lot, but what does it actually mean?
Being "emotionally unavailable" describes a person who is evasive, doesn't like to discuss their feelings, and struggles to sustain emotional bonds in relationships. Some common traits/behaviours include being flaky, blowing hot and cold, lacking empathy, and being hard to read. When they're involved with someone, they often prefer to date casually and keep them at arm's length.
HIGHS AND LOWS OF CONSTANT UNCERTAINTY
That said, recognising emotional unavailability in someone is so tricky because on the surface, they appear to be very stable! Many of these individuals are well versed in making you feel great about yourself and feeling hopeful about the future of your relationship! During early stages of dating, the relationship should be fun and exciting, however, if after a few months in you start to realise you haven't quite connected more intimately — that is, on an emotional level... chances are they might not be able to maintain anything beyond casual involvement. For the person on the receiving end it can be very painful, not being able to get close to someone you're developing feelings for is frustrating and confusing.
Speaking from my own experience (being on both sides), emotionally unavailable people are usually fiercely independent, they go around feeling like they don't need anyone. But what you don't know about them is that they're terribly anxious about being hurt, they also fear that they could be rejected or controlled. The people who show emotional unavailability are not necessarily bad people or incapable of love, they just lack emotional depth, and have built very high walls around themselves over time. For the most part, they're actually unaware of their behaviour, convincing themselves in thinking: "that's just how I am." It's an unconscious defence, most likely against past trauma or an emotional wound.
SOME HARD TRUTHS
Seeing as I know exactly what it's like to be that person (again, from both sides), here's a few things I want you to know about dating someone emotionally unavailable.
NO LABELS PLEASE You know when someone drops that bomb: "So what are we?" — well, the emotionally unavailable folk would rather have the floor swallow them up whole than address that ghastly question! Sure, they're comfortable enough to do relationship things with you like go on dates, meeting each other's friends, have you stay over... but once they hear the word "relationship", it's like they get a sudden allergic reaction! Simply because they know there's commitment and an emotional investment attached to it. I'LL ONLY DATE YOU IF YOU'RE ALSO EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE "Oh, you're the same type of person? Great, I can deal with you!" — Funnily enough, being emotionally unavailable makes you want to date emotionally unavailable people! It's a safe bet because they guard themselves just like you do, which means you're less likely to get hurt. However, dating a detached person (a reflection of yourself) will probably drive you up the wall because you just can't understand them! PLEASE DO NOT TRY AND FIX THEM! I have learned this many times, the hard way. Trying to fix someone else will destroy your soul. We tend to think that any problems that affect us are ours to solve. No, no, no! This belief will lead us down a painful path of trying to control things that aren't in our control. Worry about yourself and let them figure themselves out when they're ready. AFFECTION? WHAT'S THAT? Sure, there are some people who are generally known for not displaying affection. But there are also those who get very uncomfortable with actions such as hugging, cuddling, hand holding, etc, and also strive to avoid any type of emotional situation. You might find that they even create conflict to purposely escape a potentially emotional discussion, or simply not respond when they're shown appreciation, recognition, or love. NO QUALMS ABOUT CUTTING PEOPLE OFF It makes sense to remove toxic people and situations from your life, but emotionally unavailable people usually do this without real consideration for others or the consequences. They would much rather ghost or block someone as opposed to working through conflict. When they cut someone off, it protects them from getting close to people, while also saving them from having to deal the other party's emotions. YOU WILL NEVER BE FIRST Finally, emotionally unavailable people are selfish... sometimes even narcissistic. It's their happiness before yours. And while they may come across as very charming at first, you'll eventually realise that they don't care too much about your feelings, and only value themselves. Most decisions they make are self-driven.
IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME.
It’s impossible to have a healthy, sustainable relationship without an emotional connection. As mentioned, there's nothing wrong with being emotionally unavailable, but recognising and admitting that there's work to be done within shows courage and strength. If you're able to work through your issues and figure out the root of the problem, whether through counselling or coaching, etc. you'll be doing yourself a huge favour by removing some of those heavy burdens, you'll also learn to be more present, and as a result, create fulfilling, long-lasting relationships. Lastly, as a heads up, it's not something that can be fixed overnight, you have to want to consistently work at it. True vulnerability takes time. I always found that pushing myself to open up before I was ready caused real discomfort. It's good to step out of your comfort zone, but I highly recommend taking it step by step... baby steps! 👣