Emotionally Unavailable


Being Involved With an Unavailable Partner is a Dead End

“I am writing to you about the man I have been dating for over seven years. We are not engaged and there is no commitment on his part. We see each other only when it appears to be convenient for him,” writes Shirley of Janesville, Wisconsin.

“He’s 42, never been married, and is extremely selfish. (He) has money for all of (his) toys (he bought an airplane with other people, drives an Italian sports car, has a ski boat, etc).  However, he does not want to spend money on me. He was coming to my house every night to eat before he left for work, and would only take me out one night a week to an inexpensive restaurant. He expected me to leave a tip. He never does anything to help me at my house, but I used to go to his house and clean and do his yard work. He spends all day sometimes with people he doesn’t even know, but never can spend all day with me.”

“I am an attractive woman who has taken good care of myself physically. I love him, but I know (we) will never have a future. I already know what I should do, but it’s very hard for me to say “good-bye”. I’m tired of being available only when it is convenient for him.”

You are involved with an emotionally unavailable man. Emotionally unavailable people are hard to get close to, and even harder to stay close to. They don’t want a “normal” relationship–they want to be alone, with other people, or off doing their own thing–which invariably does not include you.

How do people act emotionally unavailable?

  • They’re emotionally distant and extremely remote, except when courting.
  • They’re too busy, sick, tired or preoccupied with other things. Their energy, time and life-force are all taken with other priorities.
  • They frequently work a lot , and don’t have quality time to spend with you.
  • They’re not responsive. They ignore you and your requests, and they don’t try hard to make a relationship work.
  • They don’t, won’t or can’t commit to a relationship.
  • They may be extremely critical and judgmental, so you may have a hard time doing anything “right” in their eyes.
  • They may flirt with other people, and may not value monogamy.
  • They may watch TV or sports a lot, read, work-out, or otherwise be preoccupied with something or someone that routinely interferes with their ability to be with you.
  • They may be addicted to some substance, such as alcohol, drugs or food, which renders them incapable of being present  and truly available to another person.
  • People already married or involved with someone else are frequently emotionally unavailable, regardless of what they profess.
  • They do not place a value on acting with honesty, honor or integrity in their relationships with others. They’re full of excuses as to why they can’t be with you, do things with you, or be available for you.

If it seems that you routinely love your partner more than he or she loves you, that you express affection, care and commitment more than you receive, presume that you are involved with an emotionally unavailable partner.

Emotionally unavailable people may profess to love you and care about you, and they may make wonderful promises about your future together, but they don’t follow through with believable behaviors that make you feel wanted and secure around them.