This is one of the rare unfiltered (yes, it was THAT beautiful #nofilter at all) photos taken of me in the middle of nowhere by the Nevada-Utah border when I was working on a project last December. I decided to use this picture because besides it being a fun memory, it’s also the Webster’s pictorial definition of exactly what it feels like to date an emotionally unavailable man.
I never knew what “emotionally unavailable” meant until a few years ago. I had heard the term once or twice and I thought it was just some bizarre psychological term that seemed too diagnostic and unrealistic. How could anyone be emotionally unavailable? All my friends and I DID was cry, laugh, scream, get angry and cry some more. It seemed too complicated and way off base. I BLED emotions.
Fast forward to a year later after a horrible, heart-wrenching, not-ever-going-to-recover-from-this-I-want-to-die breakup. I found myself in a onesie and pink ugg boots (remember when those used to be in style? me neither), in my car driving just to get lost. I had gotten to the point where I felt like I had nowhere to turn. I felt like I was a sneeze away from a padded wall and straight jacket. I turned on the radio and it was accidentally on an AM radio station. Before I could change the station, I heard a woman explain her broken relationship and it sounded so similar to mine that I had to pull over the car. After a long pause, the radio love doctor that was listening to the woman said: “it sounds like he’s emotionally unavailable.”
I drove home and didn’t need to do much research until I understood what emotional unavailability meant. I immediately connected what I was learning and began to recognize family members, friends and the majority of guys that I had been with as emotionally unavailable.
This was invaluable to me because I got to see patterns in what I was attracting and what I was attracted to. I feel like being involved with someone that’s emotionally unavailable is something that needs to be discussed and understood because once you get what it means, you can then identify it after a few dates (or even one date) and save yourself the months, years, tears and the feeling of hopeless insanity that’s inevitable when you decide to have a go with a guy that’s of the emotionally unavailable species.
It’s not that your guy is disinterested, that he’s “changed,” or that you “did” anything to make him act a certain way. You’re not “unlucky” in love and you’re definitely not going crazy. He’s just disconnected and unavailable.
Stop focusing on his “good” qualities. This isn’t about being good or bad. He could be curing cancer and rescuing kittens every day, but if he’s emotionally unavailable, It doesn’t matter how many kittens he rescues or what he cures, he will never capable of emotional intimacy or connection with you. Or the girl he cheated on you with. Or his ex. Or the bartender with the fake tits. Or the girl he dates after you. EVER. His emotional availability and ability to commit to you has nothing to do with him having redeeming attributes and accomplishments. It’s about being capable of a mutually exclusive, monogamous, caring, loving respectful partnership in which he’s consistent.
Emotionally unavailable men are the guys that you feel like you can never read. They’re the reason Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda had anything to talk about, ever.
They’re the guys that you’re always talking to your girlfriends about, trying to analyze and decipher. Emotionally unavailable guys are unable to tap into their emotions and because of this, they lack empathy. They always seem to have a lot of women attracted to them because they’re so ambiguous, Johnny-Depp-mysterious and hard to read.
Every women wants to be the chosen one that finally “cracked the code” and got the “bad boy/reluctant, Mr. Big” to finally give up his ways and “settle down.” We’d rather play doctor/detective/therapist/mommy and get an emotionally unavailable man to “change his ways” and to “see the light,” than spend our valuable time actually FINDING a real gentleMAN that doesn’t need fixing because we tell ourselves that “the gentleman” is an urban myth that doesn’t exist. Instead, we have to turn some douchebag into our do-gooder project and save them out of being who they are totally okay with being (themselves).
These guys always give you excuses as to why they don’t want to jump into a relationship right now and will blame their last breakup, current job, new job, old job, school, sports, commitments, bad timing, trauma, illness in the family, their dog dying, their lack of money… and the list goes on and on and on.
They will blame one or all of these things on why they aren’t able to “fully commit” right now (as if you’re asking for vows to be written and a ring to be purchased).
They’ll have ZERO PROBLEM using you for sex, hooking up, and having you do things for them all while giving you dose after dose of false hope for a future together. They will wreak havoc on your emotions, send you mixed signals and completely f*ck with your head and heart.
In the beginning, he will be the man of your dreams. He’ll give you all of the attention and care you’ve ever dreamed of but once he has you hooked, he’ll turn cold and weird again and you won’t be able to read it or understand. You’ll think that maybe you did something wrong so you stay in an attempt to understand him better. Then, he’ll throw you a little bone and make you feel like the him that you first met is coming back and you’ll get really excited then all too quickly he’ll get icy and weird and ambiguous again.
You stay because you are CONVINCED that the guy you met in the beginning is him and that you must have done something to set him off into being the emotionally unavailable f*cktard that you’re currently with. You know that he is capable of being what you wanted (because in the beginning he was all about you and so attentive and perfect), so you wait, waste more of your time and put up with more of his crap. Everything is on HIS terms. You don’t realize it because you’re too busy trying making excuses for him and trying to figure his un-matching words and actions out instead of figuring out why you’d want to stay with a guy that treats you poorly and make a dignified exit for good.
So now that you have an idea of what it means to be emotionally unavailable, what are some signs that your guy is emotionally unavailable?
Here are just SOME of the signs that you’re with an emotionally unavailable dude…..
- He always talks about his ex (or his exes). Like, a lot. Without you even asking, he tells you details about his ex. What their relationship was like, what she’s like, what she does, what she was like in bed, why they broke up or ANY details that you shouldn’t want or need to know about a chick that you will at best never meet and in reality already Insta-stalk and know. Duhhh.
- He’s in a relationship with someone else, is “separated,” still talks to “her,” still has to pick up his stuff from “her” place, etc.
- He texts/emails/Snapchats you more than he calls you.
- He doesn’t label the status of your relationship. You never have “the talk.” You desperately want to ask him what you guys are (are you dating? Bf and gf? F*ck buddies? WHAT?!) or if you’re exclusive but you also don’t want to “scare him off.”
- He’s always making excuses. He makes excuses for everything. He’ll make plans with you and you’ll get all excited and then he’ll have an excuse for having to cancel at the last minute, not show up and then promise to make it up to you in some grandiose way. He ditches you, reschedules and flakes. At the last minute. Repeatedly.
- He tells you that he “isn’t ready” to be in a relationship, but is still with you, stringing you along, hooking up with you and giving you false hope. He doesn’t seem to empathize with this or with you at all. He doesn’t really ask you about you, your background, your family or seem to want to get to know you or your loved ones.
- He picks and chooses when to respond to your calls, texts, snapchats, etc. He’s unreliable and there’s no consistency. Sometimes he is very responsive and other times you’ll see that he read your text or opened your Snapchat and doesn’t respond for days.
- He can’t commit to anything, even the simplest of things and everything is always about him.
- He doesn’t involve himself in your life. He also doesn’t seem to empathize with you when you’re going through a rough time, or the only time that he seemed to display empathy or be what you wanted him to be was before you slept with him.
- His room/dorm room/apartment/house looks like 50 college frats took a collective sh*t on it (I call this mattress-on-the-floor or blow-up-mattress-even-though-I’m-26 syndrome). Everything is in disarray.
- You feel like you don’t connect intimately during sex and sex never develops into anything that feels emotionally intimate. He doesn’t look at you or kiss you during sex. You feel like you’re in a porn; like you’re having porn start sex most of the time. He’s quiet. Like, weirdly quiet. He doesn’t ask you what you like or what you’re into, he just assumes and goes through the motions while you fake your way through “nirvana.”
- He never refers to you as “his girlfriend,” “mine,” etc. to you, his friends and family.
- He tells you that he has a lot of things/issues to deal with right now.
- He’s not that into holding your hand or other forms of PDA.
- He tells you that he can’t give you what you want right now. He seems to have a lot of other commitments taking up his time. He’s weird about you being at his place, ever being in a close proximity of his phone and you feel guilty wanting to discuss your relationship with him because he never brings it up.
LASTLY….. You find that YOU feel out of control; like you’re on a never ending emotional rollercoaster without a seat belt. You’re on cloud nine singing “Happy” with Pharrell one minute because he’s being attentive, caring and “back to his old self,” and the next minute you’re a mess because he cancelled last minute/flaked again/abruptly “had to go”/mentioned that maybe you guys should take a break/is shut off/says he needs time/makes YOU feel like you’re coming on too strong and demanding too much, etc.
Emotionally unavailable men cannot ever connect emotionally. They are incapable of feeling empathy because they are emotionally constipated.
The red flags are there. You may not see them but your gut knows that they are there and if you don’t see them, it’s because you’re choosing not to. “A mistake made more than once is a decision.” Don’t DECIDE to stay, thinking that you won’t find better, that you can heal/fix him or that you can change and be better for him. You’re already better.
You think that if you change or if you love him more and stick it out, he will all of a sudden combust into the prince on the white horse that you know he’s capable of being and “come to his senses?” He won’t. The second you get wind of emotional unavailability, cut him off, run and never look back. it’s not your job to fix anyone.
Who’s dated emotionally unavailable men? What do you guys think?