In relationships, one of the most devastating experiences is when your partner seems emotionally unavailable to you. It can be confusing when they won’t open up or engage in meaningful conversations with you. It’s a complex thing to decide whether your partner is just having a bad day or is actually emotionally unavailable. Sometimes it’s hard to tell since we’re all capable of having our moments where we just don’t feel adequately equipped to handle conversation or connection.
That being said, if someone is consistently emotionally unavailable to you, then it could be time to assess the relationship and decide whether or not it is something you are okay with. To help, we assembled some of the signs that may indicate someone is emotionally unavailable.
1. They Don’t Listen
When we’re talking with our partners we want to feel like we’re heard, validated, and understood. When someone is not being receptive to your words—often times dismissing the feelings you are communicating—that could be a sign that something is off. It’s an indication that the other person is not in a space to give their full attention and understanding. This can leave you feeling frustrated and off balance if you’re searching for a dialogue and communication exchange.
2. They’re Not Vulnerable
You might have noticed that if your partner is emotionally unavailable, they might not be showing you any parts of themselves. In relationships, we need to get comfortable with one another to facilitate genuine bonding and trust. If your partner is a closed box, it’s hard to build the depth of connection needed for a relationship to thrive. You may want to find out what exactly contributes to them maintaining the separation and lack of trust in one another.
3. They Cancel Plans
If you’ve made plans with your partner, only to have them ghost on you right when things need to be solidified, then it could be an indication of emotional unavailability. Making plans to do activities together is essential to any successful relationship, but it also requires each individual’s mental and emotional investment. If your partner often cancels on you or acts distant before an event, it could mean that your partner is not in the emotional headspace to invest in the relationship.
4. Avoidant Language
Another sign to look out for is language which evades the subject at hand. If your partner answers questions without offering you many details about their thought process, then it could signify a wall up between you. A few responses such as “yes” and “no” without being able to elaborate could mean that your partner is lacking the willingness to invest in meaningful dialogue and connection.
These are just a few signs that your partner might be emotionally unavailable. It is important to keep in mind that these behaviors may come from an unwillingness to enter a vulnerable space or an difficulty with processing their emotions. If you had noticed these behaviors in your partner, the best first step would be to communicate your observations gently and try to get to the bottom of why your partner feels and react this way.
In order to move forward and make the situation better, you and your partner might want to consider couples therapy. Having a neutral and professional third party can help you both arrive at a conclusion that benefits both of you. Together you can work through the block that your partner is feeling and come out of it feeling more connected than ever before.
Overall, when it comes to assessing emotional unavailability, be mindful of the signs that you observe, talk to your partner about it, and find ways to move forward together. Your relationship can only reap all the benefits of emotional investment when both of you are comfortable with one another. With both of you making an effort, it may just take some time for you both to come out of it and repair any wounds. If you’re both willing to work at it, then things will improve and your relationship will grow and nurture over time.