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Emotional Unavailability...


ellandroader

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Who has been involved with somebody "Emotionally Unavailable"?

 

What coping strategies are there for dealing with a partner who can't/won't give to the relationship in certain ways? Does it make you a bad person if you leave?

 

Is there anybody who despite the best intentions, keeps attracting these types to their lives and ends up being burned, feeling used, neglected and pretty terrible afterwards?

 

Oh, and in the aftermath, how does one go about repairing themselves?

 

Just interested to gather some thoughts on this subject as I notice a few people on the board find someone of that kind...

 

Dan:sad:

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Like attracts like...

 

only thing you can do is have an open discussion about it... if it's under 3 months, it shouldn't be discussed yet, but when you start to get to a point where you want more...then it's time to talk.

 

it's really simple...you have your wants/needs, and have to see what the other person is honestly willing to give, after a certain amount of time in a relationship.

 

if he/she openly says that they cannot give you what you're looking for, the answer is simple...say bye.

 

or, you can stay in it, torture yourself, and be on these boards seeking advice that doesn't do a bit of good.

 

in the end, realize that you deserve what you want. know what you want, and don't settle for anything less that 80% of it. if you did the best you could with open, honest, non-attacking communication....sleep well at night.

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Break up.

 

Seriously, if it's very early and you have hit a brick wall in intimate communication, save yourself the heartache.

 

I think the point about like attracts like is a great one. My most recent ex was very emotionally unavailable and in healing from that I realized that I was too! Being open about your needs and sharing your perspectives is key. Actually, knowing what your needs are is the most important. Then finding ways to communicate with your partner, about how your needs are and are not being met, is key as well.

 

I think if you both view emotional availability as a process where you are willing to work on it together, through awareness, that is a huge first step. No blame. No anger. Just cooperation.

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I did break up...I was quite open with my intentions, bided my time and was committed to making it work but she pulled away as we got closer and couldnt be "there" for me emotionally, by her own admission. It felt like I was on an hiding to nothing...

 

That said, I still felt terrible for breaking it off.

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Breaking up is easier said than done, so good for you for going through with it.

 

It sounds like you made a committment to work it out, listened to her words/observed her actions, and decided that you two could not work out in a satisfactory way. It is hard, but it really is for the best.

 

In the meantime, ask yourself about your own emotional unavailability. Are there ways in which you shut others out that you don't even realize? Maybe you can talk to friends/family members who know you very well that might have some perspective on that.

 

I had no idea that I could be distant sometimes until a loved one told me!

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Breaking up is easier said than done, so good for you for going through with it.

 

It sounds like you made a committment to work it out, listened to her words/observed her actions, and decided that you two could not work out in a satisfactory way. It is hard, but it really is for the best.

 

In the meantime, ask yourself about your own emotional unavailability. Are there ways in which you shut others out that you don't even realize? Maybe you can talk to friends/family members who know you very well that might have some perspective on that.

 

I had no idea that I could be distant sometimes until a loved one told me!

 

I am naturally very shy so I guess that some may perceive I am shutting them out and maybe I do so unwittingly, I will be honest about that. I have worked on that in the past. However, I am also very open hearted and sincere about my intentions and every girl I have dated has seen that side to me. I did all I could in the last situation that I was in and even surprised myself in some aspects.

 

In terms of relationships and what I want, I do have a clear idea of what I am looking for and am prepared to do my bit. I actually just want what most people want also.

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I think my ex was emotionaly unavaliable too.I always felt neglected and like he wasnt putting much effort on the relationship.I sticked around and tried to change it but never worked.I think he not even realize that he has a problem to have relationships and think that is just how he is,anyway at least I realized that you cant change someone.

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Who has been involved with somebody "Emotionally Unavailable"?

 

What coping strategies are there for dealing with a partner who can't/won't give to the relationship in certain ways? Does it make you a bad person if you leave?

 

Is there anybody who despite the best intentions, keeps attracting these types to their lives and ends up being burned, feeling used, neglected and pretty terrible afterwards?

 

Oh, and in the aftermath, how does one go about repairing themselves?

 

Just interested to gather some thoughts on this subject as I notice a few people on the board find someone of that kind...

 

Dan

 

 

I am still involved with someone right now after a year. I denied it (and still do to a degree) for a long time and I am just recently starting to see him and accept him for who he is. After this long, it's is VERY difficult to make a clean break. I know that when the time is right, I will do what I need to do for me. It's hard to accept that it has NOTHING to do with you.

 

As far as my coping strategies, I am a newbie Eckhart Tolle fan and I try to be in the moment and enjoy the times we have together. I try to avoid labeling it a "relationship", because that's when you step out of the NOW and fall into a mode of trying to attain something that is not real- only NOW is real...but this is very hard work after 30 years of programming.

 

When I think about trying to leave, I still have the "fix -it" mentality. I think that if I stick around and continue to love him as I do and support him and be a friend, that he will magically be "cured". I KNOW how unhealthy this is, but I am being honest.

 

So yes, despite my best intentions of finding someone out there for me that will adore me and show it and be with me on my path and I on his- I still continue to attract these types of men. I truly believe that for me, it has to do with feeling abandoned by my father. I have read that when something like this affects us in childhood that we seek people to complete a happier ending AND we also don't feel like it's LOVE without the drama of wanting someone we can't have or someone that won't let us have them.

 

I have resolved to see a counselor again to try to free myself of that past pain so I can have a more healthy view of relationships and attract someone and be attracted to someone who is more emotionally available.

 

I know you ended your relationship, and you feel badly, and I'm sorry for that. Again, it's NOT about you. It's hard to understand when some people are not able to do certain things like love or share or be in touch with themselves, but I think we have to get to a point where we consider ourselves lucky. Lucky to be able to love.

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i'm glad i didn't break up with my boyfriend ..

 

he was emotionally unavailable in the beginning .. there were a few reasons why, and he was aware of some of them .. he didn't come to realize the other reasons until we spent more time together and talked more about his emotional unavailability (let me know if you want me to expand on that .. a bit complicated) ... in the beginning i thought it was hopeless .. ppl on ENA agreed .. it was extremely uncomfortable to feel so vulnerable .. and almost impossible not to feel needy .. you feel needy when your emotional needs aren't met .. many ppl use it as a negative descriptor but in this case it's natural to feel needy when you're with an emotionally unavailable person ..

 

anyway .. in the beginning, he was very guarded .. the more he pulled away, the needier i became .. the more i showed my neediness through demands and arguments, the more he wanted to get away ...

 

a few months into it, i pulled away as well and began taking the relationship a lot slower ... i focused less on the relationship and more on getting to know him and developing a friendship with a solid foundation of trust and respect .. i became the complete opposite of a girlfriend with emotional needs .. i was a good friend ... it was difficult in the beginning because i felt extremely insecure not knowing how he felt about me .. i knew he cared about me, but i wanted more ... instead i was patient and took it easy (which is actually not an easy thing to do) .. we began spending more and more time together ... and we began sharing more and more of ourselves - slowly .. finally after we developed a very solid friendship underlying the relationship, we had a very long discussion about our fear of commitment and laid it all out on the table .. we understood each other and concluded that we'd take it day by day with open and honest communication, no pressure, no expectations, and constant self-awareness .. he and i have excellent communication, and that is necessary ... i'm lucky i have a guy who is very insightful and has no problem evaluating his feelings and understanding them ..

 

now we are extremely close and very happy .. he cracked the shell around my heart .. i cracked his ... i've never been able to trust any boyfriend that i've ever had until i met him .. he is the most understanding, caring, loving, attentive, supportive, romantic, and thoughtful person i've ever met ... he's the only boyfriend i've ever looked up to and admired but also see as an equal .. we both think we scored ... so i'm really glad i didn't leave him even though many people on ENA told me that he wasn't ever going to be ready for a relationship and that i should leave him ... but there were many times that we tried to leave each other in the first few months ... but we never officially broke up because we'd talk things through and reassure each other .. now we're SO past that ... we are deeply committed to each other and have fallen completely in love with each other .... and things are absolutely great ... sometimes i do get scared, and he reassures me .. sometimes he gets scared, and i reassure him .. all feelings are natural ... but we have to know how to communicate our feelings EFFECTIVELY ... with gentleness and compassion ... all this stuff is not an easy thing to do but the pay-off is great ..

 

.. we do want to be together forever, but we're taking a realistic and mature approach to that ... sometimes the M-word is frightening but it has nothing to do with how we feel about each other .. because we've educated ourselves about fear of commitment and emotional unavailability, it has helped tremendously ... we're still taking it slow even though we're in love ... and seriously, it just gets better and better everyday ..

 

 

 

my boyfriend was definitely worth the risk and the wait ..... and i'm so glad i risked it and waited.

 

so i'd never tell anyone to break up right away ... first decide if the person is worth the heartache and the wait .. i mean honestly, every relationship is a risk ... if you wait too long, then i might say have a GOOD TALK .. then possibly break up .. i had the "good talk" with my boyfriend 4 months into it.

 

 

i do have to say that i really worked hard on myself ... and on any issues i had with insecurity, abandonment, engulfment .... all that jazz .. and i also got really lucky that my boyfriend is patient and understanding.

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Mentee,

 

This is exactly how I am right now with ex...but we are 4 months broken up ..and really one week into NC. You stuck around and tried to work it out...which most books say to...if the person has a committment...but I've gone NC based on everyone else's advice...what to do?

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I did try and work it out with her and I did know of her problems. But several times, she breached that trust and communication and I think it soon became a case of my feelings (which I was VERY open with) being disrespected. We were long distance, which added to the strain.

 

I desperately wanted us to work - I was tentatively planning to move there once we could get to that point, and I put every ounce of my energy into it. It soon began to affect my demeanour, work and everything else.

 

I actually still have very strong feelings for her too which just complicates things

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I think emotional unavailibility arises from bad experience, no one would prefer to stay closed in relationship.. Sometimes when you make an effort a partner might 'open' . Because as i said it is a very diseased state. The question is whether the person is worth the effort..

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i don't think she is a good candidate for "coming around" if she is disrespectful and cannot communicate effectively ... that already is going to make it very difficult to work .. combined with long distance, i'm not sure what if you have a good chance ...

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i don't think she is a good candidate for "coming around" if she is disrespectful and cannot communicate effectively ... that already is going to make it very difficult to work .. combined with long distance, i'm not sure what if you have a good chance ...

 

True, I hate to say. If I could see that she really wanted to change, I would support her all the way but maybe with me gone, maybe she will realise what I was really like and perhaps try to alter her behaviour and attitude. In the beginning, she saw a lot in me that she liked and I do believe genuinely that she felt 'things' back for me. In the end, she always turned it around to make it as if I was asking too much for the basic requirements of a relationship.

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No, I mean every now and then I would say I was concerned when I didn't hear from her so much but she instantly took it in the wrong way and got extremely defensive, turning the attack on me. I am pretty mild mannered and never got angry or aggressive towards her but this is after constant instances of her promising this and promising that.

 

I told her how I felt because that's how I am, but I never got at her personally. It was just at a stage where I couldn't really say anything though when she called me with any problems or to discuss her bad day, I would always listen. It just seemed very one-sided.

 

I knew the distance and situation were very hard for her so I did as much as I could to show her she was loved. Letters, a measure of contact everyday (not excessive, just something), gift every now and then.

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Mentee,

 

I have had a similar experience with my bf. I stuck with it, but there were signs that he could and would open up including communicating after arguments and reassuring the other person (as you say). There is a delicate balance between realistic optimism and self-denial.

 

It takes a lot of inner strength to recognize the difference.

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