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He says he loves me but remains emotionally unavailable


Cassie
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My bf of 8 months refuses to open up to me. It's very hard for him to show emotion, and he seems to take pride in how aloof he is. I've told him over and over how much this is killing our relationship and he responds with indifference. Or he'll make comments like, "I don't know how to express emotion" or "this is just how I am" or "I'm just not built for relationships". Yet every time I distance myself, he says he wants to work on things. I love him and am trying to be very patient with him. But i'm reaching a point where it's draining everything out of me. He just refuses to make any type of effort. If I get really upset and cry because I feel so hurt, he just sits there and has no idea how to comfort me.

 

Is this guy just stringing me along for some sadistic pleasure? I don't know what to do anymore. He is 30 years old and had one other relationship a few years ago. So from his past, he definitely prefers to be alone. I didn't pursue this initially and now my emotions are wrapped up in this emotionally unavailable man. Does anyone have experience with this?

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Have you ever thought that you should be looking for the ways in which he does display emotion. Men show less emotion because that's how we were made, for the most part. We don't show a ton of emotion, and the ways in which we do it are more subtle. And yes, it might very well be soemthing he learned to take pride in being able to do, i.e. seem to be very stoic. You looking for him to emote is probably asking for him to go against who he is and has been for his whole life. But what does he do? How does he treat you? Is something wrong there? How does he look at you? How does he take care of you?

 

Also, what you are doing is telling him: CHANGE, you are not good enough as you are. You're crying may well be a form of passive aggression to get what you wnat, in this case, comforting from him. If he is not good enough, end it. If he is, learn to look for what he does and shows, because I bet you are missing something.

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I don't know how to express emotion

this is just how I am

I'm just not built for relationships

 

Ever stop to think he's not playing a game, he's telling you the simple truth? If you can be happy with this man as he is, fine. Otherwise, I think you have to leave him, and be glad the relationship didn't last longer.

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I'm just not built for relationships

 

I have a lot of experience with this line in its various incarnations.. both on the giving and the receiving end. Believe it. the reason he comes back to you is because of control issues. The fact is, he is emotionally unavailable. That's a big no-no in a healthy relationship.

 

If you are looking for a realtionship... just run through this simple conversations:

 

You: "I want a relationship"

Him: "I'm just not built for relationships"

 

I know it sounds like I am making it a very simplistic situation.. but, in my experience, it is. You want one thing and he will not give it to you.

 

Just because he wants you... doesn't mean he wants a relationship with you.

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I don't know how to express emotion

this is just how I am

I'm just not built for relationships

 

Ever stop to think he's not playing a game, he's telling you the simple truth? If you can be happy with this man as he is, fine. Otherwise, I think you have to leave him, and be glad the relationship didn't last longer.

 

This is *exactly* it. I find that people are usually very honest in this situation and others tend to not actually *listen*. Listen to what he is saying... he's laid it out there.. you can't change him. Either accept it or reject it.

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I don't know how to express emotion

this is just how I am

I'm just not built for relationships

 

Ever stop to think he's not playing a game, he's telling you the simple truth? If you can be happy with this man as he is, fine. Otherwise, I think you have to leave him, and be glad the relationship didn't last longer.

 

I have to say, those comments of his gave me pause, as well. However, they might have been said out of confusion and possibly in self-defense if he perceives you are attacking him somehow.

 

Can you think of areas where he's comfortable conversing with you? When are you two the most relaxed with each other?

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I have said all those things and, I meant it.

 

The relationship continued and, quite frankly, it ended... by me. Because I said those things. You are looking or you aren't. You don't say those things to people you actually want to be with. Those a show stoppers.

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cassie,

 

yes, i do have experience with this. having patience with someone you love means waiting and hoping they'll stop putting their smelly feet on your coffee table, or any other quirks that may have - not waiting for them to love you. don't let this drag on for too long, or you will feel like you've been strung along and used as i did - and that feeling sucks! i wouldn't wish it on anybody (accept the person who gave it to me - ). don't let him use your feelings against you. keep distancing yourself or pull the band-aid off quick, end it, and get it over with. the sooner you do, the sooner you can't start a fresh new area in your life.

 

all the best,

s-

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I really have not idea what "emotionally unavailable" means in the fashion that you are using it. I'm having trouble supporting your assertion since you have not provided much background.

 

Do you stub your toe, cry to him, point out the fact that it is red and throbbing, and look for a reaction? Do you punch him in the arm, tell him he's pissing you off,and wait for a reaction? Do you watch his face at a sentimental movie, looking for laughter, tears, joy, pain? I guess in a relationship, I want understanding, empathy, and emotional support (whether that's someone objectively telling me I need to own up to my immature expectations and subsequent disappointment in a situation or someone offering me a hug). Stoic reactions can mean a variety of things (distraction, disinterest, even disgust brewing beneath OR even troubled thoughts/disconnects, or something positive - who knows?). How is he with his family, his friends? Let's just say when he sees them at Christmas and hasn't seen them in a long time? Does he have a hearty laugh?

 

I would never want to comment on someone's assertion that their partner is "emotionally unavailable" because that phrase is coined in so many relationship helper manuals that give you a quick diagnostic guide for common killers. I just want to know what the heck you're talking about, first.

 

Did you just pull through a break-up with him? A break-up can certainly result in conflicted emotions, hesitant expression, and utter confusion and pulling through is difficult if there isn't clear understanding regarding a course of action to remedy old issues. DO you share the same dreams?

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There's two possibilities here: One, that the man just has no emotions for her and is truly not emotionally available; and Two, he has the emotions just does not demonstrate that he does in the manner she would like him to.

 

Men don't, in most cases, demonstrate that much, and some men don't feel too much. Which is it in this case? I could see him making the responses he makes when he is told he is not showing emotion and she wants him to. It's a big passive aggressive move. He hears something that tells him he is not good enough and that he must change. He responds by claiming he is who he is and tough doodie if that's not good enough. I doubt he has no emotions invovled because he seems to have some when she is ready to walk. What emotions and the depth of them is a big question.

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Man, I am not going to let my child grow up (if it's a boy) thinking emotions should be hidden. I've felt at times that my men were emotionally unavailable, but only because they didn't demonstrate the emotions I would have hoped for or maybe they did and I was surprized (thinking of my first love when he first confessed his love - six months). After a year or so, though, I see that they were each both emotional beings, just had to get comfortable expressing it (or maybe they really didn't feel that much for me until then - who knows?) and possibly become more emotionally invested. But within an eight-month period, I would say it's quite difficult to involve a man on an emotional level. I think attachment for them takes much more time. I was crying on Robert's and Scott's shoulder within the first months of the relationship and they were not able to open up to me for at least six months but each became very expressive with time.

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I don't know - I think 6 months is a reasonable amount of time to wait to tell someone you love them. I think it might even take longer, like a year.

 

It just isn't as socially acceptable for men to show emotion than it is for women. Imagine at work, if a woman is in the lunch room crying, people may go up to her and ask what is wrong and feel sympathy. Wheras if a man was crying in the lunchroom, people would just think that he is weird. Unless something really big happened, like his wife or parents died.

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Annie, I agree completely. Actually, I just felt during the first few months of dating each man that I wasn't sure what they were thinking or where we stood. That's why when Scott informed me, I was really jovial and surprized, but this came after months of ambiguity on my part. But I agree, it takes a long time and I wouldn't have it any other way, because that tells me that the feeling is someone valid.

 

I also agree that men are sort of encouraged to hide emotions socially and you know, that's life.

 

If the guy in the thread Scout posted is the same, it would certainly explain alot - conflicted emotions often result in the expression of none. In other words, when someone is morally divided, they may seem stoic, when in fact, they are suffering in the spot that is their denial, unable to live out their fantasies and unable to put up a believable pretense. I'm sorry Cassie you're going through this. When I read your post initially to be honest (this thread), I considered that he might be ... well, as you said it in the other thread. But I didn't have anything to go on.

 

YOu sound beautiful, driven, intelligent and committed. I hope he can only be honest with you if he is emotionally conflicted. But that requires honesty with self.

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Hi guys. Thank you everyone for your responses. I'll try to get back to answer your questions asap. My town has been in a state of emergency since last evening.

 

We experienced a freak blizzard/lightning storm last night which dropped over 24 inches of snow in my neightborhood and trees started crumbling, causing tons of powerlines to fall and transformers to explode. Our neighborhood looks like a war zone, with debris and fallen trees strewn everywhere. We still have powerlines lying in the street and accross people's lawns, and a driving ban has been in effect because of the dangerous live wires dangling in the streets and mixed in with the tree branches laying on the ground. I can't even explain the eeriness as we stood on our front porch last night watching the power lines sink lower and lower to the ground under the weight of snow and ice. Then there was crackling, and few seconds later another tree would crumble to the ground and usually take a power line with it. The lightning was coming in these brilliant flashes of green and, POP, another tree would go down. I felt like I was in a sci fi movie. There was no breeze at all, just this eternal quietness as we watched these flashes of green, felt electricity actually go underneath our feet, and the trees and lines just fell one after another. I've never in my life seen anything like this.

 

The guy accross the street from us lost parts of his roof and the neightbor behind us has a three foot in diameter tree just laying accross his front door. Next door they have a snapped power line sitting in their yard, and three lines are dangling about two inches off the ground directly accross from us. We have a large tree laying in our front yard and another huge tree that smashed through our fence and is now laying half in our backyard and half in our neighbor's. We're slowly getting electricity back and running, but over 200,000 residents here are still without. And many are also struggling without water due to problems with the sub pumps. For those of us who have electricity and are able to, we are being advised to boil water before use.

 

Please keep the city of Buffalo in your prayers tonight. It looks like a bomb exploded in our city. We've completely lost over half of our trees here.

 

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I saw on the news the war zone that is your home town. WOW! Mother Nature has a way of putting things in perspective, doesn't She. I know it's a crazy thing to contemplate, but I always like the way she reminds me how trivial my concerns are! Your description of the storm put me right next to you. Thank you for sharing!!! I hope all is improving now. You probably don'thave electricity... so hope to hear from you soon!

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