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8 Signs Of Emotionally Unavailable People

8 Signs Of Emotionally Unavailable People

An emotionally unavailable person has closed the door on staying connected and loved. It is a simple defence mechanism, but one which can have devastating consequences in relationships. Closing that door may be due to a lack of confidence, fear of intimacy, or perfectionism, just to name a few explanations. Finding the key to opening that door is the real challenge.

Here are 8 signs of emotionally unavailable people and some suggestions to help open the door again or to leave. Ask yourself if you have any of these traits, because it might help you to have fuller and more intimate relationships.

1. They do not like compromises

You meet lots of people who are married to their routine rather than to another person. A typical reaction is when they hate changing their schedules and they show themselves to be very inflexible. Ask them to make a compromise on the timing of a date and they will always say that they cannot be inconvenienced.

Examine your own flexibility or lack of it and reflect on whether this is a sign of emotional maturity. How flexible (or inflexible) you both are is usually a sign of how likely it is that a relationship will move to the next level. Being able to compromise on minor issues is a mark of emotional maturity. Look out for signs of reciprocity here. There can be no compromises on major issues.

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“When it comes to human dignity, we cannot make compromises.” – Angela Merkel

2. They are perfectionists

A typical scenario is where they find one fatal flaw in their new partner. They are perfectionists, so they want everything to be just right. When they find the defect, it is usually the perfect ploy for them to get out, because in reality they are scared of intimacy.

Look at your own standards and what makes a perfect partner. Think about your own defects and try to talk about them. If your partner brushes them aside, it is a sign that there may be no future at all for you as a committed couple.

3. They play the blame game when they talk about past relationships

Listen to how they talk about their past relationships. They almost never talk about their own defects, weaknesses, or fears. They usually play the blame game — it was always the partner’s fault. They are not being open at all.

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Any emotionally available person will recognize and take responsibility for their shortcomings and failures in past relationships. Can you recognize your own? Ask them to reflect on what they could have done to save the relationship. Ask a few probing questions about the issues that were involved. If they are emotionally unavailable, the answer is likely to refer to their incapacity to form relationships or that they always fail. If they are more receptive, it may be a sign that they recognize their need for intimacy and they are prepared to open up a little.

4. They display signs of being emotionally abusive

Watch how they treat wait staff and other people you meet when you are with them. If you notice a lot of angry outbursts, it may mean that they are very demanding, have zero emotional intelligence, or that they are totally lacking in self-awareness. They are very unlikely to be empathetic. The worst consequence is that this could turn into emotional abuse if the relationship is a long-term one. Their judging, criticizing, and humiliating may well have roots in an unhappy childhood. They have no place in a harmonious relationship.

These signs should not be ignored because they may mean your relationship may turn toxic and become abusive. You have invested emotional funds here and you want to see a return on them. If there are no signs of any of these being reciprocated, then it may be time to back off before it is too late.

5. They are inconsiderate

Look out for the signs. Always being late may be a red flag that this person is inconsiderate and emotionally unavailable. They may do it deliberately just to avoid getting too involved.

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Think about how you can be kind, affectionate, and caring. Talk about your feelings and expect the same from your partner as the relationship evolves. If this does not happen, it could be that you are being used as a temporary filler until someone better comes along.

6. They are too secretive or too nosey too soon

When they are very evasive with questions regarding sex or money, it may be a sign that they are emotionally unavailable. If they are very curious, it may signal a hidden agenda. In either case, these are signs that these may be obstacles to getting close. You can almost see the emotionally unavailable sign on the half-closed door!

Think about each other’s emotional capacity. You may be prepared to give, grow, and be totally committed. You need to look out for signs that you are both on the same page as to what a really committed relationship looks like. If either is emotionally unavailable, there will be obstacles along the way — it is important to discover these early on.

7. They can be very seductive

Seduction is usually about conquest and a certain appetite for power. If these happen very quickly in the relationship, you may wonder what else there is to make it an authentic relationship. Is there openness, generosity, empathy, complicity, and confidence? If these are totally lacking or steadfastly avoided, it could mean that the person is simply not available for any of those commitments and wants the thrill of seduction and little else.

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8. They are not ready to commit

Beware of the people you meet on vacation because distance is a perfect excuse for not committing or getting too involved. You both get great benefits when you do manage to meet, but there can never be the daily grind of putting up with all the tics and obsessions which can erode a relationship.

Another warning sign of a lack of commitment is when the partner talks about living in the present and not worrying too much about the future. That is all very well, but plans have to be made at some point.

The most alarming sign of emotional unavailability is when the partner has great difficulty in saying they love you. A simple “I love you” will be almost as good as a written promise. It is when they say “I love you, but…” that alarm bells will start ringing. That “but” can mean there is a time limit, there is terrible uncertainty, and above all betrays that they are not sure what this will entail in the long term.

Above all, when you are confronted with a lack of commitment, never try to rationalize it or make excuses for your partner, who may have problems in expressing their feelings. You will never change them either, so now is the time for closure to save yourself a whole lot of misery later on.

Featured photo credit: Yellow Bow-Broken heart…. The Break Up/ Norman Tanner via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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