There’s a ton of information on this subject that boils down to the fact that dating someone that is emotionally unavailable is not good for long-term relationship success. I agree with this completely, but the tricky part is being able to spot someone who is permanently emotionally unavailable vs. someone that might be temporarily unavailable. Below are 5 types to look out for with tips to help you determine the nature of their emotional unavailability.
1. The Charmer – People that are great at complimenting you (even before getting to know you) usually fall into the permanently unavailable camp. They can be very good at asking questions and seeming interested, however, they usually don’t offer a lot of information in return. This is because they are looking to find ways to avoid building this kind of emotional intimacy with a partner. They might even say things like “I’m not good at relationships”. This is a warning sign, if they say it there is truth to it. If you find yourself on a date with someone like this I would suggest you do the 3 date rule, see if in 3 dates you can get more information on them and their past relationships, how do their relationships normally end with an ex? Do you they date someone for a certain period of time and then all of a sudden exit the relationship? Or have they not had a long term relationship before? Again, there are no hard and fast rules, but there are red flags and this is definitely one of them.
2. The Sexer – Look, it isn’t wrong to meet someone and want to sleep with them, this is natural and biological. The problem is when this is the only thing on someone’s mind. If you meet someone that only wants a physical relationship (or they say they just want to start out casual and see if it develops into something more serious) this can be something to watch for. Those that are unavailable tend to jump into the sack rather quickly to avoid building intimacy in other ways. Now, this can sometimes be temporary, if the person recently went through a bad breakup or has baggage from a previous heartbreak they might be doing this to avoid getting hurt again. The problem here is you can’t rescue them, so if you meet someone like this you might want to move slowly. In this situation, know what you want and if you want to get to know someone first before becoming physical let your date know. If they stay and work through this it might be that their issues are temporary, but if they bolt faster than Usain, don’t think this is a “you” thing it really is them.
3. The Exer – If your date is friends with an ex or two, this can sometimes be a good thing as it can show emotional maturity. However, look at the motives or intentions why someone is friends with an ex. If you find that they put their ex above you and your needs they are not emotionally available to you. They might still take their ex’s calls at all hours of the night, or leave the room to talk with them in a more private setting. Maybe they are still at their ex’s beck and call helping them anyway and anytime of day. The problem here is they are clearly showing where their loyalty lies, and it isn’t with you. Though this situation might be temporary you do not want to be waiting around for someone to choose you over an ex, chances are you’ll lose every time. Instead, I would suggest you exit the situation, and find someone who is available and ready to commit to the current relationship they are pursuing, and not living in the past.
4. The Nitpicker – Do you know someone that goes out on a lot of first dates, but not very many second ones? Do they always find excuses not to go out on a second date such as they don’t like the way someone laughs, or they don’t feel that initial spark or chemistry. Or could you be that person? Take a good hard look at this because there should be deal breakers, but if everything is a deal breaker this can be a big deal! Usually this happens when someone has baggage from the past. So this can be a temporary issue. However, if not recognized this can turn into a permanent and long-term issue that can be hard to remedy. If this happens to you it’s time to take a hard look at yourself and decide to change a bit. How about going out on at least 2 dates with the same person to really decide if you like them or not. This way you give yourself the chance to change your own mind (or fears) about dating.
5. The Excuser – “I’d love to date right now, but I’m just too busy with work, family, dogs, cats, the government”. Have you heard this one before? Maybe you’ve said something like this before? This is classic emotionally unavailable behaviour. It suggests you got hurt in the past, and you don’t want to go through that again. So instead of being judged by others you’ll make excuses to why you can’t date. This usually is a temporary situation and comes right after a heartbreak or a period of lots of stress. The trick here is to analyze what are you afraid of and face your fears to get over this hurdle.
So, to sum it all up. Relationships can suck, they hurt, and can leave you feeling very emotionally raw. These relationships don’t have to be romantic in nature, they can be relationships with family, friends, or anyone else in your community. The funny part is our subconscious is always trying to product us from being hurt, and one way it does this is by making us emotionally unavailable to avoid the pain in the future. But if you want love and a relationship you’re going to get hurt from time to time. The solution is to look past it and know the pain is not permanent and that you’ll live (you won’t even need stitches). So if you meet someone who is in this situation I would suggest you exit the relationship and instead offer them a friend (it’s probably what they need most at this time anyways). If you are the person exhibiting the behaviours above take the time to analyze your past and realize where the fear is coming from and then try to work through it so you can join the other side of emotionally healthy people who are looking for others to form healthy and happy relationships with.