Emotional Unavailability Exists On a Spectrum
At different times and under various circumstances we, as human beings will have varying amounts of emotional depth to give to each other. Some forms of unavailability can include: preoccupations, addictions, misses in prioritizing, rage, defensiveness, inflated egos, and mental or physical health limitations.
Most human beings long for connection and emotional closeness with their significant other. So it’s normal to feel hurt, abused, or lonely if you’re in a relationship with someone who exhibits a significant amount of emotional unavailability over a long period of time.
An emotionally unavailable partner, may be unwilling to share their feelings or discuss the relationship. They may be evasive or make excuses when challenged, or simply display a lack of openness or the willingness to be influenced by their partner.
Those who display emotionally unavailable qualities often feel a sense of uncertainty or fear around emotional depth or change. They may have challenges with emotional attachment, or may simply not know another way of relating.
What if my partner is emotionally unavailable?
Relationships are deeply personal and you get to decide what sort of relationship you wish to be in. Depending on the extent of the unavailability, you may decide to end the relationship, to find creative ways of acceptance, or you may decide to try and facilitate change in your relationship.
If you decide to end the relationship, it can be helpful to enlist the help of a trained counselor and to cultivate a supportive network of positive and available people to help you with this transition.
Becoming attached to someone who is truly unavailable can be challenging to break free of. Additionally, you may want to explore some of your personal history, relationship patterns, and unconscious motives that may have contributed to this relationship choice so that you can heal and have more positive experiences relationship experiences moving forward.
While communicating with your partner how their unavailability is affecting you could result in an effective discussion and facilitate some change. Sometimes, its important to realize that the only person you can control is yourself.
By examining your beliefs, expectations, and focusing on the positive attributes in your partner you can create substantial changes in your relationship that can ultimately leave you feeling more fulfilled and grateful. Additionally, you may want to cultivate other perspectives and belief systems that are energizing and sustaining such as: spiritual practices, hobbies, friendships, and traditions.
You can also spend some time really understanding the vulnerable parts of yourself and the situations that cause you to react. You then have the opportunity to properly identify what causes you most concern and can communicate more clearly and effectively with your partner.
Hear your partner
While it might be easier to prosecute your partner for a lack of emotional connection, this strategy could ultimately just cause tensions to grow. Instead, work to understand how your partner communicates, when they tend to shut down versus open up, and what their respective triggers are.
By working on communicating more effectively instead of acting out your emotions, your modeling an environment that allows for feelings to be shared in a healthy way.
Patience is key
Emotionally unavailable people often have hesitation in trusting others due to things that have happened to them in the past. This can include someone who has developed a less emotion filled personality as a result of having a lonely childhood or having experienced a relationship that caused emotional damage. Or, an individual may just simply be hesitant to share their feelings as a result of growing up with the message that expressing themselves emotionally is not acceptable.
In some cases, it might take time for them to trust and surpass some of those barriers until they feel more comfortable sharing who they really are.
Talk to a counselor
Counselors are a great option for those who wish to be more emotionally available to their partner, but are unable to do so. Counselors provide guidance and suggestions on what to do to help them achieve their goals.
Couple’s counseling is also a great option which not only encourages communication but also allows for an environment where concerns can be openly shared by both people in a relationship. It’s an option for those who wish to work together in their relationship but are unsure of where to start.
Both options allow for open communication and provide an opportunity to work through situations that would otherwise remain untouched.
Communication is key
While having an emotionally unavailable partner might be of concern to some, it’s important to provide space while allowing for communication. By doing this, your partner can develop trust in you and share their feelings when they are ready.
If you feel like you need to talk to a counselor, make an appointment with Louis Laves-Webb today. We provide a wide variety of options, including individual therapy and couple’s counseling, to provide an environment where couples can communicate with the guidance of a counselor.