Imagine. You go out on a drive with your husband and come back after an hour without a word being exchanged between you two. It would be so boring and disappointing that you swear you will never go out with him again.
If this is how you often feel with your partner, then he could be an emotionally unavailable (EU) person. In the simplest of terms, EU people are perfectly normal individuals who are unable to divulge their deepest emotions to anybody. They are rarely interested in matters of love or sharing their feelings with someone. They may demand attention but will perpetually be unwilling or incapable of creating an emotional bond with another person.
It is indeed difficult to identify an EU person. What makes it difficult is that outwardly he may seem caring and affectionate but develops cold feet when he has to share emotions at a deeper level. MomJunction explains the traits of an EU person, and how you can deal with one. Also, we’ll help you do some introspection to know if you are emotionally unavailable, too.
Type Of Unavailability:
There are two types of unavailability: temporary and chronic.
Temporary emotional unavailability happens when a person is unable to open up due to a reason that holds him back. For instance, people who are highly ambitious and want to achieve a certain rank or position. They may not be willing to commit until they achieve their dreams. Then, there are people who are emotionally scarred following a divorce or a bad relationship. Committing to another person or relationship becomes extremely difficult for them. All of this makes it difficult to gauge if the problem is just a passing phase or a chronic one.
There could be a few signs that you could look out for. Read on to understand those signs!
[ Read: How To Identify Toxic Relationships ]
Signs That You Are In An Emotionally Unavailable Relationship:
If you have felt that something is amiss in your relationship, then it can probably be an emotional disconnect from either side. Here are some ways to determine if your partner is EU or not.
1. Prefers to do things alone:
If your partner never includes you in any of his vacation plans or other leisure activities, it is possible that he is an EU person. Such people always want to keep their distance and do not try hard to get to know their partner. Doing things by themselves keeps them away from complications if things went south. It also prevents the relationship from being a serious one.
2. Shows no emotion:
Never saw a man crying? It is a popular notion amongst women that men are emotionless. However, it is not. Men may hide their emotions but not always and not entirely. However, if your spouse conceals all of his emotions or does not occasionally shower you with love and affection, it means that he is not connected with you on an emotional level. A man’s gesture speaks a lot about him.
3. Says something but does something else:
When your partner says one thing and does just the opposite, it creates a sense of insecurity and mistrust in your mind. He may make big plans for you and promise lots of love, making you hopeful of having a fruitful relationship, but when it comes to actions, he does not fulfill them. In fact, do not be surprised if such a man goes missing during your testing times.
[ Read: How To Keep Intimacy In Marriage ]
4. Vague and inconsistent:
Initially, your relationship will be hot, with him giving you lots of attention and being too involved in your life but a few months later it all fizzles out. He may then start showing interest in just the physical aspect of your relationship and may withdraw from any other kind of emotional involvement. Or may do the exact opposite, i.e., he may speak of great love and affection but may not get physically intimate with you. Such men are not ideal for long-term commitment. He can only offer you insecurity and stress and no emotional attachment of any kind.
5. The mother-in-law treatment:
A mother-in-law is known to be the harshest critic of her son’s wife. However, in your case, if it is your husband taking that place and is being overly critical of everything you do then there must be something wrong. He dislikes the way you dress, the food you make, the way you laugh, your profession, and just about everything that concerns you. This only boils down to his strong detachment from you.
6. Shirks responsibility:
Not only does he do nothing to maintain your relationship, but also avoids taking on any responsibility. He pushes you off the limit and then blames you for any conflict that arises. He totally ignores his role in the relationship and keeps reminding you of how you failed him on numerous occasions. A partner who shirks responsibility is someone to be steered clear of at all costs.
7. Does not contribute to the relationship:
A man who is not emotionally invested in a relationship will do nothing to maintain it. He never initiates conversations, always talks about himself, and shows no interest in knowing about your life. He tends to forget dates or events important to you. A partner who adamantly refuses to contribute towards developing a relationship will always be emotionally unavailable to you.
[ Read: How To Deal With Narcissistic Husband ]
8. Compulsive liar:
A man would blatantly lie in two situations: to save a relationship and to avoid any confrontation. If a man feels no sting while lying to you, it means that he barely respects you and will constantly lie to avoid your probing. He may pretend to love you, but in your absence, he will only be seeking new company. He will lie just to keep a lid on his secrets.
9. Always behind his walls:
Some men suffer from low confidence and are not comfortable showing their true selves. They always hide behind a wall that they create for themselves and rarely divulge anything that will make you think low of them. For a woman, it is exasperating to break a man’s wall to see the true person behind it. However, you must understand that in this case, it isn’t always the lack of connection that is building the wall. A man may feel vulnerable and fear that if you come to know his weaknesses, you may not like him at all. Hence he will never want to share his deepest, darkest secrets with you.
10. Does not reciprocate:
Be it love, care or appreciation, you may feel like giving them all to your spouse in abundance. But in a relationship, if you are the only person giving all the time while your partner never reciprocates, then you must know that it isn’t right. Love does follow the barter system, so you cannot expect only one-sided trade. In this case, you must be more than just aware of how EU your partner actually is.
How To Deal With An Emotionally Unavailable Partner
As mentioned earlier, it is difficult to identify an EU person, which is why many women find themselves stuck with partners that they never seem to understand. In case your partner is EU, and you want to save your relationship then here are some ways to deal with a partner who is emotionally unavailable to you.
1. Be upfront early on:
If you have just started seeing a man and have noticed that he is always guarded when it comes to expressing his emotions, then let him know how you feel about it. From the very start be clear of what you expect and what you want from him. If he is willing to be truthful and open with you, then take the relationship forward. But if he refuses to divulge more about himself then take the hint and leave before you get seriously involved with him.
[ Read: How to Impress Your Husband ]
2. Identify the reason:
If you know that your partner loves you but seems withdrawn for some reason unknown to you then try to find out what it is. Some men build walls around themselves to hide their weaknesses. They do that to maintain a good image for you and make you love them. They protect themselves by showing only their tough (often perceived as masculine) side to you to gain your trust. In such a case, you need to show him that you love him and accept him with his flaws. He needs to know that it is OK to have weaknesses and that you will support him and his choices in any situation.
3. Ask him directly:
If you feel that, your partner was not always emotionally so distant and that it has been happening recently, then talk it out with him. Ask him what’s troubling him and the reason for his changed behavior. Tell him how you feel about this sudden change and that you are prepared to hear even something unpleasant from him. If he does open up and say something that you may not like to hear then do not be harsh with him. Reacting angrily will make him recoil in a shell, and he may never be open about things with you. Always listen to him patiently. Sit together and see how you can overcome the problem together.
[ Read: Qualities Of A Good Wife ]
4. Shift your focus:
If talking to him does not work then try to give him some space. We often need time to think over things and consider our choices. Give him time, he will be back once he has resolved the issue and will appreciate you for being so considerate. Do not prod him excessively to speak up. Instead, shift the focus to yourself. Get involved with things that interest you and be busy with them. This will help you grow as a person and will make your relationship stronger.
5. Do not try to fix him:
Most women have a tendency to try and change men hoping to make them better individuals. But they do not realize that we cannot really change a person. If you do not like something about him, ask yourself the reason for it. Try to see if you can ignore it or get used to it. Attempting to change a man will only earn you his contempt, not love. If you love him, learn to accept his shortcomings, and continue loving despite he being emotionally unavailable.
How To End A Relationship With An Emotionally Unavailable Partner
Despite all your efforts, if your partner continues to be emotionally aloof then it may be time you re-evaluate your relationship. If going on with it becomes difficult then here are some ways to end a relationship with an EU partner.
1. Ask yourself:
We know that breaking a relationship abruptly is not an ideal suggestion. It takes time to accept the harsh truth and do something concrete about it. It often happens that even after breaking up with a partner, women find themselves going back to them in their moments of weakness. So before you break up, ask yourself if you have done enough to understand the reason behind your partner’s indifference. Evaluate yourself and see if it’s you who has been EU or your partner. Once you have your honest answers, you will know what to do next.
2. Create the gap:
When you are sure that you have done enough and cannot save the relationship alone, then the only option is for you to break free. If he has been unwilling and un-cooperative then it’s time you start doing the same. Make it clear that you can no longer be the only one contributing and that he either be more involved in the relationship or let go off you. He must understand that he cannot take you for granted anymore.
[ Read: Signs Your Husband Having An Affair ]
3. No more loving gestures:
If you have been the only person doing all the household chores without any help from his side, then stop being the free maid to him. Ask him to cook occasionally. Share chores with him. Tell him the ways by which he can contribute to the relationship. Do not be soft and give in to his reluctance. Be firm and see if he obliges your request to share work or continues to take your favors.
4. Show him that you are done:
Get on with your life. Once you have separated, it is likely that he may try to hold you back. It most probably will be less out of love and more out of habit. He must have grown accustomed to having you around, and your absence is sure to shake him. So, he may text you, call you, mail you but you should ignore any kind of communication with him. This is the time you show your resolve and not fall prey to his attempts at getting back together. Emotionally unavailable men are not the ideal choice for commitment. He will want you back only to use you and not to work on your relationship.
5. Love yourself:
It is natural for women to lose themselves in a relationship and focus solely on the men they love. But when you know that you will get nothing out of a relationship where the man refuses to be open to you then there is no point in dedicating yourself to him. Live for yourself. Stop doing things to impress him. Do things that you enjoy doing and not those that please him. Let him see that you are good even without him and are not emotionally dependent on him. Have a life of your own. Get serious about your career and focus more on it. Do stuff that will help you grow and keep you happy.
[ Read: Overcome Insecurity In Relationship ]
6. Finally, let go:
You may feel tempted to be friends with your ex but before you decide to keep in touch ensure that you have gotten rid of the romantic feelings you had for him. It will not be easy at all, but it has to be done. Believe in the fact that some people are not meant for each other. Some people are good individually but not as partners. Some couples just cannot connect with each other the way other couples do. Accept the truth and move on without any hard feelings for him. Make friends with him only if you are sure that you do not harbor any kind of feelings.
Mind you, all of this should be done only when you know for a fact that your partner is EU and not you! While you may think that your partner is neglecting you, think hard before your jump the gun! Could you be EU too?
Signs That You Are An Emotionally Unavailable Wife
Women often complain of men being EU. But rarely do they realize that they too can be EU. Take a look at these signs that indicate you are an EU wife.
1. Less communication:
You talk less when your husband is around. You do not react much to what he says and keep mum most of the time. Lack of communication with your spouse is the first sign of being EU.
2. No interest in household chores:
You do not enjoy cooking or even serving food to him. A loving wife generally takes great care of the food her husband eats. She wants to cook good food for him and ensures that her house is spick and span. But if you feel disinterested in any of these activities it’s time you determine the reason behind it.
3. No grooming:
Women generally want to look their best when going out with their spouse. They take great pains to ensure that their husbands are happy with the way they look. If you do not feel motivated to look good for your husband, it clearly shows your disinterest in the relationship.
[ Read: Tips To Make Your Marriage Happy ]
4. Frequent arguments:
Fighting way too often with your husband? And for no apparent reason? This could mean that there is hardly any love in your relationship. Frequent fights are obvious signs of a discord between two people.
5. Friends are priority:
When you are in a relationship, it is very important that you manage your time with friends and family. If you prefer being out with your friends or when at home, you are always on your phone chatting with your friends then you clearly are spending more time with them than your spouse. This shows that you are EU to your spouse.
6. Disinterest in partner’s activities:
Your partner is a passionate gamer and often invites you to try playing a game with him, but you don’t have any interest to oblige him. You make no efforts in sharing common interests with him. It is evident that you are not emotionally available to him.
7. Lack of intimacy:
Do you despise the idea of getting physically close to your partner? Do you discourage any attempt at getting intimate? If yes, then do not overlook this glaring sign of being not just emotionally but also physically unavailable.
If you show all or even most of the signs mentioned above it signifies that you are an emotionally distant wife.
Dealing with an emotionally unavailable woman or man is not an easy task. Do not blame yourself for a relationship that failed because of a person was who unwillingly to invest more of himself in it. Being able to love unconditionally and openly is a sign of strength and not weakness. Just because you fell in love with the wrong person does not mean that you will never find the right person. At the same time, also check if your behavior caused the mess in any way. Be sure that you are not the one who was emotionally detached from your partner. Evaluate your behavior with your partner and work on anything you feel you should change about yourself.
Have you ever been involved with a person who was emotionally unavailable? Did you manage to get close to him or did you two go separate ways? How was your experience? Share it with us below in the comment section.
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