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Is Your Partner Emotionally Unavailable? 7 Key Signs

Is your partner emotionally unavailable?

All of us have people in our lives who are there when we go through tough times or need to vent a little. Significant others, friends, or partners know how to listen to us and give us advice when we ask for it. But what do we do when our partner is emotionally unavailable?

Some people are not the most empathic, and if you know that your partner is that type of person who has a reputation for not answering the phone, they might be emotionally unavailable, and this might make you not want to turn to them when you have to deal with various situations.

But what is this emotional unavailability? This happens when an individual can’t connect with others on a deeper level. It can be caused by stress, trauma, mental health issues, or personality traits.

Do you have an emotionally unavailable partner? Let’s find out!

emotionally unavailable
Photo by file404 at Shutterstock

1. They don’t show you their fears

Many times, those who are emotionally unavailable don’t want others to know that they are struggling, and this is why they find ways to mask their fear through deep connection. They will do whatever it takes to hide this fear. It can be hobbies and always going out, or it can take a much darker turn, and they might abuse substances.

We are aware that this is not something that gets portrayed in the media, but we want you to know that addictions are one of the main tools emotionally unavailable people use to hide their fears in general, especially this fear of forming deep connections with other people.

If you notice that your partner has a hobby that takes a lot of time, for example, gaming or gambling, this might be a clear indication that they are trying to avoid bonding and intimate connections.

2. Their world is black and white only

Every time you and your partner have a fight, you can clearly see that they have the tendency to be a little extreme. They don’t have a gray zone. For them, things can be good or bad; they can be right or wrong. There is no in-between.

This is what psychologists call black-and-white thinking, and it is a quite common trait among those who are emotionally unavailable. But what ties this way of thinking to the struggle of having deeper interpersonal relationships?

This is another coping mechanism that someone who is emotionally unavailable might use to protect them from the outside world. They don’t want you or someone else to see that they are afraid of deep connection, and this dualistic view of the world can make them feel safer and help them avoid vulnerability.

3. They consider you clingy

When you go through hard times, you will most probably talk without your loved one about what’s going on in your life. Unfortunately, when you have an emotionally unavailable partner, this may not be as easy as it sounds because there is a chance that they will not want to discuss it with you when you need it the most.

This doesn’t sound too encouraging, but this happens exactly because they are sacred to deep feelings and getting closer to you. Since they are so afraid of you, they can often describe you as needy, clingy, or dependent. They may say that they feel overwhelmed by your presence and that you always need attention.

We want to tell you that it is perfectly normal to want to express your feelings, and most probably you are not as needy or clingy as your partner describes you. It all stems from a fear of connection, and it is not your fault.

4. They can’t commit

Another thing that can indicate your partner is emotionally unavailable is the fear of commitment. As you would have expected, this is another survival tactic they use to hide the fact that they are not ready to form a deeper connection.

Does your partner push you away anytime you are trying to talk about the future? Do they always try to change the subject and give vague answers? If this happens most of the time, you might be dealing with a partner who has a fear of communication caused by their inability to express feelings and connect with you.

This can be terrible because it is already impossible to make any plans with your loved one. Every time they hear something about the future and even more about your future together, they try to find a chance to leave the discussion.

5. They are withdrawing

Can you describe your partner as cold and uninvolved? Do they physically or emotionally retreat when they feel like things are getting a little bit too serious? If this type of behavior sounds familiar, you should know that this is another sign of an emotionally unavailable partner.

Also, they might do the same and just disappear when conflict arises. When you hear the word “conflict,” you think about something bad, and you can say that trying to avoid it is the natural response, but conflicts are not always bad. There is also healthy conflict, and most of the time, it helps couples solve their struggles and misunderstandings.

Conflict is a natural part of life, and if your partner does all they can to avoid it, this can be an alarm signal because you might have an emotionally unavailable person who doesn’t want to talk about your relationship.

6. Deep conversations are a big no-no

This is a key sign that someone is emotionally unavailable. Psychologists say that these people are unable to balance and deal with emotions in a healthy way, which is why they prefer to stay away from them.

One thing you can notice is that whenever you two talk, your partner keeps the conversation at a superficial level and never wants to dive deep into more thoughtful subjects, especially if they are of an emotional nature.

Those who are emotionally unavailable have difficulty with intimate communications, and you might find your partner multitasking or simply avoiding heartfelt discussions.

If you’re wondering how someone who avoids conversation looks, we are here to tell you that they avoid eye contact, and their body language will be defensive. They will cross their hands or legs and overall have a “closed” body posture.

emotionally unavailable
Photo by Bits And Splits at Shutterstock

7. They have a hard time expressing positive emotions

Have you ever seen your partner angry, frustrated, or sad? But have you ever seen them happy, content, or fulfilled? This is a good question because if you have seen them only expressing the emotions present in the first category, you might have an emotionally unavailable partner.

Because they are afraid to feel connected to others, these people tend to run away when they identify emotions that reinforce affection and intimacy. This can further affect their ability to express their happiness around you because this means they will somehow become vulnerable, which can potentially make you get closer on an emotional level.

So, they do their best to avoid expressing any feelings that might make your relationship deeper and your bond stronger.

Many times, your partner is emotionally unavailable because they have an avoidant attachment style. You can read more about this here: Loving an Avoidant Partner: Understand Dismissive Attachment Style to Bridge Emotional Distance and Create a Secure Relationship

You should also read: 3 Times It’s Okay to Flirt With Other People (and When It’s Not)

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