Everyone has their own dream of what makes an ideal man. Maybe it’s a man you can share everything with and a man that’s always there for you. However, sometimes you end up with an emotionally unavailable man, and that can make you feel frustrated and unsatisfied. Dealing with this sort of man and getting him to open up can be vital to having a fulfilling relationship.

emotionally unavailable

Be careful, however, that you aren’t trying to fix someone who simply can’t be fixed or that you’re looking at this man like as a project. If you’re giving 100 percent of yourself to this relationship, and he’s not giving nearly as much as you are, he’ll realize that you aren’t placing a high value on yourself. Once you’ve established that pattern, it becomes more difficult to get a guy motivated to give more of himself. The longer you’ve been accepting minimal commitment and involvement from him the harder it gets to change things.


Being emotionally unavailable is also known as having trouble with emotional attachment. It’s characterized by a lack of emotional intimacy. On the other hand, someone who is emotionally available isn’t just there physically. They offer support and care [1].

If you’re seeing someone who is unavailable emotionally, you might struggle to become closer and to learn what’s really on his mind.

There are two reasons men are emotionally unavailable: They really are into you but they just don’t know how to be close. Or they just aren’t into you. This makes it difficult to decide whether you should move on or to try to get him to commit. If you wish to try, make sure you develop a life outside of him, so that you aren’t totally dependent on him to fulfill all your needs.

Plus, when he sees that you have other interests besides him, he’s more likely to feel safe enough to show more commitment to you. Men who are emotionally unavailable shy from women who expect too much from them or who are needy. More on that here.

But first things first, let’s learn the signs that a guy is emotionally unavailable. Remember that women can be emotionally unavailable, too, and these signs can also apply to you!


It’s not hard to see if he’s emotionally unavailable if you look for the signs…


When your man is distant, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s unavailable emotionally; he could be dealing with a problem in his life that has nothing to do with you, such as trouble in his family or problems at work. But distance could mean he’s emotionally unavailable. When a man acts distant toward you, he typically pulls back. He might not mention seeing you over the weekend, or maybe he’s not affectionate with you.

Sometimes people withhold information about their pasts because of guilt or shame. It might not even be something that was under their control or that you would judge him for (sexual assault is an example). But if he cannot find a way to communicate with you, it will still be an obstacle to your intimacy.

Beware when this behavior becomes secretive. If he has no excuse for his distance or if you know he’s lying, it could be a sign that he’s cheating on you with someone else with whom he does have emotional intimacy or is simply unwilling to commit to you or let you go.

Be on the lookout for accusations that you’re the cheater, too. People who lie often become suspicious and make accusations in return.


If you started having sex with your guy right away and now the relationship revolves around sex and nothing else, it’s a sure sign that your guy is emotionally unavailable. He might be in the relationship only for sex. After all, even though he’s emotionally unavailable, he probably still wants sex! If you try to get more emotionally involved with a man who wants only sex, he’ll probably break the relationship off at that point.

This is okay if you’re only looking for something casual – read more about that here – but will spell trouble if you want more.

Sometimes a person will lead you on when they know you have feelings even if they don’t feel the same. Sex is a common way that people use others. Look for these signs that he’s using you.


If your man is there for you only when it’s convenient for him, he might be an emotionally unavailable man who has a fear of commitment. If you ask him to spend more time with you, he’ll likely come up with an excuse, such as he’s really busy at work. He might spend an entire weekend with you, but then he might just disappear without letting you know, and he won’t communicate with you much or at all while he’s gone.

If a guy like this tells you he loves you but then engages in the disappearing act, he’s probably emotionally distant.


If you feel as if you’re constantly working to keep him interested, even trying to change your personality or appearance to something you think he’ll like, you’re probably with an emotionally unavailable man. Lack of investment in the relationship can take some surprising forms. For instance, if he’s unwilling to argue, it might not be a sign that he’s not interested in working out your issues or hearing your side rather than a sign of someone who is mature enough to avoid fighting.

Remember that never working through issues is just as toxic as always fighting. More about toxic relationships.

This might lead to you doing things to upset him or trying to goad him into an argument because you’re looking for any sign that this guy cares about you.


Everyone likes a little flattery, but if your man seems to do it to distract you from how he can’t seem to commit emotionally, it’s not a good sign. He’s trying to keep you happy and distracted enough so you’ll stay on his hook. It’s all about the seduction, but he may not be interested in reeling you in. Eventually, you need to talk about the real stuff, even if it’s a little dark. This leads us to our next point.


Similarly, someone who is interested in being with you only for the good times and never the bad isn’t being emotionally available. This might initially seem like a light and fun relationship, but his true colors show whenever you want to talk about real stuff. In a healthy relationship, you both support one another when the time comes. It’s not always pretty.


Does your man require everything to be just so? Maybe he has a routine and there’s no room to alter it. If you find yourself working around his schedule and preferences all the time, he may not be available to you emotionally. Not only is this exhausting, but it’s completely unfair.

Relationships require compromise. So why do you do it? You might realize that if you’re not living up to his perfect ideal, he’ll leave. People who are emotionally unavailable often focus on flaws as a reason not to commit to people because they’re actually scared to commit. The truth is that no one deserves that behavior, and you’re probably better off without him.


Emotional intimacy requires the ability and willingness to open up and be vulnerable. We show others our innermost selves and dark pasts. We give them the opportunity to hurt us and hope that they don’t. A man who does not allow himself to be vulnerable is going to find it difficult to be emotionally available. Don’t waste too much time on him unless you never want to know who he truly is.


Confidence is attractive, anyone will tell you that. But if he’s overconfident and downright cocky, don’t be surprised if he’s also emotionally unavailable. This goes hand in hand with not being able to be vulnerable because he’s never looking inside to get to know who he really is — or letting you do the same. That bravado is often false, a disguise for low self-esteem that gets in the way of intimacy.


Sometimes men who are unavailable emotionally will actually tell you they don’t want a commitment, but you might not believe it, or you think you can be the one to change things. This is often a mistake. If you insist on trying to change him, make sure you don’t try for too long. If he says “I’m not ready for a relationship,” assume that he doesn’t want to or can’t be emotionally available right now.

Otherwise, you would have wasted time that you could have spent on someone who is ready for a relationship. If a guy never calls you his girlfriend, routinely cuts off contact with you for several days (until he’s ready to see you again), and comes right out and says that he’s not looking to be in a relationship right now, maybe you should believe him.


There are several reasons why a person might be emotionally unavailable.

  • He’s immature and doesn’t know what a real relationship takes including all the commitment and effort that go into it. He might not understand that relationships require emotional intimacy (what is this?) in addition to physical intimacy
  • He doesn’t know how to foster healthy attachment, perhaps due to his own relationship with his parents. A man’s childhood relationship with his mother can color how he views women for his entire ife [2].
  • He only wants you for sex or to boost his confidence. This may be the case if he’s married and you’re his mistress – learn what do do when you’re in love with a married man.
  • He isn’t over his ex.
  • He suffers from a mental health condition like schizophrenia [3], depression [4 – this study specifically documented it in mothers with infants], PTSD [5], etc) that makes it difficult for him to achieve true emotional intimacy.
  • He wants to break up with you, but he’s too chicken to do it. Look for these other signs he wants to break up.
  • He’s afraid of having his heart broken, especially if he’s recently been hurt.
  • He is a victim of sexual assault and is having a difficult time connecting again. Check out this post about having sex after a sexual assault for advice
  • He struggles with addiction to substances or behaviors such as gambling. It’s difficult to connect with people who have compulsive behavior that they cannot control.
  • He’s currently going through something such as a death in the family or health issue that he has to prioritize over your relationship.
  • He doesn’t know how to get deeper. He’s always looking for fun and never dives into the true issues that life presents.
He might be quite shallow or seriously missing out on meaningful experiences and relationships.

Do you see yourself in any of these reasons? Perhaps you’re afraid to commit or fall in love so you avoid putting yourself in positions where you could get hurt. Are you really so independent that you don’t need anyone else? Do you worry about losing your independence or sense of self when you’re in a relationship?
Maybe you don’t think you’re worthy of a relationship and are always waiting for the other shoe to drop (this might lead to self-sabotage). On the other hand, you might avoid emotional intimacy and keep yourself closed off because you’re actually keeping an eye open for something better.
Finally, You might feel anger or distrust toward men because of an ex.You might be emotionally unavailable if you struggle with intimacy in general. Examine your relationships with friends and family. Are they distant? Have others tried to get closer to you but you resisted?

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