EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY: Signs, tests & all you need to know

Emotional Unavailability

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone emotionally unavailable, you understand the agony of not being able to get close to the person you care about. When it comes to discussing feelings or the relationship, they are evasive, make excuses, or are simply inept. To create distance, some people use anger, criticism, or activities. You may feel isolated, depressed, unimportant, or rejected as a result. Let’s learn more about emotional unavailability and discover the signs in this article.

What Does Emotional Unavailability Mean?

Women frequently complain about emotionally unavailable men. However, many women are unaware of their emotional unavailability as well. When you become fixated on someone else who is (think Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big), your problem becomes his. This keeps you from being aware of your emotional unavailability.

There are various types of emotional unavailability, both temporary and long-term. Some people have always been unavailable as a result of mental illness or a difficult childhood. Others prioritize something other than a relationship, such as a family commitment, an education, a project, or a health concern. People who have recently divorced or widowed may not be ready to start dating again for a while. Individuals in the center are those who are too terrified to risk falling in love because they have been damaged by one or more relationships, including being injured by a parent as a child. These various reasons for emotional unavailability frequently overlap, making it difficult to determine whether the problem is chronic or temporary.

Addicts, including workaholics, are similarly unavailable because their addiction takes precedence and controls them. Nonetheless, some people present the illusion of openness and speak honestly about their feelings and their past. You don’t realize they’re unable to connect emotionally or make a commitment until you’re already in a relationship.

Read Also: How to Fix a Relationship: Simple effective steps to follow

Signs of Emotional Unavailability

Here is a list of more subtle signs that may indicate emotional unavailability, especially when several of them are present. They apply to both men and women. They are followed by questions to ask yourself to determine whether you are ready for a committed relationship.

#1. Flattery Flirting

Overly flattering men may also be skilled listeners and communicators like snake charmers. Some lure with self-disclosure and vulnerability and are often good at short-term intimacy, but they prefer the chase to the catch.

#2. Taking Control.

Someone who will not be inconvenienced by having to change his or her routine. Commitment phobics are typically rigid and dislike making compromises. They are the center of attention in their relationships.

#3. Pay Attention.

Your date may hint or even admit that he or she isn’t good at relationships, doesn’t believe in marriage, or isn’t ready for it. Listen to and believe these negative facts of emotional unavailability. Ignore any signs of vulnerability, bragging, or compliments.

#4. The Past Relationships

Find out if the individual has been in a long-term relationship and why it ended. You may discover that previous relationships ended at the point when intimacy would normally develop.

#5. Seekers of Perfection

These people search for and discover a fatal flaw in the opposite sex, then move on. The issue is that they are afraid of intimacy. When they can’t find any flaws, their anxiety rises. They will eventually find an excuse to end the relationship. Don’t be tempted to think you’re better than their previous partners. It’s a very common sign of emotional unavailability.

#6. Anger

Take note of rudeness to waiters and others, which reveals pent-up wrath. This type of person is likely to be demanding and emotionally abusive.

#7. Arrogance

Avoid somebody who brags and seems confident, as this indicates a lack of self-esteem. To be intimate and devoted, you must have confidence.

#8. Lateness

Chronic tardiness is impolite and may suggest that the person is avoiding a connection, but don’t think that punctuality means he or she is a good catch.

#9. Invasiveness or Evasiveness

Secrecy, evasion, or improper questions about money or sex, for example, suggest a hidden objective and an unwillingness to let a relationship develop. In contrast, someone may hide their background out of shame, making it difficult to grow close.

#10. Seduction

Be wary of sexual hints that are provided too soon. Seducers avoid honesty because they don’t believe they’re good enough to keep a spouse. They will undermine the connection once it becomes true. Seduction is a game of power and conquest.

Most people demonstrate their emotional openness early on. Take note of the facts, especially if there is mutual attraction. Even if the person appears to be Mr. or Mrs. Right, you will be left with nothing but pain if you see signs of emotional unavailability. You risk long-term misery if you ignore, deny, or rationalize to avoid short-term disappointment.

What Causes Emotional Unavailability?

There are possibly numerous causes for emotional unavailability. However, much of the research on the subject has been on attachment styles and the early parent-child relationship.

Your first relationships with caregivers may play an important role in emotional intimacy and availability.

When caregivers deny affection and emotional support or scold the child for expressing emotions, the child is more likely to repeat the pattern in adult relationships.

Children who do not receive adequate responses to their emotional needs are more prone to develop an avoidant attachment style, which is a type of unhealthy attachment.

This means they’ll be more independent, both physically and emotionally, and will struggle to be intimate with or rely on others.

According to Dr. Lindsay Jernigan, a licensed clinical psychologist in South Burlington, Vermont, “attachment wounds,” such as a history of abandonment, neglect or mockery, might contribute to emotional unavailability. These wounds can develop in childhood or later in life.

“Staying emotionally distant serves a self-protective purpose in these cases,” she explains. “If I don’t have to feel, then I don’t have to feel pain, and if I don’t feel too close to you, then I’m not particularly vulnerable to having my feelings hurt by you.”

Avoidant personality disorder, which differs from avoidant attachment style, can also cause emotional unavailability. In fact, people with this disorder exhibit particular behaviors in their relationships.

Other factors, such as cultural and gender influences, may play a part in someone’s tendency to be emotionally unavailable.

“This doesn’t mean that emotional availability can’t be developed if it doesn’t come naturally, but some differences along a spectrum of comfort with emotions is most likely part of natural human variability,” says Jernigan.

Quiz on Emotional Unavailability

Although the term “emotional availability” has been in use since the 1970s, a measure has only recently been validated and created in the previous 20 years. Because this was first investigated in child-parent interactions, the measure focuses on the adult’s emotions and behaviors in this connection. This Emotional Availability scale is divided into six subscales, four assessing the adult’s emotions/behaviors and two assessing the child’s side of the interaction.


  • Sensitivity: This includes feelings and activities used to keep a positive, healthy relationship connection. This occurs as a result of both happy and negative emotions.
  • Structuring: This relates to how much an adult can help a youngster learn and/or guide them to a better understanding. At its best, structure guides a child while simultaneously allowing the child to be autonomous and independent. This can also be used in romantic partnerships, where partners may assist each other in learning and growing as the relationship develops while not infringing on the other person’s autonomy.
  • Nonintrusiveness: Allowing the youngster to take the lead and follow their instruction as to what they require without interfering is what this refers to.
  • Nonhostility: This focuses on how adults manage their emotions. Hostility is characterized by an inability to manage one’s own negative feelings when in the presence of another. Failure to regulate emotions results in the outward expression of unpleasant feelings such as impatience, annoyance, or boredom.

For Children:

  • Responsiveness: The child is attentive and responds to the parent, establishing an interaction.
  • Involvement: The youngster encourages the parent to join them in an activity.

Although this scale focuses on the emotional bond between a kid and a parent, the authors believe it may be extended to a wide range of interactions. The word-for-word items may not appear to be relevant to your relationship with a love partner or friend, but they do hint at the various factors to consider when determining whether someone is emotionally unavailable.

Following the administration of this test, the results are grouped into one of four categories, which correspond to the previously indicated attachment types.

  • Emotionally receptive (secure attachment)
  • Difficult (insecure-anxious attachment)
  • Unattached (insecure-avoidant attachment)
  • A difficulty or a disturbance (disorganized attachment)

10 Self-Assessment Questions

Be truthful with yourself about your emotional availability.

  1. Are you upset with the opposite sex? Do you enjoy making fun of them? If this is the case, you may need to heal from past wounds before you can be close to someone.
  2. Do you make excuses to avoid social gatherings?
  3. Do you believe you’re so self-sufficient that you don’t need anyone?
  4. So, do you avoid falling in love because you are afraid of being hurt?
  5. Are you always on the lookout for the other shoe to drop? Even though people complain about their problems, many have a harder time accepting the good.
  6. Are you suspicious? Perhaps you’ve been betrayed or lied to in the past and now expect it from everyone.
  7. Do you avoid closeness by distracting yourself during quiet times?
  8. Do you find it difficult to communicate about yourself and your feelings? So, do you have any secrets that make you feel unwanted or unlovable?
  9. Also, do you like to leave your choices open in case a better opportunity arises?
  10. Do you worry that a relationship may put too many expectations on you, causing you to lose your freedom or autonomy?

If you respond yes to any of these questions, counseling can assist you in healing so that you can risk getting close. If you’re in a relationship with someone with signs of emotional unavailability, putting pressure on him or her to be more intimate is counterproductive. Marriage or couples counseling, on the other hand, can alter the dynamics of the partnership and help you have a more rewarding intimate relationship.

Emotional Unavailability vs Narcissistic Personality

The signs of emotional unavailability and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) may overlap, but they are not the same.

An emotionally unavailable individual has difficulty expressing or handling emotions. A person with narcissistic traits may also have:

  • an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • feeling of superiority and grandiosity
  • a sense of entitlement.
  • A constant need to be strong, successful, brilliant, admired, or loved.
  • persistent low empathy

Can an Emotionally Unavailable Man Miss You?

Most emotionally unavailable guys miss the purpose/needs you serve in their lives and return to you for validation. Because emotionally unavailable guys are already insecure and wounded individuals, your ironic behavior may have an even greater impact on him.

What Causes Emotional Detachment?

Some people may opt to remain emotionally detached from a person or event. Emotional detachment can also be caused by trauma, abuse, or a previous encounter. In these instances, previous occurrences may make it difficult to be open and honest with a friend, loved one, or significant other.

What Disorder Causes a Lack of Emotions?

Schizoid personality disorder is one of many different types of personality disorders. It can cause people to appear cold and emotionless, rarely engaging in social situations or developing relationships with others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like