Are you dating an emotionally unavailable man?
We have based a lot of posting on attachment theory and how it helps to explain what kind of connections we have in life. After reviewing secure, anxious and avoidant mindsets, we concluded that for the avoidant person, being emotionally unavailable is the shield that protects them from emotional pain such as betrayal, abandonment or any kind of insecurity.
So, it is not rare to find charming men who play the role of available possible mate, in active search of love, only to make-believe others (and thus cheat also themselves) about their normalcy. They are not normal, because they don't know how to be open and connect emotionally, but this is the last thing in the world they will recognize. To be able to play the part of the available and kind single man going around and looking for his soul mate, this person develops some strategies that are difficult to recognize at once.
Of course, this man has all the right to play the love game...if only he would be in it for learning how to love and connect. In this case, perhaps the new relationship helps him to heal the insecure attachment received in childhood...and move on to be a good companion. What I'm talking here is about his conscious decision to start a relationship, play the role, give signals of being in love, and at the last minute withdraw and quit.
Even when the proposal looks a bit exploitative, as in this "(I’m not looking for anything serious right now") declaration:
“Now the fact that we are emotionally unavailable doesn’t mean that we’re no longer desirous of a woman’s attention and affection. It also doesn’t mean we’ve lost the ability to perceive attractiveness and beauty and it most definitely doesn’t mean we’re no longer interested in sex. We will want all of those things, and we’re still going to work toward getting all of those things.
But, they want all those normal aspects of a love relationship, without any deep commitment! Or feeling the need to reciprocate love! It leaves you in the uncomfortable dilemma of dropping him now (the more self-protective solution) or continue the relationship trying to give him so much love he can't resist and will fall in love with you. This is a recipe for disaster, because you ignore at your own peril the childhood attachment he carries around...that can't be changed from the outside, not matter how much you love him. If he is himself ignoring the causes of his behavior, he can easily fall into the receiver role, take whatever affection you can give to him, and feel no obligation whatsoever to care for your own emotional needs.
From here on, we follow Shannon Kaiser's excellent article: "20 Signs Your New Love Interest Is Emotionally Unavailable"
"Learning to recognize the red flags early is part of leading a balanced and healthy love life. If you really want to attract and bring real love into your life, make sure your new potential partner is, too.
Here are 20 signs new love interests might not be emotionally available or might not be into you.
1. When you feel like you have to work for their attention.
2. They don't make eye contact when they talk to you.
3. They avoid “getting to know you” conversations or don't ask questions about your life.
4. They ask the same questions over and over (because they didn't listen the first three times you told them).
5. They dodge or change the subject when you ask about them.
6. You seem to pay for everything.
7. They're overly defensive and don't take responsibility for their role in the situation.
8. When you’re left wondering, “Do they like me?” If a person likes you, he or she will find a way to let you know.
9. You haven't met their friends or family.
10. They seem secretive about telling others when you're together.
11. You get the sense you're being used (for money, sex, business ideas, etc.).
12. You have a hard time understanding them or knowing what their motives are.
13. They only want to communicate via text, Facebook, email or chat.
14. You feel confused, lonely or insecure after spending time with them.
15. They always talk about their ex. (No matter how they mention their past, if it’s in the present, it's likely they haven't moved on.)
16. They're noncommittal. (Plans are hard to pin down. If you ask them about the future, they may snap at you.)
17. They don't flirt with you or find ways to be close to you.
18. They seem to make a lot of empty promises.
19. They say I love you, or ask you to move in or get married on the first or second date. I hate to bust the love at first sight bubble, but sometimes too soon means they are more in love with the idea of you than who you are as a person.
20. Your time together feels superficial – you’re left feeling frustrated or emotionally exhausted after being with them."
This is really the most exhausting list you can find. If, after reading this list, you find that your emotionally shut down partner fits the bill,
you have to make a decision. Either he is blocked from loving you, or loving any other female, is out of the question...
What you don't want now is the idea of spending a lot of time waiting a miracle, expecting to get water from a stone. At least, ask him to be honest, own his own emotional blockage and find a way of healing it. And move on: there is not enough of your honest interest for him that can restore his emotional connection with himself and with the world...without therapy. Let him go! And move on to people with secure attachment, who can send you love signals without any confusion, withdrawal or empty promises.
If you really paid the price of being in this kind of relationship, and paid a loneliness and abuse price, you can always transform pain into resilience, like what you can find in this book.