If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone evasive, who constantly makes excuses or simply never talks about their feelings, you know the pain of loving someone emotionally unavailable.
Some of them use criticism, manipulation or anger to create a distance between you two, which leads you to being broken, depressed or rejected.
We often talk about emotionally unavailable men, but sadly, more and more women are becoming emotionally detached too, whether it’s because of a past abusive relationship with their parents, a significant other or a friend.
There are two types of unavailability—there’s the chronic one and the temporary one.
Chronic unavailability is caused by mental illness, addiction or a troubled childhood, whereas the temporary one comes from making something a bigger priority than a relationship. It could be your career, freedom, education or health.
Some people are just afraid of falling in love and getting hurt again, thus making themselves emotionally unavailable. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to tell if it’s something temporary that can be solved with time, or if it’s chronic.
If you have found yourself in a relationship where you feel like a constant giver, like you’re screaming at the wall and no matter what you do, you just can’t get through, you could be in a relationship with an emotionally detached man.
You can still remember when you met, how ecstatic you were and how you believed that he could actually become the One. But as time passed by, you realized that you were in love with a complete stranger, and there was nothing you could do to change it.
To help you better understand the issue and the characteristics of emotionally unavailable men, we made a list of the most common ones.
If you recognize more than three characteristics in this list and you’re hoping to have a stable relationship with the person in mind, maybe it’s better to walk away before it’s too late and you end up broken.
1. Full of excuses
It seems to you that he always has a perfect excuse for any issue that pops up. Whether it’s him canceling your date night, him vanishing from the face of the earth or him not ready to commit.
If you ask him out, he’s busy. If you want him to talk about your future, he’s so exhausted from a long day at work.
You’re not even sure if he’s shy, uncomfortable or just a dickhead. And that’s the catch; he needs you to stay as long as he wants you around.
2. Poor communication
There’s no way that he will tell you something intimate about himself unless he can benefit from it. If he tells you some sad story, if he shows you that he’s vulnerable, that’s because he knows he can catch you that way. But if you notice that he never opens up, that you never really had a deep bond or deep conversations that follow it, pay close attention to his other characteristics.
He could be shy and not yet comfortable with opening up to you, but if time goes by and nothing changes, you have your answer. If he tends to disappear after what seems to be a really intimate weekend, you have your answer. Emotionally unavailable men are by nature commitment-phobes, so he’s not capable of maintaining a healthy relationship and good communication.
3. He’s arrogant
Pay attention to the way he behaves toward other people when you’re out in public. If he disrespects waiters or anyone he believes he has power over, that’s a sign of pent-up anger that someday he could turn toward you.
He’s cocky and arrogant because he lacks self-esteem. He’s showing himself that he’s better than them, that they serve him, not the other way around. He needs to feel more powerful and more in control than anyone.
Sooner or later, he will start treating you the same way, controlling you and behaving like he owns you. But the moment he gets bored or the moment you no longer satisfy his needs, he will go on looking for a new victim.
Remember, it takes confidence to be intimate and committed.
4. He’s nothing but talk
Men like this enjoy talking about themselves, about their success and everything they’re proud of (which does not include any personal info).
There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your own work and sharing that with someone you like but pay attention to the way he does it. For example, there’s a huge difference between, “The web app I’ve been working on is now one of the top three apps they’re considering launching next month.
I’m so thrilled and really hope it will work out,” and the other version being, “They finally realized that I’m the best out there, my app is going to break all the records. I don’t know why they even considered the other apps, they’re so bad it hurts my skills just looking at them.”
He has the need not only to brag about himself, but to make fun of others too. He will often brag about material things, such as his paycheck, the amount of money he spent on holidays or on booze or any other things that are really materialistic.
5. It’s his way or no way
This type of man loathes compromises. He believes that the relationship (and the whole world) should revolve around him, and nobody else.
If he wants to stay home and you really want to go out to dinner somewhere, you’ll stay home. You won’t even realize that you simply gave in to him, because he’s so good at manipulation and twisting things for his benefit, that you have no other choice but to comply with him.
Once he sees that you’re not easy to manipulate, that you’re as strong as him mentally, don’t think that he will try to fight it. He knows that he can find another victim in a matter of days, so he won’t lose anymore precious time on you, because you no longer benefit him that much.
Your strong-will makes him nervous and that’s not good for him. Remember, this kind of a man only cares about himself.
6. Vague attitude
Another characteristic of emotionally unavailable men is an evasive attitude. He runs away from discussing his feelings, thoughts, dreams and plans.
He will either completely change the subject once you ask him about it or he will give you an unclear answer, something just so you would stop pushing it. But be careful with this sign; many men need time to open up to someone, to actually feel comfortable discussing their emotions with you, or even admitting they have some.
But if you notice that this pattern keeps repeating, that you keep getting vague answers or not getting answers at all, even if months go by, then you’re dealing with an emotionally unavailable man.
He will also be vague about small things, such as explaining why he canceled your date last minute, why he was one hour late to it or why he doesn’t want to spend time with your friends or sometimes even with you.
This kind of a man tends to avoid any explanations and conflicts on emotional issues and this is because he doesn’t plan on staying around long enough so they would matter to him.
7. You see each other only on his terms
He is only around when he feels like it. You go out when he calls you, and you spend time together when he decides he’s ready. He pops up at your place frequently, but never when you invite him over.
If you initiate a date, he will be busy, he won’t feel like it or he already has some other plans. If it happens that you need to talk to him about your feelings, that you need him when you’re sad, he won’t be there.
Emotionally unavailable men are takers, not givers. He’s not interested in you, your feelings or anything that can’t benefit him in any way.
When he needs help, when he needs your support and love, have no doubt that he will show up on your doorstep. But when it’s the other way around, he will vanish from the face of the earth.
8. Attention whore
He just loves the spotlight. When it comes to him, there’s no such thing as being modest or taking a step back and allowing someone else to be the center of attention.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with being confident and comfortable in certain social situations but his ego is often so huge that it prevents him from being modest even for a second. He will show massive arrogance, jealousy, narcissism and low self-confidence.
If he’s not happy with himself and is constantly looking for validation, he won’t be happy with you either. Keep in mind that when man a measures his worth by the number of compliments he gets, that’s a sure-fire sign he’s not emotionally mature and there’s no way he can give you the emotional stability you need.
He will constantly seek out your flaws and make sure that you know he found them. He will eventually find a way to break you and take away your confidence and everything that you used to love about yourself will become things that bother you.
Also, he will never talk about how you feel; instead, he will only consider his own desires. In his eyes, the world revolves around him, not you or anyone else. If you see this pattern in your relationship, where he shows no interest in your problems or feelings, your man could be emotionally unavailable.
9. Perfection seeker
He will look for any flaw of yours or a character defect that could give him a reason to leave you and move on to the next relationship.
Don’t allow yourself to raise his hopes that you’ll be different than any other of his partners, because he’s trapped in a pit of self-criticism and a fear of commitment that he will only look for an excuse to walk away.
Even if you fit his standards of perfection, his anxiety will grow because the fear of being rejected is pushing him to find anything that he can turn against you. It will be the way you’re being too pushy, too much, too sensitive; eventually, he will turn your own love against you, just so he can escape it.
10. He avoids labeling your relationship
You can’t even count how many times you’ve asked him at what stage the two of you are, but you never got a clear answer. Was it ten times? Twenty? More? He’s avoiding telling you what he thinks and the way he feels because he’s not ready to commit.
He doesn’t want to label your relationship because he wants you around as long as it suits him, and the moment he has had enough, that’s the moment he will end it. No matter what you do, how hard you try or how much you care about him, he simply cares only about himself and his needs.
Don’t let him drag you along, because nothing is going to change. If he hasn’t shown you a single sign that he truly cares about you, besides having you around for sex or boosting his ego, he’s just not worth it.
11. Shady history
One of the main characteristics of the emotionally unavailable men is their shady histories. There could be certain traumas and experiences in his past that made him this way.
Within the first few weeks of the relationship, you can already notice this one, especially when it comes to his past relationships. Knowing why and how he was single when he met you can actually show you the difference between him being emotionally unavailable and simply hurt.
If his past partner cheated on him, broke him or was the one who abused him and now he’s taking things slowly with you, appreciate that and give him time (but be careful with that one if there are more than three signs on this list that apply to him). But if you find out that he was the one who cheated, that he was the one who did all of that, pack your bags and go.
No one should be judged based on their past, but if he cheated once, he can do it again. If you’re looking for an emotionally stable relationship, for someone who is ready to commit, who is not afraid of loving you, I’m afraid that he’s not the guy for you.
12. Prince Charming
Look out for the men who are flirting with flattery. He’s not being charming, he’s simply ‘doing’ it. It’s a well-rehearsed act, a way to seduce you. His focus is on short-term intimacy, because he prefers the chase to the catch.
He may seem open, vulnerable and revealing, but you’ll soon find yourself knowing basically nothing about him and wondering who the hell you’re dating. If you show interest in getting to know him, he will change the subject as smoothly as he seduced you, because he is a master of manipulation and control.
He’s so afraid of opening up that he will do anything to prevent it. If he runs out of options, he will simply walk away.
13. He’s not interested in getting to know you
An emotionally unavailable man sees people as objects and tries to manipulate them to benefit himself in life. He will only show interest in the sexual side of the relationship and won’t do anything about getting to know you better. He sees everyone as a pawn in their own game, and pawns don’t have faces or feelings for him.
He will talk only about things that are interesting to him, and unfortunately, your personality, story and history are not any of them. Even as a friend, an emotionally unavailable man will show no interest in you and will only talk about base-level things with you.
He will simply hide the truth from you, including some things that are a pretty big deal. Not only that he withholds love from you, he withholds important information.
He may think that he’s doing this for your own good, for his good or for whatever reason, thinking that he’s protecting you from the harsh truth but what’s really going on is that he’s afraid of your reaction, of rejection or any potential conflict this could cause.
He could be hiding something big, like another relationship, illness or a shady past. But he could simply be embarrassed by the way he was treated and that he did nothing about, or he could have had a tough upbringing where he was taught that no woman should know any of a man’s business.
He might not see this as an issue, but you can sure help him with that. With one good ol’ kick in the ass.
15. Sexual blast
Beware of the men who want to become sexually familiar right after you meet. Often, emotionally unavailable men are just looking for another thing to conquer, but once they have you and your relationship becomes more intimate, he will leave.
Or maybe all he ever gives you is sex and the only thing he shows interest in is rolling around in the sheets. They often do this either because they feel they have nothing else to offer or they’re afraid of getting close to someone.
Emotional unavailability appears after someone had a traumatic experience with a close person in their life, whether it’s one of their parents or a past partner who was abusive in some kind of way.