Relationships can take many forms; our love languages are very different and how we show affection can also differ. However, when one is attracted to, dating or even married to someone that struggles with their emotions it can create a challenge.
How do you know that your partner is emotionally unavailable?
- You receive mixed messages from them
- They become evasive, avoiding you after the initial honeymoon phase (generally 3 months)
- They avoid talking about your relationship and making it clear where you are heading
- They are uncomfortable when they need to talk about their feelings, they refuse to or they don’t know how to speak about how they feel
- They panic and disappear, may ghost you completely when you ask for commitment
A person who is emotionally unavailable doesn’t know how to deal with their own or with others’ feelings. As they can’t identify what they are feeling, it can feel like they are not in control and that is scary.
This sense of unsafety could come from childhood experiences. If growing up, children are not modelled how to express their emotions in a healthy way or if they are punished for expressing emotions, they can end up being emotionally immature.
Emotionally immature parents will raise emotionally immature kids as they themselves don’t know how to manage their emotions. (If this is a topic you are interested in, I highly recommend reading – Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson)
So why do you find this lack of availability so darn attractive?
- Being in a relationship with someone on the same level feels safer and more familiar. This again can come from childhood experiences: e.g. if your father was emotionally unavailable, you are more likely to be attracted to emotionally unavailable men, as that is familiar to you. (Definitely part of this squad myself 👋 )
- This might be a tough pill to swallow, but most of us end up in relationships with people who are similar to us. We may have similar interests, finances, but also, we can be on a very similar level when it comes to emotional availability. Is it possible that you are subconsciously afraid of commitment yourself? Could that be the reason why you choose partners that will not commit, so you don’t need to make that decision?
- Another tough one to hear: There is one thing in common in all your relationships: You. What is a pattern you follow that makes you end up in “situationships” rather than committed, honest relationships? Are you good at stating your needs, telling your partners how you would like to be treated? Do you know what kind of relationship you would like for yourself?
We can’t make someone else become emotionally available to us, so what can we do to change the pattern?
- Become aware of your behaviour and how it leads to the result you are getting. Identify your pattern. Radical honesty and self-compassion are required during this exploration. I also recommend getting some professional guidance from a coach or a therapist.
- Learn to identify, feel and express your own emotions by mapping your emotional landscape. Navigating the journey toward deeper intimacy with your emotions can feel like uncharted territory, having someone guide you can make you feel safe.
- Develop skills in accessing your most inner thoughts and feelings, which in return will help you access your own needs. Different embodiment modalities (breathwork, non-linear movement) can help you achieve that.
- Learn to ask for what you need and set boundaries. Many of us need to regulate our nervous system before we can ask for what we want and don’t want. (Check out our Balance & Stability workbook to learn some nervous system regulation techniques)
I know this sounds a lot to deal with, but even starting on this journey can bring incremental changes to your relationships.
If you need guidance on where to start, if you need a safe space to talk about the difficulties you are facing, if you need encouragement to make the changes you wish for yourself, let me be that guide for you.
I know that with a good coach it is all about feeling safe enough to be vulnerable.
We are offering 6 individual sessions at 50% off in the next few weeks, to help you make a decision if I am the right coach for you. Click here to start your Introspective Exploration and claim your half-price coaching session with me.