If you are here, then that means you are unsure about your partner’s emotional quotient. This might be because you are feeling neglected or unheard in your relationship.“Emotional unavailability” describes a person who’s evasive, avoids meeting up, or simply doesn’t like to talk about their feelings. That person might also have difficulties with trusting people, bursts of anger, forming, and honoring commitments.
Such people tend to create barriers between themselves and other people to avoid or prolong any kind of emotional intimacy. These individuals don’t necessarily run away from relationships. They might seek out a normal relationship but the problem arises when they are not ready to commit to it full time. According to EA assessment, developed by Biringen et al. (1998) and Biringen (2008), scales of determining emotional availability in an adult are sensitivity, structuring, non-intrusiveness, and non-hostility. That’s why it’s necessary to recognize if your partner is struggling with emotional unavailability?
I am no Zulie Rane or Kris Gage but I am going to try and break it down to 6 basic questions you can ask yourself to figure it all out.
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1. Is Your Partner Saying That He/She Is Not Ready To Commit?
Has your partner told you that marriage or serious dating scares them? Have they literally spelled out that they are not good at relationships? If the answer is yes, then it might be because their past relationships didn’t go as they wished, or they got hurt, or a thousand other reasons that they as an individual need to look into. Take them for their word. Do not victimize them or think you can fix them. Don’t take it as a challenge. More often than not people already know what their behavioral issues are, what they struggle with. They are telling you their truth. LISTEN. Listen to understand, don’t listen to react. This is not about you, or your need to fix someone.
2. Does Your Partner Often Dictate How You Should Feel?
Do you often come across a conversation where you express your feelings about a certain event and your partner immediately disregards it? As emotionally unavailable people don’t possess the same emotional quotient as others, they see things differently. They won’t feel with as much enthusiasm as you might. But this can become very frustrating for you as you will always feel that your opinion is undermined. You might even think that you are overreacting or overindulging. But the fact of the matter remains that no one should be told how to feel, as every individual reacts to life experiences in their way.
“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”― Charlotte Bronte
3. Do They Share Their Problems Or Are They Ready To Hear Yours?
This one is a tricky one, sometimes introverts or shy people also prefer not to share their problems. But the crux of the matter is that “is your partner ready to hear yours?” If the answer to both these questions is a negative one then that’s a red flag. Most emotionally unavailable people have a hard time listening to others’ problems, they are so involved in their own lives that actually listening to others, doesn’t seem very productive or appealing to them. So they deviate any conversation which is headed towards any kind of vulnerability. Often making you feel lonely in a relationship.
4. Is Your Partner Empathetic?
In any circumstance, observation is your biggest and most crucial weapon. Notice how your partner treats the people who are inferior to them. Are they rude to that random waiter who served dinner the other day? Are they kind to a stranger on the street? Is empathy a word you would attach to his/her character description? People who are in touch with their emotions tend to be kinder in nature as they can imagine what it would feel like to be in someone else’s shoes. They are more considerate.
5. Is Your Partner Not Good At Showing Or Receiving Appreciation?
Emotionally unavailable people are often uncomfortable with “appreciation” — an emotion, as that entails an acknowledgment of someone else’s active participation in their well-being. It’s not just restricted to receiving appreciation they also lack the ability to show that they are thankful. They will do anything to devalue any gesture done by you just so they don’t have put it in words, how much that said gesture meant to them. Verbal communication can be very difficult for them. And as most people like to be validated in a relationship this might taint your perspective about your partner.
When you make the obvious mysterious, then mysterious becomes unavailable. — Walter Draby Bannard
6. Is Evasiveness Their Go-To Move?
Delayed texts, constant change of topics when future of the relationship is mentioned, evasiveness regarding spending time together are all telltale signs that your partner is not being completely transparent to you. Everyone is entitled to their privacy in a relationship, but lack of communication or physical distancing because of above mentioned causes might become downfall for any tangible relationship. If your partner constantly keeps mystery around their life or their past, then that might make you feel like an outsider, which in turn results in unhappiness.
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It is completely possible that you traced some of the qualities of emotionally unavailable people within yourself while reading the above list of questions. But this doesn’t mean that you or all your relationships are doomed. The takeaway in any relationship solution is — “Communication is the key.” So if all the questions mentioned above pulled up red flags in your head then it doesn’t mean that you abandon the ship and run for your life. Words and intentional efforts might heal your issues, just make sure that it’s not at the expense of your or your partner’s mental health.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love and is republished here with permission from the author.
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