Hey Kyle, I read your last few articles about emotionally unavailable partners. It makes a lot of sense that you recommend others to avoid those of us with those flaws. Personally, I don’t want to be this way, but my childhood experiences, failed relationships, and lack of growth in becoming more emotionally available is downright depressing.
If other people start taking your advice to heart, what would happen to the rest of us? Many of us lack the money and emotional depth to become the emotionally open souls professional therapy promises. Can you please offer some relationship advice for us on the other side of the tracks? Maybe some tips that will help us grow to becoming more emotionally available? What are some ways we can open up to create happier relationships?
– Closed Off in California
Hi Closed Off,
Being emotionally unavailable is rooted in life experiences.
Here’s how it works: If deep down I feel inadequate and fear I don’t deserve love, then my instincts tell me that eventually you’re going to find out about me, realize that I’m not good enough, and break my heart.
So I love you at a distance. I stay aloof and disengaged. I refuse to give you much of my time, because it won’t hurt as much when you tell me you’re going to leave me. I know it’s coming. It always does. My parents. My exes. They’ve all done it. I know you will too.
I wear my self-protected armor and hold you at an arm’s length. I’ve been flooded by rejection, sadness, and feelings of being unworthy before, and it’s not something I can handle after I get close. In my core, I don’t feel I deserve your love.
While half-hearted love does offer safety, it will always sabotage the opportunity to create a deeply loving relationship. People who are emotionally unavailable are called avoidants, because they do exactly what the word says. They avoid their partners. They avoid the intimacy, and closeness. But they do this for a reason.
The feelings of unworthiness cultivate a feeling of insecurity. True security in a relationship requires interdependence.
It’s the ability to simultaneously depend on your partner, while also being able to stand on your own two feet. To take responsibility for your part of the relationship as they do for theirs, as equals. It’s the ability to be open to their feelings and needs, while working with your partner to get your needs met. Here’s what I think about your needs…
Emotionally unavailable people don’t like hearing what their partner thinks or feels if it goes against what they want to hear. And if for some reason their partner does say something, the unavailable partner doesn’t like, the unavailable partner makes it emotionally costly for doing so.
They emotionally beat their partner into obedience. This is why the other partner becomes needy, acts crazy, and will make massive compromises to make the relationship work, even if it is unfulfilling.
Emotionally unavailable people do this because most of the time they feel empty. So they focus on tending to their own needs and interests. They believe they don’t have the capacity to devote time and effort into their partner’s needs in the relationship. They find their partner’s needs overwhelming and burdening.
It’s very clear that the emotionally unavailable partner has a lot of internal battles going on. It also explains why they struggle to be there for their partners when their partners want or need them to be.
Below are six ways to become an emotionally available lover
1) Take A Hard Look At The Beliefs You Have About Yourself In Your Relationship.
Explore why it is that you don’t feel worthy of a close loving relationship. Is there a way to challenge your belief that if your partner gets to truly know you, they will reject you? Is there a way both your partner and you can discover reasons why you are lovable and deserving of your partner’s affection?
2) Make Your Partner’s Needs And Feelings Equal To Yours.
Doing this requires developing empathy and compassion for your partner’s feelings, needs, and requests for closeness.
3) Stop The Secret Life.
Emotionally unavailable partners often have one. They have a backup plan for when the relationship fails. They may have someone on the side to protect themselves because they believe rejection is inevitable. A secret life with others helps keep a safe distance in the relationship.