Being with someone who is emotionally unavailable can leave you feeling empty, alone, and needy.
Here are eight signs to help you identify when you have crossed paths with an emotionally unavailable person.
1) They tell you. If anyone tells you they are not ready for a relationship, they are emotionally unavailable. Regardless of how many times you go out for dinner, no matter how many times they text you or call you throughout the day, despite the gifts they give you, they have already made it loud and clear to you and you need to listen. They are emotionally unavailable. Nothing you say or do will change that. Cut your ties and move on.
2) They are dealing with a significant issue in their life. When my dad was first diagnosed with throat cancer, I was barely holding it together. It was traumatic, stressful, and overwhelming. I didn’t have the energy or the capacity to focus on a relationship.
The same is true for a variety of other issues including death, chronic illness, an adoption, a new baby, a health diagnosis, custody issues, and losing a job.
3) They are not interested in the future. People who are emotionally unavailable are not interested in an in-depth conversation about marriage. Even if they mention it, it won’t be a long or deep conversation.
Here are some clues:
“I do not want to get married.”
“I don’t see myself in a serious relationship.”
“I just can’t see myself settling down with one person.”
“I can’t see myself married in five or ten years.”
4) They just got divorced or just got out of a long-term relationship. Divorce can hit you hard. It can be like experiencing a death. It is difficult, it hurts, and it is life-changing. It makes you question your entire relationship, you lose friends, and your family takes sides.
I don’t care how bad the marriage was, who cheated on who, or how long they have been separated…a person who has just ended their marriage needs about a year to recover and sort through their feelings.
If you have met an incredible person who just got divorced, the timing is not right.
If you have feelings for them, you can’t wait it out, you can’t stand by them, you can’t make it better. Who you are and what you have to offer can’t cover up the fact they need time to sort out their feelings, become whole again, and deal with the emotionally wounding of going from 2 people to a single individual.
5) They go "ghost” on you. You can’t get in touch when them for long periods of time. They don’t text you back for a couple of days. They don’t return your phone calls. When you call, they don’t answer.
The same is true when you are going through something emotionally. When you have had a bad day, they are not there. They don’t fully hear you, they don’t provide support, and they can leave you feeling empty or alone.
6) You can’t plan a weekend or a get-away without an excuse. They either made other plans, will be out of town, or have another excuse when you try to plan something in the future. Emotionally unavailable people are about the right now. They are not interested in six months down the road or a cruise for next year. So the excuses you receive should serve as a red flag.
7) They don’t introduce you to the important people in their life. You may have heard them talk about their best friend or their sister, but you haven’t met the key people in their life. On important holidays or birthdays, they have other plans that don’t include you.
8) They haven’t invited you to their place or are uncomfortable with you being there. You may find that you are always hanging out at your place. You’ve never been invited to their place. If you do get an invite, they have no desire to make space in a drawer or offer to let you keep an extra toothbrush in their bathroom. Instead, that earring you left? They threw it out. The hair tie in the bathroom? They aren’t sure what happened to it.
There you have it. Eight signs to help you stay away from a person who is unable or unwilling to let you into their life.
So what do you do if you suddenly realize the person you are with is emotionally unavailable?
Decide how you want to feel in your relationship.
Do you want to feel valued? Do you want to feel appreciated?
If they are not making you feel that way, it is time to reevaluate whether being with the person is really giving you what you need.