5 Signs That Someone Is Emotionally Unavailable, So Cut And Run
Relationships require feeling all the feels — no matter how uncomfortable, scary, or
unpleasant. For two people to build intimacy, they both need to not only be aware of
their emotions but also capable of communicating them to their partner. When the
person you’re dating isn’t able or willing to do that — well, that can cause a heck of a lot
of frustration. That’s why it’s oh so important to be aware of the signs that someone is
emotionally unavailable. If you know the red flags to look out for, you then have the
power to decide whether you can still get your needs met, or whether you need to cut
your losses and bail.
Case in point: Carrie and Mr. Big. Every SATC fan who watched their sometimes
agonizing love story knows that the main obstacle to their love was Big’s emotional
unavailability. It wasn’t until he fully realized what he was going to lose that he opened
himself up to the idea of a serious long-term commitment. Getting hooked on someone
who’s emotionally unavailable can be painful — no matter how perfect they may seem
for you, the intimacy you desire is just out of reach.
There are multiple reasons why someone might be unavailable in this way — it may be
due to mental illness (personality disorders, PTSD, etc.), or it could stem from a
troubled past (parental neglect, an abusive partner etc.). Sometimes, the person has
simply been cut too deep by a previous relationship and is thus afraid of opening up
Love means being willing to get hurt, but when someone isn’t able to take that risk, they
can’t be there for you 100%. Alas, here are some telltale signs that someone you’re
dating simply isn’t emotionally available right now.
They’re hot and cold.
Let’s see if this sounds familiar. You had an incredible weekend together — dinner
during which the conversation flowed effortlessly, endless laughter, maybe even a mind-
blowing makeout or sex to cap things off. It felt like you were just starting to get closer.
Then, come Monday morning, they seemingly fall off the face of the earth. Your calls
and attempts at making plans go unanswered. A week later, they suddenly reach out
again and seem interested in hanging out. One minute they seem super into you, and
the next they’re distant AF. The emotional rollercoaster is exhausting, isn’t it?
The reason they’re sending you mixed signals is that they are incredibly confused about
their feelings. They straight up don’t know what they want — and it shows in their
Their communication is spotty.
The only thing you can count on when it comes to your date’s communication is that it’s
entirely unpredictable. Sometimes, you send a text and get left on read until days later.
Other times they respond with rapid-fire speed and enthusiasm. Sure, sometimes this is
merely because someone’s schedule has been particularly stressful. But if their
communication is always all over the place with no explanation, they’re probably
emotionally unavailable. Putting physical distance between you allows them to keep
their feelings close to the chest.
They don’t bother arguing with you.
Arguing may not be your favorite thing in the world, but the reality is, conflict is a normal
and healthy part of any relationship. It’s the only way to deal with your inevitable
differences, learn how to compromise, and grow together. So, if your date seems like
they’re avoiding any kind of disagreement, that’s a big red flag.
When they shy away from confrontation, deflect, make light of issues, or sweep things
under the rug, they’re showing that they aren’t willing to go into the trenches with you.
They’re there for you when it’s easy, but they’re not invested enough to stick it out when
there’s friction. This may be because they’re uncomfortable facing or expressing the big
emotions that come out in conflict (like anger). Whatever the reason, it’s a strong sign
they’re not emotionally available, and it’s a tendency that can prevent your relationship
from progressing in any meaningful way.
Convos don’t go beyond surface level.
In the beginning stage of dating someone new, it’s normal for conversations to remain
somewhat lighthearted — where you want to go for drinks or dinner, which movie you
want to watch on Netflix, how your workday was, etc. At a certain point, though, you
both have to dare to go deep to take your relationship to the next level. If they only
seem to bring up surface-level topics (and clam up or change the subject when you try
to get personal), that typically shows that they’re emotionally unavailable to a degree.
This is especially true when you try to talk about the future. By keeping you at arm’s
length, they can avoid getting too attached to you.
They’re unreliable when it comes to plans.
Trying to pin down a plan with them is like nailing jello to the wall: impossible. They
either toss out a “maybe,” or they agree to a plan only to flake out at the last minute.
Here’s the harsh truth: If they can’t even commit to going to an event with you next
weekend, they definitely can’t commit to a serious relationship with you. Sure, some
people are just better planners by nature, but if they’re only really available to you when
it’s convenient for them, that usually suggests a degree of emotional unavailability.
They get uncomfortable when you talk about your feelings.
It’s safe to say that an emotionally unavailable person probably won’t be an open book.
Sharing their feelings is the most obvious path to intimacy, and they don’t want to get
too close. Not only will they keep everything close to the chest, but they also may get
awkward when you share your feelings, too. How can they possibly process or
empathize with your emotions if they can’t even handle their own? Because of this, they
may also avoid being in super emotional situations with you like the plague — like
goodbyes, weddings, funerals, etc. will put them in a much too vulnerable position.
If you’ve noticed any of these red flags, it’s time to do some soul searching. Are you
denying your own needs in order to see this connection through, or do you legitimately
see potential for a mutually satisfying relationship? The bottom line is, you can’t change
anyone — it’s up to them to let their guard down. All you can do is acknowledge your
standards — and be willing to walk away when the person you’re dating simply isn’t
Do you feel that you date emotionally unavailable men? Susan Trombetti, our matchmaker, can teach you how to spot the signs BEFORE you are in too deep. She can tell you the one thing that will change this forever and get you the commitment you deserve, and prevent you from wasting your time. Fill out the form to the right!