Young man leaning against a brick wall looking unapproachable

Emotionally Unavailable Man – Decision Aid Whether to Date Him

by Eharmony Editorial Team - April 19, 2021

You’ve met someone and he seems nice enough, but the longer you’re with him, the more you’re noticing that this man is emotionally unavailable – he doesn’t seem to be as invested in the relationship as you are, or at least he’s terrible at showing it. Dating an emotionally unavailable man isn’t for everyone, but there are clear indicators and ways to make it work for you.

How to recognize an emotionally unavailable man?

He’s showing up late and blows off plans

You made plans for a date in a week, and he was excited at the time, but as it gets closer? Either he reschedules or shows up late if he shows up at all. While he might have a good excuse, a pattern of missed dates is a pretty good indicator of emotional unavailability.

He’s not comfortable with your emotions

Does he get turned off, frustrated, or dismissive when you choose to show him your emotions, especially negative ones? An emotionally unavailable man generally isn’t comfortable around displays of emotions and isn’t good at handling either his or yours.

You don’t actually know all that much about him

While partners don’t have to know everything about each other, if you don’t know even key details of his past, that’s another sign you’re dating an emotionally unavailable man. Sharing your history is a essential component of building a strong long-term relationship, and your man being emotionally distanced makes that difficult.

You never seem to grow closer

With normal relationships, as time goes by, your relationship gets stronger and your lives get more and more intertwined. That’s not the case when you’re with an emotionally unavailable man. He’ll want to keep things casual for months or even years into a relationship and be resistant to any talk of taking things to the next level.

He chooses physical over emotional connection

While there’s nothing wrong with physical intimacy early on in a relationship, an emotionally unavailable man will use it to get out of emotional or personal conversations. That’s because distracting you means they don’t have to deal with the messiness that strong emotions can bring, on your part or theirs.

How to deal with dating an emotionally unavailable man?

So, you’ve decided that you want to give a relationship with an emotionally distanced man a shot, or you’ve come to the realization that your current partner is emotionally unavailable. Some tips for how to deal with an emotionally unavailable man:

1. Be patient

A man may be emotionally distant just because he doesn’t know any other way to be but can learn with time and the right partner. If he’s emotionally unavailable, being patient with him can lead to him eventually feeling comfortable enough to begin to open up more.

Tip: Remind yourself that he’s not doing this on purpose.

2. Be upfront about what you need

Nobody likes playing games in a relationship, and if you’re dating an emotionally unavailable man, that’s even truer. The best approach for a man who has issues with emotional unavailability is the direct one. Make sure he knows what your expectations are rather than expecting him to read your emotions and figure them out.

Tip: Therapy is a good resource for figuring out how to articulate what you need.

3. Figure out a communication method that works

For some men, the issue is less that they want to be distant and more that they don’t know how to communicate their emotions properly. It doesn’t help that society pushes boys to suppress all emotions but anger, thus making it hard for them to express themselves. Figuring out how to connect with an emotionally unavailable man is crucial to a long-term relationship with him.

Tip: Reading advice literature like for example Gary Chapman’s ‘The Five Love Languages as a couple’ will give you tools you can use to improve your communication.

4. Get your emotional needs met elsewhere

No, we’re not suggesting you cheat! But our society feeds us a pernicious idea that your romantic partner should be your be-all and end-all when it comes to emotional support. Not only is this untrue, it’s also unsustainable even if you’re dating someone who is emotionally unavailable. Keeping up your friendships and your family ties, and relying on them for support, is important when you’re with an emotionally unavailable man.

Tip: Schedule regular outings with friends and activities that make you happy to make sure your emotional needs are met.

5. Focus on the positive

Does your man have qualities that make up for the lack of emotional connection? Perhaps he has a great sense of humor, or he offers you stability, or maybe he’s the hottest guy you’ve ever met. Whatever the good things are about him, focus on those, and your relationship will be better for it.

Tip: Make a list of the things you love about him and keep it within easy reach.

Emotional unavailability of a man doesn’t have to be a relationship deal-breaker

While there’s no denying that an emotionally detached man can be hard to date, that doesn’t mean a relationship with one is doomed from the start. Different relationships work for different people and with the tips in this article, you might just be able to figure out a way to make yours work. And if not? There’s always eharmony.

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