Emotionally unavailable men are not always easy to spot, which is why millions of women fall for their charms, only to discover weeks, months, (or even years!) down the line that the man they have developed strong feelings for is utterly incapable of returning the sentiment. Basically, any kind of relationship with an emotionally unavailable man is a road to heartbreak for no matter how much you want him to change, he can’t because he has the emotional depth of a puddle. So, given that the scenario is loaded with problems, you need to know how to spot an emotionally unavailable man before he ensnares you in his web of empty charm.
How do I know this?
I have had the misfortune to meet and fall for a series of unavailable men. It took me quite a while to spot the pattern, several years, in fact. It wasn’t until a date told me I was the common denominator in a long list of dysfunctional relationships that the penny finally dropped. To be fair, I didn’t thank him for his insight. I was pretty pissed off at the time, mainly because the date hadn’t gone all that well and I was feeling annoyed at the waste of a perfectly good Friday night. But he was right, even if he was about as tactful as a brick.
Once the dust had settled, I sat and thought about why I was fatally attracted to emotionally unavailable men. I concluded it was because I had low self-esteem. Sub-consciously, I felt I deserved no better. Why, you might be wondering? Without having therapy, I don’t know for sure, I suspect I was recreating my relationship with my dad. He worked away when I was growing up, so I hardly saw him, and when he was home, he didn’t have time for me. Connecting with charming, emotionally unavailable men felt ‘normal’. This is possibly utter claptrap, but I think there is a kernel of truth in there.
Anyhow, knowledge is power, as they say in some circles. You can learn from my mistakes by spotting an emotionally unavailable man before he breaks your heart and leaves you in a heap on the floor.
At the beginning of any relationship, we tend to be far more objective than when more time has passed and we have developed an emotional attachment. Because of this, it makes sense to be more alert in the beginning, especially if you have a pattern of falling for emotionally unavailable men.
What is the definition of an emotionally unavailable man?
Emotionally unavailable men are either absent in spirit or literally not there, for one reason or another. In some cases, it is because they are married or in a relationship with another woman—in which case it stands to reason that their emotional energy is diverted elsewhere. But in other cases, a man is emotionally unavailable because he has been damaged by a previous relationship and can’t/won’t commit to anyone else. Sadly, in both cases, you are on a one-way ticket to nowhere and the moment the penny drops, you are advised to get out quickly.
How to spot an emotionally unavailable man
They are almost always very charming in the beginning. They are the guys who go to extreme lengths to attract your attention. They chase you, bombard you with attention, and go the extra mile to ensure you are hooked. And then, once you ARE hooked, they lose interest and the shining light of love fades like a dying torch.
They blow hot and cold more often than the weather. One minute they are all over you, texting you and telling you they can’t last another night without seeing you. Then they suddenly go cold and you don’t hear from them for days. Soon, you don’t know whether you are coming or going, which makes you feel anxious and insecure. Not a nice state to be in.
They often have a vast array of close female friends. Many will be exes, but he will be deliberately vague about the status of some of his female friendships, just so you aren’t quite sure whether he is still seeing them or not.
They struggle to talk about their feelings or anything involving the “relationship”, so the moment you try and pin him down about “where this is all going”, you can expect him to look deeply uncomfortable and probably disappear shortly afterwards.
They don’t make you happy and a relationship with a man of this type can best be described as deeply dysfunctional. Instead of feeling loved up and secure, confident that your man cares for you and is planning a future with you, you often feel ignored and sidelined, uncertain about how he feels, and unsure of whether the relationship is even a relationship, let alone if it’s going anywhere.
They conduct relationships on their terms. They see you when it suits them, not when it suits you, and if you try and make demands on their time, they back off and leave you out in the cold until you cave in and beg them to come back.
They are usually commitment phobic to boot, so if he’s blowing hot and cold all the time and won’t commit to anything other than a late-night booty call (at his convenience), you may as well call time on the relationship now.
The emotionally unavailable men who made me miserable
Paul was in a relationship but told me he was only with her because of the kids. He said they never did anything together, including have sex. I believed him. More fool me.
Robin was charming, witty, intelligent, and strung me along for several years, including when he was seeing someone else.
Dan was charming, funny, and fatally addicted to women. He couldn’t be faithful if he tried.
Taheer was charming, intelligent, and a workaholic. He was also deeply shady and looking back, I don’t believe a word he told me. Trying to pin him down to anything was like herding cats.
What did all of them have in common? They were alpha males, fun to be with, and great in bed. Unfortunately, that came at a huge emotional cost and each of them inflicted a lot of damage to my mental health.
Did I learn my lesson?
Once I realised how unhealthy my relationships were, I resolved to change the pattern. It took a while, but eventually, I met someone who didn’t fit that mould. Someone who was nice, caring, and actually called when they said they would. We ended up spending five years together. He wasn’t perfect. He had a lot of faults. But at least he wasn’t emotionally unavailable.
It didn’t work out and we broke up last year, but it was a step in the right direction. I know what type of man I should avoid. I’ll always be a sucker for a charmer with a good line in sexy innuendo, but I will think twice before getting involved with someone who plays mind games, isn’t consistent in how they treat me, and love bombs me after one date.
Follow my advice and you won’t end up making the same mistakes as me!