top of page

How to Deal With an Emotionally Unavailable Man

by Lorraine Jones

Whether we care to admit it or not, we've all made excuses or tried to rationalize a man’s behavior in hopes that he’ll change, but in reality, he may just be emotionally unavailable. Blinded by charm and wit, we don't always see the patterns that are right in front of us. When someone is emotionally unavailable, they aren’t able or willing to discuss their feelings or maintain emotional connections in relationships. Emotional connections are the foundation of any healthy union.

Dealing with an emotionally unavailable man can be extremely frustrating and disappointing. “I never understood why he cared so little about me when I was giving him so much. My frustration was at its peak. I always felt I was giving 200% of myself only to receive 10% in return. It was also exhausting as I completely forgot about myself. It was during this time that he never seemed satisfied, everything I did was to please him, but it was never, ever enough,” said Miruna Necula, a Community Manager at PhotoAiD who has recent experience with this emotional repression.

“One night I came home very late from work and he didn't even notice my presence. When I got into bed I realized that it was much more serious than I thought. I had been offered a job out of the country. I told him about it, hoping to start a conversation about the future of our relationship. To which he said, ‘I hope it works out for you. I don't want to be an obstacle.’ That was the end of it.”

Emotionally unavailable men aren’t forthcoming when it comes to commitment. Refusing to speak of or dancing around the subject of a future is an indicator he’s emotionally unavailable. These men aren't willing to engage in emotionally laden conversation in general. Other signs to look for is if he is afraid to express his thoughts and feelings and talks more than he listens.

There are a few ways to confront this situation and cope with the lack of emotional intimacy.

  • BE HONEST AND TO THE POINT: Make your feelings and thoughts known. Express your perspective of frustration and dissatisfaction to him. Emphasize the value of being vulnerable with one another.

  • SET BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATIONS: Your reaction to his lack of connection reveals your unspoken expectations.

“From my experience, dealing with an emotionally unavailable person works as long as you don't set your expectations too high; hoping that you can break the walls and change him. But the trick here is that it is in our human nature to expect that the people we love will mirror our positive emotions and affection, which in this case, leaves us hurt and disappointed,” said Rachel Lipton, a life coach who not only consults women on relationships and dating but has personally seen this in the dating scene.

This reality check may solidify whether this is a lost cause or something worth salvaging. Analyze the level of communication you have with him. Does he listen to you? Follow your intuitions. People often reveal themselves to us early on; we may just be too determined to read these signs.

Ask yourself if this is what you want. Are you willing to settle for a surface-level connection or do you desire something deeper? “I right-sized my expectations about how far the relationship would go and I ended up breaking up with the man I was dating after a few months.

It felt empowering to set boundaries and respect myself by not continuing to date him,” said Lipton. Decide if you are willing to invest time to allow him to grow emotionally. Or you may realize that if he can't give you what you need, move on to someone who can.

This type of superficial connection can create huge obstacles in the relationship. “The fundamental problem with emotional unavailability is that the relationship will not be emotionally safe for either partner. Ultimately, this leads to resentment, loneliness, loss of connection, and unhappiness.

I would say that emotional unavailability is one of the leading causes of relationship break-ups, including divorce,” said Douglas E. Noll, JD, MA, professor at the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution, Caruso School of Law, Pepperdine University who’s written four books and many articles on the subjects emotional intelligence and emotional competency.

Emotional bonds are what nourish a couple, allowing the love to foster through deep connections. Without that aspect of a relationship, there is no future. Physical intimacy over emotional intimacy fizzles out. “A relationship is based on emotions and on the need to know how to communicate.

Most long-term relationships I know are based on communication and trust. That's something you can't have with an emotionally unavailable man. His lack of communication can lead, for the majority of the time, to conflict. It's going to be a tug-of-war relationship, in which you're likely to slacken until you crash,” said Necula.

When dealing with an emotionally unavailable man, acknowledge whether or not your needs are being consistently met. Reflect on the current state of the relationship and determine if you’d be content if your partner's behavior continued long term.

Follow us on Instagram and Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on new blogs and giveaways


bottom of page