A Guide To Identifying Emotional Unavailability

Apr 23, 2021
09:00 A.M.
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We often hear people express that some people aren’t ready for romantic relationships due to emotional unavailability. However, hearing the words doesn’t mean we always understand them.


Romantic relationships require plenty of time and effort from all parties to make them work. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case with every relationship as people find themselves working alone to make it successful.

Emotional unavailability can cause stress and issues in a relationship, and it wastes the other person’s efforts. Read more to discover how to identify emotional unavailability in yourself and others.

What It Means To Be Emotionally Unavailable

Maksym Tymchyk on Unsplash

Maksym Tymchyk on Unsplash


When describing an emotionally unavailable person, one would paint an image of a person who avoids connections. This makes them elusive, difficult to make plans with, and challenging to get through to.

An emotionally unavailable person may have issues with trust, keeping stable relationships, and mood switches. Relationship therapist Elisabeth Mandel shares that these people often seem stable until you dig deep.

Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

“If you can tell they are resisting changing emotional states, or they don’t have a lot of range, then there’s something threatening to them about emotions,”

Says Elisabeth Mandel


Experts present emotional unavailability as a sign of control and a defense mechanism from emotional hurt. Unfortunately, protecting themselves compromises a part of their emotional range, which affects relationships.

Signs Of Emotional Unavailability

Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash

Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash

Being emotionally unavailable may be a defense mechanism, but it causes more pain than anything. Luckily, some common signs tell whether you are or a loved one is emotionally unavailable.


Inconsistent affection, not talking about deeply personal issues, and avoiding serious relationships are all signs. These signs of emotional unavailability keep people at arm’s length so that no real attachments are formed.

Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

A physically absent partner who texts back after hours and cancels plans regularly may be emotionally unavailable. Being defensive, shaming vulnerability, and avoiding future conversations are also signs.

An emotionally unavailable person anticipates the worst, so they avoid making an effort in relationships. Some may possess some of the signs, and others may have all, but the little things usually give them away.


Working On It

Marcelo Rangel on Unsplash

Marcelo Rangel on Unsplash

As mentioned before, being emotionally unavailable can cause more harm than good for everyone involved. Chances are, if you or your partner are emotionally unavailable, you will want to work on it.

Fortunately, there are ways to become more emotionally available as long as you want to be. The first step to working on it is identifying the root issues that cause your emotional unavailability.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Causes can range from terrible heartbreak to childhood trauma. One needs to gauge whether their issues require a professional to help them through things, but if you aren’t sure, reach out to one anyway.

Journaling, making art or music, texting your emotions with trusted people can help you practice opening up. Just remember to take it slow and involve your partner in the process to put what you learn into practice.

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