AN emotionally unavailable person, experts say, is someone who has a hard time receiving and comprehending emotions or love from other people. They don't realise that their aversion to intimacy affects others. In real terms, they put up barriers between themselves and others in an effort to avoid emotional intimacy.
“This can be done consciously or unconsciously, with the former being the most concerning,” says Counsellor David Anderson. “Usually we know that being emotionally unavailable is a red flag, but sometimes it's not easy to pick up on it,” he acknowledged.
How do you spot an emotionally unavailable partner before you get too deeply involved with them?
“If you look you will see the signs, even in those who manage to hide them,” Anderson said. “Many times it's evident in what they do or say, over time, and when you do see it, you should not hesitate to check out.”
He listed these signs to look out for:
They're into themselves
They're private, cherish their personal space, and want to be alone much of the time. “While these may seem OK, watch for signs that they are possessive and protective of the things they perceive as belonging to them, and are selfish beyond the normal allowable point. You will never be priority for someone like that.”
They have a hard time being vulnerable
They may have no problem opening up to friends or family, and may seem extroverted or like social butterflies in public, but they put up a brick wall when it comes to intimate relationships.
“This means that they view such relationships as unimportant and won't value you enough to connect on a meaningful level,” Anderson said.
You can't connect with them on a spiritual level
“Everything seems vague, on the surface, fleeting, like it has no lifeblood,” Anderson said. “It simply means that there is no connection, no commitment on that deep, spiritual level, so they can cut you off with the slightest provocation. They may even be honest about it to you, and say that they like things casual, and though it may make them seem more intriguing, it should be a red flag for you to beware of what you're entering into.”
They seem cold
They don't enjoy any of the warm, fuzzy things that make others seem human — instead they recoil at physical affection and physical touch. “If they seem uncomfortable with human contact or seem distanced from things that would make others melt (like cute animals or cute babies) they will never let down their guard with you,” Anderson said.
They want space
They will always ask for space to deal with their feelings, thoughts, and emotions, even when it seems rational to hash it out together. “This is because they don't know how to respond to certain situations, and are not used to dealing with emotions or things that cause an emotional reaction,” Anderson said.
“Know what you're getting into if you do decide to test the waters with an emotionally available partner,” Anderson said. “They will not be comfortable feeling their own emotions, sharing emotions with others, or being present and responsive to your emotions and this can affect not only your romantic relationship, but how they are as parents, friends and in other settings, so be on the alert.”