I get a lot of letters and questions from women about emotionally unavailable men – how to identify them, but most importantly, how to deal with emotionally unavailable men. The most common question sounds something like this: “What do I do with an emotionally unavailable man?”
They are all at a loss with what to do.
Now, normally, I would advise you to take your stuff and run. That way, you save yourself from a heartache. But I also know that it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds and that once you’re in love with this difficult man, it’s hard to just walk away without a fight. So, then, let’s see what you can do about it.
I see plenty of women complaining about their emotionally distant man or how he is sending mixed signals; they are all pissed that they’ve realized that only after they’ve already grown attached or entered a relationship (or what they think is a relationship). But take a step back and think about your guy’s words and behavior – isn’t this something he has already been telling you?
Look, in my experience, women tend to always hope for a relationship, even when it’s clear to the guy that it’s only a hook-up. So you don’t really get to complain about “mixed signals” and “emotional distance” when the two of you are on completely different pages. Hell, you’re not even in the same book.
Read between the lines and don’t hold out for something that isn’t there.
The first thing you need to do, before anything else, is figuring out if you want to stay in this relationship or not. Pay attention; I’m not asking you whether you love him or not. I’m asking you whether or not you want to be in a relationship with a man who is emotionally unavailable to you and who has probably said as much.
Sometimes, the guy will just tell you right off the bat that he is not in a good place to be in a relationship right now, that he doesn’t want to get serious, that he can’t offer you what you need, etc. As I said before, listen to him. This is what he can offer you, and you are the one who decides if you want in or out.
Now, think – is this what you really want? Are you content with continuing this relationship on his terms? Are you okay with seeing him when he wants, with possibly leading a separate life, with him not sharing a great deal with you? Okay, then, you’re in for the ride.
Now that you’ve acknowledged that he is emotionally unavailable, but you want to keep going, it’s important for you to go on doing your own thing. You should already know by now that this man is not going to be the type you can lean on for support, call him when you’re in trouble, or expect him to accompany you to your parent’s house for Sunday brunch. That means that you need to make your own fun.
Guys like happy and independent women, and they run away from needy ones; that’s just a fact. If you already know that he is emotionally unavailable, then asking him to carry you emotionally is useless, because you are just going to end up super disappointed, and you’re going to scare him away in the process.
The best thing you can do is to take care of yourself, do what makes you happy and don’t rely on him. Make sure that your life is fulfilling by itself. In fact, don’t take him into consideration, at all. If he sees that you are happy even without his involvement, one of two things will happen:
One of the most important things I can teach you about this, is not to force him to open up. I know you’re frustrated (I would be, too, in your position), but the more you push, the more he pulls. With every prodding question and every attempt to force him to open up, you are essentially pushing him away with both hands.
What you see: a genuine interest in his person and a desire to bring him closer and build a relationship together
What he sees: a woman desperate for attention, who won’t understand that he can’t give her what she wants right now
Don’t butt into his life; let him come to you. When he’s ready and if he’s ready, he will open up to you by his own volition, but if you try to force that to happen before he wants to or before he can, he will shut right back up, and he may not come back again this time.
When you’re dealing with a man who is emotionally unavailable, all you can do is have patience, if you don’t want to let it drive you crazy. If you know this is not something you can do, then back away now and let the man be; it’s for the best. But if you really want to make this work, you have to be prepared to wait.
Be careful! You may be waiting forever. This only works if he has expressed himself clearly that he wants to give it a try. But otherwise, you may be waiting in vain for something that will never come. Set yourself a time limit. Let’s say you give him six months – if he doesn’t make any progress in that time-frame, then it’s time to cut your losses, let go and move on.
Blayne Ketcham offers a ton of dating advice & a relationship program for women. After going through his free email-advice series, you'll understand how men think & what they truly desire. You'll also discover how to connect with any man using one simple method. This blog contains general thoughts and ramblings about relationship problems.