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Are YOU dating someone emotionally unavailable?

It’s one thing meeting a fellow singleton who wants to date you, but that doesn’t always mean they’re ready for a real relationship.  

If they don’t like to open up and they’re unreliable, they might be ’emotionally unavailable,’ meaning they are unable to engage with a relationship on a deeper level. 

Thankfully, relationship and positive psychology coach Elle Mace, from London, has revealed the seven tale-tell signs that someone might be emotionally unavailable.

She added that while you can’t tell if someone suffers from these emotional shortcomings on the first date, there are ways to handle this behaviour from the moment you spot it. 

And psychologist Barbara Santini added that airing your needs might help them becomore emotionally available. 

If your partners don’t like to open up and are unreliable, they might be ’emotionally unavailable,’ meaning they are unable to engage with your relationship on a deeper level, London-based relationship coach Elle Mace, said. Stock image 

Elle said there are questions you can ask yourself to determine whether your partner is being emotionally unavailable. 

‘Can you share your personal thoughts and feelings with them, do you know how they are feeling, do you feel supported and comfortable opening up, can you meet halfway with decisions?’ she asked. 

‘If the answer is no these then perhaps they are emotionally unavailable,’ she added. 

The expert added there are several reasons why someone could struggle to show their emotions.  

‘It could be that they don’t feel safe expressing their emotions especially if they were not taught or felt comfortable showing emotions as a child,’ Elle said. 

‘For example, if a child is told to stop crying then as an adult they may not feel it is ok to cry or that it’s silly to cry therefore will be in fear that if they cry they may be shut down again,’ she added. 

And a partner might act distant if they are afraid of rejection or of being ridiculed.  

7 signs your partner might be emotionally unavailable 

 These are the signs to look out for if a man or woman is emotionally unavailable and how being emotionally unavailable manifests. 

  • They don’t like committing to plans, 
  • Having the final say, 
  • Avoiding the word relationship, 
  • Having persistent difficulty getting close to other people, 
  • They reflect their feelings rather than offering their own or advice, 
  • Can be unreliable
  • They have attachment issues and trauma

Elle said that’s because ‘they have experienced rejection or getting hurt in the past when they have shown their complete self so it is a coping mechanism to get them safe.’

Meanwhile, Barbara added that people who are emotionally unavoidable tend to monopolise the conversation.

‘These people talk excessively about themselves and never ask about your feelings or thoughts for various reasons, such as fear of vulnerability and emotional intimacy, empathy deficits, or low emotional intelligence.

‘This means they talk about themselves excessively and never ask about your feelings or thoughts,’ she said. 

Taking over the conversation also always them to avoid deep and meaningful conversations, which could bring you closer. 

‘This makes them protect themselves from being hurt emotionally. Another reason is they get uncomfortable talking about their emotions,’ she said.l 

She added that these people can also generally put less efforts in your relationships than you because they are scared of commitment. 

‘Are you the only one who practices emotional vulnerability or solves all relationship problems? If yes, your partner is emotionally unavailable,’ she said. 

She explained that the thought process behind this is that these partners are trying to protect themselves by not investing too much of themselves into the relationship, powered by the fear of rejection.  

Elle explained that it’s not possible to know whether someone is emotionally unavailable from the moment you meet them. 

That’s because ‘you do not want to mistake nerves for being emotionally unavailable and often someone can overcompensate and put on a front at first which is a coping mechanism.’

She said you can look for signs and possible red flags that someone is struggling with being emotionally forthcoming, but that you shouldn’t immediately assume they are unavailable. 

However, there are a couple of signs to look out for when meeting a person that could suggest they are emotionally unavailable. 

relationship and positive psychology coach Elle Mace, from London, has revealed the tale-tell signs that someone might be emotionally unavailable, in order to help navigate these relationships

relationship and positive psychology coach Elle Mace, from London, has revealed the tale-tell signs that someone might be emotionally unavailable, in order to help navigate these relationships

‘Do they get defensive easily or can you make eye contact with then with ease, are they opening up about their flaws, vulnerabilities and experiences or is it all a bit stiff,’ she said. 

Once you’re sure someone is being emotionally stunted, you should set up boundaries, and ‘stick to them even if lust is there,’ Elle said. 

She said the best way to deal with an emotionally unavailable partner is to value your self-worth over your attraction to them. 

‘Have self-worth and practise increasing your own indolence and self-esteem,’ the expert said.  

‘Understand that they need to go on their own journey when they are ready, get present and conscious and ask how will this relationship benefit you and learn how to detach yourself,’ she added. 

She added that communicating can be a great way to deal with partners who exhibit this sort of behaviour. 

‘The worst thing you can do is ‘play them at their own game’ which never ends well. 

‘Have a conversation with your partner and express that their unavailability is becoming a problem for you,’ she said. 

‘Have this conversation in a calm, safe and relaxing environment rather than out in public, explain why you feel the way you do and how the relationship could benefit if they take some responsibility to reach out to you,’ she added. 

Elle also explained that you should set aside some time each week to check in with each other.  

She added it is also important to ‘have no judgement on why they might be struggling to communicate.’ 

Meanwhile, Barbara added you should be clear with your partner about your emotional needs. 

‘Let them know what you are not getting in the relationship. The aim is to ensure everyone feels happy or at peace,’ she said. 

If the issues persist and you struggle to meet those needs after you’ve expressed them, Barbara said you should consider taking a temporary break or breaking off the relationship altogether if you are still unsatisfied. 


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