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8 Characteristics of an Emotionally Unavailable Partner

Updated on June 26, 2018
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I'm passionately interested in the arts, especially drawing and painting. I work as a professional web developer.

We go on dates to meet and get to know the person we are interested in. If we are wise and pay attention we can notice signs of a potentially bad partner that will not make us happy. It’s important to notice those signs during the early phases of the relationship to save yourself time and heartbreak.

What is an Emotionally Unavailable Person\Partner?

Emotionally unavailable\distant people are people who don’t allow others to get too close or intimate with them for one reason or another. Usually, an emotionally unavailable person will have no interest in a relationship. But even if they seek out relationships they are usually moving too slow and make you feel uncertain about their feelings and about the status of the relationship. Even if you end up in a relationship with them you will probably always feel absence of intimacy and closeness and they will always find ways to distance themselves from you either physically or emotionally. Here are a few dating red flags of an emotionally unavailable person:

1. They Don’t Seem Very Interested in Your Feelings

If they rarely ask about your feelings, or don’t pay much attention when you talk about them it means they don’t regard your feelings very much. Emotionally unavailable people tend to feel discomfort when others talk about their feelings because they don’t want to feel responsible for someone else’s feelings.

2. They Don’t Show Clear Interest

Not showing enough interest in dating could be caused by many things. Sometimes people don’t show enough interest because they fear rejection or because they are more reserved and need more time to build trust towards you. However emotionally unavailable people may take very long before they show real interest, and even when they do, it’s inconsistent and insufficient. They may treat you as their partner one day, and not call you at all the next day.

3. They Often Cancel Plans or Are Unavailable to Reach

That’s because they want to keep a distance and make themselves less accessible and less available. If you find that the person you are dating often cancels or forgets plans that’s a red flag that they are not ready for an intimate relationship.

4. They Tend to Get Distant and Then Call You Again When You Stop Showing Interest

Sometimes emotionally unavailable people are only giving you attention on the first few dates. After that they get distant and stop calling you. But if they feel like you are losing interest in them too, they may try to pursue you again. That’s because they want you until you get too close to them.

5. They Are Not Very Open About Their Own Feelings

You don’t hear them talk a lot about their feelings towards you, or towards anyone for that matter. They don’t reveal a lot about themselves, they are secretive, you may even catch them lying because they simply don’t want to share themselves with you or with other people. That’s part of the reason why they can’t achieve intimacy. They don’t allow themselves to be vulnerable and to share their vulnerabilities with other people.

6. They Are Quick to Find Flaws in You

When the person you are dating immediately finds a reason to ‘point out your flaws’ , it may be a huge red flag of a potentially bad partner. Emotionally unavailable people are quick to find flaws in their partners because that works as a distancing strategy for them. Of course they may not always express that but if they do, it can be a sign.

7. They Have a Reputation of Being a Serial Dater

Serial daters usually (although not always) have some sort of emotional issues that don’t allow them to keep a long-term intimate relationship. Emotionally unavailable people are often serial daters because they can’t get close to any person they are dating. They are just dating for the thrill and sex and not for the purpose of establishing an intimate relationship.

8. They Show Addictive Behaviors

Research has shown that people who struggle with addiction are often emotionally unavailable as partners. It’s hard for someone to achieve intimacy and a good relationship when they are struggling with an addiction. Besides people who struggle with addiction are not good partners for other reasons as well.


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