I’ll never forget how incredible it felt to learn what being emotionally unavailable meant. Everything suddenly clicked and started to make perfect sense. After years of unsuccessful, same-result-different-guy dating, I had FINALLY figured out what the reason was: emotionally unavailable men. All I had to do was stop dating emotionally unavailable guys and my Happily Ever After would come. Easy. Right? Not so much. Despite my newfound awareness, I still wound up with, tried to be good enough for, and obsessed over emotionally unavailable boyfriends, friends, coworkers, classmates, and family members. Eventually, misery began to outweigh my delusion, and the victim card I had always so dutifully relied on stopped making me feel as innocent of a bystander as it used to. In all of these relationships, the only common denominator was yes, emotionally unavailable partners, but it was also the one thing that I avoided with all my might… ME. “Am I emotionally unavailable?” I thought. There was no way. I wanted to be in a relationship. I was ready; I wasn’t scared to commit. If anything, I came on TOO strong. All I wanted was to be in a relationship. All I did was cry. I BLED emotions. There was no way.
After realizing that I was getting into relationships that reflected the one I had with myself, I had no choice but to look into the “am I emotionally unavailable?” question.
The people we are attracted to give us invaluable insight into what we exude.
I was exuding unavailability.
If you’re not asking yourself “am I emotionally unavailable?” you have no business wondering if anyone else is.
Here’s how to tell if you’re emotionally unavailable and how to fix it.
“Am I emotionally unavailable?” Here are 15 signs that you may be:
- You get bored and don’t feel any passion or chemistry with emotionally available men.
- As much as you claim to want the exact opposite, you’re relationship history (with friends, lovers, family, coworkers, etc.), translates that you’re more comfortable being in a state of being undervalued and disrespected, than you are in a state of being valued, respected, and appreciated.
- You feel like you have no choice but to lie about the dumbest things. You feel like if people knew the truth, they’d run.
- You’re a chameleon. You act like one person at work and another with one group of friends… and another with the other group of friends… and another on dates… and another with your family. You may have social anxiety because of this. You also may have a complete personality transplant after a drink or two. It gives you anxiety to think of these different “groups” of people that you know all being together in the same room. You micromanage your image to the point of exhaustion because you feel like you can’t ever be your true self. You feel this way because early on, you were made to feel bad for existing. You were also made to feel like you were easy to forget/abandon.
- You look to external validation and superficial items to give you an identity because you don’t know who you are. Whenever anyone has a preoccupation with the superficial, it ALWAYS signals low self-esteem.
- You have high highs and low lows in your relationships – with friends, family, and lovers.
- You’re non-confrontational, but you don’t mind having a front row seat to watch any confrontation/drama that you may have passively created.
- You’re ALWAYS extremely busy and preoccupied. You hide behind chaos because it justifies why you can’t ever be present; why you can’t be available to look in the mirror and address your issues.
- When you’re on dates or hanging with friends, you’re more concerned with how you appear as opposed to having a genuine conversation, or seeing if there’s a connection. Dating and making friends always feels like you are auditioning for a part to play.
- You like to talk about making plans, having goals, and all of these brilliant ideas but executing them gives you anxiety.
- You’re a perfectionist and have unreasonably high standards.
- Instead of asking yourself “am I emotionally unavailable?” you are quick to label others as such.
- Your default mode is being the victim. It’s always them, never you. You’re also very good at garnering pity from others.
- You have the disease to please but can’t ever please yourself. And no one can ever please you, ESPECIALLY the emotionally available people in your life. You exhaust them because you’re an unsolvable jigsaw puzzle who also, may be taking them for granted.
- You struggle with seeing, loving and accepting yourself. Because of this, you chase after the affection of others who don’t see, love, or accept you either.
“Am I emotionally unavailable?” If you are, here’s how to reconnect and reclaim your life:
You need to understand that there is absolutely no way around the emotionally unavailable quicksand. The ONLY way to stop being involved with emotionally unavailable people is to become emotionally available yourself because once you do, you’ll stop being attracted to unavailable people.
The first step in tackling your emotional unavailability is to acknowledge that you are indeed unavailable. Stop fighting it and creating more internal drama of how it can’t be or how it doesn’t make any sense. Allow your current relationships and your relationship history to speak for themselves and LISTEN. Acknowledge and be accountable.
When I wondered “am I emotionally unavailable?” the eventual realization of my unavailability prompted me to think that I was a bad person and that I was to blame for everything.
And I couldn’t have been more wrong. Being emotionally unavailable doesn’t make you a bad person and it definitely doesn’t make your partner justified in hurting you (or waiting around for you to change because change takes TIME), but being emotionally unavailable DOES rob you of any chance for a mutual, committed and monogamous (emotionally and/or physically) relationship. It also robs you of your authenticity and gives you a lifetime VIP, “toxic relationship only” pass.
You can lead an addict to the best rehab center in the world but to truly get clean, they have to WANT it above all else.
Let me ask you, would you ever cry about not having six-pack abs? Maybe. But why cry when you know that all you have to do is go to the gym and work on it every day? It’s the SAME in regard to the relationship with yourself. Building muscle, feeling secure, and being emotionally available is NOT just for the beautiful, wealthy, and lucky – it’s a HABIT. Once I realized that self-love was habitual, it became attainable.
How did I finally build a meaningful and connected relationship with myself?
I consistently worked at it.
Every day, I am the person that my younger self needed. And that consistent effort has built self-respect and self-love that is more passionate, fulfilling, and beautiful than any relationship I’ve ever had. This, in turn, has attracted emotionally available people into my life and has enriched the relationships that I’m lucky enough to have.
If I can do it, so can you. You got this.
Written by: Natasha Adamo