Have you ever been accused of being emotionally unavailable?

by | Jul 2, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Being emotionally unavailable is rooted in life experiences.

Here’s how it works: If deep down, I feel inadequate and fear I don’t deserve love, then my instincts tell me that eventually, you’re going to find out about me, realize that I’m not good enough, and break my heart.

So I love you from a distance. I stay aloof and disengaged. I refuse to give you much of my time because it won’t hurt as much when you tell me you’re going to leave me.

I know it’s coming. It always does.

My parents. My exes. They’ve all done it.

I know you will too.

I wear my armor and hold you at arm’s length. I’ve been flooded by rejection, sadness, and feelings of being unworthy before, and it’s not something I can handle after I get close.

At my core, I don’t feel I deserve your love.

While half-hearted love does offer safety, it will always sabotage the opportunity to create a deeply loving relationship.

People who are emotionally unavailable are called avoidants because they do exactly what that word says. They avoid their partners. They avoid intimacy and closeness.

But they do this for a reason. Can you guess what that reason is?

“If I anticipate you rejecting me, then I’m going to remain less emotionally invested in you.”

Yes—feelings of unworthiness cultivate insecurity.

True security in a relationship requires interdependence.

It’s the ability to depend on your partner while also being able to stand on your own two feet. To take responsibility for your part of the relationship as they do for theirs—as equals.

It’s the ability to be open to their feelings and needs while working with your partner to get your needs met.

Emotionally unavailable people don’t like hearing what their partner thinks or feels if it’s not what they want to hear.

If their partner says something they don’t like, the unavailable partner makes it emotionally costly to do so.

They emotionally beat their partner into obedience. This is why the other partner becomes needy, acts crazy, and will make massive compromises to make the relationship work, even if it is unfulfilling.

Emotionally unavailable people do this because they feel empty. They focus on their own needs and interests. They believe they don’t have the capacity to devote time and effort to their partner’s needs.

They find their partner’s needs overwhelming and burdening.

It’s clear that the emotionally unavailable partner has a lot of internal battles going on. It also explains why they struggle to be there for their partners when they need them.

You might be dealing with many of these same internal battles that lead to being emotionally unavailable. And your relationship is suffering because of them.

If that sounds like you, you won’t want to miss what I have to tell you next.

Here are six effective tips for being more emotionally available:

1) Take a hard look at the beliefs you have about yourself in your relationship.

Explore why it is that you don’t feel worthy of a close, loving relationship.

Is there a way to challenge your belief that if your partner gets to truly know you, they will reject you? Is there a way you both can explore why you are lovable and deserving of your partner’s affection?

2) Make your partner’s needs and feelings equal to yours.

Doing this requires empathy and compassion for your partner’s feelings, needs, and requests for closeness.

3) Stop the secret life.

Emotionally unavailable partners often have a secret life—a backup plan for when the relationship fails.

They may have someone on the side because rejection is inevitable. A secret life with others helps keep a safe distance in the relationship.

Your relationship cannot afford your secret life or side person.  It requires you to offer complete transparency.

This may require opening up access to your computer, text records, and so on to clean up any past feelings of betrayal or mistrust.

Not keeping secrets is a vulnerable place, but it is the only place that allows you to invest in the relationship and get the returns you deeply need.

4) Make time for your partner.

Place your partner (and children) at the top of your priority list.

This is done with your actions, not your words.

Words might sound comforting to your partner, but without actionable follow-through, they are meaningless. Making time for your partner also requires you to be available and accessible, most of the time.

Often avoidants will avoid phone calls, ignore text messages, and reply only when they want.

They focus only on their needs, which makes their partner even needier.

If you give your partner the reassurance that you are there for them, they will turn their attention away from the relationship because you have given them the security that you are invested in the relationship.

This is called The Dependency Paradox of Love.

5) Work on taking responsibility for your emotions.

Take control of your temper. Stop acting in hurtful ways or saying things that cut to the core of your partner’s vulnerabilities.

As an emotionally unavailable person, you are an expert at finding someone’s weakness and exploiting it, so they give you the distance you want.

Stop threatening to leave the relationship if you don’t get your way, and stop using anger and personal attacks to bully your partner into doing things your way.

That’s not a relationship.

Even if you get your way, you are still avoiding a relationship that will change the deeply rooted beliefs you have about yourself.

A loving relationship requires two people who work together equally.

6) Commit to opening up.

Share your deepest fears.

Tell your partner what makes your spine tingle. Tell them about your life’s greatest disappointments and your biggest dreams.

Love requires more than physical touch. It requires emotional touching. It requires both your partner and you to let each other see your inner world.

Quit walling off your inner self, and allow yourself to be deeply known by your partner.

This will not be an easy task. You will feel overwhelmed. You will want to attack your partner.

When you feel like you’re suffocating from a lack of space, you’re on the right track. You are suffocating the belief that you don’t deserve love.

You’re allowing someone else into your heart as you fill its emptiness.

Your childhood and failed relationships may have been a great source of pain, but it is your responsibility to make the effort to change the undermining beliefs that destroy your relationships.

Becoming an emotionally available lover.

It’s up to you to build the emotional skills required to be an emotionally available lover, and utilizing these six steps is a great place to start.

It’s also up to you to work on becoming a better listener. To stop letting your addictions control you. Be more of a giver than a taker.

And most importantly, to stop being so judgmental and critical of both your partner and yourself.

Dedicated to emotionally connected relationships,

Kyle Benson

P.S. If you have thoughts or questions on the article, please message Kyle here.

If you feel like an emotionally unavailable person and have an interest in working with a relationship specialist, go here.

Did you enjoy this article? Don’t miss these similar posts:

If your “intimacy button” differs from your partner’s, you enter a perfect storm preventing both parties from getting what you want.

It’s like starting a weight loss program with Big Macs and supersized french fries on the menu.

Good luck with that!

It is very common for one partner to crave intimacy, while the other becomes uncomfortable when things get close.

If that sounds familiar, read this article.

I used to be an Anxious Attachment type. Or as society would label me: “needy”.

I tended to attract Avoidants because my intense expression of emotional intimacy supplemented their own suppression of emotional intimacy.

When our need for intimacy is met and reciprocated by our partner, our happiness increases.

On the flip side of the intimacy coin, incompatible intimacy lowers our happiness and satisfaction with the relationship.

What are intimacy buttons?

Our “intimacy buttons” are unconscious biological and emotional baggage that has been filled by our past experiences. These past experiences form the emotional blueprint of how we think relationships are supposed to work.

They also shape how we behave within those relationships.

In the relationship I was in before, I’d never felt such an amazing high as when my Avoidant partner allowed me to get close to her.

But I felt more unwanted than ever when she pulled away.

I had never felt so pathetic and insecure in my life. I craved her love.

She’d give me a kiss, only to bolt away by shaming me, calling me crazy, or ignoring me altogether.

Our unconscious and conflicting desires for closeness affected our intimacy and impacted all of our conversations.

I felt so alone. I might as well have been stranded in the middle of the ocean.

Psychology calls this the Anxious-Avoidant Trap, or as I like to call it, Lost in the Sea of Love.

Meet Anxious Alex and Avoidant Alli

Anxious Alex meets Avoidant Alli using OkCupid, a popular dating website.

After the first few dates, puppy love takes over. They adore each other.

As months pass, Anxious Alex wants to spend more and more time with Avoidant Alli. He comes over after work and drops everything just to spend time with her.

Like most anxious people, Alex is a boyfriend chameleon.

Since Avoidant Alli had become a vegetarian, Alex hops on the bandwagon too, even though he loves meat. Unconsciously, his true motivation is his shaky self worth, and his intimacy style causes him to accept his girlfriend’s identities as his own.

He perceives himself as low value and unworthy of love, so he finds her lifestyle and values more compelling than his own.

He also has a fear of being unloved.

So, he adopts this new value system as an emotional strategy to increase intimacy between them.

His real motivation is fear, not love.

As anxious Alex finds ways to get emotionally close, Avoidant Alli initially loves the attention.

Eventually, both Alex and Alli become incredibly close.

I can tell you this feels amazing. It’s a natural high without the drugs.

But over time, this closeness begins to feel suffocating to Avoidant Alli.

She begins craving space and distance. As a result, she de-activates her intimacy button by withdrawing and behaving in ways that put space between them.

Anxious Alex recognizes this. He sees this distance as a threat to the relationship and activates his intimacy button as a response.

He wants to keep the intimacy high going.

Anxious Alex’s mind becomes a targeted missile, and Avoidant Alli is the target.

Anxious Alex’s anxiety causes him to panic and feel insecure, like the world is ending. This is all an illusion, of course, but Alex’s biological and emotional baggage is creating such intense emotions that logic doesn’t exist.

This flood of emotion motivates Alex to try to get both he and Alli back up to the peak of that amazing intimacy high.

So, what does Alex do?

Alex starts texting her more frequently. He even shows up at her place unexpected. Alex’s dire need to resolve this emotional conflict causes him to use crazy behavior.

Four text messages in an hour.

Anxious Alex feels like his relationship with Avoidant Alli is fragile, so he begins needing to prove to himself she still loves him.

Sadly, the emotional frustration from Alex’s crazy behavior, and Avoidant Alli’s dire need for space, causes Alli to react in hostile ways.

She might shame Alex for acting crazy. She might tell him she isn’t going to talk, text or see him for three or four days.

This eats Anxious Alex alive.

All he needed was for Avoidant Alli to get close to him, but the more intense the withdrawal, the more intense Anxious Alex’s thoughts are about making up for “his” mistake.

This conflict causes Alex’s intimacy button to hit overdrive and focus on all the amazing aspects of the relationship—oh, the memories! He becomes flooded with regret for their recent fight.

Then he tries to work things out.

Meanwhile, Avoidant Alli’s deactivated intimacy button causes her to focus on all of the bad things in the relationship:

  1. His crazy behavior.
  2. The amount of time he spends with her.
  3. His constant texting.

Due to Alex’s narrowed perception of rekindling the relationship, he is willing to compromise his needs to keep the partnership working. Since Alli is contemplating ending the relationship, she wants compensation for entering back into it.

Alex still fails to address the initial conflict—his need for intimacy—and actually finds himself in a worse position than he was before the fight. He works hard to return to the initial, unsatisfactory status quo of the relationship, and tries to compromise more of his needs in hopes of making things work.

Being Lost in the Sea of Love washes any hope of a better life down the drain.

For years, Alex and Alli continue this vicious cycle until inevitably, Alli has enough and dumps him.

With every clash of intimacy styles, the anxious person loses more ground. It’s frustrating and unfulfilling. This toxic relationship has no checks and balances.

Anxious Alex feels the need to fix the relationship and compromises his needs for the Avoidant.

One-sided relationships

These types of toxic relationships feel very one-sided from the anxious person’s perspective.

The anxious person seeks closeness when troubles arise, while the avoidant seeks separation and distance.

Intimacy differences are difficult to harmonize.

This is why I suggest finding a secure person to date.

A lot of people assume since Anxious Alex and Avoidant Ally really do love each other, they’d find a way to work things out. But often this is impossible.

In the typical trap, the anxious partner surrenders and accepts the rules imposed by the avoidant.

Let’s say Anxious Alex and Avoidant Alli end up getting married, despite their unstable relationship.

Things may get worse because intimacy differences impact more than just the relationship.

It’s much more than one person wanting to cuddle and another needing space. It’s also reflected in opposing desires, assumptions, and attitudes.

This may range from the way you sleep with someone in your bed to how you raise children.

Each new change in life (making money, becoming ill, having kids, or getting married) will manifest the differences and expand the gap between partners even more.

The conflict is never resolved because the solution requires too much intimacy.

While the Anxious individual will seek to work out the relationship problems, the Avoidant will unconsciously want to avoid them.

This may lead the Avoidant to becoming hostile or distant.

Since the underlying issue is never addressed, the problem expands like a balloon and causes a lot of unhappiness.

When I was in a toxic relationship, I was completely blinded by love. I couldn’t see how bad it was. This is why I wanted to take some time to provide you some telltale signs of being Lost in the Sea of Love and drowning in a toxic relationship.

I want you to have a fantastic relationship, and intimacy is a core foundation of that.