What is Emotional Availability?
There certainly are men who drift through life happily single without ever fully committing to a long-term relationship. But knowing how to attract women on a superficial level is very different to establishing and keeping a nurturing and meaningful relationship. And, lack of commitment by its very definition equals lack of connection – and one could certainly argue that without those feelings of connection and intimacy with a significant other, we might never reach our full potential as human beings. In truth, most men are desperately looking for that kind of long-lasting connection – they just might not know what to call it.
There are, of course, myriad reasons why anyone might sabotage his relationship with women (and even friends and family) by remaining at arms’ length emotionally. For some it’s due to past hurts, while for others it’s a lack of modelling from their own childhood. Society also conditions us to expect different responses from males and females. This can create mixed messages and confusion when it comes to one’s own behaviour.
Resisting What We Really Want
It’s one of our mysterious human traits that often we shy away from the very things we seek to achieve. The most non-communicative and distant man is more than likely the one who desires intimacy the most, but fear and learned past behaviour prevents him from understanding the real core of how to attract women: the ability to give and receive authentic love.
Being emotionally available is not as simple as opening up and talking about their emotions. It’s about experiencing the discomfort that comes with such intimacy and not running from it, but instead being able to “go with it” and feel it in its entirety, without judgement or excuse. It is also important to be able to recognise the personal behaviours that you might be engaging in order to avoid openness and availability – so that you can, well, avoid them.
Signs of Unavailability
While emotional unavailability can manifest in many types of behaviour, these are some of the most common.
Blame: Always pointing the finger at the other person for the causes of a relationship breakdown.
Moving too fast: Moving very fast at the beginning of a relationship and then backing right off is classic behaviour of an emotionally unavailable man. They know how to attract women initially and move into a physically intimate phase very early, without time to develop feelings of emotional intimacy.
Superiority: Those who are unable to connect on an intimate level with a partner are quite often unable to make a connection on any level – meaning they often display what’s perceived as a superior attitude to colleagues, waiters, friends and family members.
Perfectionism: The core of emotional unavailability can often stem from feelings of insecurity. Those who suffer from this often try to compensate by high achieving in the areas of their life they can control.
Self-absorption: Me, me, me. Being completely focused on one’s own needs and ignoring the needs of a partner is the surest way of avoiding vulnerability and a connection with that person.
The vanishing man: This one speaks for itself, but any man who “disappears” from a relationship without warning (or even with a raft of excuses) is enacting classic avoidance behaviour.
Change Only Comes from Within
For anyone who recognises their traits of emotional unavailability and has the desire to change, the good news is that you have the power at your disposal to do so. As with any kind of recovery, the acknowledgement of behaviours that emanate from past fear, rejection, hurt and feelings of insecurity is the first step in moving forward to an emotional space where intimacy, closeness and deep, long lasting connections can thrive.