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How to be Emotionally Available: 17 Ways to Open Up to Love & Life

You can’t be distant if you want to find love because otherwise, it will never work. This is why you need to learn how to be emotionally available.

how to be emotionally available

There are a ton of reasons you might be closed off and emotionally unavailable. Maybe someone broke your heart before or perhaps you just had a shitty upbringing and aren’t sure how to be vulnerable with someone. If you want to find love, however, you need to learn how to be emotionally available first.

No matter what happened in your past or childhood, there’s no excuse in the book that lets you off in being emotionally unavailable. If you’ve been on the receiving end of this, you’d know that it’s like you’re practically dating a wall!

As long as you’re distant, you’ll never let people in and get to know you *the real you*. If you don’t want to end up alone forever, learning how to be emotionally available really is a must.

[Read: Am I emotionally unavailable? 17 signs you are & how to fix it ASAP]

Why some people just can’t connect with others in an intimate way

There are many people out there who struggle with emotional availability. They can’t seem to connect with someone on a deeper level, and this leaves them alone and without love. After all, the only way to fall in love and have someone fall in love with you is to open up to them. [Read: How to be vulnerable in a relationship and feel closer instantly]

Some people were probably never distant in the first place, but an extreme level of pain and trauma may have changed them.

For others, they’ve always been this way because of some childhood trauma or reasons. Remember, many people struggle with this. And being emotionally distant is a very common defense mechanism to avoid getting hurt again.

But if you never learn how to be emotionally available, you’ll also never let yourself be happy – and that’s no way to live. Also, contrary to what you may assume, being distant doesn’t make you strong. On the other hand, vulnerable people have so much strength in them to reveal what they really feel.

There’s nothing braver than baring your soul to others, even with the possibility of getting hurt. [Read: 25 red flags of an emotionally unavailable man]

Why you can’t achieve happiness by being distant

We all think that when we put ourselves at a certain distance from someone, we also protect ourselves. But the real sacrifice when you never learn how to be emotionally available is you won’t find true love. Sure, you’ll find people to date and even be in a relationship with. But your fear of connection and being intimate with them is precisely what will push them away from you.

Emotional distance doesn’t belong anywhere in a romantic relationship, at least in one that actually works. You need to let others in, no matter how scary it might seem.

In conflict, you need to have the capacity to open up and express even your difficult emotions. If you keep being distant, you might lose the one you love forever. [Read: How to recognize an emotionally distant partner & deal with them]

How to be emotionally available so you can be happy and find love

Opening up and allowing someone to know the real you can be really scary. You’re showing them every part of you and not all of those bits are great. Your fear is totally understandable.

However, love is something nearly all humans crave and if you’re one of them and aren’t sure how to be emotionally available, we can help. Here’s how you can learn to get closer to someone and be yourself so you can open up emotionally.

1. Find the core of the issue

There’s a bigger problem at play here. If you can’t open up to people and get vulnerable, it’s usually due to a much larger issue. Think back and figure out what may be the problem. Did an ex break your heart? Have you never been close to anyone before? Did something in your childhood affect your ability to get close to someone?

Learning how to be emotionally available will not be an easy road, but it’ll all be worth it. You need to look within to become emotionally available again. By healing from whatever it is in your past, you’re a step closer to letting people in. [Read: 16 signs you’re not ready for a real and serious relationship yet]

2. Move slower

Don’t rush your relationships. If someone tries to get really close to you and you start freaking out a little, just communicate with them.

Explain that you’re not all that great at being emotionally available but you’re working on it. [Read: How to slow down a relationship: Take your time & enjoy the romance]

You can learn to let down your walls if you just take it slowly and realize eventually that they’re worth trusting after all. Just talk to them and take your relationship a little bit slower so you can truly create a close bond with the person you like. Love is patient and kind so if they know you tend to put your guard up, your partner can understand your issues and help you overcome them if they truly love you.

3. Be friends first

Those who tend to be emotionally distant have the worst commitment and trust issues. So if you want to learn how to be emotionally available, developing friendship first is a great strategy. Your friendships are probably a lot deeper than any of your romantic relationships have been.

Slowing down and deciding to just be friends for a while can help you open up without the added pressure of all the drama dating can bring. [Read: How to tell if you can go from friends to lovers]

4. Talk about complex matters

Trust issues will be a primary factor that triggers your emotional unavailability. So instead of going for small talk, discussing deep and meaningful subjects can help you get to know them better. Don’t keep talking about your work or your day, but go for issues and complex matters.

This will help you get to know them in an intimate way but it’ll also force them to get to know you. When you discuss controversial topics, you won’t be thinking about it in terms of opening up. It just feels like you’re just chatting about things you have strong opinions about. This is why guarded people love talking about deep subjects; it doesn’t force them to open up. [Read: 40 very deep questions to ask someone before you open up to them]

5. Commit to the idea of opening up

If you can’t commit to being more emotionally available, you won’t be. You need to make a conscious decision to be more open and stick to it.

Growth will always be uncomfortable, but you need to dedicate yourself to letting others in, even if every fiber of your being tells you to run away and shut down.

Working toward it every single day will ensure that you get there someday. Focus on your goal, and you’ll get there eventually. [Read: 12 obvious signs you’ve got major commitment issues]

6. Be empathetic

Think about how the other person feels. Do you think it would really make them happy to see you being so distant all the time? It probably hurts them. Not to mention the fact that they probably don’t think you care about them as much as you do. So if you want to know how to be emotionally available, learn to empathize with others.

Think about how it would feel if the situation were reversed and take it from there. For instance, in an argument, instead of shutting down and possibly walking away, remind yourself to practice empathy so you can see why they’re upset. [Read: 7 reasons why empathy is important in a relationship]

7. Realize how much you care about that person

Do you truly care about the person you want to get close with? If so, you really need to be working toward showing them how much you care. And that means opening up to them. Especially if you’re afraid to lose them, then you need to do everything in your willpower to let them in and become vulnerable.

It takes a lot of courage, but have faith in yourself that you can do this. You can’t, in good conscience, care about someone deeply without showing them who you really are. [Read: 10 types of caring love you’ll experience in your lifetime]

8. Play fair

If they’re opening up to you, why would it be fair to hold everything back? You’re not being equal with one another. They’re doing all the work in the relationship and you’re just skating by, barely even putting forth an effort.

So if they’ve already bared their heart and soul to you, isn’t it fair you do the same? Emotional connection plays just as an essential role as physical connection. If you want to know how to be emotionally available, learn to play fair with them.

9. Take responsibility

While you can’t fully control your emotions, you can control your actions. You need to take responsibility for your love life and realize that it’s your fault you can’t find love. That may sound harsh, but it might be what you need to tell yourself in order to get over being emotionally unavailable.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself and take accountability for your mistakes. If they feel so far away from you, that’s because you were distant from them first. Now, what are you going to do about this?

If you own up to your own actions and take responsibility for the fact that you remain closed off, it’ll be easier to let go of that part of yourself so you can find love.

10. Be patient with yourself

Patience is an important aspect of learning how to be emotionally available. You can’t expect to get it right overnight, but it takes consistency and patience. Relearning how to be open is not an easy thing. Your mind has been so protective of your feelings for so long that it’ll take a while to learn how to open yourself up to others again.

Especially when it’s been your defense mechanism for a while now, it will take a lot of reprogramming and self-awareness to break down your walls to find love. [Read: How to open up to someone and form a deeper connection]

11. Face your fears of vulnerability

Being vulnerable is scary, but you can’t dwell on that fear for the rest of your life. Determine what scares you about opening up to people. Are you scared of getting hurt? Do you fear being taken advantage of or people using your vulnerability against you?

These are the questions you should ask yourself. Facing vulnerability is a scary thing, but it’s necessary for your growth and relationships. [Read: What does it mean to be vulnerable? 15 ways you can open up more]

12. Write on a journal

Being emotionally distant will build a wall between you and every person you love, which is precisely why it’s crucial to learn how to be emotionally available. Journaling is a great way to practice vulnerability as you write down all your feelings, including those you don’t want to face.

It’s an effective practice, especially as nobody would read the things you write down. It’s just between you and your journal.

13. Develop healthy coping mechanisms

There are healthy ways to deal with your fear and past trauma that don’t always result in you shutting yourself out from the world. For instance, humor is one example of a healthier approach.

You can also try practicing mindfulness or meditation to help you stay in the present and understand your emotions. When you feel the tendency to shut off, be aware that you’re feeling that way, but resist the urge to give in. [Read: How to stop self-destructive behavior & change your life for good]

14. Talk to someone

Have you ever tried talking to a friend about your struggle to open up? Sharing your struggles can make the burden lighter and feel less heavy. But if you already tried this and it didn’t work, you can also talk to a counselor.

There’s nothing wrong with you just because you speak with a professional about this. If you really want to know how to be emotionally available and have a healthy coping mechanism, talking to a counselor is a very responsible and mature thing to do. [Read: Relationship counseling – 10 signs you need it to save your love]

15. Change your mindset

You might’ve heard this already, but we’ll say it again. Your mindset is so powerful that it can control everything, including handling relationships and dealing with emotions. So if you have a negative mindset, then you’ll naturally be distant and unavailable.

If you want to let down your walls and learn to open up to others, you need to change your mindset. Stop thinking that everyone is out to hurt you because that isn’t true. Your present does not equate to your past, ever. [Read: How to think positive and reprogram your mind to stay positive]

16. Discuss your fears with your partner

To stop your tendency of being distant, you need to be reassured that your fears won’t happen. So you need to have the courage to tell your partner your fears and talk about this with them. Also, if something triggers your emotional distance, tell them about it and maybe, they can also do something to avoid that trigger.

For instance, if you’re only distant in intense arguments like yelling, your partner could be aware of this and avoid resorting to that altogether. [Read: Fear of intimacy – The hardships of being afraid of love]

17. Set boundaries

Boundaries will always be important in relationships, especially if you want to learn how to be emotionally available. They help keep the respect in the relationship.

For example, if you tend to become distant when you become too giving because you fear they’re taking you for granted, then set boundaries. It doesn’t mean you love them less, but you’re just respecting yourself enough.

[Read: How to set personal boundaries & guide other people to respect it]

So, how to be emotionally available?

You can practice opening up to others by taking this slowly instead of rushing things. Remember that letting go of your walls will be a tricky thing, especially if it’s your coping mechanism when hurt.

Focus on your goal, which is learning to be emotionally available, and you’ll get there eventually.

Learning how to be emotionally available won’t happen overnight. But eventually, you’ll get better when you practice expressing your emotions and facing your fear of vulnerability.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...