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Am I Emotionally Unavailable? 17 Signs You Are & How to Fix It ASAP

Are you having trouble with your relationships? If the answer is yes, it could be time to ask yourself, am I emotionally unavailable?

am I emotionally unavailable

Am I emotionally unavailable? It isn’t something most people realize about themselves on their own. People who are emotionally unavailable often think others are too available or have excuses for why they aren’t getting close to people.

Could this be you? Figuring out if you’re emotionally unavailable can be difficult and admitting it to yourself can be even harder. Once you find out if you are emotionally unavailable, you don’t want to stay that way so there is a lot of work to do to become more open. 

But first, what does being emotionally unavailable really mean?

[Read: How to be vulnerable in a relationship and feel closer instantly]

What does it mean to be emotionally unavailable?

Being emotionally unavailable means you don’t like discussing your feelings or others’ feelings. You may come off as mysterious when in fact you’re being evasive. Emotional unavailability can be linked to a fear of intimacy. That fear can come from various places like past relationships, childhood, and more. 

Answering am I being emotionally unavailable honestly, well, it may hinder more than your romantic relationships. You may also struggle with friendships and even teamwork on the job. Not only do those who are emotionally unavailable struggle to open up to others but also find it uncomfortable when others open up to them. 

This describes someone who struggles with personal relationships. They avoid difficult or deep conversations that are required in relationships. This unavailability can be long-term due to something like a past trauma or mental illness, or it could be temporary due to a recent breakup, stress, or something else in passing. 

[Read: These questions will bring you to self-discovery]

Those who are emotionally unavailable also tend to think others open up too much or too soon. They may label people as needy or desperate for craving a personal connection when in fact they are holding back their need for that connection.

Think about emotional availability as any other sort of availability. If you’re available to make plans you have free time to do so. Emotionally, you can connect with others if you have the space and ability to do so. But just like being busy, other parts of your life fill that space leaving it blocked for others to fit in. 

[Read: What does it mean to be vulnerable? How you can learn to open up more]

Am I emotionally unavailable?

Because you came looking for this article and made it this far, I presume you’re thinking you’re probably answering in the affirmative to, am I emotionally unavailable? And hopefully, that means you want to do something about it. 

To be sure you are emotionally unavailable, let’s take a look at some of the prime examples. If you notice yourself falling into these patterns regularly, you may be emotionally unavailable. But, the good news is it can be dealt with. 

1. You like the chase

If you like the part of dating where you’re unsure if someone likes you but run as soon as they admit they do, you are likely emotionally unavailable. You like the excitement that comes with not knowing and not being sure, but it becomes boring or too much once feelings are verbalized. [Read: Playing games in a relationship: When it’s okay and when it harms you]

2. You avoid compromise

Someone who is emotionally unavailable will not do things that are inconvenient for them. You won’t go out of your way to make plans. You’ll want to meet near your house or at a time that works for you. You won’t change plans to fit someone else’s needs. This could be for a date or even a night out with friends or family. 

3. You always hit a roadblock

You never seem to get past a certain point in dating. Something always stops you from going deeper. You never get past a month or a few dates because that’s when most people start to open up. 

4. You always find a flaw

Being emotionally available is a defense mechanism in many ways, and one way to prevent yourself from getting too close to someone is to push them away, even when there is no actual reason. If you find yourself being overly critical or picky when it comes to dating, you are forcing an imperfection to end things. You try to make an excuse for why things won’t work.

5. You struggle with patience

If you lose your temper with waiters or service workers, it is another sign that you won’t change your schedule to fit someone else’s needs. Having an issue with patience shows an unwillingness to bend for others or work with them. [Read: Why am I so unhappy? How these 8 changes will change you for good]

6. You hide your past

Being unwilling to discuss your past relationships or childhood could be a sign of emotional unavailability. Not wanting to open up about things you’ve endured shows you’re not being vulnerable and not wanting to be close with someone. 

7. You avoid conversations about the future

Not only will you avoid talking about the past, but you also don’t like to plan for the future with others. You don’t want to rely on someone or have someone rely on you. Am I emotionally unavailable? Well, the idea of commitment even a few weeks into the future gives you anxiety so discussing it makes you uncomfortable. 

8. You feel like others are needy

Claiming that someone you’re dating or even a friend is needy for reaching out or asking for your help shows that you struggle with true bonding. Being friends or dating comes with a closeness you’re not used to, so when someone wants that with you, you consider it too much. [Read: The rules to being a good partner in a relationship]

9. You keep your options open

You are always waiting for something better. Even if you’re seeing someone you like and can’t find a flaw, you always have other options. You don’t want to settle or be pinned down. [Read: How to recognize an emotionally distant partner and help them work around it]

10. You avoid milestones

Even if you’ve been seeing someone for a while, you’ll avoid meeting their friends or parents. You won’t go to work events with them or invite them to meet anyone in your life. You won’t go away for vacations together or even want to leave them in your house when you run out for coffee. 

11. You break your promises

This can be anything from breaking plans or standing someone up or something more serious. But you don’t want anyone expecting anything from you so when you do agree to something, you make sure you break that promise so they don’t rely on you. 

12. You snap with anger

You get unreasonably mad for small things. Maybe your schedule didn’t go as planned, or someone is trying to talk to you about something important. If you snap when something breaks from your routine, it can make you highly uncomfortable to the point of anger. [Read: 12 clear signs you’re the selfish one in your relationship]

13. You struggle to communicate

This is a major sign that you’re emotionally unavailable. Not only will you struggle to communicate big things, but you’ll not even want to talk about anything serious. You’ll struggle to deal with someone’s criticism. You won’t share your feelings about the person you’re dating or what you want from them.
Instead of telling someone that you aren’t looking for anything serious, you will avoid the subject altogether.

14. You’re hot and cold

Am I emotionally unavailable? Even if you’re showing all these signs of being emotionally unavailable you are still human and crave a level of connection. This can show itself through being hot and cold. You could spend two days straight with someone and really enjoy their company. But to cancel that out, you won’t talk to them for a week afterwards. 

When you do get close with someone, you switch it off quickly and intensely. [Read: Do you use people? 16 signs a user just can’t hide]

15. You’re likely to ghost

You have no issue with ghosting someone when things become too intense. In order to avoid talking about your feelings or sharing intimacy, you will ghost someone you feel you’ve gotten too close to. You won’t work through conflicts, flaws, or even offer someone closure because it keeps a safe distance between you and something deeper.

16. You don’t like labels

You never refer to someone as girlfriend or boyfriend. You avoid calling anything a relationship. Even if you spend a lot of time with someone and have that closeness, you will avoid labeling that so you can protect yourself from expectations. Refusing to call a relationship a relationship shows you want the benefits without any of the communication. [Read: What does it mean to be vulnerable? The little ways you can open up to people and show your true side]

17. You’re afraid of being hurt

Most emotional unavailability is about a fear of being hurt, but this is something you feel deep down. On the surface, you may claim you want to be independent, or don’t want to worry about someone else, but really deep down you think you’re unworthy or incapable of love. [Read: Afraid of catching feelings? How to face your fears and overcome them]

How to stop being emotionally unavailable

Before I advise you any further, it is important to know that being emotionally unavailable doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means you have some personal growth to endure before you can make a meaningful connection. These patterns of behavior will keep reoccurring if you don’t acknowledge them and take accountability for your actions. Learning how to grow and do better is part of life. Each experience you’ve had teaches you how things went wrong and why. 

[Read: 15 signs you’re emotionally detached and don’t really care about anyone]

Also realizing what your emotional unavailability is doing to others can help you correct your behavior. Acknowledging that your behavior has hurt others, and could have potentially made them emotionally unavailable, can help you to process why you’ve been fighting deeper connections. 

With this, I always recommend counseling or therapy to work through deep-seated issues like emotional unavailability. Recognizing this behavior is only the first step to reconciling your relationships with others and yourself.

[Read: How to be emotionally available so you can actually find love

So, what do you think when you ask yourself this question now, am I emotionally unavailable? If yes, are you ready to improve your life? Use these tips to help you open up to those around you and change your life for the better once and for all.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...