Do you feel alone even when you are with your partner? Do you feel like you have never been able to develop an emotional closeness to your partner? Do you feel like you do the emotional heavy lifting in the relationship? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are most likely in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable partner. Emotional unavailability is characterized by inconsistent communication, avoiding deep conversations, not showing affection, and acting selfishly, among other things. Luckily, there are ways to slowly address the causes and manifestations of emotional unavailability… four, to be exact.
Recognizing the signs of emotional availability in your relationship is the first step to combat it. If you aren’t exactly sure whether you or your partner are emotionally unavailable, there are plenty of quizzes you can take online that can help you recognize whether this is holding back your relationship. Acknowledging is often the most difficult part of addressing problems related to emotional availability, but it’s necessary.
Prompting your partner to share their emotions with you, and listening to their answers will encourage them to be more vulnerable with you over time. Intimacy does not come naturally to everyone, so engaging with your partner in emotional ways and prompting them to articulate their feelings can help them open up.
Your partner might be fearful of sharing their complete self with you. This can be due to fear of rejection or ridicule. Other times they might be fearful of getting hurt in the relationship, and so they keep people at an arm’s distance. Understanding the cause of the emotional unavailability can help you navigate how to move forward in the relationship. Some causes of emotional unavailability can be addressed and overcome by talking things through.
If your partner is emotionally unavailable, it’s important that you own your emotions while they own theirs. It is not your job to fix their emotional unavailability, especially if it is rooted in trauma or deep-seated insecurity. You can of course encourage them to be more emotionally available with you, and you should continue to be emotionally available to them, but it is ultimately their responsibility to overcome their emotional unavailability.
If you are interested in introducing therapy into your relationship but are unwilling or unable to afford a therapist, then you and your partner should consider the Relish app. Doing the work to overcome emotional unavailability can be really difficult, but leaning on the trained relationship experts at Relish can make this process easier and more successful in the long run.