This blog was written assuming that the emotionally unavailable mate is the man in the relationship, which is most often the case.
However, the woman may be the emotionally unavailable one.
If not all of this blog, most could apply if you are the man seeking help in your relationship with an emotionally unavailable woman.
In Part 1 of this blog about an emotionally unavailable man, we focused on such a partner’s signs and symptoms. If you haven’t read Part 1, go back and read it now to give you a perspective on the issue.
So, assuming that you love your mate and don’t want to leave him,
what do you do, or don’t do, if he is emotionally unavailable?
- Express what you need from him. It may be the case that he sees nothing wrong with your relationship as it is. He may be oblivious to your need for a more profound emotional connection and intimacy. Being emotionally available may be something that he has never seen or experienced. Until he is aware of your needs, he will most likely be content with the status quo. In loving and gentle ways, let him know what you need and how it would make you feel if he could do that.
- Do not try to change him or “fix” him. Trying to change or fix him will most likely backfire and cause him to stonewall you. By striving to heal him, you are sending the signal that there is something wrong with him. No one wants to feel defective or that they are not good enough for you or your relationship. Feeling like a failure with you could cause him to want to look elsewhere for someone who thinks he’s great and “gets him.”
- Love him the way that he is. It’s already been stated that you shouldn’t try to change him, so what can you do? Love him just as he is. Feeling loved and accepted will, in time, help him to feel safe enough to open up and explore feelings that are new to him. Nagging never works… not in the long run.
- Don’t compare him or your relationship with others. Comparison is a dangerous trap. You will tend to compare your relationship to those that you think are better than yours, never to those that you think are worse. And the truth is, you don’t know what other relationships are like when those couples go home and close the door. You certainly do not want to compare your mate with men in those relationships. It is unfair, and he will resent it. Comparing your relationship to others can leave you jealous, discouraged, and depressed. Just don’t do it!
- Give up the fairy tale! Your fantasy marriage may be working against your happiness and your satisfaction with the good things in your relationship. Every relationship has different dynamics because of who you are individually – your backgrounds, preferences, personalities, etc. He may be emotionally unavailable, and that’s his baggage. What’s yours? That leads us to the next point.
- Ask him to do marriage therapy with you. A skilled counselor or relationship coach can help you identify areas that you both need to work on. As you grow and face your issues together, you will build a relationship that is yours and something to take pride in. Of course, he may not want to do therapy, especially when you ask him to. That’s okay. Don’t try to coerce him to go or threaten him because he doesn’t want to go.
- He has to decide to become emotionally available. If he doesn’t want to evolve as a person and as your mate, don’t frustrate yourself and him by dwelling on the issue. In many cases, it is just a matter of timing. When he feels the need to be emotionally connected and available, that is the right time for him to seek the help he needs.
- Go to therapy by yourself. You can benefit from therapy even if he doesn’t want to go. Suppose you are in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable person. In that case, you have to ask yourself, “What attracted me to a person who is closed down emotionally?” You can grow as a person and, chances are, he will notice the difference in you. This difference may be just what opens him to the possibility of going to therapy with you. But even if he doesn’t ever go, you will benefit and be a more evolved and fulfilled person, better equipped to deal with life’s choices and challenges in a healthy way.
- Be patient and kind. It is not easy to be patient when your heart longs for that deep connection with the person you love. However, your patience may result in someday having the king of relationship that you desire. When you do not receive the emotional support you need from your mate, the natural tendency is to become sarcastic and take verbal jabs at him. Please don’t do it! Kindness will bring him closer, one step at a time. Practicing kindness will also prevent you from being bitter and angry.
- Be encouraging. Continue to share your heart with him and give him the opportunity to respond in kind. When he does, and it may just be a “baby step,” praise his effort.
- Build strong connections. Find safe people to connect with who can support you emotionally as well. Family and close friends can help give you the human connection and encouragement you need to hang in there and stay healthy.
- Build your faith. In your faith, you can find the love you need, the strength you need, and the patience you need to do all of the above. Through scripture reading, worship, and relationships with like-minded people, many of your needs will be met in healthy ways.
You may need to learn to live with your mate’s emotional distance if you love him and choose to stay with him. It won’t be easy, but it can be done. Others before you have done it, and many can attest to the effectiveness of this blog’s points. Only you can decide to stay in the relationship or leave it.
In just a very short four days, amazing things can happen!