9 Signs Someone Is Emotionally Unavailable in Relationships

9 Signs Someone Is Emotionally Unavailable in Relationships 9 signs someone is emotionally unavailable in relationships
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Imagine you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a couple of years, and things are going quite well. You share similar values, enjoy each other’s company, and even have some common interests. But there’s something you just can’t put your finger on, something that doesn’t feel right about your relationship, a sense of shallowness.

Your partner may be avoiding emotional conversations, lacking affection, and might even make you feel guilty for expressing your feelings. They seem distant, yet they’re still dating you and there are not even cheating on you. If you’ve experienced this pattern, then chances are your partner is emotionally unavailable.

Building and maintaining any healthy, fulfilling relationship requires emotional availability and connection. However, in some cases, individuals may struggle to engage on an emotional level, leading to emotional unavailability.

What is Emotional Unavailability?

Emotional unavailability refers to the difficulty or unwillingness of a person to establish and maintain emotional intimacy in a relationship. It can manifest in various ways, creating barriers that prevent genuine emotional connection and hinder the growth and depth of the relationship. Understanding these signs is vital for both individuals involved, as it allows for open communication, setting boundaries, and ultimately deciding if the relationship can meet their emotional needs.

Emotional unavailability shows that someone is unable or unwilling to emotionally support their partner. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with them; it just implies that they are preoccupied with their own feelings or circumstances, leaving little emotional energy to focus on the emotional needs of the relationship.


In this article, we will explore the nine signs of emotional unavailability in relationships, shedding light on the behaviors and characteristics that may indicate emotional unavailability. By identifying these signs, you can gain insight into the dynamics of your relationship, fostering self-awareness and providing a foundation for addressing and potentially resolving the issues at hand.


1. Avoiding Intimacy

Emotionally unavailable partners often avoid intimacy, both physical and emotional. Physical touch, compliments, and sexual intimacy are all ways to connect on a deeper level, but an emotionally unavailable person tends to avoid them. They may also avoid sharing personal things or change the subject just to avoid deeper conversations. They may find it hard to express their emotions openly and honestly.

Emotionally unavailable people might struggle to talk about their feelings, avoid emotional conversations, or seem distant when discussing personal matters. They may downplay emotions or avoid delving too deep. You may realize that every time you get closer to them, they pull away, creating a barrier that prevents further emotional connection.

2. Defensiveness

An emotionally unavailable partner might become overly defensive when faced with emotional issues or problems in the relationship. This means that instead of listening and understanding, they react by becoming defensive or trying to protect themselves.

For example, if you try to discuss your feelings or something that is bothering you, they might respond by becoming defensive, blaming others, or avoiding taking responsibility. This can make open and honest communication difficult and hinder the growth of emotional closeness in the relationship.

3. Inconsistency

An emotionally unavailable partner may exhibit inconsistent behavior, which means that they can sometimes be attentive and involved, but at other times, they may seem distant and unresponsive.

For instance, they might engage in deep conversations and display affectionate gestures during certain moments, but then suddenly become emotionally distant without providing clear explanations or reasons. This inconsistency in their actions and emotional presence can create confusion and uncertainty in the relationship.


4. Fear of Commitment

Emotionally unavailable partners often have a fear of committing to a long-term relationship. Imagine you’ve been dating someone for a while, and things seem to be going well. However, whenever the topic of your future together comes up, your partner becomes evasive or changes the subject. They never initiate discussions about long-term plans or make commitments for the future. It feels like they are avoiding any conversation that involves commitment or building a future together.

This behavior is a sign of emotional unavailability, as they are hesitant to open up, be vulnerable, or establish a deep emotional connection that extends beyond the present moment. Their fear of committing to a long-term relationship prevents them from actively engaging in discussions or planning a future together.

5. Prioritizing Independence

Emotionally unavailable partners often prioritize their independence and self-sufficiency over the relationship or emotional connection with their partner. They may value their personal goals and interests more, leading them to neglect their partner’s emotional needs.

For instance, when they encounter a challenging situation, they might choose to deal with it privately without sharing their emotions or seeking comfort from their partner. They may avoid relying on others for support and view emotional dependence as a weakness.

6. Dismissing Your Feelings

An emotionally unavailable partner might dismiss or disregard your feelings. This means they may not take your emotions seriously or show little empathy or understanding towards them. For example, if you express your concerns or share something important to you, they might downplay it, ignore it, or act as if it doesn’t matter. This dismissive behavior can leave you feeling invalidated and unheard in the relationship.

7. You Do All Relationship Work

When you’re in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable partner, you end up doing most of the work to keep the relationship going. They are not fully present in the relationship because they are entangled in their own deep emotional issues. You might start perceiving the relationship as a burden.

For example, you might be the one initiating conversations and making plans for spending time together. Your partner may not exert the same effort or show the same level of interest, leaving you to shoulder the majority of the responsibility for maintaining the relationship.

8. They Tend to Seek Perfection from Their Partners

Emotionally unavailable partners tend to seek perfection in their partners. This means they have very high expectations and may be overly critical or demanding. They believe that their partner should meet certain standards or ideals, and if their partner falls short, they may withdraw emotionally or become distant.

Instead of accepting their partner as they are, they focus on flaws or imperfections, which can hinder the growth of the relationship. They may even search for flaws or something they perceive as ‘wrong’ with you to create emotional distance.

9. They’re Literally Unavailable

When someone is emotionally unavailable, it can be difficult to connect with them, even through text. They create both physical and emotional distance. If the person you’re dating expects you to adjust your schedule for them without being willing to do the same for you, it’s likely a sign that they are emotionally unavailable. They may claim to be too busy and unwilling to make time for you. They may also be absent during challenging moments, not being there for you when you need support.


Understanding the signs of emotional unavailability in a partner is essential for maintaining our emotional well-being and making informed choices about our relationships. When someone is emotionally unavailable, it can lead to frustration, insecurity, and a lack of intimacy in the relationship. By recognizing these signs, we can better navigate our own emotions and decide whether the relationship is healthy and fulfilling for us.

If you find yourself in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable partner, it’s important to communicate your needs and boundaries. However, it’s also crucial to assess whether the relationship has the potential to meet your emotional requirements. Remember that emotional availability and reciprocity are key ingredients for building a strong, fulfilling connection.

Ultimately, prioritizing your emotional well-being is essential. If you consistently encounter emotional unavailability in your relationships, it might be helpful to seek professional help to explore the root cause of your emotional unavailability.

By cultivating self-awareness and setting healthy expectations, you can create space for a relationship that allows for emotional depth, vulnerability, and mutual growth. Remember, you deserve a relationship that honors and nurtures your emotional needs.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these subconscious patterns for good (in less than 2 months) using Mind Shifting, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts, experiences and research😊.


1. https://www.berkeleywellbeing.com/emotional-unavailability.html

2. https://www.today.com/life/relationships/emotionally-unavailable-rcna77591

3. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/emotionally-unavailable-what-it-means-and-15-signs-to-look-for

4. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/relationships/a29575105/emotionally-unavailable/

5. https://psychcentral.com/lib/signs-of-emotional-unavailability

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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