In doing research on relationships, both for my own insight and for professional reasons, I always come across the theme of someone being “emotionally unavailable.” What is a little disheartening is the fact that I completely identify with the theory of being unavailable emotionally, and it is never looked upon as a good thing. One thing I noticed, was that almost everything I read was from the outside looking in, and were mainly written by people that have been in love with someone who they considered “emotionally unavailable”. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t always work that way. Here is a view from the inside of what being emotionally unavailable is really like.
Buy an “Intelligence is sexy” t-shirt!
It’s NOT Emotional Ignorance
First off, emotional unavailability is not emotional ignorance. Let’s just get that idea right out of your head. If anything, being emotionally unavailable is more like a hypersensitivity. It comes from a strong grasp on emotions and their impacts on us, not a misunderstanding. For some people you can tell them, “Hey, that stove top is hot” and they will touch it every single time to test the theory. For me, I know the thing is hot, I have been burned once before, and I’m not taking the risk. Again, I am completely aware of all aspects of the scenario and I am making a conscious decision of how to act based on that knowledge.
The problem with emotional unavailability that no one talks about is the fact that most emotionally unavailable people actually want to be in a relationship. Yes, it is as confusing to us as it is to the people that get involved with us. It’s not that we want to be alone. It is that our warning bells and klaxons that go off in our heads when red flags pop up in our relationships are like an air raid siren when other people hear an alarm clock. It’s not that we don’t want the relationship, it is that we don’t want the effects of the breakup. Imagine having a puzzle that you can see a finished picture of but none of the pieces fit.
Read: Why emotionally intelligent people are hard to find but highly sought after.
That’s why our relationships follow a pretty distinct pattern. They start off fast, hot, and furious. Very intense, very quickly, before our brains have a chance to catch up to our hearts. It’s like one of those rocket sleds from the 1950’s, with our heart as the rocket and our brain playing the role of the brick wall at the end of the track. Our relationships don’t end gracefully, they explode. We pass around blame like a joint at Coachella and eventually settle back into our lonely existence with another scar to ruminate.
What To Do
So, what can you do if you consider yourself to be emotionally unavailable? Being honest about emotional unavailability doesn’t do anything to change it or prevent the impending disaster. Even when we are honest with ourselves. If you enter into a relationship with the notion of emotional unavailability it isn’t like you can suddenly just open a door that was locked before. That door exists in another house. So what you have to do is be responsible with the relationships you find yourself in. If you aren’t ready for an emotional connection with someone, don’t seek one. Patience is a huge factor for both parties involved.
Read: 5 More Subtle Signs that You’re Extremely Emotionally Intelligent
You have to understand and love yourself for who you are before you can expect anyone else to do the same. Just because you’ve had failed relationships in the past doesn’t mean that you can’t have successful ones in the future. That’s a fallacy that people develop that is self-fulfilling at best. You’re not some broken heart that can never be mended. You just need to quit flinging yourself at every available heart you come across, just to shatter against it. There is nothing wrong with keeping someone at arm’s length as long as you are willing to bend at the elbow at some point.
Try: How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?
And for the people that love someone that they consider to be emotionally available, I give you one piece of advice: don’t give up. Under that calloused heart is one that deserves a real chance. Anything worth having is worth waiting and working for. That being said, you have to be just as careful about attachment as the other person is going to be. A lot of time people try to trick themselves into thinking that they can deal with someone who is unavailable, and they aren’t. Unavailable today may be open and willing tomorrow.