We’ve all felt it before.
The pain that comes from having lost a loved one, having just broken free from a tumultuous relationship or just watched another relationship dissipate. We’ve all felt what it feels like when our hearts hit the floor and we’ve all wondered to ourselves would we ever be strong enough to recover from this one. Some of us have sworn, “Never again will I allow myself to be this open” or ‘”Never again will I let them see the real me.”
So we shut down. We close our hearts and silently retreat. We learn that in order to survive we must protect and that protection comes with a hefty price as it closes us off from the very people we love. We become emotionally unavailable. Stunted. Never fully seen.
We decide that if being fully seen causes us pain then we must do the opposite, only show parts of ourselves that we feel cannot be judged (you know those, wholesome, easy parts that don’t appear to have any problems).
Dipping our toes in the water is safe but jumping in the deep end is terrifying. So we wade in the shallow end and watch from the background as the others swim happily along. Deep down in the back of our minds we know that diving right in is the best option but our fears take over and we freeze. So we choose fear over love and acceptance and forever remain wading in the shallow end.
I imagine you’ve had personal experience with this before or know someone else who has. You may have even dated or married a man who was emotionally unavailable. You may have even been the one protecting.
You may still be.
The emotionally unavailable believe that they are masters of hiding themselves from the world but the truth is we can spot them out in any crowd. They are the people running away from conversations, never returning phone calls, constantly disappearing, never committing, refusing to voice their own opinion or finding happiness through the life of someone else. They are not interested in exchanging at a deeper level. To them the superficial life is best life and the only life to live.
However, they are only hiding from themselves. But don’t tell them that. They’ll never believe you and there’s no reason to let them know that we’re onto them.
The best way to go about having a relationship with a person who is emotionally unavailable is to remove expectations of who you think they should be. What you think they should be doing and how you think they should feel.
Better yet, this is probably the best way to have relationships with everyone including you.
I know. I know. You want them to be your lover. Or your best friend. Or even more your partner in life. But I have news for you. You can never make someone else be what they don’t want to be. And even if you can hog-tie this person into being whom you want them to be I promise you it will never last a lifetime. At some point they will retreat and they will hate you for trying to make them something they are not.
So let them be. Resist the temptation to change them and walk away.
If you cant live with the emotionally unavailable as they are, without expectation or judgment then give them their much-needed space. This space will provide an entryway for growth and a safe place to heal.
With space and time we can heal our wounds. An emotionally unavailable person can become available again but they must have the desire to change within.
But in the end you can still receive love. When you learn to accept what you cannot change and walk away from what is closed off, you open the door for new relationships and opportunities. So stay open, as you never know what may come your way.
Sending love your way on your journey,