All right friends, it’s time for a little introspection. How emotionally connected do you feel to your partner? Are they emotionally unavailable a lot lately? One of the most important bonds you have in a relationship is your emotional connection with your partner.
Hurt, Alone, Scared: Is Your Partner Emotionally Unavailable?
When you have a disconnect in this area, it can leave you both feeling hurt, lonely, and insecure in the relationship. These feelings compiled can even lead to panic, worry, and doubt about where the other person stands.
Being emotionally unavailable can have a very negative impact on the security of your partnership.
Time is Money (or Relationships)
Whether it’s a chronic emotional absence or something that’s come up recently, it should be addressed urgently.
Emotional stability within a relationship requires input from you both consistently. When one partner isn’t putting in their share, you can quickly find an imbalance that throws everything out of order.
The one who is more reluctant with their feelings can unknowingly be placing a burden on their partner; This is because the more emotionally healthy partner tends to take on more work than they should in the feelings department.
If you’re feeling a disconnect lately, could it be due to your partner being impassive? Let’s take a look at the signs showing that your partner is emotionally unavailable.
6 Signs Your Partner is Emotionally Unavailable
1. Lack of Future Planning
One of the best parts of being in a long-term, committed relationship is planning for your future together.
But what about when your partner shows little to no interest in discussing the future?
Relationship Tip: If you’ve been together for a while, but there’s a lack of intent with setting goals, it can indicate an emotional disconnect.
2. Shutting Down
Conflict in a relationship is normal, healthy even.
The important thing is maintaining the ability to communicate even when you do not see eye to eye.
When you and your partner disagree on something, do they shut down or shut you out?
Relationship Tip: Regular dismissal of your feelings during conflict points to some work that needs to be done.
3. No Availability
Does your partner call when they say they will? Are plans regularly falling through with your loved one?
Relationship Tip: If it doesn’t feel like time together is prioritized by your partner, it can mean they aren’t emotionally invested in you or the relationship.
4. Lack of Depth
Meaningful conversation and vulnerability are essential to a healthy relationship.
Relationship Tip: If you find it challenging to make it past one-word responses or progress in dialogue, your partner could be having detachment issues.
Being met with indifference or apathy when you’re trying to dig below the surface can be especially frustrating.
5. Your Partner is Inconsiderate
Do things often seem one-sided during interactions with your partner?
When your partner is emotionally unavailable, it can seem that everything revolves around them.
Relationship Tip: Make sure you get your own needs met during a phase where your partner seems to be emotionally unavailable. Having your own needs left in the dust while the focus is repeatedly placed on your partner can be draining.
6. You’re Working too Hard
How much effort are you putting into the relationship vs. your partner?
Relationship Tip: When your partner is emotionally available in the relationship, you are prioritized.
Alternately, if the amount of energy you put in always seems to exceed your partners, they may not be emotionally invested.
As mentioned earlier, there are different types of emotional unavailability. Your partner could be emotionally unavailable due to
- a temporary situation that caused your partner to reprioritize.
- Alternatively, it could be something more serious.
Either way, an emotional shutdown isn’t something to be ignored.
Consider the following before tackling the problem of having a partner who is emotionally unavailable:
- How long have you been feeling this emotional disconnect?
- Is this a new problem, or has it been an issue from the start?
Emotional unavailability from your partner could be temporary, resulting from work or other family problems.
- Is there anything that might have triggered an emotional shutdown on your partner’s end? Getting to the root of the problem instead of addressing the symptoms (being emotionally unavailable) is going to give you your best chance at permanent and healthy relationship resolution.
- How long are you willing to maintain a relationship that’s lacking in emotional depth? Emotional unavailability can make for a very one-sided partnership.
Having a conversation with your partner is an excellent place to start when you feel emotionally disconnected from them.
Lack of Emotional Depth
Often, your partner may not even realize the impact their lack of emotional depth is having on you and the relationship.
- Bringing up your feelings on their lack of emotions can help to place things in perspective and provide dialogue opportunities. Allowing your partner the chance to address the problem can make all the difference.
- If your partner is unwilling to change, it could be an indicator that they don’t wish to proceed with the relationship.
By allowing emotional unavailability to continue for too long, it encourages what can become a repeating pattern. Consider the following acronym when actively avoiding or trying to break the cycle:
- Accessibility – Is your partner open to discussing yours and their feelings? Is it an option for them to work on dissecting emotional barriers within the relationship?
- Responsiveness – Does your partner want to engage with compassion when you speak? Alternatively, do they immediately close off and attempt to back out of the conversation?
- Engagement – Is your loved one acting as a willing participant in the discussion? Are they emanating love and respect for you as their partner?
While there may be an emotional breakdown, good intentions can still be present with your partner.
Considering the questions above can give you some essential perspective on what your next steps should be.
Professional couples therapy is an invaluable tool to be used in reconnecting with your partner. Being emotionally unavailable could result from other deep-set issues that should be addressed in your relationship. There’s also a chance that past trauma and scars are causing your partner to shut down unwittingly. Speaking to an experienced therapist like myself can help guide you to the root cause and assist with tools for you both to move forward.
Dawn Wiggins, Ed.S., Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist