Hey there, this is Clay Andrews with modernlove.life.
We help you get the great loving relationship that you want without having to play mind games, without having to play hard to get, and without having to pretend to be someone or something that you are not because I believe that you deserve to be loved for who you are.
Today, we’re talking about signs of emotional unavailability.
If you want to learn how to really work on your own emotional unavailability because if you tend to be drawn towards emotionally unavailable people, you might have an issue with that yourself.
You might want to check out our free class called The Five Upgrades To Love Operating System.
Today, we’re talking about six signs of emotional unavailability.
1. Not a lot of time being single.
The first sign that somebody is emotionally unavailable is if they do not have a lot of time being single in their history.
They went from one relationship to the next relationship to the next relationship to the next relationship to the next relationship, and so on.
This lets you know that this is a person who does rebound relationships.
Rebound relationships are really a symptom of emotional unavailability.
When somebody doesn’t take time between their relationships and goes from one relationship to the next to the next to the next, that’s really a sign of that they are not going through the healing process.
They’re not actually taking the necessary steps to ‘step into’ emotional availability.
Emotional unavailability is a totally normal thing that happens after a breakup. If you start to turn it into a habitual pattern, it can cement itself in place as more of a long term emotional unavailability and that’s problematic.
So that’s the first sign of emotional unavailability.
2. Still hung up on their ex.
The second sign is that this person might still be hung up on their ex.
I don’t necessarily mean that they’re lovesick for their ex or anything like that.
Obviously, that is a sign of emotional unavailability.
It could be anything with their emotional energy is still entwined up in some sort of relationship with their ex.
Maybe they complain about their ex a lot.
Maybe they talk about how their ex was a jerk or how their ex never did this or that.
This shows you that a lot of their energy is still caught up in their ex even if they are talking about how awful their ex was.
Of course, if you’re going to date somebody who has had a previous relationship in one form or another, the topic of their ex will probably come up.
But there’s a very big difference between saying, “Yeah, my ex was like this,” versus , “Oh man, I hate my ex. My ex was always doing this. You’re so much better than my ex,” and all that.
Again, that’s the whole rebound relationship mentality.
3. A validation-seeking mindset.
The third sign of emotional unavailability is that somebody is in a validation-seeking mindset.
This can be really hard to pinpoint especially if you’re just getting to know somebody. But you have to look at somebody’s behaviors, their intentions behind doing things, and little things that people do to that let you know if they are validation-seeking.
When somebody is seeking validation or in the validation trap— when they’re seeking validation from someone else— they’re not able to be fully present with you emotionally because their mind is at least, partially, trying to seek validation by thinking,
“If I’m with an attractive woman like you, that makes me ‘The Man’,”
“If I’m with an attractive guy like you, that must mean my ex was wrong for breaking up with me.”
“If I can date someone like you, that means that my mom will finally get off my case about getting married and settling down.”
As long as somebody’s mind or energy is feeding into this validation-seeking behavior, they’re not going to be 100% present to be able to have a great relationship with you, which means they’re going to be a little bit emotionally unavailable.
That’s why validation-seeking is the third sign of emotional unavailability.
4. Hung up on ideals.
The fourth sign that someone is emotionally unavailable is that they are hung up on ideals.
This is kind of a weird little tangent but some of you may know that my wife and I spent a year living in Asia.
During that time, we kind of got sucked into this Korean TV show called My Love From The Star and it’s definitely a dramatic TV show.
I’m not going to spoil it for you but one of the characters named, Cheon Song-yi, had her life saved by a mysterious stranger when she was a teenager.
She has never been able to commit to a relationship, have a boyfriend or fall in love because she was waiting for this mysterious stranger to come back into our life so that she could love him and be in a relationship with him.
Obviously, this is an extreme example but this is what it’s like to be more invested in an ideal than you are in with people actually in front of you.
Another – maybe a more well-known example would be Mindy Kaling’s characters that she’s played on some TV shows like The Office or The Mindy Project.
Somebody who’s like really playing into that romantic comedy script of, “I’m going to like fall in love with this person in the big city and we’re going to get swept off our feet.”
If you’re attached to any kind of ideal— whether it’s being drawn to a certain type of person or whether it’s being in a certain type of relationship— that will make you at least a little bit emotionally unavailable because your energy is invested in trying to make things seem or look a certain way.
When you’re trying to make things seem or look a certain way while your energy is not, is it – it’s not in the present moment, it is not with the person that you are with and you’re just really comparing things and saying, OK, this isn’t like that. So I’m going to get rid of this or this isn’t like that. Therefore, I’m going to look for more signs that either it is or isn’t or something like that. And so this is definitely a sign of emotional unavailability.
5. Hot and cold behavior.
The fifth sign of emotional unavailability is hot and cold behavior.
Typically, this will express itself with things such as fast-forwarding, where when you first get together or when things are good, you tend to move very quickly through things that would organically (in a normal dynamic) take months or years.
This is where psychological displacement comes into play.
In a rebound relationship, maybe you’re in a relationship with your ex and then you break up and start dating someone else.
Then you start to escalate that relationship to the same level of commitment you had with your ex.
Whether that was living together, talking about marriage, doing other serious kinds of things, that is a form of fast-forwarding because you’re trying to create a new relationship such that it looks like or is similar to the previous relationship.
That’s the fast-forwarding aspect of the hot and cold, emotionally unavailable person.
Then there’s the cold side of it where you with the unavailable person will do a sharp pullback, a sharp pull-away.
This can take the form of ghosting, suddenly dropping off the face of the earth, suddenly having a million and one excuses, all sorts of things like that, basically just putting the foot on the brake to keep things from advancing forward in one form or another.
Often, emotionally unavailable people have this hot and cold, hot and cold, hot and cold kind of behavior that goes on and on.
The reason why is when they are hot, they are projecting their own ideals about what the ideal relationship or ideal partner is on you and so they’re moving fast towards that, right?
Once the situation starts to get real and they start to see that you’re an imperfect person and it’s an imperfect relationship like all people in all relationships are, that’s when they pull away because again they’re invested in the ideals of whatever their own personal psychology desires and all that stuff looks like.
6. Flakiness and bread crumbs.
Oftentimes, because of the hot and cold behavior, emotionally unavailable people may sometimes be flaky. They may talk a good talk but then when it comes to following through on it, they may not actually do it.
They may disappoint you and it’s through this disappointment that they are able to most likely unconsciously, keep you strung along by offering small bread crumbs, you know.
Instead of actually committing to you, they might agree to go out on a date with you and not actually show up, right? And it’s through this process that you start to lower your standards because you’re just so disappointed by the flakiness of the past.
You’re self-critical and self-conscious like, “Oh, why, why did that happen? Is it something I did or something like that?”
As this happens, your standards start to lower and so they can kind of string you along with very small amounts of things, basically, bread crumbs, right?
When what you actually want is a committed relationship. But it’s like, “Oh yeah, well, you know we can spend the weekend together,” or “We can – or “I’ll text you back. I will actually text you back” or something like that, right?
I believe that for most emotionally unavailable people, this is going on unconsciously.
I do not believe that they are intentionally doing this to you except for the most malicious and evil of them out there. I think most emotionally unavailable people are unconsciously doing this to you.
So those are my six signs of emotional unavailability.
I wish I had a seventh one that kind of rolls off the tongue a little bit better.
If you have a seventh sign of emotional unavailability, please leave in the comments down below so we can round out the list.
If you’re struggling to get someone’s attention, find out how to get closer to them with our quiz here.