If a man displays these 9 behaviors, he lacks emotional availability

by Tina Fey | May 13, 2024, 9:40 pm

Ever found yourself drawn to a guy, only to be left scratching your head, trying to decipher his actions?

Chances are, you’ve encountered a man who lacks emotional availability.

Their behavior might seem baffling, even frustrating, but the reality is these men have a particular mode of expressing – or more aptly, not expressing – their emotions.

Let’s examine these 9 behaviors that may indicate a man’s emotional unavailability. These may seem perplexing to some but are common indicators for those familiar with the signs.

1) Avoids deep conversations

How many times have you noticed that some guys seem to steer the conversation towards lighter, surface-level topics?

It’s as if they have an internal radar detecting any deep or emotional topics, quickly diverting the discussion back to the latest sports game or a new Netflix series.

Sounds familiar?

Well, this behavior isn’t accidental — it’s a clear sign that the man is avoiding emotional intimacy.

Now, don’t get me wrong, not every conversation needs to be a heart-to-heart.

But if you notice that deeper topics are consistently sidestepped, it may indicate emotional unavailability.

This is the guy who can talk for hours about his favorite basketball team but clams up the minute you ask how he’s feeling or what he’s thinking about the future.

While this is just one example, one thing is for sure:

Avoiding meaningful conversations could be more than just a communication preference — it’s often a defense mechanism to keep people at arm’s length.

This way, they don’t have to open up, get vulnerable, or risk getting hurt.

Still, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re insensitive or uncaring.

Maybe they just find it hard to express their emotions or open up about personal matters.

2) Rarely shares personal information

I once dated a guy who was a master at keeping things light and fun.

He’d always have a joke ready, a story to tell, or an interesting fact to share.

But you know what happened when it came to sharing personal information about his past or his feelings?

He’d become evasive.

Looking back, it’s clear to me now that his reluctance to share personal details was the behavior of someone emotionally unavailable.

The truth is that emotionally unavailable men often guard their personal information closely.

They might seem outgoing and sociable, but when it comes to revealing intimate details about themselves or their past, they draw a line.

That having in mind if you’re left feeling like you’re always learning about the man in your life but never really know him, remember it’s not just you.

He’s likely just not emotionally available and finds it difficult to share personal aspects of his life, just like that guy I once dated.

3) Dismisses your feelings

Want to know what’s a key sign of emotional unavailability?

It’s the dismissal or invalidation of your feelings.

Here’s why:

An emotionally unavailable man might brush off your concerns or emotions as overreactions, or they might simply change the subject when you express your feelings.

In either case, chances are that this behavior will leave you feeling unheard and undervalued.

But guess what?

Your feelings are valid. And it’s important to have them acknowledged in a relationship.

Here’s the deal:

In a healthy relationship, both parties should feel safe to express their emotions and should be received with empathy and understanding.

However, when a man is emotionally unavailable, your expressions of sadness, anger, or even joy might be met with apathy or cynicism.

It’s a tactic designed to keep you at a distance, ensuring that he doesn’t have to delve into the emotional depths with you. 

4) Has a history of short-term relationships

Did you know that a person’s relationship history can serve as a significant indicator of their emotional availability?

It’s true.

If a man has a long history of short-term relationships, that’s not just a coincidence — it’s often a red flag for emotional unavailability.

The thing is that these individuals tend to jump from one relationship to another because they find it difficult to connect on a deeper level.

Once the initial phase of infatuation wears off and emotional investment becomes a necessity, they might become distant or decide to exit the relationship altogether.

Okay, I’m not denying that everyone can have a short-term relationship for various reasons,

But trust me, a consistent pattern should not be ignored.

It’s not just about them not finding the “right” person — it’s often about them avoiding emotional depth and commitment.

This pattern can provide you with invaluable insight into what you can expect from a relationship with them.

5) Struggles to express love and affection

Perhaps not surprisingly, struggling to express love and affection is another red flag you shouldn’t ignore.

For instance, let’s say he does all the right things—plans dates, remembers your favorite ice cream, even meets your friends and family—but he stumbles when it’s time to share what he feels about you.

It’s like pulling teeth to get him to open up emotionally.

And you know what?

This inability isn’t just limited to the words “I love you”. It extends to daily affectionate gestures and meaningful conversations about what you both mean to each other.

Interestingly, psychologists note that people who are emotionally unavailable may have a fear of vulnerability.

This fear can manifest itself in a reluctance to express love or affection.

This is not just an inconvenience — it’s a significant obstacle to forming a deeply emotional bond.

Your relationship shouldn’t just exist on the surface. It needs depth to grow and flourish.

And if he’s avoiding this emotional depth, it’s a sign that he’s not fully available to you.

6) Often seems detached or distant

Let me ask you a question to reflect on:

Is he often lost in his own world, seeming detached or distant when you’re together?

This could manifest in various ways:

  • Barely making eye contact during conversations
  • Frequently checking his phone while you’re talking
  • Showing a general lack of enthusiasm or interest in your day

In either case, when someone frequently seems detached or distant, it often indicates emotional unavailability.

It’s like there’s a wall between you and him, a barrier that prevents a deeper emotional connection.

You might find that you’re doing all the emotional labor in the relationship, while he just coasts along on the surface.

Emotional presence is key in any successful relationship, and if he’s consistently distant, that’s a glaring sign that he’s not emotionally available to you.

7) Avoids commitment

I remember dating someone who seemed perfect on paper. We had chemistry, shared interests, and got along really well.

But when it came to discussing where the relationship was headed, he’d become evasive.

“Let’s see where this goes,” he’d say, avoiding any real commitment.

At first, I thought he was just being cautious, taking his time to decide.

But as the weeks turned into months, it became clear: he was avoiding commitment.

His actions spoke louder than his words. He never planned anything more than a week in advance, and serious topics like moving in together or future goals were conveniently dodged.

I realized he was emotionally unavailable, and no matter how much I tried to bring him closer, he had built a fortress around himself that was hard to penetrate.

The reason I’ve just shared this story with you is that emotional unavailability can be subtle, deceptive even.

It can manifest in ways that make you question your own feelings and judgment.

But the truth is, emotional unavailability is not your fault, nor is it something you can fix for someone else.

It’s a limitation that the other person has to recognize and work on.

8) Fluctuating interest levels

Imagine this:

One week he’s all over you, texting constantly, and making plans. It feels like things are finally falling into place.

Fast forward to the next week, and it’s radio silence.

You find yourself constantly checking your phone, waiting for any sign of engagement from his end.

Well, guess what?

This fluctuating level of interest is not only confusing but also a red flag for emotional unavailability.

One moment, you’re the center of their world, the next — you’re sidelined.

These inconsistent behaviors can make you second-guess yourself and create a sense of instability in your relationship.

It’s like riding an emotional roller coaster, and let me tell you, it’s exhausting.

So, what’s the takeaway here?

Fluctuating interest levels can signify a lack of emotional depth and a reluctance to truly connect.

It’s more than just being “hot and cold” — it’s a signal that he’s not willing or able to invest emotionally in the relationship.

9) Puts up walls

Let’s finish with the final sign — putting up walls as a defense mechanism

It’s as straightforward as that.

When a man is emotionally unavailable, he will guard himself in a way that prevents any real emotional connection.

You try to get closer, and he just builds higher walls.

How can this manifest?

As evasive answers, changing subjects, or even sarcasm to deflect from anything deeply emotional.

Regardless of your case, chances are that these walls serve as a fortress, protecting him from vulnerability but also isolating him—and you—from a meaningful relationship.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, emotional availability is not just a nice-to-have in a relationship; it’s a must.

These 9 signs are red flags warning you that emotional intimacy may be a struggle with this person.

They’re indicators of how this person will handle emotional connection, which is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship. My advice?

  • Listen to your gut
  • Pay attention to how you feel around this person
  • Consider what you really want and deserve in a relationship

Don’t settle for emotional unavailability and think it’ll get better with time. It often doesn’t, unless the person is willing to recognize it and work on it.

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