Emotionally unavailable men can leave their partners with a nagging feeling of insecurity, doubt, and fear. These men can’t develop and maintain emotional bonds. A guarded heart prevents them from having healthy relationships.
When a man is emotionally unavailable, he’ll seem uninvested in the relationship. He might be into it at first, but eventually, the connection stops deepening, and they seem to distance themselves. These men will be close-minded regarded deeper topics in a romance, preferring to keep things surface-level.
An emotionally unavailable man might want to spend time with you, and their feelings can be intense. However, their unavailability makes them guarded and prevents them from moving past casual dating. If you suspect a man in your life is emotionally unavailable, recognizing the signs can help you figure it out.
NOTE: We recognize that women, too, can display behaviors that reveal closed hearts. We discuss females in a companion article.
Emotionally Unavailable Men Do These Ten Things
If you think your partner (or yourself) might be emotionally unavailable, you can look for the following signs:
1 – Emotionally Unavailable Men Avoid Defining the Relationship
Emotionally unavailable men will treat you like you’re his partner but be reluctant to define it. He might take you on dates, spend the night with you, and meet your family but still not call you his significant other. It shows he fears commitment and doesn’t want to define his romance even if he has deep feelings.
These men will be okay with casual dating, but when you try to take the next step, they shield themselves by walking away. They might say they aren’t looking for anything serious, and you may be unable to change their minds.
2 – Men With Guarded Hearts Seem to Live in a Fantasy World
Someone experiencing emotional unavailability often has big plans he doesn’t work toward. He’ll have dreams and spend time basking in the ideas but doesn’t do anything to make them possible.
On the other hand, a man with a healthy mindset sets his goals but stays aware of his reality. It helps him take small steps that’ll help him grow.
3 – The Emotional Rollercoaster Never Stops
Being on an emotional rollercoaster with your partner will make you happy one minute and confused the next. Things might go well, and without warning, emotionally unavailable men distance themself for a while. Another example is pouring his feelings out one day but saying he needs a break from the relationship the next.
It’s exhausting because you never know what to expect, and it almost makes you afraid to be happy about the good times. His guarded heart does this to distance himself from vulnerability because he fears being open with others.
4 – Emotionally Unavailable Men Don’t Like Making or Keeping Plans
Commitments are scary for emotionally unavailable men. Even committing to plans can be stressful, and they’ll often try to get out of it.
They’ll tell you they want to do something and promise to get back to you about when, but then you don’t hear from them. Or, when the time comes, they’ll have an excuse for not fulfilling plans.
If they show up for your plans, they might be late to keep their distance between you. They care more about doing what they feel like and aren’t always willing to change their routine for you.
5 – Men With Guarded Hearts Lack Responsibility and Blames Others
Emotionally unavailable men often don’t feel bad for mistakes they’ve made or for hurting others. They might hurt many people and still behave like they didn’t do anything wrong.
It could occur because they lack empathy and don’t realize how they make people feel. Or, it could happen because they don’t want to or don’t feel the need to apologize for what they did.
These men act like nothing is their fault and constantly blame other people. They think highly of themselves and think they’re perfect, and blaming others makes them feel powerful and in control. It also allows them to justify their actions.
6 – Men With Guarded Hearts Cannot Fully Develop Relationships
Early in the relationship, it’ll seem like things develop, and both partners share vulnerabilities. However, the progress quickly slows once emotionally unavailable men realize it’s happening.
You might notice that you don’t experience warm, happy feelings when you think about or spend time with your partner. There will be good feelings, but they won’t include a deepening relationship that sparks joy.
Emotionally unavailable men often tell you they feel the same way when you pour your heart out. They’ll vocalize your emotions rather than coming up with anything of their own to contribute. It prevents a developing relationship because it prevents being open and honest about your feelings.
Healthy relations develop with time, regularly becoming more fulfilling. The initial infatuation will ease, leaving you with a partner who understands you and wants to connect as much as possible. You’ll experience conflict, but you can move past disagreements when you have a positive bond.
7 – You Feel Insecure and Uncomfortable Sharing Emotions with Them
You might feel insecure or misunderstood when you share feelings with an emotionally unavailable man. It’ll seem like they don’t value your emotions because they seem to dismiss them or take it the wrong way.
It shows that the man isn’t fully grasping what you’re sharing and doesn’t take the energy to understand. If you get upset about how he reacts to your emotions, he’ll explain that he’s trying and might say you’re too needy. You’ll feel insecure and like you’re asking for too much.
Sometimes they’ll even make you feel judged for your emotions. Being afraid to share their feelings can cause them to make it seem weird that you share yours. Their judgment is a warning sign that they’ll shut down emotionally anytime you try to open up with them.
He’ll keep things to himself, giving you vague answers that don’t offer insight into his life. When he’s emotionally unavailable, he’ll avoid discussing his feelings or thoughts on issues in his life.
You might notice that everything goes well when you’re having fun and things are playful. However, when emotions arise, or you discuss your feelings, your partner distances himself from you. They also might become defensive when you confront them about being disconnected.
8 – Unavailable Men Can Be Selfish
An emotionally unavailable man will be selfish and want to control everything about your romance. They’ll choose what you do, where you eat, what you watch, and every other aspect of your relationship.
If you make a suggestion, they might disregard it. They might seem irritated if you suggest something other than their plan and will rarely ask what you want to do. A different man would be receptive to your ideas and desires, but being emotionally unavailable can limit this ability.
You might also notice that they only want to spend time together on their terms. They may not invest time in the romance, only being present when it’s convenient for them. If this is the case, you’ll likely also notice that the man forgets essential things you’ve told him.
9 – They Have a Sketchy Relationship History
While you can’t judge someone based on their relationship history alone, it can give you insight into their emotional availability. People tend to unconsciously follow patterns, so you can learn how they engage, respond, listen, and love.
Emotionally unavailable men may have only experienced:
- casual flings or romances
- friends with benefits
- toxic relationships
- unfilling romances
You might also notice that they blame the other person for everything that went wrong in relationships. They won’t take accountability for anything, portraying themselves as victim in every situation.
Another sign that they’re not emotionally available is that they leave relationships when they get serious. Their guarded hearts indicate a fear of commitment and emotional intimacy, often resulting in the man disappearing without explanation.
10 – Men With Guarded Hearts Don’t Put in the Effort
If you feel like you do all the work in your relationship, it could indicate that a man isn’t emotionally available. He might not reply to a message or answer phone calls, going for long periods without contact. This kind of man likely also doesn’t make plans, waiting for you to suggest getting together.
They might suggest discussing essential topics in person, then avoid seeing you for a while. Then, they’ll do anything to avoid emotional discussions about your romance when you see them in person.
You might want to keep investing your energy, hoping that the man decides to embrace it and get closer to you. It can be draining and leave you feeling bad about yourself.
Can an Emotionally Unavailable Man Fall in Love?
Emotionally unavailable men can fall in love, although it might be more complicated than it is for others. Their unavailability often stems from fear, but finding someone who makes them feel safe can make a difference. He also must be willing to work on overcoming it, working on continual self-growth and development.
If you’re dating an emotionally unavailable man, you can try the following:
- discussing concerning behaviors that cause issues
- openly explain how his unavailability affects your relationship
- supporting them and their healing process
- encouraging them to talk with a therapist
Final Thoughts on Things Emotionally Unavailable Men Do
Being emotionally unavailable can make a man avoid deepening relationships. His guarded heart can also cause him to sabotage anything that seems to be going well. The behaviors can be frustrating and cause distress, but his guarded behavior won’t allow him to open up to you.
Understanding these behaviors can help you determine if it’s worth the wait. You might want to keep trying to get through or decide to walk away. Either way, it can help you determine what is right for you, allowing you to embrace meaning in your life.
An emotionally unavailable man can change and stop being close-minded regarding relationships. It’s up to you if you want to stick around and see if he’ll adapt. Do what makes you happy and helps you find fulfillment.