Do you–or someone you know–seem to keep picking emotionally unavailable partners only to experience heartbreak?
In any relationship, it’s important to give what the other needs and receive what you need instead of being emotionally unavailable. All relationships, but especially romantic ones, are a two-way street. You need to be able to share everything with your partner without fear of being judged or dismissed. More importantly, you need to be able to express and talk about your emotions.
It’s essential to be able to share everything you feel, what makes you happy or mad, and what you need. But if your partner cannot talk about feelings and open up, your relationship won’t be a healthy one. People often fall for someone without a proper conversation about how the other sees feelings without considering whether they’d ever want to open up to you or listen to you opening up. This mostly happens because, realistically, not many people discuss boundaries and needs on the first date.
Somehow, people seem to think that everything else will fall into place if they feel attraction. But that’s not exactly the case. So why do people seem to fall in love with someone who can never offer them the level of intimacy they need? Why do we allow someone who is not ready to form a connection to break our hearts? If those questions are on your mind, here are three reasons why people keep picking emotionally unavailable partners.
The Differences Between Available and Emotionally Unavailable Partners
The first step in understanding emotional unavailability is to have a clear picture of what emotional availability is. This is mainly because not many people are genuinely emotionally available. So, you might not have an example from real life that you can use. The simplest definition of emotional availability is sharing a connection with another person.
An Emotionally Available Partner Does These Things in a Relationship
Or, more specifically, two people can create a healthy bond. An emotionally available person knows how to share their emotions productively and mindfully. They neither throw it in your face that they are mad. Nor do they shut down when something bothers them. They always talk to you intending to solve an issue. These people also understand and respect your boundaries, and they accept you as you are because they want to see you happy and give you all the space and time you need.
Additionally, they are consistent and reliable. If this partner promises to do something, that’s a guarantee that they’ll do it if nothing unexpected interferes. An emotionally available partner will say they’ll show up, and you can count on them. They make for great companions, and they can be your rock when everything else is crumbling. Part of the reason they act with so much compassion towards others is that they also practice self-compassion. They respect and know how to care for themselves, thus being better people for the ones around them.
An Emotionally Unavailable Partner Displays These Behaviors
In sharp contrast, emotionally unavailable people can’t seem to be able to form a genuine connection to save their life. They find it hard to express or handle emotions, so they don’t. If there’s an issue, they either pretend it never happened or blame it on someone else. They usually avoid topics that are even remotely related to feelings. You will probably never hear them engage in a philosophical discussion about what love is. And don’t get your hopes up about making them talk about past trauma. They’ll probably never open up to you about that.
And while you should never push people to talk about sensitive topics before they’re ready, this is different. It’s not a matter of readiness–or not. They don’t want to because they want to pretend it never happened. This issue stems from a lack of proper communication and will always lead to differences in a relationship.
If they never get over past issues or trauma, those problems will inevitably affect your relationship. Moreover, these people seem loud and standoffish. But perhaps that results from always needing to look tough and in control. Statistically, male gender-identifying people tend to display more characteristics of emotional unavailability. But that’s usually because society pushes them to be the tough ones. Usually, men learn that talking about their feelings, crying, or being vulnerable is a sign of weakness.
3 Reasons Why Someone Chooses Emotionally Unavailable Partners
Society seems to believe that no one but women should ever be emotional. So, it’s not a surprise that they never get the opportunity to learn to deal with their emotions appropriately. Still, it’s a misconception that only men can be emotionally unavailable. Everyone can display characteristics associated with emotional unavailability.
1. You Mirror the Relationships You Saw Growing Up
Love now is much different than a few decades ago. Society is making a lot of progress in accepting and celebrating love regardless of what societal norms impose. Young people especially have started to care less and less about how others view their passion. Instead, they focus on how they feel. But that wasn’t the case for our parents and grandparents. In the past, relationships followed strict guidelines, and everyone tried their hardest to maintain a particular image.
A few decades ago, relationships followed the heterosexual norms imposed chiefly by religion. A woman needed to take care of the kids in every family, and a man had to provide for the wife and kids. And that relationship dynamic is probably the one you saw growing up. Sharing your feelings and being truly happy was never a focal point. Parents were probably distant and cared more about how their relationship looked from the outside.
Many studies prove that people unconsciously try to find something similar to relationships they know when looking for a partner. You try to emulate the dynamic your parents or other people close to you had while growing up. If the models you had were distant and emotionally unavailable people, that’s the kind of person you will be attracted to.
2. You Might Be an Emotionally Unavailable Partner, Yourself!
We don’t like to think of ourselves as part of the problem. So, if we get hurt by emotionally unavailable people, we want to believe it’s their fault. Indeed, your partner should never mistreat you. But it should also raise concerns that you always attract emotionally unavailable people. This doesn’t mean that you can always avoid ending in bad relationships. You never truly know how a person is when you first start dating them. But, when you start noticing a pattern, you should consider doing some self-reflection.
Feelings are probably the last thing you want to discuss if you are emotionally unavailable. You probably don’t like being vulnerable or truly understand how to be empathetic. In that case, it’s only natural that you will feel attraction to someone who shares the same traits. It seems easier to be with someone who doesn’t try to push you out of your comfort zone by talking about emotions and boundaries. Being with someone who can’t fully commit and connect can also feel safer because you don’t have to either. Depending on what you want from a relationship, being with someone emotionally unavailable can be alright. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a toxic relationship. But it’s not a relationship that can have prospects, either.
3. You Feel Bored When in Healthy Relationships
Paradoxically, people don’t always want what’s best for them. This is especially true for younger people, who don’t even know what’s best for them in most cases. As you get older, you realize that safety and comfort are paramount. But when you’re younger, you want to feel excited. You live for the thrill, and you get bored quickly.
Being comfortable is the last thing on your mind when looking for a partner. You allow yourself to be driven by attraction and desire, and you want to have fun. When you find someone healthy, who always wants to solve things maturely, it can be off-putting. You want passion and excitement. You want to feel a spark.
Emotionally unavailable people can seem attractive because they fit the narrative that love is always a bumpy road. You have to fight and suffer for them, but that’s how passion is, right? Not quite, though it might seem like it. Contrary to popular belief, love shouldn’t be difficult. Of course, it can’t be perfect either. But you should always be able to communicate and solve problems maturely.
Though this might seem dull and forced, you realize it’s the best dynamic you could ask for as you grow up. If you are young, don’t let your desires get in the way of your happiness. Understand that a healthy relationship isn’t always filled with adrenaline and excitement. Don’t just run when you first encounter a slow, “boring” day with your partner. Those days are standard and more desirable than dealing with an emotionally unavailable partner.
Final Thoughts on Why Someone Keeps Picking Emotionally Unavailable Partners
In today’s dating scene, emotionally unavailable people are much more common than you think. That’s because we rely on technology often for our communication and how little we talk about emotions. Society has made some progress regarding healthy communication. We haven’t reached a world where everyone can process feelings healthily. Moreover, people are scared of vulnerability and commitment to someone else.
Being attracted to emotionally unavailable people is not uncommon at all. This can happen for many reasons. Most of the time, the relationships people saw while growing up were distant and emotionally unavailable. You will search for something similar if that’s all you know about relationships. Or, if you are also emotionally unavailable, it might seem like a no-brainer to date someone who’s the same.
That way, you won’t have to worry about being fully committed or having healthy emotional discussions. And surprisingly, you might be attracted by emotionally unavailable people simply because you are bored with healthy relationships. No matter the reason, you should keep one thing in mind. If you date someone emotionally unavailable, that relationship will not do you any good.