Dating and relationships are a minefield. They can be awkward and uneasy to navigate, full of pitfalls. We tend to exacerbate this when we are desperate and get involved with someone that is either mentally or emotionally unavailable. WE might as well just click the self-destruct button, because that is what we are doing.
We are oblivious to this self-sabotaging behavior that we fall into. This pattern we have created for ourselves. Understanding and altering this behavior is not easy but can be accomplished. Is it easy to spot someone or know if the person we are dating now, is emotionally unavailable? What about if I am? Do we really understand the depths of what it means to be emotionally unavailable?
What does “Emotionally Unavailable” mean?
When we acknowledge this or state that someone else is, we are stipulating that we or they, are closed off to emotional intimacy on any level. People that fit into this category often feel *”disconnected”* from their own emotions and do not know how to navigate or deal with other people’s emotions. We have to look at this as a self-value problem.
When we date or get involved with someone that is disconnected from their emotional self, we have to take a moment and step back and ask ourselves if this relationship is worth it. Then we have to make the call whether the relationship is going nowhere, what do we do next? When we look at dead-end relationships, they tend to be classified as those relationships that never progress to any stage, and often people that decide to stay in them are pursuing someone that is inaccessible on all levels. Your goals, values, desires, directions, needs, finances and more, do not match on any level.
We then are walking through a desert of pain, sorrow, bareness and hardship. Getting involved with someone or getting to the point of being in love with someone, does not mean we sacrifice everything for the other person. This is made worse when we grow up and lack healthy models of what relationships, compassion, empathy and kindness look like. Without those positive examples in our lives, we may be more inclined to dysfunctional relationships because of a distorted view of what love is or feel you do not deserve to be loved.
Understanding our past…
If we did not have those positive influences in our lives to demonstrate some of the hallmarks of healthy relationships, we may fall into these repetitive types of patterns.
- Those patterns of relationships start in our childhood. If they tended to be bad examples, those are the patterns we carry forward. We tend to date those that carry similar characteristics of our parents. Especially if your parents we never emotionally close with one another.
- The person raising was never there for you emotionally. As we grow up, we then lean towards dating that type of person, because it is what we know and understand.
- We, ourselves, are not emotionally ready. This is a hard truth, and something I discuss with clients. One we are not ready to accept or confront. WE may fall into these patterns because, we ourselves, are unavailable as well. We fear intimacy, closeness, commitment, or worse yet, to be loved. It is easier to be safe with someone we can keep at an arm’s length.
Can the patterns change?
If you are involved with a person that is emotionally unavailable, you both have to work at it. The person that is emotionally unavailable should speak with someone to understand why they are experiencing these issues. Then work towards creating a healthy set of goals in a time frame that work with both people. As I have said before, relationships are a two-way street, not a bike path.
Here are some things you can do to help you alter the patterns:
- Discard your “type.” It allows you to encounter people that you may not necessarily have had the opportunity to meet or get to know and helps broaden your emotional range.
- Try to emotionally connect with someone beyond the surface level. You allow yourself to open up and be honest, find you may be more relaxed and remove the pressure of trying to make the “perfect” impression. Learn to enjoy the moment.
- Just because you are hot and heavy from the get-go, does not mean that will translate into love. If all you are doing is following how excited you are sexually, you are going the wrong way fast. If you like someone and are attracted to them, use this as a time go a bit slower. Love rarely moves at the speed of light, and if you think it does, more than likely will turn out like a super nova.
- Take your time and enjoy getting to know one another. It is not a sprint. Find someone that will hold you to your own standards, as you hold them to theirs.
- Finally, learn how to receive love. If you meet someone that is caring, kind, empathetic, attentive, practice giving and receiving this with your partner. If our dating path, turns out more to be like a national highway system, full of potholes and emotionally unavailable people, you might not recognize what being loved looks like. This is like any other skill you have to work at and develop. It is worth it, you will thank yourself for doing it, and discover a more meaningful connection by doing so.
Breaking this cycle can be arduous, and yes it does allow for one to be exposed and tread unfamiliar waters. If you really want change, you have to see people for what they are, how they present themselves to you and allow you the time to make more sound judgements. You no longer look at them as a project you need to “fix.” If the people you choose to date are inconsistent, unpredictable, or demonstrate conflicting stories or issues consistently, that demonstrates very early who they are. Is that what you want in a relationship?