Relationships with emotionally unavailable partners can be extremely draining and unhealthy in the long run. Their emotional distance—and its signs absence, criticism, anger—may cause you to feel terribly withdrawn, isolated, rejected, and unimportant.
Here’s what emotional unavailability signals in your relationship.
Your Partner May Need You To Listen and Understand
Dealing with an emotionally unavailable partner often requires support and empathy, not intrusive questions or defensive behavior. Emotional unavailability is often a symptom of childhood trauma. Considering this is the case, you should take care when bringing up the subject of emotional unavailability with your partner. Be gentle and avoid probing. Create a healthy environment where they feel comfortable sharing their feelings, fears, and frustrations.
It Affects the Children
Emotionally distant parents unwittingly influence their children in unhealthy ways. It affects their attachment styles and adult relationships. It may negatively affect their mental health and cause them to develop self-esteem issues. Psychological issues may pave the way for substance abuse later on in life.
Children who grow up with emotionally distant mothers find themselves with trust issues when forming relationships with people in their adult lives. They find it difficult to sustain connections. They have trouble identifying emotions and feelings. They tend to display a fearful-avoidant or dismissive-avoidant attachment style.
It May Be You, Not Them
Without invalidating your own feelings about your relationship and your partner’s emotional unavailability, it’s worth assessing your own role and behavior. It’s often easy to push the blame on one’s partner, and harder to acknowledge how we may not be reciprocating emotion the way we think we do.
When people scrutinize and monitor their partner’s behavior for their level of presence and availability, they ironically lose the capacity to be emotionally receptive to their partner’s needs. If you find yourself being almost hypervigilant with your partner, you may in fact be the one who isn’t available. Constant monitoring may even cause your partner to become defensive and retreat even further. It doesn’t cultivate a healthy and supportive environment for closeness and emotional intimacy.
If you and your partner require help in communicating your feelings, expectations, and fears, you should consider professional couples counseling.
As one of the top marriage and family therapists and couples counselors in the Bay Area, Azizeh is more than qualified to help you and your partner develop the communicative tools and mutual respect needed to understand and love one another.
Call (650) 206-9973 to schedule a free 20-minutes consultation.