What To Do With An Emotionally Unavailable Man


Man, I wish I wrote this.

I’ve never been an emotionally unavailable man. Even when I was in my ten-year-online-dating-slut phase, I always wanted to fall in love.

So while I can’t personally identify with guys who are shut-off from love, I can acknowledge one thing: they keep me in business.

And yet, today, I’m going to continue to do my part to put myself out of business, by sharing this really well-written piece from SingleBlackMale.com on what emotionally unavailable men are thinking and doing when you’re dating them. (Thanks to the ladies of FOCUS Coaching for the link!)

Here are a handful of excellent take-aways that I want you to internalize ASAP, so you will no longer waste time on another dead-end guy:

1. Being emotionally unavailable doesn’t mean he’s dead. It means he’s not serious about falling in love at this point.

In other words, he can be a good guy and do everything right – but if he’s not acting like a boyfriend, you’re wasting your time.

“Now the fact that we are emotionally unavailable doesn’t mean that we’re no longer desirous of a woman’s attention and affection. It also doesn’t mean we’ve lost the ability to perceive attractiveness and beauty and it most definitely doesn’t mean we’re no longer interested in sex. We will want all of those things, and we’re still going to work toward getting all of those things. Understanding this is essential to understanding the emotionally unavailable man…Women often seem to assume that because a man is single, educated, employed, handsome, possessed with great taste, a great wardrobe and is a generally good guy, he is automatically on the market. This is an absolute fallacy.”

2. Ignore the positives, believe the negatives. Maybe it was our overt actions (not claiming you as a girlfriend). Maybe it was our silences (one week after a date). Maybe it was our actual words (I’m not looking for anything serious right now), but you didn’t pay attention. Says the author about women who ignore the signs:

“They figure if they can determine why we’re emotionally unavailable, then they can just help us address that issue and all will be right with the world. Still though, no matter how stern our warnings, no matter how many times we tell you that our emotional unavailability is serious and not a game, you still find away to allow yourselves to fall to the point of no return.”

3. Just because he’s emotionally unavailable doesn’t mean he’s evil.

“If we communicate to you, in no uncertain terms, that we’re very interested in you, but not interested in anything serious with anyone, and you choose to proceed, we see that as the green light to be the naturally great guys we’ve always been. This means we’re going to be thoughtful, we’re going to be charming and we’re going to make your friends laugh when you introduce us to them. We’re going to check on you when you’re sick, send you good morning emails and good night text messages. When we go out together, we’re going to do everything we’re supposed to do to make sure you have a good time and if you let us, we’re going to do everything in our power to please you sexually. Why? Because a good guy takes pride in making sure a woman in his company has enjoyed her time with him.”

Amen. I dated lots of women during my single life. You’d be hard pressed to find any of them who would say, “That Evan is a miserable asshole. He has no idea what makes women tick. What a terrible communicator. He’s so selfish and insensitive that he’ll never make a woman happy.” In other words, he can be a good guy and do everything right – but if he’s not acting like a boyfriend, you’re wasting your time.

4. You claim to be a powerful woman, but you don’t act like it. (Oh, boy, now we’re cutting close to the bone…)

You can’t expect him to value you like a girlfriend if you don’t insist on being treated like a proper girlfriend.

“Men use a formula to assign value to the women in their lives and a large part of that formula is derived from how much we believe that woman values herself. If you’ve been giving us all of you while requiring nothing more than our bare minimum then that negatively affects how much we believe you value yourself and we know in our heart we can never be with you. No matter how much we want to, we can’t build up the motivation to give you everything if we know you’ve been content with us giving you barely anything. We need to be challenged, we need to know that you’ll accept nothing less than everything.”

This is why I tell you repeatedly to act like the CEO and treat men like interns. If he’s not showing up and you’re putting up with it, it’s not his fault. It’s yours, for not firing him! You can’t expect him to value you like a girlfriend if you don’t insist on being treated like a proper girlfriend.

Any questions?

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  1. 101

    As a women who was emotionally unavailable for a few years I can some what comprehend with men like this. Unfortunely my reasons for being this way was due to past relationship and not really knowing myself. Men like this now a days it’s obvious how they are, what they want (but don’t say). All you need to do is listen plan and simple. Just like you want a guy to see your worth start seeing a guy for his worth. Whether good or bad and really listen.   A few months ago after getting back into the dating world men seemed complicated to me. But after a few months of interacting with them they’re so simple. Not sure if I had to go back to my old mindset to see this.

    At the moment I was talking with a guy and things were moving fast and then they turned south and we didn’t talk for a few days. And he finally sent me a text saying what if he missed me. Crazy thing is I actually missed him too. After talking about what happened he shared he was starting to like me. And normally when he’s done with people he’s done with them. He started talking about how he felt bad about the situation because it seems like things always go bad for me when it comes to men.

    Needless to say he’s been divorced for almost a year. In his mid twenties and was married for three years. Doesn’t want to get married until 5 to 6 years (red alert for me) from now when he’s built a hefty savings. After things went south I wasn’t too bothered because we both don’t want the same thing.   He’s emotionally unavailable but only has emotionally attached sex. Doesn’t make sense to me but ok. We’ve had sex and now he wants to put me in that friendship category or spending time together and also having sex. First night having sex he invited me to stay over for the night. He mentioned meeting my daughter that same night. He even questioned why I haven’t invited him over to my place or when I was. I’ve explained to him that I just don’t let anyone over and don’t just let anyone around my daughter. Those are my boundaries. He’s met my parents unintentionally due to where he works and other community activities and this was before knowing who I was and who they were. So he consistently mentions them wondering if they asked about him because I did tell them about him.

    Although I’m 28 and eventually looking for something serious I said hey why not have fun. But the more I talk with him I pick up on his cues. He’s asked me like 3 times if we should end this because I might catch feelings. I’ve explained to him that I’m a force to be reckoned with in situations like these. I know how to be on the same page as a man in situation like these. Not sure if that’s good, but I get them more then I think I do. I’m starting to think that it’s going to be the opposite and he’ll be attached and I’ll break his heart. Although he says this won’t happen. He just sounds really confused to me. And continues to have to tell me he has no emotions. Hes just confusing to me, he’s just like me (both Leos) but the male version of me (why I don’t really date Leos). Stupid right? He’s broken rules with me that he doesn’t normally break, supposedly. He’s made it clear that when he’s interested with someone he will let me know. So he’s already made it clear to me his feelings by saying that. He’s still young and to me doesn’t know what he wants even though he’s made it clear after sex that he doesn’t want to be tied down and be free. I’m ok with that but I feel like he’s doing and saying all this because he was starting to like me and felt disappointed after our incident.

    I could be wrong. But I’ve told him that this may not last long. I do a lot of things in my life that have a purpose and a point and I don’t entertain pointless relationships. In the mean time I’m enjoying the sex, I have a hiking buddy for the summer and that’s that.   Relationships like these don’t really bring value to me these days and typically I rather focus on myself.   But   if I have to constantly go over how I’m not going to catch feelings I’m going to lose my mind and be done with it. I don’t like broken record players. After talking with a guy for a while I typically know how things will go down, if we’ll talk for a while and things fall off, if I’ll have sex with him (like this one) or if things may develop to something more, basically husband material. I’m still single so I guess none by far have been for me.

    My point is after being single for almost five years, and experienced a lot of growth I think I’ll enjoy this little fling until I don’t see the point of it any more. I understand why women are frustrated, they know their the perfect catch. This was me a few months ago. After a few unsuccessful dating attempts I decided to stop caring and enjoy everything that is in my life now. My daughter turning 5, getting her into sports activities, getting myself involved in sports activities, traveling, man-friend, being active in my community and etc. no more stressing about men or etc. Men are not like women, they feel, and especially communicate differently. It’s pretty amusing to me

  2. 102

    I can see both sides of this. No woman who has any kind of self worth should be spending all her time and energy trying to fix a man, no matter how nice he is and no matter how deep his pain. However, that isn’t to say he isn’t genuinely in need of someone he can potentially love, who loves him back and believe he’s worth the effort. If he is someone you absolutely adore and can give more of yourself until he feels more safe and comfortable with you, there’s no shame in sticking with him as he works things out. The key is in how much of yourself you’re giving up, and how much time you dedicate to self care. One   woman in here responded that she broke up with her man and was glad to get back to the things she enjoyed doing, but I have to wonder why those things were given up in the first place. Even in a perfectly healthy mutual love relationship, nobody should be giving up their own happiness, their own hobbies, friends or interests for the sake of the relationship. Two whole people make a whole couple, and two half people spell codependency. If one is half and one is whole, it can be worked through, but with much caution, no expectations, and a lot of thick skin and patience if you don’t want to get hurt, or worse yet, hurt him further.

  3. 103

    thank you everyone for sharing, soothed my soul a great bit to know that i’m not the only one suffering from loving an eu man. just wanted to add, i feel like the eu guys are a bit like dogs, you bring them to your house, you care for them, you give them your unconditional love, but unless you create boundaries, they will pee all over the place when you’re gone, acting as if it were someone else. it’s all about boundaries. you want to have a fancy doberman, you better know how to handle him, and he has to feel that you are strong enough and worthy not take shit from him. moreover, i took some horse riding lessons and i realized i have to show the horse that it just cannot play around with me, or else he would throw me on the floor. i learned to be assertive by observing animals, which, to my surprise, is very similar to handling eu guys 🙂 they test you, and you need to have all your shit together. dump him and see how he changes. show no weakness.

  4. 104

    I’m with someone who will not have a personal conversation.   Always joking, nonstop trivia but go deeper and it all shuts down.   However, he will do and do and do for me.    Although he never asks what I want he just does what he feels like.   He won’t ever ask how my day was but he’ll get my bath ready and bring a glass of wine.    He asks me nothing personal.   Never compliments.   In over a year he has not once said, “how was your day?”    Last time he picked me up from the airport, after we got home I finally said, “aren’t you even gonna ask how my flight was?”   He replied,” you made it didn’t you?”   When I got home he had dinner ready and done some remodeling while I was gone.    It’s driving me crazy!   I want to connect and he only does it by “doing.”

  5. 105

    I just went to the SBM site to read the full article. A great read, and I will now ask early on if the man is “emotionally available and ready” for a relationship, should it reach that point. It’s just frustrating because I feel as though integrity is lacking from all ends in this sort of situation. As women, we should honor what we say we want (usually a relationship). And men should honor what they say they want (and DON’T want)! Don’t spend months building something with me only to then tell me you’re not ready. Don’t tell me you’re not ready and then still try to act as a boyfriend would. As a single female, I’ve been emotionally unavailable in the past, but I’ve owned it. It’s a choice. You may not know why you don’t want a partner in the moment, but you know that you don’t want one. Own your CHOICE and let your actions fall in line with that CHOICE until you’re ready to make a new one!

  6. 106

    I am certainly not talking about all men here but I’m kind of getting a bit sick of labelling. I’m sorry but I have dated a 46 year old man who claims he wants this that the other, it comes down to it he’s just a user, uncaring, selfish. He knows full well how to act he just chooses not to and blames his behaviour on everyone else except himself.  I’m sick of “women need to do this to get a man, do that to get a man”, why are we always having to change? Why cant a guy sit back and think “hey, you know what I need to do???” we are in a different world now. Life is lived behind a phone, computer etc…all communication is lost at its accepted that men can be “unavailable” and we as women have to shut up and put up…I am sorry but where does our happiness come into this? I was abused by my ex boyfriend for being a decent woman…guess what, he couldn’t cope with his emotions so who’s fault was it? oh that would be mine! yet I acted exactly how I should have acted   “normally”. I think **some** men really need to take hard look at themselves instead of making excuses and projecting their problems onto the woman who has probably done nothing wrong except want all the “normal” things. I am done with guys like this. I am not settling until a guy understands his own feeling, knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to get it. That’s not me being picky that’s me being real.

  7. 107

    Uggg.   After one year of a really good relationship with a man who clearly loves me, he allowed me to fall in love with him.   Only he is moving to a different country in 4 months.   I gave him the option to change his mind and I am  also a really good catch.   This man will be a bachelor until he dies.   The only way I can look at it is that all relationships are temporary–even with the good ones, someone dies of old age.   Enjoy it while you can.

  8. 108

    I posted here a while ago ,now years,later I found myself a keeper . A guy that’s nothing like the emotionally unavailable man I was used to . I can finally sleep in peace . A guy that demonstrates /says his feelings towards me .One that I can be comfortable around ,spend time with and we are talking about marriage . One thats met my family and friends. Someone who actually makes the effort for me and wants to build a future . I just want to let people know not to waste their time on rubbish .(I wasted 5 years ) on b.s and now oh god what a relief .

  9. 109

    My problem with the man who wrote this article is, he is a skilled manipulator.   He does not see himself this way, but he is.   Now, from the time we were children we have heard ACTIONS speak louder than words.   So, when Mr. Unavailable tells you he does not want a relationship, but proceeds to ACT like your dream guy that is manipulation to  make you invest, and you then bank on the potential.   He knows this tactic works with woman bc he has done it in the past.     It is very slight of hand, and when he is ready to leave the relation(ship) he will tell you, “I told you I did not want a relationship”.   That is the kicker bc now you are angry (and rightfully so), but you are also muted bc truthfully he did tell you this from the beginning.   So, now you feel you have to invalidate your feelings of feeling used.

    Ladies, he knew what he was doing.   You probably were treated better by this man than any other past boyfriend, but don’t invalid your feelings, and don’t think for second you were not being used.

    Ladies,   for future reference from the time he tells you he does not want a relationship, you are not to want one with him either.   Let him go find someone else to manipulate.

  10. 110

    My frustration is that I was honest of what I wanted to the man I was seeing. I don’t understand why he kept stringing me along. I have known him for over 15 plus years and last year we decided to give us a chance. We became exclusive because we both wanted. After 13 month he stop returning my calls/text. He would stop talking to me for several days at a time. I have communicated to him that a relationship takes work and his actions was showing me that he was not all in it. He said he would do his best to change so my feelings wouldn’t get hurt but he continues doing it over and over. I finally told him I was fed up with his behaviour that if he didn’t want to be in a relationship with me and be all in it to let me know so that I can move on. It has been a week and he hasn’t call/text me to tell me anything. And I refuse to text/call him since he hasn’t responded. Why can men have the balls to tell you the truth and be honest. I am a woman that is willing to accept the outcome but he just showing me how immature he is being and instead of talking to me face to face or call he is giving me the silent treatment.


  11. 111

    This is hard bcuz if I’m feeling devalued from previous experiences then this man who is basically my dream guy, decides that I’m feeling devalued… so doesn’t feel that I’m worth putting any further value or investment into… I just don’t see how that breaks the cycle. Oi.

  12. 112
    Sunshine 99

    Could it be possible that WE are the generation to truly discover this pattern and insist on it’s demise? I was married to a Narc for 17 years which is a higher form of EA, and I can say without hesitation that this is passed down to children. My advice to singles is get real about yourself and your own life…Discover it and own it….this takes time. If someone comes along and fits right in without a fuss, then that is what a match is. Hoping the guy at the bar wants to marry you is not.

  13. 113

    OMG! This sounds like a little boy. I read the article you linked to. The woman he runs to is just his next scam. He will feel he is emotionally open, but he”l wake up in the middle of the night, in a burning sweat, realizing that this woman slept with him, so she must not value herself,  because he suspects he’s a real loser, and he knows he’s right. And, off he goes to the next victim. Emotionally unavailable men lie, manipulate and never admit they did wrong. They have no empathy, and never apologize.  In their heads, they’re superheroes and they got to spread around that superpower to new unknown faces, but in the mean time, they’ll cling to you like your baby. They are known as Beta Males. They will never have a real relationship. They will die old, cranky and alone.

  14. 114

    I’m the epitome of an emotionally unavailable man. First I would advise once you realize a man is emotionally unavailable, end it before you end up hurt and/or confused. Don’t attempt to understand him, don’t attempt to “fix” him as that simply isn’t going to happen.

    Some years ago we were referred to as “loners,” now we are emotionally unavailable men. I think I liked “loner” better, it seems like a much less negative terminology.

    There are many complexities in describing one who you refer to an emotionally unavailable.
    To begin with its not a man who lacks social skills in dealing with women. It’s not a man who has been hurt or as many woman describe as “wounded” by past relationship failures. This will cause the same effect but does not warrant the true term of emotionally unavailable.

    An emotionally unavailable man does indeed have emotions. Just not the type women see as acceptable. It’s much like a puzzle with some pieces missing. What’s most important to you will never register to him or if he realizes things are getting more serious and you are wishing/demanding for a closer bond, he will “ghost” you, make excuses or disappear completely.

    It’s a personality type which simply doesn’t have the ability to perform in a true give and take romantic relationship. This man has a wall built around himself to which you will never break through. What’s important to you will never be important to him. He avoids confrontation and any form of complication which most relationships involve. He may seem charming, sometimes slightly aloof, you might think this guy really has his act together. If you get in a relationship with him you will NEVER gain full acceptance. He doesn’t care how you feel, he will never allow you to know how he feels. He may or may not want to engage in a physical relationship. Personally I don’t want involved and would make every excuse to avoid it. Too many possible complications result from a sexual relationship.

    If in a relationship with such a man you can expect to be treated like an outsider. He won’t take you places to meet his friends or family, you will never be included in such things a family/holiday get togethers. You’re on the outside of his wall and that’s exactly where you will stay.

    You will probably never know if he’s happy, excited or angry as for him, that’s not your place to know such things. Personal decisions/emotions are private matters to him. He won’t ever ask about the “deeper” you because he just doesn’t care that much. Never let a woman “see you sweat” and you’ll never know what he’s thinking or how he really feels about anything.

    They only interact with the smallest degree necessary for the situation at hand. This emotional removal is part of their control of all things in their lives.

    I could go on and on but there’s probably not much point in it. My advice as I mentioned above when one shows this type of behavior, save yourself a lot of heartache and emotional turmoil and move on. It won’t hurt him because he doesn’t care anyway.

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