Are you tired of being in relationships with people who can’t seem to open up emotionally? Do you constantly feel like you’re giving your all but not receiving anything in return? If so, then you may be dealing with emotional unavailability. This is a common issue many people face in relationships, and it can be frustrating, confusing, and even damaging. I experienced this firsthand in my own relationships, and I know how hard it can be to deal with.

Yes, it can be not easy, but there are ways to cope with emotional unavailability and improve your relationships. So today, I’m going to share with you my tips on how to deal with emotional unavailability.

Since I have personally dealt with this issue, I’ll be sharing some personal experiences along the way. I hope this guide helps you in your journey towards healthier and happier relationships.

What is Emotional Unavailability?

It’s essential to understand what emotional unavailability means. Simply put, it’s a person’s inability to open up emotionally and make a deep connection with their partner. It can manifest in different ways, such as not expressing feelings, avoiding important conversations, or being distant and detached. This behavior can leave their partner feeling neglected, frustrated, and unloved.

Emotional unavailability is often rooted in a person’s past experiences and traumas. They may have built emotional walls to protect themselves from getting hurt again. However, this behavior can be detrimental to their current relationships and cause pain to their partners.

The Signs of Emotional Unavailability

Now that we know what emotional unavailability is let’s look at some common signs that your partner may be emotionally unavailable. These are based on my personal experiences, and you may relate to some of them.

  • They avoid talking about their feelings or yours
  • They constantly need space and alone time
  • They have trouble committing to plans or future goals together
  • They seem detached or indifferent in intimate moments
  • They make excuses to not spend quality time with you
  • They can be hot and cold, showing love and affection one moment, then pulling back the next.

If you notice these signs in your partner, it’s likely that they are emotionally unavailable. It’s essential to address this issue and work on it together if you want your relationship to thrive.

How to Deal with Emotional Unavailability

Dealing with emotional unavailability can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to improve the situation. Here are some tips to help you deal with emotional unavailability in your partner and yourself.

Communicate Openly and Honestly

Communication is the key to any successful relationship, and this is even more crucial when dealing with emotional unavailability. It’s important to have an open and honest conversation about your feelings, needs, and concerns. Be patient and understanding while also expressing your boundaries and expectations. Remember to listen actively and give the other person a chance to express themselves without judgment.

If you find it difficult to communicate, consider seeking the help of a therapist or counselor. They can provide a safe space for both parties to express themselves and work through any underlying issues. I’m saying this from personal experience; therapy has helped me and my partner communicate better, understand each other’s needs, and improve our relationship.

Practice Empathy

Practice Empathy

It can be challenging to understand why someone is emotionally unavailable, especially if it’s your partner. However, practicing empathy can help you see things from their perspective. Try putting yourself in their shoes and understanding what they may be going through. This can help you have more compassion and patience towards them.

Emanating empathy can also help your partner feel understood and valued. It shows that you care about their feelings and are willing to listen without judgment. This can create a safe space for them to open up and share their emotions with you.

My personal experience has taught me that practicing empathy can improve communication and strengthen the emotional connection in a relationship. Now I practice empathy in my everyday life and it has greatly benefited my relationships. Simply you can say, that learning empathy was a game-changer for me.

Identify Triggers

Emotional unavailability can be triggered by past experiences and traumas that need to be addressed. If you or your partner struggle with emotional unavailability, try identifying the triggers that cause it. This can help you understand why certain behaviors arise and work towards resolving them.

For example, if your partner tends to pull away when things get too serious, try to understand why that may be the case. It could be a fear of commitment or past experiences with a toxic relationship. Identifying triggers can help you both address them and find healthier ways to cope. A few examples I saw in my life are; difficulty expressing emotions, fear of intimacy, or feeling unworthy of love. These triggers can stem from childhood experiences, previous relationships, or even societal pressures.

If you do not know where to start, consider seeking therapy or counseling. A professional can provide a safe and supportive environment to explore your triggers and work towards healing them.

Related: How to Support Your Partner When They Are Upset

Be Patient and Give Space

Be Patient and Give Space

Dealing with emotional unavailability takes time, patience, and understanding. It’s essential to remember that change cannot happen overnight, and it’s a process that requires effort from both partners. So be patient with each other and understand that healing takes time.

Also, give your partner the space they need without making them feel guilty. Sometimes, they may need time alone to process their emotions and deal with their triggers. Respect their boundaries and communicate openly about your needs as well. I remember that my relationship improved significantly when my partner and I learned to give each other space while also working on our emotional connection.

Focus on the Present

Emotional unavailability often stems from past experiences, so it’s easy to get caught up in them. However, it’s essential to focus on the present moment and work towards building a healthier relationship.

Let go of any expectations or assumptions based on the past and instead focus on creating new positive experiences with your partner. This can help build trust, strengthen emotional bonds, and improve communication. Remember to celebrate small victories and progress rather than dwelling on setbacks.

If you focus on the present and work towards a better future, you can create a more fulfilling and emotionally available relationship.

Practice Self-Care

Dealing with emotional unavailability can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. It’s crucial to practice self-care during this time and prioritize your needs.

Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally by doing things that bring you joy and relaxation. It can be as simple as taking a walk, reading a book, or spending time with friends. Self-care can also include setting boundaries and saying no to things that drain your energy.

Remember that you can only give your best to a relationship when you take care of yourself first.  In my experience, practicing self-care has helped me become more emotionally available in my relationship.


Dealing with emotional unavailability can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Many couples have successfully overcome this issue and built stronger, healthier relationships. Remember to communicate openly, practice empathy, identify triggers, be patient and give space, focus on the present, and practice self-care.

Most importantly, remember that healing takes time and effort from both partners. Should you find yourself grappling with difficulties, remember it’s perfectly alright to reach out for professional assistance. With patience and understanding, you can work towards a more fulfilling and emotionally available relationship.  

So take the first step towards building a stronger connection with your partner today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it typically take to improve emotional unavailability in a relationship?

Improving emotional unavailability varies significantly from couple to couple, depending on the underlying issues and both partners’ willingness to work on them. There is no set timeline, but with consistent effort, many couples start to see improvements within a few months.

Can therapy or counseling help if only one partner is emotionally unavailable?

Yes, therapy can be beneficial even if only one partner is emotionally unavailable. A therapist can help the emotionally unavailable partner understand their feelings and behaviors, offering strategies to become more emotionally engaged. Additionally, therapy can equip the other partner with coping mechanisms and communication strategies.

Is emotional unavailability always linked to past trauma?

While past trauma can often lead to emotional unavailability, it’s not the only cause. Other factors include fear of intimacy, lack of trust, or even societal pressures. Understanding the root cause is essential for addressing emotional unavailability.

How can I practice self-care without feeling selfish, especially when my partner is struggling with emotional unavailability?

Practicing self-care isn’t selfish; it’s essential for your well-being and, by extension, the health of your relationship. Communicate your needs to your partner and find a balance between supporting them and taking care of yourself. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

What are some signs that progress is being made in dealing with emotional unavailability?

Signs of progress can include more open and honest communication, increased expressions of affection, a deeper understanding of each other’s needs and feelings, and a willingness to work through conflicts together. Celebrating these small victories can encourage continued growth in the relationship.

Should Read:

5 Secrets to Maintaining Long-Distance Friendships

Top 5 Therapeutic Coping Skills for Managing Anxiety

How to Practice Self Care in a Relationship


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