5 Surefire Signs that Your Partner Is Emotionally Unavailable

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This article was first published on mindbodygreen.

Marla was aflutter after her first two dates with Mike. On their first date, he took her to Locanda Verde--a romantic hot spot in Manhattan. They made effortless conversation until midnight. He complimented her on a new dress and called her "stunning." He mentioned an upcoming vacation to Italy and said it would be wonderful if she came along.

Their second date was even better. Mike splurged on dinner at Blue Hill--a romantic restaurant in Greenwich Village. He told Marla he was looking to "settle down" and have a serious relationship. They discussed their mutual desire for children. They shared food off the same plate. He kissed her over candlelight. They made plans to play tennis that upcoming weekend. At 34, Marla felt chemistry and attraction far beyond that of any other man she had ever dated.

Which makes the following all the more confusing--Marla never heard from Mike again.

Marla spent the next several months dissecting every last detail of the two dates. Did she seem too enthusiastic? Was she boring? Did she say something to turn him off?

The truth is...she is not the problem. He is.

Relationships that fail to move forward are commonplace. But, some dynamics are so perplexing that it makes otherwise rational individuals question their sanity. Some relationships, like Marla's, will short-circuit after a few dates. For others, months (if not years) will pass before a woman or man realizes that s/he's been wasting time with a partner who will never commit.

In our e-guide, "Come Here, Go Away," we discuss how emotionally unavailable individuals may talk as if they are interested in a relationship. But, their actions usually tell a different story. They are "yes and no," "forward and backward," "come here and go away." Cross paths with an emotionally unavailable suitor and you'll be overwhelmingly confused and frustrated.

Here are five tell-tale signs that an emotionally unavailable person is wasting your time:

1. They do not maintain consistent communication.

Individuals who are interested in a relationship will maintain steady and consistent (i.e., daily) contact. No matter how busy their day or job, they will arrange another date, ask about your day or simply communicate to say hello.

If you want to gauge a person's interest, we suggest pulling back completely. Do not text, call, IM or email. Stop all efforts to push the relationship forward. In less than one week, you'll have a clear indication of this person's level of interest in you. If you're not hearing anything, it's a sure sign they are looking for something casual.

2.  They are more interested in having sex (when it's convenient) than going out on dates.

Individuals interested in building a relationship will invite you to do fun things. They will take you to the movies, make dinner reservations, and go hiking with you on Sunday.

In contrast, emotionally unavailable partners prioritize their own needs first. They will call you late at night--often when a little drunk--to see if you want to hang out...right now...at 12:30am. Make no mistake--this is a classic "booty call."

While it may be tempting to run over and fuel the chemistry and connection, you'll find yourself incredibly disappointed after.

3. You have not met any of their friends and family. And, s/he doesn't want to meet yours.

Individuals who are interested in a relationship are proud to bring you into their circle. They want you to be a part of their life in a substantial way. Your beloved will take you out, invite you on dates, and communicate with regularity. But, if after several weeks and months, you have never met their friends, family or co-workers--there is a problem.

Does s/he demur when you suggest joining an event? If so, we suggest you get out before you get any deeper in a situation that is going nowhere.

4. S/he still has another significant other in the picture.

Individuals who are interested in relationships may have platonic friendships, but their behavior and actions signal that their romantic interest is solely on you.

Take, for example, the story of Beatrice and Tony. They have been dating for two months. Tony keeps in regular contact with his ex-girlfriend, Cynthia, and often leaves the room (to have more privacy) when she calls. He says Cynthia is "the best" and often laments that their relationship didn't work out.

Although Tony is doing many of the "right" things, he is still preoccupied with his ex-girlfriend. Lots of men and women start dating and have casual sex to get over someone else. Be wary of investing too much time or energy in a relationship with someone who has a door open elsewhere. You will be the collateral damage if/when the object of affection signals availability.

5. They prefer to keep things "casual" and avoid all talk about the status of your relationship.

Partners who are interested in a relationship have no trouble being "serious," "monogamous," or "faithful." 

All too often, we've seen people waste time--weeks, months or even years, bending themselves into pretzels to convince their beloved to commit, despite a clearly stated intention to keep things "casual." In our experience, if someone tells you what they want, it behooves you to listen. 

If you answer "yes" to one or more of these signs, it's highly likely that you are wasting your time. It can be very disappointing and painful to recognize that your big crush isn't emotionally available. The good news is that the sooner you close the door on the wrong relationship, the earlier you can open the door on the right one. 



Monica Parikh