16 Signs Your Man is Emotionally Unavailable post image

16 Signs Your Man is Emotionally Unavailable

If you feel like you’re pulling teeth with two thumbs and no anesthesia every time you try to get your guy to talk about his feelings, well, you wouldn’t be alone. Plenty of men find they can’t, because they’re cut off from their emotions. Society still tells guys, from the time they are very little, to deny their feelings or better yet, not have them at all. Unfortunately, women are simultaneously being primed by society to believe that men should fulfill them emotionally.

So little girl and little boy grow up, get married, and become frustrated with each other. Amiright?

Sigh. We’re here to help you recognize when your man is having a hard time getting in touch with his “feminine side” (see what a sexist world we live in?). Patti Henry, therapist and author of The Emotionally Unavailable Man, writes that there are various behaviors suggesting a man is emotionally shut down.

Here are 16 signs your guy is emotionally unavailable.

1. Not talking. Sure, maybe your guy loves to talk about baseball, work, or that man cave he’s determined to build in the basement one day. But when it comes to subjects that require any degree of connecting with his emotional side — how your relationship is doing, how he feels about his crappy boss, his fears about how to pay for the kids’ educations — he clams up. Refusing to engage in any topic that might inflame emotions (“I don’t want to argue about that!”) is just a way of avoiding them altogether.

2. Being passive-aggressive. Many a passive-aggressive man has driven many a woman to near insanity. This is the guy who will say he’s going to do something, or agree with a plan, but subtly go out of his way to sabotage it. For instance, he says he definitely wants to visit your in-laws. But when the time comes, he’s always sick, or working too much, or (fill in excuse here). He’ll say he’s going to fix the garage door tomorrow, but then you have to remind him about it 50 times. He finally explodes because you’re “nagging.” He finds it virtually impossible to risk “confrontation” by saying no to something or saying how he really feels — and he may not even acknowledge how he really feels.

3. Having addictions. Addictions, be it to a substance, a hobby (even sports), work, food, porn, or anything else, always act as a great way for the EUM (emotionally unavailable male) to create distance in the relationship.

4. Affairs. Affairs are probably the most obvious way that a man can be emotionally unavailable to you. Patti Henry said that the men in her therapy describe affairs as an “oasis” where they feel appreciated. But he really should be creating that “oasis” with you.

More from The Stir: 12 Signs Your Man Is a Commitmentphobe

5. Lying. Another way for an EUM to shirk responsibility for his own feelings and actions is simply to lie. Whether he’s saying that he fixed something when he didn’t, or he was at church when he was at the strip club, or that he never contacted his ex when he’s been emailing her for months, lying is a way for him to avoid uncomfortable emotions.

6. Lies of omission. While most men wouldn’t consider keeping information from you “so you don’t get upset” to be a lie, it is. And since it’s often easier to do than lying, and gives plausible deniability in case he’s caught (“I never said that I didn’t see my ex, I just forgot to mention that I did!”), lies of omission are some guys’ favorite way of avoiding dealing with their feelings and emotional repercussions.

7. Secret behavior. Whether a guy has a family in another state or he sneaks off to play fantasy football when you think he’s volunteering at a soup kitchen, secret behavior is yet another way of refusing to be genuine and accept responsibility.

8. Refusing to argue. While arguing might seem like a sign that the relationship is in trouble, it’s also a sign that two people can express their differences of opinion. But if he just won’t engage when there’s a disagreement and literally walks away whenever the conversation turns heated, that’s a sign he’s closed off from his emotions — possibly because he grew up in a household where arguing wasn’t done, or where it was done all the time, leaving him scared of and horrified by fights.

Want more? For 8 more signs, head over to The Stir!


Written by Kiri Blakeley

8 comments… add one

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Wendy greene

Hiya I was with my ex boyfriend week short of year I had breakdown few months bck accused him of cheating we split up for 6 weeks we got bck always said won’t promise anything or commit I was fine with now 2 days ago text me saying not equipped you your situation he works alot I deserve something better I heartbroken devestated I don’t want any other boyfriend he says not ready for relationship he not interested in anyonelse resigned himself to being on own again

Reply January 18, 2016, 6:56 pm


Ok, so this is kinda your typical high school problem. I really like this guy…I’ve known him for 6 years and we’ve been basically joined at the hip the entire time. We’ve had our fair share of fall outs and arguments but in the end we always come back. Also, I’ve been on kinda casual dates with him like to a dance or a school play or a school event thing and he’s really sweet to me. He kinda flirts with me sometimes but other times he acts like nothings going on. He’s a year older, kinda goofy sometimes but can also be kinda flirty. Rumors have been flying around that he is gay, bi, that he likes me, that he hates me, that he just wants to be friends, that he wants to ask me out, etc. So I’m not sure what to do. I’ve liked him since I met him (whether it was a lower school kind of crush or really feeling something) and I’m not sure whether to take the risk of telling him and possibly messing up our entire friendship or not tell him and risk losing the chance forever and/or finding out too late that he felt the same way. Advice?

Reply November 16, 2014, 3:24 pm


I met this guy about months ago we hit it off and things were great then he took this trip to Australia when he got back everything changed , we had plans for the summer and we’ll he never came back to me to do them , he told me he loved me and he didnt want to loose me, and every month he kept saying he was coming but always came up with an excuse why he couldn’t ,he kept getting more distant , I asked him to please be honest with me and if he lost interest to just tell me , I told him it was not fair that I planned my whole summer according to the plans that he made with me and instead he hung out with his friends , he said he wished I had not done that ( that made me feel crappy) when he said that, he said he would do better but nothing changed, so I finally broke it off, I did not get a response from him, did he ever care for me or is he just a player it’s been 2 weeks since I broke it off I thought I would get some kind of reaction from him .

Reply November 14, 2014, 8:04 am


I need Charles or Sabrina advice on this one….I met a guy a few months ago and within 24 hours we had 3 dates and ended up in bed. This guy wasn’t my type and I wasn’t looking for a relationship with him. But the sex was outrageous and I started liking him for his intelligence and fun personality. We saw each other twice a week and after a few weeks he started making comments of how he is not good at relationships etc. Yet, his actions showed a guy who wanted a relationship….cuddling, calling me sweetheart, insisting on going out to dinner. Talking for hours etc. When I met him he told me he was in a long term relationhip and they had broken up….then on the day we were suppose to go to dinner and movies he calls me to tell me his ex showed up at his house and one thing led to another. I was upset….after a few weeks of not talking I realized that we did not talk about sexual exclusitivity and I missed him. I missed talking to him and the sex. So I texted him and we texted back and forth. But my curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to know if he was seeing his ex so I went on his fb page and after continuously checking his “friends” I figured out that one of the girls must be his ex girlfriend. He had told me that they fought a lot and from the postings on her page she had made references to me…..and she was not happy with him to put it lightly. But like an idiot I accidentally hit the “request to be friends” button for her and she accepted and I immediately unfriended her. But she friended me back! Now I don’t know what to do…..I am afraid to text him and I am sure she told him…..any advice please!

Reply October 18, 2014, 12:14 pm


Hey, can someone help me understand my situation? I don’t really know if it falls into this category of emotional unavailability but here it goes…
I met this guy at a wedding dance and he asked me to dance and I was unsure about him so I left when he asked to kiss me. But then I couldn’t stop thinking about him and he kept pursuing me so I started hanging out and talking to him. We did have sex early on, because I figured he just wanted a FWB thing. Well, he kept saying he wanted to really take me out and hang out outside of bars and just the two of us. He took me on a real date and was a real gentleman opening my car door and everything. That was when I knew I really liked him. The next time we hung out, after being intimate, he asked me to be his girlfriend because he liked me and hadn’t met a girl like me. We dated for almost two months. He always was kind of a crappy texter and even told me he didn’t like texting much but we would talk every few days and hangout once a week. Well a week before we broke up, he stopped really texting me to like just once a week. A few seperate weekends he wouldn’t contact me so I never knew if we were going to have plans or not. Then I would finally contact him and he’d be out with friends or family which was fine by me, just would have been nice to know ahead of time.Well then last week he broke up with me saying he had wanted to try dating but it wasn’t for him right now. He is 26. He did start a new job that started getting busy around the time we began dating, and I thought maybe it was because he had some co-workers he hung out who were wild but they actually are all settling down with girlfriends.
He says it is honestly not me and he hasn’t dated since almost high school and it just isn’t for him right now, all the work.
My question is, do you think we honestly would have a chance later on, after some time has passed? Do you think this is honestly due to him not having time, or is it an emotional issue type deal? I know not to wait around forever but I had a really weird feeling with this guy. Everything about him was what I wanted in a guy and his only bad behavior tied in with the break up, like his reasoning. It kind of felt like he had been single so long he kind of forgot or was not used to being with someone. Everyone who knows him doesn’t have a bad thing to say about him. He really is a great guy, I also never worried about other girls because besides work and hobbies he doesn’t go out all that much. His friends did tell me that he has always been very private about his relationships and all that and kind of awkward about it. I guess I know I will get over it eventually and I am finishing my last year of college but I just can’t help but wonder if we will be together again with different timing. I mean he lives with a roommate, maybe after he gets his own place and settles into work.

Reply September 25, 2014, 1:19 pm


Dear Kaitlin
I’m sorry that this guy has disappointed you. I am not an expert, but it sounds to me like this guy’s feelings are lukewarm toward you, or he wouldn’t be able to let you get away. I’m sorry to tell you this, because I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I think its unlikely that your relationship will heat up enough later to ignite. I personally don’t think its a good use of your time and energy to be involved with a guy whose interest is so weak. He’ll never give you enough love and you won’t be happy..

Reply October 24, 2014, 11:45 pm


Thank you, Pamela, for your thoughts on this. Yeah, for how nice he was and how he worked so hard to get me even to like him just really confused me. But I realize he is a typical guy who wants to do as little work as possible. Not saying they all do that, but what baffled me was that he went through the work to even bother with wanting me to be his girlfriend, rather than just act like a “hookup” from the start. Who knows! But I have since put my efforts into more useful opportunities.
Thanks again =]

Reply November 6, 2014, 7:14 pm


I think I have a problem. In a way, I am too “trained” to be “logical” and always dismiss my feelings as crazy, never bring them up, and it hurts all of my relationships in the long-run. I always get a delightful, “Wow, we NEVER fight!” and will go for years in a relationship, boy blissfully happy that he has the coolest girlfriend ever. All the while, something (usually something I can’t pinpoint it, but it’s there) is off. If I can’t successfully describe what’s irking me, and I don’t have a possible solution, or I don’t think I could walk away from the relationship at that moment anyway, I don’t bother bringing ‘it’ up (whatever it is). Then one day, I figure out what ‘it’ is and end things abruptly, blind-siding my partner, and feeling terrible for wasting their time. Any suggestions on how I can be fairer to myself and others?


PS. As of late, I’ve been trying to use my shopping rule to decipher if something is worth bringing up (I always talk myself out of everything, rationalizing that I don’t NEED it.): If I’m still thinking about the item a half hour after I’ve walked out of the store, then I go back and buy it. Likewise, if something is bothering me long after an occurrence, then maybe it’s worth mentioning. But, that’s all I got.

Reply September 24, 2014, 1:49 pm

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