One of the biggest obstacles in building a healthy relationship is actually ourselves. Are you emotionally available or emotionally exhausted? Read on to find out how this affects your ability to create the proper environment for your relationships to prosper…
Emotional availability … it’s a psychological buzzword for a characteristic that we can all pick up on in people, whether we are romantically interested in them or not. A simpler way to say it would be ‘He’s just not that into you’ … and there are books, movies and Sex and the City episodes aplenty to watch if you want some real-life examples of that condition! Here is some relationship advice to work out whether he’s emotionally available and really ‘into you’ and what should you do if he isn’t.
What is Emotional Availability?
You know if someone is truly interested in you. They ask about your life and they care about what happens to you when you aren’t around. They share details of their own lives and ask you for help. This is emotional availability.
A more dictionary-esque definition of emotionally available might be “the ability to comfortably and confidently share thoughts, feelings, time and energy with another person in a relationship” … but we all know what unavailability feels like. It feels very lonely, even when you’re sitting next to each other. It’s the feeling of having to force words out of your mouth, because you know they won’t really be heard or cared about. It the constant wonder about your position in the other person’s heart … and it just feels yucky.
Remember that physical availability doesn’t always equal emotional availability. There are many people who are willing to be there in body, but not in spirit. They will talk about only superficial subjects, or go through the motions of a relationship very mechanically.
How to make sure your potential partner is emotionally available
Here are some signs in an early relationship to help you determine if your partner will be emotionally available:
- You are certain that yours is the only romantic relationship in their life is a good indication of their emotional availability
- They proudly talk about you to friends and family
- They venture details about their day, both external and internal events. For example, “This is what happened; this is how it made me feel”.
- They are willing to spend time with you, and their old friends, together
Remember, though, that there is a difference between maintaining independence and emotional unavailability. Everybody needs time to indulge their own hobbies, to do their own work and to just be alone with their thoughts.
It’s usual for the amount of time you spend together and the number of issues you agree on to start petering off after a few weeks or months in a relationship – this cycle is healthy. Emotional unavailability can be seen when you drift apart, and then just keep drifting instead of striking a balance.
But, I can change!
There is a single inevitability in the universe – change. Leopards might not change their spots … but people change every day! Don’t just give up on a relationship with an emotionally unavailable person – try some of the following steps.
Try to make yourself as emotionally available as possible. Talk about you feelings, and ask about theirs if you want to know. Keep asking – some people are just too shy or have low self-esteem.
- Make sure you maintain some independence. Don’t suffocate your partner with requests for time, with constant conversation, etc. At the same time, don’t put up with living with a brick wall that likes to party without you!
- Consider relationship counselling. For many people this is the catalyst that allows their relationship to heal, and it is always worthwhile trying before chucking in a marriage or long-term partnership.
If this relationship advice and all else fails, remember that people change when they are ready to change, and sometimes nothing you do or say will quicken the process. It may even take a breakup for them to realise the error of their emotional ways. Emotional unavailability is not a walk in the park, and like so many factors in human relationships, there are no hard and fast rules or answers. In the end, you’ll know when you made enough effort … and what you have to do to be happy.