It’s not just a guy thing
As Valentine’s Day approaches, a topic that comes up frequently came to mind: emotional unavailability. But, it’s not just men. Many women who accuse a partner of being unavailable are just as unavailable, otherwise she wouldn’t have picked him (or her).
Is it a choice?
This idea of “choosing” trips up clients sometimes. “Is it MY fault!?” Of course, it isn’t your intention to be attracted to and choose unavailable. People do it because it is their survival programming. It protects them. You’ve heard me quote Dr. Bob Scaer before: When we sabotage, it’s not psychological, it’s physiological. If your fear is availability, then you might look for some guarantee that a man or woman is not all in. Unavailability feels safe and comfortable, because it’s what you’ve known.
What is emotional availability?
I’m not only talking about experiencing emotions, because some people use sorrow or anger to detach and shut others down. People are often in touch with what they feel – in a big way. But, emotional availability includes not only the willingness to share your emotions, but also: 1. the ability to acknowledge and hold space for the other person’s perspective and emotions, 2. having compassion for both of you, and 3. taking responsibility for your own triggers. Vulnerability connects, yet it can feel scary, so most people sabotage a relationship when it starts to get real.
What does emotional unavailability look like?
Maybe you’re attracted to someone who makes it clear they want biological children, but you are too old, and yet, you move forward. Or, perhaps they are living in your state temporarily, hoping to make it permanent, but it never happens. Maybe they are love addicts and come on strong with seduction that fizzles in the face of things getting real. Or, perhaps you’ve chosen a workaholic (or are one) always justifying why long hours are more important than the relationship.
And, sometimes it’s subtle. If this is your issue, you’ll sniff out unavailability in another person, even if it is not obvious at first.
What’s the take away
Things don’t just happen to you for no reason. But, that does not mean it’s your fault! It’s not conscious. Others in your past may have been scary, which created a subconscious fear of people or a deep belief that people will ultimately hurt you. This manifests in choosing people who will not get too close to you. Or if they do, maybe you throw down a barrier.
Noticing the pattern and doing the deep work to change the outcome is worth it!