MY UNFORTUNATE ENCOUNTERS WITH EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE MEN
December 4, 2020
A true-life story, the author prefers to remain anonymous.
A true-life story, the author prefers to remain anonymous
I am not a relationship expert or a life coach. My utmost desire is to share my story as a woman who has had few experiences with dating emotionally unavailable men in hopes that it will help prepare other women.
I got married to an emotionally unavailable guy. Then I fell deeply in love with another guy that I dated for three (3) years who was honest enough to say from day one of the relationship that he does not want to settle.
This guy was the most romantic, kind, matured, polite and humble man I have ever met. Not being able to be with such a person, is such a deep loss. He loved me dearly for what I am, understood my deepest emotions. I had to stay because it felt good, he respected me to the highest esteem and cared for me in every way and supported my dreams.
Despite all that I never felt fulfilled and I had to end the relationship, because I looked at the bigger picture and I said to myself: I want a home and a family. I think the biggest mistake we make as women is fooling ourselves : by saying ok, ‘this guy says he never wants to settle, but he might change his mind later when he gets to know me and fall in love with me’. DO NOT DO IT!
I have met guys that say out rightly what they are looking for in a relationship and go for it. That’s what you should look for, a guy that matches your own motives and values in life. Unfortunately, sometimes you might see a guy that desperately wants to settle but you can’t like that person or fall in love with them. However, we still need to be hopeful that one day it will happen and that everything just feels right when you meet the right person that God has ordained.
After a few years, I have felt a deep emotional connection with someone I have known for two and a half years now. With this guy I had the greatest emotional turmoil because the relationship was a long distance relationship (LDR). I had to go through all the normal LDR stress apart from having it with an emotionally unavailable man.
Why some women are attracted to emotionally unavailable men?
Many times we tend to be attracted to emotionally unavailable men because it feels familiar due to other past relationships with other emotionally unavailable partners or even our parents. In my own case, my parents have been emotionally available, but I have let emotionally unavailable men into my life in the past and so the cycle continued.
Our subconscious mind adapts to familiarity quickly, it feels comfortable and we accept it. Sometimes the universe actually tests us to see whether we are committed to staying away from what is emotionally unfulfilling to us, the universe sends you men that are emotionally unavailable and it becomes your responsibility to accept it or reject it.
Recognising early signs of emotionally unavailable men is very essential so that you can choose not to date them. The more you become emotionally available to yourself the less susceptibility you have to emotionally unavailable men, the first question I will ask women is: how much time do you spend with yourself? How much time have we used to heal from our past, deal with our past before moving to the next relationship?
Signs of an emotionally unavailable person
When you become vulnerable with them they shut down the conversation and they withdraw. They do not know how to be there for you i.e. they lack the emotional maturity, hence cannot handle your feelings and emotions.
The do not make you a priority, they do not know how to prioritize you in their life.
Mind playing games and manipulation on your weaknesses.
You always get mixed signals, they themselves do not know what they want.
Ladies, if you spot the above traits in a man, run as much and fast and far as you can. Especially when you know what you want, you value yourself or know the kind of relationship you are craving for.
Sometimes, when we are head over heels we tend to focus on the person, how much we love them and not focus on the relationship itself; whether it is what you really want. Genuinely addressing ourselves with questions in a relationship truly paves the way to the reality of what we really want. Questions like: what do I want in a relationship? What am I looking for? What makes me happy? From what I have learnt when a man knows what he wants, he goes for it and does not play mind games or waste your time.
Let’s take this guy that I am still in love with, he is a kind hearted person and with a great sense of humour, he sees the things I sometimes don’t see in myself and loves me for it. He makes me feel so good about myself, he is traditional and we share the same values in life and we want to see each other grow and support each other. This sounds amazing right?
However the LDR has resulted in causing me so much stress, anxiety, loneliness, sleepless nights, depression and emotional unfulfilments, that has jeopardized our relationship. It has brought at a low point, and it opened my eyes to realise that we do not complement each other as we bring the worst out of each other.
Apart from all the negative consequences of a LDR, as a woman in my 30s, I needed to settle down and have kids, being with a guy that is indecisive and confused can be nerve wrecking, more so when he never wants to let you go but still keeps you hanging because you are so attached to him. The honest truth is, that he is not the one that is keeping me hanging, it is I that is allowing myself to be kept hanging, being in the dark, allowing myself to be in a relationship that does not truly feel like a real relationship. That could be the most unfulfilling experience ever, it makes you overthink because your guy is not there to reassure you, being transparent and runs away from discussions that has to do with commitment. I have been doing the right things in the relationship in terms of my loyalty, love and care that I have shown to the best of my ability, my rights have always turned into wrong because of my blunt and impulsive nature. That has made me say things I regret when things do not go my way or when I cannot handle his habits and emotional unavailability with emotional intelligence.
The best thing you can do for yourself, is to be responsible for your own actions, acknowledge your mistakes and work on them to make your relationship a better one, more especially if it is a relationship worth fighting for. During my time with him, I have grown to understand myself better, be able to learn everyday as to how to become a better person. I have learnt that I have to be mature, patient, understanding, and tolerant. I grew up with a family that is loving, caring, emotional and sensitive, which I believe affects me in my love life both positively and negatively. Yes, being caring and loving has caused me too much pain.
During my journey with this guy, I got to learn a lot about how some men really think, learn about clinical psychology, there and then I discovered that I am indeed an empath. You are an empath if you find yourself caring about the suffering and difficulties of others that it can overshadow your care for yourself. This can factor into compassion fatigue and burnout, so it’s essential to save some energy for yourself. When you are empath in a relationship, you really start feeling that you are giving way too much more than you are receiving, that leads to an emotional imbalance in the relationship. It starts to feel as if it is a one sided relationship and then as a woman you start exhibiting signs of anxiety and unhappiness, and you start appearing all clingy and needy. It leads to so much negativity and toxicity in a relationship. The relationship becomes so unhealthy and becomes a roller coaster of pain and suffering. This pain becomes worse when you become vulnerable, thinking that the man you are with is your home, your sanity, someone you can pour out your pain on to, only for him to disappoint you by shutting you down, show no respect for your feelings. I know as women we can be so emotional and impulsive, we sometimes do not know how to communicate our needs in a logical manner (for men are logical), or when to say things at the right time. However it takes an empathetic man to understand where that woman is coming from, embrace her physically and emotionally, make her feel safe that she can trust him at her weakest and darkest moment. I have learnt that, if deep down you can trust a guy with your feelings, it is important that you learn how to communicate those needs in a healthy manner. I have tried to do that many times, in my uncalculatingly or calculating manner and it backfired and then it appeared to him in his own way, as if I am condemning him and I do not appreciate whatever he does for me. Then that becomes a red flag.
I now strongly believe it when they say people do not cross your path for no reason, we come across people to teach us important life lessons, or even to discover things we never knew about ourselves. It is only with pain that you endure, you can tell how strong you are. I have learnt from experience that certain pain is a blessing to become a better person. I always knew I am not a perfect person, I know my flaws and in fact I try to work on my bad habits every single day to become a better version of myself, more so when I think of it from a religious point of view. Ladies, if you need to learn about relationships, watch YouTube videos of clinical psychologists offering great advice on what healthy relationships are all about, the essential ingredients of a healthy relationship and how to value yourself as a woman, the do’s and don’ts of a relationship. I have indeed finally learnt the hard way that giving up in relationships that are worth fighting for is not the way to go. Don’t get me wrong though, giving up on an unhealthy relationship is the best thing you could do to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally. Giving up on a relationship that is going nowhere, and having your partner not willing to make the efforts to make it better is not a wrong thing to do. Part of self-love I believe is getting to know yourself better, do the things that will give you inner peace instead of just concentrating on your flaws. In other words embrace your flaws, at least when you recognise them, be responsible for your own actions, work on them, apologise and move on. Part of self-love, is letting go of mistakes others do to you and move on, then you will always feel liberated. That’s how the new me wants to operate in any kind of a relationship with other human beings
What are the ingredients of a healthy relationship?
After knowing this I was able to know where I have gone wrong in past relationships and I look forward to better myself to have a fruitful future relationship. Here are 9 indicators of a healthy relationship:
Trust: in my own case I have lost trust in this this guy I am in love with, not that he will cheat on me, I just do not trust his words and actions any more.
Communication: we all know the cliché, communication is key to every relationship. That alone is not enough. We are taking about healthy communication
Communicating with your partner when things go wrong in an assertive manner, Where I went wrong, is when I do not sometimes communicate in an assertive manner and my right becomes wrong
Taking responsibility for your actions, many times when I point out his behaviours to be unacceptable; totally my own right to have healthy boundaries, he does not approve of it instantly but later, after bitter draining arguments. Taking responsibility for your actions save the relationship many unnecessary arguments. The word sorry is small word with big meaning and effect to soften bitter situations, many times if we could just put our ego aside and our guard down and just simply apologise. We can never always be right!
The silent treatment is one main ingredient for an unhealthy relationship which I have experienced with this guy and has been damaging and had led to so much hurt and resentments. His silent treatments has put so much strain in the relationship because he gave so much strength and energy to the most stupid issues instead of the bigger picture, which is the relationship and its value. Not being able to let go can be your biggest enemy and that’s what the devil wants in a relationship. He will start whispering negativities which lead to unrealistic beliefs.
Healthy communication is when you do not lash out when your partner tells you their wants and needs in the relationship. I have had that so many times and it is so painful and disheartening.
We as individuals should be able to know how to self sooth ourselves, hold on to ourselves when our views doesn’t match our partner. Refusing to listen, lashing out without comprehending what your partner is trying to say, can become a problem. I can say I hold myself responsible for that behaviour and he does that too. In these situations it is best to stay calm, listen and reassess the situation and take responsibility for your actions.
This comes to an important area of healthy communication which is the act of listening. If we learn to stay calm, sit and listen, be empathetic, try to understand where your partner is coming from, creates a room for trust to be vulnerable and comfortable to talk how you feel about each other. If we lash out, refuse to listen, walk away will create fear in letting out your feelings in the future, which is very unhealthy. We tend to lose trust in that relationship and we stop feeling safe.
Allowing each other to say our feelings and respecting those feelings can help us work through those feelings. My view can be different from yours, you might not understand my views or values but respecting them because it makes your partner happy makes perfect sense. Fighting to always be right in a relationship is also very unhealthy!
This guy has given me the utmost respect as an individual as he has seen qualities in me he adores. However that alone is not enough when there is no respect for one’s feelings, understanding the values of that person is a sign of utmost respect, respecting who we are at our core is a sign of respect.
From the beginning of a relationship, it is very important that you communicate your boundaries to your partner and of course know your partners boundaries as well, and respect them. I have communicated my boundaries in so many ways both in an assertive and aggressive manner. As human beings, we can make mistakes, step into each other’s boundaries to test the waters and see how far we can go with it. If we learn to apologise and move on that would be great.
Not Losing focus on what is important i.e. the relationship
In a long term relationship, we forget or not do the things that are important to our partner, hence it’s good to be mindful of what our partner is into, to keep the relationship lively, spicy and happy. Knowing each other’s love language is also key.
This guy knows very well how to be grateful, he definitely appreciates me in so many ways, and do communicate that often. Unfortunately, the misperception he has about me not is me not being appreciative. This is because when I communicate my needs and wants, I appear to be criticising too much or complaining which turns out as if I do not appreciate him. Sometimes, it is good to lower our expectations but of course not to compromise on your boundaries. I do appreciate him in so many ways. I appreciate that he tries to make an effort to fix things, though that is after so much arguments and defensiveness. I am grateful for one thing which is, he aspires me to grow in my career and to excel in life, and I appreciate him for being my biggest cheer leader.
Knowing how to resolve conflicts
Learning that what we are arguing about is not as important as the relationship
Learning when to put our weapons down or away, compromise, communicate with each other and respecting each other
Bottom line I have learnt that any relationship can work, if we are ready to make the effort to make it work, take responsibility for our actions and be ready to change and to heal. I honestly do not know my fate with this guy I love, but I definitely know I cannot continue with him if things remain still as it is, this is not the relationship that I want. And most of all, I will never give up on love, I am ready to be heartbroken again and again, grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I am ready to love again and again until I have a breakthrough in my love life. I do not agree with Lady Gaga which sang ‘I will never love again’ in that movie ‘a star was born’.