Here’s Why Dating Someone Who’s Emotionally Unavailable Sucks So Much

Dating someone who’s emotionally unavailable sucks. No matter how much effort you put into the relationship or how hard you hope you just might be the one to change them, the truth of the matter is that you’ll always come out on the losing side.

The excuses suck. Seriously, there’s always some dumb excuse for why things have to be so difficult all the time. The problem is never them, it’s always something else. They “just aren’t good at relationships” when asked why they’re stalling on commitment. They “aren’t good at talking” is the go-to when asked why they don’t communicate. They “don’t know how to buy gifts” so they just don’t bother. Yeah, OK. If only that was the way life worked. It sure would be nice not to know how to get up before 11 a.m. and go to work and just not do it.

They’re incredibly selfish and think the world revolves around them. While they may or may not realize they’re being selfish, their selfishness rears its ugly head often in the relationship. They tend to believe that your life (and the world at large) revolves around them no matter how many times you tell them it doesn’t. Your needs aren’t a priority and they often make you feel like you’re asking for too much by demanding the bare minimum.

Communication definitely isn’t their strong suit. They shut down when the conversation gets anything close to serious. They’ll throw out all the aforementioned excuses and when you finally corner them with proof they’re taking you for granted, they’ll go blank and come back with, “I don’t know what you want me to say.” You’ll end up feeling like you’re talking to a brick wall because the conversation (and the relationship) is one-sided and you get nothing in return.

Their texting skills leave much to be desired. Getting a text back is nearly impossible. When they’re around you, they’re constantly glued to their phones but they somehow never have it when they aren’t with you. It could take days just to get that stupid squinty-faced emoji in response to a half paragraph message about why your dog went to the emergency vet. 

They do an amazing disappearing act. I’m convinced that ghosting was invented by the most emotionally unavailable person alive. They have a knack for going completely off the radar for a week then coming back and acting like it’s no big deal. Not only is it common in new relationships, the awful habit continues for as long as you’re together. Sometimes it even ends that way and right when you start to repair the damage, guess who pops back up with an attempt at dragging you back in? Remember those sucky excuses? Here they come again. They were “just really busy” or they “didn’t notice you called.” For three weeks? I don’t think so.

Everything is always on their time. It isn’t just when you eat or what time you wake up.  Plans for the future, vacations, life events, everything is on their schedule. Want to go see Maui while you’re only a 30-minute flight away on Oahu? Be ready for them to tell you that “you’ll go next time, you can’t see Rome in a day.” Don’t even think about trying to get more serious with them, either. “The Talk” will quickly be pushed aside until they get that promotion at work. It just isn’t the right time… for them—nevermind how you feel. Nothing will happen a second before they decide they’re ready.

You’re on a constant emotional roller coaster. Sometimes they’re there when you want or need them, but most of the time they aren’t. They’re great at first, but once they have you, they stop doing the things that it took for you to fall for them because they think that you’ll always be around. Walking away from the relationship isn’t easy. Just when you’ve had enough, they show you a glimpse of the person you fell in love with and you’re tricked into staying. You end up spending too much time loving the person you thought they were, not who they actually are.

They say they love you but act like they don’t. They often seem cold, unfeeling, and distant, yet they’re quick to tell you how much they love you and don’t want to lose you when you’re ready to give up. The idea that actions speak louder than words just doesn’t occur to them—they think what they say will override all the things they do (or don’t) to make you unhappy. Blah.

They always play the victim. Eventually, you’ll lose your cool when they tell you they don’t know what you want from them for the 800th time even though you’ve told them explicitly. When you repeat that you just want them to act like a normal person who occasionally gives real love, affection, and attention, they start throwing themselves a pity party about how hard they’re trying but how they keep coming up short. Ugh, grow up.

You start feeling like there’s something wrong with you. You start to wonder if it’s something you’re doing that makes them act this way. It’s not. Trying to see their perspective or changing the way you attempt to discuss problems gets no new results. Asking how they want you to work through issues with them is virtually the same as asking them the square root of Taco Bell. You start wondering you’re expecting too much out of the relationship or if you’re being needy. You lose sight of what a healthy relationship is.

When you decide to walk away, you feel guilty for giving up on them. The thought of ending the relationship makes you worry that you’ll regret it later. You don’t want to wonder if you could have done something differently to make it work. The truth is that you care so much about someone who cares so little and you can’t make someone change. You deserve more, so act like it and leave.

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