Am I Emotionally Unavailable? (A 3 Point Guide)

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This article will take a look at what it means to be emotionally unavailable as well as what the symptoms are of this state. The article will also touch upon the reasons that lead to emotionally unavailability. Lastly, the article will highlight the treatment of emotional unavailability.

Am I Emotionally Unavailable?

You are emotionally unavailable if you are:

  • Afraid Of Commitment
  • Call The Shots
  • Don’t Follow Plans
  • Keep Options Open
  • Avoid Relationship Things
  • Don’t Trust The Other Person
  • You Fear Losing Yourself In A Relationship

Let us take a look at these in detail!

Afraid Of Commitment

People who are emotionally unavailable will be afraid of commitment. As soon as they feel like things are getting serious with a certain person they will back out immediately. This is because they are scared they will get too attached.

Call The Shots

If you are emotionally unavailable then you will notice that it is you who does all the talking or decides who does what. If it’s going out for dinner then you are the one who says where to go!

Don’t Follow Plans

If you are in a relationship with someone who is emotionally unavailable then you will notice that they don’t follow up with plans. If you planned to go bowling on the weekend they will either cancel out at the last minute or forget to meet you.

Keep Options Open

Emotionally unavailable people are scared of committing to one person – they prefer to keep options open in case one does not work out!

Avoid Relationship Things

People who are emotionally unavailable will prefer not to do the typical relationship things such as discuss why a fight occurred or how to improve things or even how each of the partners in the relationship.

Don’t Trust The Other Person

If your partner is emotionally unavailable then you will realize that they do not trust you – they will suspect you of things and won’t let their belongings lie around freely. Thus, this is a good way to tell if someone is emotionally unavailable or not as the trust issues do show up soon!

You Fear Losing Yourself In A Relationship

Are you afraid you will lose yourself in a relationship? If yes, then you may be someone who is emotionally unavailable. You are scared that you will have to mould yourself so much to make your partner happy that you won’t be able to recognize yourself – this is usually an irrational fear.

Sources Of Emotional Unavailability

Here are the reasons why someone may be emotionally unavailable!

  • Attachment issues
  • Temporary circumstances
  • Breakup grief
  • Depression
  • Stress

Attachment Issues

Childhood attachment to primary caregivers can play a significant role in emotional unavailability.

If your caregivers didn’t show interest in your feelings or offer much affection and support, you may have absorbed this as a relationship model.

As an adult, your attachment to romantic partners might follow this pattern and tend toward avoidant. You will also show less interest in your partner just as your caregiver showed in you – although this is something no one likes it is unconsciously adopted by individuals who then carry it forth into their relationships.

Temporary circumstances

Sometimes a person may be going through issues such as a family problem or they are in that part of their career where they just want to focus on their work. Hence they will be emotionally unavailable for you. It is important that people learn how to identify different aspects of their life. Yes, one should focus on what is important to them but at the same time if they come across a good opportunity then they should not let it go.

Breakup Grief

Breakups can be tough and they not only result in emotional unavailability but many of the symptoms that are concomitant. It is usually because of these experiences that people become less trustful of others, do not like to open up or take initiative and no longer express themselves to others – all in all they become emotionally unavailable.


This can also lead to emotional unavailability. Let us take a look at this in more detail!

Depression – A Mental Health Condition

Depression is a serious mental health condition and affects how you feel, think and behave. It affects millions of people all around the world and can result in severe symptoms – even suicide!

It involves a person having a negative outlook about the world, oneself and others. The person feels as though they are not capable of working through their problems and they also lose much interest in previous activities that once excited them. They experience a number of changes in their sleep routines, eating habits and overall behaviour. They feel persistently sad over a considerable amount of time and they have issues in thinking clearly – they are not able to maintain good performance in work and their relationships – although this perception is changing because depressed people often mask their present state effectively.

Depression is quite different from sadness that we experience. Sadness is a temporary state that we experience due to a certain life event. Also, in sadness we do not lose our self esteem and our focus is not on ending our own life but ending the problems we have. 

Depression – The Symptoms

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Stress – Leads To Emotional Unavailability

Let us take a look at the symptoms of stress!

According to WebMD, the following symptoms reflect stress:

Emotional symptoms of stress include:

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
  • Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
  • Avoiding others

Physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
  • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth

Cognitive symptoms of stress include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgment
  • Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side

Behavioral symptoms of stress include:

  • Changes in appetite — either not eating or eating too much
  • Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
  • Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing

What To Do?

Here are some tips on how to battle emotional unavailability!

  • Irrational Thoughts: You need to identify the thoughts that fuel your emotional unavailability. This is more like identifying the root cause and challenging it either mentally or physically.
  • Involving Your Partner: You might be with a good person who could be lost if you continue to be emotionally unavailable – it is important to open up to them and tell them about your condition. It is possible they will play a more active and patient role from now on to help you get better and be yourself.

Practice opening up!

It’s often helpful to get more comfortable expressing emotions on your own before trying to share them with a romantic partner.

To do this, consider these ideas:

  • Keep a journal of your feelings.
  • Use art or music to practice emotional expression.
  • Talk to trusted people, like close friends or family members, about emotions.
  • Share emotional issues or vulnerabilities via text first.


This article took a look at the ways someone can tell whether or not they are emotionally unavailable which included not being trusting, backing away from commitment and not expressing one’s feelings. Also, the article highlighted what the sources of emotional unavailability are such as childhood attachment issues, depression and stress. Lastly, the article provided some tips on how someone can battle emotional unavailability such as by involving their partner and challenging their irrational thoughts.



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