Is he emotionally unavailable? 40 signs to help you spot whether you're in an unavailable relationship

**Please note – Since I first started Baggage Reclaim, while it’s still read mainly by women, I have a lot of male readers too, as well as readers in all types of relationship. If you’re going out with a woman, just swap he for she. Please also note that posts have been gender neutral since autumn 2010.**

In my book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, I share some of the most common signs and behaviours that indicate that you’re involved with a Mr Unavailable – an emotionally – and often spiritually and physically – unavailable man. In this post, I provide an overview of these signs and behaviours so that you can get a reading on your current relationship (or ‘non-relationship) situation. What I can assure you of is that their unavailability isn’t sparked by something you said or did, it’s not that they’ve ‘changed’ and that you need to find the right ‘access code’ and you’re definitely not going crazy; they’re unavailable.

 

More often than not, the primary issue that women focus on is the emotional unavailability but there are always physical and spiritual issues to prop it up. Mr Unavailable isn’t a Bad Boy per se and has nice qualities, which is what keeps the millions of women lingering around. To be fair – most people have ‘nice qualities’ and of course, as humans, we’re very good at rustling up qualities and seeing the best in people. This isn’t a bad quality but what we forget is that somebody’s availability and their ability to commit isn’t about ‘nice qualities’. It’s about whether they are capable of mutual love, care, trust and respect as well as whether they can come up with the goods for a mutually fulfilling copiloted relationship the landmarks such as consistency, balance, and intimacy.

 

He is the ambiguous, hard to read, attractive guy that sits between Bad Boy and Mr Nice Guy. Mr Unavailable (or as some refer to him EUM – emotionally unavailable man – or EU) with his inability to tap into his emotions, his lack of self-awareness and his mismatched actions and words, has millions of women investing their time and energy into fruitless liaisons with him.

His characteristics, personality and behaviour give the women he engages with just enough of a hint of what he could be… if only he wasn’t so self-involved and messy.

He has a host of excuses as to why he can’t be as much of a partner as you would like him to be and blames “timing”, and says stuff like, “If only things were different, you’d be the perfect girlfriend”, but that doesn’t explain why he continues to play havoc with your emotions.

 

Mr Unavailable is very much about the chase. He pursues hard, showers you with attention and lays it on thick with a trowel in order to reel you in, but from the moment that you are hooked and things get comfortable, he backs off. Then he homes in again. This is a good time to read about blowing hot and cold, Future Faking, and Fast Forwarding. All of this behaviour allows him to run things on his terms and manage down your expectations – it’s how achieves The Status Quo. When you look at the pattern of your relationship, you will notice that it always, no matter how much blowing hot he does, rolls back to his comfort zone. It’s round about that time when you’re going to feel as if you have to go into people-pleasing overdrive or when you’re going to try and end things in an attempt to shake things up and make him want you that intensely again.

 

After a while it seems as if he wants to avoid doing anything that involves being close to you – think emotional intimacy – despite starting off very eagerly when he was pursuing you and unsure that he could win you. Did I mention that Mr Unavailable associates the feeling of desire with the feeling of uncertainty and being out of control? Of course this means that the moment he feels safe, it’s back to blowing lukewarm or even cold.

 

Here are just some of the signs that you’re with a Mr Unavailable.

If you find one sign, you’ll find many, but often one sign is enough and you should use this to evaluate whether this is the type of relationship that you actually want to be involved in because each and every one of these signs, especially when more than one of them exists, spell pain and trouble. Here goes…

  1. He has a girlfriend or is married – read my post on being the other woman.
  2. He’s recently separated – read my post on how to cope when he’s separated.
  3. Or he’s divorced but using that fact to avoid committing – see my post on ‘Am I right not to go back to my flip-flapping divorcee?
  4. He’s in a long distance relationship. With someone else. Or you’re in one with him and he has no desire to get closer – read my rough guide to a new long-distance relationship.
  5. He’s very reliant on text messages, instant messaging and email for the majority of his contact – read my post on why you should be wary of any man who is reliant on text messaging etc.
  6. They’re ambiguous about the status of the relationship – check out my post on defining the relationship.
  7. You’re not sure when you’ll hear from the next, even though you’ve been dating them for a while.
  8. You think you’re in a relationship, but it’s closer to a booty call.
  9. He says stuff like ‘If only the timing was different, you’d be the perfect girlfriend’;’If only things were different I’d definitely marry you’. Check out other translations plus you can download a quick sheet of commitment avoidance phrases
  10. When you try to tackle the status of your relationship or any issues, he either tells you what you want to hear and then returns to his normal behaviour, or he just skirts the issue. One way or the other, you wind up back at square one.
  11. He lives with his ex.
  12. He shares a bed with a woman that he claims is his friend.
  13. He admits that he is dating multiple women continuously.
  14. He’s openly not over his ex.
  15. He says he’s over his ex but he’s quietly still trying to cope with the end of the relationship – yep, he’s not over his ex.
  16. He often mentions his ex or things that happened between the two of them.
  17. He’s an overt mother lover or mummy’s/mama’s boy.
  18. He’s a mother hater – has an overtly negative relationship with his mother.
  19. He doesn’t call when he’s supposed to. Ever.
  20. He’s one big walking excuse.
  21. He’s abusive and in fact, he’s an assclown. Note, all assclowns, so that’s people who are shady and abusive, are unavailable and have empathy issues, but not all emotionally unavailable people are assclowns.
  22. He creeps out after sleeping with you even though you’ve been together for a while
  23. He has a stringent routine that he just won’t deviate from – sometimes a sign that he has someone else.
  24. He won’t take calls either before or after a certain time – often a sign that he’s cheating.
  25. He doesn’t come around to your place until late.
  26. He is resistant to involving himself in your life.
  27. He talks about his problems, his successes, his life – it’s me, me, me all the way.
  28. He determines the momentum of the relationship – you meet up when he wants to meet up.
  29. He pushes for an ‘open’ relationship.
  30. He never refers to you as a girlfriend, partner or any form of significant other.
  31. He uses sex as his way of demonstrating his so-called ’emotion’.
  32. There are pockets of time when he disappears and then resurfaces with little or no explanation.
  33. He blows hot and cold.
  34. He’s quick out the gate in pursuing you, gets your attention, and then goes into a slow canter – Future Faking, and Fast Forwarding
  35. He tells you that he has a lot of issues that he needs to deal with.
  36. He actually says, ‘I’m not ready for a relationship’, but is still with you.
  37. He says he wants to get married, but there is no sign of a ring, no sign of a date and years are going by.
  38. He can’t commit to anything, no matter how minuscule. Everything that he’s asked, such as whether he can do something with you is a big drama to get him to say yay or nay.
  39. Struggles with being genuinely empathetic. Hell, in some instances, he has about as much emotion
  40. He may act as if he has a fire in his pants and has to sleep with you right away or very quickly…. and then blows hot and cold. Or you just don’t hear from him again…until he taps you up for sex next time he’s fishing around for attention.

Make sure you are aware of the implications of red flags in relationships (also code red and amber behaviour) having little or no boundaries.

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