Over the years, many a reader has claimed that they’ve been emotionally available to an emotionally unavailable partner. Here’s the thing:
If we are truly emotionally available and want to keep our integrity and basically not be met with tumbleweeds or the equivalent of, “What? What was that? You’re breaking up…” or even a ‘dead ringtone’, why are we choosing to be emotionally available to somebody who is afraid of intimacy, commitment, progression, balance, and consistency?
Why are we claiming to be emotionally available to somebody who doesn’t want to ‘hear’ us and ‘feel’ us to the level of which we’re claiming that we’re available?
One of the things I’ve learned from experience and also through the stories of BR readers, is that when we habitually engage with an emotionally unavailable person, even if we started out available, in the context of this involvement, we adjust ourselves. It may be conscious, it might be unconscious, but we do.
We can pick up on cues that indicate that certain subjects or situations are not a good idea.
We edit ourselves.
Let’s be real: If we’ve been raised in an environment with a lot of tension or where feelings or discussions were a no-no, or where we’ve gotten into the habit of being a pleaser, we can be pretty damn adept at reading a room or reading for what we feel are signs of tension, and then adjusting ourselves.
What do you do when you feel as if you’re putting yourself out there with somebody who at one point, was all over you like a rash or certainly giving the impression of availability, and now they seem to be stepping back by quietly or even aggressively putting up walls? You become more guarded and stop being as honest and vulnerable as you were before.
I know it feels as if we’re being available to these people because we’re so there or we’re quite frankly suffering in the relationship whether it’s privately as we struggle with our inner turmoil over the situation or out in the open as we battle with them, but there’s a difference between being available for battle and being available for a mutually fulfilling [emotionally] available relationship. I’ve had people insist on how available they are. What are they available for? Sex, ego stroking, last minute arrangements, filling in the gap between this person’s relationships, being taken advantage of.
That’s not being available; that’s being availed of.
The Baggage Reclaim crew (Or are we a tribe or a gang? Or something else?) is full of people who say that they want love, commitment, the whole shebang, but it’s time to ask ourselves when we have a recurring pattern of being with unavailable folk or we have hitched our wagon to the person who doesn’t want to budge from their position because their ‘ole commitment feet are set in concrete:
Why do we want to commit to the person who doesn’t want to commit? Why do we claim that we’re committed to people who may offer the least likely possibility of commitment?
There’s no such thing as a one-sided committed relationship.
How can we be in a committed relationship with somebody who is essentially leaving us hanging? Aren’t we just setting ourselves up to fail? Aren’t we making love into a battle for supremacy?
Why do we want to communicate with partners who don’t want to communicate?
Why do we want a relationship with the person who has made it patently clear that they are only in it for the sex or whatever?
Why do we want to settle down with somebody who is already in a relationship or married?
Why is it that we feel that we’re being at our most ‘available’ and vulnerable in an unavailable relationship?
Surely, if we truly wanted to be available and vulnerable, we would engage with people who want to expand and evolve emotionally with us?
There’s no real risk in us doing what we’ve done before, especially if it keeps us ‘safe’, it gives us an iron-clad alibi for the things that we feel are wrong with the world that have prevented us from doing differently, and it also allows us to secretly accept failure from the outset and corroborate an existing narrative.
When we truly seek to know and love ourselves, to be emotionally available and to have a mutually fulfilling relationship, we have to “meet” people in the sense that yes, we do need to be vulnerable in order to be and do all of these things but when we do it with like-minded folk, it is far more fulfilling. This is different to making ourselves ‘available’ in some pretty excruciating ways in the hopes that if they realise that we’re always there that they’ll either feel bad about their actions towards us or for not feeling the same as us, and then give us what we want. Do we really want to guilt somebody into doing the “right” thing?
At some point, we have to have a very honest conversation with ourselves and what we may find in amongst our fears is a fear of failure and of course, a fear of rejection.
We’re procrastinating in unavailable relationships.
By waiting around for others, we avoid having to put ourselves out there. By getting ‘overqualified’ in unavailable relationship experiences, it’s about fear of not being “good enough” as if to say that if we put in enough hours and get a degree in trying to figure out others, that we’ll eventually be worthy of either a relationship with them or a relationship with available people. We keep trying to prove that we’re worthy.
Of course if we persist at what we’re doing, we just wind up depleting our self-esteem.
Unavailable relationships and basically any relationship where we don’t truly get to be us and live, is really about hiding out and fear of being ‘seen’. We don’t run the risk of being us (we fear allowing somebody to get close enough to us that they won’t like what we’ve already been judging us for) and we get to avoid taking responsibility for how we feel and continue to feel, because we can focus on what the other person is doing or our so-called imperfections. We can also find that we move from unavailable to unavailable relationship because we don’t have to see things through and because we’re afraid that if we stay that we’ll get closer and then something will go wrong and we can’t cope with the uncertainty.
Once we bring awareness into the equation though and recognise our true needs and desires rather than letting fear (one of a number of emotions not our only emotion or the most important one) run the show, we can be more conscious in choosing actions and partnerships that chime with those true needs and desires, instead of being and doing things that take us away from these and who we truly are. When we raise ourselves up and come from a higher level of awareness, we will not persist in relationships that bring us down and dim our light.
Updated: You can now listen to We’ve got to stop procrastinating in unavailable relationships, on Soundcloud.