How to Unhook from an Emotionally Unavailable Partner.

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I met a man. He appeared interested in me but I didn’t know if I was interested in him.

We hung out. We talked. We shared stories. There was something there but I didn’t know what it was and I was having a difficult time reading what this man wanted.

My focus in a relationship is honest communication. It’s been a learning curve for me—once upon a time, I didn’t even know what I was really thinking and feeling, let alone how to communicate that with others. Now I’ve gotten better at figuring out my own feelings and thoughts, and I’m learning how to communicate them to the people I’m relating with.

I saw this experience as an opportunity to practice being clear and open.

I asked him: What’s going on?

This took courage—to be so upfront and clear—and I was too proud of myself to notice the quality and nature of his response.

He was unclear and cloudy but with just enough encouragement to keep me engaged.

Many deep conversations in, I found myself beginning to get interested in this man. I love men, always have. I love relationships too. I love being in relationships. Now here was a man I could potentially love and be in relationship with.

I opened up. I told him exactly what I was feeling. I felt brave, and vulnerable, and successful. I was getting good at this clear communication gig.

He invited me to a wedding, as his date. It seemed a clear signal that he was interested in pursing something. I still didn’t know for sure.

We went to the wedding. We watched this couple get married. We made small talk and ate canapes and drank wine and sat across the table from each other for dinner and listened to speeches. I still didn’t know. I knew I enjoyed his company. I loved our conversations. We had compatible interests.

We’d both had our share of difficult times, we’d known the darker side of life, we’d discovered yoga, we understood patterns and triggers and the ego and shadows. We discussed what we wanted out of relationship. We were on the same page, the same line, the same letter.

I sat in the unknown, staying open and present, seeing what might arise.

And then…

After dinner, he kissed me.

It was shockingly intimate. I was taken back. So that is what was there. My heart melted open and we kissed some more. All of my desires and longings rose up and poured into those kisses. I felt a degree of intimacy and oneness I hadn’t experienced in years. I didn’t expect this—there had been no hint when I first met this man, no lust, no desire, no wanting—just uncertainty and the unknown.

It made it all the more sweet.

The Monday after the wedding, I woke up feeling intense vulnerability. I felt shaky and freaked out and desperately wanted to grab out for something and hold on tight. Those kisses at the wedding had blown me open and I could feel the tenderness of my exposed heart. It was freaking me out.

But this was exactly what I’d asked for: a heart-centred experience. So I breathed, and called a girlfriend, and settled into feeling the vulnerability without closing down.

I even let him know, straight up and honest, what I was feeling. That’s good right?

He texted back: It means your heart is opening.

He lived four hours from me and we’d already planned to spend the next weekend together. It felt like the beginning of something that could be incredible and I was excited, nervous, vulnerable and open.

The weekend came, and it was glorious.

It was heart-breaking.

Everything I suspected could be there, was—we were connected on so many levels and in so many ways. Yet…

I could also see, clearly and plain as day, like the nose on my face, that this man was not ready and not available for any kind of real relationship.

He was absent when presence was called for. Occupied when I was in the same room. Distant unless I reached out and called him forth.

He was where he was. I wanted what I wanted. The two things were not on the same page, nor in the same book or even hanging out in the same library. No amount of wanting it to be different could change what was.

I said goodbye, got in my car, and drove away with tears streaming down my face. We’d only shared a weekend, yet the heartache was intense. All that potential and possibility, crushed by the reality of the situation.

He’d reached out to engage me, and hook me in, but once I was there, drew back and disappeared.

Continuing with my practice of clear and heart-felt communication, I sent a text sharing how I felt. There was no response at all. A few days later, I wrote an email, detailing it out. I received a short facebook message applauding my writing and ignoring the content.

couple hug love bridge loversSo it was to go for the next two weeks or so. My heart-felt, open communication led the way, and I eagerly inhaled any crumbs of response.

I already knew the truth but it’s hard to let go of a dream. Finally, I shook myself awake, and stopped communicating, curious to see what would happen if I didn’t lead the charge. Nothing happened. Communication stalled. Not a single peep. No text. no Facebook, no phone call. I resigned myself to reality.

It was but a three or four week blip, yet the feelings were as intense as if it had been a three year relationship—just condensed into a smaller time frame. The heart-break only lasted two days instead of two weeks.

I felt like a fool because I’d ignored key clues in the first week or so as to the availability and nature of this man. Yet I also felt proud of myself for being heart-open and clear all the way through. I had felt the truth, and while it had taken me a week or so to truly take it on board, I hadn’t denied or avoided it.

Because we know—we always know in our heart of hearts—what the reality is of the relationship we’re experiencing. Hope keeps us dangling. Desire. Wanting. Longing. Yearning. These things make suckers of us all.

Once upon a time, I’d experienced this same kind of intense connection and ultimate unavailability. Only back then, I held tightly to my dream of connected, heart-centred relationship and I’d pushed to make it so.

Instead of acknowledging the reality of the situation as it arose within the first three weeks, I stayed and stayed and stayed and had my heart broken month after month after year with the constant unavailability of my partner.

This seems to be the nature of life.

The same patterns present themselves again and again and again. We’re given the opportunity to see what this pattern is and choose how to respond to it. We’re given the opportunity to grow and change, until one day, that pattern doesn’t even arise.

If we ignore the pattern, if we hold fast to our assumptions and projections and desires we find ourselves back in the same situations again and again and again and we wonder how on earth we got there.

This time around, I felt everything as it arose, I sensed the truth of the situation, and I let it go. I determined that I wasn’t going to play this game.

I noted too that even though I was working on honest, clear communication I was still choosing written methods rather than picking up the phone and just talking to this man. But I cut myself some slack. I’m still a work in progress as we all are.

And of course, I questioned myself.

What in me attracted this experience and this man? Why do I attract men who are emotionally unavailable? Am I really emotionally available? Or is there other learning I’m going through?

My parents were both emotionally unavailable when I was growing up. No surprise there and it’s something more to explore. How do I make the leap from this kind of experience to intimacy with an emotionally available person? What do I need to do?

Relationships still seem to be the main way I learn about myself and how I relate to the world and other people. But then, how could it be any other way? How else do we learn to relate, but in relationships?

Since ceasing all communication except to respond, nothing has happened. It’s likely all my ideas about a possible relationship were assumptions and projections spun from my own desires and fantasies. Yet this man played a part—he intimated and suggested that he was interested. He pursued me initially, until I became interested, and then drifted off into his own world, content to let me pursue him.

There is still a conversation for us to have, for me to share my experience of our relating and to ask him about his experience. This I am determined to do via voice—if not in person, then at least on the phone. Of course, first I have to pin him down. He has to answer my message, and pick up the phone.

In the meantime, I’ve unhooked, let go and gotten clear, once again, always again, about what it is I want to experience. Now, added to something heart-centered, I’m also adding emotionally available. After all, it seems I keep getting exactly what I ask for.

And every time I learn something new.

This time around, I learned that I have what it takes to be honest and clear about my experience—but that that is not enough.

I learned that I also have to expect that of the person I am engaging with.

I can’t always lead the charge. I can’t hold myself to one standard and be forgiving, understanding, appeasing and accommodating when the other doesn’t respond in kind. I have high standards of my own behaviour and my own ability to grow and respond. Why don’t I hold the other to those same standards?

Because I’m afraid they won’t live up to them? It seems so—there’s a core belief that was revealed in this relating. This insight arose as I left after the weekend, sobbing behind my sunglasses, blinking away the tears so I could focus on driving.

I’ll never meet a man who fully meets me.

Wait a second. I caught myself. Where does that come from? Is that true?

I took the revelation of that core belief and turned it around. I asked myself: Do I fully meet myself? Do I fully meet life? How do I meet myself fully? How do I meet life fully?

Because there is a man out there capable of fully meeting me, when I am no longer afraid to fully meet myself, and my life. Such is the nature of our experience—always mirroring back to us that which we need to identify and heal within ourselves.

Such is the dance of life.

Such is the dance of relating.

 

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Developing Emotional Resilience.

 

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photos: Deveion Acker/Flickr, Petras Gagilas/Flickr

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Kara-Leah Grant

Kara-Leah Grant is an internationally renowned retreat leader, yoga teacher and writer. She pours her love into growing a world-wide tribe of courageous, committed, and empowered individuals through leading retreats in New Zealand, Mexico, and Bali. Kara-Leah is also the founder of New Zealand’s own awesome yoga website, The Yoga Lunchbox, and author of Forty Days of Yoga—Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice and The No-More-Excuses Guide to Yoga. A born & bred Kiwi who spent her twenties wandering the world and living large, Kara-Leah has spent time in Canada, the USA, France, England, Mexico, and a handful of other luscious locations. She now lives and travels internationally with her son, a ninja-in-training. You can find Kara-Leah on her website, or on Facebook.

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anonymous Jan 28, 2016 7:23pm

Wow. It seems like I’m going to be a broken record looking at all the comments on here, but that was beautiful insight and highly relatable. I refer to these people in my life as runners. I always seem to fight and they always seem to run. I often wonder if I am attracted to fighters, or if I’m doomed to love only runners. Course, hope would tell me that I will find that one fighter some day. And I will never lose that hope. Thanks again!

anonymous Jan 24, 2016 11:57am

Once again, the universe brings me what I need… I needed to read this. It is 95% similar to my current situation and thought process. I am also so proud of the progress I’ve made in communication, and can see so well from this point where I still have a lot of growing to do. I am at the same point as you of having let go of the dream but at the same time there’s some unfinished business I’m trying to figure out… Also if I can salvage our friendship we had before this all went down.

I am infamous for falling for emotionally unavailable guys, but this was so different… he seemed so open- and I just had an epiphany writing that- open and available are not the same thing. Best wishes to you and everyone else going through this…onward!

anonymous Jan 22, 2016 4:54am

This cut right to the core and resonated so strongly with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Several great wake up calls that I'm not ready to wake up to quite yet…but I can feel the change coming! It's absolutely a choice, and I'm nearly ready to make it.

anonymous Jan 14, 2016 5:53pm

I loved this article, it's me Sadly …. I keep asking myself am I emotional unavailable too? At this point trying tto acknowledge and accept myself . It's tough to do

anonymous Oct 5, 2015 2:08am

PLEASE READ “TELL ME HOW U LOVE AND I’LL TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE” it’s the most enlighting Book I have ever read about relationship and says EVERYTHING about this Kind of “traps” between emitionally unavailable people, telling what’s really going on inside you and the other partner, how to eventually disengage and how to beCome an emotional available person yourself 🙂

anonymous Aug 16, 2015 1:43pm

Thank you for sharing!
I am still trying to make sense of what happened and never been good in putting my feelings into words.
This article helps a lot!

It is also nice to read I am not the only one, since my close environment does not seem to understand (anymore).
I wish everyone all the best with their healing!

anonymous Aug 11, 2015 11:52am

This hit home for me. I have been seeing a guy for 11 months now and still do not know how he really feels about me or if he sees me in his future. We are both just fresh out of previous relationships, so we were in agreement to take things slow. He initiates everything, so I know the interest is there. I am filled with love, hope and passion everytime we are together on a leveI I have never experianced. He awakens me and fills me with happiness. But then I feel despair, pain and insecurity when we are apart because I never know when I will hear from him again or what this rrally is or isnt?. I don’t know what to do with my love or my pain. I have tried seeing other people, but they just don’t compare to my feelings for him at all. I keep seeing him with the hope that we are getting somewhere deeper, but also very aware that it’s possible nothing will ever be different. It’s torturing my heart. . .

    anonymous Jan 17, 2016 12:19pm

    Hi, I see your post was a long time ago but I'm just wondering what happened with you. I am going through something similar. When you said you don't know what to do with your love or your pain, I knew what you meant. Also, when you said you feel happy when you're with him and despair and insecurity when you're apart, that's exactly it. I have been "with" him for 7 months. I don't see him as much as I want to. He hides behind text messages most of the time. I never know when or if I'll hear from him again. As I'm writing this I might hear from him in the next five minutes, or never again, I don't know. I spend a lot of time missing a man who lives not far away. I spend a lot of time hoping. He seems very wounded. I try to talk to him about it over text, which doesn't work, and each time I'm with him, I make the mistake of just being so happy to be with him that I don't want to ruin it by talking to him about it, at the risk of scaring him away. I've tried ending it five times, but each time I do he throws a few more crumbs of hope at my feet to keep me from turning away, but then he himself turns away again. I'm torn between writing him a long love letter and getting in my car right now to go egg his house for what he's doing to me (haha). Anyway, please write back to let me know how everything went with you. Thanks! 🙂

anonymous Jun 21, 2015 3:58am

Wow! This is beautiful. Thank for this 🙂

anonymous Apr 30, 2015 12:47pm

Wow…soulfully enriching for me. Thank you for these words. I just went through 5 weeks of this…but the problem being is this man thought he was emotionally available. I knew the signs to look for otherwise and he had me believing we were connected deeply 200%. However, because he truly wasn’t and pain in his life arose…within 5 weeks…the wonderful feeling of finding that soul equal was quieted. It’s taken twice as long as the relationship to release the hope but I know I’ve been working through it. I will always have hope for possibility but being able to take my energy back from this and allow myself to continue to learn and grow are what I’ve been trying to focus on. After a painful divorce I had worked on myself for 2 years and finally allowed someone into my heart…where others had tried but I knew they were not for me. He was the one who opened my heart again and I allowed love in. It’s hard to stop something that feels right. It’s nice to read these words you have written from your experience…I know that I am doing my best and I know that loving is what I do best.

anonymous Apr 8, 2015 3:29pm

I’ve been on both sides and can’t figure it out either. I think the money system and legal system are designed for entrenched hierarchies and monogamy. So the relations between who we really are anthropologically and our societal structure make relations intractable.

Not to disrespect you but I suspect you and others who are not into polyamory have financial insecurities and or do not know what they are gifted at doing.

The three women I know who are open to me about not being monogamous have secure financials and or a clear career that they love. The rest are bargaining their reproductive rights as the book “Sex at Dawn” explains. It is what women and men now have to do now to gain access to food and shelter post agriculture.

anonymous Apr 7, 2015 9:57am

this is absolutely perfect… your experience is real, emotional, and beautiful, just like your soul!!!!

anonymous Apr 5, 2015 9:50am

Forgive me if I miss the mark completely here, but I don’t really understand why it’s a good idea to share your precious heart immediately with any guy you meet (no matter how ‘spiritual’ or ‘evolved’ they seem on paper). It seems to me like it might be because it’s difficult to hold and sit with your own experience and that’s why you might feel the urgent need to share it with the person who’s causing these feelings, to get some sort of validation that it’s ok, that it’s safe to feel it? (not judging you, we all do that, it’s natural, and it might not be the case with you at all). Of course your emotions are worthy of being expressed and felt, but why not use a journal and some quiet time instead? Usually what other people trigger in us has nothing to do with them and everything with ourselves, and it does seem kind of unfair to overwhelm them with it. It’s hard generally for people to be really present with you, and (providing you don’t do that yet) that’s why we need to fill that gap and be present with ourselves first. We need to learn to sit with our emotions and be ok with whatever we’re feeling, whether we get outside validation or not. Of course it’s not wrong to share your deepest experience with other people, but ideally these are people you know well and trust, and where you both provide this for each other. (In my humble opinion)

anonymous Feb 9, 2015 8:28pm

My sister forwarded me this article as I am going through something eerily similar to the author. It's incredibly difficult to see yourself repeat the same choice in men, and even more difficult when they disappear only to pop back up at the time when you are moving on. This gave me a lot of perspective. I'll be reading and re-reading this article. Thank you!

anonymous Jan 30, 2015 3:05am

Thank you for this beautifully written article. I came on here searching for the answer to a situation that is identical and I have found it in this piece!

anonymous Dec 20, 2014 8:14pm

Bravo!! Beautifully written & incredibly insightful… thank you, thank you!

Jai Bhagwan

anonymous Dec 20, 2014 10:30am

Thank you… feels darn good to know I'm not the only one. x

anonymous Dec 18, 2014 10:26am

Gave me goosebumps:). Thank you, I needed this. <3

anonymous Nov 11, 2014 4:26pm

Oh My God, thank you.

anonymous Oct 17, 2014 11:03am

Excellent post. I just went through this and ager 1.5 months with not knowing where this was going I told him you date me and see where this goes or nothing . He walked away and after two weeks I contacted him to say hi. He was very attentive. Then after 4 days he contacted me first. Maybe backing off is working. Well, I can only hope, but doubt it. He takes off to long island from Westchester where he lives to visit "family" He NEVER reaches out while there. My guess is her has someone out there, and was thinking of trying to have the best of two worlds at my expense and hurt feelings. 🙁

anonymous Oct 17, 2014 7:21am

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anonymous Oct 17, 2014 1:29am

Thank you for these truths!

I enjoy reading this story again and again..it shows how we,women, are really amazing creatures-longing for the Truth,strong and empowering ourselves alone-perhaps is this something in our nature-like Mother and Goddesses,we give Love,even when we know the man is not ready…i always asked myself if women are just not patient enough or just meeting “wrong”guys..on the other side Love expects nothing,we should give not take,be grateful and just evolve with experience like you had.When we acceot that life seems so much easier,peacuful and wonderful.Rainer Maria Rilke (german writer)wrote this qoute about Love: “immature Liive: I love you,because I need you.Mature Love:I need you,because I love you”.I thibk he reeeally got the point

Thabks again for your honesty!

anonymous Oct 16, 2014 8:29pm

Hi Kara-Leah,
Thank you for sharing your journey lovely lady. It was helpful for me to read this, and I felt deeply supported by your words. I've been on a similar journey myself. Congratulations on your tremendous progress and the level of insight you have achieved. Keep going forward on your journey and please let us know how the next phase of it unfolds.
Love and thank yous,
Celina

anonymous Oct 16, 2014 5:44pm

Wow! This has to be one of the absolute best articles I've read on the Elephant Journal! I think we all can relate to the scenarios you describe and I loved how heartfelt and introspective you were too. It's so hard to strike a balance sometimes between optimism and reality when it comes to relationships ~ leaning in either direction too much really gets us so off-balance. And learning how to trust without being too cynical in the process, based on our previous less-than-stellar relationships. Thanks for expressing what most of us experience, in a truly inspirational way.

anonymous Sep 25, 2014 8:25pm

I love this piece…it made me cry and remember a guy i recently met. He seemed perfect, reached out, hooked me in and when I was ready for more he pulled back. His behavior was so inconsistent. Sweet one day and the next, absent. I felt like e could have something really beautiful because we connected and felt like we knew each other for a long time….Not sure about this but when I met him, the word "soulmate" came to my mind….

anonymous Sep 8, 2014 6:41am

Wonderfully conscious, I can only admire your inner strength and desire to grow. I’m a man, but I’m afraid few men are innocent&daring enough to do the same. Still, I’m writing this because I’m thinking maybe I can suggest something useful: not only you are "a work in progress", but the man in this story is, too. Maybe, when things got more serious, he struggled and failed to look his fears in the eyes and open up like you managed to do, and then couldn’t help but retreat, unable to meet the challenge to… grow.
(I found this page through a link on the Facebook page of a Dutch book about fear of love/fear of separation: https://www.facebook.com/Liefdesbang?fref=nf)

anonymous Sep 1, 2014 7:40pm

Such an amazing article. I have lived this countless times. Thank you for sharing and for articulating this so clearly. This is beautiful.

anonymous Aug 18, 2014 6:29pm

I have had to 'grow-up' the needy little girl heart that will forever wait for the love, nurture and acceptance I did not have as a child. I have that issue, that's just me, and a lot of other people have it too. I love a man today that you could say is emotionally unavailable. (How would I know since I am emotionally frozen?) He doesn't say much, ever. We fill the space with a kind of small talk and humor. We laugh well and often. I have never been into small talk. I am a processor. Or used to be. We do things in the moment, and he demonstrates in scores of indirect ways how valuable I am to him. Although he is an all boy manly man, which I love, he is actually rather tender and vulnerable. I know that I can either make him or break him as far as his success with me is concerned. For me to walk away or criticize him because of my psychological expectations would be like stomping on a baby bird.
When he does start talking, it is usually to say something unexpected, delightful to hear, worth saying and he is direct and tells the truth. If he hurts my feelings, I don't say anything. Of course he would not do that deliberately. A day later, when I have no charge on it or agenda or significance attached, I will casually mention that I didn't like what he said or that it hurt my feelings. Usually, he will burst forth with an apology that shows that he has been thinking about it all along and wanting to put it right, or offer comfort, because over time he has tuned himself to my moods and knows when I am unhappy. It is important that I don’t reject him in those moments. Or, he lets me decide to just get over it. Not every upset requires a fix. The way I think of it, he bumps into me and later puts on the bandaid if needed. When he doesn’t like something that I have done or said, he ignores me benignly until I align with the direction he needs me to go in, then reacts with enthusiasm. I never feel criticized or inadequate. He graciously gives me space to be better at meeting his need in the moment. There aren’t very many things that are important enough to fight about anyhow.
My behavior with him is new for me. My approach is observer/appreciater. I have decided that my time with him is valuable to me. He is right there in the moment, without a head full of tangled thoughts, agendas and significance. I guess I am going overboard illustrating this. I agree with the 'maybe' person above. Also, I am learning to let myself be an ordinary, unremarkable person that someone else can comfortably relate to, rather than enlightened, always striving to be some more perfect, me. That is the other legacy of being a neglected child. If only I could be 'better' or unique somehow, that would make someone love and notice me. When I think about the type of man I thought I wanted when I was still trying to repair myself, trying to 'learn' to be emotionally available, trying to find a soul mate type man who could be there with me and for me, I get really tired. And by the way, I did find of few of those, but they turned out to be sociopaths. Sociopaths are experts at reading a woman's hearts' desire and becoming that, so there you go. They are guru-like. They are never ‘available’. They are there to harvest what they can from you while making you feel special. They know how to build dependence and attachment, and probably cause countless suicides. (I am a psychiatric RN, inpatient, by profession.)
I have read a lot of the replies here. Most of what I have read sounds like some dramatic form of attachment. I feel sad for all the pain these writers have gone through. But attachment, which can happen instantly, is not love, which takes time and shared goodness and knowing someone’s character. The process gets short-circuited when you jump right into something romantic that is based on a powerful attraction; sadly I don’t think that you can ever get that innocent discovery time back. The way that I ‘fell in love’ with my not-so-perfect partner is that we worked on a project together professionally for two-and-a-half years, remodeling a house, side-by-side through blood, sweat and sometimes misery. We disagreed often. It usually turned out that he was right. We worked things out. We were polite and appreciative. We had some things in common, but were different in many ways. One day I looked at him and it was as if love dust had been sprinkled on me. I think that over all those months together, his warm, strong, unassuming sweet qualities had quietly woven him into my heart without me knowing it. Than came passion, but it had a foundation.
My final comment, just my opinion and not meant as a criticism of this writer. A weekend together is not enough time to know that much about anyone or make a decision about their availability or worth as a partner.

anonymous Aug 18, 2014 6:28pm

I too grew up in a home with parents who were emotionally unavailable. I am in my 60's now and single. The freedom I have now is that I no longer believe that what I am feeling has very much to do with what somebody else is saying or doing. I suspect that what happens is that there is a hidden agenda involved in which person we become so attracted to. We choose someone who is unavailable (and we sense in a heartbeat who is unavailable) because we are actually frightened by intimacy and presence. We are the ones who are not available, but regarding our unfortunate, unsuspecting ,available or not available, potential partner, we convince ourselves that it's really them. We become exhilarated with the attraction and usually instant connection, make everything significant as it relates to our own process and envelope the poor object of our affection with a giant expectation overlay, whether spoken or not, that makes them withdraw from the intensity.
There is, I suppose, the rare man who is a verbal processor of feelings. I assert that, sadly, for many women who think that we are all just souls in bodies that happen to have this gender or the other one, the bad news is that men are not like women. We were designed for different roles. Our grandmothers knew the difference. A woman herself has a lot to do with what a man becomes in relationship. You can't just shop to find one that's ready to go, based on chemistry, thought processes, emotions, past experiences. They have to be trained and empowered to succeed with us, especially since no two women are alike or want the exact same thing.

anonymous Aug 18, 2014 1:20pm

I was dumb enough to try twice to have a relationship with a man who I knew I shouldn't be with. The first time around he was massively on the rebound and the second time, well, I already didn't trust him after all the lies and secrets from before so when I found out he was dating someone else I guess I only had myself to blame. But I had told myself it could work. After all, we had so much in common! We read the same books, watched the same movies and TV shows, had the same politics and beliefs, liked mostly the same music, had tons of chemistry – on paper a match made in heaven. But when it crashed and burned the second time I was forced to acknowledge that maybe that was the problem. When you put two magnets with the same poles together what happens? They literally repel each other. Yes, I hurt and I'm angry and disappointed and wonder why I'm still alone but sometimes having everything in common doesn't mean you can make it work.

anonymous Aug 17, 2014 9:15pm

Thank you for sharing this <3

anonymous Aug 16, 2014 8:54pm

After reading this, I have to ask myself if I am emotionally unavailable. Interesting. Good read.

anonymous Jul 17, 2014 10:43pm

You are amazing…. your words are everything I have thought and experienced all written out and fully explained… Beautifully written, thank you so much for sharing your words!

anonymous Jul 17, 2014 7:37pm

Thank you for sharing . I've had the same kind of relationship only it's been on and off for years. It's off now and I'm keeping it that way.

My heart is opening and I need a man who fully meets me.

Thank you for helping me understand how to get there

anonymous Jul 17, 2014 6:10pm

going through the exact same thing right now.. thank you for putting my emotions into words, and for letting me know that i am not the only one to feel this way. i don't really want to talk to anyone about it because it seems so silly to fall so hard for someone within one little month, but it is intense and pretty heartbreaking.

anonymous Jul 17, 2014 5:43pm

A treasure piece of wisdom and truth. Thank you for writing this. I can relate and see the mirror which I have co-created to heal things within myself. The cycle repeats until the lesson is learned and we have evolved past the need for another.

anonymous Jul 17, 2014 9:23am

What a lot of dribble. Sorry, Kara-Leah, but this article is a lot of babble.

Woman meets guy, has good times for a few weeks. Guy seems to also have good times.

Girl tells him how she's feeling, also concludes guy "was absent when presence was called for. Occupied when I was in the same room. Distant unless I reached out and called him forth."

Basically you guys weren't on the same page. Fair enough. I would have given him a bit more time (a month or so) to open up.

There's a place between staying in something that's not meeting your needs – and waiting for years while that never arrives, and discarding someone within weeks because they don't meet your needs ASAP.

I think you still need to find that balance.

I dated someone several years ago who pursued me, behaved super into me and I fell hard. The sex was amazing too, so I'm pretty sure that blinded me to some warning signs. Eventually, after a few months, I knew I needed more for him than just casually dating. I said so and he said "What I'm doing now is all I can do"

I was heartbroken, but knew I needed to walk away. If we'd hung out for four months and he wasn't that into being something more with me, then I knew no amount of time would change that. Some people told me to stick around, but I refused to do that. The ultimate test was when I did end and I never heard from him again. If there were deep feelings on his end, he wouldn't have let me walk away.

No regrets on my end, I'm glad I saw my time with this person through to its final conclusion. And again, the sex was fantastic. Don't regret that either .. hahaha

anonymous Jul 11, 2014 1:30am

Thank you for this article. I spent the night crying over my boyfriend who is emotionally unavailable. I too worked on my communication skills with my last relationship. So now I am always straightforward with my current boyfriend while he was vague. I feel he is leading me on just enough for me to stay around but hides behind his wall saying he is emotionally close and thats the way he is. He wants a serious relationship but shuts me out when I get too close. I am thinking of saving myself all the pain and end it but I have come to love him. At times, I tell myself to be patient and he will come around. But it drives me crazy. I can't sleep…

anonymous Jun 13, 2014 8:36pm

If anything you will learn to love without conditions or guarantees. Many of us are deep and dedicated and loyal and we want answers as to what the other person thinks of us. The other person can keep us by giving us slight encouragement and evasive answers- which keeps us yearning for what we want to hear. When you decide to live in the moment, accept conditions as they are, appear secure and enjoy the present moment of your connection with a person without ownership , you will feel relieved.

anonymous Jun 7, 2014 10:28am

Thank you so much for posting this!! I am wrestling with a very similar situation that has been going on for almost a year, and has been puzzling me… causing lots of tears and "energy leaks", and me realizing that I'm actually love with the person I have made up in my head, not the reality of the person. I have learned so many "lessons" from it. I think your questions at the end, about if you are meeting yourself fully, this rings true for me. Maybe the reason I accept these responses that lack heart/honesty from this person are because I still accept those kinds of answers from myself, and that kind of behavior from myself.

I think my journey to learn how to really love myself and take care of myself is very much in-progress, and your article is an important sign post along the way! Bless you!

anonymous Jun 7, 2014 7:51am

Kara:
A friend of mine posted this piece and I found it articulate, refreshing, vulnerable, and respectful. I applaud you for that. It seems that some commenters have become distracted by considerations of whether it is you or the man in question who was emotionally unavailable and your responses have demonstrated a genuine humility which is also refreshing.

Reading this piece has helped me to understand my interactions with a friend over the years who is emotionally unavailable due to past relationships and, probably more importantly, lack of interest in me beyond a friendship level. There is a connection between us but, at least for her, it is not a romantic one, and will never be. I have tried to be a friend in spite of my feelings, given up and kept my distance, and finally settled into a friendship of seeing her when I run into her but not making undue effort otherwise. I have also experienced what it is to "fail faster" and I've found it far more healthy. In that particular instance, I always need to keep that reality in my head that she is not interested in me on a deep level and simply views me as a trusted friend. There is always the temptation to make something work when you want it, even when your own brain is seeing clear signs that a person is disengaged.

Other commenters have noted that perhaps your needs to communicate were unnatural. I have limited experience in relationships but I have found that when women treated me with respect and honesty, I did my best to reciprocate with my words and actions. I think that it is easy to initially reciprocate a woman's interest but remain disconnected on a emotional level if the interest isn't there. Unless I am very much unattracted to a woman, the interest is flattering. Granted, even interested guys can have times where they are less emotionally available than women want but I think the clearest sign of emotional unavailability is how he responds to your attempts to clarify. An awkward response is often better than a smooth, substance-less reply. No response at all is probably the clearest sign of no-interest a man can give. (Though I should clarify that a response from a man who is interested may not be immediate either if he genuinely cares about you and doesn't want to mess things up!.)

The bottom line, perhaps an obvious one, is that once we've learned that emotional availability can lead to profound heartbreak, we often prefer to remain unavailable. It is too easy to stay safe and expect the other person to put themselves out there so that when we take a risk, we already have a good idea of how they feel. I personally believe that as a man, I am supposed to put myself out there first by pursuing. If I am not pursuing, I tend to assume that a woman will know I am not interested. Unfortunately, it can be easier to be emotionally available to people in whom we are not interested in anything more than friendship. I've had to learn to be cautious of what I share with my female friends as it is best not to be too emotionally available to a woman I am not interested in unless there is no interest on either side.

anonymous Jun 7, 2014 1:57am

yep,right there right now writing the same message, beautifully put, a poem for it

free of love, out of love, why love, unloved. over love, not to love, love is pain, love never came.

anonymous Jun 6, 2014 6:58pm

Wow, I just disengaged from a situation so similar to this it's eerie, and I've been asking myself some of the same questions you talk about here (i.e.: Why do I keep attracting these guys, especially since they are the ones seeking me out?). I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on relationships, because I feel like I'm totally on this same trajectory!

anonymous May 12, 2014 1:22am

I liked this from another one of your posts!
The most important person we can practice our loving on is ourselves. Learn to treat yourself the way you would a lover. Feed yourself with love, dress yourself with love, smile at yourself in the mirror with love, talk to yourself with love. Be the lover you wish you had. Sounds all light and fluffy, but this is one of the hardest practices of all. If you can do this with sincerity you will never feel a lack of love in your life ever again.

Anyway – my experience has been similar – this gut feeling something was not right? But again it was from the woman's point of view that I was not available, because I was not responding to the expectations she had, which felt like I was needing to be what she wanted in every situation. And, this was not acceptable to me. Like you I felt a shift, and realized it was not something I lacked – but her inability to see me for who I am. I would rather be alone than in a desperate "love" defined by someone's needs and demands disguised as loving requests? Does this sound familiar – ?? A dynamic that seems to play out between men and women?
I really want and have a need for closeness, honest, open, to be available, and present, but when the woman I am dating tells me I am not either, it feels horrible.

anonymous May 12, 2014 1:00am

YES! This is great insight – I definitely can relate to a similar story from my own *male point of view – I think you are getting somewhere at the end of your article – about the fears of meeting and providing for your self – this oddly is the most foreign territory – since we seem to be told from a young age that if we listen and focus on ourselves – we are somehow guilty of being selfish – ?? This is a very courageous post – thank-you!

anonymous May 11, 2014 5:24pm

Hi and thank you so much for writing and sharing this story. This is a huge issue for me too. Those core beliefs you metioned, I realized recently that I have similar ones. Your writing makes me realize that I am not alone. I am committed to healing this part of myself and being able to receive available love. But as you've mentioned, how can I be more fully available to myself? Thank you again.

anonymous May 11, 2014 4:22pm

Good article, I admire you for cutting the ties so fast. I will too next time when the signals are so obvious.

I was not able to do that so went through emotional hell for the past 2 years (we 'dated' for 5 months and after he broke up with me over a ridiculous incident he kept coming back for 1.5 years, however not offering more but less).

After I finally said No-More, I have been working really hard at my recovery as at times I felt as I would lose my mind and never recover from the biggest heartbreak of my life. I felt devastated, destroyed, betrayed.

After months I can just say it was actually very simple, (and have you thought about it too?) – HE WAS JUST NOT THAT INTO ME.

I will never let myself fall for someone when the signals are apparent.
I will never allow myself to fall so childishly, be so trusting and open with a guy that is not that to me as well.

🙂

anonymous May 11, 2014 6:15am

I am living this. Thank you for your reflection and courage.
LOVE

anonymous May 11, 2014 3:00am

What a fantastic piece – could have been written by me about me! My difficulty is this: I feel I do (for the most part) meet myself fully & yet the more assured I come of myself with regards to my needs & wants, the less any man wants to stick around – I was told recently that I am ‘too much’, that I have ‘too much personality’. And I know it sounds silly but I feel hopeless; that I can sacrifice myself to find companionship,, or just keep being me & blaze forth along my lonely path.

Ethna

    anonymous Oct 16, 2014 3:43pm

    Ethna, from your response, it sounds like it could be one of the issues that I had to examine and resolve (still resolving):
    1. Learn to lean back. I am a feminist, so I was always ready to be equal in partnership with men. This is totally counter intuitive to men's desire for a challenge. They want to chase, and often they tend to devalue what they obtain easily. Don't do all the sweet, thoughtful things for him – do them for yourself.
    2. Be vulnerable.
    3. Be detached from the outcome. Go on dates, be present and enjoy them. The minute the guy leaves your presence, don't worry too much about him. Let him feel the desire to reach out, and you can respond to that.
    4. Remember you are the prize to be won.

anonymous May 10, 2014 10:27pm

What a lovely piece about your journey and that of many others, women and men. Seriously, this is one of the most insightful mature articles I have read in a long ass time. Thank you!

anonymous May 10, 2014 8:48pm

this article is as if I have written it myself….that is if i could write so clearly what I had experienced sometime….

anonymous Apr 17, 2014 1:09am

I feel it would be interesting, and perhaps quite revealing, had the actual texts been included within the context of this article. With all the varied communication styles between men and women, and even between different types of men and women, I myself have been retrospectively aware on many occasions that what I thought was a vulnerable, courageous display of putting myself out there, may actually have been perceived as something entirely different. There were also times where I thought that I was being open and vulnerable with one hand, while the other was outstretched in apprehension, keeping the person at a distance…and wondering all the while why they weren't reciprocating by advancing toward me?

As a writer, I acknowledge the difficulty in communicating to another with such revealing things as words, emotions, fears, and vulnerabilities. It's difficult, if not near impossible, to communicate exactly what you intend to everyone (sometimes, anyone). And I've witnessed my fair share of two people reaching out, repeatedly missing one another, while individually trying so hard to get on the same page in a game where such timing wasn't meant to be. As a man, I don't find what you write to be any different than my own experience, considering 'availability of the other as reflected by the self' is something I've also been learning during this past year of connecting.

Kudos to you for not only recognizing a situation where things may not have been going toward your intended outcome, but in also giving it the opportunity to make sure your ego wasn't merely playing tricks. It's nice to know there are others who have a willingness to learn and expand with the reward of greater self-awareness!

anonymous Apr 14, 2014 4:58pm

this is so true , you have to love yourself before someone else can love u . never be to available .This is the best elephant reed I have read recently.

anonymous Apr 14, 2014 1:08pm

This reminds me of one of the most valuable lessons for all of us…. Non-attachment. Love/live no matter what. Your story involving the gentleman also appears from your telling that he didn't see himself as lovable. So although you mentioned feeling intimidated, it seems that he was the one truly intimidated. He recognized your open heart but for someone not ready to be so vulnerable themselves , withdrawal is inevitable.

    anonymous Aug 19, 2014 3:36am

    Well said Jai!! Seriously.. well said. And then people have an idea of love in so many different ways. Not because someone tells you in the beginning that they want to have something stable and want to have a howe and show romance over a weekend, means they can bear real love. Romance over a weekend, sharing hopes and dreams or intense, deep conversations are sometimes an idealising of the things we want to have and wish to express. Romantic weekends with their intensity are often based on pure pleasure, which is often easily bearable and welcome (of course), but what those things bring up afterward when it comes to beginning to touch the person you are is where the real deal begins because it opens up a LOT of issues that are VERY painful and that is the love part that many people don't idealise when they first meet someone, especially if they are not emotionally stable/available and have worked through stuff previously.
    ¨So of course, they will withdraw because they are not ready and cannot make that choice to face their pain. His invitation to the wedding was his idealisation of the whole process of 'sweetness' and dating and the problem with fantasy is that it happens in our heads and we control every single line and outcome of it. love can only happen when fantasy merges with reality and can stand up and either be torn down completely or meet it half-way. This requires a lot of strength and often great pain.
    So when you meet someone who can't do that, though it hurts you, just remember that it may hurt you for a great reason that probably has something to do with your own growth and wounds and respect the fact that pain is pain because we have all felt it and if that person's pain is too great for him/her to face and give you want you need, then send them unconditional love and release them. Holding on won't do anything good for either party and since we are just passing through this life foe but a brief moment, why not reach for the light as much as we can?

    But all my above philosophy has come through me also hurting people by being unable to face my vulnerability and also being hurt because I have needed to deal with my own wounds and pain.This is how life is. But I have GROWN, most importantly!

anonymous Apr 13, 2014 9:53pm

<3 Beautiful

anonymous Apr 6, 2014 4:09pm

Thank you so much for this clear, vulnerable and oh so helpful article! This all is so true, and you nailed it at the end. "Do I fully meet myself? Do I fully meet life? How do I meet myself fully? How do I meet life fully?" These are great questions to ask, daily!
In addition, the thing about "being determined" to have a face/voice conversation is that it may never happen. Another opportunity for letting go and unhooking. I've found when I accept that the kind of conversation I might want to have will likely not happen, I write a letter, or have and "energetic" conversation. Then energetically separate from them. This has helped me immensely. I only wish I had known these things when coming out of other relationships. Well, that's why it's called practice and not perfection!
Thanks again for your beautiful offerings.
Peace,
Karuna

    anonymous Apr 7, 2014 1:51am

    Hey Karuna,

    It was more that I was determined not to shirk away from a real conversation – if he would have one with me. I asked for it, he declined, that was that. All good. I hadn't avoided speaking in person and I could let go. I've had a history of avoiding conflict or difficult conversation and wanted to make sure I wasn't wimping out by only using the written word.

anonymous Apr 6, 2014 11:31am

Nothing could be more beautiful than this piece. I have experienced exactly the same and I later realized that all the "perfect" things were my own projections in him, and not the reality at all. Letting go was very very difficult for me, easy for him, in spite of 3 years together. But I came out stronger. He hid into oblivion. Obviously, guilty as charged.

anonymous Apr 6, 2014 9:17am

Wow this article really touched me because I’m going through something similar right now. I met someone (the type of man I always wanted to meet but never thought I would), and we shared an intense 4 days together. After that we communicated over the phone (he lives in a different country) for 3 weeks and would spend hours talking. For the first time I was open and honest and communicated my feelings. Long story short he told me he was emotionally unavailable and not ready for a relationship….although a week prior he was moving me into his house. I told him I wasn’t going to do the push/pull thing. That I deserved more and wanted more. I stopped communication. Sent him a heartfelt email with no response and later a txt that he also ignored. The pain of this has been so intense. My friends think I’m crazy for feeling this way over a guy I barely knew. Idk. I can’t help how I feel. Part of it is grieving the death of so much promise and potential. I feel like I need answers. I really felt like he cared and was truly interest but he’s parting behavior says otherwise. Anyhow thanks for the article.

    anonymous Apr 7, 2014 1:52am

    It is so intense! I can relate… time & distance doesn't really determine a connection. It is difficult to grieve the death of promise and potential…. but maybe those are our own projections… I'm not sure! Hang in there, on letting go and giving yourself permission to feel the way you feel!

anonymous Apr 5, 2014 7:32pm

Great article, thanks for sharing! One thing though…I don't believe you when you say you've really unhooked because you're still so "determined" to discuss your fleeting relationship with him by "voice" or in person. I think you want to believe that you let him go, but until you don't give a rats ass about why he led you on then you are still attached. Just let his ass go, don't waste anymore energy on someone who clearly does not have any care or respect for you as evidenced by his actions towards you. (A man with integrity does not lead on then blow off a woman he just spend a romantic weekend with…he just doesn't, unless there are mitigating circumstances) Realize that you deserve better and direct your energy towards that. It's not easy, trust me I know! I had my fair share of frogs to kiss before I found my wonderful Husband. I wish you luck I love!

    anonymous Apr 7, 2014 1:49am

    Hey Laura,

    The reason I wanted to talk to him in person on the phone was more to make sure that I wasn't hiding away – that I was being upfront. I've had a history of avoiding conflict and wanted to make sure I wasn't avoiding anything. I asked him to talk to me, but he declined, and I accepted that. I'd done my part – made sure I was being open in communication. That he didn't want to talk was fine with me.

    Thanks for your comment – put a big smile on my face.

anonymous Apr 5, 2014 1:59am

The solution is to go within. Only when you meet your inner man of heart will you be ready to meet an external one. I highly recommend the work of Linda Schierse Leonard, "the wounded woman" & her book "on the way to the wedding". Both great resources for understanding why this plays out in our psyches.

anonymous Apr 5, 2014 1:25am

Hi, my name is Tyler, I’m a younger man, but my love life started off very young, and it peaked in my youth. I am a verry strong believer in the idea of love, as well as the chaotic essence of the universe. I have been called emotionally unavailable through out my out my relationships, this is because I am quiet and express things in a way that is more illustrative. There is always a period in my relationships where I sense panic in my partner, but I never can gather the faculties to dispel that panic. There are times when I feel that men and women are different species, and that we were never ment to find love, but that idea of my love, and that true companion keeps me searching. It sometimes looks verry far away, but that is my youth speaking. Good luck finding your elusive man.

    anonymous Apr 7, 2014 1:54am

    Hey Tyler,

    Thanks for sharing your experience… I'm sure that we all do have different processes which can freak each other out. it does feel like we're different species at times! Oh you have so much in front of you… who knows what experiences you will have in the next few decades…

anonymous Apr 5, 2014 1:17am

I can relate to feeling barely tethered emotionally to a partner. I am ending an intimate relationship now with a man who doesn’t have the maturity nor sense of self for the deep introspection and intimacy that I crave. It may well be a gender thing.

I also recognize, from my own life, a tone of both urgency and of being hard on oneself in the piece. No need to define everything, categorize everything (“is he in or is he out?”)- , judge everything- rather, being with ones own discomfort and finding equipoise within the context of the situation – whether the guy knows what he wants or not. That may be the real work: relationship with self., in the context of others. The articulated demanding-to-know and subsequent discomfort was familiar and made me uncomfortable. I will look at that in my own practice. Thank you.

anonymous Apr 4, 2014 11:27pm

There are so many men like that.. So many who like the energy of women that they keep on the hook. Feeders, really.

anonymous Apr 4, 2014 11:16pm

Passion often involves participation in self-absorption, falling in love with the idea of falling in love. To counter this tendency of the ego-ic mind, we need to cultivate dispassion ("vairagya"), and allow our real selves to shine through and through, without the material cosmetic and plasticity.

anonymous Apr 4, 2014 5:46pm

"I can’t always lead the charge. I can’t hold myself to one standard and be forgiving, understanding, appeasing and accommodating when the other doesn’t respond in kind. I have high standards of my own behavior and my own ability to grow and respond. Why don’t I hold the other to those same standards?"
This is the part that resonated with me. In our quest to detach, accept, embody love, blah blah blah, we forget that. I certainly forget that. What happens next is that I settle, thinking all the while that I'm enlightened. When in reality, all the while I'm lonely. Thanks for calling that out.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2015 10:53pm

    I find myself clinging to the attentiveness, respect and passionate interest of the beginning and then congratulate myself for my " loyalty " and " depth of commitment " when it evaporates. As if my perserverance in maintaining a relationship or my willingness to give him another chance to prove he has ' come to his senses and doesnt want to live without me," when he comes back, somehow negates the many times this same pattern has been repeated and wipes out the reality that my tank has never been replenished during these repeated ' i love you- go away ' cycles.

anonymous Apr 4, 2014 5:13am

Love your writing! It sure beats a lot of the fluff out there. Thanks so much for sharing your journey.

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 9:52pm

Great article and oh so relevant! Thanks.

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 6:38pm

Why do you need to talk to him again? Why do you need him to validate your feelings? Why can’t you just let go?

    anonymous Apr 4, 2014 5:15pm

    Hey Caroline,

    When I've shared such intimacy with someone I like to talk to them. There's no need to do so, nor to have him validate my feelings. It's more that we're two adults having this experience – lets talk. And I can just let go – I already have.

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 5:25pm

I am truly in love with a man who I believe is emotionally unavailable. I think he considers more, misses me when I disappear and comes around just when I am ready to move on. My heart is too open, and it’s broken.

So, I date other men very casually and choose those who are emotionally unavailable. I just keep it simple and stretch it out. How do I let go of the one I love and stop this personally destructive behavior?

I believe in letting go of all pain and loving people as they are. How do you do both when it’s deeper than normal, when the pure part of your soul can’t severe that tie…even if your logic can? I can give amazing advice to others, just never myself.

    anonymous Apr 4, 2014 5:18pm

    Hey,

    I can't tell you how to let go… what I've noticed though is that first you have to want to. You have to want to let go. And second, yes, You can love people as they are – but that has to include loving yourself. And repeatedly putting yourself in a situation where it's causing you pain isn't very loving. You can love another deeply while letting go and having full respect for yourself. If you want to.

    anonymous Apr 7, 2014 4:09pm

    I just ended a 2 year relationship with a man who I love enormously… who is just like this. I am in misery over it. I am learning to love myself. We draw this dynamic of behavior from others (being unmet) because we don't meet ourselves, I think. I totally get it about not being able to sever the connection – because it reaches into the depths of the soul. All the hopes and dreams and longing of lifetimes, a connection that feels as though we've done this over and over for centuries… it takes gigantic act of self love to sever it. Fierce self love… When I feel sad about missing him, I try and remember that very few times in the relationship did I feel met or appreciated – and it was only when he wanted to get back together after pushing me away .. I think I 'miss' missing him.

      anonymous Apr 9, 2014 2:00am

      I love that phrase – fierce self-love! It's stunning… I think you just hit the nail on the head right there…

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 3:15pm

great article and good for you!! i went through a similar thing…so much of what you wrote applies to what i went through with a man last summer….we broke up in december after I found out he cheated…and he finally admitted when i told him i already knew. He had been lying for a few months. anyway, that point i want to make is that he wasn't present when presence was called for and i let it go….i overlooked many things and my own standards came tumbling down. the whole thing made me unhappy and miserable throughout our time together. I wasn't getting what I wanted. i obviously didn't 'ask for what i wanted' when i attracted that relationship…well, better put, – i only asked for a few things (and i got those) and the other stuff i failed to envision – well, those things I didn't get. so lesson learned – envision all that i want, need, expect, and hope for in a relationship, or i'll get 'crumbs'….

but it was a good learning experience. I love how you are able to see how your learning is 'coming along' and how you notice the differences in your responses from prior responses in the past to situations. we learn and grow. we are not defined by what difficulties arose in our lives….

keep up the good work and i appreciate the eloquence of your writing to bring forth connectedness and support to our community, and to us, your readers!

love Anna

    anonymous Apr 3, 2014 4:06pm

    Hey Anna,

    I think that was the biggest learning for me too – seeing how easy it would be to deny myself in order to stay and receive what was on offer. And in the process make myself miserable. I'm working on a theory of "failing faster" – seeing my patterns earlier and addressing them straight up. Ideally, it would happen within relationship, not necessarily meaning the end of said relating!

    Thank you too for the feedback. It's lovely to hear what people are liking as it helps me to further hone what I'm writing about and how I'm writing it.

    Much love,
    KL

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 1:21pm

I absolutely and this EXACT SAME experience as the first experience after my 23 year marriage ended. Intese, passionate and soon he became distant. I just read a book called Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find-and Keep-Love. Amir Levine (Author), Rachel Heller (Author)

This book is a game changer and I suggest to anyone that has this experience. I only regret that I did not have this kind of education earlier in my adult life. Well shared and written and I am sure many will relate.

Thanks.

    anonymous Apr 3, 2014 4:03pm

    I think you're the second person to mention that book! Might have to go and look it up and buy it. Thank you!

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 11:49am

I keep reading articles hoping to find an answer to my complex and complicated situation and this is close, but not enough, perhaps me telling the world will help me find some calm. I fell in love with a man going through a divorce, he fell in love with me, but just when we were progressing to get even more serious, his ex refused to sign the papers, demanding money. She was abusive to him, had an affair and now won’t let him get on with life. He went from being emotionally available to not being able to be there for me at all because he was in so much pain. I was supportive and tried to offer advice, but I was in unfamiliar territory, not only with a man going through a divorce, but also falling head over heels in love.

I cut him out of my life for 3 weeks, hoping that not talking or seeing him would help, but after those weeks I went to support him at an event he was being showcased at. I went for a short while and left knowing that the love was still there, but that he was still in pain. We have communicated a bit here and there, he told me he still wants to be with me. But, I haven’t pressured him to try being together again because I think he is scared to make a commitment again until the divorce papers are signed. I haven’t let him know how much pain I am in, because I don’t want to scare him. But I am and I am at a loss of what to do… I don’t hate people, but I do have strong, strong feelings of dislike for his ex, she has impacted my life more than she realizes.

It has been 2 months and I while I am not maybe ready to unhook from him, I know I need to. I am over making up excuses for him, I am over crying all the time, I am over feeling sad and angry. I am just scared that I might be losing my soul mate. Thank you Kara-Leah for allowing me to acknowledge my feelings and bringing more awareness to my situation.

    anonymous Apr 3, 2014 3:03pm

    Hey RJ,

    It sounds like a really challenging situation, with lots of heart ache. I've found it's helpful to fully let go while still staying open to what's showing up. Having no expectations and ideas about anything, but just responding to what's in the moment. This practice is challenging – how is it even possible to have no expectations or ideas about a person or a relationship? There's a deep acceptance that arises out of this though… as we accept the situation and the person for what and who they are. Out of that acceptance, we can then ask ourselves, if this is so, then what do I need/want to do?

    While this man hasn't necessarily pissed you off, it's a similar tactic that I wrote about in this article:
    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/03/how-to-cla

    Which is about working with difficult situations and stepping into your power.

    Good luck with your process, as you listen to yourself and trust that you know what to do – and have the courage to do it.

      anonymous Apr 4, 2014 1:40pm

      Thank you for the response. It certainly is a challenging situation, and thoughts of him and us have consumed my mind. I seem to go in phases of being ok with the situation at hand and then being completely heartbroken all over again. I want to tell him to love me or leave me, but I know an ultimatum isn't what he needs right now and that I could make a mistake on my end. My intuition has guided me and I trusted myself knowing there was a risk from the beginning, but the longer time drags on, I doubt myself and just get angry.

      I have accepted my situation, but not the reality as I keep asking myself why and what if questions. A regular yoga practice has been a great addition to my life, but perhaps I need to incorporate meditation to bring peace and calm to my heart and mind. Thank you again for your sincere thoughts and beautiful words.

    anonymous Jun 21, 2015 5:56pm

    Hi RJ, I just read your message, I am going through the same experience, except his ex is not that bad 🙂 what i can tell you , that i know for sure will put things at ease; be patient with him, a man going through divorce is a very stressful time even if he asked for it, at this moment, he needs not to feel any pressure or relative thoughts from his bad experience, he is honest when he tells you he wants to be with you, but men are different when they deal with their emotions, they need more time and MOST important s p a c e.
    Give him space, and be patient with him, he is going through a really tough time, your support will be highly appreciated after this black cloud goes away… if you really love him, you will support him instead of trying to own him.

    hope this helped X
    Isabella

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 11:32am

I like your article, it reminds me of all the relationships I've had with men, who all happen to be emotionally unavailable. There is a great book called "Attached" that helped me understand why. Its so important to me to understand what is happening in my reality. In the Bhagavata Gita it says "perform your duty equipoised, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called Yoga." We shouldn't think that if we work hard to love and live fully, automatically we are due a servant/partner "reward". If it's not in the cards man, it's not in the cards. We should always have faith that we'll get plenty of relationships to practice on, but I hope our goal can always be something much more eternally satisfying.

    anonymous Apr 3, 2014 2:58pm

    Hmmm… I wonder about this too.. the letting go of any ideas of a relationship that lasts years or decades. Seems a hard road to take though. It's something I enquire into within myself – working with it being ok to know what one wants and holding to that, while also being completely unattached to it and showing up to what's actually present, which is life, in all it's myriad shades of glory.

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 11:16am

Beautiful post, enjoyed reading this.

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 10:59am

I can relate to this story and your emotions throughout. My previous relationship of a year was just an expanded version of this. Cue to a new relationship where my man's heart is very open and i see him willing to meet me more than half way on everything… now I see myself hesitating to meet him. After my last relationship with Mr. Unavailable ended, I read an article here on elephant about how to tell if your partner is emotionally unavailable. After reading the first few bullet points, I was exclaiming, "THAT is him to a T!", but kept reading and shortly realized that it was actually more ME than he.
So. Still trying to figure out what I want…

    anonymous Apr 3, 2014 2:56pm

    Oh it's tricky isn't it – to know and see clearly what we're bringing to the party and how the other person might be mirroring back more of us than we realise.

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 10:12am

My guess is that he simply had someone else.

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 10:07am

I think it's sad, that these days, people are so disposable, and relationships as well. It's the me, me, me, mentality. What happened to, sticking with someone, and helping them to grow? Isn't that what having a relationship is about? Aren't we here to help one another?
Isn't a relationship, and marriage, about caring? giving? isn't really, about each other? FOR each other?
Isn't that what love is? When we are there for each other?
This mentality strikes me as the opposite of living evolutionary consciousness. I can see generations of selfish, uncaring, narcissistic children in the future if this me me me mentality carries on.

    anonymous Apr 3, 2014 2:55pm

    Hey Jessica,

    I would love to stick with someone – but that takes two to tango. The other person has to be available and wanting to stick with you too.

      anonymous Apr 4, 2014 7:48am

      Spot on Kara,

      I have been giving space to my emotionally unavailable husband for 16 years, and especially the past 11 months as he has been transitioning through mid-life. Thus, this article caught my eye. I have come to realise he may be very high functioning Aspergers (highly intelligent, low emotional awareness in himself and others, intensely focused on computers.) Since he made the decision to leave, despite my and our 2 boys love for him, I have come to accept that he does not want to work on the relationship, he does not care for me or love me the way I love him. It is not right that I try to 'force' him to love me, he may not have the capacity and seems content to live in his own world. There comes a point where a person must let go for the health of their own existence, both mine and his. I do this lovingly and continue to support him with kindness where he allows. I would ask you Jessica to expand your view of the world, love comes in a myriad of forms, and not everything is black and white as it may seem.

      anonymous Apr 5, 2014 5:31pm

      Yes Kara-Leah….at what point of meeting someone do we assume/decide? we have a relationship and what are our expectations? We have to love OURSELVES enough to walk away from someone….

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 9:57am

Love that Byron Katie work you did there at the end. I too, am working through some emotional unavailability — on my end and my partner’s — and it’s hard work. Keep at it. Thanks for sharing.

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 6:35am

You my friend just described an experience I very recently had and have been trying to summarize as beautifully as you just did. So. Much. Gratitude. Thank you for sharing and insight with vulnerability! Namaste

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 3:34am

A pertinent article. I had a similar experience, and now know the reason for his inability to "share" his feelings, and his sudden explainable odd behaviour on occasion when I asked him "how he felt". As it turns out, he is on the Autism spectrum, in particular Asperger's syndrome , and my asking about his feelings put him in such a difficult place that he couldnt respond. I have since learned much about the behavior but sadly he ended the relationship. Sad that he couldnt just tell me, and a better pathway of communication could have been found.

    anonymous Apr 3, 2014 2:54pm

    Hey Julie,

    Oh that's difficult. There's always unknown factors – and who knows what I didn't know about what this man was experiencing?

anonymous Apr 3, 2014 3:20am

I want to congratulate you, Kara-Leah, on writing an unusually excellent piece here.

I find/have found myself in similar situations. And I particularly liked the reminders you gave to a) remember what *I* am bringing to the situation, in the here and now (ie not blaming the other person);
and b) the choice to take gentle yet firm steps to move forward out of the situation, no matter how it then turns out.

And c). The key for me is that every situation is an opportunity for learning: what do I want instead?
Action then shows me whether I can get that here, or look for it somewhere else. What I have found in is that the more I this the more it becomes an accelerating cycle. And with each iteration I feel/become more grounded.

Thank you again for your clarity.

    anonymous Apr 3, 2014 2:53pm

    Hey finnjackson,

    This I have noticed too : "What I have found in is that the more I this the more it becomes an accelerating cycle."

    It's what I like to call "failing faster". What used to take three years, or three months, or even three weeks, now becomes clear in 3 days.

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 8:21pm

I had to check that it was in fact, someone other than myself, writing these words of my truth. Thank you for this, Kara. Another speck of light shed on such a hard topic 🙂

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 6:30pm

wow! this was just what i needed to read today! i love the universe … puts in friot of me just what i need when i open up to it

🙂

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 6:24pm

Thank you for the article Kara. Very timely for me. I am going through the same situation as well. Like you, I have decided to let go and move on. I am in the healing process at the moment.

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 3:53pm

Thank you for writing this. I had a similar experience and I'm still trying to grapple with what happen with this man. We had a instant connection to each other and we ended up hanging out with each other for about 6 weeks. We were both going through a emotional time when we met, we had lost a mutual friend and we were both grieving him. I made the mistake of asking him what was going on between us and and he got very belligerent with me.
The next morning, he was very indifferent towards me ,and when I left he said goodbye. I was heartbroken and drove away in tears.
We texted with each other for awhile and then a 6 months later I sent him a poem I had written about us meeting each other.I've have never heard from him since. He caused me tremendous pain and walked away from me when I needed him, I was devastated over losing my old friend and and then, he walked away from me. I felt like I was grieving two people.

It has been 14 months ago that this happen and it still is painful for me because I have to drive by his work on my way to school and I have passed him and he has not seen me. I have come to realize that it would have not matter what I had said to him that night it would have been something else if we would have been together at some other time.

He had many issues going on and I knew that we could have never lasted together. We were both grieving our friend and he could not handle my grief and cope with his own at the time.

I'm am slowly trying to get over the pain he caused me. I just feel like I will never have that connection to another man like I did him.

    anonymous Apr 2, 2014 4:22pm

    Hey GuitarChick,

    It sounds like a tough situation, and one that's still causing you pain. Something that's worked for me in the past is to stay mindful of any stories I might be telling myself about the situation that could be adding pain. Is it really true that you'll never have that same kind of connection again?

    anonymous Apr 6, 2014 10:23pm

    He didn't cause you pain- you do that to yourself. Once thing I have learned and grown from a 14 yr old relationship with the most emotionally unavailable man in history, is that how I respond and what I expect from others is what causes ME pain. No one gives us pain- even losing a loved one in death doesn't "give" us pain- it's how we choose to experience and perceive this "pain" that makes us or breaks us. I'm not saying that the pain isn't real- just that no one gave it to you. Your choice to live in pain or move out of it by examining what it really is…I know I had to do this for a long, long, time…..
    Namaste…

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 3:49pm

Maybe, I say maybe, MEN are just different compared to women. They don't need to talk about the relationship in the early stages of it. They just need to live it and let their feelings build up and grow stronger (unlike women, that show a very quick growing level of emotions — thank you ossytocin).
Maybe TALKING about the relationship is a feminine way to explore emotions. Men are different !
And also, maybe a man who has spent an amazing week end with you just FEARS his own feelings and need a little time off, in his cave.
Maybe we (women) just have to live the moment, forget about "the one", and let the relationship naturally grows.

Maybe.

    anonymous Apr 2, 2014 4:14pm

    Hey Ale,

    Yes, good chance you're bang on the money. Although I wasn't wanting to talk about the relationship per se – just connect on an ordinary basis. You know – a reply to texts, or messages. It was the realisation that what he was emotionally capable of giving – likely due to his own fears etc – wasn't enough for me. And that was ok. For him to be where he was, and me to be where I was. But I couldn't deny it, or pretend, or stick around and deny my own needs.

      anonymous May 10, 2014 9:57pm

      Hi Kara-Leah, this is so familiar to me as well and been so painful for what seems an eternity. I think this comment by Ale nails a lot. It was a big TURNING POINT for me when I ran across Christian Carter's website and dating advice from a man's point of view. You'll have to forgive the horrible name of his business but…. if you could get a glimpse into what it is that makes men pull away (AND THEY DO PULL AWAY!!) it's what we do with this that triggers us and then just creates the same situation over and over. When I read the description here of what women do when men pull away and identified myself I had to cringe. The line you wrote about needing to and intending to have a final talk through with him about what your experience was and what his was is…. way off! That is NOT what men do. That is what women do!! How to create attraction rather than fall into the big hole that is a pattern of how we react to men when they withdraw. Reading some of this on his site made me really see it from a man's point of view. They are SOOO different. It is kiss of death to process all feelings and experiencings with a man in the beginning stages of a relationship (more like the weekend when the vulnerability has really set in and true intimacy begun). I had similar and it was so exasperating like a rug pulled out from under you from someone you didn't really think twice about to begin with then find yourself pulled in. But when he pulled away I did all the wrong things (he triggered my abandonment issues) I wrote the emails and the long explanations and on and on… the cool thing to do is go cool yourself. It is NOT appropriate to open ourselves up so fully before we know who we are with and we make them EARN it. The women that seem to always win with men are the ones that make them work for it. That is not a game to play. It is a way to stay connected to oneself as we walk the plank and see if there is somewhere to go or we are headed for a dive into the ocean!! Thank you be well. Namaste.

      http://www.catchhimandkeephim.com/

    anonymous May 11, 2014 9:52am

    I can attest to the fact that this relationship dynamic is not gender based. I'm a guy who's had multiple relationships with emotionally unavailable women. I think it's based more on a 'thinking' or 'feeling' perspective as in MBTI (meyers briggs type indicator). Women tend to be more feeling (heart centered), men tend to be more logical. But that doesn't mean that all women are feeling type and all men are thinking type. I am of feeling type (infj). Honestly, I think to some degree all logical thinking types (the majority of which are men) are on some continuum of being disconnected from their feelings.

    I think unless we are emotionally healed and whole, we all operate mostly on need. And we all, to some extent, are emotionally damaged either from childhood or relationships. From my perspective, thinking types tend towards narcissism, where they are sometimes very disconnected from their feelings, and they're MO is a 'need of attention and admiration'… they are addicted to being admired and needed, whereas 'feeling' types tend toward co-dependency and they're MO is 'I need someone' and they get addicted to people, often very emotionally disconnected people, and this dynamic is totally unhealthy.

    I'm 3 months out of a relationship with a women that was completed disconnected from her feelings. I was discarded without emotion, empathy, or concern. She completely shattered me. I realize I allowed this to happen, I ignored warning signs, because as you mentioned, we have this need to make it work.

    Until we are emotionally whole and can learn to be happy alone, I think we'll tend to repeat this relationship pattern. When we heal emotionally, we become less appealing to 'emotionally unavailable people' and they become less appealing to us. It is a karmic attraction, and we are meant to learn something here. It's a hard lesson to learn.

      anonymous Aug 18, 2014 3:40am

      I am so in agreeance with your comment. The bottom line is it doesn't matter if its a man or woman, if they're not as emotionally available as you'd like them to be, and also not willing to look into it or work on it. It's just not going to last. Because the person that does want more emotional connection will keep having a build up of resentment, frustration, anger etc. It's better to be alone, way better, than be with someone who can't match you emotionally. Don't listen to this play the game, hook a man etc stuff. Its not authentic. You gotta be yourself completely and if your partner is not meeting you there, then its not going to last. Or it can but it will be unsatisfying. Unless the closed off person is willing to learn to be more open.

      I think for too long people (mostly women) have used the excuse oh men are just closed off, or they think differently, they dont want to talk feelings so much etc. But seriously at the end of the day a relationship with that type of person will be unsatisfying. So really the excuses might help out a curtain over the situation, but its not solving anything.

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 3:41pm

Powerful piece. Beautifully done.

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 12:52pm

So excellent- totally relatable! Very present, succinct, patient and kind! Thank you for this <3

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 12:05pm

A well written piece, thank you for sharing …. please forgive my response ….

Sounds to me that you were the emotionally unavailable one … and that this man was judged and cast aside for being 'emotionally unavailable.' He was inviting you into his life, bringing you to events with his friends and family, trusting you … and you felt amazing with him.

Perhaps he was having just as much difficulty opening up and was not able to do so as quickly as you. Maybe it just was taking him more time.

Instead of giving him the opportunity, he was given the boot.

Comparing him to a totally different person from your own past, and the hurts that brought up, causes me to wonder if it was the past you were facing and not seeing the man before your own face.

I think that this is a perfect example of how modern new-age psycho babble destroys relationships.

    anonymous Apr 2, 2014 4:16pm

    Hey LivingArtisan,

    Great question. Entirely possible. I ask this too – am I the one who's emotionally unavailable? Am I seeing the situation correctly? Where are my blind spots? I can't know for sure, all I can do is stay open to possibility and continue to ask questions. I'd love to be proved wrong!

      anonymous Apr 5, 2014 3:40pm

      Yes Kara-Leah and LivingArtisan, it could be that she was the one who was emotionally unavailable. I know I have been and done both – been 'the one who pulled someone in when I was emotionally unavailable and been pulled in by someone who is emotionally unavailable. For example, I met a man who 'told me what I wanted to hear', we dated a bit and then he pulled back. But wait there is more….this pattern happened two more times with him! I thought….this time he will give me what I need/want! By the third time, though, I was not as 'surprised' by his behaviour and so we both went on our merry way. I am in a relationship now and am learning about MYSELF (and relationships etc) constantly! xxx

      anonymous Dec 19, 2014 1:11am

      I feel like you actually are being triggered by the un emotionally available parents do take any small behaviour from a man latch onto it feel triggered and react either by pushing him to get closer and fill the gap, getting angry or blocking him out to 'preserve' yourself.
      I think men naturally take a bit longer to open up you knew him something like 3 weeks and expressed your feelings multie times tried to pin him down to a relationship in 3 weeks when that is still the time you would be living in the moment hanging our and going it's the flow, then when he didn't instantly respond but actually did keep on chatting to you showing he was interested, you blocked him out.
      I had an un emotional father and I had similar issues to you but if there is a pattern it's not about blaming the guy it's about realising why you attract those partners who are not available emotionally and changing your energy. Half the time they are probably not even emotionally unavailable it's just that your energy comes accross in away that pushes them away due to past wounds and childhood triggers.

    anonymous Apr 3, 2014 9:29am

    Totally agree. No patience at all, the only think evident and glaring through this written piece is "ME".

      anonymous Apr 5, 2014 5:25pm

      Yes Kara-Leah and LivingArtisan, it could be that she was the one who was emotionally unavailable. I know I have been and done both – been 'the one who pulled someone in when I was emotionally unavailable and been pulled in by someone who is emotionally unavailable. For example, I met a man who 'told me what I wanted to hear', we dated a bit and then he pulled back. But wait there is more….this pattern happened two more times with him! I thought….this time he will give me what I need/want! By the third time, though, I was not as 'surprised' by his behaviour and so we both went on our merry way. I am in a relationship now and am learning about MYSELF (and relationships etc) constantly! xxx

      anonymous Aug 17, 2014 12:52pm

      Um, that's because she wrote it and it's from her point of view, her experience …

    anonymous Jul 21, 2014 6:15pm

    I agree with this. Your behaviours after your fantastic weekend were way too full on. I consider myself centered and emotionally available and have met a man who is very different from me. I love him. He loves me. But I know he struggles with his emotions – they totally freak him out, to the point where he runs a mile. As a woman I allow him to do this without getting needy or wordy. I provide him with a place to feel safe so he can explore these things and in the meantime I get on with my life. Who knows if it will work out or not. Just like a woman, guys need time to figure out what's going on inside themselves and women are known to reach that place well before them. Give them space, let them feel safe, and you may find yourself with a real pearl. And don't forget, men love differently than women. They profess, protect and provide. Our love towards each other is different.

    anonymous Aug 14, 2014 12:44pm

    Maybe she was unavailable too, but maybe not.. I was open and there for someone for 3.5 years, I wanted to 'show' him it was safe, that he could trust 'us' but he would have to stop lying and cheating to do that.. I knew after a very short period he was how he was even though he did just enough to make me stay and want his love.. I still love him, I still wish he'd see but no amount of me was going to get him to see.. I believe I was the most real relationship he'd had or let himself experience but who knows.. maybe that is my way of bearing what had transpired. I say try to follow your instincts.. See 'Shopgirl' with Steve Martin.. he was my guy.. you can hurt now or later.. you choose. I wish it was different.

    anonymous Nov 3, 2014 8:57am

    I think this guy was definitely emotionally unavailable regardless of Kara-Leah's emotional availability. I think Kara-Leah read the warning signs and had to move on. It's really hard, because you want to be a good person, you want to see the good in a another person, but the truth is, when a person is emotionally unavailable, they aren't feeling anything. They are really good at acting the feelings: showing affection, attention, talking about things that make you feel bonded to them, but when the time comes to engage on a true level, they are incapable.

    I think you see it most clearly with this gentleman with :"Continuing with my practice of clear and heart-felt communication, I sent a text sharing how I felt. There was no response at all. A few days later, I wrote an email, detailing it out. I received a short facebook message applauding my writing and ignoring the content."

    Emotionally unavailable people ignore or change the subject to maintain the status quo. They are getting a need met (attention, sex, etc) by talking to you but have zero interest in meeting (or respecting) any of your needs.

    Ultimately, if you don't walk away, you start to fee lille the crazy one – am I being too needy? too clingy? did I do something wrong to make them go so cold all of a sudden? If I was more like xyz, would they be interested in more? You start ignoring your own needs and focus on what you did the last time that got them to be "so perfect"

    You compromise your self to gain acceptance. This can be a sign that you are a little emotionally unavailable yourself. It's also suggested that you will continue to repeat the model you had with your parents. If you were always seeking to connect and gain love from emotionally unavailable parents, you will do the same in your relationships.

    It isn't psycho babble to me – it is realizing that I am enough and seeking the approval, acceptance and love of someone who is emotionally bankrupt doesn't work. AND, I can't help him do that – no matter how patient and loving and caring I am towards them – I can't fill their void – so you walk away to keep yourself healthy.

      anonymous Nov 17, 2014 6:58am

      I agree..you begin to doubt yourself. Playing by his rules.. not to somehow turn him off. I can't believe that these men don't feel anything..they do. I think it may overwhelm and they compartmentalize their lives. I had an intense experience with a man..so much so that I could barely get out of bed for the next week ..I was so high. He also had it, but resented it I think. Called it withdrawal and told me he never wants to go through a week like he had after I left. This is the same man that wore my tee shirt ( his) that I wore all night so he could smell me all day the next day.

      Anyway..he stopped wanting to see me was "too busy" with his boat and planning a long sailing trip. Wanted to throw some crumbs my way to keep getting attention. I noticed that he is also on Facebook..befriending women who look a lot like me . I told him..no way ..not interested. After some weeks we did reconnect on a different level. I pushed the reset button..and now it is occasional email that are no pressure ..conversational. I can't expect more since he is now in the islands..but I can tell you that as soon as I meet someone .. he is gone. If he cares or not is up for debate.

      anonymous Jun 12, 2015 7:40am

      Very Very well said. I have been in this situation for a long time because i did not understand that he won't ever be available, ever. After 20 years and 2 kids, I do understand where I was wrong by continuing this painful "relationship". The way you said it above is exactly how it is for me. I decided to stay for the children since it easier for them when mom is around, it's someone to interact with, while dad is watching TV, sleeping or not home at all (distant, cold and barely communicates, only when he wants something).
      staying after the children are born is very hard decision to make. but I think it's better for the kids.
      If I could take it all back and go back 20 years I would, too late for me. I will teach my daughter about this kind of people which she is not to stay and try to figure out what's wrong or how can she fix it. if it does not feel right, run, cause it wont ever. if there are no explanation to behavior, run. if you are being ignored, put in the back burner, used for housework and any work he does not wont to do, run. it's the best life lesson a women needs to learn. I wish they would teach that in school.

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 11:51am

Wow, thank you so much. I needed to read this today. I was just walking and thinking about these issues in my own life. Aware of my pattern of attracting two men at a time throughout my life (Gemini much?), and then choosing one and usually choosing the one least available. Monday I just let an ex- go finally; someone, it turns out, I had been hanging on to even though our relationship ended months ago. Someone who pursued me with sweet words and tenderness, only to withdraw once I tried to meet him in that place. Someone I fought with for over a year to try to get him to come forward and meet me there again. Now I find myself also trying to navigate two new potential relationships, and thinking to myself “Why do I keep attracting this dual dynamic when all I want is one partner who will choose us?” I’m not sure what the answer is. But I know I could have written this article (except for the part about walking away early on when it’s clear the man isn’t available). I think I’m going to post this on my refrigerator 🙂

    anonymous Apr 2, 2014 4:17pm

    Oh the tangled webs we weave! It's great to be able to see our own patterns and at least question them… there in lies the first step to freedom, even if we have no answers 🙂

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 11:45am

Thank you SO much for this article!! It is EXACTLY what I experienced last yr and then I realized I needed to ask for something better if I wanted something better and allow myself to receive it. I, too, am still a work in progress, but I’m getting much clearer everyday about what I want and communication between my significant other and I is quickly becoming my highest priority. 🙂

    anonymous Apr 2, 2014 4:18pm

    Communication is everything… isn't it? Although maybe not for everybody, and maybe that's where compatibility lies – two people who can understand each other's communication style and work with it.

      anonymous Apr 3, 2014 8:52am

      Kara, you hit this topic head on! I am married, 33 years now, to a totally sterile relationship, after many years of trying to break through his wall I finally gave up. It's sedate here, but no emotional, physical connection at all. We co-exist. That is not enough anymore. But, with age differences, me 57 and him 72, it's difficult to explain how anyone could just walk out now after all this time. But, I need life, love, compassion and yes communication! I wonder if anyone else has this similar experience, staying with a "ghost" person because?? Fear of being alone? I love your blogs, I will certainly bookmark this latest one. I too have been hurt, many times in the past years, expecting a blossom of hope that comes up every now and again only to be stomped on. Thanks very much for relaying your experiences here with all of us.

        anonymous Apr 3, 2014 4:01pm

        Hey Ms Maggie,

        Seems there's so many tricky & difficult situations out there… Maybe you could ask if it's ok to take a lover ;-). If not a physical one… at least an emotional one! Whatever you do… make it a conscious choice and embrace it wholeheartedly – whether staying or going or finding somewhere in the middle. Therein lies freedom.

        anonymous Apr 14, 2014 1:25pm

        I just left my marriage of 17 years last year. We had been living as roommates for over 7 years. Life is too short Maggie. I'm 49, and you 57, we still have a lotta living to do. And yes, we need and deserve compassion, love and communication.

        And Kara, I'm in this same boat. Flew across country to spend 9 days with a man I love and connect with. It was AWESOME. But since I got home, nothing for 3 weeks, no calls, no text, no emails, etc. Did he fake it for 9 days? I know I need to unhook, because it's clear he has already. Though we talked about the future and me moving in with him. Where is the disconnect? Is it a male thing? I just don't get it. But after a very bad marriage, and at 49, I know I don't have time to waste. I thought this guy was my soul mate. A connection and a love like no other. My once wide open heart is now shattered. I'm not sure how to recover and I don't know how I'll be able to give my heart away again. I trusted him. And his son is involved. We met. We also connected. So unfair of him to do this to his son. That is also breaking my heart, I'm losing 2 men, not just one. And what will the son think, I abandoned him like his mother? I didn't. I was pushed away.

        Ok. I need to unhook soon, I know. I'm just not ready yet. I may never understand.

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 11:26am

Whoa! Thanks for writing this. It hits home so hard. I, too, completely opened myself up last year and *felt* that intense connection, only to have it not really be returned. It felt so good, but I guess it never really felt like things were in place because I should expect it of the other person, too. I find that with every relationship everything feels better, though, and I don't regret this last experience. We learn so much.

    anonymous Apr 2, 2014 4:19pm

    We do learn so much… it's gutting though to feel an intense connection and then discover it's not really available. But yes, every relating gets better in some way… thank God!

      anonymous Apr 3, 2014 8:16pm

      "Gutting" is the perfect word for feeling that intense connection and then discovering it's not really available. I loved this piece so much, I'm going through a similar experience with a man who seems to want and need me, but is unwilling to risk vulnerability or to put much effort or caring into our connection. It's heartbreaking, and gutting, and awful to think that I may simply have to walk away. But I deserve so much better, and I have put so much effort into improving things, and he's just not meeting me there. Thanks again for sharing your story, your vulnerability. It was very affirming.

anonymous Apr 2, 2014 11:04am

This is so spot on, Kara-Leah! Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. 🙂

    anonymous Apr 2, 2014 4:19pm

    My pleasure Gerry – I learn as much from the writing and sharing as everyone else does.

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This is absoluely what I needed to read.

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James Daniel Sensano Oct 31, 2017 3:34pm

But you said you like being in relationships? My ex just did this to me, after verbally and physically assaulting me. I'm still trying to figure out what I was supposed to learn from it. People tell me that's life, grow up, get over it, move on, I guess I'll just take that advice

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Anna Teague Aug 18, 2017 8:12pm

Very close to bone!! Beautiful article thank you!!!

Cassie Widlak Jun 8, 2017 6:27pm

and just like that.. my favorite article on the planet! I could keep this in my pocket, under my pillow. I'm simultaneously happy and sad reading this.. but one thing is for certain, I'm not alone. :)

Carina Liebig Jun 5, 2017 11:15pm

Loved it! It resonates with many women. I've heard the falling into the quick dick sand scenarios a few times! Totally not fair how they reach out to engage us, and hook us in, but once we are there, draw back and disappear! Not all men... but most! They don't acknowledge or decide to turn a blind eye to the emotional torment we put ourselves through! For them! Surely they know!? Too gutless or they take pleasure in it? - surely not? Really enjoyed this read. Many thanks � Love and light

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Mags Du Flags Jan 31, 2017 5:26pm

Thank you, Kara-Leah Grant. These words were epiphanic: I could also see, clearly and plain as day, like the nose on my face, that this man was not ready and not available for any kind of real relationship. He was absent when presence was called for. Occupied when I was in the same room. Distant unless I reached out and called him forth. He was where he was. I wanted what I wanted. The two things were not on the same page, nor in the same book or even hanging out in the same library. No amount of wanting it to be different could change what was.

Dane Sean Schlebaum Jan 1, 2017 1:57pm

Wonderfull!

Stephen Fraser Dec 31, 2016 9:00pm

I've actually been on both sides of this...I think what it comes down to is finding someone as into you as you are into them...when this is out of balance it looks the way you've written this story...yes there are some who are chronically unavailable but as a rule we all seek connection..you just have to find an equal

Stephen Fraser Dec 31, 2016 8:55pm

Actually a great many men could have that conversation ... It may not be the norm and they may express it differently but most of us crave connection..

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Vivian V Kulasingham Oct 29, 2016 2:46pm

I can relate to it We have to close the door n bid farewell he is not available to us or anybody. A Selfish man.

Brenda Rafferty Oct 20, 2016 1:36pm

there are more jerks out there these days .Lots of girls are too nice for men the biggest whores in europe are good enough for most men

Laura Carney Oct 20, 2016 12:22am

Thank you for this. Exactly where I am at, in my journey through life. Let's me know I am not alone .

John Deuhs Oct 19, 2016 9:57pm

This is beautiful, I've been going though the same thing, i never realized that both men and women can be hurt the same, I fell in love and opened up and it blew up, I've been so sad just like the story. I've learned a lot about myself, I prey I could be with her, maybe in another life, thanks

Betty Crowley Aug 7, 2016 6:48pm

Could you ever envision any man writing this article? Not. Men just are not that emotional or introspective. Just ask one. So you are expecting something that only applies to a tiny number of men. And most women arent comfortable with such an emotional man.

Sherry Burton Gleason Jul 24, 2016 7:12pm

This could have been written about me...have just gone through this very scenario...cried all the way home...no contact after...what a disappointment in him and in me.

Oliver Preclaro May 28, 2016 3:18am

Timely discussion , BTW , if anyone needs a a form , my business discovered a sample document here https://goo.gl/XtC3Sv.

Brenda Rafferty May 3, 2016 6:33pm

stay away from him cos hes not into u or anyone else he likes to b free but likes women for sex and friends .if u dont see him you'll come to your senses he's not the lovin'kind he's a user of vulnerable wome.n sends out nice signals,. but is being a player. why would any man do this????? some do not many, but look out and when you see the signs,' walk away,' before u get hurt. ok gals hes no good lollol