How to Unhook from an Emotionally Unavailable Partner.

Via Kara-Leah Grant
on Apr 2, 2014
get elephant's newsletter

couple distance holding hands nature river love

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.



Developing Emotional Resilience.


Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!


Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photos: Deveion Acker/Flickr, Petras Gagilas/Flickr


About Kara-Leah Grant

Kara-Leah Grant is an internationally renowned retreat leader, yoga teacher and writer. Along with fellow Elephant Journal writer, Ben Ralston, she runs Heart of Tribe, pouring her love into growing a world-wide tribe of courageous, committed, and empowered individuals through leading retreats in New Zealand, Mexico and Sri Lanka. 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.


141 Responses to “How to Unhook from an Emotionally Unavailable Partner.”

  1. A4D says:

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

  2. Mara says:

    Thank you for sharing this <3

  3. jojo says:

    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.

  4. englishthistle says:

    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.

  5. Connie W says:

    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.

  6. Connie W says:

    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.

  7. Jobro says:

    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!

  8. Laura says:

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

  9. Gé. says:

    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:

  10. girl says:

    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….

  11. Sandra Madera says:

    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.

  12. Jill says:

    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.

  13. Celina says:

    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,

  14. Maia says:

    Thank you for these truths!

    I enjoy reading this story again and 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!

  15. Anonymous says:

    i had a problem with my wife 3 months ago she was having an affair with a friend of mine that happens to be my best friend, i was so sad that i never knew what to do next, during my search for a way out so i came across a spell caster robinsonbuckler @gmail. com, i never believed in spell casting as i thought it will not work for me but to my surprise i got positive results and i was able to get my husband back from my so called friend, if you are having a similar problem contact Mr Robinson and your problems shall be solved call (+)1 971 (512-6745)

  16. DEE says:

    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. 🙁

  17. Leah says:

    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.

  18. K-Bar says:

    Oh My God, thank you.

  19. Carol says:

    I 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 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 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.

  20. Lindsey says:

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

  21. Slj says:

    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.

  22. piptrentham says:

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

  23. Shivinity says:

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

    Jai Bhagwan

  24. Jessica Thomson says:

    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!

  25. Sarah Ann Tyler says:

    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!

  26. Milena says:

    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)

  27. Maria Orozco says:

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

  28. Michael says:

    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.

  29. Stacee says:

    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.

  30. vered says:

    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.

  31. MJ says:

    Wow! This is beautiful. Thank for this 🙂

  32. Isabella says:

    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

  33. Serena says:

    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.

  34. Jess says:

    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. . .

  35. Malin says:

    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!

  36. Lama ole says:

    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 🙂

  37. Aimelous says:

    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

  38. Colleen says:

    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! 🙂

  39. skyeanitahughes says:

    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.

  40. Aurora says:

    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!

  41. 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!