Whenever I sit down to pen something on relationships, it typically comes from a personal place. Truth is, if I haven't personally experienced it, a friend has or I've counseled some clients on the issue. And y'all, when it comes to the term known as "emotionally available" (and unavailable)—bae-bay…I could write 10 books on the topic. At least.
The thing that I've personally always found to be so fascinating about emotionally unavailable men is a lot of them are actually pretty nice guys. They're smart. They're fun to be around. When they're actually with you (meaning physically in your presence), they tend to treat you really well too. I think that's how so many of us get caught up—we think that because they aren't abusive, arrogant or jackasses that they aren't problematic. That is until we find ourselves super mentally and emotionally (and sometimes sexually) invested into them, while coming to the realization that things aren't exactly mutual. Then we see that we've been spending (or is it wasting?) weeks, months, sometimes even years dealing with an individual who had absolutely no intention on getting only but so deep—sometimes only kiddie pool deep, at that. They planned on becoming only but so available. They planned on deciding to commit only but so far.
One day, I'll dive deep into why a lot of people—not just men, chile—are opting to be emotionally unavailable (because in many ways, it is indeed a choice), no matter how much a good person may be staring them right in the face. For now, I just want to make sure that you value your time, effort and energy by showing some clear indications of what an emotionally available man is like, along with a few signs of how an emotionally unavailable one gets down too.
The Signs Of An Emotionally Available Man
1: He’s Open to Having REAL Conversations
One of my favorite heads up Scriptures in the Bible is, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." (Proverbs 31:30—NKJV) Not only is it a reminder to not be so caught up in how you look that you don't make sure that your character (and relationship with God) is on point, it also tells us that charm can play real tricks on the mind—and y'all, there are A LOT of charming men out here.
To charm is literally to have the ability to attract and to deceive in order to mislead and falsely persuade. And one way a charming guy will do this is by avoiding real conversations.
What I mean by "real" is the article, "The 'Pre-Commitment Interview' Every Dating Couple Should Have" that I wrote a couple of years ago. Yeah, a charming guy is going to do all that he can to avoid engaging in that. So, if you're seeing someone who has no problem sharing his emotions, talking about what he desires in a relationship, the mistakes he's made in the past, where he sees himself, relationally in the future and—this is a big one—what he desires to experience with you, in real time, this is a good sign that he's emotionally available—because he is, quite literally, available to share his emotions with you (more on this in a bit).
2: His Life Is “Relationship Conducive”
A part of what it takes to be in a mature relationship is being willing to own up to your own ish. When I reflect on the missteps that I took in many of my past relationships, one of them was being drawn to men who weren't ready and/or interested (because those aren't always or necessarily one and the same) in the kind of dynamic that I desired. That's actually why I penned, "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material" and "Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife" for the site. When a man is emotionally available, he tends to have a lifestyle that makes being in a non-casual relationship possible. Now, I'm not necessarily saying that he's ready to get married tomorrow. What I am saying is he's open to meeting "the one" and if that happens, it won't take a billion years for progress to be made because he's in a "husband potential" space in the sense of things like knowing what his purpose is; being financially stable and responsible (that doesn't mean "rich"; just stable); having closure and clarity about his past relationships; being spiritually mature; being a healthy communicator—you know, things that would make for a solid relationship.
There is a guy that I know who is awesome. He really is. Yet whenever I go to his house, off the rip, I can tell that he's not, what I call, "relationship conducive". You walk in and it screams, "I am absolutely in no rush to bring a woman into this space." That's fine. It's his right. Yet I'll know that when it becomes more warm, less cluttered and a lot less "80s bachelor pad" like up in there, his heart will have opened up a bit more. (I brought this point up to him, by the way. He totally agreed.)
3: He’s Reliable and Consistent
I've said it before and I'm pretty sure I'll say it a billion more times before I close my eyes for the final time. In my 20s, I wanted a man who looked good. In my 30s, I wanted a man who treated me right. In my 40s, I want a man who can fix my car. That last point is as symbolic as it is literal because, something that maturity teaches you is to desire someone who can meet your literal needs and is consistent in doing so.
A man who is emotionally available can do just that. What he says he will do—or not do—is what you can depend on. He's not one way with you on Monday and then someone different by Thursday.
Matter of fact, he's so self-aware that oftentimes a woman who isn't emotionally available her damn self thinks that he's being inflexible because he doesn't switch up much when, the reality is, he simply values his character, his word and his reputation so much that he would rather stick to what he said than be convinced to do otherwise. If you know a man who you can pretty much set your watch by, he's a gem. He's usually pretty emotionally available too.
4: His Relational Track Record Is Sensical, Stable and Mature
Speaking of reputation, you know something that I used to have a problem with? Giving someone too much of the benefit of the doubt. What I mean by that is, while it's one thing for two people to side-eye someone, when all of your homies are like, "Girl, that one right there is a trip", you really should take heed. For instance, there is one guy I know who, when it comes to being a fun date and a cool person to hang out with, everyone can pretty much agree that he's that guy. But when it comes to his dating life? I honestly don't know one individual who doesn't either snicker at the mere mention of his name or find themselves triggered because of how he has BS'd them in some way.
No one is perfect. A lot of us can stand to remember that when it comes to the dating scene. Yet being a flawed human vs. being a colossal wreck are two totally different things. An emotionally available man may have some missteps in his past relationships—again, most of us do—yet he's not going to be out here with tons of drama and trauma left in his wake. For the record, this can include him being someone who hasn't had a lot of serious relationships before or someone who has rarely said "I love you" (I don't know why some women think that a man is only ready for a real relationship if he's had his heart torn to shreds a million times over). His moves are calculated and intentional. His name ain't out here in these streets for being a womanizer more than just about anything else.
5: HE. EXPRESSES. EMOTION.
Wanna know if a man is emotionally available? HE WILL BE ABLE TO CLEARLY EXPRESS HIS EMOTIONS WITHOUT HESITATION—and yes, I am yelling that. While I wholeheartedly believe that God created men and women to have certain differences in how they see and approach life (argue amongst yourselves on that), at the same time, I also think that some things make us all human, period. And conveying emotions shouldn't be a "masculine" or "feminine" thing—it should be a humanity thing.
This doesn't mean that I expect men to express themselves in the same way that we do but damn—if he's happy, he should be able to say that. If his feelings are hurt, he should be able to say that. If he is disappointed or confused about something, he should be able to say that. If he needs you in his life, he should be able to say that. If he loves you and wants things to go to another level, he should be able to say that—and you should be able to be the safe space for him to say these kinds of things (that's another article for another time, though).
Sometimes, we're out here trying to make things more complicated than they actually are.
To be emotional is to be in a conscious state of awareness that you know what your emotions are, at any given time. To be available is to be ready and willing to do something. If a man is emotionally available, he is literally going to be aware of his emotions and then ready and willing to express them.
At the end of the day, it really is as simple as that.
The Signs Of An Emotionally Unavailable Man
1: He Has Sex Easily but Sucks at Intimacy
When it comes to this particular point, please make the time to check out, "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner". Because society, as a whole, doesn't spend nearly enough time talking about how sex goes way beyond the physical, a lot of us continue to think that just because a man will have sex with us, many times over, and enjoy it, it must mean that he desires us on a deeper level. Unfortunately, that is not always or necessarily the case.
A couple of years ago, I heard R&B singer Tank talk about how he has (hopefully used to have since he's married now) a habit of having sex with women he barely knows like he is totally in love with him. He laughed when he said it. He's not an anomaly in this way. A lot of folks—men and women—are just like this (where do you think the phrase, "F—k smart, not hard" came from?). And when you give yourself to this kind of person, it can have you believing that there is some sort of intimacy that is being established when it could literally be a "mirage movie" that you've created in your own mind.
That's why I'm big on encouraging people to look for signs of true intimacy rather than merely falling for great sex.
Someone who is intimate with you wants to know about your thoughts and feelings. Someone who is intimate with you wants to spend time with you whether sex—which means any form of sexual activity—happens or not. Someone who wants to be intimate with you can have serious conversations; it's not always about just hanging out and having fun. Someone who wants to be intimate with you has no problem coming deeper into your world than just over to your house when no one else is there. Someone who wants to be intimate with you is open to a relationship—not just a situationship.
If whoever you're currently having sex with is only good at the sex itself, that is someone who sounds hella emotionally unavailable to me. Try and look past your libido to see if, deep down, you see red flags and can't deny that, deep down, you feel the same way as I do.
2: Your Time and Feelings Aren’t Valued
The intro quote, I've shared before that it's one of my all-time favorite relational ones. When the late and great Bob Marley once said, "The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman's love without the intention of loving her"—won't it preach? A coward is someone who is easily intimidated. A coward is someone who lacks courage. A coward is someone who is fearful. And you know what? Emotionally unavailable men tend to be all of these things. And when someone operates from a cowardly space, they have absolutely no problem with wasting other people's time and feelings. The reason why I say that is because, when someone is afraid of something (or someone), it tends to make them stagnant and when you're stagnant, how can you ever make any progress? Within yourself or with anyone else?
There's a guy I know who's been dating the same woman for at least eight years now; a woman who would marry him in a heartbeat. He is one of the most marriage-phobic people I have ever met. When I say to him, "Don't you fear that you are wasting her time?", he usually says something along the lines of, "We're having a good time right now and, to me, that's all that really matters." To him, that's all that matters. While she definitely has to own the fact that she's staying in this kind of dynamic, I still believe that when a man respects the woman who he's with, he's going to care about not dwindling her days away or getting her more attached if he knows that he can support those feelings in the way that she would like him to. An emotionally available man would (probably) never. An emotionally unavailable one? This is basically a signature trait.
3: A Commitment Is Not a Priority. Pretty Much Ever.
I've penned articles on the site like "5 Reasons Why You KEEP Attracting Commitment-Phobes", "Here's How You Know He Won't Commit To You. Like, EVER." and "He Loves You. He's Just Never Gonna Marry You. Now What?". Now to be fair, there are some men out here who, just because they don't want to get married, that doesn't mean that they run away from commitment. Some folks are content being in an exclusive relationship without a marriage license and a stroll down the aisle. When it comes to this particular point that I'm closing this out with, it doesn't really matter though; not if you're someone who does want to get married. If you're seeing a guy and he knows that jumping the broom is important to you and nothing ever changes in your relational dynamic, uh-uh…it's time for a shift.
You know, I'm someone who has absolutely no problem with regrets because they are all about remorse. Well, one thing that I regret is literally wasting my time with certain guys in my past. It was a waste because when you put more into something than you get back, that is a textbook definition of the word. And when it comes to emotionally unavailable men, they can spend all kinds of time with you, never ever take things beyond where they are, know that you desire to and sleep like a baby at night. Every night.
A man who is emotionally available isn't interested in sharing his deep emotions with someone who is here today and gone tomorrow. An emotionally unavailable guy couldn't care less because he's so emotionally shallow in his dealings with other people that he doesn't really feel losing them as much of a loss.
Clearly, I could go on and on about this. For now, I'm hoping this has at least given you a bit of insight. At the end of the day, an emotionally available man is well…available. An emotionally unavailable one is pretty much any and everything…but.
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