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5 Signs A Man Is Emotionally Available. 3 Signs He's Not.

"The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman's love without the intention of loving her."—Bob Marley

Love & Relationships

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

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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”

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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