5 Ways Your Partner Perceives You as Emotionally UnavailableAre You Emotionally Unavailable? You may have heard your partner say to you, “I don’t feel connected to you,” or “I wish we would connect more.” What does this even mean and why aren’t you connecting in the way they are requesting? Well, if you struggle with understanding your partner’s definition of “connection” or don’t fully understand why your partner is requesting more connectedness, you may find yourself feeling really frustrated. At times, you may even start to feel criticized and struggle with not feeling good enough; your partner may pull away from you and may find yourself struggling with what else to do. You hear your partner’s requests, but you aren’t sure how to meet those needs. Often times, this feedback from our partner isn't a criticism, but rather, a genuine request at needing to feel closer to you. This is often in the form of emotional connection, which is why it cannot always be clearly defined. Here are a few ways that your partner may be perceiving you as being emotionally unavailable and what you can do about it.
Here are 5 ways that your partner may be perceiving you as being emotionally unavailable:
#1 Your needs are super “simple."Maybe you don't think you have a lot of needs and you would consider yourself pretty "simple." Why may your partner misunderstand this as being emotionally unavailable? Well, to start, they may feel a sense of closeness to you when they discuss with you their needs and feelings. If they don't experience you expressing your needs and feelings, they may make the assumption it's because you aren't wanting to be emotionally engaged with them. Not that this is wrong on either part, but this may be a sign to your partner that you are emotionally unavailable. This also may make your partner feel "needy" as they have a list of requests from you and don't feel you need anything from them. You may never match each other's needs, (this is not the goal), but maybe it's time to really think about yourself on a deeper level because there may be needs in there that you have either dismissed and/or never identified them as "needs." As yourself: How would I feel appreciated, supported, loved, desired, (etc) by my partner? Would they do something? Say something? This can help you articulate it to you partner in a more "emotionally connecting" way.
#2 You aren’t emotionally attune to yourself.This is a huge indictor that you are emotionally unavailable at times. If you are not practicing emotional awareness for yourself on a daily basis, you may not even realize that you are struggling with connecting with your partner emotionally. By not being emotionally attune to yourself, you can't fully empathize or meet them on a deeper intimate level. Our partners often need us to sit in our discomfort with us; not fix the discomfort. Our partner often need us to let down our guard and be close to us emotionally. In order to do this, it requires both people to be somewhat emotionally open and vulnerable. If you find yourself unaware of your own emotions or needs, try to practice mindfulness and self awareness to increase your level of emotional intelligence. This will not only benefit your partnership, but always support you in ways you may not even realize.
#3 You feel criticized a lot and react defensively.We all get defensive sometimes. We all get triggered and find ourselves feeling sensitive about a particular experience. This is normal. However, if you find yourself getting defensive more often than you are unguarded when your partner tries to communicate to you about deeper things, it may be time to re-evaluate why. Your partner may be experiencing a sense of insecurity or rejection if they perceive they can not come to you about emotional things. This can be a huge issue if your partner consistently feels insecure and doesn't feel they can rely on you for emotional support.
#4 Emotions make you uncomfortable.Do dramatic movies make you cringe? Do you feel yourself shutting down when someone cries? This may be because you are so far removed from your own emotions that you struggle with compartmentalizing others in the same way you compartmentalize your own. This may be causing difficulty in your relationship because your partner may want to expose their feelings to you in order to feel secure, safe and intimate. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, most likely they experience you shutting down. This sends them a message that you don't care (which isn't the case, you just don't know what to do!). Try to communicate to your partner that you are listening; you are there with them, but maybe be more transparent in that moment by telling them that you may be feeling uncomfortable and you aren't sure why. Transparency is really helpful because it clears the air of any assumptions of either of your parts.
#5 You don’t feel vulnerable often… or possibly ever.If you yourself, never really expose vulnerability, then this is definitely an indictor that your partner may perceive you as emotionally unavailable. Intimacy is created when two people are being vulnerable; this is sexually, emotionally, mentally. If you are constantly protecting your vulnerability, then you never really allow your partner in all the way. If your partner has expressed that they feel disconnected from you or there is a lack of passion in the relationship, it may be because they aren't engaging with this emotional piece of you. If you find yourself relating to any of these behaviors, don't worry, there is nothing wrong with you. You also don't have to feel pressured to change who you are. If anything, this is helpful content to inspire you to be more attune to yourself and learn more about "what's under the hood." Most often I find men struggle with this, but women can also struggle with being emotionally unavailable. Generally speaking, men process information more internally than women do; women speak as they process information which why they are generally more communicative. Neither is better or worse, but there is a huge difference.
Try to find a balance in your relationship and realize that the healthier your relationship is, the more self aware you have to become.Self awareness eliminates assumptions, projections and petty arguments. Self awareness creates humility and safety in your relationship; it helps bond you together more emotionally. The purpose of being more self aware isn't to master it or be perfect at it; the purpose is to let each other in a bit more, enhance your intimacy and learn more about yourselves! It is in my opinion that we are all emotional beings regardless of gender, but we are often conditioned to express these emotions differently. We have the tendency to misunderstand our partners a lot when there isn't full disclosure or understanding of one another on a deeper level. This is why your partner may be perceiving you at times as emotionally unavailable, which is often a misunderstanding. try practicing being more self aware and attune to yourself regularly. Thanks for reading.