You may be single but are you available?

It’s almost tossed around a little too much. It’s dangerously close to being dropped so often that it no longer means anything.

“Emotionally unavailable,” like what does that even mean?

An emotionally unavailable person is someone who is lonely yet not ready for a relationship. Men get a bad rap for being emotionally unavailable because they don’t often have socially acceptable outlets to express their emotions. The more emotionally in-touch woman can be just as guilty. This plays out in a lot of modern dating in a few ways.

A malicious man lied to her. He manipulated and controlled her. He made her doubt her own sanity. He let her shoulder the blame for all of their problems. She got out. Now she is dating and enjoying the validation of communicating with other guys. She accepts their compliments because they make her feel sexy. She has no-strings-attached sex so she can be physically gratified. But she doesn’t want a relationship because she fears the risk of getting into another emotionally abusive relationship.

He feels so lonely sitting by himself on the couch on a Sunday after he has tucked his daughter into bed for the night. He wants to share his life with one woman. That would have been his ex-wife but she proved herself untrustworthy. He starts dating again and he finds it easy to get into a relationship. But for whatever reason, it never lasts. Something she does turns him off, he loses interest, or he simply never felt anything for her in the first place. He has not fully healed from the trauma he encountered in his marriage.

Every time she found herself going crazy over a guy, it ended in utter tragedy. She married the “nice” guy that she was never crazy about. He was safe. Her life’s work is raising their two children. She gives her husband a clean home and healthy dinners. She sees a smile spread across her four-year-old’s face after pre-ballet class, white bows in her bouncing blonde pigtails. She has enrolled her son in a college prep high school so that he can get into an ivy league college and will be set for life. She never was able to make her own success so she contrives it for her children. She never knew what it was like to be satisfied in bed so she settles for providing that for her husband. After all, he provides for her financially. She entered into that relationship emotionally unavailable from the start.

We try to protect ourselves from being hurt again by not allowing ourselves to feel. Sex or relationships become the replacement for these awful hurts we never got over. They thrill in the moment but they never allowed us to process what actually happened in the dark hours.

Will I ever find a man that actually I love who won’t completely stomp on my heart?
Will I ever be able to love a woman again?
How could I ever break up my family for the sake of my own happiness?

I hear you.

How can I become emotionally available after all I’ve been through? Shift by gradual shift.

Some helpful shifts to consider:

Stop buffering.
Notice when you reach for the bottle, the iPhone, the bag of chips, whatever your drug of choice may be. Ask yourself, “What am I trying to stuff?” Engage in the difficult task of feeling your feelings.

Ask yourself a question.
“What is this really about?”
“What do I hope to gain from this?”

Connect with a human.
Talk to a therapist or life coach to get honest and unbiased reflections.
Develop and deepen your closer friendships. Find someone to whom you can authentically open your heart (especially if you’re a man).

Date to learn.
Set aside an agenda in dating and just be there to learn about the other person. Try not to make hasty evaluations like “Is this the one for me?” or “Is this someone with narcissistic personality disorder?” and just gather information. Enjoy the moment. Practice presence. Whatever you want to call it, set aside the future-peeking BS and just learn about your date.

You Deserve Good Things,

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