How to Spot Emotionally Unavailable Partners

Author Tracy Smith
Updated on July 3, 2023

Entering a new relationship can be both thrilling and scary at the same. The possibility that things will progress and evolve into a long-term commitment may excite you, but it’s hard to ignore the risk that you may end up getting hurt. One common fear in new relationships is that your new partner is emotionally unavailable.

emotionally unavailable partner

What Does It Mean to Be Emotionally Unavailable?

Emotional unavailability typically refers to having difficulty expressing emotions and forming emotional connections. Emotionally unavailable people find it challenging to maintain serious relationships and usually prefer to keep some distance from their partners rather than become closer over time. If you’re looking for a serious, close and intimate relationship, but suspect that your current partner is emotionally unavailable, you may find that things will never progress as you’d like.

Signs of an Emotional Unavailable Partner

Below are a few signs for helping you identify if your partner, or potential partner, is emotionally unavailable.

Past Relationships Were Not Serious

How a person’s previous relationships ended can provide valuable insights, particularly regarding commitment, vulnerability, and emotional intimacy. If their past relationships consistently reached a dead end at the junction of commitment and intimacy, it’s a strong indicator of emotional unavailability.

They Seek Imperfections

An emotionally available partner will actively seek imperfections or reasons why a relationship is destined to fail. Even if an obvious reason doesn’t exist, they will invent one. This imperfection provides them with an easy escape route to avoid emotional vulnerability and gives them the perfect excuse to end the relationship.

They Anger Often

Individuals who struggle to control their anger or exhibit aggression towards others may use anger and rage as a smokescreen to mask their true feelings and emotions. They may be out of touch with their own emotions or unwilling to explore and address them. Such individuals are also likely to be emotionally abusive towards their partner.

They Exhibit Evasive Behavior

Someone who is aloof or evasive may intentionally act this way to steer clear of deeper conversations. By keeping interactions lighthearted and superficial, they aim to avoid the emotional minefield that lies within more intimate discussions. If they persist in evading such conversations, they maintain a comfortable distance to prevent their partner from getting too close.

They Acknowledge Emotional Unavailability

Some individuals openly admit their fear or aversion to intimacy, commitment, or long-term relationships. It’s crucial to respect their viewpoints without challenging them. Unfortunately, many people perceive these statements as a challenge and believe they possess the unique ability to break through the emotional barriers

Inarguably, dating and relationships present their fair share of challenges. Numerous variables and uncertainties make navigation difficult and even daunting. However, being aware of emotional unavailability or resistance to intimacy and commitment can aid in choosing a suitable partner. Knowing how to Identify an emotionally unavailable partner early in the dating process can alleviate some of your fears and make the journey more pleasant.

In Summary

Understanding the signs of emotional unavailability in potential partners is crucial for a more fulfilling dating experience. By being mindful and attentive, individuals can protect themselves from heartache and create healthier connections.


Author Tracy Smith

Tracy is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is a clinical supervisor for a Community YMCA. Tracy has over 12 years of experience working in many settings including partial care hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, community agencies, group practice, and school-based programs. Tracy works with clients of all ages, but especially enjoys working with the adolescents.