Do you feel that your partner is keeping you at arm’s length? Is it seem like s/he is emotionally unavailable to you throughout your relationship?
Loving someone who is not emotionally available can be painful and frustrating. Painful since your affection is not reciprocated or even appreciated. Worse, your partner can be insensitive to what you feel as well. Also, it can be frustrating in a way that you keep wishing you had a different love story. However, it is not easy to walk away from the person because you keep hoping that s/he would change for you.
If you are struggling with an emotionally unavailable partner, here are some ways to help you deal with the situation.
1. Assess why you feel this way.
First, ask yourself why you feel that your boyfriend/girlfriend is emotionally unavailable to you. What are the specific factors that make you feel this way? Has s/he been cold to you lately? Or does it seem like s/he always take your efforts for granted?
Before concluding that your partner is emotionally unavailable, you have to evaluate the condition of your relationship first. If it has always been that way, you have to wonder why your partner is like that. Maybe it could be because of his/her personality or some traumatic experience in the past. If it is a recent change, you must find out its root.
2. Open up to your partner about how you feel.
The first step to resolving the issue is opening the communication line to your partner. It is just right to let him/her know about what you feel. It can help clear any misunderstanding, if there is any. Or it may allow you to discover the struggles that your partner is silently going through as well.
Openness is one of the essential elements in making a relationship work. Therefore, having a heart-to-heart talk will help both you patch things up and even make you closer to each other. Just make sure to avoid the blame game, and things will be better.
3. Ask the person if you are causing him/her this way.
You also have to consider the possibility that your partner is acting this way because of you. Maybe you are also emotionally unavailable, or probably you have hurt him/her, and until now, s/he is not healing yet.
Be humble and brave enough to ask your partner if you have done anything wrong. Although it is not an excuse to take you for granted, you are still accountable to him/her as a partner. If s/he confirms that it is something wrong with how you treat him/her, apologize and be willing to change.
4. Try to set relationship goals with your partner.
Do not just settle with a good talk. Decide to have a productive conversation with your partner. If both of you are willing to make your relationship long-lasting, you should set healthy goals together. These goals should focus on how you can improve your relationship, including how you treat each other.
Moreover, these relationship goals must help both of you be more emotionally open and committed. It may not happen right away, but as you keep pursuing it, you will soon accomplish it.
5. Give more effort in showing affection to your partner.
If your partner is naturally introverted and is not comfortable expressing himself/herself, maybe you should be more patient a bit. Instead of ranting and hating him/her for it, be willing to demonstrate how a couple should treat each other.
Be more expressive of your love towards your partner. Show how it is to be available for the person you value. Be sweeter, more gentle, and more romantic towards him/her. Coming up with surprises may also help.
6. Stop trying to change the person.
Pressuring your partner to change will only cause you frustration, disappointment, and despair. The truth is you cannot change a person. If your partner truly cares about you, s/he will voluntarily make an effort to change himself/herself for you.
So, what if your partner does not want to change how s/he treats you? Is there anything you can do about it? Nothing. It is either you accept him/her for how s/he is, or you decide to move on with your life without your boyfriend/girlfriend.
7. Give the person space.
It is also possible that your partner is going through something that is why s/he is preoccupied lately. One of the things you can do to help your partner is by giving him/her space to sort things out in his/her life. Maybe s/he just needs time to be alone.
In case your partner asks for a cool-off period, be selfless enough to give it. If s/he still loves you, your partner will be back. However, if not anymore, be thankful that the truth will set you free. Stop insisting yourself on someone who does not love you anymore.
8. Get the help of a counselor.
Going through counseling can be helpful for you and your partner. Having someone to guide and mediate between you during your struggling season can help you save your relationship. Sometimes, you need someone outside the relationship to point out your faults. A professional counselor can also help you understand each other better and come with objective solutions.
If you want to get a counselor you both know and trust, make sure to find someone who is emotionally, mentally, and spiritually mature. It is also best to get someone who is already successfully married for a long time so that s/he can guide you with experiential wisdom.
9. Deal with your own emotional struggles.
Sometimes, the reason why our partners are emotionally unavailable is that we are emotionally unavailable too. Maybe you only see how s/he treats you, but you might not be aware that s/he is only a reflection of how you treat him/her.
If you realize that you are also struggling emotionally, decide to solve your inner conflicts first. You need to overcome your insecurities, pain, and other emotional baggage that have hardened your heart over the years.
10. Make God the center of your relationship.
Another way to try resolving the emotional issue in your relationship is by drawing closer to God. Since God is the author of love, He has the solution to your problem. You can start with praying and studying God’s Word together. From there, you can get the wisdom you need to fix the conflict in your relationship.
Making God the center of your relationship will help you focus on the more essential foundations of a relationship. Instead of focusing on emotions, the two of you can work on other elements, such as respect, friendship, trust, honesty, fidelity, and commitment. If you successfully build your relationship on these, both of you can be emotionally healthy.
11. Know when to let go.
If your partner is still unresponsive after trying all the steps above, maybe it is time to set him/her free. A relationship will only last if both of you are cooperative. However, if you notice that your boyfriend/girlfriend is not interested in resolving the issue, it will remain a constant problem in your relationship.
It may be difficult and painful, but you have to accept when it is time to let go. Always know that you deserve someone who knows your worth and will cherish you. Do not settle with someone who does not know how to value you.
It Will Be Okay
Trying to save your relationship will always be worth it. However, if it does not work, do not blame yourself. It always takes two to tango. Therefore, you cannot expect your relationship to work if only one person is making an effort to fix it.
If this is your case, just move forward and heal gracefully. Someday, it will be alright, and the right person for you will arrive.
Online courses recommended for you:
- Relationship Coaching: Transform Problems into Growth & Love:
Develop true love & greater intimacy & a relationship growth mindset, stop destructive conflicts, find meaning & purpose.
- Love & Connection: The Science of Successful Relationships:
This course will show you how to examine the unknown path that you’ll travel with your spouse, and carefully evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship.
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