Emotionally Unavailable Man: 6 Signs of an Emotionally Unavailable Person

Who is an emotionally unavailable man? How does an emotionally unavailable man behave? What are the signs of an emotionally unavailable partner? Am I an emotionally unavailable man? What makes a man emotionally unavailable? How can I overcome emotional unavailability as a man? This article is for you if you are looking for answers to one or all of these questions.

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Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

What Is Emotional Unavailability?

What Is Emotional Unavailability?

‘Emotionally unavailable’ is among today’s most commonly used words, especially in dating circles. It is a term coined from social media which has become inherently popular over the last decade and is not found in any psychology diagnostic manual. However, very few people know and understand what emotionally unavailable means.

Saying someone is emotionally unavailable means that a person is avoidant and is unable to make an emotional connection in long-term relationships. This person finds it increasingly difficult to discuss or share how they feel. Emotionally unavailable people are hard to read, very evasive, and flaky. They are often afraid of emotional intimacy, which forces them to be in touch with their feelings and emotions.

Most psychologists and psychotherapists believe that an emotionally unavailable person lacks emotional depth and suffers from low self-esteem. Emotional unavailability creates an emotional wall that makes it difficult for this type of man to connect with others or be part of a committed relationship.  

As a man, being emotionally unavailable makes it hard for you to deal with your feelings, making it even harder for you to express them successfully. Emotionally unavailable men often have difficulty forming healthy relationships, which may explain why most of their serious relationships do not last.

An emotionally unavailable person or partner ensures they are not vulnerable around people, including their loved ones. They use this as a defense mechanism that prevents them from forming emotional bonds or getting hurt. While this may work for them, the other people in their life often end up feeling unloved and rejected.

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Warning Signs of an Emotionally Unavailable Person

Difficulty sharing feelings and emotions

This is often one of the most common red flags for an emotionally unavailable person. It may be because you are emotionally closed off if you find it hard to express your feelings and emotions. Emotionally unavailable men find it increasingly difficult to talk about their true feelings, whether shame, love, hurt, guilt or pain, or any other emotions that make them feel or look vulnerable and weak.

He is non-committal

A man who is emotionally unavailable has a hard time staying committed in romantic relationships or life. In relationships, they prefer superficial physical intimacy, avoid labels, or take romantic relationships to the next level. They often insist on not defining loving relationships and prefer to keep things casual and see other people. They will avoid making plans, or doing anything to make a relationship work.

Has a difficult time showing love

An emotionally unavailable person has a hard time showing or receiving love. No matter how deeply they feel for people, they have difficulty saying I love you, which often leaves the people in their life wondering where they stand. To them, expressing their feelings is a form of commitment, which is difficult for them.

Feeling discomfort when discussing emotional topics

An emotionally unavailable man will often find it hard to be fully present around emotional topics. He is unable to listen with empathy or offer support. They will deflect their discomfort by dismissing the issue or offering quick practical solutions to get out of the uncomfortable situation. Common habits that show resistances include looking at their phone or finding something to distract them from participating in the conversation.

They are defensive

When things get too emotional or personal, a person who is emotionally unavailable will often respond in anger and defensively when someone tries to pick on their emotions. This anger or defensiveness is used to protect them from expressing their true feelings when they feel vulnerable or trapped. Their reaction is meant to scare the other person from poking into their feelings again.

They think emotional people are needy or sensitive

The emotionally unavailable man is good at deflecting their emotions by associating emotional expression with neediness and being overly sensitive. Whenever others try to connect with them emotionally, they turn the table and call them too needy. In their mind, other people’s need and desire for emotional intimacy is a show of weakness.

What Causes Emotional Unavailability?

What Causes Emotional Unavailability?

According to experts, there is no known cause of emotional unavailability as many factors can cause it. These can include trauma, relationship history, attachment styles from childhood, mental health, and personal priorities. Being emotionally unavailable can be caused by a blend of the subconscious and deliberate behavior.


If a person experiences emotional trauma as a child, it can have a profound impact on their future relationships. Growing up in a traumatic environment (neglect or abuse) makes it difficult for children to trust others with their emotions. Becoming emotionally unavailable is the mind’s way of coping with emotional trauma and protecting the person from future hurt or trauma.

Attachment styles

Most emotionally unavailable adults have difficulty getting their emotional needs met in childhood. Some grew up without enough validation, emotional security, and emotional modeling from their caregivers. This makes it difficult for them to form secure attachments as adults, sometimes leading to attachment disorders in their adult life.  

Without the proper modeling of healthy emotional expression, most children learn to shut their emotions in as a protective mechanism.

Trauma from past relationships

A man can become emotionally unavailable after experiencing emotional hurt from previous relationships. People who have been victims of abusive relationships become fearful of sharing or expressing their emotions, which affects their relationships. Breakup grief is also a common cause of emotional unavailability.

Life stress

Some life circumstances like moving to a new place, starting a new job, loss, or a medical or mental health condition can make it hard for one to be emotionally available. This is because other things take priority in the person’s life, requiring more effort and energy.

How to Stop Being an Emotionally Unavailable Man

While it may seem impossible, it is possible to turn emotional unavailability into emotional availability. Here is how.

Become mindful of your emotions

The first step to becoming emotionally available is learning how to identify your feelings. You need to start allowing yourself to show your emotions and accepting that you are allowed to feel. Taking time to be in touch with your feelings is an essential first step to emotional availability.

Identify the reason for emotional unavailability

The best way to conquer emotional unavailability is to address the root cause in the first place. While it may be difficult to find the real cause, it is beneficial to explore different options. Identifying the real cause of your emotional unavailability makes it easier for you to process, reflect and heal. It also helps you better understand yourself. Working with a qualified therapist can make it easier for you to address the cause.

Start opening-up

Once you are in touch with your feelings, you need to learn how to express them. You can start with sharing easy emotions like happiness and excitement as a way of learning how to express how you feel. Starting with positive emotions makes it easier for you to express heavier ones down the line. You can begin sharing difficult emotions with people you trust to make the process easier.

See a therapist

A therapist is a qualified individual with the skill to help you find the root cause of your emotional unavailability and become self-aware as they suggest ways to help you overcome the challenge. They can also offer relationship advice to make dating easier for you. Most therapy sessions involve built-in attachment work that helps you learn how to express your emotions without the fear of being emotionally vulnerable.

Join a support group

Having conversations about topics that make you uncomfortable with trusted people is an ideal way of increasing your emotional availability. Being part of an emotional support group makes it easier for you to talk about emotions. This also allows you to learn from others about emotional expression.

If you find it hard expressing your positive or negative feelings to your family members or loved ones for fear of judgment or being misunderstood, a support group can be a safe place to do this. An emotional support group is a safe space where people go to talk, share and express their feelings in a non-judgment environment and in the presence of people who understand.

If you are a man looking for a safe place for emotional expression, MensGroup is a men-only online support group where you can freely share your emotions and thoughts.

More about MensGroup


Men’s Group is an online emotional support group for men. If you are a man in need of emotional support or a safe space to learn about emotional availability, being part of a men-only community is one of the best ways to ensure you get personalized help for your needs.

This community of men is dedicated to supporting each other through life’s challenges and changes. Being part of a men-only support group ensures you a free space to share, vent, and learn without fear of judgment or being misunderstood.

The Bottom Line

Being an emotionally unavailable man can negatively impact your life and relationships. The good news is that, with dedication and hard work, it is possible to overcome the issue and enjoy more fulfilling relationships. Joining a support group like Men’s Group is one of the best ways to overcome emotional unavailability as you learn from fellow men that showing your emotions does not make you weak.

1. How To Tell: Emotionally Unavailable Men Characteristics
2. Are You in Love With an Emotionally Unavailable Man?
3. What It Really Means to Be Emotionally Unavailable