7 Signs You May Be Emotionally Unavailable
Love requires you to connect with others on a deeper level. It involves things like allowing yourself to be vulnerable so you can form an intimate bond with your partner. But that isn't always easy. According to experts, some people may not be wired for love and there are a few explanations as to why.
Being wired for love basically means you have a mindset that's geared towards having a healthy and lasting relationship. "You innately seek connection in every form and will learn to develop a closeness by sharing and embracing the interests and feelings of your significant other," Margaux Cassuto, relationship expert and matchmaker, tells Bustle. In other words, you are emotionally available.
There are a lot of different things that can cause someone to be emotionally unavailable. But childhood can play a pretty big role in determining whether someone is wired for love or not.
"Childhood may affect one's emotional availability as an adult because there could have been trauma or an attachment disorder towards one or both parents," Cali Estes, PhD., therapist and founder of The Addictions Academy, tells Bustle. Because of that, they may have trouble connecting with a significant other now.
According to Estes, not being "wired" for love isn't the same as being a sociopath who "can't connect with others due to personality traits in the DSM-V which makes them completely emotionally devoid of feeling." Instead, it's more about issues from the past that cause you to have limiting beliefs about love.
So here are some signs you may not emotionally available, according to experts.
1. You Developed Separation Anxiety From Childhood
There's nothing wrong with missing your partner when they're away or wanting to spend time with them because you genuinely enjoy their company. But if spending time with your partner is a need and not a want, that's may not be love. It's a sign of attachment issues. "If someone is insecurely attached, they may be overcome with separation anxiety or subsequent anger if their partner is unavailable," Nicole Issa, PsyD, licensed psychologist and founder of PVD Psychological, tells Bustle. Basically, being away from your partner causes you emotional distress so you act out in ways that are toxic for a relationship. If this is the case, it may be best to speak to a therapist or loved one about why this may be.
2. You Don't Believe Anyone Can Meet Your Needs
Your attachment style, which is shaped by early experiences, is your pattern of relating to other people. It influences things like who you feel connected to, your expectations from people, and your ability to be independent in a relationship. If you're not wired for love, Dr. Issa says you may avoid getting close to others, pretend you have no needs or expectations, or dismiss your own feelings. If your parents never met your needs, you may have a hard time believing other people can, so you won't bother trying.
3. You Have Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where a person feels like a fraud for their achievements or things they've earned. In the context of dating, someone with imposter syndrome may feel like they don't deserve their partner for whatever reason. "In practice, these self-titled 'imposters' may feel as if they’ve cheated people into thinking that they’re better than they actually are," Samantha Morrison, health and wellness expert for Glacier Wellness, tells Bustle. "Likewise, any good that may come their way is brushed off as undeserved, effectively preventing them from ever allowing themselves to be in a loving long-term relationship."
4. You Tend To Feel Disconnected From Others
If you come from a dysfunctional family background, it may be harder for you to develop a fulfilling and healthy relationship because you don't know how to connect with others. As Irina Baechle, LCSW, relationship therapist and dating coach, tells Bustle, "Coming from an unhealthy family can make you an insecure, disconnected adult who feels like you're not wired for love. You may struggle to build and maintain intimate relationships, and often feel lonely or isolated." But you can change this dynamic, with the help of a therapist.
5. You Fear Losing Your Sense Of Self
Due to dysfunction from chilhood, you may fear being "smothered" by someone else's needs. "This can happen when parents focus on their needs rather than those of the child," Karen R. Koenig, MEd, LCSW, tells Bustle. "In these cases, the child’s physical and emotional needs do not get met and they, therefore, equate emotional attachment with losing a sense of self." So as adults, they’d rather be alone than face the possibility of feeling smothered.
6. You Have An Inherent Belief That People Will Eventually Change
Consistency is important to stability. But if you grew up in a household where a parent went from one extreme to the next (overwhelming you with their needs and then rejecting you for not meeting their's), this can cause you to be wary of relationships. "You may not wish to become involved in close relationships because you would never know what to expect from someone," Koenig says.
7. You Really Don't Believe Relationships Are Meant To Last
If your parents are divorced or you witnessed them fighting a lot as a kid, this will affect you. "These kinds of experiences lead to the formation of beliefs about relationships and their probability of happiness and success," psychotherapist Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, tells Bustle. "If someone believes that relationships are likely to be unhappy, they'll avoid getting attached and being vulnerable." But in order to have a loving relationship, healthy attachment and vulnerability are key.
Just because you have a hard time being emotionally available, doesn't mean you can't find or keep love. Everyone's capable of love. But when you're not wired for it, you may need to put in the work to resolve deeply rooted issues from the past. Going to a therapist can help you with that. If you can work on being more emotionally available, you can have a healthy, loving, and long-lasting relationship.
Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.