Is He Emotionally Unavailable... Or Just Not Into You?

Photo: Unsplash / Frank McKenna
emotionally unavailable man in front of multi-colored background

Questions and doubt stream from the heartbreak of dealing with guys who can't or won't commit to a relationship, or guys who can't even label what you have as a relationship.

How can you tell if a guy you like seems guarded because he's emotionally unavailable or if he's just not into you and doesn't know how to say it?

If he's into you but not ready for a relationship, will he be ready one day? And when he's ready, will he pick you as the one, or are you wasting your time either way? Will you feel used or feel like a temporary filler until something better comes along, and then will he dump you? If he's emotionally unavailable, is there a cure or should you accept it or move on to a greener pasture?

Either way, my best advice is don't freak out and give up on him, but don't over-invest in him either. And in the meantime, there are ways to know if he is into you or not while protecting your heart.

Is he emotionally unavailable or just not into you?

Generally speaking, when a man is into you, it doesn't take much for you to feel his interest, no matter how emotionally available he is or isn't. He makes an effort to initiate communication, take you out, touch, hug, kiss and make out with you. He makes you feel special with calls and texts, and he always compliments you.

But if he's giving you conflicting messages, he is either guarding his emotions or he's not all that interested.

RELATED: How To Really Know If A Guy Likes You (Without Him Saying A Word)

Here are some of the reasons a man might seem emotionally unavailable when the truth is that he just isn't interested in anything deep with you (ever).

1. He says likes you but also says he's not looking for relationship.

He doesn't want to lead you on, so he has to blow hot and cold.

2. He likes you enough to explore things with you, but gets scared of your enthusiasm or (perceived) clinginess.

So he needs to back off every now and then to dampen your eagerness.

3. He's just playing the field.

And he's probably in a relationship of some kind with another woman.

4. He loves the sex and doesn't want anything more.

In other words, you're a booty call. He loves and values the friendship and the sex is great, but he doesn't have the emotional capacity to make it more serious. Or simply, he's just not up for the obligations, expectations and responsibility of a relationship at this moment.

RELATED: Why Dating Emotionally Unavailable Men Is Just Like Rescuing Dogs

Will he ever be emotionally available? And if he is at some point, will he pick you instead of another woman?

The answer to both questions can be with yes or no.

My ex wasn't ready when we first met. He displayed every sign of emotional unavailability possible. But, despite all his mixed messages, guarded emotions, and pushing away while pulling closer, he didn't want to lose me. So, he made us a couple a year and a half after we met and married me a year after that. Emotionally unavailable doesn't always equal forever unavailable.

What if he never becomes emotionally available?

If you're a high-value woman, you won't worry about it because:

  • You won't invest more than he does.
  • You won't make him a priority when you're only an option to him.
  • You will still be dating around or accepting dates as long as he's not ready to commit or call you his girlfriend.
  • You're so irresistibly secure that any man who has a chance to spend a good amount of time with you will have a very hard time letting you go.

Some people are truly emotionally unavailable. They can't be emotionally available to anyone, no matter how great you are. They may have experienced childhood traumas, or they face other psychological challenges that make them unable to connect with another person on a deeper level.

If you have established he is truly emotionally unavailable, it's up to you what to do. Can you accept him the way he is with the amount of intimacy and emotional expression he's able to give you? Can you be content with what you have in terms of passion and affection?

If not, it's time to move on.

RELATED: 7 Signs He's Stringing You Along & Doesn't Want A Relationship

Katarina Phang is a dating and relationship coach and feminine magnetism expert who has worked with and helped thousands of women from all corners of the world transform their relationships.