Why Your Partner Is Emotionally Unavailable

When the person you're supposed to be closest to keeps you at a distance, it can be painfully frustrating.

emotionally unavailable partner MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

If you're in a relationship with someone, it can be pretty frustrating if they're keeping their distance from you. And when they pull away, you may begin to wonder why they're so emotionally unavailable in the first place.

Is it something you did, or is there more to it? Psychologist Dr Aria Campbell dives into the real reasons behind your partner's emotional unavailability.



RELATED: 4 Specific Signs You're In Love With An Emotionally Unavailable Woman


Why Your Partner Is Emotionally Unavailable

Your partner might be emotionally unavailable for many reasons. "Past traumas, attachment issues, and a fear of getting close are just a few things that could be causing them to withdraw emotionally," says Campbell.

Nonetheless, emotional unavailability is often a coping mechanism meant to defend against unwanted pain and suffering, often stemming from past traumas.

And according to Psychologist Arasteh Gatchpazian, if your partner:

  • Doesn't trust easily.
  • Avoids deep conversations.
  • Is defensive.
  • Keeps their options open.

They're likely emotionally unavailable.


Campbell adds, "Whenever someone is emotionally unavailable, they may struggle with expressing their feelings or forming deep connections or committing to a relationship."



Because of this, both parties will begin to feel frustrated, lonely, and even rejected, says Campbell. But it's important to remember that this isn't your fault and doesn't define your value in the relationship.

So, if you and your partner are dealing with emotional unavailability in your relationship, here's what you need to do to get your relationship back on track.


RELATED: Emotionally Unavailable People Share These 10 Confusing Traits

How To Cut Out Emotional Unavailability In Your Relationship

Explore your thoughts.

If you want an emotionally available relationship you need to explore your thoughts. Ask yourself, "Why don't I feel worthy of a close relationship," suggests The Hart Centre.

Do you fear rejection or intimacy? How can you both address these concerns and work through them together?

Don't have a backup plan.

According to The Hart Centre, "Emotionally unavailable partners often have a secret life — a backup plan for when the relationship fails."

Having a backup plan or a replacement ready to go keeps you distant from your partner. So, be transparent with your partner and open up about any insecurities you may have.


If it helps, try writing a letter to express your insecurities if the confrontation feels too overwhelming at the moment. Remember, the most important thing here is that you're beginning to express your unmet needs.



Take responsibility for your emotions.

Stop the personal attacks and understand that you won't always get your way. Take time to cool off and re-approach the conversation respectfully.

Commit to opening up.

Tell your partner your dreams and deepest wishes. Share childhood memories and let them begin to catch a glimpse into your world. I understand this can be challenging and it's okay to start small.


However, as The Hart Centre points out, "When you feel like you’re suffocating from a lack of space, you’re on the right track. You are suffocating the belief that you don’t deserve love."

Understanding why they're emotionally unavailable will help you and your partner tackle these challenges together.

RELATED: Emotionally Unavailable Men Share These 7 Characteristics

Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.