Is Your Partner Emotionally Available? (Beyond Valentine's Day)

Posted by Evie Shafner, LMFT on February 7, 2023 at 12:00 AM
Evie Shafner, LMFT

4 minute read

emotionally available partner all year long

Love is in the air, restaurants are booking to capacity, flowers are delivered, and romantic movies fill the big screens on this magical love-filled day where partners connect on the deepest emotional levels.

Is this how you'll spend Valentine's Day with "your person" or "your soulmate?" Are you with that one person with which you share the deepest emotional connection? Do you know what makes a partner emotionally available?

Let's look at the signs of an emotionally available partner vs. an emotionally unavailable partner. As well as the root cause of emotional unavailability and what a healthy and emotionally connected couple share with 3 top relationship practices.

Signs of an Emotionally Available Partner

emotional availability

First, let me clarify what it feels like to be with someone secure and emotionally available.

  • From the start, this person shares fully about themselves.
  • They are emotionally mature enough to be fully vulnerable with you as you speak and listen on a deeper and more intimate level.
  • Your connection with your partner grows organically and continually blossoms as time passes.
  • Your partner is someone you want to take care of and wants to take care of you.
  • Your partner is someone who wants to introduce you to their friends and make plans.
  • You feel relaxed with this person. You feel it in your nervous system - you're not on edge.
  • You feel safe with this person, and you feel loved.

Do you feel safe and fully loved by your partner? Or do you question if your partner is emotionally unavailable?

Signs of an Emotionally Unavailable Partner

emotionally unavailable partner-1

  • They don't like to plan.
  • They have great difficulty expressing their emotions.
  • They struggle with closeness with others.
  • They always keep their options open and are less committed to plans and spending time with you.
  • They are inconsistent in their behaviors and actions.
  • They might even avoid sex.
  • They never seem to ask you questions about your life. Or interested when you share life experiences or struggles.
  • They often have a lack of empathy for your viewpoint or life struggles.
  • They seem to get easily defensive when you share how you feel.
  • You often feel unsure, wondering, and guessing where you stand - you find yourself on edge. (opposite of feeling relaxed in your nervous system)

Please know it's not you and that an emotionally unavailable person has difficulty connecting with their feelings and then will have struggles connecting with your feelings as well. Feelings are a foreign concept, often uncomfortable and not welcome. Therefore, they're not available for true emotional intimacy.

What Should You Do if You're With an Emotionally Unavailable Partner?

self care in relationships

  • First, stop focusing on your partner or only on the relationship.
  • Please pay close attention to your feelings vs. their feelings.
  • Stop making excuses for your partner's behavior.
  • Focus on how you feel when you're with your partner.

Beware - emotionally unavailable people can come on very strong in the beginning. So, it's tricky to maneuver and can be very confusing - if you're up, down, or sideways most of the time.

Emotionally unavailable partners often make you want to believe just about anything they say. Most significantly, they can make you believe they're that one special person created just for you, that you're soulmates.

It's easy to fall into their trap, begin to make excuses for their intolerable behavior, and no longer honor yourself and your life. You've now started to settle for much less in life and a life partner.

What Makes Someone Emotionally Unavailable?

childhood wounding

We understand that emotional unavailability is rooted in childhood wounding. A connection could have been painful, and there could even have been childhood trauma.

People in this camp are often afraid of being suffocated or engulfed, and their survival tactic is to need space and distance.

And others fear closeness, as it serves them to stay with someone who avoids intimacy.

Do you Feel you Deserve an Emotionally Available Partner?

do you feel deserving of an emotional available partner

If you're a person who longs for a mature and deeply connected relationship and finds yourself with someone who can't meet you there, don't get tricked into thinking you can "fix" them. Of course, you can always share how you feel and your experience (in a non-harming way) and see how they respond.

However, unless this partner is willing to see the truth about themselves and committed to self-recovery, there isn't a person for you to connect with in a deep and emotionally available relationship. So, take a stand for yourself to have a life full of love, safety, and healthy connection.

Healthy relationships are where your partner wants you to feel connected with, heard, and supported. Soulmates are created in partnership through a deeper intentional practice by both partners to connect emotionally. So, if you're searching for an emotionally available relationship, here are three tips to make sure you have together:

Emotionally Available Relationships Include Three Top Behaviors

emotionally healthy couple

Frequent Touch

  • Couples often cuddle, hold hands, and are available for one another by human touch (which releases oxytocin and increases feelings of love, safety, and connection.)

Frequent Appreciation

  • They show appreciation toward one another.
  • Focus on the good qualities.

Active Listening

  • They put down their phone and move away from the screens to understand what their partner is communicating.
  • They're curious about what their partner is sharing and want their partner to feel loved, valued, and cherished.

So, deep and emotionally fulfilling relationships are vital, whether Valentine's Day or any day of the year. After all, human connection and community are linked to studies on life expectancy, well-being, health, and happiness.

Now that we've shared the differences between emotionally available and emotionally unavailable partners and the top three behaviors emotionally healthy couples share ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are you and your partner emotionally connected?
  • If not, do you feel deserving of an emotionally healthy relationship?

If you are struggling with emotional availability in your relationship, we're here to help.  Check out our virtual and in-person Imago Relationships Workshops and Imago Relationships Therapy.

Discover more about Imago with our Imago Professional Membership, Imago Professional Facilitators, Imago Professional Training, and Imago Educational Webinars.

Connect. Transform. Thrive.

Evie Shafner LMFT

This blog post was written by Evie Shafner, LMFT.

With a degree in clinical psychology in hand, Evie started private practice in 1979, as a licensed MFT. She was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Women’s Therapy Center, where she worked for over 20 years.

Evie began training in Imago Relationship Therapy in the ’90s, getting certified in 1994. Evie then went on to become an advanced clinician in Imago, a workshop presenter and has served on the Board of Imago Relational International for the last 6 years.

Check out her website too!

Topics: Healthy Relationships, Emotional Safety, Emotional Connection, Lasting Love, Happy Marriage, Healthy Love, Creating Happy Relationships, Emotionally Invested, Emotionally Unavailable, Dating Tips, Marriage Tips, Emotional Needs, Long Lasting Love, Emotional Intimacy, Relationship Tips, Dating Advice, Emotionally Available, Codependent

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The Imago Relationships Blog features content from our team of professional therapists, workshop presenters and facilitators who are passionate about helping you discover a new way to communicate and love your life.

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