Navigating Dating In An Emotionally Unavailable World

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“Dating? No, I can’t. I’m so emotionally unavailable at the moment.”

“I’m not looking for anything serious … I’m emotionally unavailable right now.” 

These are all-too-common phrases that 20-year-olds talk about in the dating world. At college age, many students struggle with finding emotionally available partners who are honest, transparent and most importantly, open about their feelings.

VALLEY is here to investigate this new commonality of emotional unavailability — and how individuals can navigate their love life around it.

What Exactly Is Emotional Unavailability?

Emotional unavailability, according to this article by Psych Central, is someone who does not respond to one’s emotional needs or cues. Typically, an emotionally unavailable individual will struggle with expressing or handling emotions. 

Signs of emotional unavailability can range from, but are not limited to, per Psych Central: 

  • Avoids intimacy 
  • Gets defensive easily 
  • Frequently unavailable (emotionally and physically) 
  • Does not empathize with others feelings 
  • Avoids commitment

While there is no single explanation as to why someone would be emotionally unavailable, many studies have focused on attachment styles from childhood as a potential factor. If you do not have a stable relationship with your primary caregiver, this could possibly impact your ability to develop healthy relationships with others. 

VALLEY has created a guide for all of those 20-somethings who are interested in avoiding emotional unavailability in the dating scene. 

1.) Pay Attention To The Early Signs

To avoid heartache, take note of the early signs! Keep an eye out for the signs above, or frequent detachment and isolation from your partner. 

It is always beneficial to notice these before you’re emotionally invested. 

2.) Do Not Try To Change Your (Potential) Partner

You know the old saying… People never change. It is never your responsibility to fix or change someone else. 

If you find yourself trying to change your partner, you should reevaluate what exactly you’re gaining for yourself through this relationship. You should always be your main priority! 

3.) Be Honest With Yourself

Honesty is the best policy, but sometimes honesty can be challenging. Especially with yourself! 

You should be honest with yourself by knowing exactly what you deserve from a relationship. You deserve someone who is able to and strives to form an emotional connection with you.

4.) Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is not only important, but it’s also very healthy when forming relationships with others. 

By setting boundaries, you can maintain clear communication with your potential partner about your feelings.

5.) Have The Courage To Break Things Off

Relationships need to be two-sided. If you feel that your partner is not bringing value to your life, do not be afraid to break things off.

You’ll be much happier in the long run!

What do you think of emotional unavailability in the dating scene? Tweet us @VALLEYmag with your thoughts!

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