Article Library of Christian Thoughts · April 22, 2018
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Be Smart - Is He an Emotionally Unavailable Man?
Dating after divorce can be wonderful but, being a lady and vulnerable, you can fall into the pit of men who play hard to get. One of these may be known as the emotionally unavailable man. Learn to recognize him.
You took a chance and allowed a wonderful man into your heart!  He wooed you and smiled into your eyes, wined you and dined you and did all the right things for several weeks in a row.  Blissfully, your delight in long, delicious kisses is restored.  You're afraid but he convinces you not to run.  After all, you are all he thinks about.  Being a woman, you interpret this to mean that he's beginning to consider the long haul and he sees you as the one who completes the picture for him.
But, overnight, he starts to pull away.  And you're baffled.  You have reached the stage of ongoing communication and he's not responding to your emails or he doesn't call for a few days even when you leave him a loving message tellling him you miss him.  When he finally does, he gives you an excuse that stings because it sounds so lame. 
A little warning bell goes off but you ignore it - you tell yourself it's just your fear and your neediness speaking up and you have to give him some room to have a life.
But is it?  THIS is where we must be wise. 
There may be several reasons for him pulling away but, in my School of Hard Knocks, where, by the way, I am still a student, this is what I have learned:
1.  He may be a good man who has just needed to go to his cave for awhile.  Dr. John Grey in the Mars and Venus books says that this is where every man must go after he has been involved in a close time where intimacy is growing.  Men need to know they are still individuals and it's normal, even in marriage, for a man to temporarily withdraw.  He will come back.  Just let him decide when.
2.  He may be an emotionally unavailable man.  This is a man who has been hurt somewhere in his past and has basically shut himself down.  He is most likley truly attracted to you and doesn't intend to hurt you but something happens when he starts to get close that brings up huge fear and a feeling of "deja vu".  Long story short, it's posstible that he cannot connect heart to heart and will not commit.
I know, it's heartbreaking leaving you feeling like a fool.  But, it's not the end of the world - or your dating life.  The secret is to learn to discern.
In fact, the hurt man who you have fallen for may choose to deal with his fears and, given time and patience, he might even transform into the man of your dreams.  You, Cinderella, would have to be a very patient princess at this point, but it can happen so don't write him off because he shows the signs.  Give it some time.  Just be smart about it and guard your heart with open eyes.
So, how can you tell the difference between a man who is "in his cave" and one who is emotionally unavailable? 
 Julia Michelle, eHow Contributor, wrote a great article on this and I am going to share some highlights with you on the "emotionally unavaliable man".  I will compare it to what a "growing man" looks like:

An Emotionally Unavailable Man

A Growing Man


Physically Unavailable


·       He may be difficult to nail down.  Call him and get his voice mail.  Leave a message and wait for days for him to return calls (or he never returns them). 

·      He may become unwilling to make plans or be elusive about his availability. 

·      He may make plans and then forget leaving you hanging. 

·      No relationship is perfect, and even emotionally available people have jobs and obligations that interfere with their time with loved ones.  And, in any healthy relationship, two people should not be joined at the hip.  A little autonomy is good.  But the difference is that emotionally available men make time and, more importantly, they make themselves physically available to the people in their lives.  Emotionally unavailable men do not.



Physically Available


·      Calls you regularly and when he says he will.  If you leave a message for him, he returns the call as soon as he is able.

·      He takes the initiative to make plans and is open about his time and schedule. He enjoys taking you out and spending time with you and makes it obvious.

·      He follows through in doing what he says he will do (barring normal human misunderstandings, mistakes, etc.)





·      He may not be willing to talk or just leave out information about a large part of his life. 

·      In the first few days of a relationship, it's normal not to lay all the cards on the table.  People need time to get to know one another before they give out personal information.  But, if after a couple of months, simple, mundane details of the person's life are still a mystery, that's a big red flag. 

·      And, if he isn't all that interested in the details of your life, that also is an indication that he is holding you at arm's length.  





·      Emotionally available men will let their partners get to know them and they want to know their partners.

·      He both talks about himself and asks questions about you.  (Keep in mind that at first a man may want to impress you with all that is praiseworthy in his life – kind of like he’s on a job interview.  But a healthy man will begin to ask about you and want to keep asking.)

·      He wants you to meet his friends and family and includes you in his activities the more he gets to know you.

·      He enjoys coming along with you to meet and participate with your friends and family.

·      Both of you have your own activities which you enjoy doing alone and you give each other the space to do that. (You both come back happier so it's well worth it!)


*Otherwise Engaged


·      He may still be married or recently separated.  Maybe he's dating someone else - or wants to.  Perhaps he just got out of a relationship. 

·      Whatever the case, someone who is already involved with someone is not likely to be emotionally available to another person.  For that matter, he's probably not emotionally available to the person he's with either.

·      Know that there are men who actively seek out multiple relationships in order to avoid emotional intimacy with any one person. 

·      In general, if another person is (or was recently) in the picture, it's likely that emotional availability is not.

·      He may ogle other women inappropriately when he is with you.   He may want you to look differently than you are and urges you to lose weight, change your hair, dress differently, etc.

·      He does not have room and time to put you first alongside his children, his job, etc.  In fact, you may be way down the list of priorities.





·      He has been divorced for at least a year.

·      There is evidence that he has done some soul-searching and healing.

·      He talks about his ex with understanding and discernment as opposed to anger and bitterness.

·      He can tell you over time what went wrong in his previous relationship.

·      He takes responsibility for his part in it.

·      He is actively working on his life goals and interests.  He has established a fulfilling "present life” for himself.

·      He accepts you and how you look for who you are.  He respects your preferences.

·      He shows an interest in blending you into his children’s lives when the time is right and is also interested in doing the same with yours.  He knows that, in order for an intimate relationship to really work, you must come high up on his list next to his children.




·      The nature of addiction makes addicts emotionally unavailable because the addiction takes precedence over everything else.  This may be addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, etc.

·      Even in recovery, the addict is emotionally unavailable because he needs to focus all his energy on overcoming the addiction.





·      He takes responsibility for his well-being including his health and finances.

·      He admits to past addictive patterns but talks about his healing and recovery.


*Behaviours  (sited from an article on, "Emotionally Unavailable Men")


·      These men will slowly start making all the decisions on their own without asking your opinion. You can tell him what you want and he may even acknowledge what you said but he will go ahead and do what he decides to anyway.  His choices usually centre around what works for him.  For example, if you have planned an outing with your man, he may decide not to come with you at the last minute by citing any reason which comes to his mind. 

·      He will most likely stop initiating times for you to get together and you may find yourself begging for time with him. 

·      You may begin to notice that he begins to treat you in an impolite and non-caring way in front of other people.  He may not even be that interested in including you in his friendships or even family events. 

·      When hard times come over particular issues, he might behave as if nothing is wrong and simply ignore you.  Or he may tell you that you are dreaming things up or being overly-dramatic.   

·      He runs when times get tough, hardening himself and telling you you are just like…. Whoever hurt him in the past.  Or he may just stop speaking to you. 

·      Such a man will never accept his mistakes, even if he knows that he has committed one. Instead of being guilty for his wrong doings, he may try and blame you to end the matter. 

·      He won’t forgive you for mistakes you make. 

·      Due to lack of commitment, walking out and entering new relationships without any pain at all where you are concerned is easy for the emotionally unavailable man.







·      He is always learning.

·      He doesn’t make decisions that affect both of you without consulting you.

·      He takes your needs and preferences into consideration.  He is willing, if he can, to put himself aside in order to see you comfortable and happy.

·      He does his best not to let you down.

·      He treats you with respect and as an equal with your own interests, dreams and agenda.

·      He is the main initiator of time together.  He asks you out on dates, arranges his time so you can be together even if you are in a "long distance” relationship.

·      He takes care of you when he takes you out, whether to a restaurant or to occasions with family and friends.  He is proud to have you with him.

·      He is interested in learning how the two of you can resolve conflicts together.  He wants to know what works for you and is willing to talk about what works for him even if your "freak outs” baffle and confuse him.

·      He doesn’t run every time something goes wrong but he is willing to admit when something causes him to feel that way.  He is willing to examine why this happens to him.  He will share that with you even if it isn’t right away.

·      He admits when he is in the wrong or has overlooked something.  He takes responsibility for his part in disagreements or misunderstandings.

·      He lets you into his heart and builds his trust in you.  He wants you to trust him and does what it takes for you to learn to do that.


Keep in mind that your emotions will be very involved so it's easy to miss the signs - especially because he woos you first.  Maybe he does so because he is hoping that he can find the grounding he needs and thinks this may be THE time.  Maybe he does it because he is a player.  Whatever the reason, the best thing to do is stand your ground and let him go to see if he works on things.
The description of the growing man is just that.  He isn't perfect and may not have perfected every one of these qualities but he at least fits into the majority of these qualities to some extent.  The key is a willingness to "learn" and "grow".
Next time I will tell you secrets that women don't realize in communicating with an unavailable man.  After all, he just might be very hurt and need to build trust again.  Sometimes it's worth a try.
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