At the beginning of a relationship, you’re so infatuated with the other person that it’s hard to notice the signs.

That’s often why can end up with someone for several months before realizing they’re not the right one for us. It takes some time for the luster to wear off before we start to see them for who they really are.

And one of the most common of those signs is realizing that your partner is emotionally unavailable.


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When your partner never seems to be willing to open up to you, especially when you’re fighting and they refuse to express themselves emotionally, that’s a sign that they’re just not the right person for you.

In an interview with Bustle, Esther Boykin, CEO of Group Therapy Associates and psychotherapist, said, “Someone who is emotionally unavailable and seems unwilling or unable to be present with you during difficult times is unlikely to be the right one for you…A healthy relationship requires you both to be able to show up emotionally for each other, especially when things are hard.”

That doesn’t mean your partner is a bad person. However, the truth is, they need to be willing to make the effort to open up if they truly care about you. If they aren’t, they probably aren’t the one for you.

The tricky thing is, from what I’ve heard, I’m a bit emotionally unavailable.

– Nick Jonas

So, how do you know if your partner is emotionally unavailable? There are several signs to look out for:

1. When conflict hits, their walls go up

When a couple fights, it’s normal to scream and shout and let spill everything we’ve been bottling up.

However, if your partner is emotionally unavailable, they’re likely to do the opposite.

Has your partner ever walked out of your place just before things got really heated? Slammed a door and said they were done talking? Started ignoring you? Those are signs they’re emotionally unavailable, especially if you’ve been together for a while.

Most importantly, have you noticed this as a pattern of behavior? This might happen occasionally for one reason or another, but the big kicker is if this is their normal response to any form of conflict.

The longer you’re together, the closer you should become and the more intimate your arguments– the more each person opens up and becomes emotional– so if that’s not happening they’re probably not capable or willing to express themselves properly.

2. They won’t open up about their future goals or plans


Photo credit: João Silas on Unsplash

It’s easy to express yourself when all you’re doing is having fun. And, at the beginning of a relationship, that’s most of what you’re doing.

However, as things go on, every relationship starts to encompass more emotional diversity. Joy, peace, disappointment, sadness, anger, surprise, worry, etc. When things really start to heat up, you need to see your partner meet you on this “emotional battleground,” otherwise, they’re probably emotionally unavailable.

One of the most important things to look for here is opening up to one another about the future. Has your partner told you what they plan to do with their life? What are their goals? Where do they want to be in 10 years?

However, more than just that, have you spoken to them about their stresses and worries? What do they fear about the future? We all have things that keep us up at night, and if they haven’t opened up to you about any of this, they might be emotionally unavailable.

3. They seem to want to keep their life separate

Every relationship moves at its own speed. Some “meet the parents” within just a few months (or sooner…) and, for others, that takes a lot longer.

That is perfectly normal. However, what isn’t normal is when your partner seems to be wholly unwilling to cross that boundary and bring your two lives together.

Psychologist Nikki Martinez says emotionally unavailable partners “will not introduce you to people that are important in their life like friends and family, even though you have been together for some time.

They will have all different reasons for this, but when it comes down to it, there comes a point in a relationship when these worlds should cross, and you should know the people in each other’s lives if the relationship is serious or has a future.”

If your partner seems uncomfortable or unwilling to have you meet their friends and family, they’re not willing to put in the work to nurture the relationship.