How do I choose men who are emotionally available?
Dear Dr. Julie: I've been dating for a few years and I seem to be attracted to men who are emotionally unavailable. If I go out with someone for a few months, eventually it starts to feel like he's pulling away. Despite my efforts to keep the relationship afloat, we inevitably break up. There have even been a couple of men who have even ghosted me after seeing each other several times. I'm heart broken and don't know what to do. I really want to be in a close relationship but now I'm not sure I want to open up to yet another person. How do I make better choices in the men I date?
Dear Heartbroken: We are usually drawn to what is familiar AND interesting at the same time. Initially, the person you pick is interesting, but on a deeper level he is also familiar. You know how to interact with and what to expect from these men. It is especially puzzling because initially feel like they are emotionally available. It is only later, after you are invested in the relationship, that you clearly see the emotional avoidance coming through.
In order to choose an emotionally available man, you will need to take building a relationship VERY slowly. That's because it is only after dating a while that the lack of emotional availability becomes obvious. During the initial stages of the relationship, no matter how much you are attracted to a new man, you need to be continually assessing whether he seems emotionally available. If he does something that makes you wonder, ask him about it. If he is vague, non-responsive, defensive, or flippant, that's a sign he ultimately won't be emotionally open with you.
You need to be willing to let him go, no matter how much you like him, as soon as he shows you he is emotionally unavailable.
If you are interested in learning more about this issue, I have an entire chapter of my book that talks about paying attention to a person's behavior. The chapter is Rule #2: When Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them. If you want to read more, pick up my book, Loved: Relationship Rules for Women Who Thought They Knew the Rules, wherever you buy your books.
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