A young woman
Photo by


Causes And Signs Of Emotional Unavailability

Is this why you are single?

BY Mercy Kipchilat

Mar 08, 2023, 03:13 PM

Photo by

You have probably heard of the term “emotional unavailability” by now. Maybe, somebody described you as emotionally unavailable or your friend has described your current partner as being emotionally unavailable, but you are still not sure what it means.

Here is a look at the meaning of emotional unavailability, some of the causes of emotional unavailability, as well as a look at some of the signs of an emotionally unavailable person. 

What Is Emotional Unavailability?

Emotional unavailability refers to the state where a person is unable to connect with their own emotions or the emotions of others.

An emotionally unavailable person may have difficulty expressing their emotions, as well as understanding and empathizing with the feelings of others. This makes it difficult for them to form and maintain healthy relationships with others.

What Causes Emotional Unavailability?

Emotional unavailability is usually not a choice or a personality flaw. It is rather a condition that requires a lot of support and understanding in order to overcome it.

A person might become emotionally unavailable due to one or more of the following factors:

Childhood Experiences.

Emotional unavailability can stem from childhood trauma. If you were neglected or abused as a child, you might have developed emotional unavailability as a coping mechanism to protect yourself from being hurt.

Additionally, if your parents or guardians were not very supportive or affectionate, you might have developed attachment issues which can be manifested in various ways including being avoidant with your romantic partner and struggling with intimacy and connection.

Mental Health Issues.

Certain mental health issues such as depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect a person’s ability to form and sustain healthy relationships with others.

Past Relationship Trauma.

A devastating breakup can also cause a person to form an emotional barrier as a way of avoiding future heartbreak and it can be tough to become emotionally vulnerable to a new partner.

Signs Of Emotional Unavailability.

Here are a few common signs of emotional unavailability that you can’t miss.

They Avoid Making Plans.

One of the common signs of an emotionally unavailable person is that they are often reluctant to make commitments, both huge and minor.

Do you often avoid making date plans or cancel plans last minute without a good reason? Do you avoid talking about where your relationship is headed? You might be emotionally unavailable.

They Avoid Labels.

An emotionally unavailable person might be open to going out for dates and doing all the other things that couples often do but still avoid admitting that they are in a relationship.

So long as they are dating casually, they are okay but the moment labels are mentioned they can be triggered and either change the topic of discussion or even come up with excuses for not wanting to be in an official relationship.

Does this sound like you? You might have emotional unavailability issues.

They Have A History Of Short-Term Relationships.

Another key sign of an emotionally unavailable person is a history of casual relationships that usually don’t last long. 

Since they avoid forming attachments with other people, emotionally distant people have a pattern of ending relationships as soon as they start to develop feelings for their partner or if they feel that things are getting serious. 

If you have never had a serious long-term relationship, but rather have a series of many casual encounters and short-term relationships then you might be dealing with emotional unavailability. 

They Have Trust Issues.

An emotionally unavailable person might have difficulty opening up about themselves and their feelings since they fear exposing their vulnerabilities to other people.

If you don’t mind listening to your partner’s issues but prefer to keep your feelings and emotions to yourself and often find a way to change the subject or shut down entirely when your partner tries to get you to talk about your feelings, then you might be emotionally unavailable.