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Dear Emotionally Unavailable People (and Those Who Love Them)

“Many assume that emotionally unavailable people choose to reject love or serious relationships because they want to remain single. It’s rarely a choice; it’s more like a defense mechanism that is often subconscious.” ~Tina Vasquez

So many times, I’ve considered what I would say to every emotionally unavailable love I’ve ever had.

The majority of the time I have wanted to just yell and scream at them, demanding that they just feel something, anything. However, I know that will not do anything but push them further away.

The minds of the emotionally unavailable have both frustrated and fascinated me.

In an attempt to understand, even empathize with them, I have researched and interviewed those who live in this existence. And so to the ones I have loved, these are the words I have wanted to say to you. My hope is you find it helpful.

To My Emotionally Unavailable Love,

You are detached and an avoider. You choose not to show your emotions to anyone. You do not create attachments with anyone because attachments require vulnerability, and that is an emotion. A scary one for many people, but for you, a terrifying one.

You keep all of your relationships on the surface, and you move in and out of them with ease because you have not invested in any of them.

No one counts on you because you don’t count on anyone. You have set up your life perfectly to reinforce this lifestyle.

You can use your lifestyle as an excuse whenever you want to disengage from others and not invest in relationships or friendships. You even trick yourself into believing your lifestyle is the reason you can’t focus on a relationship. That is just an excuse to stay this way, because it seems easier. But in the end, it just offers loneliness.

For a temporary time it’s fun to be out doing adventures with your surface friends. But as you get older, these friends mature into relationships with others and focus their time on their relationships, as opposed to surface friendships with people they aren’t invested in.

I think you know you are like this. I also believe that you want to grow out of this and have a lasting relationship.

I bet you want children one day, and I believe the parent that you want to be is one that is emotionally available to them. One that wants to lead by example and provide them with loving role models so they will grow into emotionally secure adults. To do that, you have to commit to doing that yourself.

So the question is, why? Why are you emotionally unavailable? Why are you choosing to live this way? I believe it is 100 percent fear-based.

What is it that you are scared of?

This was a learned behavior. Somewhere in your life you were hurt so bad or felt the threat of hurt so intensely that you made the decision to shut off your emotions and not get close to others.

You are the only one that can answer the question above. I’m not sure if you know the answer. And you may never know. So the real question is, how do you commit to becoming emotionally available? How do you work through this?

First, you have to want to be emotionally available.

If you don’t, or are only going to want to sometimes, it won’t work. It will probably force you to close off even more, because you will convince yourself that you tried, it didn’t work, and you are meant just to be this way. You have to want it and remind yourself that you want it every day.

Second, you have to be aware of when you pull away from people.

Aware of when you are closing yourself off. And this is when you have to do something differently. This is where it will be hard.

You have to stay. You have to tell the person in your life that you feel like running away or closing down, but you want to work through it. You have to be honest with yourself about what you are doing, call yourself out on your stuff, and do something different—which is to face it, allow the emotions, stay.

Third, you have to accept that you are going to feel so many emotions that you have stopped yourself from feeling for so long.

You may feel scared, vulnerable, lonely, angry, sad, confused, jealous, betrayed, and unworthy. But the thing about feelings is that they are fluid; they change. Because you are feeling these things in this moment, that does not mean you will always feel them. And the more you acknowledge feeling them, the quicker they will release their hold on you. I promise.

You need to release your feelings in order to change them; otherwise, they stay inside you. Trust this.

Fourth, you need to open up to others. You have to trust someone else.

Opening up and trusting is investing in someone. Investing in someone makes you have a responsibility to them. You have to consider them, as well.

This is scary because you can’t control someone else, so they can hurt you if they choose not to invest in you. And it may seem exhausting because you don’t want to consider someone else. But this is where real life and love exists.

Finding the one you can count on is amazing. It’s in our nature to connect with others. Even if it doesn’t feel natural to you, it is naturally who you are as a human being, but it’s something you have resisted for so long.

Fifth, you need to be okay with making mistakes.

You won’t be perfect. You will get disappointed and overwhelmed. The person you choose to invest in will get disappointed and frustrated. But that’s okay. That’s life. That’s how relationships work. They aren’t perfect; they’re messy. It’s the reaction to this that makes life good.

You know you want this. This is the battle inside you where you want it, but fear consumes and paralyzes you. It wouldn’t be such an internal struggle if you didn’t want it. Go for it, because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

And you deserve to gain. You only became emotionally unavailable as a defense mechanism because you were hurt so badly. But you don’t deserve the pain of disconnection. You deserve to know love.

Chances are, the emotionally unavailable person is not reading this, but the one who loves them is.

So to you, dear loved one, the relationship with the emotionally unavailable may feel really good, feel right, feel meant to be, but until they allow themselves to show their emotions, the relationship will not last.

It will remain surface, remain non-committal, remain inconsistent, remain unreliable. They will not be there for you in the way you want them to be, even if they give you glimpses of perfection.

There will be the moment when they won’t answer when you call; they won’t make plans to do things with you; they will cancel plans on you. This is because they are emotionally unavailable. And it is not because of who you are. This is just who they are.

Accept this. Accept that this is all they can offer. And stop your suffering. Take all the love you want to give to them and give it back to yourself. Do this for you, because you deserve it.

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About Shannon Dee

Shannon Dee has a genuine desire to empower others to seek happiness in every day as she consistently seeks her own. She has a degree in Social Work and worked in the field for 10+ years. She followed her dream of becoming a Certified Life Coach, speaker and writer. Connect with her: Facebook, Instagram, and her website.

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