Marriage Counseling – San Luis Obispo, CA

Call for a FREE phone consult!

1(559) 222-2442

Will Your Man be Emotionally Unavailable to You? – 22 Personality Traits to Look For

Emotionally Available

Have you ever been with a man who shut down and became emotionally unavailable when you needed him the most? When you met him he may have been emotionally responsive. Then once you got close and began to express more of your emotions to him, he began to freeze up and get distant. An emotionally unavailable man may have certain personality traits.

You probably got upset with him when he wasn’t there for you. Maybe you justified his withdrawal. Maybe he told you that it was your fault, that you were just too needy or over the top with your emotions. Eventually you probably began to wonder if he was the right guy. And if this pattern continued for long enough, the relationship probably ended. Why are there so many emotionally unavailable men out there?

With time and healing you found the courage to try again with a new guy.

You initially found that the new guy was able to give you all of the love and support that the old guy didn’t. You told yourself that he was everything that the old guy wasn’t. Then you really opened your heart all over again and began to express your feelings for the new guy.

And then you couldn’t believe it. It was happening again. The new guy began to freeze up and move away, just the way the old guy did. Then the voice in your head began to scream! “Oh My God how could this happen to me again?!”

No shame, no blame…it’s not your fault.

The problem that you’re having is common. Try not to torture yourself or go into a major shame spiral if this has happened to you. Let me help you to identify the emotionally unavailable men that will do this to you. They aren’t necessarily bad guys. They are probably unaware of their inability to be emotionally available.

Understand why.

So why do you keep falling for these unavailable guys? One reason may be this. Dr. Harville Hendrix has an interesting theory that we tend to be attracted to people who remind us of the negative attributes of our parents. Seems crazy, right? Why would anyone be attracted to that? Hendrix suggests it’s because we are attracted to whoever looks and feels like home. And when the new person is attracted to us and reminds us of the parental figure who didn’t give us what we needed, we are super attracted to him. It fulfills our childhood fantasy that we will finally get the love of a father we never had.

Take it slow.

The best way to pick out the guys who are emotionally available is to take the relationship slow. You will not be able to tell if he will be emotionally available over the long run early in the relationship. It takes about two years for the new love dopamine phase of the relationship to wear off. Then the true personality of the person you are with will come out.

Dig deeper and trust your emotions.

Two years seems like a long time to wait, right? So you need to dig a little deeper to look for the signs of who you’re going to end up with.

Trust your own emotions. What do you feel when you are with him in the everyday moments of life. Does he respond to you when you are happy or sad?

Know and heed the warning signs.

It’s important to recognize the personality traits of a guy that is most likely to be emotionally unavailable. And to know how to weed out the emotionally unavailable men. It’s your job to tell yourself that this guy is not good for you even though you may be tempted to form a relationship with him and try to fix him.

Here are some personality traits of an unavailable man. I have divided the personality traits into three categories that psychologists use to describe people who generally have difficulty with emotional connection.

Antisocial Personality

You need to be afraid of this one. People with antisocial personality disorder comprise about 1 to 4 percent of the population. Guys with this problem often end up in prison. Of the three types of emotionally unavailable men listed below these men are the most abusive and manipulative.

They are dangerous and difficult to identify because they often use superficial charm and humor to manipulate people’s emotions.

Here are the personality traits to look for… and possibly run from:

  1. Breaking the law and not respecting right and wrong. There’s a lack of guilt or remorse when they break the law or hurt others.
  2. Repeated lying and using others for personal gain. Others are seen as objects to profit from. They have little or no concern about how their manipulation is damaging others.
  3. Being impulsive and not planning ahead. They live in the moment and have difficulty deferring gratification. They often have addictive behaviors.
  4. Being irritable, aggressive, fighting or assaulting others. They can become enraged when they don’t get their way. They will use intimidation or physical violence to dominate others.
  5. Reckless with personal safety and the safety of others. They are often sensation seekers and will take dangerous risks
  6. Irresponsible and not honoring financial obligations. They enjoy coning and cheating others to get what they want.

Narcissistic Personality

This is the personality type that is easiest to be hooked by. These guys will give you the impression that they are highly successful. They often look bigger than life. They will charm you and use praise to suck you in. Once they have you, they will be dismissive and even belittling. They have little capacity to be emotionally available. They demand admiration and are easily angered. They comprise about 6 percent of the population.

Look for these personality traits in people with narcissistic personality:

  1. Being grandiose and expecting to be recognized as superior to others.
  2. Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  3. Believing they are “special” and should associate with high-status people.
  4. Requiring excessive admiration and having a sense of entitlement.
  5. Taking advantage of others to achieve their own ends.
  6. Lacking empathy and being unwilling to recognize the feelings and needs of others.
  7. Envious of others and believing that others are envious of them.
  8. Having arrogant behaviors or attitudes.

Avoidant attachment style

This is not considered a psychiatric diagnosis. The roots of this style of relating in adult love relationships can be traced back to having non-emotionally responsive parents in childhood. While these people can live normal productive lives, they have difficulty emotionally connecting in their adult relationships. They will get overwhelmed with you when you have emotional needs. They’ll withdraw and become silent. Avoidant men will have more of a negative response to you if you are an insecure clingy person. They’re about 25 percent of the population.

You will probably be attracted to this attachment style if you have an insecure anxious attachment style. These guys look solid and reliable. The problem is that when you get close they will have difficulty giving you emotional comfort. This will make you more insecure.

Here are the personality traits to look for in guys with an avoidant attachment style:

  1. They are somewhat uncomfortable getting close to others.
  2. They want emotionally close relationships, but find it difficult to trust or to depend on others.
  3. They worry that they will be hurt if others become too close.
  4. They often feel uncomfortable with emotional closeness.
  5. They have negative views about themselves and the people they love.
  6. They view themselves as unworthy of responsiveness from their partners.
  7. They don’t trust the intentions of their partners.
  8. They seek less intimacy from partners and frequently suppress and deny their feelings.

Understand your attachment style and its impact on your intimate relationships.

Emotional availability is the key to what is called secure attachment. It is emotional connection that creates strong attachment bonds. This is what helps relationships last for life.

If you have a secure attachment style you will have a better chance of helping the person you love become secure. If you want to know what your attachment style is, click on this link to take a free attachment style assessment.

Know when to run…and how fast.

Consider running from men with antisocial personality traits. And be cautious about staying in a relationship with a man with narcissistic or avoidant personality traits, especially if you are insecure in relationships. These are clearly emotionally unavailable men.

The bottom line…don’t settle.

Everyone deserves to have a loving emotional connection. We all want a soft place to land. A relationship where we are cherished and listened to. Being able to recognize those who are more prone to emotional unavailability gives you a huge advantage to choosing well. Lifetime love relationships require knowing when, where and with whom to invest.

You got this! Rather than falling into relationship with the wrong guy, find a man who can give you what you need.


Michael W. Regier, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist and EFT Supervisor serving clients throughout California and in San Luis Obispo, California. He helps individuals and couples understand their attachment styles. He and his wife Paula are authors of the book Emotional Connection: The Story & Science of Preventing Conflict & Creating Lifetime Love. They have developed an online learning course based on the science of attachment and healthy relationship.



Comments are currently closed.