Last updated:

March 25, 2024


 min read

15 Signs Someone is Emotionally Unavailable

Discover the 15 clear signs of emotional unavailability in relationships and how to navigate them effectively with insights from Rocket Health India's culturally sensitive online therapy services.



In the intricate dance of any relationship, specifically romantic relationships, emotional availability plays a pivotal role in fostering intimacy, trust, and connection. However, navigating the emotional landscape isn't always easy, particularly if one partner has emotional unavailability. This in-depth piece explores the subtleties of emotional unavailability in romantic partnerships. People can build better relationships and stronger emotional ties by recognizing the indicators of emotional unavailability and grasping its effects.

In romantic relationships, the term "emotional unavailability" describes a person's incapacity or unwillingness to completely engage in emotional communication with their partner. It includes a wide range of behaviors and beliefs that obstruct candor and vulnerability. Emotional unavailability can take on unique manifestations in the Indian context, where relationship dynamics are frequently influenced by cultural norms and traditional beliefs. Open communication can be hampered by cultural conventions about gender roles, family dynamics, and societal influences, which can worsen emotional distance. People could struggle with the conflict between their own needs for emotional connection and what society expects of them, which can cause relationships to have a complicated emotional dynamic.

Being in a relationship with someone who is emotionally unavailable can have a significant and multifaceted effect. When the emotionally unavailable partner finds it difficult to feel emotionally intimate with the other, it frequently results in feelings of loneliness, dissatisfaction, and inadequacy. People may experience a persistent need for approval and comfort, only to encounter emotional coldness and aloofness in return. This kind of interaction can undermine intimacy and trust, leading to a feeling of alienation and discontent in the partnership. The temptation to fit into typical relationship roles might make matters worse in the Indian context, where cultural norms and familial expectations play a big role. In order to preserve harmony in the relationship, partners may feel pressured to repress their own emotional demands, which will only serve to reinforce feelings of emotional unavailability.

15 signs that indicate emotional unavailability in a relationship:

1. Difficulty Expressing Emotions: People who are emotionally unavailable find it difficult to express their emotions and frequently avoid or divert from difficult conversations. They might minimize the importance of feelings or show signs of uneasiness when prompted to share their thoughts. Their partner may feel ignored and invalidated as a result of their lack of emotional expression, which can cause a sense of separation and alienation in the relationship.

2. Avoidance of Intimacy: They put up barriers that prevent intimate connection by avoiding emotional or physical intimacy. This avoidance may show itself as a preference for keeping a safe distance in relationships or as a reluctance to make loving gestures. They could steer clear of sensitive situations like in-depth discussions or revealing personal anecdotes.

3. Inconsistent Communication: People who are emotionally unavailable may communicate sporadically or superficially. Without any indication they could withdraw or grow detached, leaving their partner perplexed and unsure about the state of the relationship. Ghosting could become a recurrent pattern in the relationship as good as lack of accountability of their actions. They might not have deep conversations about feelings or relationship problems; instead, their exchanges may be superficial.

4. Fear of Commitment: They show aversion to making long-term plans or engaging in discussions about the future, frequently claiming fears of vulnerability or a wish to remain independent as justifications. This fear of being committed might impede the development of the relationship and make their partner feel insecure. When questioned about their intentions, they could become evasive or avoid talking about the long-term prospects of the relationship. They could even avoid using words that define the relationship or run away from “what are we?” conversations.

5. Self-Centeredness: People who are emotionally unavailable frequently put their own needs and wants before their partner's.

Feelings of neglect or resentment may result from their lack of empathy or regard for their partner's feelings. They might not give much thought to how their behaviors affect their partner, instead focusing mainly on their own objectives.

6. Unwillingness to Compromise: Their inability to compromise or find common ground causes them to clash frequently and engage in power conflicts. In a relationship, they prefer making the decisions. The relationship may become more emotionally estranged as a result of this resistance to making concessions. They might put their own interests and needs ahead of their partner's, which could cause one to feel irritated and resentful.

7. Emotional Detachment: Even in circumstances that call for emotional connection, they come across as emotionally cold or uncaring, not interested in their partner’s life. When faced with big challenges or events, they could be stoic or unfazed, making their partner feel abandoned and alone. Their partner may have increased feelings of loneliness as a result of their inability to offer consolation or emotional support during trying moments.

Their partners might feel that despite every attempt, they are unable to get closer to them.

8. Closed Off: People who are emotionally unavailable tend to keep their emotions within, while frequently building barriers to keep others away from them. They could appear reluctant to talk about themselves or their experiences, which would make the relationship seem emotionally distant. They might want to keep their emotions concealed from their partner and refrain from divulging their experiences or feelings, leaving the partner feeling like they’re the only ones in the relationship doing the emotional heavy-lifting.

9. Deflecting Blame: Instead of accepting accountability for their actions, they might place the blame for the problems or disagreements on their partner or other external factors. This refusal to take responsibility can make it challenging to resolve disputes and damage interpersonal trust. They might decline to accept their own part in the problem at hand and instead feign ignorance and might even get defensive of their actions.

10. Unresolved Past Trauma: Unresolved emotional scars or past traumas may be a factor in emotional unavailability. They could be burdened by baggage from past relationships or experiences, which makes it challenging to establish meaningful emotional connections. Emotional intimacy may be impeded by their past experiences or the relationships they’ve seen growing up, which shape their conduct and views about relationships.

11. Difficulty Trusting: People who are emotionally unavailable frequently find it difficult to trust people because of their own insecurities or prior transgressions. They may be sceptical or guarded as a result of this lack of trust, which makes it difficult for their partner to gain their affection and confidence. They could be reluctant to show vulnerability or open up because they think their emotions might be exploited against them or that their trust will be violated.

12. Hot and Cold Behavior: Their conduct is erratic, with bouts of warmth and tenderness interspersed with times of disengagement or absence. Breadcrumbing can also be a facet in relationships with emotionally unavailable partners. Their partner may become confused and uneasy about the stability of the relationship as a result of this unpredictable nature. Their companion could be confused about their emotional state as they waver between times of intimacy and distance.

13. Lack of Empathy: They display a lack of understanding or empathy for the feelings or experiences of their partner. They exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation felt by their partner by minimizing their partner's emotions or neglecting to offer emotional support when needed as they do not relate to their partner’s struggles. Their partner may feel ignored and invalidated as a result of their lack of empathy, which could cause a rift in the relationship.

14. Preference for Solitude: People who are emotionally unavailable might value their alone time or recreational activities more than spending time together with their partner. They could put space in the relationship by avoiding emotional connection through their jobs or hobbies. They could put their own interests and passions ahead of their partner's, which might leave them feeling rejected and alone.

Oftentimes they might even cancel plans with their partners without prior notice and have trouble including their partners into their lifestyle.

15. Fear of Vulnerability: Fearing rejection or hurt, they steer clear of situations that call for emotional honesty or vulnerability. They may be unable to completely participate in the relationship and establish a strong emotional bond because of their fear of being vulnerable. They could be reluctant to talk about their feelings or share personal experiences out of concern that their partner would criticize or reject them.

It's critical for people who want to have healthier, more fulfilling relationships to recognize these indicators of emotional unavailability. Through the identification of these behavioral patterns, people may proactively address underlying issues and cultivate increased emotional closeness and connection within their relationships.


For people enduring relationships with emotionally distant partners, online therapy can be a helpful tool. It offers a private, secure setting for exploring feelings, practicing effective communication, and creating coping mechanisms for handling challenges in relationships. Tailored online therapy services are provided by Rocket Health India to meet the specific needs of people in India. Individuals navigating relationships with emotionally unavailable partners can benefit greatly from the support and advice offered by their culturally sensitive approach and skilled therapists.

Individuals can learn to recognize and treat the underlying causes of their emotional unavailability through focused interventions and individualized therapy sessions, which will promote further closeness and connection in their relationships. Realize that emotional availability is a journey, and people can make any type of meaningful connections they want to if they are committed to making the effort.


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Khanna, N. (2023). Impact of emotional unavailability on the happiness level of Indian couples and the happiness pie chart as a tool towards resolution: Qualitative analysis of case studies. Social Behavior Research and Practice – Open Journal, 8(1), 1–7.

Saunders, H., Kraus, A., Barone, L., & Biringen, Z. (2015). Emotional availability: theory, research, and intervention. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1069.