As a matchmaker, I’ve experienced first-hand how flaky men can be in today’s modern dating world.
It’s happened more than once, actually. Here’s the pattern: A gentleman tells me he’s interested in meeting my client. He goes through the process of being interviewed and screened and even checks his calendar to set up the date. But when it comes time to make the call and actually meet the woman, he shrinks back. Sometimes he’ll disappear. Other times he’ll cancel at the last minute until he finally tells me he’s seeing someone else, even though it’s not quite serious yet and doesn’t want to hurt my client.
Yeah, I know.
It’ frustrating for my client and for me! The whole reason women work with me is so I can protect them from the heartache, rejection and confusion that comes from dealing with emotionally unavailable men.
I’ve made it my mission to learn more about the signs that a man is emotionally unavailable or not, so I can do a better job of screening them out of the dating pool for my clients. I want to pass along what I’ve discovered so you can know what to do when you meet a man who sends you mixed signals.
Here’s what’s so tricky about these kinds of guys:
They really want relationships and closeness. We all do! So they’ll say things like, “I’m tired of the dating thing. I want to settle down.” They’ll swear up and down they want a wife but they just haven’t met her yet. He may have been dating for a long time and he says he knows what he wants, but he just can’t find it yet.
Searching for the perfect woman is actually one of the top signs a man is emotionally unavailable! He keeps some mythical woman in his head so that he can devalue everyone he meets for not meeting those standards.
This man may have been hurt in the past when he opened up to love and so he’s always trying to keep you at arm’s length. Oh, he’ll start out hot and heavy in a relationship! You take this to mean he’s ready for love, but what he’s really doing is replacing intensity with intimacy. By coming on strong and getting swept up in chemistry, he doesn’t have to think about being open and vulnerable with you.
He may even say something like, “Some days I feel like such a mess. How can anyone love me? I feel like I’m not cut out for relationships. I think my heart is like ice.” You think he’s being honest and aware about his issues and that he’s ready to work on them. NOPE!
There’s a big difference between telling the truth and making changes. If he’s not committed to working on himself, he won’t be able to commit to you either. He needs therapy or coaching. Your love is not going to be able to motivate him to do it, either.
Frustrating, right? It can be downright painful too!
So what can you do when you meet someone who is emotionally unavailable (or you suspect he might be?)
The number 1 strategy to weed out emotionally unavailable men is to communicate your needs immediately and watch how he responds.
What does this look like?
Let’s say your man said he’d call you after a date and it takes him 3 days to do so. That’s a sign he may be emotionally unavailable. But instead of jumping to conclusions, just tell him what you need. It will go something like this:
“I need to feel confident in a relationship. When you say you’re going to call but you don’t, I feel like I can’t trust you.”
Now, just sit back and see how he responds. Does he get defensive and blame you for being too needy? Does he make you feel stupid for bringing it up? Does he ignore you altogether and just disappear?
If he doesn’t find a way to meet your needs, it’s safe to say he’s not open or ready for love. He’s not a good match, and you’ll want to move on. If you were to get involved with him, you’ll end up in a dead-end relationship with a lot of pain and heartache.
You need to work on yourself so that you
1. Stop being turned on by emotional unavailability
A relationship with this kind of man can have a lot of highs and lows and you can mistake that for chemistry. It’s not! But when you have limiting beliefs about what falling in love should feel like, you’ll fall for it every time.
2. Heal your association of love with pain
We tend to recreate the unresolved love traumas from our past by choosing someone who will hurt us in the same way. Let’s say you were the only black girl in your class. You felt invisible to the boys because no one ever wanted to date you (including the black boys!) You felt worthless and rejected. This is the emotional baggage you carry into each relationship. Now when someone shows intense interest in you at the beginning of a relationship, your heart feels like it finally has found love. So when the red flags show up that this man is not available, you hang on for dear life instead of walking away.
3. Communicate your needs on Day One
When you heal your pain, you’ll have more confidence to express your true needs and walk away from anyone who can’t meet them. Ask smarter questions early on in a relationship so you don’t spend months trying to uncover who a man really is. The right question can help you get that information in 5 minutes!
Tell me, have you ever had a man flake on you? What were the signs he was emotionally unavailable?