Deal with His Emotional Unavailability
Okay, you love him, but he doesn’t show any signs of emotional commitment to you. He’s great at avoiding discussions that use words such as “love” or “marriage” or even “shacking up.” Why is it you’re in this relationship again? If you think your partner’s always got one eye on the door, here’s what you do:
Step 1: Review the situation. Is this guy really worth the effort? How long has he been dancing around the issue? Is it that he’s genuinely shy or is he just emotionally immature? Too many times, we invest years with a partner who just doesn’t seem ready to take any larger steps. Okay, so you get the occasional muttered words of love, but things like marriage or kids are taboo. And too many times, as soon as we hit our 30s, he takes off, messes around for a few years, then hooks up with a younger woman and gets hitched right away. So how do you tell which category your guy fits into?
Step 2: Evaluate yourself. This is where girlfriends come in handy. Are you being unreasonable? Are you being paranoid? Friends can be great sounding boards for these things, but they’re also going to have their own baggage. Go with your gut and don’t let paranoia stop you. If he’s the type to storm out at the notion of such a conversation, return to step one.
Step 3: Start talking or start walking. Waiting on your partner to finally wake up and smell the coffee is tedious. Sometimes, guys just don’t realize that their lack of emotional effort is actually upsetting you. Sit them down. Have a heart to heart. Sure, they’ll probably squirm and keep darting glances towards the television set, but at least you’ve started the process.
Step 4: Be simple and specific. What is it you want from him specifically? Don’t pester him with varying mood swings in the hopes you’ll get what you want. Remember, moody women seem to trigger the “Fatal Attraction Fear Gene” in men. Saying, “You don’t love me” in a pouty voice does not get the same results as “Sometimes, I really need to hear you say it out loud” in a rational tone. Remember there is also a difference between repetition and nagging. If he still doesn’t get it, you may want to return to step one.
Step 5: Encourage complaints. Hey, you may have issues, but he may find it really awkward when you keep using personal endearments when his buddies are over. Encourage him to talk about things that may be bugging him also. Initially, it might be as tedious as pulling meat from a lobster shell, but the morsels are worth the effort. Take his criticisms gracefully (unless it’s really insulting, then you can argue back).
Step 6: Call him on promises. When the word “soon” comes up as frequently as Paris Hilton gossip, there’s a problem. Rather than counteracting with “When?”, try being more specific like, “Let’s aim for June” and stick to it. If it’s regarding a marriage proposal, then embrace your power! Why not propose yourself? If, in the midst of initial apartment hunting or marriage planning, your partner’s as elusive as 24’s Jack Bauer, it’s definitely time to revisit Step 1 or just break it off.
Step 7: Remember, time’s a tickin’. Making excuses for your partner after a year is within reason. Making excuses for your partner after six years is not. So if your partner suddenly drops the bomb on you that he’s not going to fulfill those “promises,” just remember when you’re ripping up his clothing that you’re the one who let him off the hook.
Written by: Robyn Burnett