3 Ways to Become More Emotionally Available

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Published Date|
January 10, 2024

3 Ways to Become More Emotionally Available

You’ve met someone great, and the first few dates went well.

You connected about your interests and hobbies, and it’s been fun getting to know someone new.

But suddenly, things start to feel too real - they’re asking you if you see a future together, they want to meet your friends and family, and you feel yourself getting ready to run.

Here at KMA Therapy, we know relationships are complicated. For over 15 years, we’ve helped our clients and community learn more about their behaviours in relationships and explore how to get the relationships they want.

After reading this article, you’ll know what emotional unavailability is, signs you could be emotionally unavailable, and three ways to become more emotionally available in relationships.

Are You Emotionally Unavailable?

If you often feel yourself pulling away in relationships, you might be emotionally unavailable.

It can be hard to recognize emotional unavailability, because you might find it hard to reflect on and explore your own emotions.

signs of emtional

Learning to recognize objective signs of emotional unavailability can be helpful.

Signs you’re emotionally unavailable include:

  • Trouble expressing your emotions
  • Avoiding intimacy or getting too close to others
  • Avoiding commitment and keeping your options open
  • Feeling defensive when talking about your relationships
  • You have trouble meeting other people’s emotional needs
  • You create emotional or physical distance from potential partners

While emotional unavailability is often perceived as something negative (and can interfere with your relationships), you likely also have strengths that come with it.

People who are seen as emotionally unavailable are often very goal-oriented and are great at prioritizing their own needs.

What Causes Emotional Unavailability?

Emotional unavailability can be a set of behaviours that you hold from a long age, or it can be brought on later in life due to stressful circumstances or traumatic experiences.

Emotional unavailability is often caused by:

  • Experiencing trauma
  • A fear of being rejected
  • Difficult experiences in childhood
  • Experiencing extreme stress or life changes

Even though emotional unavailability is more commonly associated with men, anyone of any gender can be emotionally unavailable (and many men are emotionally available.)

Why is Emotional Availability Important?

Being emotionally available is important for forming meaningful and healthy relationships.

why is emotional availability important

It helps you build trust with your partner, deepen your connections, and create a healthy environment where your relationships can thrive.

While you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for being emotionally unavailable, it’s important to take steps toward emotional availability for the sake of your relationships.

3 Ways to Be More Emotionally Available

These three steps can help you become more emotionally available.

1. Identify the root cause of your emotional unavailability

Emotional unavailability can have a different root cause for each person - so it’s important to determine what’s at the base of yours.

Reflect on:

  • Your attachment style
  • How relationships were modelled to you as a child
  • Current or recent life events that caused you distress
  • Past relationships with family members or romantic partners

Once you have a better idea of what circumstances may have led to emotionally unavailable behaviours, it’s easier to get in touch with what you’d prefer to feel in relationships instead.

2. Get in touch with your emotions

The next step is to get more comfortable with expressing your emotions to yourself.

You might find it hard to be connected to how you feel in the present moment, or feel more comfortable with certain feelings than others. (For example, if you’re faced with an upsetting situation, you might feel more comfortable with the anger that comes up than with the sadness that comes up.)

Explore these reflection questions to help connect to your emotions:

  • How do you feel right now?
  • When do you feel the happiest?
  • What feelings have you been experiencing lately?
  • Do you feel blocked from any particular emotions?
  • When your partner asks you to talk about your feelings, how do you react?

You can answer these questions in your head, but you might find it more helpful to write them down in a journal.

3. Open up to your partner

If you’re in a relationship, work on being more open with your partner.

If you’re struggling with emotional unavailability, this can feel scary - it can feel overwhelming to share your emotions and you might fear how your partner will react.

Even sharing these fears with your partner is a great first step to take. You don’t need to open up and share your deepest feelings with your partner right away - it’s okay to take things slowly.

Even if you’re not in a romantic relationship, you can practice opening up to friends or family members you trust.

Next Steps for Better Relationships

After reading this article, you know how to recognize emotional unavailability and three ways to become more emotionally available.

Here at KMA Therapy, our relationship therapists are here to help you reach your goals in your life and relationships.

Book an appointment today or take our attachment styles quiz to learn more about how you act in relationships.

If you’d prefer to keep reading, we’ve chosen these articles for you:

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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