When You’re the Emotionally Unavailable One

Vanessa Torre

Figuring out your share of the blame is eye-opening.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0R37nH_0XvDTWM500Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

“You understand you’re the emotionally unavailable one, right?” he asked me. I was having a late chat with a friend. I didn’t realize the full unpacking of the baggage that was going to occur when I entered the conversation. I should have known better.

I have been working on reducing my baggage to a small, respectable carry-on that would most definitely fit in an overhead bin. Not quite under my seat yet, but noticeably smaller. Turns out, you can cram a lot in a carry-on.

Now, the contents of my baggage were on display like I’d been ransacked by the TSA. I just had to stand there and stare at it a minute.

He continued. “This is why you can’t find anyone emotionally available. Or, you know, anyone in your town. If you did, it would be real and it’s too much.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I audibly gasped. He was right. And giggling at my sudden realization in a slightly sinister, guttural way. My jig was up.

Friends who tell you what you don’t want to hear and notice parts of you that you ignore are the best friends to have. He didn’t say these things to be mean. He said it because he got it. This was a gift but one I was not ready to receive.

None of this had ever occurred to me. I tell myself that I am wholehearted. I am self-aware. I am strong. I am deserving. At that moment, I was now also telling myself that I was, apparently, full of it.

I am tired of being alone. Why would I intentionally block things from my life that I have been struggling to find? It’s pretty simple.

I am scared out of my god damn mind of actually being in a relationship. And by scared, I mean terrified.

It’s been long noted that joy is the most difficult emotion to experience. We all want it but the minute we have it, the immediate following emotion is fear. Fear of losing that joy. We become so focused on losing what makes us joyful that we forget to take a minute to appreciate the joy.

This is me in a nutshell. I’ve had too much loss of joy. My defense against it is to not let it in. Keep it over there. Always an arm’s length away. This is how you become emotionally unavailable. It’s also how you routinely meet others like you.

The few men I have gone out with in almost two years since my divorce have only two things in common: They all have beards and they are all emotionally unavailable. I knew this going in. I went in anyway. There are reasons.

I’m not a glutton for punishment. I don’t like being hurt and I don’t like having my emotions tinkered with. This not about self-loathing. A good part of it is about self-preservation. Neither of these are beneficial to anyone.

It so happens that being emotionally unavailable is incredibly convenient. You don’t have to realistically do anything in a relationship. You do anyway but they’re small things. Superficial things. This makes you feel like you’re a good person. You’re not. You’ve just created an amazing set of smoke and mirrors.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1VWwSo_0XvDTWM500Photo by M.T ElGassier via Unsplash

I’m freakishly independent and have a higher than normal need for space. Dating someone else who is emotionally unavailable allows you to have all of this. On occasion, you get company. Companionship. Conversation. Intimacy.

But therein lies the fatal flaw.

Any relationship between two emotionally unavailable people is doomed to fail. It’s a standoff. Two people with loaded guns. Neither wants to shoot. Neither wants to die. So you stand there with guns drawn.

Eventually, as it always does, the moment comes where someone has to pull the trigger. I shoot every time. My trigger finger gets itchy.

I could have dated any of these men for quite some time. Years even. I genuinely adored the hell out of them. They are good people. Interesting, smart, handsome, wickedly funny. Unavailable.

They asked so very little of me, which is why it works until it doesn’t. Days would go by without talking. Weeks would go by before we saw each other. Long distances were involved.

At some point, that arm’s length defense mechanism starts to be hard work, though. Someone eventually wants more. This person is usually me.

When you’ve chosen someone emotionally unavailable, that more is never an option. They don’t have it in the tank and I, perpetually, run on fumes.

Still, slowly, a little joy creeps in. A little attachment happens. Then fear follows. Then panic ensues. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Let go.

This is where convenience comes in. All of this allows the end of our time together to be their fault. They did it to me. They walked away. They didn’t give more. I could put it on them and make them the bad guy. I could throw my own fancy pity party for myself, oblivious to the fact that I sent the stupid invitations out in the first place.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=42hRxc_0XvDTWM500Photo by Buco Balkanessi via Unsplash

The last one is the last one. This time, I saw it coming. I saw what I was doing. When we first met, he told me, “I bet you’d be a great girlfriend.” He told me he’d be a horrible boyfriend. He told me to let go. I didn’t. I stayed right there.

I created the no win situation. I accepted his unavailability. Deathly afraid he’d hurt me and in order to protect myself from the inevitable, I threw up all of my walls. Then, knowing he didn’t have it in him, I waited for him to climb them. Of course, that never happened.

I set him up for failure, knowing that when he failed, I could blame him. What I really wanted was for him to end the stand off. There was only one way he could do that, though.

All he had to do was take the gun out of my hand. Put his down. He was never going to do that either. So that leaves it to me to end the stand off. Shoot him with a gun he loaded for me.

It’s obvious that I can’t be in a relationship right now. I haven’t been fair. I haven’t been kind. I don’t have it in me. So, I’m staying away from gunfights.

No matter how lonely I get or how tired I am of doing things by myself, the reality is that none of these men ever did anything with me anyway. We never had great adventures. They were never around. None of us were giving.

They all let me off the hook. They let me walk away when what I really want is for someone to just make me give a shit. But you can’t make someone do that. Not when they’re emotionally unavailable.

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Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, she won’t stop taking pictures of her drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre Twitter: @vanessaltorre

Phoenix, AZ
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