A while ago, I asked on Twitter if anyone had ever been in a relationship with emotionally unavailable men before.

The response was “Yes!”

I also wanted to know how they knew the guy they were seeing was emotionally unavailable.

@Simone_Thatchic said that he just wanted to have fun.

@prettybathos said that the guy literally told her, but she didn’t heed the warning.

This got me wondering, what are the signs that you’re dealing with emotionally unavailable men (or women)… Or just anyone who isn’t relationship material?

(Note, I’m talking about emotionally unavailable men here, not just your average dude who might pull away now and again.)

Now, of course there’s an amazing list over at Baggage Reclaim that describes “Mr. Unavailable” (her term for these kinds of guys).

But today I wanted to offer some thoughts as well.

7 Signs He’s Not Relationship Material

1. He Is in a Relationship with Someone Already

First, of all what @Simone_Thatchic said was spot on when she said that a guy is unavailable when he just wants to have fun.

This can be especially true when a guy is already in a relationship with someone else (even if he’s not technically cheating).

Maybe he has a girlfriend. Maybe he’s married. Maybe he separated, but “the paperwork is still in the system.” Maybe he’s not over his ex yet (and you’re the rebound relationship).

Either way, his emotional energy is somewhere else.

At the end of the day, he’s not coming home to you.

Unless you are into polyamory or swinging, then a guy in a relationship with someone else does not have space in his life for a relationship with you.

2. He Isn’t Ready for a Relationship Yet

@prettybathos had a guy literally tell her that he wasn’t emotionally available. I don’t know if he used those words exactly, but he was making it very clear that he wasn’t ready for a relationship.

There are tons of reasons why a guy might not be ready to commit. Maybe he is too busy in life focusing on his career or school. Maybe he’s coming out of a bad breakup and isn’t ready to commit yet. Maybe he’s from out of town and he’ll only be around for another week.

But if he tells you he doesn’t want it, then you should take him at face value.

(This is a good rule of thumb when dealing with men in general.)

Trying to change him isn’t going to work and will only prolong the suffering.

It’s best to accept that he just doesn’t have the space in his life for a relationship right now.

3. He Is Self-Centered

Relationships go in two directions. There’s giving and receiving.

However, some people think (implicitly or explicitly) that it is just about receiving.

These people only have the “what’s in it for me” attitude.

It is impossible to have a real relationship and a real connection with someone who is incapable or unwilling to give or contribute.

Most of us are trained to believe that we should constantly give and never receive, so we often don’t notice this one… at least until we are boiling over with resentment and from a continued pattern of never receiving. That’s how drama in a relationship starts.

The self-centered guy is so focused on himself that there isn’t room for him to have a relationship with anyone else besides the man in the mirror, let alone you.

4. He Avoids Conflict

Most people won’t go out of their way to start conflict. That’s normal. People generally want harmony in their life.

But even the best relationships won’t be smooth and problem-free. There will be challenges that come up in any relationship.

If he doesn’t want to have those difficult conversations or is too focused on being a People Pleaser, he really isn’t there emotionally.

He’s not fully invested. He has one foot out the door, and as soon as the good times stop and “shit gets real” he’s going to hit the eject button.

5. He Has a Difficult Time Making Decisions

Some people like to sit on the fence. I don’t think most of them are intentionally stringing you along. I think that they just believe they need more information before they can make a decision.

Not just about you, but probably in every area of their life.

He makes plans to see you one day, then flakes on you the next day. He talks about getting serious with you, then he needs space a few days later.

He’s not relationship material because he can’t decide and commit to what he wants.

How can you expect to build a sturdy foundation with someone who can’t hold the same opinion for longer than a few days?

6. He Ignores His Own Needs to Take Care of Yours

This is the classic “Nice Guy.” And what kind of woman wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with a guy who has dedicated his life to gaining approval from women? Isn’t this the ideal man?


This kind of man is fundamentally unavailable because he is so out of touch with his own feelings. He tries so hard to be everything you want him to be, that there’s no room left for him to be himself.

That is to say, he’s lost himself in the relationship.

Just like you can’t have a real functioning relationship with a man who only takes and never gives, you can’t have a functioning relationship with a man who only gives and is never open to receiving.

He’s so disconnected from himself that there’s no way he can really be 100% there with you.

7. He Has Expectations About How the Relationship or You Should Be

Lots of people these days have expectations about their partner or relationships. Of course it is reasonable to expect your partner to treat you with respect and compassion.

But should does he expect you to lose 10 or 20 pounds to be “good enough” for him? Does he expect you to always be kind and generous? Does he expect you to always be available when he calls you?

A lot of people have unrealistic expectations in a relationship.

If he’s more in love with his perfect concept of you, than he is with who you actually are yourself, then there isn’t room for you in the relationship.

He’s emotionally unavailable because he’s essentially in a relationship with a concept of what he wants a woman to be.

Your Turn…

Have you ever been involved with emotionally unavailable men? Did you notice any of these signs? Or did you notice something else that we forgot to put on this list?

Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

PS: Next time I want to share something very personal with you. You see, I used to be emotionally unavailable.

If you’ve ever wondered what emotionally unavailable men are thinking, next time, you’ll get a peek inside one’s mind.

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Clay is an author, blogger, and dating and relationship coach for Loving Boldly. He is also a nap enthusiast, coffee aficionado, and home brewer.

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