Monday, January 14, 2019

Why Wait for the Emotionally Unavailable Man? - UPDATED

Please note: I first wrote this post in 2019, and it's based on a much earlier article in my daily relationships newsletter.

But my views over time have totally changed. Welcome to a completely different way of looking at the concept of "The Emotionally Unavailable Man."

As a "veteran" in the relationship advice world, I've almost heard it all. I've certainly heard such terms as "emotionally unavailable" for at least a couple of decades. 

Maybe it's time to totally rethink this.  Okay, truth time: there's no "maybe" about it!

I've grown tired of hearing men being descibed like this over and over again. Here's why:

First of all, the term "emotionally unavailable" is almost always used by a woman to describe a man.

This generalization is so commonly used that one has to question it for this reason alone.

Emotionally unavailable is a woman's way of thinking. She uses this convenient phrase to describe numerous men with whom things didn't work out. Why didn't they work out? Because he was... "emotionally unavailable."

Women love this label. It immediately resonates with them. They discuss it with their friends and complain about their former love's shortcomings, and about why things didn't work and would never, ever work, and it was all HIS fault because he was emotionally unavailable! 

The problem with slapping a label on a person is that, like all labels, it's convenient, and questionable.

Instead of a label, a woman is FAR better served by taking an honest look (with a little help from me) at what really happened.

After a relationship fizzles out or breaks up, a woman is understandably hurt and disappointed. That's normal. The problem begins if her initial disappointment turns into something else: anger. Someone is to blame for what happened, and it wasn't her. 

She thinks for days about what went wrong, and then she lands on something she can relate to that seems to explain it all - emotional unavailability, said to be very common in men, and the reason for countless romances that ultimately went nowhere.

Most women go to extremes - either they blame him unfairly, or they blame themselves excessively and are far too hard on themselves. Neither direction is good.

So if you're willing to forego the dismissive label, then what really happened?  You may be looking for honest answers.  Here goes.
Let's see, what did you do wrong? The question is probably more like this: what didn't you do wrong??

Maybe it's not that bad. But maybe you also went against what you already knew, in many cases, because your usual perspective was unreachable for an extended period of time. I won't go into the many reasons for this here; that's for another time.

Oh, I know, it sounds like I'm putting all the blame on the woman, but that's what my work is for - to help women recognize any place where they.... screwed up royally. We all do this, it's incredibly hard not to. I'm not blaming women. I completely understand what happens here. Whatever happened on the man's end is not what I'm concerned about now.

To make sense of a relationship failure by saying it was all his fault - is just too easy. Most of the time, it was not his "fault," for reasons I go into detail about in my books and newsletters. 

Most of the time, things could have been better, and if they had been, then things would have possibly turned out differently - at least for a while longer. (Then they probably would have ended anyway - because most relationships do.)

On the other hand, when things are really right between you and a man, you can almost do no wrong, and when things do go wrong, it is mended - because the feelings genuinely are mutual and strong, and because the timing is right for both of you. 

This is why it is truly not worth spending a moment "beating yourself up" over your perceived failure. That's disrespectful to yourself - a big no-no in my book. 

Don't look for reasons to get angry. Anger is always a sign of a lack of understanding, and of letting your wounded ego take over for temporary comfort that only makes your next encounter - with anyone - that much worse.  

If your ego is a primary factor, then perhaps you have a way to go before you are ready to truly love someone. Love is not about making your ego feel good. Love is about understanding yourself and him; it's about being able to listen and hear what he is saying, and vice versa. It's about wanting to do all those things as your main motivating drive. 

But no matter what I say, there will still be women till the end of time who feel better by assigning the Emotionally Unavailable label to almost every guy with whom things didn't work out. This makes no sense, because if a woman keeps choosing men with the same "problem," then all the more so does she need to take a look within. 

Check back on these "emotionally unavailable" guys in a few years. What happened to them? Some of them did end up in long-term partnerships or marriage. How will these women explain this? 

They can't all be emotionally unavailable, now can they?  

Let's call a big halt on this tired phrase right now. And we can all think of many other similar knee-jerk phrases that women use to describe the men they were once so crazy about and now vent about to their female friends: words such as "player," "user," "narcissist," and even "sociopath." 

They can't all be sociopaths, either! 

What's even worse is that these negative judgments are held so close and so dear that entire websites are devoted to the cause. That's maybe understandable, but at the same time, these websites and groups and forums are not just attended by someone in the throes of a relationship problem who is looking for answers. They are frequented by people whose relationship breakup dates back many years.  Instead of moving on happily, there are people who would rather devote a great deal of time to helping the newbies evaluate their problem relationship and diagnose it with a label that wraps everything up in a neat little bow. After all, the more people you can convince to agree with you, the more you feel validated about your own experience.

Remember - most of the relationships you experience in your lifetime are NOT going to be permanent. They're not going to lead to an ultimate commitment. This is a natural part of the road of life. So why not keep this in mind and have some perspective that it's only the one RARE relationship (if any) that is going to go the distance? And even with that one success, there is no guarantee of permanent success, is there?

For the relationships that didn't work out, maybe it wasn't the right time. Maybe it wasn't a match. Maybe you both were spared from things continuing and getting worse and worse, then ending and both having to go back to square one. Who knows?

Who's to blame? How about no one? This is just how it works. This is how the numbers work. Not everyone is going to be "the one." That's why they call it - the ONE. 

A woman who is happy with herself and with life has better things to do than look for labels to explain her troubles. When she looks back at a relationship that didn't work out, she is able to look at the good things, rather than the not-so-good, because first of all, she chose someone who has good character before anything else, and she knows his character because she took her time to recognize what kind of person he is before proceeding further. 

So are some men "emotionally unavailable"? What's the answer? This phrase is very simplistic, have you noticed? But sure, some men could be considered emotionally unavailable as just one of their traits, but if so, then why not go deeper in determining the reason?  This is not to say that you should spend months dwelling on a relationship that didn't work. 

Some women could be called "emotionally unavailable" too. In particular, women who habitually choose men they later deem emotionally unavailable. 

They chose him because they fail to recognize their own similar hesitance to connect emotionally. And until they do, they will keep choosing similar men again and again. 

Let's dispense with the man-bashing labels once and for all, for all but the most extreme, and I do mean extreme, situations. 

I can't stand man-bashing. But in my private Facebook group; it's impossible to control the man-bashing there, even among very intelligent, successful women. 

Man-bashing and labels are so ingrained in the way women talk about men, and it really is time for it to stop. 

Here is the original article (if you can even call it an article):

I received this note, and it says it so well:

"Dear Mimi,

 "I am FINALLY starting to realize something: unless a guy is really into you, don't go there or stay there, period.

 "Every woman deserves a man who is wholeheartedly into her. Those guys who open up and shut down have issues that are never going to go away. This 'open up/shut down' B.S. is the way they are, and who needs that? It will probably NOT change!

"And do I even need to mention the problems of insecurity these men obviously have?

"There are great men out there who don't do that. I haven't been with too many men who do that, but the one or two who come to mind had ISSUES, and nothing I did or didn't do was going to make them see the light.

"It is a game they play whether they realize they are playing it or not.

"I have two men in my life right now, both of whom I always have GREAT conversations with! There is no constraint between us; we talk about anything.

 "These men don't 'disappear' after a deep conversation. They both tell me I am beautiful, that they can't wait to see me, etc., etc. in a sincere way. They are both attractive, intelligent, honest, funny, sweet, athletic, VERY spiritual, etc.

"If I can have that, why would I want one of those nut jobs with emotional issues?

 "It ain't worth it! Please, please, please DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME!!!! Never, ever, EVER try to rescue a guy! KNOW what you want and deserve and accept nothing less!

"A relationship only works well when both participants are emotionally healthy. If you have to lead them by the hand or help them along or play some kind of game with them, it will not work. -- C."

Thank you, C., you said it so well! I know there is no looking back for you. Almost every woman alive has had to deal with a man who was "off and on" emotionally, and as C. says - it's NOT worth it!

Of course, I must clarify that there is ONE game that I am more than okay with, and that is the Game of Love, which I'm here to help you WIN, and not only you, but him as well! (There are no losers in this "game"!)

Find out how to play the game of love in my program "Hard To Get: The Timeless Art of Conquering His Heart."

For women who aren't afraid to be a bit of a challenge!

The above was the original post, and as you can see, I bought into this label myself for a while, but then I had a real change of heart. Why is that? Because I am dedicated to understanding things from the man's point of view. This is far too rarely done. 

As my friend, relationship expert Bob Grant, says, "The big secret is: No one really listens to men." 

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