Dealing with an emotionally detached partner can feel like a never ending battle. But with a rational approach and some tips, you can learn how to deal with an emotionally unavailable partner effectively.

Published: 11 Jun 2024, 18:07 pm IST

Divya Chawla grew up loving fairytales and believing in a happily ever after. But the reality of her own relationship hit her hard when she landed with someone who remains emotionally unavailable to her. He avoids deep conversations, fears commitment, lacks empathy, is reluctant towards change and hardly expresses his love towards her in different ways. This lack of emotional intimacy in their relationship is turning stifling for Divya, who wonders how to deal with an emotionally unavailable partner.

After all, having emotions like love or respect for each other in a relationship are vital. Otherwise, the other person may end up feeling trivial, rejected and lonely. He or she may also constantly try to win over his or her partner’s affection, robbing one’s own self of emotions.

Why is emotional intimacy important in a relationship?

Emotional intimacy refers to an emotional connection between two people that is laced with mutual understanding, trust, and respect for each other’s emotional, physical, or mental needs. It is about having common goals and a shared meaning of life, as well as dependability and partnership, says psychologist and psychotherapist Priyanka Kapoor.

how to deal with an emotionally unavailable partner
Emotional intimacy is a big part of making your relationship strong. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“People who share strong emotional intimacy are able to forge strong friendships and feelings for one another. They help each other grow in all aspects of life. This allows them to easily navigate any adversities in life with each other’s support and love. Emotional connection is vital in a relationship for creating healthier and longer-lasting relationships. This also fosters emotional attachment and dependency between them. Emotional closeness promotes trust, loyalty, and friendship in a partnership. It enables them to maintain strong mental agility to be able to go through everything in life together,” says the expert.

It also supports their physical and mental well-being. Additionally, it fosters greater physical intimacy between the two.

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How to deal with an emotionally unavailable partner?

When your partner is emotionally available, it means he does not value your emotions and generally backs off from taking responsibility for executing his share in making the relationship smooth. Dealing with such a cold partner can be hard at times, but you can foster and create a meaningful bond through some of the following tips.

1. Get to know the root cause of the concern

Set and express your boundaries when it comes to emotional closeness. Tell your spouse what you need in a relationship for it to be supportive and meaningful for you. Seeking the source of the emotional rift between you and your partner is something you should try to do. It can be a history of disagreements, a lack of understanding, focus, or gratitude. A majority of the time, the true cause differs greatly from what is initially apparent, reckons the expert.

2. Give closure to unresolved disputes from the past

When someone becomes emotionally unavailable and aloof, there’s a possibility that ongoing and unresolved issues exist, leaving one’s wounds open and unhealed. Those issues haven’t allowed your partner to move on. Therefore, it is crucial to handle any unresolved disputes from the past.

3. Learn about your partner’s needs

Your partner can become emotionally unavailable due to many reasons.
Something in the past done wrongly from your side could have triggered emotional unavailability from your partner. To foster a connection, make an effort to learn about your partner’s emotional, mental, and physical requirements and to meet those needs. Make an effort to engage with them and show interest in their likes, dislikes, daily activities, and difficulties.

4. Make use of effective communication to resolve conflicts

Yelling or screaming at your partner to confront him about the ongoing issues will only aggravate the problem. Learn the art of sensitive communication in a mannered way to tap into the emotional side of your partner. Avert confrontations and resolve problems through effective communication. Disrespectful and harmful behaviours can be prevented by clear communication, suggests the expert.

how to deal with an emotionally unavailable partner
Learn to communicate about your boundaries and make healthy space for open communication to strengthen your bond with your partner! Image courtesy: Freepik

5. Practice patience and empathy

A behaviour practised for long becomes a habit. To unlearn negative behaviour patterns to develop good ones, takes time. While your partner is struggling to get back his emotions, practice patience during the process. Any change takes time to manifest. While your partner works through their emotional obstacles, show them patience and empathy, but also be conscious of your own boundaries, suggests the expert. Encourage your partner to express their feelings in a secure environment. When they do open up, don’t be critical or judgmental.

6. Seek professional help if the need arises

Make therapy or counselling suggestions for yourself, your partner, or the two of you. A specialist can assist in identifying and resolving underlying problems that are causing emotional inaccessibility.

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