The kids call them EUMs. To the rest of us, they’re emotionally unavailable men. Can you recognize one when you meet one, or are you taken unawares? Do you have a history of attracting and dating EUMs? Do these relationships end in tears with you vowing never to date a man who gives you so little ever again? If you are a magnet for EUMs, is there anything you can do to get them to become emotionally available and give you the tender loving care and attention you surely deserve?
How to spot emotionally unavailable men
Emotionally unavailable men come in all shapes and sizes, and they definitely don’t have EUM stamped across their foreheads, so you have to be on the lookout for any signs of emotional unavailability. The sooner you recognize them, the better – you’ll save yourself an awful lot of pain and heartache.
Read on to find out if you are involved with an EUM and what your options are.
1. He’s already in a relationship with another woman
Don’t even go there. Even if he badmouths the other woman in his life, swearing they’re in the process of splitting up – now’s just not the time because of blah blah…Unfortunately emotionally unavailable men are unreliable when it comes to keeping promises, so don’t hold your breath thinking you’ll have Mr EUM to yourself anytime soon. Until then, chances are he’s emotionally unavailable to you and the other woman – he’s avoiding intimacy and commitment with both of you because he can.
2. He’s not ready for commitment
He might tell you this in words, through his body language, or his actions. Sometimes it’s all three! If he says he’s not ready for commitment, believe him. He’s telling you the truth (for once!) Maybe he wants a friend, a ‘no strings attached’ lover, or a casual relationship which he’ll run away from once the going gets tough, or emotional demands are made of him.
3. Always late and full of excuses
A typical EUM is not a punctual man. It’s almost impossible to make and then rely on any arrangements you make with him because he is either late or cancels your date at the last moment. Maybe he got a better offer. What does that tell you about your worth in his eyes? Where is he ranking your relationship in his life? It’s clearly not a top priority, that’s for sure. The problem is that always has a great excuse (code for lie), for being late or cancelling. And you know what the biggest problem of all is – even if in your heart of hearts, you don’t believe a single word of it, yet you accept his lame excuse, forgive him, and allow him to treat you like a doormat for ever more.
4. It’s your fault
The classic EUM can be highly manipulative. He doesn’t respond to your text messages or phone calls for several days. Sound familiar? You, understandably feel annoyed. You broach this with him. He tells you he’s been busy at work and YOU are being unreasonable and too demanding. You don’t understand him, the pressures he’s under…blah blah. How long does it take to send someone a quick text message?
I mean really!
Anyway, you start off with a perfectly legitimate complaint but before you know it, he’s turned the tables on you and has made YOU feel like the bad guy. Very smart! He’s avoiding taking responsibility for his actions, your feelings, and the smooth running of your relationship. He sprints a mile from conflict, intimacy, depth. He’s warning you, don’t harass me with your complaints about late responses to calls and messages or anything else for that matter. Continue to do so at your peril because I will dump you fast. So if you want me, lay off me.
5. You try harder and harder
Chances are your EUM will have succeeded in getting you to swallow the ‘it’s your fault’ line he’s given you. It has penetrated deep into your very bones, it is imprinted on your soul. In all other respects, you are an assertive, no nonsense woman but, for some reason (hot body, flattery, unexpected lavish gifts), you allow this man to blame you for his behaviour. Seriously!
So, what do you do? You try harder and harder to please him, to win his approval. You make a supreme effort with your appearance – immaculate make up, seductive clothes, killer heels. You cook him amazing meals. You buy him thoughtful gifts. You listen attentively to his stories (even if they’re boring and you’ve heard them before), you laugh heartily at his jokes and you sympathize with him over his unreasonable boss/colleague/friend. Sound familiar? Now, I have two questions for you. First off, does he do the same for you? Secondly, is all your effort worth it?
Does he really love you? Honest answers please!
Getting emotionally unavailable men to open up
Does the above remind you of anyone you know? Maybe even the man in your life right now? If you are dating a guy who ticks most or all of the boxes, you are almost certainly dealing with a EUM. So now what? Well, the traditional advice from friends, counselors, anyone who has your best interests at heart, is a clear, straightforward three word plea: Dump him now.
If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to break free of this guy who’s giving so little in return for your massive investment, you may be told with a long-suffering sigh, ‘Honey, then you’ll just have to accept him the way he is. He ain’t gonna change anytime soon’.
So, is it simply a case of take him or leave him?
There is option 3, but it comes with a strict health warning. Try the tactics below for a limited period only. If you’re not seeing any positive results, go straight back and click the ‘accept’ or ‘decline’ button – in other words, take him as he is or leave him.
You can’t single handedly change an EUM
One of the deadly allures of the EUM is the challenge he throws out to women like yourself. Are you the person who can get through to his hidden heart? Can you alone break through the wall of ice which stands between you and stops him from being a warm, loving partner?
If this is how you’re thinking, you’re setting yourself up for failure. However, bear in mind your guy was almost certainly not born emotionally unavailable. It was something which happened along the way; an abusive, neglected childhood, fear of being hurt again by a loved one, lack of confidence in his ability to have a mature relationship might be some of the reasons he’s holding back.
Having some understanding of what could have caused your man to develop emotional unavailability might stop him from feeling judged as evil and uncaring. If, without becoming his mother or his counselor, you demonstrate some empathy for whatever happened in the past, he may relax and open up, overcoming the emotionally unavailable hurdle.
Choose your battles well
You’ve had about as much as you can take of his emotional detachment, his lateness, his no shows, his delayed responses to your text messages and calls, his way of blaming you for being too demanding. You’re more than ready for the big talk. Chances are you’ve been biting your tongue, storing up a pile of resentments and like a match to dry wood. [Tweet “Everything he’s done or hasn’t done could come tumbling out in one almighty explosion.”]
However, hitting him with all his wrongdoings in one fell swoop will definitely not work. He will feel attacked, become defensive, and will almost certainly back off even further, possibly never to be seen again.
Choose the issue which a) annoys you the most and b) which you think he’s likely to be responsive to. Be clear and concise and say what you would like to happen.
Go easy. You’re allowed one grievance every 7-10 days. If he thinks you’re going to complain every time he sees you, he’s not going to be too motivated to hang out with you, is he?
Think about how you say what you gotta say
We women are masters of strategy. We have so many different ways of dealing with people up our sleeves, so think about which approach would work best with your man and when to tackle some of the many things which bug you. Shouting and accusing him as soon as he turns up is unlikely to get you further than a slammed door as he marches out.
Sandwich your grievance between two things you like about him.
Stay calm, lighten up, add a touch of humour, take a little (I said a little!) blame yourself and go for it.
Yes really! The way it works is this: if you are constantly at his beck and call, ready to meet him at a moment’s notice, however much he has stood you up, let you down, treated you like an armchair that he can sit on whenever he happens to feel like it, your EUM will NOT value or respect you. If you get on with your own life, a) you’ll be happier and b) he gets a chance to miss you. Try it!
You’ve absolutely got to have a bottom line, a real one, not an elastic one which keeps stretching to accommodate your man. Mr. EUM needs to know exactly where this bottom line is and that if he dares to venture even a millimeter below it, he’s history.
Plain and simple. Got it?
He will respect you for not letting him come and go as he pleases and he will be more careful about the way he behaves if he knows he can’t get away with murder!
There you have it – emotionally unavailable men. If you’re involved with one and he’s tipped the scales in favour of pain rather than pleasure in your relationship, do yourself a favour and eliminate him from your life. You could also work gently on him so that he makes some significant moves in the direction of you and your feelings, but beware. You are worth more so much more than a guy who only scatters breadcrumbs of affection, now and again.”
Believe it and believe in yourself.
I ma writing with a man in overseas since 4 years now. It should just be fun. But my emotions for him have grown. Once I let him know about this, and this was a failure as from that time he makes big gaps between his mails and when I ask him why he didn’t write a bit sooner, he would blaim me for having too much expectations. I stayed on the level of only wanting friendship with him as well, and I am making the gaps of my mails bigger and bigger to him. I want to stop writing without any explanation since I am not obliged to him. Is there hope that he will miss me and change his outlook towards me?
It sounds as if your expectations are not aligned – he is interested in having a fun pen pal, while you are interested in developing a romantic relationship. I would not try to make him miss you, instead I would instead focus your energy on someone who naturally misses you when you are not around.
Stay strong, you will find true love.
Wow this was eye opening! I have been in a very blurred line relationship with my male best friend for 10 years. He has been off and on again with his Gf. He finally moved in and away with her . I have never met her . He lives 2 hours away from me now , and I have seen him once since he moved away 2 years ago. I admit it was a quick hook up with him, and we have always been drawn to each other. We flirt constantly via text, but as the years have gone by he has become very Eu. Narcissistic even. He will have nights where he texts me saying he loves me and always have . Other nights he is in a rotten mood and will vanish for dayyyys only to come back saying he is sorry. I try to have normal conversations as his friend and he just vanishes . Asking him why, is something that is not allowed. He is very secretive . I do know about some very private things that happened to him when he was a kid and recently he told me about some medical issues. He has a high level of trust with me, which makes me realize with his personality that “something” in his brain is truly in love with me but he is just a hot mess. The ignoring of my texts, not committing to meet up and catch up on things … how is that love ? So frustrated . I have tried moving on and each time I find that it’s tough for me because I compare those men to him. Recently he heard how I had a fellow friend of ours flirting with me . He played it cool by simply texting , “I figured he would flirt with u, omg woman looking good. Haha”. Sigh. Anyways this article , so insightful but at this point I am left hungry for his texts which he doesn’t answer. He picks up where he wants to. Can’t do it anymore with an EU.
I’m sorry to hear that you are tangled up with a guy that is emotionally unavailable. It sounds like he is selfish and confused. It’s not fair that he tries to reel you in by telling you that he loves you, but at the same time he stays with his girlfriend. Even if you feel a strong connection with him, it’s time to move on. His actions (the fact that he is still with his girlfriend) speak louder than any words he could possibly text you.
Be strong! There is an amazing guy out there waiting for you.