Do you have a bad habit of falling in with the wrong guy instead of an emotionally available guy?
In my 20 years as a psychologist, I’ve seen it time and time again: women wondering why their romantic histories are just a laundry list of men who can’t fulfill them emotionally. If your track record is less-than-stellar, you may be wondering what makes you a magnet for emotionally unavailable men. Is it just bad luck, or is there something wrong with you? Is there hope for you to find someone emotionally available?
Am I The Problem When It Comes To Finding An Emotionally Available Guy?
Well, first of all, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s nothing you’re actively doing or saying that is wrong, per se. Your dating habits are most likely reflective of underlying psychology that you may not even be aware of. There’s a good chance that, without realizing it, you’re engaging in unconscious patterns of dating behavior that attract certain kinds and push others away.
Recently, I talked about how your childhood—and the parenting strategies that raised you—can affect your dating life in the present. Unfortunately, history has a habit of repeating itself: if you were raised with an anxious, controlling, or emotionally unavailable parent (or parents), chances are you’ll gravitate towards people who also exhibit these traits. ‘Marrying your mother/father’ is a cliché for a reason!
It can give us a sense of comfort and familiarity, even if it doesn’t necessarily yield positive or healthy outcomes. This may also mean unintentionally mirroring the structure of relationships you witnessed growing up, whether it was your parents or some other trusted adults or caregiver. Again, you may not even recognize that you are seeking these traits out. However, the first step is recognizing the traits that aren’t serving you, so you can find out which ones actually do!
While attracting emotionally unavailable partners isn’t necessarily your fault, it is something that you can unlearn and grow from. Although there’s some luck involved in finding the right partner, you ultimately have control over your love life. However, keep in mind that unlearning a lifetime’s worth of psychological habits will take time and patience.
How to Recognize if He’s Emotionally Available: Three Key Traits
In the meantime, here are some positive traits of stable, emotionally available people to look out for.
He is Consistent
Consistency is key. One sign of a healthy and stable individual is that they follow through on promises made. When words and actions match, you know this person is trustworthy, reliable, and considerate of the feelings of others.
Example: He says, “I’ll text you tomorrow,” and then he does.
He Sets Expectations (and Boundaries)
If you struggle with anxiety and overthinking, having someone who sets clear expectations and boundaries can be an excellent fit for you. These are just healthy practices in general, but they can be a particular boon for Nervous Noras, who can allow anxiety to run away with them when left to their own devices. Because they have an intense need to be liked and validated, Noras also tend to collapse boundaries or overcompensate for perceived flaws. Having someone who communicates their own expectations with you can help alleviate the anxiety of not knowing what to expect.
Example: They share details of events/plans with you and even invite you to join them in planning.
We all need someone who’s a good listener. This is an incredibly important trait, especially in relationships. If you’re feeling upset, insecure, or unhappy, you need someone who will hear your thoughts, who will allow you to take your time and speak fully, even if you are struggling to express yourself. Good listening is a crucial part of good communication. For overthinkers like Nervous Nora, communication is crucial to stability.
Example: They admit when they don’t understand and ask for more information to help clarify.
If this all sounds familiar to you and you want assistance unlearning those old habits, why not take one of my educational dating courses?
My love style quiz can help you discover your dating strengths and weaknesses. This course teaches more techniques for being attracted to healthier partners. Learning how to find healthy, happy love isn’t easy, but I guarantee it’s worth it!
Dating is hard! But if you are a Nervous Nora or Nick, it’s easy to question and second-guess every little thing. Just know that you’re not alone. If you feel that your attachment style is giving you grief, there are strategies you can apply that will open up new doors to happiness.
Take our Love Styles Quiz to find out more about what makes you tick. And when you are ready to break up with anxiety and move on from overthinking, try one of our online courses and break out of the cycle.