How to Make an Emotionally Unavailable Man Fall in Love

Is the man of your dreams too emotionally distant to even spare you a second glance? Here’s how to make him fall in love with you.

emotionally unavailable man

After a year of playing mind games, you couldn’t contain your emotions any longer, so you decided to reveal your feelings to your prince charming. You expected a grand gesture after the grand revelation because, all along, you thought, “He’s just too shy to make the first move.” But then… he leaned in close to you and kissed your forehead. Your forehead!

He stammered, but managed to say that even though he likes you a lot, he isn’t ready for a relationship yet, because he’s still dealing with an ugly breakup, he wants to focus on his career, or he wants to figure out ways to achieve world peace. He said you should take things slow and just enjoy each other’s company first.

What do you do?

a. Make him fall in love with you to speed things up.

b. Wait for him to become ready.

c. Run away.

Since you’re reading this feature, my guess is that your choice is A. I am not going to raise an eyebrow, because there are actually many relationships that start this way. Every case is different, and if you believe in the man you’re dating, you shouldn’t feel bad about your decision. [Read: 5 clear giveaways of an emotionally unavailable man]

But before embarking on your quest to woo your emotionally unavailable guy, make sure you’re willing to invest in something that could potentially lead to nothing. If you’re hearing a loud “Bring it on!” in your head right now, get ready to rumble. Here are some sneaky ways to make your emotionally unavailable guy fall head over heels in love with you and become emotionally open to you.

Phase I: after the confession

This phase usually starts the moment after you had “the talk” or the moment you realized you wanted to take matters into your own hands. You are still a “cool girl” with the patience of a mother teaching a 2-year-old how to use the potty.

#1 Be his friend. What if the “excuse” he gave you for not being able to commit is not really an excuse? What if he’s really going through a tough time? Failing grades, suspension from work, or the death of a family member? If any of these things happened to you, for sure, you’d also be too preoccupied to think about starting a relationship.

If you really care for this guy, then be his friend. Be there when he needs someone to talk to, or give him a box of his favorite cookies when he’s cramming for his presentation. This will give him a glimpse of who you are as a person and what you are like in a relationship. If he’s going through something very serious, do your best to avoid putting pressure on your non-relationship.

#2 Don’t chase him. Let him chase you, instead. As outdated as it may sound, men still love the chase. If you’ve been too available to his invitations–or worse, if you’re the one who’s always initiating them–slow down. You don’t want to be the eager beaver in a relationship. Trust me: being the one who’s always chasing will wear you down and make you feel less attractive.

Since you already know that he wants to take things slow, and you decided that you’re okay with it, wait for him to initiate things, whether it’s a date, chat, e-mail, or text. It’s hard, I know. Are you scared that if you stop communicating, he’ll totally forget you? If you’re still in Phase I, chances are he will get curious as to why you stopped texting him, and this will make you more attractive to him. Follow his pace no matter how slow it is. In fact, make your pace slower. [Read: Whoa there! 8 signs you’re coming on way too strong]

#3 Get busy. Try to keep yourself busy with other activities, so you won’t be tempted to send him another text message. This also applies to married or coupled men. If you’re married to a man who prefers to play video games rather than spend time with you, maybe it would help if you got busy instead of nagging him about his video game obsession.

Think of activities that you really want to do, and do them, whether it’s snowboarding or joining a book club. Your emotionally unavailable guy will soon notice how in charge you are with your life and will probably start to fear that you’re enjoying life so much without him that he’ll end up losing you. Seeing a woman doing her own thing is very attractive.

#4 Open up. What if the reason he’s not open to you or that he’s scared of being in a relationship with you is that you’re not open to him, either? Tell him a secret, tell him about your fears, and tell him about your craziest dream.

Sharing secrets builds intimacy, and that is what we’re aiming for, right? Then watch for signs. If he’s listening intently to what you’re saying and sharing his own secrets, it means there’s hope for you. If he has zero enthusiasm when you reveal important things about yourself, it’s a sign that he is not into you or that it would take a lot of hard work from both of you to achieve the connection you’re yearning for.

Phase II: the assessment phase

A year has passed since you had the talk, and you’ve already done all of the things above. All of the old problems and excuses have already been resolved. You’re now tired of your non-relationship, but you’re still hopeful that he’ll one day make things official. This is the time you need to assess him, his feelings toward you, and your feelings toward him.

#5 Date other men. If it has been a year since he said “Wait for me to get ready,” and you’re still in the same place, maybe it’s time to go out on dates with other men. I have a guy friend who only made it official when he saw the girl arm-in-arm with another man. He said he can’t stand seeing her with someone else. This is a rather sneaky move, but hey, if it’s been a year, you’d better find out if he’s ready.

If you being with another man doesn’t make him jealous, it’s a red flag. Instead of asking him questions about your relationship, it’s time you ask yourself if you really want to be with this guy. Jealousy doesn’t mean that he loves you, but it could lead him to make the move faster–particularly if he really loves you and was just waiting for the right time. [Read: Why you should be dating more than one guy at once]

#6 Surprise him with a “no.” If you’ve been a Yes Woman, surprise him by saying no to something he expects you to say yes to. It could be a dinner date or a fancy getaway. This might make him wonder why you said no, and this may somehow threaten him.

The feeling he gets when you show him you’re not that into him anymore will drive him crazy. It will make him rethink the whole non-relationship and possibly make his move this time, because he realizes he wants a relationship with emotional commitment.

#7 Go AWOL. The line, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is a cliché for a reason: it’s true. Go on a vacation without letting him know, or just don’t communicate for a certain amount of time *preferably more than a week*, and see what happens.

I know this is a silly game lovers play, but it is necessary in your case. I will throw in another cliché: “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Again, the truth. But when you do it, use that time to really enjoy being by yourself, and don’t do it just so you can manipulate a guy into having a relationship with you. [Read: Flirting like crazy and then going completely cold]

Phase III: the make or break

You’re in phase three when you’ve done all the things mentioned above, yet the emotional connection is still not there. He’s still keeping secrets, he’s still hot-and-cold, and he’s still not ready. By this point, you have lost all your patience, energy, and hope, and you start to question if he’s worth it.

#8 Have another talk, and focus on yourself this time. Tell him everything you want to tell him. It’s time to let your guard down and stop playing mind games. Tell him how you honestly feel about him, how you honestly feel about the long wait, what you honestly want, and what you can’t tolerate anymore. Set deadlines this time, too. If he truly loves you, he can’t let you suffer a minute longer.

[Read: 8 things you shouldn’t do to get a guy to like you]

If your emotionally unavailable man is still emotionally unavailable after you’ve done all of the things mentioned above, it’s time to run as fast as you can. You’ve already wasted plenty of time with him, and you shouldn’t waste a second more.

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