Emotionally Unavailable Man Signs: 25 Red Flags to Look For

People change, but not by much. Keep an eye on these signs of an emotionally available man, and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.


What is the definition of an emotionally unavailable man? It is someone who is incapable of caring for you emotionally. When we fall in love, we convince ourselves that love conquers all.

What it doesn’t conquer are feelings of loneliness and despair. Falling in love with a man who can’t love you back, or support you when you need him most is one of the most difficult things to overcome. What is the best way to survive being with an emotionally detached man? Avoid falling in love with him to begin with.

Emotionally unavailable man signs to watch out for

These are the 25 signs of an emotionally unavailable man. If you sense them, beware, and get out as quickly as you can. [Read: 5 biggest giveaways of an emotionally unavailable man]

#1 He loves himself more than you. If he always puts himself first, then it is likely that he always will. Being in an emotionally stable relationship requires that someone put the other person ahead of themselves once in a while. If you notice that he is always first on his list, you are with an emotionally unavailable man.

#2 His father treats his mother poorly. We all learn by what we see. If you see that his father treats his mother badly, or that they don’t have the type of emotional relationship that you want for your future, then proceed with caution. Often, when it comes to guys, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

#3 He doesn’t have a close relationship with his mother. Psychological studies have unveiled that it is typically the mother’s influence that will shape the emotional well-being of her son. If his mother is either non-existent, or there is no close relationship between the two of them, it is likely that he may have never learned how to have an emotionally close relationship with someone. After a certain point, that may no longer be able to be learned. [Don’t have enough contact with his family to answer these? Try: 7 clear signs it’s the right time to meet the parents]

#4 His mother is a cold or demanding woman. If his mother is an emotionally cold woman, he is probably missing the ability to bond closely with someone. That will leave him with diminished skills to have an emotionally mature relationship with another woman. Paying attention to the relationship between him and his mother, and her relationship with other people, is integral in determining whether or not he has emotional availability.

#5 He doesn’t want to get married. If he keeps saying that he doesn’t want to get married, you have to stop convincing yourself it is because he just hasn’t met the right woman yet. Most men who are at an advanced age and don’t want to get married aren’t interested in having a close relationship with anyone. It isn’t that the right woman hasn’t come along—it is that he isn’t capable of loving someone in that manner.

#6 He keeps his money separate. If he is unable to share his money or monetary possessions with you, then chances are good that he is not going to be capable or willing to share his emotions and feelings with you, either. Emotions are not that far from possessions. If he wants to keep things to himself, that will likely carry over to other areas of his life. [Check out: How to stop fighting over money in a relationship]

#7 He won’t give you a key. Someone who doesn’t want to share their home with you is probably not going to share their life with you. When someone keeps you separate from their day-to-day life, that means they aren’t willing to let you in. That can lead to you always feeling like you’re on the outside. Feeling isolated is the biggest sign of being with an emotionally unavailable man.

#8 He doesn’t care when you cry. Most men hate to see women cry—especially their wives. If he is totally okay with watching you cry and not stepping in or, even worse, making you cry and not feeling bad, that is a really bad sign. Caring little for the feelings of the woman he is with is the cornerstone of not being emotionally available.

#9 You don’t feel satisfied after confiding in him. If you start to talk to him and feel more confused, ignored, and isolated afterward, then he is not sharing in your feelings. Talking at him is not the same as talking to him. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are just oversensitive. If he isn’t responding to your emotional cues for help and support, that is a sign he either doesn’t get it, or does and doesn’t care. [Read: 11 clear signs you can’t trust the guy you’re dating]

#10 He doesn’t have any empathy. If you notice that he has no empathy for other people not only in his life, but in society, that is a sign that he is emotionally unavailable. People who are lacking the basic social skill of empathy can’t have a mature emotional relationship, because they just don’t get it.

#11 He calls people names. People who call others names, especially grown adults, usually do not have the emotional capacity to understand how they affect people. If they don’t get the saying “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” then they aren’t ever going to get how you feel or why you need emotional support or love.

#12 He puts others down to make himself feel better. The first sign of a narcissist is that they have to put others down to make themselves feel better. Narcissists are incapable of having an emotionally stable relationship. They are literally lacking the capacity. If you notice that it makes him feel better to make others feel worse, he is likely not going to be able to bond with you on an emotional level. [Try: 16 reasons why your boyfriend is so mean]

#13 He is still in love with his ex. If he is still pining over his ex, he is not emotionally available to move on and be with you. Being emotionally connected to someone else negates their ability to give their heart to you. It is best to stand back and let him resolve his feelings, or try to get closure, than to play second fiddle to someone else.

#14 He hasn’t ever had a relationship that worked. If he insists that every girl that he has gone out with in the past has been “crazy,” you should ask him if they were crazy when he met them. Although some guys do have a type that can be a little high-strung, if he hasn’t ever had a relationship that worked, you have to wonder what his part in the mix is.

#15 He doesn’t have any close friendships. If he has an inability to have a relationship with other people, both men and women, that is probably because he isn’t emotionally available to those around him—even friends. Not many people want to be friends with someone who doesn’t care. [Check out: 10 signs you’re dating a self-obsessed narcissist]

#16 He lacks compassion. The guy who doesn’t feel bad for hundreds of people who got laid off, or a nation that got hit by a tsunami likely doesn’t have the emotional capacity to care much about many people in his peripheral. You may be special, but no one is that special. If he just doesn’t have the compassion to give, he can’t be passionate or available to you.

#17 He avoids you when you are upset. If you say you had a bad day, and his answer is, “Okay, I will see you tomorrow,” then you are dealing with someone who doesn’t want to be bothered with your baggage. If he doesn’t want to be your sounding board—in fact, wants nothing to do with your issues at all—then he is not going to be the best emotional partner you can choose.

#18 He doesn’t want to hear about your day. If he never asks or listens to how your day was, there is a reason: he doesn’t want to get involved. That isn’t just about being self-absorbed, but not wanting to form an emotional tie to you. To share feelings is uncomfortable and something he doesn’t want any part of. [Read: How to stop selfish people from hurting you]

#19 He won’t go with you to family gatherings. If he doesn’t want to share in your family gatherings, then he sees being with your family as a commitment he isn’t ready for. If a guy doesn’t want to be with you when you are with your family, that is because he doesn’t want to become emotionally attached.

#20 He won’t confide in you. If you spend half the time you are together trying to figure out what is going on in his head, that is a whole lot of wasted energy. If someone wants you to know what is going on, they will involve you. If you think it is just because you don’t know him well enough yet, beware. If a guy doesn’t share upfront, he isn’t someday going to open up like a book. That is going to leave you feeling lonely and unwanted.

#21 He never asks you questions about yourself. If he doesn’t know your favorite color, what you like to eat, or who your best friend is, then he doesn’t really care much about you emotionally at all. If he asks you about you, then he is going to get tangled up in something that he clearly wants no part of. [Try: 21 big signs of emotional abuse you may be overlooking]

#22 He thinks that child rearing is best left to a woman. A man who doesn’t think he has a place in the emotional well-being of his children is not only leaving the emotional state of his kids by the wayside—he is going to do the same with you. Not only is he saying he doesn’t want ownership in the kid’s emotional well-being, but he is also telling you that he is going to be of no support to you, either.

#23 He doesn’t care when you are sick. If he doesn’t offer to help or bring up some soup when you are sick, he is not going to suddenly start caring about you. Guys are not wired to be caregivers, so it isn’t as if the average guy is going to be sitting at your side, asking how you are. If, however, he doesn’t come by for days to check if you are still breathing, he is not emotionally invested in you. [Check out: 5 real reasons we fall for emotionally unavailable men]

#24 He won’t say “I love you.” If you have said I love you more than three times, with no return, he is not ready to have an emotional relationship with you. He is holding back his feelings for a reason. He isn’t available.

#25 He never says he is sorry. If, no matter how bad you feel, he never says he is sorry, that is a sign that he can’t put himself in your position, or that he doesn’t care about how you feel. To be emotionally attached, you have to share in the ups and downs of the person you are with and that includes saying you are sorry when the other is hurting.

The biggest problem with an emotionally unavailable man is that you can’t change him. Whether they are emotionally incapable to be what you need on purpose, or because they lack the emotional skills to be the person you need them to be, it makes no difference. If you find yourself in love with someone who is emotionally not there, you either have to accept it and find another way to fill the void you feel, or move on and try to find someone who can make you feel more complete and emotionally satisfied.

[Next, read: 16 signs it’s time to move on and end the relationship]

Living with an emotionally unavailable man can leave you feeling isolated and lonely. Prevention is the best medicine. We can’t help who we love, but we can avoid those who are not good for us prior to falling in love by recognizing these signs of an emotionally unavailable man that will likely lead to an unhealthy relationship.

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Julie Keating
A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined in...
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