Do Emotionally Unavailable Men Change? (29 Signs To Watch Out For)

Last updated on June 6, 2022 by April Maccario

I’ve dated emotionally unavailable men in the past. You know the ones that I’m talking about. These guys are flattering, they’re amazing, and they can be quite charming. Then, you realize that there’s something missing. You don’t know their family or friends. 

At first, he seems shy, but you slowly realize that no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t matter. You’re still watering a dead plant. 

Some of these guys don’t want something long-term. They maintain their emotionally unavailable status because they’re using you. Other men might have a genuine fear of commitment. If you’re still considering putting in the effort to help an emotionally unavailable man change, it’s important to know what you’re up against so you don’t spend years watering that dead plant. 


29 Signs Of An Emotionally Unavailable Man

If you’re dating an emotionally unavailable man, chances are slim that he will take the time to tell you that he’s emotionally unavailable, stringing you along or flat out never going to change because he doesn’t want to. Instead, you’ll have to pay attention to signs that he’s emotionally unavailable. The more of these signs that you see, the less available he really is. 

1. He Constantly Blames Others

These guys are the kings of not accepting responsibility. In fact, they have it perfected to an art. 

2. He Blames Past Relationships

he blames past relationships

Not only does this guy blame you for things, but he also blames past relationships for things, too. He didn’t move in with exes because they didn’t want to. His trust issues are his exes' fault. Even break-ups are not his fault. 

3. It Started Out Heavenly

These guys love bomb you and charm you in the beginning. The way that they treat you like you’re the only woman in the world will instantly make you smile when you think of them. Although it sounds unusual, it’s extremely common. This is because people with intimacy issues or commitment issues don’t feel scared of anything in the beginning stage. 

4. The Longer It Lasts, The More Distant It Gets

As things get serious, you’ll notice that he begins to push you away. This is because a serious relationship is what he is scared of. The emotions and feelings that go hand-in-hand with this make him want to head for the hills. 

5. He Flat Out Says He Sucks At Relationships

If he tells you that he is terrible at relationships, believe him. He’s not saying it for sympathy. Sometimes these guys make comments about how they have had a string of women in their past because they are bad at relationships, or they might say they like the dating scene better. 

6. He Tends To Look Down On People

This guy doesn’t just go out to dinner. Instead, an emotionally unavailable man will assess other people in the restaurant and determine that he is better than them. He goes beyond being confident. Instead, he will feel like he is far superior. 

7. It’s All About Him

These guys don’t just run away from your feelings, they sometimes completely ignore them altogether. If you mention a problem you have, he probably has a bigger one. If he doesn’t get his way, he acts like a spoiled brat. The behavior will remind you of a cranky child that didn’t get their way. 

8. You Don’t Feel Good Enough

When a man is not available, he seeks perfection. He likes to control things and wants them flawless, including you. It can easily make you feel as though you aren’t good enough, and may result in him straying to find someone else that he deems is perfect. 

9. He Refuses To Open Up To You

When you bring up an emotional topic, he resorts to sarcasm or avoids it altogether. No matter what the topic is, you can’t get close to his emotions. 

10. Commitment Is An Issue

commitment is an issue

Guys are typically emotionally unavailable because they are scared of commitment. When you mention moving in or committing to long-term plans, he balks. 

11. He Has Low Self-Esteem

Guys with low self-esteem are over cocky, and they are very sensitive to criticism. These guys are more likely to be emotionally unavailable because they are scared of getting hurt. 

12. He Doesn’t Like Your Emotions Either

Not only does he avoid his own emotions, but he would also rather not talk about yours. When you’re upset he quickly tries to make you happy because that’s the only emotion he’s comfortable with. 

13. His Language Of Choice Is Sarcasm

These guys are experts in the sarcasm department. That’s because sarcasm makes it easy for these men to avoid discussing something. Most of their tactics help them avoid being emotionally close to women, and sarcasm is great for pushing people away. 

14. Physical Intimacy Is Not A Problem

Hitting the sheets is never a problem for these guys because that doesn’t require an emotional connection. It usually leads to it appearing as though they are using you for a booty call. 

15. He Won’t Talk To You Daily

He’ll say he’s busy, he’s working on his goals, etc. but the truth is that no matter what is going on, he won’t talk to you or text you every day. This is because it will make him feel closer to you, and he doesn’t want that. 

16. You Don’t Know His Family

Being close to a person you want to spend your life with means being close to their family, so don’t expect to be involved in family functions, or even invited to them. 

17. He’s The King Of Independence

He states that he loves his independence. This is a common excuse that men use to keep distance between themselves and women. The gap in the relationship is explained by this love for independence. Some men might truly enjoy independence, so watch for other signs on the list. 

18. They Don’t Work On The Relationship

If there’s a problem, you’re the one to address it. When you two need to have a talk, they won’t be the ones to start it. Communication and being close are necessary for a relationship to work, but you’re the only one that will work on those things. 

19. You Never Get Closer

When the two of you finally manage to discuss getting closer, they go through all the motions but you two never feel closer. It’s because they’re faking it due to them being emotionally unavailable. 

20. They Have The Same Emotions As You

When an emotionally unavailable guy does show emotions, he won’t want you to see his true emotions. Instead, he’ll simply reflect your emotions back to you. When you’re sad, he’s sad. 

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21. A Bond Is More Important Than A Title

If you’ve heard this phrase, it’s because they are avoiding the relationship word. These men hate the word relationship and don’t want to be in one, so they refuse to put a title on things. 

22. They Lack Empathy

they lack empathy

Emotionally unavailable men have a hard time with their own emotions, and understanding them. This makes it extremely difficult for them to understand other people’s emotions. Someone else will see them being nice, but rarely having a genuine understanding of things going on around them. 

23. Few Or No Serious Relationships

When you run into a man that is emotionally unavailable, you’ll find a sketchy relationship history. If he has had long-term relationships, they are very few. This can also apply to friendships. 

24. He’s In It For The Benefits

These guys do not get in serious relationships because they are in love, no matter what they say. Instead, they determine if someone is the one based on how it will benefit them. This is because they are not attached to their emotions the same way that we are. 

25. They Feel Closer To A Roommate

If you do convince this guy to move in with you, it won’t be the same as other relationships. They won’t like to talk about real topics, like the crisis you had at work. They won’t appreciate sweet gestures. If you grab their favorite snack on the way home, they will eat it, but won’t feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You’ll get the same thing you would from a roommate. 

26. They Don’t Make An Effort To Talk To You

Communication of every kind is always spotty. If you send a text, don’t expect one back any time soon. These men will give you one excuse or another, but this is usually intentional so that they can avoid getting close to you. 

27. Cancelling Plans Is The Norm

Not only do they not want to communicate for fear of closeness, but they also prefer to be physically unavailable. If you plan a date night, you never know if they will be there. It’s because they do everything in their power to avoid becoming emotionally close to you. That means cutting back on quality time together. 

28. They Think Emotions Are Negative

Some men will state that it’s because they are men, and some will simply avoid the topic altogether. Either way, an emotionally unavailable man will avoid those serious emotions at all costs. Expect him to lighten the mood or be dismissive of your emotions by stating that you’re sensitive if you’re upset. 

29. The More You Push, The More Distance There Is

If emotions are terrifying to emotionally unavailable men, imagine how terrifying someone is that keeps trying to get them to connect on a deeper level. It’s like someone coming at them with a knife. The closer you get, the further they run away. 

Do Emotionally Unavailable Men Change?

Yes, emotionally unavailable men can change. How you react to him being this person and his own thoughts and feelings will play a large part in whether he will change. If you’ve decided to pursue this, there is a certain way to go about it. 

1. You Can’t Make Him Change

you can't make him change

Read that again. You can’t make him change. In fact, you can’t make anyone into something else. The only person that can make them change is themselves. Don’t waste effort attempting to give him more of this or that, trying to change yourself to make him happy, etc. 

Instead, if you want to make this work, you have two options: have a talk with him and tell him how it affects your relationship, and ask him to change or accept it for what it is. 

2. Temporary Situations Eventually Return To Normal

There are normal situations that result in men having a certain amount of emotional unavailability. For example, if he is focused on his career, recently suffered from a breakup or death in the family. 

All of these situations, and many more, can create someone that is not capable of being present emotionally. Some may also create a certain amount of fear pertaining to being close to women. These can all be temporary, and may slowly fade away on their own with time. 

3. Childhood Trauma Is More Deeply Rooted

Unaddressed childhood trauma and wounds spill over into adulthood. This doesn’t just happen with your man, but it can happen with you too. If he developed an avoidant attachment style, it is more deeply rooted than a recent career change. It means that during his childhood, he was taught that emotions were not okay. If he wants to change, he can, but that is up to him. No one can make a person change. If he does choose to change, it will require a lot of time, patience, and therapy. 

4. Give Him Space

Sometimes, we chase after things that we want, but this isn’t the way to go with one of these guys. Instead of bringing him closer, you will push him further away. Think of him as a timid kitten. If you run towards them, they will be scared and run away. However, if you gently coax them to you with their favorite treat, they will happily curl up on your lap. 

How Can You Help An Emotionally Unavailable Man Change?

If you want to help him, there are a few things that you can do to help keep him on the right course, and save your own sanity in the process. 

1. Remember Your Self-Worth

Being with one of these men can be exhausting, and it can make you feel a little less than when they consistently seek perfection. It’s important for both you and him to recognize how great you are. It’ll help keep you from falling for his crap, force him to accept that you aren’t perfect, and you won’t be enabling him. 

2. Forget Previous Expectations

Any idea you previously had about how relationships or marriage should be needs to go out the window. Your life is what it is, not what you want it to be. This includes your home life with your boyfriend. It’s important to stay in the present and to accept the situation for what it is. You cannot help him in his life if you begin to avoid the problem as well. 

3. Have Strong Emotional Connections With Others

have strong emotional connections with others

One thing that is important to remember is that we all have emotional needs. Emotional unavailability man will not be able to meet those. This makes it vital for women to make sure that they have those strong connections with other friends or family to ensure that their needs are still met. When you need someone to be there, you can call them. Every time there’s a crisis at work, you’ll still have someone to talk to. 


Can an emotionally unavailable man fall in love?

Yes, they can! Anyone can fall in love, including those that are having a hard time emotionally connecting. They might not express this the same way as other people in your life and might take longer to fall in love, but they can get there eventually. 

What happens when you ignore an emotionally unavailable man?

You’ll move on. He probably won’t be phased. These men have spent their life avoiding this type of connection, so he might not even miss you. If he has not made any progress, he will probably just move onto the next. 

What are the signs of an emotionally unavailable man?

His emotions, or lack of, are very controlled. He is a man of mystery. In fact, most of his life is a mystery to you because he doesn’t talk about it. No matter how long you talk, you never feel close to him like you do other people because he won’t let you get close. 

Does an emotionally unavailable man miss you?

They miss you, but not in the same way that you miss them. Often, they miss something that you did for them, or they miss having you as an option when they want a booty call. Rarely do they miss you in the same way that you’re missing them.

What does an emotionally unavailable man want?

Some men are genuinely scared and crave an emotional connection. Others want you to boost their ego, be available for booty calls, and meet their needs, all while tending to your own because they do not want to do that.

At The End Of The Day

Dating an emotionally unavailable man can be exhausting, but women that have seen them change often say it is well worth the extra effort. Have you ever been with a guy like this? What did you choose to do with the relationship?

Do you hate it how everything seems to always revolve round him while you just seem to be an afterthought sometimes?
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It almost makes you wonder whether he actually likes you or whether he's just stringing you along.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

One comment on “Do Emotionally Unavailable Men Change? (29 Signs To Watch Out For)”

  1. Great article! You hit the nail on the head. I'm dealing with someone like that now and he is very confusing. Thanks for the clarification. I finally realized that this is not normal behavior after dealing with him for over a year.

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