People divorce for all sorts of reasons.
Some are in truly intolerable situations, like abuse, addiction, or infidelity. Others feel a disconnect between the relationship they have today and the one they entered into many years ago.
That could be because the relationship ran its course and both people evolved into individuals who are no longer compatible, or it could be because they were never truly compatible in the first place.
When a client tells me their partner was “emotionally unavailable,” chances are good that he or she always was like that; they just may not have recognized it early on. Being emotionally unavailable is a real thing and it’s common.
It’s the kind relationship where you feel empty and alone, even though your partner is right there. It’s where you go to therapy, alone or together, to try to come closer, to try to understand the disconnects, to try to repair the rifts between you, and nothing seems to work.
Many couples stay together out of stubbornness – a desire to make this thing work, no matter what. Others stay because they want to keep their family unit together. And still others decide to end the relationship and move on to brighter horizons.
Emotional unavailability is not a lack in you. It’s that your partner simply cannot get as close or open as you would like. They just can’t do it. And then you have to decide what your next step is.
Being with an emotionally unavailable partner often feels like being alone. You can decide to accept your partner’s nature and find that emotional connection with a friend. That works for some.
Relationships, especially ones that last for years and decades, evolve and change, as do the people in them. I believe marriage is a commitment every single day to stay with the person you’re married to – with all of their faults and oddities.
Many people in relationships like these simply need to find different ways to communicate. Scratch the accusatory tone and adopt a way to speak your truth in a loving and non-confrontational way.
Some emotionally unavailable people have spent their lives being attacked and told their ideas or essence are not worthy. Why, then, would they open up? Showing the love you have for them in a way that is safe and welcoming can be just what your partner needs to change the habit.
I’m not saying it’s always possible. But it’s worth a try.