Why Are They Emotionally Unavailable? 5 Reasons it's Hard to Open Up

By Dominica

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Last Updated: June 27, 2022

Do you know someone who has a tough time opening up emotionally? Do you find it challenging that they seem emotionally unavailable?

It used to be that mostly men were put into the category of shutting down emotionally or being unavailable. Way back in the day, the line of thinking that was if you’re an emotional man, then you’re weak or too feminine.

Thankfully, those days are long gone. Being open-hearted and confident in sharing your emotions these days for both men and women is more favored. Sharing your authentic self is actually applauded in many social circles.

Still, there are some people who find it challenging to open up and share what’s going on in their heads and hearts. They may desire to be open, but the feelings or words just don’t come out.

There are various theories as to why being closed may occur. Let’s look at some of them today. 

 

 

5 Reasons People Find it Challenging to Be Emotionally Available

1. Some People Prefer Keeping Their Feelings Inside.

Some people simply prefer to keep their feelings inside.

They may love to hoot and holler at a sporting event or game show, but when it comes to sharing their own feelings, they prefer to keep them inside.

There’s nothing wrong with this either. Far too many people judge others for keeping to themselves, when they’re simply being their authentic self by being on the quiet side. Now, if they are stuffing or repressing their feelings and it’s causing problems in their relationships, that’s a different story. 

In that case, perhaps they could learn to feel and share what’s going on inside. But if they simply prefer keeping their emotions inside, and it’s on the healthy end, there’s nothing wrong with that.  

 

2. Maybe They Fear Rejection.

There are some people that feel like if they really open up and share their innermost feelings, they will get rejected. 

Maybe this has happened to them in the past. Some people don’t love to put themselves in a vulnerable spot so much, so they tend to hold things in.

If you feel like someone wants to share something, but is afraid, you can gently encourage and assure them that you will not judge or reject them for opening up. 

Show them support and unconditional love regardless of what they share. After all, we want the same consideration when we share. 

 

3. Maybe They’ve Never Learned How To Open Up.

Some people grow up not learning how to communicate effectively.

They may not even know how to really sense what they're feeling. This especially happens in homes that are dysfunctional or to those who have experienced trauma.

The good news is that there are ways that they can learn how to connect with their feelings and communicate them in effective ways. It takes time and practice, and it may even take a therapist to help, but it's worth it. 

 

4. Sometimes the Wiring in the Brain is Different.

There are some scientific findings regarding men that many are born with one biological difference pertaining to emotions

There is a part of the brain called the Corpus Callosum, which is responsible for feeling emotions. It so happens that men are born with a smaller Corpus Callosum than women.

What this means is that some men may have a harder time thinking and talking about their feelings at the same time. They tend to be more problem solvers.

Have you ever gone to a man with your emotions or problems and instead of getting the empathetic response you’re hoping for, you get a “just fix it” response?

They automatically went into “fix it” mode. Granted, all men have emotions, and they can express them, but from a scientific point-of-view, they may express them differently than women.  

 

5. Some People Express Emotions In Different Ways Than Words.

If you’re looking for everyone to be gushy and go on and on about how much they love you or become quite emotional about an issue, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Some people express by giving and performing actions. They might give a gift, take care of a problem you have, take you out to dinner, or sit quietly with you holding your hand while watching television.  

Some people may even feel more comfortable writing down their feelings and sending them to you via text or email. If this works for them, perhaps you can give it a chance. I’ve written plenty of letters in my life that express my emotions far better than if I were to try to convey them face to face with words.   

 

Emotional Availability

Being emotionally available is a plus when it comes to forming trusted relationships.

However, not everyone is on the same page in this regard. Know that some people have a tough time opening up emotionally for one reason or another. This isn’t always a negative thing, so try not to judge it.  

If you’re having trouble opening up emotionally, consider the reasons as to why. 

  • Is this simply your preference? 
  • Does it cause you problems? 
  • Is this what you learned growing up?
  • Do you wish you could be more emotionally available?

Photo by MART PRODUCTION

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4 comments on “Why Are They Emotionally Unavailable? 5 Reasons it's Hard to Open Up”

    1. I hope you are able to find the space and support to develop your emotions now, Gunther. We cannot change our past, but hopefully we can keep growing despite what people have done to us in the past, and even learn from it. Sending you positive thoughts and wishing you well on your personal journey.

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