Disclaimer: It sucks
Visualise yourself on a beach. Breathe in; slowly, deeply. Feel the sunlight on your skin; warm, tingly. Feel the cool wind in your hair; damp, sweet. Feel the peace inside your soul; fulfilling, whole. At a distant, you see a wave. Violent and gorgeous, it makes its way towards the shore. It washes over your bare feet, enough to overwhelm you, and then fill you with longing. You want it to stay, but it withdraws. Before you know it, the wave is a part of the sea again –the only traces of it ever being there are your damp feet and the washed sand.
That is what it feels like to love an emotionally unavailable person.
They will wash over you and catch you unguarded with their charm and eccentric aloofness. You will want them to stay, very much, at that. Before you know it, however, they will withdraw and join the sea, leaving you alone, damp and dry.
Loving an emotionally unavailable person is brutal, painful, and devastating. You will keep running and chasing endlessly. You will go over the top and do everything in your capacity to win over them. You will go on and on, hoping, wishing, that one day they will stop, turn back, look at you, and give in.
Spoiler: They most probably won’t!
If you have ever loved an emotionally unavailable person, you would know. They will keep you on the string –close, but not too close, far, but never too far. Usually charming, and good lord mostly seductive, they will sweep you off your feet and steal your heart. You will spend nights trying to replay events in your head but you will never figure out what it was about them.
Guess what? It is their unavailability itself that draws you towards them.
You will also be either told early on, or you will notice for yourself, that this person is… broken. They are distant and sceptical. They want you, but they don’t. They will always maintain a safe distance –close enough for you to long for them, far enough for them to remain inside their shell.
Remember the wave I told you about? The gorgeous, violent wave, that overwhelms and then withdraws? Makes better sense now, doesn’t it? Just like the wave, they will also come back in intervals –coming and going, but never leaving or staying.
It will feel like a game.
Loving an emotionally unavailable person will keep you frustrated –guessing, weighing, and constantly shuffling. You will introspect and look in the mirror. There will be days that you will need them but not have them. You will look at yourself and wonder if there is something wrong with you. Here you are, laying out your soul on a platter for somebody who doesn’t seem to melt. Surely, there must be something wrong with you.
Reassurance: It’s not you.
It’s them –trust them when they say that. They are hurt, broken, and reeling from a time that has scarred them for a long while, or perhaps just for now. In fact, perhaps they aren’t hurt at all –there is a good chance that they simply do not want to commit, no matter what the reason. That is the problem, right there; they do not want to commit.
You can bare your soul and put all your love on a platter and it would not matter one bit if the other person does not want it.
You will continue loving them nevertheless. They are mysterious and broken. Sometimes they will let down their guards and let you touch their insecurities and feel their vulnerability. Before you know it, they will withdraw again. This will drive you crazy and make you want to help them.
It will hurt you, seeing them in so much pain. You want to alleviate the pain –you want to fix them. You want to wrap your arms around their pain and cup their loneliness. You want to take care of them and fiercely protect them. You want to, of course, you do.
You will also hope that maybe, just maybe if you are able to fix them, they will love you back. This charming person will turn around melodramatically, look at you, and kiss you hard. They will thank you and remember you as somebody that fixed them and gave them a new life altogether. Perhaps you will go down as their saviour –an indelible mark that all future lovers of theirs will see, envy, and try to erase.
Caution: Your attempts may all be in vain.
Here is the deal with emotionally unavailable people –you can’t fix them. You want to, but you can’t. They need time to themselves, they need their comfort, and they need their space. They will violently protect themselves from any pain that may eventually befall them. If you have the potential to break into their walls, they will violently keep you out as well –silent treatment, narcissism, abandonment, you name it.
Remember: It’s not their fault either…
The most important thing that I have learnt about emotionally unavailable people is that you have to stop making everything about you. It really is not their fault if that is how they are –they have issues, and there are things you can’t fix. You have to live with that.
You also must stop hoping after a certain point. They will probably never reciprocate what you feel simply because they enjoy the chase. They do not wish to commit, but they long for the affection. They will keep crawling back to you for the endearment and vanish as soon as their tank is filled.
It sucks so much, of course, it does, but it is not their fault. You were drawn to them, remember? You picked this battle in the first place.
Warning: Somebody else may come along and replace you… easily.
You pursue them relentlessly because this chase makes you want to fight. You want to fight and win them over. When they pull away and withdraw themselves, you will think over and over again if it was something that you did, and before you know it, you are chasing them again.
You want to prove that you are the right one; that you can fix them, that you have the ‘X’ factor. You want to stand out from all the other people that they have loved and lost, of course, you do. You want to be the saviour, the rescuer, and so you will chase and pursue.
You will romanticise them before you realise it; they will become perfect inside your head. You will be greatly attracted to that aloofness, that detachment, and that despair. You want the drama, the love, the comfort. You want your investment to give you returns.
Here is something you should know, then –your investment will most probably never get returns. There is a high chance that someone else will come along and melt them and ‘fix’ their unavailability. They will suddenly commit and do all the things you thought they were incapable of doing. Before you know it, the sun has vanished from the beach –there is only a storm now.
Here you should do with some fresh perspective:
An important aspect of loving emotionally unavailable people that we easily miss –it is more about your need to be identified and validated than your love for them. Think about it; why else would you keep running towards somebody that mostly treats you as a vent?
They will keep coming back to feed off your low self-esteem. Their mixed signals will make you so desperate and hopelessly dependent on the hope that maybe they will decide to reciprocate one day. This will make letting go extremely hard. You will keep wishing that they will return to who they were or give you the affection they had once given you in a fit of vulnerability.
Here is the deal, however. That perfect version of them? It only exists in your head.
All you have to do is let go of your expectations and humanise them inside your head. Stop over thinking every little thing they say. Stop trying to find meanings that don’t exist. Stop trying to look for meanings at all.
Just because they are aloof and chose to let their guards around you for a while shouldn’t serve as an achievement for you –don’t live with the false hope that you are unique enough to win over this person. It isn’t that you are not unique; it is only that an emotionally unavailable person is the worst meter to gauge your uniqueness.
Solution: Let Go
Yes, there was a lot of effort that you put in. You spent hours and hours playing the ‘game’, drafting the perfect messages and hanging on to their words. Yes, you laughed at their jokes, pretended to agree with most things that they said, and had intense, emotional conversations. The effort was too much, of course, it was. Here is the reality, though –it was a one-sided effort. They fed off your attention and in all honesty, the reciprocation will perhaps never come. So let go because this person has a lot of baggage and you are not going to be the one to help unpack it.
Stop chasing and pursuing –it is all fun and games in the beginning, but it will become a negative cycle before you even know it. They will come back to you every time they need emotional support and before you know it, you will begin feeling drained. Stop giving and start saying ‘no’. Realise that by saying no you are not hurting them –you do not have to fix everyone and everything.
If there is somebody that constantly makes excuses and withdraws from you, leaving you hanging, alone, and upset, you need to stop feeling responsible for it. Everybody here is a grown up and they need to act like it –be kind, be human, and try and help, but do not, I repeat, DO NOT, become a mere channel, whether physical, emotional, or mental.
Here is the wonderful thing, though;
You can kick back with a good drink and some good food. An emotionally unavailable person is challenging to love, and it is wise to accept that more often than not, you are going to get your heart broken. So realise early on that it is not about you –you are goddamn awesome.
Channelize your affections elsewhere and work on self-love. Before you know it, the storm will pass, and the sun will tingle on your skin again.