Have you ever been in a relationship where you and your partner have a great time and are totally in love, but the day you're feeling dull and want to go on a rant about your best friend or how your eyeliner is not on point, they suddenly act like strangers? Have you been told, "You caught me on a wrong day" or "What can I say?" Have you been with a guy who has forgotten to ask you how were you feeling when you were down with the flu?
Congratulations, you've got yourself an emotionally unavailable significant other. I know it sucks, but believe me when I say this is the best thing that will happen to you in life. It won't be easy, but hang in there. When the time is right, you'll realize why this is actually helping you grow.
After five years of dating an emotionally unavailable person, I saw myself transform into a completely new person. And to be honest, I love the woman I have now become. Whether or not you end up with this emotionally unavailable person forever, these five qualities you develop while dating them will prove themselves invaluable:
1. Patience becomes your best friend.
As a kid, my mother always told me patience was a virtue. To which my reply would always be, "It's sure not one of mine." Being with an emotionally unavailable person will teach you the real meaning of that phrase. My boyfriend was always the kind who would ponder over decisions, plans and even the words he spoke. I, on the other hand, always lived by the motto "act before you think."
I had to wait hours just to get a yes to a simple dinner reservation because he would drastically overthink it. People like my boyfriend don't like to jump the gun. They don't want to promise too much, or even promise too little when they're in their shell.
It's not that they don't love you (they do). They just need time to process the bundle of emotions that come with the plans you've made. Waiting hours on end for answers taught me patience. It helped me to not only cope with my SO, but also with people who are generally indecisive in life.
More importantly, it helped me cope with the diverse people I meet at work, my family members and my friends. Patience helps keep your anger in check.
2. Hard work becomes second nature to you.
While we all work hard every day to earn a living, ace an exam or simply meet the goals set for ourselves, being in love with an emotionally unavailable person is a particular brand of hard work. You can't drop the ball because if you do, nobody else will pick it up.
Many times, I decided to play hard to get. I would say to myself, "For the next week, I will act as unavailable as he is and will not call or text him." What did I get in return? Nothing. No calls. No texts. Don't play these games with the emotionally unavailable. You will always lose.
People like them are so consumed by their own thoughts, they don't even realize it was their turn to drive the relationship. Keeping up with a reality like that can be extremely testing and difficult. But then again, these people teach you patience, which helps you stay calm. You have to keep working hard to make sure the house of cards you've been building over the years doesn't crumble.
3. You learn the importance of respecting others and yourself.
If a relationship lacks mutual respect, the only thing you should do is walk away. While my partner never disrespected me, I always felt insulted every time I was turned down for a dinner, movie, party, etc.
It took a lot of time for me to understand you must respect the wishes of your partners. You must remember that them turning you down is not about you. It is about them, and you must learn to respect their wishes. I know you're wondering why we must respect their wishes, when they don't they practice this, too?
That's the catch. This is where you learn the importance of self-respect. There is only so much you should be willing to do for someone, and compromising your self-respect should never be one of them. It's important to learn this lesson because once the respect is lost, it's hard to get it back.
4. You feel the true meaning of selfless love.
Humans are born selfish. Our first instinct is to protect ourselves, feed ourselves and do what makes us happy. My relationship taught me the meaning of selfless love.
For me, it is the truest and the purest form of love you could experience. When I adjusted to the way my SO functioned, I was comfortable doing things for him (within my means) without expecting anything in return. I learned something very beautiful about life through this love: Everything is not always black and white, give and take.
I know it hurts like hell when you see the other person take, and take, and take, but this is an experience that toughens you up. And pressure makes diamonds.
Love is never supposed to be selfish. Don't do things because you want something in return, and don't try to balance both sides. That happens only in an ideal world. And this relationship, my friend, is far from an ideal world.
5. The magic of empathy helps you problem-solve.
There is a reason why this person is so emotionally unavailable. Always remember that your partner does love and respect you, and even wants to make you happy. But they just can't seem to keep up with you because they're too caught up in their personal woes.
For them, when it rains, it pours. And nobody can take that mindset away from them. Try stepping into their shoes and seeing things from their perspective. Maybe what they're dealing with is something you've never seen as a problem in your own life. I developed the ability to empathize because of this. I no longer judge anyone because we grow as humans every day. And when I'm a step ahead or behind, I want people to understand why. So, always listen and empathize with your SO.
Being with a person who's emotionally unavailable seems like an impossible struggle. You find yourself asking, "Is this even worth it?" If you truly love them, you know the answer.
When I found myself in this situation, the only thing my heart said was, "You don't abandon someone when they need you," and, "Just because they can't say it, doesn't mean they don't want you." Remember, the only time you walk away from such a person is if your self-respect is being compromised. If you are capable of loving someone to such an extent, you must never forget to love yourself, as well.
I know you feel let down a lot, but just remember one thing: What is meant to be will be, and the universe makes it happen.
Even if your relationship doesn't last forever, never make the mistake of discounting this experience. You'll come out as an amazing, strong, more humane individual. Embrace it, and celebrate it.