Women with the biggest hearts are often drawn to emotionally unavailable men. We mistakenly think that if we love him hard enough, he will heal in our hands. If you have experienced the ending of such a relationship disaster, consider yourself lucky. Congratulations!
I know that forgiving ourselves for staying so long, loving, and loyal can be a major kick in the pants, especially when we most likely overlooked some major red flags in the beginning.
Emotional unavailability is defined as the inability to be emotionally present and receptive. These men put up walls against emotional intimacy, which is often characterized by several different types; the workaholic, the perfection chaser, the aggressor, the sob story victim, the disappearing act, the crumb giver.
These types use anger and aggression, stonewalling, denial, and avoidance to refrain from difficult conversations and problem-solving. Essentially, they chronically evade dealing with their own crap, fail to meet any of our emotional needs, and leave us wondering what the hell we did wrong. Newsflash! The only thing that we did “wrong” was choose THEM to partner with.
Stayed Too Long with the Wrong Guy?
Let’s get through this together! Moving on…
Show some self-compassion.
So often, we kindly talk to others with tenderness and sweet words of encouragement. From our children to our lovers, we are always right there to wipe their tears and hold their hands, listening with both ears to erase the pain. Enough! After a heartbreak, all of this energy and effort must now be turned inward. Time for self-compassion! Look in the mirror and admire those laugh lines that formed while giggling with your beautiful babies on the floor, tickling their toes.
Pull out that notepad and write down your best qualities, celebrating each one. Talk to yourself as if you are a young child or an elder. Use words of love and kindness. Your feelings are valid, you matter, and you deserve the love that you give.
Self-care is not selfish.
Did anyone say salt bath? Home pedicure and wine? Whatever makes you sigh aloud with relief, Do. It. Now. Shave those legs and then lotion up for a few extra minutes finishing with a foot massage. Stop in at the local salon, wash that man right ‘outta your hair, and trim those dead ends, literally and figuratively. Call a counselor and clear the air for yourself. Pick up a new book and may I suggest “Mr. Unavailable & The Fallback Girl” by Natalie Lue? Light a candle and read for your own benefit and clarity, which brings us to number three…
Learn the lesson.
Hindsight is 20/20, my love. What red flags did we ignore? His criticism and yelling, his enduring need to work overtime and disappear, his perfectionist nature, or his perpetual “silent treatments” whenever there was a disagreement? Write down every strange gut feeling in that belly that went overlooked and every tear that soundlessly stung those eyes.
Self-reflect. What kept us still with an emotionally incompetent man for so long: fear, uncertainty, guilt, low self-esteem? Name the reason and accept it. We accept the love that we think we deserve. What do you deserve? Nothing changes if nothing changes, and change begins NOW.
I started my own forward motion by creating a list of things in life and love that I want and desire. I included all of the qualities that the future love of my life should possess, the feelings that I hope to experience (like peace, liberation, openness, ease, giddiness) and the relationship goals that I plan to achieve with a partner.
I also construed a list of the places that I wish to visit and the activities I am eager to experience this fall, from wineries to autumn-leave trails to writing additional articles. By directing all of your energy and attention unto yourself, you will heal and recreate a new beautiful version of you, ready to love again with an emotionally available man next time.
As the author Natalie Lue writes in her book, “[Self] Forgiveness creeps up on you. Focus on treating yourself well, grieving any losses and addressing any habits that have held you back and that is forgiveness in itself because you give you another shot.”