Glenn Stok studies topics on self-awareness and emotional well-being. He writes about it to help with mindfulness and avoiding self-doubt.
If you’re not sure that both of you are a good match for a healthy and lasting relationship, and you're just letting time drift by, you might need to resolve confusing feelings.
That starts with being emotionally available. If you are letting time drift by and not doing anything to decide if you want to commit to your relationship for life, then you're not emotionally involved.
Once you do that, you will either recognize that you’re with the perfect person, or you'll know the two of you need to move on and not waste precious time.
Let's review the concept of emotional availability and how you become consciously involved in your relationship's future.
How to Avoid Letting Time Pass Without Emotional Involvement
When observing my friend's relationships, I see two extremes that occur due to lack of emotional availability.
- Some partners can’t appreciate the good qualities of one another.
- Some people stay with an unsuitable partner and don’t realize that it’s a bad relationship.
It’s helpful to let your partner know how you feel and what’s important to you. It’s also crucial to understand how your partner feels—to grasp their needs and what they want out of the relationship.
Help your partner share their thoughts and feelings with you. Try to get to know and appreciate their fears. You need to understand their concerns, just as you would want them to understand yours.
If you’re in a new relationship or having doubts about the relationship you’re in, ask your partner the question, “How do you feel about me?”
When you know your partner's feelings, you can both make an intelligent decision to move forward, building a dream relationship, or end it without wasting time if it’s unsuitable.
Leaving a bad relationship is just as important as working on a good one because it leaves you available to meet the right person when they come along.
I feel that love is your safe haven. Challenging life issues become less stressful when two people in love are together and share the same feelings. That kind of love is difficult to stifle!
How to Become Emotionally Involved
Reflect on your thoughts and feelings.
- Think about why your partner is important to you.
- Consider specific things for which you are grateful.
- Be aware of your partner’s good qualities.
- Distinguish common interests, goals, values, and beliefs.
- Remember the incredible moments you both had shared.
A quote by Sam Keen, an admired American author, professor, and philosopher, says it best:
“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”
— Sam Keen
The Power of Emotional Availability
When one is emotionally available, they notice what's important for their partner and their own needs. It leads to communication between partners to share likes and dislikes.
It's constructive to let your partner know what's important to you. It's also vital to understand your partner's needs and be aware of their happiness or sadness.
Emotional availability leads to knowing what one another wants from the relationship. It helps express emotions constructively.
You'll have the ability to work through difficult times as a team player in the relationship.
Emotional availability makes one conscious of their partner's good qualities and to appreciate them more. That's important because once we recognize we are with someone special, we'll know that they are the right person for a long-term relationship. We'll appreciate our partner, and we won't look for faults.
You may find yourself desiring your partner more than ever.
Being Emotionally Unavailable in an Undesirable Relationship
To better understand this concept, let's consider the opposite, as described in the Urban Dictionary:
"An emotionally unavailable partner creates barriers to intimacy and can make you feel unloved or unwanted. Emotionally Unavailable people find it hard to make time for friends and loved ones."
You can see that this attitude does not encourage a meaningful relationship.
Those who are emotionally unavailable may miss essential considerations that would help them decide to stay in a good relationship or leave a bad one.
When you are unavailable emotionally, you might let time go by without moving forward with a decision. You might end up staying in an undesirable relationship with one who has a personality flaw that you consider to be a deal-breaker.
When you're not available emotionally, you might lack the desire to communicate and discuss significant issues. Feelings may be held within and never shared. The result is that things drag on until something happens that either ends the relationship or forces the parties to sit down and talk.
What ends up happening is a matter of how well both partners communicate. Being emotionally unavailable can hinder any attempt to share thoughts and feelings.
What are the Characteristics of Emotional Availability?
When one is available on an emotional level, they are aware of the relationship's good and bad qualities. More importantly, they are involved and willing to talk about those issues that may stand in the way of moving forward.
A lack of emotion can cause one to stay in a bad relationship or with the wrong partner. I know many friends who never dealt with these issues and married someone with whom they were unhappy. Each one of them ended up getting divorced eventually.
Exercising complete emotional availability involves being attentive to one's partner, and being aware of what is going on when things seem upsetting.
Partners are Team Players
I have a saying I like to remember: Two people in a relationship should consider themselves as team players.
That means each partner needs to be there for the other, especially in times of need, such as going through a health crisis or mourning a deceased family member.
Awareness of How We Feel Is Crucial
Being available also means being aware of our choices—either staying in a relationship or moving on with our lives if it’s an undesirable relationship.
We might have a happy life with the wrong person as long as it's not a toxic situation and as long as we recognize why we are choosing to hold on.
I notice friends in this situation ignore that they are indeed involved with the right person and are in a good relationship. They end up focusing on the negatives and complain about their partner. They are fooling themselves and missing out on enjoying life with a wonderful person.
Pay Attention to Your Partner's Positive Traits
Many people often ignore the good things about their mate. They forget the lovely things that happen in their relationship, and they tend to remember the bad experiences more readily:
- Every relationship will have painful periods from time to time.
- Everyone has different views of the world and events.
- We each have different habits and beliefs.
These differences can cause insecurity, which can confuse our thinking when dealing with relationships.
Bad feelings have a stronger effect on decision making. We may even become judgmental based on bad memories.
Communication and Trust Is Crucial
To build a better relationship with love and respect, we need to have communication and trust. We need to share all our feelings, both the good and the bad. When feeling discouraged about our mate, we need to try to remember the marvelous things about them.
If we only remember the negative issues, we'll have resistance to acceptance. If we genuinely are emotionally available, we will keep both sides of the equation in our conscious mind.
Discussing all our thoughts and feelings is essential to have a clear understanding of one another. Focusing on your partner by making yourself emotionally available will help you recognize the love, joy, and caring in the relationship. That will leave you with a deep appreciation of the closeness that you both share.
It's terrific when you can be yourself with someone—one you can relate to, understand, and appreciate.
Emotional availability will help you understand how you truly feel about your partner.
When you know you’re involved with someone you can trust, someone who will always be there for you and understands your needs, your fears, and your feelings, never let them go!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Glenn Stok