The Truth About the 'Unavailable' Man

Marriage and Family Therapist By Shelly Bullard, MFT
Marriage and Family Therapist
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a holistic and spiritual approach to relationships. She has worked with thousands of clients on improving their relationships with others and themselves.

Oh, the unavailable man. We have heard horror story after horror story. We look around and ask ourselves, “Honestly, do available men even exist?" The concept can seem like a myth, only found in fairy tales. Luckily, I believe in happily ever after.

When I say “unavailable,” I mean in any sense of the word—emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. A man who doesn’t show up for you in the way you want. A man who doesn’t give enough. A man who isn’t open with his true thoughts and feelings. A man who won’t commit. All of the above qualities qualify as unavailable in my book. This could be men you chronically date or a man you are married to—whatever it is, if you find yourself craving more in your relationship, then you are reading the right article.

We have all had our fill with these unavailable types. The guy shows up, sometimes dressed as Prince Charming. He makes you laugh and feel good; he’s a little hard to resist. You scan him and do your best to analyze the situation. The coast seems clear so you move in a little closer, and then out of nowhere: BAM! Unavailable! You didn’t see that one coming! So, you dump him or more likely, he dumps you. You eventually pull yourself back together, determined to move on to try something new, swearing that you’ll never, ever date an unavailable man again. What happens? The next one comes around and ends up being one of them too! What the hell is going on here? It is a reoccurring nightmare?

If this sounds like your story, then I am going to challenge you to take a look at what is going on within yourself to keep this pattern alive and well in your life. Deep relational patterns, like this one, often stay hidden within your unconscious where you can’t find them. And there they stay in the dark corners of your psyche until you dig a little to excavate the truth. I am here to shed a little light on the situation.

Here is the truth about this pattern:

Your man is your mirror.

What does this mean? This means that what we see in other people is actually a reflection of what is in ourselves. All the love you see in him, you know, because it is love you feel within yourself. And all the hate, annoyance, and fear you find in him, you know, because it is also in you. Do you know where this is headed? I’m saying that your man is your mirror. If your pattern is getting involved with men who are unavailable, that means—you got it—that you are unavailable, too.

I can hear the cries of disagreement now: “What do you mean, I’ve been unavailable?! I’ve been nothing but giving, and attentive, and present… ” Hold on, hold on. I know. Give me a second. Let’s take a really close look at this concept. I challenge you to get down and dirty with your truth.

I’m going to ask you some questions, and I want you to answer them honestly. Have you been showing up in your relationships as the full, authentic, confident, complete person that you are? Are you being the real you? Is it really you who enters these relationships, or is it a modified, altered version of you?

I’m going to wage that somehow, someway an altered version of you, rather than the true you, shows up. You may be leaving parts of yourself out. Or, you are modifying yourself in a way that isn’t real. Or, you are biting your tongue. Whatever the case may be, all of you is not showing up. This, I’m sorry to say, is being unavailable for love.

If you don’t show up in your relationship fully—as your authentic self—then no man is going to show up fully for you. This is a fact. Let it sink in. Abandon yourself, get abandoned. The equation is simple, and brutal, and… reversible. There’s hope.

It’s time to get real about your unavailability. Start scanning your heart for the ways you have made yourself unavailable in your current or past relationships. You need to figure it out, or it’s going to keep showing up on your doorstep. It’s time to take some seriously-empowered responsibility for your part. You can do it.

Start with these questions:

  • How have you abandoned yourself in relationships?
  • How have you not been fully authentic in relationships?
  • Have you deflected attention from yourself back to your man, making yourself unavailable?
  • Have you been overly-giving, making yourself unavailable to receive?
  • Have you not expressed your thoughts and opinions, hiding your true self from your man?

How are your answers sitting with you? This can be a tough pill to swallow. But, the more you can dive into your own deep self-reflection and face what you see with courage and honesty, the more likely you are to break this very painful spell. Remember, we are all unavailable at times. We are human beings. Humans make mistakes. Humans default to their egos. This is completely normal. You do not have to be perfect to find a relationship or to enjoy the one you are currently in. But, the more you get real with how you are co-creating your reality, the better reality you are going to have.

Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a holistic and spiritual approach to...
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Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a...
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