How to spot emotionally unavailable men: 5 signs to look out for


Emotionally unavailable men

Emotionally unavailable men can be difficult to spot, especially in the early days of dating. But what are the signs that you should look out for? Persia Lawson shares her top tips for identifying emotionally closed off men – and what you can do about them

In the UK, we’re all too used to unpredictable weather. Unfortunately, we’re also becoming used to men who just don’t seem to want to fully commit to us.

Blowing hot as the summer sun one minute, cool as a Canadian winter the next, such men are often referred to in the dating world as being ‘emotionally unavailable’.

Whether they have deep-rooted commitment issues that, as yet, have been left unchecked, or they simply don’t want to place all of their eggs in one basket, the effect of emotionally unavailable men on you is the same:

You’re left hopeless wondering a) what you did wrong and b) what you can do to win back his undivided attention and affection.

But before you allow yourself to tumble too far down that dead-end rabbit hole, I urge you to first find out exactly which type of emotionally unavailable man – and behaviour – you’re dealing with:

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The breadcrumber

This guy gives you tiny pieces of contact or affirmation to keep you hooked and interested, while at the same time positioning you at a far enough distance that he can keep his options wide open. It’s a slow and painful assault on your self-worth.

The ghoster

The typical ghoster suddenly disappears from your life/text/dating app exchanges for no apparent reason, leaving you clueless as to what went wrong. You’re left desperately scouring your past interactions for clarity (or sign that he does care about you really!) Infuriating and bewildering to say the least.

The haunter

This one’s particularly interesting: you can see he still watches all your Instagram stories, but makes absolutely no effort to interact or engage with you. In other words, these emotionally unavailable men care enough to want to keep tabs on you and your life, but not enough to actually be part of it. Just plain weird.

The bencher

The bencher treats you like a substitute football player. When their first choice is unavailable (or not that into them), they’ll randomly get in contact with you for an ego boost or to make the true object of their affection jealous. Late night booty calls and last-minute invitations tend to be signals that you’re on the bench, not the pitch. Don’t fall for it; you’re better than that.

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The slow-fader

A similar character to the ghoster and the haunter, the slow-fader is probably the most common culprit of emotional unavailability. When I asked my male friends how they’ve ended things with women they weren’t that into, slow-fading was the most popular option by far (cowards). Generalised responses such as, ‘I’m really busy right now, but drinks soon?’ are a sure sign he’s trying to let you down gently, without hurting your feelings. I’ve said it already, but I’ll say it again: cowards. (Then again, we’ve all done this at some point or other, haven’t we?)

Look, I know all too well how horrible it to realise your once-passionate fling appears to have flung himself as far away from you as possible.

However, I truly hope you know that this has nothing to do with who you are, and everything to do with where he is – which, I’m sorry to say, is unable to commit to you.

So please – for the love of your own sanity – don’t waste one more minute of your precious time and energy pursuing any of the above types of men who, for whatever reason, can’t give you what you want.

Trust me, with around seven billion people on this planet, there are so many others out there who’d go above and beyond to date someone like you. (Yes, really, there are.)

But here’s the catch: they’ll only show up in your life once you value yourself enough to shut the door on the men who can’t even be bothered to reply to your texts.

Harsh, but true.

Persia Lawson is an author, speaker and ‘one of the UK’s most successful love coaches’ – according to The Saturday Times magazine. Having once been a serial cheater and obsessive love addict, she’s proud to now be in a healthy, committed relationship and is passionate about helping people attract (and keep) their own relationship in the chaos of the modern dating world. She offers free meditation on her website and you can book a complimentary love coaching session with Persia by emailing Find her on social media @persia_lawson on Twitter, @persialawson on Instagram and

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