When your partner is emotionally unavailable, it may feel as if he doesn’t care as much as you do. Sometimes you might even doubt if he misses you or not.
Now you’re left wondering, “Is he not as invested in this relationship as I am? Or does he miss me, but he just shows his affection in a different way?”
To help you address this concern, we asked experts if an emotionally unavailable man misses you:
Kara Nassour, LPC, NCC
Licensed Professional Counselor, Shaded Bough Counseling
Maybe he misses you but isn’t showing it
When people ask, “Does my partner miss me?” what I hear is: “Does my partner care about me? Is our relationship strong? Should I relax and trust that they love me, or is this something to examine more deeply?”
The fact that you ask shows that you care, and you worry about whether your partner cares as much as you do.
This worry can be even harder if you feel that your partner is emotionally unavailable. So, how do you find the answer? It helps first to know what “emotionally available” means to you.
Emotional availability can mean that your partner shares his real emotions freely:
- his passions,
- his worries,
- his fears,
- his frustrations
You feel like you know all sides of him, and he doesn’t have to put on an act for you. Emotional availability can also mean he’s there for you and pays attention when you want to share emotions.
You feel like he’s happy for you when you’re happy, and he’s supportive and understanding when you’re having a hard time.
And not only is he there for you, but he lets himself be affected and feel what you’re feeling.
Being emotionally available takes practice, and it takes effort. We are not born knowing how to express our emotions clearly to others or how to listen to and support other people’s emotions.
Many women are expected to learn how to do this, to be nurturing and attentive to others’ needs, while many men are treated as “weak” if they express their stress, sadness, worry, or grief.
So sometimes, men grow up without getting as many chances to practice this.
These are generalizations. Men are just as capable of being emotionally sensitive, but if a man seems “emotionally unavailable,” it might not be because he doesn’t care about you.
Perhaps he does miss you, and it’s just harder for him to show it.
Another possibility is that he does express his feelings, but in a different way than you expect. Many men will show support by trying to “solve” or minimize the problem that is making you unhappy.
If your partner does this and you would prefer he just listen and be there for you, tell him when you want “listening” and when you want “problem-solving.” This will help him know what you need at the moment.
Look for nonverbal ways he might be expressing love.
- He might send you GIFs, memes, or other messages as a way to say, “I’m thinking of you.”
- Maybe he’ll wait until you’re together again before he goes somewhere fun because he’d rather you be with him.
- Perhaps he’ll do extra chores to show his appreciation.
Look up your “love languages” and ask him if any of them seem most natural to him. You might be able to make each other feel more loved once you understand how the other one “talks.”
Then there is the possibility that you and he have different expectations of how much emotional support to expect from each other. In most relationships, partners will support each other but also get support from friends and family.
If you expect your partner to provide all the emotional support you need or to not spend some of his emotional energy on friends and family, you might feel like he’s not available enough while he considers this a healthy balance of relationships.
Lastly, a partner might be emotionally unavailable because he isn’t that invested in the relationship.
This is what many people fear, deep down, when they ask, “Does he miss me?” If this is the case, there will be other signs that he isn’t as invested as you are.
He may not make time for you to be together or take your feelings seriously when you tell him you have a problem. He may lie to you, avoid serious conversations, or continue to act in ways you’ve told him are hurtful.
But all these options still leave the big question: how do you know if your partner cares? How do you know if he misses you?
The only way to be sure is to tell him your concerns.
You might say:
“I’ve been feeling (lonely, uncertain, worried) about our relationship. I wonder whether you miss me when we’re apart. I’d like some reassurance, or if there’s something that’s bothering you, we could try to work it out.”
A statement like this tells him what you’re feeling, which is helpful if it’s hard for him to read your emotions. It tells him what you need so he knows how to help and gives him a chance to tell you if something else is going on.
It ends on a constructive, problem-solving note that avoids putting the blame on you or him.
A partner who is emotionally unavailable but who truly cares about you will miss you and will be willing to work on the relationship with you so that you both can feel secure and happy.
And you may discover new ways to understand and connect with him, too.
Dr. Saudia L. Twine, Ph.D., LPC, LLMFT, NCC
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Relationship Coach, Eros Meets Agape
Unemotional men miss you, but you’ll never know it
An emotionally unavailable man will definitely miss you, but you’ll never know it.
The reason is simply due to:
- their lack of experience expressing emotion,
- their lack of confidence to communicate their emotions effectively, and
- their lack of ability to communicate with a woman where their voice will be heard without invalidating theirs
These men, unfortunately, do not possess the skillset to have such conversations; therefore, the women they date and love are often feeling unheard, misunderstood, and question if he really wants to be with them.
What she doesn’t know is that during these intense conversations, he is saying everything she wants to hear when she asks, but it’s in his head.
He dares not interrupt and get it wrong, so he remains silent.
These men feel just as much emotion as any other person, except they have learned how to hide their emotions (which is something they have learned to master).
These men are identified as Avoidant attachment.
This is a technical term for those who learned growing up in their household that emotions were not something to be addressed or expressed. Thus, they lack the experience and ability to healthily identify, address and communicate their emotions to those with whom they are in relationships.
But, don’t give up on them. They have the biggest hearts.
You just have to exercise patience to see it, and it comes at the expense of taking a back seat to your emotions in order to build an environment for them to feel safe to share their heart without judgment, criticism, or ridicule.
These men would rather be anywhere than in front of a woman who exhibits the aforementioned.
Israel Helfand, M.S., Ph.D., CST
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Marriage Quest
Emotionally unavailable men may miss you
Yes, many men who appear to be emotionally unavailable might actually miss you even though they may never show it. It might not be a conscious decision. For some men, it could be an unconscious choice of avoidance in order to protect themselves from the pain of a possible loss.
Men who are emotionally unavailable are usually victims of several Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
Typically, these men were not loved unconditionally, or they did not have their love received from their primary caretakers when they were very young. Thus, leaving them emotionally love impaired.
Some men had big losses early in life, such as the death of a parent, which left them feeling abandoned. They live, often unconsciously, in fear that if they truly love someone, they are bound to lose them.
They grow up vigilant, hyper-sensitive, and protective of their emotions.
This is not a black or white situation. Men fall on a continuum between being in total denial of their situation to having some insight into their emotional state and behaviors. If someone is in total denial of their past wounds, they may become emotionally cut off from their current relationships.
These men most likely do not miss anyone at all as they are isolated and insulated with a protective layer. They are probably unreachable and not able to own that they miss you.
Admitting it would make it real and would increase their sense of vulnerability. Denying that they miss you is an ego defense mechanism for survival.
In this case, they are protecting against any potential rejection.
On the other end of the continuum, these men have some insight into their past life experiences and their relationship impairment. They have the language to explain what is happening and why they are behaving the way they are behaving.
Eventually, they can turn that insight into behavioral changes.
In turn, they can make improvements in connecting with their loved ones and showing them that they miss them at times. A good relationship counselor can help navigate these challenging discussions and help each person find useful ways to connect better.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Emotionally unavailable men do miss you
Do emotionally unavailable men miss you? The answer is yes.
If you are warm, empathetic, and or nurturing, chances are there is a magnetic pull for emotionally unavailable partners to seek out potential partners that can give them that, which is emotion.
Why would someone that is emotionally unavailable miss me?
The chances are that someone that is emotionally unavailable has not learned how to give or receive love or emotion.
- They do not go deep,
- They like to find perfection,
- They feel overwhelmed or smothered by acts of intimacy,
- They don’t want a label,
- They seem always to be busy, and
- They are unclear about what they might want from you or the relationship
And part of the challenge is that emotionally unavailable partners can only tolerate being around or involved with someone that is emotional, warm, nurturing, or empathetic for so long.
So this push-pull dynamic happens when they seek emotion, find it, feel good, then feel overwhelmed, and they need to pull away for a number of reasons.
An emotionally unavailable partner’s ego enjoys the warmth and attentiveness they receive, but they have not done enough work on themselves to have space to care about anyone outside of themselves.
They really are unable or haven’t learned how to return or reciprocate these emotions, which is part of the reason most emotionally unavailable partners tend not to have long-lasting relationships.
Do they miss those moments where they feel seen, heard, and loved? Of course, they do. And many of them want more of it but are unavailable to reciprocate those feelings.
If you’re spending time wondering or wanting to know more about emotional unavailability, make sure you yourself are emotionally available. Spend time getting to know yourself, understand yourself, and develop a healthy self-love for yourself.
When we have developed these parts of ourselves, of course, someone that hasn’t learned that yet will miss that.
Also, this helps ensure that if you find yourself in a situation where a potential partner cannot provide emotional reciprocity and appears unavailable, you can make a decision whether or not to invest your time, effort, and energy into that person.
Marriage and Family Therapist | Founder and Owner, Connected Therapy Practice
They value emotional intimacy, even if it doesn’t come naturally to them
When a man is emotionally unavailable or uncomfortable connecting on an emotional level with others, he typically struggles with a fear of being rejected after he shares his deeper emotions with someone.
This may have been instilled in him from a young age or from traumatic relationships in the past, but in some way, he has internalized the message, “People don’t want to know about my feelings, so I should keep them to myself.“
Then, as a man develops through life, if he does not have opportunities to share his feelings with others, he will slowly lose the ability to understand and explain his own emotions.
Then, when he finds himself in an intimate relationship decades later, he may not be able to articulate what he’s feeling after doing so very rarely for so long.
Although certain men may desire deep, emotional connection less than others, all men still have emotional needs. However, they may have fewer needs for connection than the people around them, so these men can appear not to like people at all.
In reality, these men are content with less emotional connection than others, but they still thrive when that emotional connection is present in their lives.
Hopefully, as hard as it is to express, these men can convey to their friends and families that they value emotional intimacy with them, even if it doesn’t come naturally to them.
Over time, it can become much easier to feel emotionally close with their loved ones, and they may not feel as emotionally closed off as they did years ago.
Pareen Sehat, MC, RCC
Registered Clinical Counsellor, Well Beings Counselling
They do miss you but will not admit it
Missing someone is a natural human instinct. So, even if a man is emotionally unavailable, the chances are that he does miss you.
But it’ll be a huge struggle to make him accept it. That’s because they have a habit of keeping their feelings to themselves.
This may make you feel unloved and have a negative impact on your relationship. So, it’s important that you sit with your partner and unpack their emotions to help them embrace what they feel.
It’ll be an excellent exercise for both of you to further grow in your relationship and let your guard down.
What’s more, is that your partner may even finally acknowledge that he misses you and strive toward maintaining a healthy relationship.
They prefer giving small signs than being vocal
Although this isn’t a conventional or direct way of saying that you miss someone, but, for an emotionally unavailable man, that’s the way to go. He’d be more comfortable giving you small signs instead of vocally saying that he misses you.
I believe that this is completely okay. After all, he does trust you enough to let you into his life and meet his friends and family. Remember that actions always speak louder than words.
So, watch out for these small actions and know that your partner cares for you even if he may be emotionally detached.
Certified Life, Relationship, and Performance Coach for Men, The Relaters Manual
The answer to this is that it depends
A man who’s ’emotionally unavailable,’ which is not a clinical term, by the way, is unavailable for many different reasons.
As well, if by ’emotionally unavailable,’ we mean someone who doesn’t show emotion or talk about his emotions in the course of a relationship, then that could be because a man has been manipulated time and again whenever he spoke of a vulnerability.
Men will dismiss or coerce other men if they speak of feelings that are anything except happy or angry. This is common among men anyway. Women do this to men too.
In fact, many women put men down or humiliate them when they show signs of sadness, depression, or grief, often deeming them as ‘weak.’
When this type of interaction happens often enough, it can create a defense system in a man who shuts down emotionally. He essentially becomes monotone with his displays of emotion.
Now, will he miss a woman after a breakup if he’s emotionally unavailable? If he struggles with being shut down and wants to share himself more, then the answer is yes.
Related: What to Do When You Miss Your Ex
If he uses his emotional unavailability as a weapon or heavy defense system in getting through life, then probably not. He will have justified his shut-down nature as necessary and will move on quickly. Mostly because he never really became that attached to the woman he dated anyway.
When a man has no desire to be emotionally ‘available,’ then no amount of convincing will bring him out of it. Some men have this pattern of emotional unavailability so deep that they find displays of tears (from sadness or joy) laughable.
Women need to pay attention to the nuance in a man’s physicality. She must listen to his voice and keenly watch his face and body language to determine if he is shut down emotionally.
Related: Why is Body Language Important?
Most of all, women need to stop fooling themselves by listening only to what a man tells them and ignoring other signs (like body language) that are in contradiction to his words.
Psychology Teacher and Family Lifestyle Blogger | Founder, The Inspiration Edit
They may not say it but do miss you
What’s important to remember is that they tend to process and experience emotions differently than women do. So even though he may not express his feelings in words, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have them.
Following are some signs that your emotionally unavailable man may miss you:
He calls or texts more often than usual
If he’s normally not the type to text or call just to chat, and he suddenly starts doing so more frequently, it could be a sign that he’s missing your company. You might not get long, drawn-out conversations, but more frequent contact is a good thing.
He’s less distant
If he’s been more distant than usual and he suddenly starts being a little bit more present, that’s another sign he may be missing you. This might manifest as him actually spending time with you instead of just texting or being more engaged when you’re together.
He opens up more
If your emotionally unavailable guy starts sharing more with you — his thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams — it’s a good sign he’s missing you. This is a sign he feels safe with you and trusts you enough to let his guard down a bit.
He plans more dates or surprises
If he’s normally the type to just ‘go with the flow‘ and not make many plans, but he starts planning more special dates or surprises, it means he’s thinking about you and wants to make sure you have a good time together.
He told you he loves you
If he’s never said “I love you” before, and he suddenly says it out of the blue, take it as a sign that he really does miss you. Even if he doesn’t say it often, hearing it once in a while can make all the difference.
He’s more affectionate
If he’s normally not very touchy-feely, but he’s suddenly being more physically affectionate, it’s a sign he misses being close to you. This might manifest as him holding your hand more, cuddling, or even just sitting closer to you than usual.
He gets jealous
If he starts showing signs of jealousy — whether it’s getting annoyed when you talk to other guys or getting possessive — it means he’s missing you and doesn’t want to share your attention.
Transformational Leader and Writer
They don’t miss you, they miss what you can provide
I don’t believe emotionally unavailable men miss you. They miss what you can provide.
Most successful women (and men) gravitate towards unsuccessful and emotionally unavailable men because they are so used to winning that when they find something they aren’t able to obtain, it is seen as a challenge or shock.
Then, an effort is spent trying to make the emotionally unavailable man open up and like you, as a testament to your worth, not to their stunted emotional maturity.
As someone who has only gone for unavailable men, telling yourself that they miss you might make you feel better, but in actuality, they miss the attention they got from you.
They miss knowing that you were available. They don’t miss you in the way that you are idealizing they do.
However, this is nothing to be sad about because it isn’t like they are missing anyone in the way that you want them to miss you. They don’t possess the capabilities to feel the feelings that you desire them to.
Emotionally unavailable men are quite simple creatures in all honesty — we as women typically carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. In contrast, most men that are young-minded carry the weight of a raisin.
With these men, it is important to know that they aren’t feeling this way about anyone, so it is not worth taking personally.
As the queen of emotionally unavailable men and poor dating choices, the best thing you can do is continue to do as you would have men never existed on the planet.
My favorite quote in regards to dating and times of uncertainty is that if you knew for a fact that you were going to meet the love of your life a week from now, what would you be doing? You wouldn’t be stressing over a man, that is for sure.
You would be taking in all life has to offer and experiencing what you can with your friends, family, etc.
So live as if you know you are going to meet the right person anytime soon, and chances are you will get a lot more out of your life and love life than you think.
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