Most women have learned to use the romantically-homicidal words “emotionally unavailable” to strategically inflict pain on soon-to-be ex-boyfriends during break-ups, paint the picture for close girlfriends during a peer-review discussion of the above break-up or just because it sounds like a great excuse or is a fantastic reason to part ways with a man.
Men need to understand that women use these particular pair of words because there is absolutely no way that a man would mount a strong comeback to such an accusation. No matter what the comeback entails, there is no way that the situation will end well for our man.
Picture this scene: a woman tells her man that a break up is necessary because he is…wait for it…emotionally unavailable. He can hardly then reply that he is emotionally available because you know that the woman will then ask: ‘…so how come you don’t act like it?’ or the award-winning retort ‘…so how come you don’t let me in?’ See my point?
Clearly, all our man can do is just sit there, bear that and accept the break up. If the man chooses to fight the accusation, he may find himself ‘feminised’ within the redefined confines of their relationship, fighting to disprove his emotional unavailability to his woman and the world.
As effective as these words are, and have been for me personally, it was a surprise when a male friend very recently described me as ‘emotionally unavailable’. I, like most women, have been termed as jaded or cynical or emotionally tough (code for will-not-fall-for-easy-standard-pick-up-lines; boys have to bring out the heavy artillery game) but have never been branded in this way before.
Assuming that these words were usually directed at men from women, I had never considered applying them to myself and my own situations. After a few beats of my silence, my friend tried to explain what he meant and I had an instant epiphany as he was trying to lay out his reasoning. Terming ourselves as jaded or cynical is simply another way that women protect ourselves from hurt or disappointment when it comes to relationships.
I always thought of myself as slightly jaded, maybe even bitter, from my experiences with men who did not exactly have my best interests at heart but never thought that I was what I claimed my ex-boyfriend was. I used the terms jaded and cynical loosely as permission to allow myself to judge all men the same and hold them at bay but it never occurred to me that I may just be emotionally unavailable.
Honestly, it is a great weapon for women who are trying to avoid heartbreak at all cost, but at what cost to you as a woman? That was my ‘aha’ moment. Most women, even married ones, may think that they are or have been emotionally available to their spouses or possible significant others but, in reality, they may have more walls up than Lady Gaga has costumes.
I firmly thought that I was emotionally available because I did everything that proper single girls are supposed to do: tried to stay cute and primped, went out with friends to single-friendly places, stayed open to talking to different people while keeping to my strict standards list, but I never realised that my emotional availability was securely locked away behind years of heartbreak and disappointment.
I am not advocating for complete, pure, unadulterated, openness because one really ought to get to know someone before completely spewing out all their dark secrets. Emotional availability unlocks you to different opportunities and allows you to have the most authentic experience that you can have with another human being. After realising that perhaps I came off more emotionally unavailable than just jaded or cynical, per my male friend’s comment, I made a solid decision to up my availability.
Most men always note that women are always hard to infiltrate especially because of past heartbreak experiences from other men who sully the field for all other men after them. I, for one, suggest that all of us women ought to start working on upping our emotional availability to make the job a bit easier for those good men who are out there, genuinely hoping to get a chance to get to know you…on that emotional level. After all, they have a hard enough time approaching us. It’s the least we can do for them…and for ourselves.