By Javinne J. McCoy
Emotionally unavailable relationship dynamics can be super insidious. In all emotionally unavailable relationships there are familiar features and common themes that pop up like a bad rash. I have gotten emails from readers in Japan who will stumble across the LA Blog via Google , and then I will get an email from someone in Africa who stumbled across the LA Blog via Google search, they will share their EUP story and unhealthy relationship dynamics, and their stories often overlap despite geographic distance (Japan and Africa are about 8, 751 miles away from each other). Readers will immediately relate to an article and comment , “They said the exact same thing to me”. All of this is to state the obvious, there is a certain universality to the experience in dealing with EUPs (Emotionally Unavailable Partners).
We are all different people, but may share similar experiences-our unfortunate dealings with the EUP. These “unfortunate” experiences (a nice way of saying painful as hell) often have eerily similar pop up themes. I have been baffled about how many people reach out with the same universal feelings and thoughts. They will be perplexed as to why EUPs make false promises, why EUPs will zip them straight into Relationship La La Land by hinting at the future (yet never delivering), or why they pour it on real thick with attention in “the beginning”. Then the relationship seems to freeze in slow motion with The Relationship Carrot Dangling as the EUP withdraws, withholds, and retreats from the relationship.
What is this all about?
It is important to understand this principle:
Relationships with EUPs are always about High Risk Relationship Investments with the promise, hope, and potential of high returns that never materialize. In emotionally unavailable relationships, the greater the risk the greater the risk. There are no high returns, but there will be limited rewards. Don’t gamble with you heart!
It is very similar to the stock market. For example, let’s say you hire a stockbroker. The stockbroker has one main short-term goal-to sell you stocks or bonds. The stockbroker usually cares about one thing-the commission that THEY receive from selling a product (ie. bonds, stocks) to you. As a potential investor in a particular company, your main goal is to get the best return on your investment. Keep in mind your goal is a long-term goal.
Most stockbrokers have agendas- to make their money, put food on their table, pay their car note, pay their mortgage etc. So it stands, you may come across a stockbroker who knows a company is declining and yet will still attempt to sell you investments in that company anyway. The problem is that if you don’t do your own homework, you have no assurance that the risk you are about to take with that company will pay off. Without proper research you are at the mercy of the stockbroker and his agenda – to sell you the declining stock . You’re just banking your confidence in the stock on the word of the stockbroker you hired.
Let’s say you decide to take the word of the stockbroker, invest, and it turns out to be a bad investment. The outcome? You lose all of your money including the potential gains promised. You trusted. You might be baffled and ask ‘what happened’? This is what happened-they got you to invest by the marketing methods of overselling and overestimating the potential of the stock to perform well. They falsely promised you higher returns on that investment compared to others in the market. Also, your trust was misguided and you trusted BLINDY.
You in essence took a greater risk, did not get rewarded, and simply got more risk. You’re miffed. Your money is gone along with the “potential” of it to make more. You got duped into a bad investment by a stockbroker. They convinced you that if you take a great risk, you will get a great reward, and you didn’t. The stockbroker was shady as frick and you got sold on potential-not REALITY.
Welcome to EUP relationships that always offer the Potential of something great with HIGH as Heck Risk involved. The EUP is the equivalent of a shady stockbroker, making his “coins” by selling potential and poor performing stocks at all costs (i.e. the EUP equivalent of a poor performing stock is a poor performing relationship that has the absence of healthy love).
In you taking greater risk there is zilch assurance you will receive high returns. Instead, all you’re doing is taking great risk with the potential for high returns.
This situation is all too common in EUP relationships. They know damn well that in reality the relationship stock they are offering you is a bad investment. Despite this reality, they will often overestimate their capacity to have a genuine loving relationship. They are very good salespeople, with dodgy characters, who sell a stock called B.S. on the Unhealthy Relationship DOW JONES Index (Don’t Overestimate the Wins. Jerks Offer Nothing Ever Solid in a relationship Index)).
So the question begs…..
Why do we get hooked by “potential” and invest in bad relationship deals?
Potential is all about possibilities, hopes, and aspirations. EUPs often use our hunger for the “potential” of something to happen against us. When we have empty wells of love and unhealed wounded hearts, we become ripe prey for anyone to come along and convince us to make bad investments. It is also a choice on our part to accept. Relationship investments with EUPS are short-term, have no weight, and are just based on potential and possibilities that never come to pass. They will promise you just enough or do just enough (never consistently though) to get you to over-invest in them. You get hooked on potential and fail to due diligence about the reality of the EUP.
Below are 5 Unhealthy Relationship Hooks that that hook us on potential:
Unhealthy Relationship Hook 1: The Hot Pursuit then Withdraw Routine. All of a sudden there is a sudden shift in the relationship dynamic. They hounded you and were “the pursuer” in the Beginning Stages, but now they are the reluctant lover and now you are the one doing the initiating, the pursuing, and the chasing.
It is important to understand that EUPs lack patience, want things on their terms, are unrealistic about relationships, are now oriented, immature, and are short-term goal oriented. Think of it like this, the Hippocampus part of their brain that converts things from short-term to long-term is permanently out of service. This means that when they do things, they are usually doing things for the moment, and without forethought about how their actions in the present will impact the future, your feelings, or the relationship.
One of the classic EUP relationship behavior patterns is to get folk hooked on potential by gaining their trust from Jump Street. They do this by the high level of intensity and interest they show in “the beginning”. The EUP will bombard you with interest, attention, and affection very early on in the relationship. They will go on vacation to the Caribbean or Jamaica, or a long distance trip for a week, and call you multiple times a day while they are away. “Wow” you are thinking. “They must really like me and care since they are using international or long-distance minutes. I am special to them”. They will drive late at night to see you. They will be In Hot Pursuit of You, chase you hard, and you will feel intoxicated by the high level of interest they display so early on in the dating phase or relationship. They are interested for sure, but they are living in fantasy and not reality. Your fire alarms should be going off.
Suddenly they back up, request space, make you seem “needy”, withhold attention and time spent, and withdraw. This is because they get wiggy about “expectations” (which ironically they are creating by bum rushing their way into your life and heart). It never occurs to the EUP that you will actually expect them to continue to treat you the same, consistently, passed “the beginning”. If they did this, the relationship would continue to grow and move toward a real relationship-They DON’T want this. Because this is not a Hollywood movie, and your feelings are involved, you need to slow them down. It is a trap to lure you in. For all they know, you could be an alien or Martian from the planet Mars (Hahahha! Just joking but you get the point).
They don’t take time to think that when they initially give you this level of interest you expect it to continue, develop, and grow. Remember the EUP lacks empathy, fails to consider the bigger picture, and fails to consider other folks feelings when they do and say things. EUPs are about I, I, I, and ME ME ME. If you have not been offering yourself adequate levels of self-care, love, and attention, the intensity of their interest will lure you into a bad deal.
You have mistaken momentary intense interest for the EUPs potential and capability of having a real committed relationship with you. Remember, the EUPs version of love and relationships is a Hollywood movie with great special effects-it’s not genuine or real. It’s all show. It’s not even Oscar worthy. Okay, well maybe the special effects the EUP ( i.e. lies about loving you or “falling in love” with you to keep you hanging around for when they need you) are Oscar worthy-Sure. It is very entertaining for the moment. However, that’s all it is with commitphobic people- it is only for THE MOMENT and a sad twisted game.
Here are some characteristics of The Hot Pursuit:
- They may call or text you constantly to remind you of their presence and very existence in your life (and its fairly early in the relationship)
- They may say to you “I miss you” “I am falling in love” (and it’s fairly early in the relationship). They only mean it for THE MOMENT. They may even go so far as to renege when they get what they want and say “I take it back”. Jerks do immature ISH like this.
- They request to see you multiple times a week in the beginning. This makes your heart skip. You might even be concerned that they might lose their job because they are seeing you so much, so easily, and so early on. You think, “If they are making such an effort to spend time with me, then they must really be invested in the relationship and me.” (If it’s still fairly early in the relationship, remind yourself to relax. Your agenda and the EUPS agenda are two markedly different agendas. If your relationships tend to be rushed, give yourself a good time frame to see if they are being genuine with their words. Be self-protective of YOU!)
- In the beginning, they seem to be very accessible via phone, text, and respond to you fairly quickly (but somewhere along the line it stops on their part-they withdraw and withhold). Now you are the one more accessible to them. You are hunting them down to spend time with you like the IRS during tax season.
Unhealthy Relationship Hook 2: They tell you things will be “different” this time.
This is classic EUP speak. This will hook right into your desperate heart if you still assume the care-taker role in your relationships. Do you actually believe you are the rapper Foxy Brown and have the “Ill Nah Nah” that can fix folk, and that your love, or sex, is so damn special that it can change another person? Next time you find yourself going around in circles with someone arguing for change, ask yourself if what you’re expecting is realistic given the person’s patterns, and how they have consistently treated you in the past. If you keep bugging someone about changing their ways for your happiness, you are actually failing to accept the reality of the person you are dealing with in the present. Chances are they are acting real doofy and unkind toward you. If things could be different with your EUP, they would have been different a long time ago. Healthy relationships are not about “fixing” and care-taking grown ass adults-especially when you are dealing with broken men or broken women.
Unhealthy Relationship Hook 3: They insist that you just continue to “go with the flow”, keep your expectations at bay, have a good ole time, and not take things “too seriously”.
This is classic EUP behavior designed to keep you in check should they decide you are getting carried away with your feelings. They create barriers to intimacy. Often the EUP will give you hints of a relationship, say things like “I can see us together”, “We have the potential to be something great” (this is an actual EUP quote).
Remember EUPS like to get their agenda fulfilled for the moment (sex, money, attention, affection, comfort at a time of loneliness). Saying things that will tug at your heart strings, then reminding you to keep your feelings in check should you “get too serious”, is one way they can manipulate you and hook you on the potential for more in the relationship- all while avoiding commitment.
Remember it’s just potential and hot air. Ironically, as soon as you buy into the sales pitch you will be reminded to keep your expectations in check, behave yourself, and stay in the moment. It’s quite manipulative. Yes! However, think about it. If they just came out and said to you “Hey, I want to just use for some sex, and attention, for the moment. I am a user”, would you accept this? No! You would decline because you want a REAL relationship based on substance and mutuality. They want the relationship fixings (i.e. cuddling at their convenience, sex, fun times, comfort in time of need etc.) without any real commitment or intimacy. They have to pretend to be more than they are, or overestimate what they can provide you, in order to get you to accept them.
Unhealthy Relationship Hook 4: They make premature confessions of love. They state that are “falling in love with you” fairly early in the relationship/dating situation. You get hooked after this and believe them to be genuine words. You naturally want and expect more. You are ready to give them the same. You feel the same too. However, as soon as they make love confessions, they withdraw, withhold, need space, and make you feel like a burden. You let your guard down already. You expected their confessions of love to bring you both closer. Instead the EUP panics when they realize that you may actually expect them to mean what they say, show it, and back it up with CONSISTENT action. Pause! You have gotten hooked through MOMENTARY WORDS that mean NADA. Zilch. It’s all a fantasy and not based in reality.
Yes! It is quite cruel to do this to someone. They will confess “I am falling in love with you”, but it will only be for The Moment. I keep using repetition of the For The Moment concept because it is so important to accept so you stop feeling bad about their actions (you should only feel disappointed in you for believing the hype-but you’re only human so chill and give yourself a big hug). EUPs don’t know how to connect their words with simultaneous action. Sure, on some level they might mean it, but relax, and remember it is only for The Moment.
The EUP and all commitmentphobic types experience black and white emotion due to their ability to compartmentalize, suppress, or dissociate their emotions. They operate from emotional extremes. It is either all passion (when they need you on their terms) or it’s all disdain for you and the relationship (when they feel you are getting too close or feel anxious about you expected loving actions to follow these kinds of confessions).
They are in the throes of passion when they make confessions of love. Raw passion is not love and is irrational when love is not the foundation. It’s not lasting (chances are they said this to you when you both had your pants down, were laid up in bed, or if they wanted to get you in their bed-they wanted something from you).
They will often follow confessions of love with “We need to slow things down” after you start expecting them to actually demonstrate that they care, cherish you, and mean the things they say. Now, they backtrack and say “Let’s slow down and give it time”. Ask yourself, if they genuinely wanted to slow down and take things slow, why did they bum rush their way into your heart so quickly? They would have taken it slow from jump. They are being full of B.S. at best and insensitive to your feelings at worst. The EUP is so disconnected from their actions it is sad. After all, if you said it you would mean it. Right? However remember, how the EUP thinks and how you think, are light-years away. Don’t believe the hype! Yes it hurts that people do this. Keep grounded, back up from them, fold your casino hand , and discharge them from your life. It’s all false and not genuine. Sad but true.
Unhealthy Relationship Hook 5: Waiting for things to return to “The Beginning” when they initiated more effort, made more time for you , called you more, expressed more interest, traveled great distances to see you etc.
AGAIN, these people are all about unbridled passion. Passion is for the moment. Passion is not love. Passion can be an expression of love in healthy relationships, but remember when you are dealing with these folk it isn’t about healthy. The EUPs version of passion is about the rush, and chase, in the “beginning stages” (the beginning can last for a few days, weeks or months depending on the EUP). This is where they get to put their best foot forward, charm, and seduce you with attention. Intense interest, attention , and attentiveness is not love. It is actually a sign for YOU to slow them down! You set the pace and protect your heart! If you have poor boundary function you will miss the opportunity to slow things down. The EUP is being unrealistic about you and the relationship. Even if you said “I am falling in love with you” to someone and it was early in the relationship, you would mean it because you carefully weigh your words. The EUP doesn’t think like this.
They are living in fantasy about what things could be in general terms and NOT specific terms. They know they want “a relationship” (and that they haven’t had any good ones), but because they are afraid of intimacy, they are speaking in general terms. When they say they want “a relationship” that could mean tomorrow, a week from now, or ten years from now. They need to be able to speak in specific terms and state “I want a relationship with you”- especially after they might have said “I love you” or “I am falling in love with you”. If they can’t say this , then they are making you an option during bad weather, but not a priority in their life. EUPs are so self-absorbed. They don’t consider or care that you may actually believe all the things they do in “the beginning” stages to be genuine and that you expect them to happen consistently. Soon they will backtrack , withhold, and withdraw. Confessions of love do build expectations. In healthy relationships confessions of love are always backed up with caring action. In unhealthy relationships, confessions of love just float in the air and take up space. Your relationship should be moving forward. These people know this and this is not what they want. Don’t kid yourself!
Often EUPs set the tone of the relationship to purposely fail and sabotage it. They do this by creating expectations via all the intense courting rituals they perform early on. However, deep down they know they don’t want expectations. That would lead to intimacy, commitment and permanency. So when YOU begin to have expectations in the relationship (which they opened the door for by confessing their love or bombarding you with interest in “the beginning”), they have a comfortable exit out of the relationship and an excuse. Now they can blame you and your “expectations” and bolt. Believe it or not, this is how emotionally unavailable folk operate. Get into reality!
If they suddenly stop the level of interest, effort, and attention they were giving you in “the beginning” by withholding and withdrawing, you need to be backing up, and stop investing your heart, your time, and your emotions. Everyone has the “potential” for a relationship but not everyone is capable of having one-certainly not these folk. It actually takes the relationship work from BOTH people to make it work or for it to work. With the EUP, you will be in a lopsided relationship doing all of the emotional work for you BOTH. You are being set up to get used like wash rag.
In closing, never take high risks with your heart, with the promise of high returns, based on the “potential” of a relationship . If you do, you will get limited rewards, and have less than what you started with. You can’t blame the EUP any longer. They are just doing what they do. Now wise up and see potential for potential. With the EUP, it’s never the potential for a full-fledged mutual and healthy relationship, but it will be the potential for heartbreak and more pain for YOU.
Please share your thoughts, comments, and stories. Do you have a topic or a question on emotionally unavailable relationships that you would like addressed on the L.A. Blog? Please feel free to email: email@example.com or comment directly on a post that has inspired and empowered you.