Last time I promised you that I'd show you how you can assess whether your new date is really emotionally available- because if you haven't got that- you haven't got anything.
First things first... what all this “emotional availability” stuff boils down to is this:
How much closeness do you prefer in a relationship?
I call it Comfort with Closeness.
Some people actually like to be like ships passing in the night, others want to be joined at the hip.
It doesn’t matter which you are, but here’s the straight talk.
You absolutely HAVE TO find someone who is a good match on this continuum from distant to close.
This isn’t a negotiable.
Otherwise you get the whole: “You pursue them, They distance from you” cycle which has been written about so much I could up my entire library on the subject.
Bottom line: When it’s a mismatch, it sucks. Hard. Painfully so.
And don’t think you’ll change this about someone.
Oh, no, no, no!
This puppy rarely budges because it’s a personality characteristic that you developed from the time you were a wee one, by modeling what happened at home.
So get this right, and get it right from the start. There’s no use wasting previous time, effort, and emotion on someone whose idea of what closeness should look like isn’t the same as yours.
How To Tell?
Ok, on to how to judge this about someone.
This Comfort with Closeness thing has 5 dimensions and you can start picking up on them right from the first date.
Below are the 5 areas and some ways to judge them, in yourself and others.
1. Mental Space- This is how much you think about your partner
- Are they preoccupied with you? Obsessed by thoughts of you? Constantly fantasizing about you?
- They say, “Oh I wanted to remember to tell you about…”
- They say, “Oh I saw something that reminded me of you today”
- They say, “Oh, I knew you would like this thing I saw, heard, etc”
- They email you articles or links they think you would like.
- You think about them every few minutes.
- They mention things in the future you might do together.
- The remember things you’ve told them, and ask about them later.
2. Time – How much time you want to spend together
- They always make time to see you, even if they are busy.
- They want to spend almost every weekend night together.
- They are happy to be together even if you can’t focus on each other (you’ve got work to do).
- They want to spend all weekend with you.
- They call, email, or text all the time.
3. Affection- How much verbal and physical affection you prefer
- They often give you compliments
- They touch you frequently
- They are quick to give a hug
- They love to cuddle
- They easily or often say they like, love, adore you
- They make you feel appreciated by actions and words
- You have sweet nicknames for each other
- You like to hold hands or have other PDA’s out in public
- You get lots of kisses
- They offer verbal support and encouragement
4. Independence- How much you like to keep your life separate, or how much space you need.
(Here the examples are more on the distant side)
- They often need space.
- They prefer to keep their friends separate.
- They like to do their hobbies without you.
- It’s hard to get to know them- you feel a wall.
- They hold back on personal information.
- They aren’t eager to introduce you to friends or family.
- They need plenty of alone time.
5. Teamwork- how much of a “we” you prefer to be
- They often say “we”
- You feel like a team
- You make decision together, they ask for your input on choices to be made
- You are more interdependent than dependent or independent
- You turn to your partner to share your day first
- You ask for your partner’s opinions and input on issues and concerns
- You feel like you can face the world together
- You feel like you belong to each other
- You turn to your partner for support and sharing feelings.
- You share money and expenses.
Start paying attention to all of these factors and you’ll get a good sense of how emotionally available someone is.
Get to know what your preferences are first, then compare that to your new dates. Again, give it some time to ramp up over a month or two.
When you sense a mismatch, collect more information over time, and make a decision- don’t let it sit and fester until you become immobilized and can’t walk away.
If I could pick the most important compatibility factor, this is it!
So it pays to be on alert.
What signs do you use to gauge someone’s emotional availability?