When is it time to let go of someone who is not emotionally available?

I recently got an email from one of my lovely readers who asked me to write a post about the difference between love and infatuation and when to let go of someone who is not emotionally available.

She wrote: 

One thing that I am having to deal with lately is the difference between love and infatuation. And when to let go of someone who isn't emotionally available (but who really likes you and wants to be friends and have intimate moments but has too much on his plate to be committed to a relationship). I am very busy myself and love what I am doing right now in my life but I still can put him in my priorities sometimes. I am wondering if I should move on or give him a chance. He has been very honest and respectful toward me. The reason I wanted to suggest a blog post on that is because you are in a healthy loving relationship and it is better to have real advices from couples who are in real relationships :)

First off, yes I agree it's better to take advice from people who are in actual loving relationships (just like you'd take business advice from someone who has done business successfully). The reason is not that people who are in loving relationships know it all (I certainly don't!), but I think they generally (not everyone!) have a more positive outlook on love and know that fulfilling relationships are totally possible.

Optimism and faith in love is key when it comes to creating it. 

Anyhow, on to the first part of your question: the difference between love and infatuation. 

Here is the actual definition of both terms (there are more definitions, but I found these to be the most useful for the purpose of this differentiation): 

LOVE: a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person

INFATUATION: to inspire with a foolish or extravagant love or admiration

In a nutshell, love appears to have an element of deep, unwavering consistency and devotion to the core of another person, whereas infatuation carries a flightier feeling of giddy admiration or a "high" feeling towards the person someone appears to be. 

I think that the lines can be blurry between the two terms and that infatuation can turn into love. It also doesn't mean that just because someone is in the "infatuation phase" they cannot be heartbroken or devastated if a connection comes to an end. Disappointment is a very real emotion and its sources can be varied. 

Further, if either of these emotions are reciprocated to an equal degree from both people they can lead to a lot of happiness. Personally, I think the best is when two people become infatuated with one another and can travel down the road towards deeper love jointly. However, sometimes one person does travel "faster" than the other and that is ok, too.

This element -RECIPROCATION TO AN EQUAL DEGREE- is what I want to point out in order to respond to the second part of your question properly. When you wrote that the man you are seeing is not emotionally available, you have to ask yourself some questions (and I know they are not easy):

1. "Am I okay being with someone who won't give himself to me fully?"
Sure, one day he might change his mind and many people have found love after going through ups and downs, but all you know is what you know now and so you have to ask yourself if right now you are okay with being with someone with whom you are more emotionally involved than he is with you. I know that this is a difficult question to face but being honest in this regard is important in order to not feel like you wasted all this time if it doesn't work out down the road.

2. "What am I honestly hoping for?" 
Ask yourself this question from your gut. There is no point in downplaying our own feelings in front of ourselves and being able to set yourself up for good communication with others is dependent on you having good communication with yourself first. Then ask yourself if your hopes can realistically be met by this man or if you are making him be or appear in a way that is actually not really him, but purely something you desire to find.

3. "Can I communicate with him about my feelings openly?"
When he tells you he enjoys you but doesn't have the time to commit right now, do you feel like you have to play it cool and tell him things like "I also don't have time for a serious commitment" or can you be honest about the way you feel? Letting each other know about the reality of your feelings allows for an open dialogue and if he is the respectful guy you say he is, then he will let you know if he cannot commit right now because of circumstances or if he just doesn't want to commit to you. This is a toughie, I know. Sorry:/

I hope this helps as a starting point to tackle this very complex issue of emotional availability. There is obviously so much... I could probably write a book on it :)

Sending all of you so much love and thank you for the question. 

Do you have a question, you'd like answered? Send me an email to caroline@carolinezwick.com.




Caroline Zwickson

Caroline Zwickson has a M.A. in Counseling Psychology and is a Certified Women’s Health Coach focusing on natural pregnancy preparation, hormone balance & postpartum recovery for women who want to feel amazing in their own skin and birth happy babies.

Caroline integrates functional nutrition, life & wellness coaching, as well as positive psychology to guide her clients in creating joyful lives and fertile bodies. She skillfully helps her clients adapt to new food & lifestyle habits that are grounded in establishing physical and emotional balance and health so that they can make decisions that are truly based on their goals, desires and intentions in life, especially at the onset of a new era: motherhood. Knowing how to nourish yourself in a way that promotes hormonal balance and having a close, loving relationship with yourself is the best possible preparation for pregnancy and motherhood.

Through her own experience navigating hormonal imbalances after coming off birth control in her 20s, Caroline experienced first hand that the most important factor in achieving a healthy and fun pregnancy is how women prepare their bodies and lives before they conceive. Her approach to women’s fertility and motherhood is based on positivity and the firm belief that women have an immense capacity for creation and bringing joy and beauty to the world.

Caroline has been featured in The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Your Bella Life, The Beauty Bean and Cafe Truth. She has spoken at companies like Martha Stewart Living, Yelp, AMEX, Twitter, and Charity Water. You can find out more about her at www.carolinezwickson.com and you can download her FREE workbook guiding you through her top 5 tools to help you conceive naturally.