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Is He/She Emotionally Available?

Is he or she emotionally available? This is the most important question you should be asking yourself when you are dating for a relationship. Dating for a relationship being a “state of mind” where you are looking for someone who is ready for a healthy love relationship.

Of course there are other reasons to date. Some people date for sex, others for more nefarious reasons like someone to mistreat, or someone to leave, or someone to make him or her feel better about him or herself. If you are dating for a relationship, then you need to make sure (as well as you humanly can) that the person you choice to love is ready for a relationship. Unfortunately, a segment of the dating population “act” like they are ready for a love relationship, but in reality they are looking for someone for some other reason.

Being able to judge whether the person sitting across from you on a date is really “able” to have a healthy love relationship is an important assessment to make. Apart from what it is he or she is looking for, I’m talking about being able to tell if someone is capable of having a healthy love relationship at this particular time in his or her life. For example, a person who is married but in a dysfunctional relationship he or she is not working on, now looking for another person to bring into a “triangle,” as the temporary solution to his or her problems, is NOT able to have a healthy love relationship at this time.

Same goes for someone who is “married” to something he or she is doing (work, school, travel) that does not permit him or her the time, energy, or effort to develop a love relationship at the present time. He or she may feel lonely or isolated and need company or some kind of comfort (sexual or otherwise) temporarily to feel better. You, however, are in a position to determine whether or not what that person is offering is what you are looking for: a readiness to enter and develop a healthy love relationship.

This problem of misperceived intentions is the root cause for a lot of love life disappointment. Is he or she emotionally available? If you ask yourself this simple question repeatedly when starting to date someone, the question becomes a way to jumpstart your consciousness. There are so many ways that you can be lulled into a trance where hopefulness take over and you distract yourself unwittingly away from the cues that would tell you this is NOT a person who is ready for a healthy love relationship at the present time.

How well he or she looks. How much money he or she has. What kind of care he or she drives. What kind of position, job, family, how charming he or she is, etc. The hard part is staying focused on: Is he or she emotionally available? A while back, I did an informal survey in my private practice of anyone I was working who had been in an abusive love relationship. Mostly women, I asked each one individually when it was that she became aware that her boyfriend or husband was abusive. 99.9% of the people surveyed told me that a sign or two were there at the very beginning, only she ignored or denied its presence to herself. Hope took over. Thoughts like, I’ll make a loving good man out of him or look at all those other good qualities he has, took over.

An old wise friend told me one day that he believed the secret to a healthy love relationship was to pick someone who is ready for a love relationship and whose faults you can live with.

Comments Welcome! Dr. Thomas Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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