Leading Authority in Treatment of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse

Is Your Partner Emotionally Unavailable

Is Your Partner Emotionally Unavailable?

Are you married or in a relationship with someone who appears to be either incapable or disinterested in having a deep, emotional connection? Is Your Partner Emotionally Unavailable? The result is that you feel very alone and lonely in your relationship because there is no deep, meaningful connection.

Dr. Hawkins gives you a word picture to help you visualize the experience of being in an emotionally shallow relationship and how one can even begin to think about addressing this pervasive problem in marriage. If you would like help building a deeper connection with your spouse, reach out and speak with a Client Care Specialist to get help for your relationship.

Is Your Partner Emotionally Unavailable?

Emotional abuse and narcissistic abuse are distressing experiences that many individuals, especially women, sadly endure in their relationships. One recurring theme that emerges from those who have faced these challenges is a profound sense of loneliness. Whether you find yourself as the perpetrator or victim of emotional abuse, it’s crucial to explore the concept of emotional unavailability within a relationship.

In this article, we will delve into this idea using a powerful word picture presented by Dr. David Hawkins, Director of the Marriage Recovery Center. We will examine what it means to be emotionally unavailable and how it affects both partners.

The Word Picture

Dr. David Hawkins presents an illustrative word picture to help us understand the dynamics of emotional unavailability within a troubled marriage. Imagine you and your partner are in a swimming pool on a beautiful day. You are happily frolicking in the deep end, basking in the warmth of conversation, fun, and connectedness. However, when you glance over, you notice that your partner remains in the shallow end of the pool, isolated in what seems like a kiddie pool.

Deep End vs. Shallow End

In this analogy, the deep end represents a profound emotional connection—a space where partners share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns openly. It is a realm of intimacy, where the phrase “into me see” truly resonates. On the other hand, the shallow end signifies emotional distance, where partners keep their emotions guarded, and meaningful communication is scarce.

The Loneliness of the Deep End

One of the key emotions that Dr. Hawkins highlights in his word picture is loneliness. While it may seem counterintuitive that someone in the deep end of the pool would feel alone, it’s a poignant reality. Even in the presence of good weather, warm water, and an inviting pool, loneliness can creep in when emotional intimacy is lacking. This loneliness is not just about physical presence but rather the emotional disconnect that can be deeply isolating.

The Emotional Gap

The gap between partners in different ends of the pool symbolizes the emotional chasm that often exists in emotionally abusive relationships. It is not merely about physical proximity but the emotional chasm that separates two people. One partner yearns for a deeper connection, while the other remains distant, often preoccupied with their own pursuits or emotions.

The Unavailable Partner

The partner in the shallow end of the pool, typically the one perceived as emotionally unavailable, may not be intentionally distant. They might also feel a sense of aloneness, aware that their partner is in the deep end seeking a more profound connection. This partner might struggle to share their emotions, ideas, or concerns due to various reasons, including their own emotional baggage, insecurities, or past experiences.

Communication is Key

The heart of the matter is communication. To bridge the emotional gap and combat the loneliness experienced in the deep end of the pool, partners must engage in open, honest, and compassionate communication. It’s crucial for both parties to understand each other’s needs, fears, and vulnerabilities.

Seeking Help

If you find yourself in a relationship characterized by emotional unavailability and loneliness, seeking professional help can be a vital step towards healing. A qualified therapist can facilitate communication, provide tools for emotional expression, and guide both partners in their journey towards a healthier, more connected relationship.


The concept of emotional unavailability is a critical issue that affects many relationships, leading to feelings of loneliness and disconnect. Dr. David Hawkins’ word picture of partners in different ends of a swimming pool provides a vivid representation of this emotional gap. Whether you are the victim or perpetrator of emotional abuse, it’s essential to acknowledge the presence of this gap and work towards bridging it through open and compassionate communication.

Remember, the journey to healing begins with understanding and acknowledging the issue, and seeking professional help can be a significant step towards rebuilding a healthy, connected partnership. Don’t let emotional unavailability keep you in the shallow end of the pool; instead, strive to enjoy the depths of connection and intimacy that a fulfilling relationship can offer.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: What it Really Means To Be Vulnerable In a Relationship

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more



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