What to do when you're in love with an unavailable man

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,

I’ve been hanging out with this guy for 4 months. He’s a fashion designer and writer so he’s always busy. Everything’s great when we spend time with each other. We do get intimate when we see each other and at other times we just hang out. About a month ago I asked him if we could ever be more than friends and he said he’s not going to answer that. What does that mean?!! I really like him and I don’t wanna lose him. In fact, I might be falling in love with him. Please help!


Hey Cerise,

What his silence is saying Loud and Clear

He didn’t answer you because an answer might mess with the status quo and he likes things the way they are now. Little responsibility, lots of fun. And you! He gets to have you!

By asking him to be more than friends, you ask him for a greater commitment. I know it doesn’t seem like much to you; after all, you’re already hanging out, you’re already intimate, all you want is to make it official and take the fun to the next level! 

But to him, it’s enough to make him tongue-tied. He’s busy, he’s young, and he wants to have fun without the “drama that relationships inevitably bring.” (Do I know these guys or what? ;-)

He’s not ready for a relationship BUT he’s not ready to let you go either.

Hence him awkwardly pleading the fifth.

How he sees your future (Doom and Gloom!)

At this time, he doesn’t have a lot to give to a partner. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy who “uses” women and is totally selfish; it just means he has other priorities in life right now (like his career.)

He’s afraid that if he says yes to your proposal with the little he can offer, he will fail to live up to your relationship expectations. And he will fail to make you happy.

So, you see, he doesn’t not answer you because he doesn’t want you; he doesn’t answer you because he doesn’t want to LOSE you!

At this stage of the game you’re excited to see him whenever he can make the time. The little he is able to give you is enough to satisfy and make you happy. He is a success. This is very important to a man.

But the moment the friendship evolves into something more romantic, the expectations on him evolve as well.

Suddenly you’re feeling sad and neglected when he doesn’t make time for you, rather than appreciating him for when he does. The dynamics will grow tense and the innocent joy you felt with each other will drown in the overwhelming tides of expectations and disappointments. He’s played the entire thing out in his head and all he can see is Doom and Gloom!

Of course, it doesn’t have to happen like this.

How I got my impossibly busy man to fall head over heels in love with me

A few years ago I was in a similar boat as you are today.

I met this great (if impossibly busy) guy and we became incredibly close very quickly. The first time we hung out one-on-one was the second time we had ever met. We took a 4 hour road trip to my family’s ranch in Mendocino and stayed for 3 days. Just us. No one else. Talking through the night, sharing deep secrets and dreams, teasing each other silly and laughing to the point where bodily fluids escaped. (FYI: Those were the ONLY fluids exchanged that weekend.) It was a magical connection.

We quickly realized we were soul mates of some kind.

It was just figuring out what KIND that took some trial and error.

We tried on the Romance Hat (cousin to Hogwarts’ Sorting Hat) and the moment it touched our heads it yelled out “Doom and Gloom!”

We both saw how it could potentially morph our perfect friendship into something ugly and unrecognizable. Neither of us wanted that so we changed hats and decided we would be “best friends” instead.

Sure we still wanted to jump each other’s bones, that part didn’t go away. We just decided it wasn’t as important as staying happy together.

With Doom and Gloom off the table, we were able to fall head over heels in love with each other, as very intimate, occasionally tongue-tonsil-playing best friends.

In fact, I was the first girl he ever said, “I love you” to.

All it took was a change of perspective to give me a happily ever after with this impossibly busy, independent, and unavailable man.

Customize your love

Love is a beautiful thing and I understand that you don’t want to throw it away. You don’t have to. Shift a few expectations, create a few boundaries and you can continue to fall in love with this man AND let him be who he needs to be at this time.

Be careful! Sometimes when you’re close to him and he’s looking into your eyes like you’re the most wonderful person in the world, it’s easy to think,

“Maybe he’s ready for a relationship now? Maybe he’s changed his mind!”
When it comes to relationships, NEVER fall for a tacit understanding. #clearcommunication  (Tweet that!)

Keep the dialogue going and the unique personality of your relationship will emerge.

Who knows? In time, a week, a month, a year, he might find he DOES a lot to give to someone and that someone might be you. (Click HERE to learn what you can say to pave the way in case he does change his mind!)

John Mayer claims, “Friends, Lovers or Nothing.” But I say, why limit yourself? I say yes to Love in whatever package it comes in.

This kind of open hearted, self-aware, authentic evolution requires great communication skills and it’s not for everyone. If you find you’re not capable of this kind of flexibility than I would say goodbye and farewell. You don’t want it to turn into something where you resent him for not being what you want him to be.

This is Mr. Right.

Mr. Right is the guy who reciprocates your feelings and can give you the commitment you want. (Tweet that!) 

(Click HERE to learn how to find your Mr. Right.)

One year after my adventure with my unavailable man (who moved to South America), I found my true romantic soul-mate who committed to me wholeheartedly, lives with me, holds me when I cry, and does all my dishes.

You’ll find your Mr. Right too. It’s just not this guy, right now.
With love,
Now I’d love to hear from you!
Have you ever navigated a relationship with an unavailable man? What did that look like? Or are you navigating one right now? Leave a comment.
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read more blog posts from Lauren Gray
  • Kimmy0928
     12/20/2015 8:46:42 AM
    Hi Laura interesting blog on this topic so much I had to sign up. I have been involved with a man who too is career focused, we have been off and on for close to a year. It was great at first I didn't care if he was around or not we enjoyed each others company it was purely a sexual situation but the components of if we're intimate any time I've been in these situations kissing, touching was not part of it. He's younger than me as well, he pursued me which also I have a hard time with the age thing so two strikes. I don't mind the casualness of the situation most times if I get upset is when we make plans and he changes his mind...I am also a busy person. I have since told him maybe it's time to close the door on this feelings are starting to come into play for me and that makes me uncomfortable exposed . So I ended it for a few months recently quit by accident we reconnected. I had sent a generic email for my clients and friends for Christmas, another client who has asked me out in the past replied saying how he wants to meet up we are both single. Of course it went to this guy he responded to the text saying ...., yes we need to get back together. Short story when I told him it was not me who sent that but a guy he was a little upset, his response. " OK then, well would have been nice 'had' you sent that to me and then said good night, I asked him your upset ?; he said yes, I said to him so if I told you I missed you ? He said I would believe you. You always kept me coming back. I told him I just don't think we are on the same page. This was his response: I understand, sometimes I felt it but in the end my focus is on my business right now, nothing really to do with you or something your not doing. I just want to keep things simple and in time if things grew into something more well fine. I'm also self employed and have a child I don't have the time I wish I had so afte...
  • Guest_24CADD85-6
     9/23/2015 10:38:09 PM
    Oh I've had sooooo much experience with unavailable men, and let me tell you, the minute you start to get demanding for any scrap of attention they leave. They may be afraid to lose you but if you increase their responsibility level? Oh they will. So if you're looking for a real relationship it's best to avoid these guys.
  • Jasmine26
     3/2/2015 1:27:24 PM
    Hi. I'm already 26, and I am single eversince, SINGLE by choice. Maybe I'm just waiting for Mr. Right and when I realized I found him, now I am just confused, or was I just confusing myself? I have this friend for 10 years, since we've been on the same school for 4 years but never had a crush on him EVER. We met 2 years ago and since were single,our mutual friends teased us ALWAYS,even if I'm not crushing on him or him either, and that's a very childish stuff. But that time, he was just about to finish his 5yr course and I'm already working abroad, and when asked about his lovelife, he'd always say "I'm not yet ready for a relationship. I'll be starting to find a job and I still need to help my siblings finish their studies...I have sooo many responsibilities." Then just this year, we met again. He's then an engineer in a company but he's still single but then again UNAVAILABLE (as his close friends would say). He's actually good-looking and many of my girlfriends had a crush on him before and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who's interested on him this time. Yeah, NOW I GOT A BETTER VIEW OF HIM, and realized that I like him..a LOT. Not because he's got a stable job and all, but just a few months back we spent time together, not just once but twice. That happened when I just visited my country for holidays and went for a vacation on another city and it's normal that friends meet up. There were three of us whose supposed to meet that time but unfortunately, my other friend had another plan to do which left me and him on the scenario plus my mother (who insisted to go with us since she's not familiar with the city). We were both aware that it's just me and him who'll be meeting PLUS my mother (awkward). And Right before we met, I asked him that my mother will be coming with us..and although were just PLAIN/NORMAL friends, a girl and a boy meetup wil...
  • msmo4sho
     1/3/2015 7:40:48 AM
    hi Lauren, I was in a relationship with an unavailable men for four years. he was wonderful to be with, told me he loved me all of the time, but the relationship never progressed past a once a week date. the fighting started when I asked for more and he promised when things calmed down at work we would see more of each other. but, that never happened. the more I pushed him to make more time for us, the more he would punish me by skipping weeks and not seeing me. I feel betrayed because I met him when I was 39 and we both expressed a desire to get married and have children. yet, he was so stingy with his time, I now realize I was being used for casual sex, and there never was going to be an opportunity for marriage with him. now I am faced with the fact that I wasted my last chance at having children on an unavaialble man. I hope this story will prevent other women from being as foolish as I was. shana...
  • Lolita1546
     10/9/2014 11:42:39 AM
    Hi Lauren, I have a situation with an unavailable man. I started dating this guy back in July. A friend set us up, and things went really well at first. After a few great dates, which I know he enjoyed as well because he told me so, he started getting distant. When i would question his behaviour, he would tell me that was just dealing with a lot and wanted to take things slow. The dates went from once a week (he lives 40 minutes away from me) to once every two or three weeks. At the beginning of September, we got together and I told him that i was getting frustrated. I told him that I liked him but was finding if difficult to get to know him better when i only saw him once every two or three weeks. I also told him that the fact that in between dates, his lack of any communication bothered me. He told me that he didn't realize i was upset, and didn't mean to come off that way and that he also liked me and wanted to see me more and continue to date and things would change. Then he told me he had to tell me what he's been dealing with. He said that he was dealing with a groin injury and would most likely have to have surgery to get it repaired and was on a waiting list to see a specialist. Other than that, he didn't really want to talk about it.He was very embarrassed and asked me to let him know what i wanted to do. I told him right away that it didn't bother me, and I wanted to keep getting to know him more and he agreed. i also asked him if it was too much for him to be with me and be dealing with his issue and he said no. In the next month, nothing changed. He was more distant than ever. When i saw him again (2 weeks later) i told him again that i felt like he was blowing me off. He got defensive and said "I wouldn't be here if i was blowing you off" and " I told you what I am dealing with". I told him, if it's too much you can just tell me, and told him that just being silent and not saying anything was b...
  • Mica
     10/1/2014 9:50:09 AM
    Hi Lauren, I have been traveling with my best friend for 3 years and developed a deep relationship. We love each other but he doesn't want to commit to a relationship..I was ok with that but because we're in a long distant BFF relationship, it was hard for me. I can't take our closeness anymore and so I call it quits. He told me to come back as a I'm confused did we have relationship in the first place???anyway..I still love him and I want him back either the closeness we have or just BFF. I don't care I don't want to lose him....
  • posie
     9/8/2014 9:15:37 PM
    I'm involved in a "friendship" with a man who I feel very connected with and adore. Previously we were intimate but he told me he wants to keep it platonic. He said he doesn't think I could handle having a friendship with sex (and he is right). He told me he cannot be in a relationship now because friendship expectations are different than boyfriend expectations - the latter which he cannot meet. He wants to spend a good amount of time with me and he has told me he is not interested in dating anyone. I felt very confused initially but having his friendship was more important to me than my disappointment over not having romance. The connection I feel with him is much deeper than romance only. I feel like our relationship has improved now that we are "just friends". I don't know where it is going but I do know that our friendship has been tested and proven in many ways. The change of perspective has helped me live in the moment and appreciate what we have. I don't know what lies in the future but as long as I am happy I feel no need to change anything in the present. Personally I don't feel like this is something I could do or want to do with just any man. It has worked out so well with this guy because the communication has been very satisfying to me. Anything I ask or want to talk about he is open to, with the one caveat being he is completely honest with me. I don't think I have ever dated a man that was so open and honest. This is why he is my dear friend. And a friend I hope to have for life....
  • Diana
     8/24/2014 1:35:11 AM
    he whants. And I told him again that I liked him and wanted to see were this could go.He was quite and he said that he knows he has been nonchalant and he probably has been this way because he he doesn't want the same thing and that that he hasn't though about it and that he just has gone with the flow with us. I said ok..and he said take care with a shaky voice. And I hung up.Late that night I thought about my behaviour and I thought I had been to hard on him and I texted him saying I still wanted to be friends. And he said of course he would be my friend. And I have texted him for a few days in a friendly tone and talked about random things . I whant to start things over with him, I still want to be exclusive. What sould I do, is it too late? Does he whant to be exclusive or commit? Or am I in the friend zone and can't get out? ...
  • Diana
     8/24/2014 1:33:36 AM
    That just made angry. Later the same day I asked him if he could come over to talk about tings before he went on his trip. He agreed and I brought it up and told him how I feel and that I whant to spend time with him because I like him and I whant to get to know him better and that wanted to be exclusive. He told me that he wants to spend but it happens when it happens, that he doesn't whant any expectations and wants to go with the flow. When I asked him if he wants to see others and have sex with others he didn't respond..he said I don't know. He said, "so its up to me to decide then?". I just looked att him and he took me closer to him and started to kiss and touch me. When I get back we will talk, it's just a week and he kissed me and he left. When he came back from his trip we texted and he said that he had to work as soon as he came and then he got the flu. I showed him I care and asked if he needed anything. Later the same day he asked if I wanted to see him, I said yes of course. But later he told me that he didn't well after all and that we'll get in touch when he feels better.A few days later I was at the mall and saw him with a girl.I came up to him and said hi what are you doing here? He got very nervous and uncomfortable and said that he was there with a friend.I thought you were sick I said, no I was but now I'm better . I'll get back to you. He didn't even hug me he just wanted to pass by. I feel betrayed and angry and sad. I texted him that sould call me amidiatly. He didn't call until the next day and I asked him who that girl was and if he is dating her.He said no and that she works at the store near by his work and that she asked him if he wanted to get some dinner. Ok then why didn't you introduce us ?, he said that it was akward,and I replied no you're just making it akward. I told him that I gave him time and space to think and he still hasn't said anything about what
  • Diana
     8/24/2014 1:32:58 AM
    Hi, I live in scandinava so I hope you can understand my english:) I met this guy three months ago that is new in town. On our first date he told me he recently broke it of with a unavalabel woman who he had an on and off relationship whit for 6 months and that she was "special"( in a bad way), only thinking about her career and not prioritizing spending time together and so on. He even talked about the problems in our society when people don´t feel that they need eachother. I got the feeling that he was a relationship guy, a good and sweet guy.We had sex soon and during the summer we spend a lot of time togheter and everything was wonderful.He made me feel loved and beautiful. Even tough we spent time apart (vacations) we keept in touch. When I was away he sent messages sayin he missed me, called me his sweetheart and I responded the same way. When we spent time together he always came to my house and I made him dinner and we cuddled and were intimite. And we always talked about meeting again. But then he started to get distante and started cancelling to go out with his friends. At first I said fine we will see each other another day. But he became more distante and cold and I got hurt and let him know that I was disappointed. At first he said he was sorry and was sweet and ensured me that we would spend time togehter soon. But when it continued I started to get cold and distant as well. At first I tried to be cool but I could't help showing my dissapointment. And I just texted and asked him up front, "ok what's the problem why are u like this", he answered that he had no time he had a lot to do because he was going on a trip. I sent him a long message and told him that I liked him very much and his behavior was cold and hurtfull. He responded by saying he also liked me and he knows that he somtimes can be nonchalant, and he understands if it bothered me, and that he is in a stage in his life where he whants to be free....
  • DSalliey
     8/18/2014 10:34:23 PM
    I have been involved in one of the most intimate, loving, cooperative, compatible, and fulfilling relationships that I have ever had with a man for the past 8 mos.He literally seems like the male version of myself. I loved our passion, romance, friendship, communication, and commitment. I even loved how we resolved issues and overcame differences as they arose with such transparency, understanding, respect and compassion for one another. This is truly the most mature relationship I have had. Sadly now I fear that it has come to an end. I'm writing, because your article inspired me, because it makes me feel that perhaps it does not have to be so. I was dating a few guys when I met him, but he was the one that ended up absolutely sweeping me off my feet. I had no intentions on falling for him, because he was just separating from his wife of 5 yrs. A marriage that he described as being excruciatingly lonely and unfulfilling. Our attraction was so strong and comfortable that, against my better judgement, I took a chance and just went with the flow to see where it lead. Even though I told him that he would likely still grieve the loss of his relationship, as we'd jumped right into a new relationship, he could not imagine it. He was flying high and absolutely on cloud 9. I am the exact opposite of how she was and everything that he'd been praying for. We were great together and very fullfilled for the 1st several months, but finally in the past 3mos, his grief began to gradually catch up with him and he suffered unbearable depression, and despair with lots of bouts of crying, anger, and resentment. This resulted in him being much less available emotionally and physically to me. We began to see each other less and less, as he asked for distance to deal with it. He even began therapy. Initially it was a point of bonding and support between us, but last month he began to push me away and insisted that I deserved better. He began distancing more and more not
  • loverunsout
     8/13/2014 9:30:48 PM
    Hi Lauren, I like your blog and I have a complicated relationship with an unavailable woman. I have posted it on your inbox in your Facebook page. I need help. I do hope to hear from you soon! Thanks, Lauren!
  • noctbliss
     8/12/2014 1:49:44 PM
    Wow. I am so glad I found this site because last night this issue came up in my situation. Its with a guy i've known for 8 years and over that time he got married and divorced and during that time we remained intimate. yes, he is not faithful and I know I wasn't any better. i know that he will never be the faithful type and he seems to get into these obsessive situations where the women end up "crazy" and fighting for him. He used to come to me and share all his drama over the years and I treated him more like a "boytoy" plus a best friend. And before i had feelings for him (which developed recently this summer) it was all cool and we had fun and trust between us. I don't know why I have feelings for him and i seem to have become one of those women who have fallen for him. lately its interfered with our relationship as friends because all my insecurities and low self-esteem issues came out of nowhere once I started having feelings for him this summer and we've gotten into "arguments" because Ive become so sensitive and insecure. Well last night the issue of my "jabs" at him was expressed to me at how it upsets him and so I responded that I see where I played part because of my insecurities (i tend to put words into his mouth and put myself down and questioning him all the time if im just convenience or bak up..i know.. awful of me) and not knowing how he felt towards me and him seeing other women and spending time with them started makin me feel jealous (but I like how you pointed out that I don't have a right to be which is true and I seem to have forgotten that). my feelings differed from what I believed his are towards me so it interfered with my behavior towards him making me an unpleasant person to be around im sure..I apologized for my behaviors and told him that I needed to detach and I recognized that (this is all in texts) Lately this past week he has been telling me "thank you and he app
  • Philae
     8/3/2014 8:15:39 AM
    I have the same problem now,the man has a good heart,we met 5 months ago,he was passing a hard period of his life And i was with him all the time,then he asked me to move to him And live together,i did.but he told me he doesn't want a 'classical'relationship and responsibility,he has his own life and somehow i am excluded of it.he likes to be together at home but never satisfy my desires to go out or do something,i just dont know if its wörth to continue or Not,best regards!
  • Lauren Gray
     7/2/2014 10:36:49 PM
    Naturegirl, I LOVE your plan of action! Finding your own ground again and sense of self will be instrumental in breaking this relationship pattern. You are so on the right path!!! And I'm so happy to know that this blog introduced a new perspective that can help you see things differently. For me, in life, clarity is what brings me the greatest relief. Understanding and clarity. Enjoy your journey back to center!
  • Lauren Gray
     7/2/2014 10:33:45 PM
    Hey Joselina, there's nothing wrong with walking away from a relationship that doesn't meet your needs. At the same time, if you think you could enjoy him in a way that accepts him for what he's able to give right now, then by all means communicate that to him. If you ever need help creating a script or a plan of action, I offer one-on-one support through my email advice packages here:
  • naturegirl
     7/2/2014 7:49:00 AM
    Hi Lauren, I have a similar situation as the previous commenter, Joselina. This is because I keep finding myself in the same pattern: falling for unavailable men and each time, when things come to an abrupt end, I find myself with a little more of my morale and self-esteem chipped away. Over time, I convince myself that I'm no good at relationships. Not being able to trust myself and my own instincts was probably one of the worst things that happened to me. Reading this post has helped me to stop ruminating and open my eyes to the other perspective. At the moment, I've decided I need a break from relationships to heal and to find my own ground again. When I'm ready, I hope I can be an open, flexible and happy girl! Thank you; I really gleam a lot of insights from your posts!...
  • joselina
     7/2/2014 3:10:14 AM
    Hi lauren, i understood his unavailability the wrong way, and just ditched him and actually said some things i didnt need to say. What can i do, to take this situation back? i ditched the whole situation because i was a bit tired of not spending enough time with him so i could get to know him. He told me he was not ready for a relationship(so i assume he was not ready to grant me what i wanted), in fact i did not want a relationship but to rather spend time with him.I am a bit hesitant he might be dating other women as i am now with men, what can i do to take this situation back? thanks for the support....

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