Dating an emotionally unavailable man doesn’t mean that he’s abusive, manipulative, or a jerk. In fact, these men can be nice guys, can make you laugh until your abs hurt, and can be your best friend. What makes it difficult to identify a guy who avoids closeness is that you have enough good times together, which keeps your hope alive. And with that hope, you convince yourself that he may be able to give you that emotional intimacy you desire if you give him a little more time. But he may never be able to meet your need for closeness.

Here are 21 subtle signs your guy is emotionally unavailable:

  1. He won’t contact you every day. Do you go days without hearing from your man? If you’re in a serious relationship, it’s normal to touch base every day. Not connecting with a text or phone call gives him his space.
  2. You feel excluded from his life. He may attend a wedding without you, despite your request to go with him. He requests time to hang out with friends without you—and not just a “guys’ night” but instances when he is also with female friends, too.
  3. You haven’t met the family. You’ve been dating for months and you haven’t met the family yet. You may rationalize it as he’s just not ready.
  4. He won’t leave any of his things at your place. Leaving things at your place would just mean too much commitment. He probably won’t give you a drawer at his place either unless you ask.
  5. He won’t go on vacation with you. Vacations can be not just fun, but can build closeness. And because he won’t want too much of that, he’ll just avoid going on a vacation where it would just be the two of you.
  6. He’s a penny pincherbut only with you. He’ll spend money on himself and be generous with others, but will make comments when you’re with him about not wanting to spend too much money.
  7. He talks about how much he values his independence. He says he’s always been independent and values being self-sufficient. Really it’s just another way of saying, “I don’t need you.” He may also call you “too needy” and “dependent.”
  8. He avoids physical closeness. He won’t hold your hand in public. As far as others around you are concerned, the two of you are just friends, because there are no signs of affection between the two of you. He may also walk ahead of you. Sure, you may be a slow walker, but walking ahead of you creates distance, and that makes him feel comfortable.
  9. He won’t put up photos of the two of you. You’ve been dating for months and he crops you out of his profile picture. He’ll check in on Facebook but to take a pic of his food to show off his dish, not the babe sitting across the table from him.
  10. He takes more than he gives. Good relationships are about give and take. Not in a tit-for-tat way, but both of you want to meet each other’s needs. If you’re with an emotionally unavailable guy, you feel like you’re doing way more for the relationship than he is.
  11. He doesn’t consider you. He gets dinner for himself but doesn’t pick up anything for you. He decides to apply for a job out of state without asking you how you would feel about it.
  12. He changed. When you first met, he was charming, swept you off of your feet, and let you know that you were the only woman he wanted to be with. And now, he does the minimum to keep the relationship going. Gone are the declarations about his feelings and your future. Sometimes you may wonder why he’s even still with you since he doesn’t seem to care.
  13. He avoids talking about the relationship and your future. He gives you just enough to think you do have a future, but you’re not 100% sure where you stand in his life and what his intentions really are.
  14. He avoids difficult talks in general. Emotionally unavailable men try to avoid difficult talks. Working through conflict can bring a couple closer together, and closeness is exactly what he wants to avoid.
  15. You have sex but you don’t make love. When you’re together physically, you feel like he’s still not fully present or connected. You may still have fun having sex, but there’s still a part of him that he’s holding back. You may even be the one who wants sex more often than him.
  16. He has unrealistic views of a relationship. He believes in the Hollywood I-always-want-to-take-your-clothes-off kind of relationship, thinks relationships should be effortless, or that the feelings should just always be there. He wants the “X factor” without doing the work.
  17. His exes’ descriptions say it all. You find out that his exes called him an “emotional zombie,” told him he was “cold” or talked about him having a “wall.”
  18. He nitpicks. He focuses on small things like the way you talk or dress. You feel criticized over things that don’t matter and don’t feel accepted by him. Nitpicking is a way for him to diminish his romantic feelings toward you.
  19. He’s hot and cold. After particularly intimate time spent together, he distances for a few days. It’s as though the man he was when he was with you is gone.
  20. He won’t spontaneously say those three little words. He rarely, if ever, says “I love you” unless you say it first. If you’ve been dating your guy for years and you rarely hear the words, spending more time with him won’t make him say those words any more frequently than he is now.
  21. You’ve become anxious. You’re normally confident, happy and have a positive attitude. But with him, you’re over-analyzing, spending time wondering about your relationship, and your friends are sick of getting screenshots to help you decipher his texts. You’re experiencing more anxiety than you do when you’re single.