If you notice these 10 behaviors, you’re probably dating an emotionally guarded person

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People can be emotionally guarded for a variety of reasons, and it often stems from past experiences, upbringing, and personality traits. 

Dating an emotionally guarded person can present its own set of challenges, from trust issues and difficulty communicating to limited emotional intimacy.

You need to have patience and understanding, but with empathy and mutual respect, you can build a strong and fulfilling relationship together.

But let’s hit the breaks first and find out exactly what behaviors point to you dating an emotionally guarded person. 

1) They keep their feelings close to the chest

Closed-off people don’t readily share what they’re feeling. That’s why if you date one, you find it hard to figure out what’s going on inside their head. 

They simply don’t express their emotions openly.

And look, I have a lot of experience with reserved people. Not because I’m dating one now or in the past, but because I am an emotionally guarded person who doesn’t like to always share my feelings and emotions. 

Why? Well, that’s simply who I am and who I always was, even since the earliest age I can remember.

2) Sharing deep emotions feels like squeezing water from a rock

For emotionally guarded people, sharing deep emotions can feel like trying to squeeze water from a rock – it’s tough and often feels impossible. 

They might want to open up, but it feels like there’s this solid barrier blocking them. It’s not that they don’t have emotions. It’s just hard for them to express them. 

And that’s how I regularly feel, too. 

Although my mind doesn’t give me a second of rest from my thoughts, I almost never want to share what’s on my mind. 

I have to actively think about sharing thoughts when I’m with someone; otherwise, I wouldn’t say a word.  

However, even I don’t do the following:

3) They dodge serious conversations

When conversations start getting serious or touch on sensitive topics, they regularly try to avoid them altogether. 

They change the subject, make jokes, or find excuses to avoid diving into the serious stuff. 

It’s not that they don’t care or aren’t interested. On the contrary, they simply feel uncomfortable or vulnerable in those situations. 

And look, I get it, okay? Serious things are no laughing matter. There should be a time and place to talk about them. 

That’s why I never like to bring them up early in the morning or just before sleep. I don’t want to ruin my day or night. 

Talk to me about finances, the world going to sh*t, Putin, corruption, the A.I., or whatever else you want, but let me have my cup of coffee first. 

4) They’re often reserved about their past

If you’re dating a closed-off guy or girl, you probably noticed how they tend to keep their past experiences and traumas close to the chest. 

They’re not trying to be secretive or anything, but they feel a bit uncomfortable talking about stuff from way back when.

Maybe they’ve had some rough patches or experiences they’d rather not relive. Or perhaps they’re just not big on sharing personal stuff with everyone. 

Whatever the reason, they tend to keep that part of their life under wraps.

For example, I never really liked discussing my previous romantic relationships with my wife. I would always be reluctant to share details about past breakups or intimate moments.

Ask me anything else, and I’ll tell you, no problem. But this was always a touchy subject for me, even though there are no skeletons in my closet or anything remotely similar. 

5) Trusting others doesn’t come easy

Trusting others doesn’t come easy for emotionally guarded people, too. They’ve often been hurt or let down in the past, which makes it tough for them to open up and let others in, especially with their deepest emotions.

It’s not that they don’t want to trust or connect with others. It’s more about a fear of getting hurt again.

Building trust with them takes time, patience, and consistency. They need to feel that you’re someone they can rely on and share their feelings with without the fear of being hurt or judged. 

It’s a gradual process, but when they start to trust, it can lead to a deeper and more meaningful connection.

6) Expressing vulnerability is a rare sight

You won’t see them showing vulnerability very often, either. Withdrawn people prefer to keep up a tough exterior and avoid showing any signs of weakness or emotional vulnerability.

Many of them are stoic, too, even though they perhaps never heard of it or read any books about how to be one. 

You see, stoics prioritize preserving a sense of inner calm and rationality in the face of challenges.

That’s why they keep emotions private to maintain composure in difficult situations. But even though there is some overlap between emotional guardedness and stoicism, they’re not necessarily synonymous.

7) They quickly change topics when things get too emotional

For closed-off people, emotional conversations can feel like walking on thin ice. They worry about losing control or revealing too much, so they’d rather shift the focus to safer, lighter topics.

When conversations start getting too emotional or intense, they quickly change the subject or drive the conversation in a different direction. 

When that happens, you might think they don’t care about your emotions or the conversation.

But that couldn’t be further away from the truth. They’re simply feeling uncomfortable or out of their depth when things start getting emotional. 

So, if you notice them changing the subject, it’s not personal – it’s just their way of coping with their own emotional boundaries.

8) They have a tough time showing affection

Emotionally guarded people often struggle to show affection openly. It’s as if they have a barrier around their emotions that makes it hard for them to express love and affection freely.

It just doesn’t come naturally to them, and they often struggle to show physical affection or express their love and appreciation verbally.

So, if you’re dating such a person, you might need to get used to them not being big on hugs, kisses, or sweet gestures. 

And look, they care for you, but they just struggle to show it in those typical lovey-dovey ways.

Instead, they’ll show their affection through practical actions, like doing favors for you, making you coffee or breakfast each morning, or being there when you need them.

It can take time for them to feel comfortable enough to open up emotionally and show affection more openly. 

So, be patient and understanding as they go through their own emotional boundaries.

9) Personal boundaries are like Fort Knox

I’ve been married for almost six years now and have been in a relationship with my wife for more than 15, and I’m still protective of some of my personal boundaries. 

And most emotionally guarded people are like that, right? They’re incredibly protective of their personal space, emotions, and privacy, just like Fort Knox guards its treasures.

For them, setting boundaries is crucial for keeping a sense of control and self-protection. They’re careful about who they let in and how close they allow people to get.

In a romantic relationship, they need their partner to understand and respect their need for space and privacy as they take time to trust and feel comfortable enough to reveal their deeper thoughts and feelings.

10) You often feel like you’re tiptoeing around their emotions

In a relationship with a reserved person, it’s common to feel like you’re constantly tiptoeing around their emotions. 

You’re walking on eggshells, never quite sure when you might set off an emotional landmine, so to speak.

You find yourself holding back on sharing your own feelings or tiptoeing around certain topics to avoid any potential conflict. 

It’s not easy, but with time and patience, you learn to understand their emotional boundaries and find ways to communicate effectively while still respecting their need for space and privacy.

Final thoughts

Being in a relationship with someone who’s emotionally guarded can feel like a bit of a rollercoaster: 

You’re often walking a fine line, trying to balance their need for space with your desire for closeness and connection.

You need to learn how to dance together by figuring out each other’s steps and moves while respecting each other’s boundaries. 

Sometimes, it will go smoothly, and other times, you’ll step on each other’s toes.

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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