If your partner displays these 7 behaviors, they lack emotional depth

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Ever felt like your relationship is stuck in the shallow end? Like you’re yearning to dive deeper emotionally, but your partner just can’t take the plunge? 

Trust me, I’ve been there. Yearning for a soul connection, yet feeling trapped in a surface-level bond. 

This heartache taught me that not everyone has the emotional depth we crave in a partner. 

Ready to decode your relationship? Keep reading to discover the 7 behaviors that reveal your partner may lack the emotional depth you desire — and deserve.

1) They avoid serious conversations

Here’s a situation you might recognize: you try to talk about something close to your heart, only to have your partner change the subject or give you a blank stare in return. Oh, the frustration! 

I’ve been there, pouring out my soul, eager to connect on a deeper level, but all I got was deflection.

It’s like they have an invisible boundary keeping them from entering the realm of deeper emotions, fears, or dreams. 

This isn’t just about shying away from heavy topics; it’s an aversion to intimacy itself.

What you need to understand is that emotional depth isn’t just about sharing laughter and happy moments. It’s about venturing into the vulnerabilities, the unspoken dreams, and the fears that make us who we are.

When your partner consistently dodges these heartfelt discussions, it’s like they’re sailing on the surface, never daring to plunge into deeper waters with you. 

And that’s not a journey to emotional fulfillment; it’s more like a detour around what makes a relationship truly meaningful.

2) They show no interest in self-improvement

Have you ever been excited to share a book, podcast, or idea that really moved you, only to be met with a disinterested shrug from your partner?

It’s as if they’re content staying right where they are, with no desire to grow or evolve. 

I remember how deflated I felt when my past partner showed zero interest in anything that involved self-improvement. 

A person with emotional depth understands that we are all works in progress. They relish opportunities to grow, not just for themselves but for the relationship as well.

In contrast, a partner who shuns self-improvement often remains stagnant, both personally and emotionally. 

They may even feel threatened by your own growth, seeing it as a divergence rather than an opportunity for you both to elevate yourselves.

The truth is, a fulfilling relationship involves two people who want to grow together, to become the best versions of themselves for each other. 

If your partner isn’t interested in that journey, it’s a stark sign they’re not equipped to connect on a deeper emotional level.

3) They can’t handle conflict

Conflict is a part of life, but when your partner can’t handle it maturely, it feels like you’re navigating a minefield with every disagreement. 

In my case, my ex partner either shut down or blew up — there was no in-between. It was exhausting and disheartening, to say the least.

The inability to handle conflict is more than just a communication issue; it’s an emotional handicap. 

Mature, emotionally deep people understand that conflict is inevitable in any relationship. 

Instead of running from it, they face it head-on, seeing it as an opportunity for growth and greater understanding.

But a partner who can’t handle conflict often lacks the emotional tools needed to navigate the complexities of a relationship. 

Whether it’s their avoidance of confrontation or their volatile reactions, this behavior screams emotional immaturity. 

When you’re walking on eggshells, afraid to voice your concerns or disagreements for fear of how they’ll react, you’re not in a loving, equal partnership. 

4) They don’t listen

Imagine this: You’re pouring your heart out, sharing something that truly matters to you. 

You’d love for your partner to be truly engaged in the conversation, ask you follow-up questions, and show you that you have their full attention, but that’s not the feeling you get. 

Whether they mean to or not, they go off on a tangent or keep turning the conversation back to themselves. 

I know how much it hurts to feel like the words you’re saying are simply floating into the void.

Active listening is a skill that people have to cultivate — but it takes emotional depth to be able to do so. 

You must be able to put yourself in another person’s shoes, imagine what emotions they might be feeling, and maybe stretch your mind to understand a different point of view. 

And to be honest, this is a pretty essential part of any loving relationship. Your words should not only be heard but valued. 

If you’re left feeling like you’re talking to a brick wall, it’s time to consider the emotional limitations of your partner.

5) They are averse to feedback

Another thing a partner who lacks emotional depth might do is get defensive any time you try to give them some feedback.

Now, let’s get one thing straight here — you too have a big influence, and in fact a responsibility, with how you deliver the feedback.

If you come at them with accusations and emotionally loaded words, even the most emotionally intelligent person can’t help but be launched into defense mode.

But as long as you think carefully about the words you use and adopt an attitude of wanting to improve the relationship with love, an emotionally deep partner should be able to accept it.

I can really see the difference now that I’m with a man who has great emotional depth. 

Anytime I calmly bring something up to him, he listens attentively, considers my words, and then comes up with a plan for us to move forward. 

Of course, not all my relationships were like this — in fact, most of them weren’t. But now I know that this is what a healthy, emotionally deep relationship should look like. 

6) They seek physical distractions

We all know the allure of a night out or the instant gratification of a shopping spree. Heck, I love those too.

But when a person does these things not as occasional indulgences, but as an escape from their feelings, it’s a different story.

People often do things like drink, eat, play games, or even exercise when they don’t want to or can’t deal with something that overwhelms them.

What would really help in this case is to be real with their partner about what they’re going through, or at least face the challenge head on.

But well, this can be difficult to do — for some, too difficult. It’s much easier to distract yourself with physical pleasures, and that’s what people who lack emotional depth end up doing.

It’s okay to want some escape; we all do. But a relationship cannot be built when one person is running away from heartfelt conversations that need to happen.

7) They have difficulty understanding your emotions

You pour your heart out, and what do you get? A blank stare or an insensitive comment.

I too have felt the sting of having my emotions misunderstood or even dismissed, and it’s a lonely place to be.

When your partner consistently fails to grasp what you’re feeling, it doesn’t just create a disconnect — it reveals their lack of emotional depth. 

Being emotionally tuned-in means being able to read the emotional cues of your partner, to empathize, and to offer comfort or solutions when needed.

Even if they haven’t had the same experiences as you, they can imagine how they would feel and put themselves in your shoes.

Without this emotional resonance, your relationship becomes a hollow shell. Because real love isn’t just about shared interests and physical attraction; it’s also about understanding each other on a deeply emotional level. 

If your partner falls short in this area, it’s unfortunately an indicator that they may not be emotionally mature enough to sustain a long-term relationship.

The path to deeper emotional connection

If you’ve recognized some of these behaviors in your partner, don’t despair. 

Realizing these traits is the first step toward nurturing a deeper emotional bond, either with your current partner or someone new. 

As I’ve shared above, I’ve been in the same situation, grappling with the weight of emotional disconnect, yet also finding courage in the awareness it brings. 

Remember that emotional depth isn’t a fixed quality; it’s something that can evolve and grow over time, and that includes for your partner as well. Open, honest communication may be the catalyst needed for your significant other to start their journey toward emotional richness.

Let’s also honor the variety of life paths and emotional landscapes people may inhabit. Different isn’t necessarily wrong, but understanding what you need emotionally is critical for long-term happiness. 

If your relationship falls short in emotional depth, consider it a signpost, an indicator of what you might need to feel fulfilled.

So, take this newfound awareness as an opportunity. Whether it leads to a breakthrough discussion with your partner or guides you toward a relationship that better suits your emotional needs, acknowledging the truth is a crucial step forward. 

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

If you react to criticism in these 7 ways, you have low self-esteem

10 signs someone is losing interest in a conversation