Boyfriend won’t Communicate

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

About 5-6 months ago I noticed my boyfriend’s behavior changing and it never went back to the way he used to me around me. A little background: we have been together for 2 years now, both 26, and do not live together. We spent a year apart while I was across the country in a training program. We skyped every night and saw each other every 2 months during that time, and it was a great way to get to know each other well without having the physical distraction. We have many things in common, but a few things differ on an ideological scale, and I think it plays an important role in our current issues. He is a virgin, and believes a person should have loved another enough before even meeting them to save themselves. I am not, though each person I have had sex with I was in a serious relationship. That really bothers him, and he used to bring up my past relationships a lot but doesn’t anymore. Things were perfect the first year, then he started to get less affectionate, which I think is natural as time wears on. Starting 5-6 months ago with no catalyst, he would refuse to kiss me, even duck out of the way, and would just stand there if I hugged him, he stopped holding my hand and cuddling but at least once a week we still have a passionate few hours. He stopped saying he loved me 3 months ago. Things were pretty normal besides that, with random bouts brought on by seemingly nothing where he’d be disrespectful and irritable. He never explained what brought it on even when asked. I have tried everything I can to get him to communicate what is bothering him. Most of the time he just responds with silence. He won’t tell me specifically what I do (if it’s me) that bothers him no matter how I ask. On many occasions when he get upset and withdrawn, I can’t even imagine what caused it, because everything seemed fine to me. I love him with every fiber of my being, but I don’t know what to do anymore. I am a great girlfriend, never raised my voice at him in frustration, take very good care, and am very patient.

A: I can appreciate how difficult it is to love someone who has become less emotionally available to you. While you are right that some loss of affection is natural, the pattern of behavior you’ve described sounds more deliberate. You may be at a crossroads and I would highly recommend a few sessions of couples therapy to bring in a learned third party. The find help tab at the top of the page can help you locate someone in your area.

But if your boyfriend doesn’t want to go the talking route, then you may want to initiate a trial cooling-off period. The relationship flourished when you were very distant, and perhaps distance is needed to rekindle it. Relationships are like violin strings. Some of them need great tension to be in tune, and others need much, much less to be in harmony. Yours may be more like the second type. If it is –the two of you can go on to find the right balance. If his silence is trying to communicate something else you’ll find out during the cooling-off period.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Sep 2012

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2012). Boyfriend won’t Communicate. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/09/04/boyfriend-wont-communicate/