I have been dating my boyfriend for the past 7 months, and I am head over heels for him. He is about 14 years older than me and a college professor. This is part of our dilemma. He talks for a living. So when we are talking, he constantly interrupts me or asks me tons of questions without giving me the opportunity to answer any of them. It’s so frustrating. We both have strong personalities, so it has led to a couple of arguments. I started to do research into how we could communicate better, in an attempt to resolve the issue. 2 weeks ago, I confronted my boyfriend about the situation and told him that he chronically interrupts me or talks over me and how frustrating I found it. He got very defensive and told me that I was being passive aggressive and that I’m too sensitive. Since then our communication has dwindled. We used to talk on the phone every night and now we only talk on the phone a few times per week. I am freaking out a little here, because now there are awkward silences, or he throws in my face that he is letting me speak and that I should be grateful for the opportunity. I feel like this has put a huge wedge between us and it is deteriorating our relationship. We aren’t able to see a lot of each other as we both work long hours and he travels, so we need open communication in order to survive. How can I make things right while still getting my own needs met? (age 31, from US)
You took the right step in confronting him about his behavior and letting him know how it made you feel, but it sounds like you expected things to right themselves immediately. On one hand, if he is talking less and giving you a chance to speak more it’s what you wanted. But if he is playing games with you now instead of genuinely trying to change the dynamic, that’s a pretty big red flag.
I think you need to give it some time and keep communication open on your end. If things don’t naturally improve, it might also be time to see a couple’s therapist. If your schedules don’t allow for face to face sessions, there are some therapists and life coaches who offer phone or Skype sessions. Good luck working through this “bump” in the relationship road.
All the best
Dr. Holly Counts
Boyfriend Is a Communication Bully
Holly Counts, Psy.D.
Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.
APA Reference Counts, H. (2018). Boyfriend Is a Communication Bully. Psych Central.
Retrieved on July 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/06/02/boyfriend-is-a-communication-bully/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.