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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I want to know why my boyfriend can act like he likes me one

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I want to know why my boyfriend can act like he likes me one minute & then the next minute he is giving me the cold shoulder for absolutely no reason at all. Then he will come back a few days later & say he is sorry & have some excuse & I keep on going back. This goes in cycles & happens qute often. When we are together he is very attentive, caring & loving & then boom his cold shoulder routine which sometimes he can totally ignore me when I say something to him. I am afraid if I end it he will get angry & retaliate against me because he has a trust issue & he says don't make a fool out of me. See we are both married & coworkers & I am 49 & he is 64. I do believe he really loves & cares for me but sometimes I have to wonder when he gets like this why. He does show some passive aggressive behavior & some narcississtic traits because I was reading about that on the internet & I am saying wow this fits him. How do I handle this situation especially since I am working with him & do not want to leave my job. I also do not want to move to another shift. This job is a small group of people so there isn't to many places I can go. I hope you can help me & give me some kind of advice on how to handle this situation.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like your boyfriend has been deeply hurt in the past. He has learned to deal with his feelings by trying to control the person he is with- you. When he feels there is a danger of him getting hurt or he feels that he is not in control, he gives you the cold shoulder. It is his way of keeping you at an emotional distance and making you feel bad so he doesn't have to. After all, he is shut off and refusing to share himself. So he can't get hurt.


This also ties in with him being narcissistic and passive aggressive. Narcissistic people see themselves as more important than others and they feel the need to be in control and the center of attention. Passive aggressive behavior is when someone feels one thing then shows the opposite to others. For example, someone may say they really like someone then purposely ignore them, much like your boyfriend does. It is based on anger.


Although there is not much you can do to change someone's behavior, you can change how you react to them.


First, learn as much as you can about these personality disorders. The more you know, the better you can recognize when you are dealing with them. Then you can react to protect yourself.


Second, put limits on your boyfriend's behavior. For example, if he decides to give you the cold shoulder, don't keep asking him what is wrong or trying to get his attention. Tell him that you recognize his behavior and that you will be busy and unavailable until he is done acting this way. Then keep yourself busy. Go out with friends, increase your activities, see family, etc. The less you react, the less charge and reward he gets out of treating you that way.


Third, suggest he see a therapist. He may not appreciate that you are trying to help him. Narcissists usually feel there is nothing wrong with them. But it worth the try. And if he won't go, you may want to go yourself. It will help you deal with the stress.


Here are some resources to help you:


The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family by Eleanor D. Payson


The Object of My Affection Is in My Reflection: Coping with Narcissists by Rokelle Lerner


Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man: Coping with Hidden Aggression - From the Bedroom to the Boardroom by Scott Wetzler


You can find these books at or your local library may have them for you.


I hope this helps,


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