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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My boyfriend has become a little shutdown recently and has

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my boyfriend has become a little shutdown recently and has been disrespectfull in some of his behavior towards me. At the same time he tells me that I am his happiness and he is unsure of what he would do without me. There are more detatails, but I am unsure of what to do from here. I feel that he is keeping me at arms length and I really dont know why?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

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

It sounds like there could be two things going on here. One, there is something bothering him personally and he doesn't want to share it, or two, there is a problem in the relationship and he is not letting you know what it is.

It is very hard to tell what could be bothering him unless he is willing to tell you. You have tried all the important steps like asking him directly and setting boundaries. But if he still is not responding, then there is little you can do but respond on your own.

Since he will not tell you what is going on, you can do two things. You can keep asking him to see if he will tell you, or you can ignore it. If you choose to keep asking him, then sit him down and tell him that his behavior is starting to interfere with your relationship. Tell him communication is the most important part of keeping your relationship healthy and that you would like to keep it that way. And then see what he says. He may choose to talk about it or not.

If you choose to ignore his behavior, then he may end up telling you. Sometimes people like the control of withholding information from others and when the attention they get from it goes away, they stop withholding. Be careful here not to move away yourself emotionally, however. Pay back rarely works and usually ends up damaging the relationship.

Keep in mind it may be just his nature to not share everything in his life with others. He is telling you that he cares for you and loves you. If he shows no other signs of straying or hurting you otherwise, there is no reason to worry. Give it time and see what happens.

I hope this has helped you,

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
He has a great deal of preasure from both of his households. He is busy looking at colleges, and his parents put a great deal of academic preasure on him. He has always liked the fact that I do not expect much from him. And that is fine except when he continues to break plans with me etc. I recently stood my ground with him when he cut our time short to drive his drunk and high friends around. I set a limit and told him that that was not ok with me. He then started crying to the point of not being able to talk. He is usually very controlled. He just kept saying that he cant lose me etc. Our time together gets less and less as the end of the school year approaches, and his open communication gets less also. I tend to wonder if he is scared and is just shutting down. He is going out of town for 5 days today, and I think this will be a good time away for us. I tend to enjoy myself and my friends and give him some space to think about things.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

It is curious why he wants to be with friends instead of with you. But it sounds to me like he needs to blow off steam and the drinking and carousing they do appeals to him as a way of coping with his stress. Being irresponsible may be the way he feels helps counteract the stress he is under.

I agree with you, the time away from each other can help you both think through things and to see if it helps the relationship. Plus, the break may help him feel better about the pressure he is under.

I would give the situation time. The circumstances in his life will either improve or things will get worse and you will know where things stand.


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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
my boyfriend is away with family for a few days, like I had explained earlier. I am trying really hard not to be insecure, but it is difficult since I only here from him every now and then. I know that I need to respect his time with his family and i have been doing that. I think because of the way things were before he left, It leaves me feeling uneasy. I have thought aobut talking with him about it tomorrow, but it would have to be over text. Or I can just assume everything is ok until told otherwise, and try and enjoy my weekend.
It would really be helpfull if he would communicate something about what is going on with him. I have always bee open and honest with him, even if i was uncomortable and he used to be that way with me. I just feel i deserve the same respect that i give to him.
Any further suggestions would be helpfull:)
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I agree with you. He does need to be open and honest with you. But it may not be something he is ready for right now. It's hard to tell without talking with him, but sometimes people fear commitment and that may be an issue for him. Or it could be other issues. But unless he works through on his own, you are not going to know.

There is just no way to be sure what he is doing. He could call you every hour and there still would not be a guarantee. Try your best to enjoy your weekend the best you can. Worrying will not change the outcome. Try to think of it as what will be will be and relax. If you have faith, give it to God. If it helps, try to talk to friends and family about how you feel. If you have a trusted person to talk to, try letting all your wildest fears out. Just think it all through. It's hard, I know, but remember no matter what, you will survive.

Let me know how it turns out,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
well my boyfriend returned from his trip and things remained a little strained. He was very sweet while he was gone, telling me how much he missed and loved me etc... After getting home he was very busy and once again made and cancelled plans ( this time due to family obligaitons). So i decided to just put my feelings out there and deal with it. I let him know how I felt about it and how his constant cancelling and putting me lower on the priority list made me feel. I did not attack his behavior, but just stated how i felt. He then stated again how much preasure he is under for school etc. I completely undestand his school commitment. But honestly that is not the problem. He is not the same considerate guy who i met and have dated for so long. He seems far more concerned with being accepted by his friends. These very friends who drink, drug and treat girls badly. Its a group of friends that he had pulled away from because of their influence, and now he seems pulled back there more and more. I am starting to understand that i cannot change him and that he is making his choices. We were at a function the other night with our school, and he completely ignored me, so i left. He then text me and called me. He was panicked that i was angry with him. He then started yelling at me saying that he is not perfect and that he should not have to follow me around...which I have never said. I completely was shocked by how he yelled at me. He then came to my house was upset that i may leave him. This is so confusing to me. He acts more distant all the time in person, but the minute I pull away he freaks out. He is yelled at at home all the time buy is step dad. His mom is yelled a lot as well. So i guess it is learned behavior. Im really confused by his emotional ups and downs. Please help me understand why he panicks when he thinks he may lose me, but doesnt do a lot to keep me.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

It sounds like he likes the idea of your relationship but he doesn't want to put the work into it. Like you said, he may have learned behavior from his family, particularly his parents, as this may be the way they treat each other.

It may come down to you deciding whether or not you are comfortable being set aside for family and friends. If he acts this way now, there is no reason for him to change in the future. I know it's hard, but it is something to think about.


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