Things have never been amazing between me and my boyfriend (quite a few years together), but we always seemed to work through our issues.
Last month, his father passed away. He’s since become distant to me and only me.
He’ll talk to all his friends about his issues with his mom. I’m left in the dark.
We were at a party with a few friends and went out on the balcony. I went to talk to him, and he said he wanted to be alone.
He’d already spent most of the night talking to another girl. When she went out to talk to him, he told her his life story. They only met once before this. I'm not sure what to do....
Give him a chance to open up to you, but if it doesn’t happen, make sure that you are prepared to point out to him the consequences to your relationship.
There are possible explanations for his behaviour at this time.
It may be that he feels you’re the closest person to whom he’s most vulnerable, and that he’s afraid to break down in front of you.
It’s not uncommon for some people to fear showing what they feel is weakness to their partner.
Or, his father’s death has him re-thinking his life and he’s also feeling, like you, that “things have never been amazing” between you two. This could be the cause of his distancing emotionally, whether consciously or not.
No matter the reasons, he owes you the respect to speak up, to not to insult you by confiding in others, and shutting you out.
Before starting this conversation with him, think about what you need from this relationship.
Be compassionate about his loss; say that you understand it’s rocked him, and that he needs time to mourn.
But be clear you can’t accept being “excluded.” Instead, this may be the time for you both to re-think the relationship.
FEEDBACK Regarding “moving on” (Feb. 6):
Reader – “Find a way to make some female friends. They will "listen to hurts," laugh with you, go out for lunches and movies, and help you feel less lonely.
“Men do not want to console. They want a positive, confident woman with whom they can enjoy life.
“Keep up these female friendships even after you have a boyfriend.
“If you’re doing online dating, keep the emailing back and forth to brief exchanges. Otherwise, it may start to feel like you’re in a relationship, when in reality, you aren't.
“After a few emails, meet for a coffee or lunch and think of positive things to ask e.g., What is your favourite book/sport? How do you like to spend a Sunday afternoon?
“Get out there and join. Think of things you loved doing (after my divorce it was acting), or would like to learn to do (e.g. ski, swing dance, etc.).
“Be sure to smile, engage people, ask them about themselves or the topic under discussion.
“There are continuing education courses at universities, singles groups, writing and critiquing groups at libraries (if you can read, you can comment), dance classes.
“There are meet-up groups (with niche interests such as walking, hiking, dinners, art, theatre).
“There’s volunteering and joining amateur theatre companies where you can start by taking tickets, then work back-stage, sing in the chorus, etc.
“These are all places you can meet both men and women, develop your personality, and become more fun and interesting yourself.”
Reader #2 – “Consider what you have to offer in any relationship – whether with friends, family, coworkers.
“By placing an ad, you left herself open to exploitation at a time when you were most vulnerable.
“Instead of seeking sympathy, get out and meet people by volunteering somewhere where needed. Start sharing and caring in every way possible.
“Take a bold step out of the sadness of loss and fill your life with giving till it hurts. This is a way to find joy.”
Reader #3 - “Never cry on a first date.
“Don't hibernate. Fake a smile until it comes naturally. It works.
“Never let a man you lost know you’re hurting. It gives him too much power. Don't call him.
“Don't bad mouth him. You’ll look bad.
“Be strong, you will make it. You’ll be surprised that you’ll like the single life.
“The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence.”
Tip of the day:
Be aware during a partner’s time of grief that it may spark deep reflection and a desire for change.