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"My boyfriend won't communicate with me"

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost 6 months now and things just donít seem right anymore. We never fight because he won't talk about things, his way of settling something is to stop talking to me. This makes me upset and drives me crazy because I don't know what's going on inside his head.

When he doesn't talk to me it makes me cry, and then my family gets worried. Everyone in my family says I should break it off with him because he doesn't make me feel special anymore. It upsets me because they try and get involved in something they have no control over; they just don't understand I love him, no matter how upset he makes me I could never face losing him. I would die if anything ever happened to us.

And you see Iím scared to talk to him because I don't want him to get mad at what Iíve said and dump me, but now Iím sick of tip toeing around his feelings, because it's getting to the point where I cry constantly about the way he makes me feel.

26 Jan 2006
Name: Lauren
Age: 17

Dear Lauren,

Has your boyfriend always been a bad communicator, or is it just recently that heís started to close up and stop talking to you when the two of you hit a rough patch?

If itís always been a problem Ė if, since day one, your guy has had trouble opening up and telling you how he feels and working through problems in a mature and rational face-to-face manner Ė than I believe, if heís willing, this is something you can work through.

Communication is not as easy as it seems. Weíre not all born with the skill of being able to calmly confront people when weíre upset and work out our issues through open dialogue. As a matter of fact, Iím not too good at it myself; my exes donít call me the Master Silent Treatment Giver for nothing!

But if thereís anything Iíve learned from my past mistakes, in order to create and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, itís a skill that can be Ė make that, needs to be Ė learned.

Letís face it, without communication, you donít have a relationship. Itís just that simple. So what can you do? Explain this to your boyfriend directly, calmly and rationally.

Too often we girls let our emotions get in the way. When we want to get something off our chests, we cry, pout, and beg in order to make ourselves heard. Well, too bad for us the only thing our boyfriends hear is ďwhine, whineĒ before they tune us out and turn us off. Itís difficult enough to communicate; itís even harder when weíre not speaking our partnerís language (or vice versa). Get what I mean? Guys are direct, to-the-point and upfront when they talk, so if you want to make your feelings heard, than thatís exactly what you need to be, too: direct, to-the-point and upfront.

You can say something along the lines of, ďYou know I love you but if this relationship is going to work, I need you to communicate with me. When somethingís bothering either you or me, I want us to be able to talk openly and calmly about the issue so we can get to the bottom of it and work it out.Ē

Perhaps part of the reason heís been so hesitant to communicate with you is because of the way you react Ė through tears and heightened emotions Ė so this type of directness will be a breath of fresh air for your boyfriend and it will show him that youíre willing to work on communicating better, too. In this sense, youíre showing him that bettering your relationship is a team effort, rather than you against him.

I know youíre nervous to talk to your boyfriend about this issue Ė believe me, Iíve walked on eggshells with plenty of ex-boyfriends of my own Ė but right here, right now, you have to decide whatís better: remaining in this negative situation where you cry every day and let your boyfriendís bad behavior control your moods and emotions, or, taking control of the situation in an effort to make things better. Hmm.  Seems like a pretty obvious answer to me.If you choose the latter will you run the risk of making your boyfriend angry? Sure. But, do you really want to stay with someone you canít discuss things with? Do you want to be with a guy who makes you nervous every time you speak? Thatís really up to you, but I think being with someone like that would get damn exhausting.

If your boyfriend is not willing to do anything to make things better, than honey, itís time to reevaluate this relationship. Every relationship suffers bumps and bruises, and if heís not willing to tackle this one with you, then I have a feeling he wonít be willing to deal with the ups and downs that are undoubtedly coming your way in the future, either.

And the reality of it is that you are NOT going to die without him in your life. Will it hurt a lot if you break up?  Of course it will. It will be painful and agonizing and it will plain suck. For a while. But then, youíll get over it. The same way I have in my past, youíll carry the memories with you, and youíll move on to someone new; someone bigger, better and brighter.

And you need to realize your own self-worth. By accepting any sort of maltreatment (from your boyfriend or anyone), you are asserting to the world: ďIím not all that important of a person; Iím not worth very much so feel free to treat me badly because Iíll accept it!Ē

You donít want to send that message to the world, do you?

You are an incredible human being; an intelligent, beautiful, awesome girl! You need to believe that Ė own that! Ė before anyone else will. And itís true, so it shouldnít be that hard for you to start believing. Never, ever let anyone treat you in a way that undermines your worth Ė as I always say, ďdemand your respect.Ē

Make sure your boyfriend and all future boyfriends realize just how lucky they are to be with you.

Good luck!

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