Dear Dr. Love,I have been seeing my boyfriend for 2 years. We were very close until about a month ago. He said that he needed some time to sort some things out. I gave him his time even though it killed me.The problem is now that he doesn’t seem to talk to me as much as he used to. I feel like communication is key to a lasting relationship. Am I expecting him to talk to me so soon after coming back?He was very hurt in his previous relationship. Is there anything I can do to get him to open up like he used to?
The best suggestion I have for you is to explain to him that all men have been socialized to function independently, which means that when they are strugging with problems, they tend to go off by themselves in order to resolve their issues privately.Next, explain to him that the problem with this way of dealing with issues is that it breaks relationships. This is because when a person goes off by himself, his partner doesn’t know what’s going on. And, this leaves the partner feeling shut-out and cut-off.What’s more, tell him that if he is privately struggling to deal with relationship issues that are upsetting him, these can never be resolved on his own. Relationship issues require the input of both partners. I would also tell him that the fact that he withdrew from you to think over matters makes you suspect that his issue is with you and/or the relationship.I would ask him how he thought going away from you would solve the issues. Was he trying to decide if he wants to keep the relationship?If he says that nothing is wrong in the relationship, then ask him why he withdrew from you when other matters were bothering him. Is he trying to protect you from worry?Again, explain that his withdrawal does not protect you at all. Tell him that he is actually upsetting you more when he distances himself. I hope that he is willing to open up after this discussion. Let me know.