I Can’t Get My Boyfriend To Open Up & It’s Ruining Our Relationship

As cliche as it sounds, I feel like I’m the only one in my relationship who ever talks about my feelings. At first I thought I was fine with a more reserved approach to deep communication but I don’t think I can take it anymore.

  1. It makes me feel like I barely know him. My boyfriend and I have been dating for over a year and have been friends for much longer than that, but sometimes I find myself trying to remember the things I know about his life and coming up with almost nothing. This is especially upsetting when I think about how much of my life I’ve shared with him and how much emotional ‘dirt’ he has on me. I can’t say the same about him.
  2. I feel like he doesn’t trust me. When something is going on, he’s one of the first people I go to. I tell him everything that’s bothering me, so when he glosses over issues or simply says he’s fine whenever I ask him what’s wrong when something clearly is, it’s hurtful. I can’t help but feel like he doesn’t trust me with his emotional baggage the same way I trust him with mine.
  3. I question how close we actually are. We started dating after being friends for a number of years, but sometimes I feel like I don’t know him any better as a girlfriend than I did as a friend. Although we’ve been dating for a year, sometimes he feels more like a casual acquaintance than the person I’m supposed to be closest to.
  4. It’s no fun talking to yourself. One-sided conversations die the quickest. Not only do his hollow responses make our conversations short and shallow but they also frustrate me. After a couple of conversations that feel like pulling teeth, I want to give up on communicating altogether. If I wanted to talk to myself, I wouldn’t need a boyfriend.
  5. It makes me feel alone. It’s terrible to feel alone when you’re among people you care about. That’s exactly what it’s like when I voice the darkest moments of my life and my deepest insecurities and receive nothing of equal weight in return from my boyfriend. It’s like I’m talking to a brick wall and that makes me feel like crap.
  6. I feel like I can’t share things with him. After a while, I begin to feel like he doesn’t want to talk about personal things with me, which is fine—but I feel the need to share personal things with my friends, including him. When he doesn’t reciprocate conversation and the scales of conversation are so drastically tipped in my direction, it sends the signal that he doesn’t want a part in this exchange. Even though he says that he’s here for me if I need to talk, his actions send a different message and make me feel like I can’t open up around him.
  7. I want to feel as valuable to him as he is to me. The people in my life that I confide in are indispensable; they’re the people I trust the most, the ones I care most deeply about. I obviously feel this way about my boyfriend, and although I know that people measure closeness differently, sometimes it makes me feel like he doesn’t value me.
  8. I don’t want to burden my partner. Being the sole communicator makes me feel like I’m a burden to him. I don’t want to burden my boyfriend of course, but I don’t want to be closed off emotionally either. I don’t want to be that annoying, emotional girlfriend—and that’s exactly what I feel like when he doesn’t open up in return.
  9. It makes me trust him less. I know that a lack of communication doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s hiding something, but let’s be serious here—it sure as hell feels that way. When he obviously lies about feeling “fine,” it tells me that I can’t trust him to honestly tell me how he feels in the future. This is honestly a big red flag for me because communication is a crucial part of every relationship, especially when things get serious.
  10. I love him. I love him and I want to be with him, and that necessitates a certain emotional closeness. Although he says he loves me, his lack of communication says otherwise, at least in my mind. It’s hard to accept that people communicate and show affection in different ways, and it can be difficult to get out of my own head and try to focus on the positives—especially since I tend to self-sabotage by being insecure about his lack of communication.
Kate is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she studied English, Psychology, and how to solve life's problems with a couple friends and a bottle of wine (ok, maybe two bottles). When she's not writing, you can find Kate playing musical instruments badly, or going on hiking and camping trips to enjoy the great outdoors.