Some people just aren’t as comfortable expressing their feelings as I am and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, when you’re in a romantic relationship and your partner shows no emotion whatsoever, it presents a world of problems. This was the situation with my ex-boyfriend.

It took me forever to figure out how he even felt about me. 

We met through mutual friends at a party and ended up hanging out and talking all night long. I really liked him and wanted to get to know him better and I assumed he felt the same. However, it took this guy upwards of a week to actually start texting me on a regular basis and to ask me out on a real date. After a few days of radio silence, I was starting to think I’d misread signals and he didn’t like me after all. Turns out, he was just really uncomfortable telling me how he felt about me.

We were long distance, which only added to the disconnect. 

Long distance relationships work great for a lot of people and I have nothing against them personally. However, the fact that this guy couldn’t express his feelings coupled with the fact that we were apart more than we were together seriously added to our issues. He was terrible on the phone or FaceTime because he couldn’t carry on a conversation for more than a few minutes.

We had different love languages—he didn’t have one. 

I’m the type of girl that loves words of affirmation in a relationship. I don’t need them constantly, but I do appreciate those sweet texts telling me that my boyfriend misses me, is thinking of me, and wants to know how my day is going. I never got that from this guy. He rarely complimented me and really only texted me throughout the day when he had a specific question for me like what I wanted for dinner or what time my flight got in. After a while, I stopped getting excited when I saw a text from him on my phone.

He didn’t appreciate the gifts I gave him.

I’m a big gift giver. I was constantly surprising him with little things that I knew he would love and I never wanted anything in return except maybe a little enthusiasm that I’d gone above and beyond to make him happy. He couldn’t even give me that. Getting any kind of reaction out of him was like pulling teeth and I really didn’t get it.

He wasn’t physically affectionate either. 

Physical intimacy is a big deal to me in relationships. I’m not a fan of hardcore PDA, but when we’re alone, just put your hands all over me, bro! Let me know you want me. There’s a lot of emotion attached to physical intimacy and again, he wasn’t into it. He wouldn’t even cuddle with me while we slept, which I’m all about.

Our sex life was so lackluster. 

We didn’t even live in the same city but when we were together, our sex was always so predictable and started to completely bore me. It was so methodical and any time I tried to switch things up, he would just revert back to the familiar. Sex doesn’t have to be emotional—sometimes it’s just pure, liberating fun—but who doesn’t want to feel fireworks and passion when they’re making love with their partner? I never felt that with him and I think the reason we couldn’t get there is at least in part because he had this constant wall up between us and wouldn’t be vulnerable with me. There were times when it really did feel like I was having sex with a robot.

He made me feel guilty for showing emotion around him.

He wasn’t only uncomfortable with his own feelings, he was uncomfortable with mine too. When I cried, he wouldn’t console me. He wouldn’t hold me or reassure me. Instead, he would stiffen up, get quiet, and basically make me feel like I was wrong for being emotional in front of him. It left me feeling embarrassed and stupid.

My anxiety disorder was always raging. 

I’ve struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for several years now and during this relationship, it was the worst it’s ever been. The fact that I never knew how he was feeling or what he was thinking was so stressful, my head was going crazy the entire time.

We never argued. EVER.

 It’s not that we were never angry with each other—I honestly don’t know if he was ever mad at me because he never showed or expressed it. I, on the other hand, was angry and frustrated about 86% of the time but anytime I tried to talk to him about it, he’d just nod, give me a hug, and say he was sorry. He’d cut me off and refuse to let me express myself which made me even madder. We had virtually no communication.

It turned me into a person I hated. 

I was constantly feeling anxious, wondering how my own boyfriend felt about me. I was so insecure and I couldn’t enjoy my life the way I had before. Whenever I was with family or friends, I was constantly worrying about what he was doing and what he was thinking. It was exhausting and brutal. I’m not one to hang around in a relationship that’s clearly one-sided, but I stayed for way too long because I truly cared for him and I thought it was love.

He told me he never missed me. WTF?! 

The night we broke up, he told me that when we were apart (which was a lot), he never missed me. He said that he was always happy to see me but he rarely thought of me when I wasn’t physically with him. Uh, if that’s not an obvious sign to get the hell out of a relationship, I don’t know what is!

After it was over, I felt like I could breathe again. 

Once we finally broke up and I got over the initial pain, I felt strangely happy. I could feel this burden literally lifting off my chest. Breakups always hurt, but once I had cried it out (for days) and started to feel normal again, I felt so much relief that I wasn’t going to have the agonizing stress of that relationship anymore and it felt so freeing.

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