'Why doesn't my boyfriend tell me anything?'

Welcome back to The Sex Column, our weekly advice series where we get the experts to resolve your dating dilemmas.

Last week we answered the age old question of whether you should ever get back with an ex.

This week we’re chatting to someone whose boyfriend fails to tell them anything… Even when he got a work promotion.

Is he simply not interested and should our dater move on? Or, does he struggle with intimacy and confidence?

It’s hard to tell…

Let’s see what the experts think.

The problem:

‘I’m in a relationship with someone I really want to be with but there are some problems. I struggle to tell him what I think in the moment and then fester on it alone.

I also feel like there’s distance between us and I’ve noticed that he doesn’t tell me what’s happening with him.

He had a work promotion and didn’t tell me about it and when I found out, he said he had been in the new role for a while and that it was just an official confirmation.

‘When he isn’t with me and goes out with his friends, he doesn’t tell me. Am I not important enough to know what is happening in his life?

Things just feel unequal and I wonder if we have different ideas about what a relationship is.

What the experts say:

There is an imbalance that requires adjustment but it may not be as one-sided as you perceive it to be.

‘You say he is uncommunicative but then tell us you struggle to say what you think,’ says James McConnachie. ‘So is your boyfriend being distant or is it you who’s feeling the distance?’

You also wonder if you have different ideas about what a relationship is but you appear to have quite similar ones.

‘He struggles to tell you things, you struggle to tell him things, you’re both keeping things to yourselves and, in your case, festering,’ says Rupert Smith.

But in fretting over his failings, are you attempting to avoid your own doubts and internal conflicts?

‘Does he make you feel unimportant or is it something you feel about yourself and, if so, where does that come from?’ asks McConnachie.

When you consider your earliest years, were you always able to express yourself openly in the expectation that you would be heard and accepted? Is this pattern of withholding information and ruminating also familiar to you? 

‘I’d ask the same question of your partner, who seems to compartmentalise his life so that no one ever sees him as a whole,’ says Smith.

‘Many of us had to edit our personalities to be accepted by others, like our parents, and it can be difficult to integrate ourselves in any context.’

But a good relationship is not just one where you really love the other person, it’s one where you really love yourself too. It also isn’t about two individuals carrying on with their lives that happen to cross over every now and again.

‘It’s about moulding your lives together so that over time they become intertwined while still having independent aspects,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin. 

‘You do not entirely trust your partner yet and this is highlighted every time there is an omission of information or a casualness, confirming to you that he doesn’t value you.’

Trust is built through communication, which is a two-way process, so explore what is necessary for you to start being honest with him. This will, of course, require you to be honest with yourself first. 

The experts

Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor

James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)

Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist

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