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My long distance boyfriend is a bad communicator.

Tagged as: Dating, Long distance, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (10 September 2017) 6 Answers - (Newest, 15 September 2017)
A female United States age 22-25, anonymous writes:

I have been dating a guy for about 7 months. We started out as friends and had known each other for about 4 years, and then began dating. We started out dating close proximity, but then due to work and school, were forced to become long distance. We have been long distance for about 4 months. He is a pretty quiet and lowkey guy. He's social and likes hanging out with friends/people/going out, but his personality is just pretty relaxed. And with this, he isn't the best communicator. He doesn't talk much unless he has something to say, or you ask him questions. I on the other hand, am pretty talkative. I like striking up conversation and being social in that aspect. You'd think this would even out, causing him to come out of his shell a bit, which it has. But, since we are long distance and are not together all the time, texting is our main form of communication. And he is not a good texter. We've gotten in a few arguments about this because due to me being a more social person, and honestly probably more emotionally needy, I need to be with someone who's going to communicate with me on some level. This doesn't mean I need someone to text me all day everyday, but a few texts here and there would be nice. Just to see how my day is going or that he's thinking about me. Sometimes, he'll go all day without texting me and won't text until 5 or 6 pm. I am also the one who usually initiates the texting first, and it gets frustrating. I've told him I need him to communicate more, and he has improved a little, but sometimes I feel like he gets better for a week or two, and then goes back to his old patterns.

I understand he just isn't the best communicator, and I don't want him to feel like I don't love him the way he is. But in a relationship, communication is so important. Is there any advice anyone could give me about dealing with a poor communicator? Am I being too clingy? It isn't a doubt of whether he loves me or not, because I know he does. But I guess I just feel like there's a lack of effort in the communication department, and he doesn't seem to understand why it's important he improves.

View related questions: long distance, text

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A female reader, TrueLoveWaits2016 United States + , writes (15 September 2017):

Aunt Honesty is correct, a person does what they want to do. Been there in a long distance and I found out the guy wasn't super interested in me. From the sound of it, he doesn't seem all that interested, my long distance ex did the same thing. If this makes you unhappy, you should consider ending it.

I gave so many excuses to guys who barely communicated w/me and that all came down to them being disinterested.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (14 September 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntHe is who he is. If you keep trying to change him he will begin to resent you. Honestly if he is no good at small talk then I think you need to accept that. What would you say if he asked you to stop contacting him so much? You need to learn that you are both different. That does not mean that you cannot be together, but you just need to accept who he is. A lot off people are not good at texting. Including myself. I think you need to work on the long distance part because that is the issue here. Have you both figured out when the distance will close? How often do you see each other?

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A male reader, Phil052 United Kingdom +, writes (12 September 2017):

Phil052 agony auntAm I being too clingy? In my opinion, yes. He's not one for small talk, so don't try to change him, otherwise he will resent you.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (11 September 2017):

Okay, how about using a little logic here, sweetheart. You're letting your feelings guide you; but you've got to figure things out from a more "cerebral-standpoint."

You're socially out-going, talkative, friendly, and an upbeat person. I'd say, a great girlfriend. He's a slug. Low-key, has to be prodded into conversation, doesn't text much, and has nothing to say unless you beat the words out of him.

Can we see a little incompatibility here? You're trying to change him; but that's the kind of guy he is. He's introverted. He likes being social by being physically-present. He's fine as long as he gets to tag-along. Seen, but not heard. I know the type. They don't make very good long-distance boyfriends. Not too many guys do, if you want to be honest about it.

Now lets look at it from the emotional-side of it. You need a boyfriend who is interactive. You thrive on feedback; because you like to keep in-touch. You don't require hourly follow-ups; but you'd sleep better knowing he wasn't lying bleeding in a ditch somewhere without help. You'd like to feel missed and appreciated. That makes sense, and your post doesn't really come across like you're the high-maintenance type of person.

Just a girlfriend who likes her boyfriend to show he misses her when they're apart. You want to feel some form of emotional-connection.

It's not unreasonable to expect a few loving-chats, some sweet-talk; and you'd like to exchange chat about your day and what's going on. All very reasonable. You're his girlfriend. Only, I don't think that has fully sunk into his skull yet!

Maybe you picked the wrong guy for all that. He's a slug!

Somewhat socially-awkward; and probably bad at spelling. I hate texting; so I'd be a hypocrite to criticize the guy for that. I get to see my boyfriend at the end of the day, because he's a businessman; and I have to run an office. I have to multi-task like hell all day. So we both have an understanding, and love seeing each other at the end of the day...or week. I miss messages, or he does too. We laugh at each other for forgetting; or playing phone-tag all-day!

You were forced to be apart by unforeseen events. He's still the guy he always was. Only you thought he would change? Not if that's his personality. Who you are is totally ingrained; and it takes a lot of effort and time to change. Only, it's not your responsibility to change him; it's up to him to want to. For your sake. Voluntarily, that is.

I think you must explain to him, one final time; that if he wants you to continue being his girlfriend, he has to compromise. He has to be more considerate; and at least call you in the morning, text during the day, and have a phone chat at the end of the day/night. So you can catch up on things, and hear each others voices. Even if you do most of the talking. If that's too much for a slug, tell him to go slither away! Don't waste your time in frustration!

I think once you were apart, he slid back into the friend-zone. He isn't the romantic-type; and your "conversion-project" to transform him from a platonic-friend to a boyfriend may not be 100% successful. He sees being apart as being a single-guy again. Perhaps!

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (11 September 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt I don't underdstand it either, why is it so important that he improves, and I am not trying to be a smartaleck- I actually don't get it.

You say that his love for you is not in doubt amd you do not need reassurance about it. You say that you understand that he is not the best communicator, and you have always known him as the type who talks when he's actually got something to say, not to kill time. You realize that you are a more social person than he is ( and , hopefully, that being very social is not mandatory ). You say that you don't want him to feel that you do not love him just the way he his. Then again, on his end, he has done efforts to improve, also if every now and then he relapses in his old ways, which feel more natutal and comfortable to him, so it's not as if he has dismissed your concerns. And it's not as if he is ignoring you for days in a row, you still talk every single day even if later in the day than you'd like.

So, you realize this , understand that ... and still want him to change. Why ? because you like to be texted several times a daY ? Ok, but- he does not like that, and it's not a mistery; why your " like " should necessarily trump his ?

What would you say if he pestered YOU to change into being less social and calling him less and just texting, say, every 3 days, - and kept taking you to task because you relapse in your old ways ?

Communication IS important, but what you are talking about is , it seems to me, just shooting the breeze or chitchatting, which some people are not good at and do not enjoy nor find important, and this even with the person they love most.

Why should he check with you every few hours to know how your day is going ? Unless you have a post at the White House or the Pentagon, so plenty of surprises and ups and downs and crisis these days... I guess that your day will be going as usual - school, work, gym, or whatever you do routinely; if there's something special or new or troubling I am sure you'd contact him at once, and viceversa- and anyway you are regularly in touch, at the end of each day, when you can give each other all the updates you want. Why necessarily having to fraction this process in numerous daily installments ?... Because so you'd know he is thinking of you ?

Aah, gotcha :). You see ? ,this is about ego and vanity , and a bit of insecurity too, not about the importance of "communication ' . He DOES love you, so he does think of you. What do you think, that out of sight out of mind ? Is this the concept you have of him ? I think that , if your relationship is secure , deep and stable, he does not need to tell you and reassure you 3 times a day that he is thinking of you and that he misses you. That's a given for him.

Of course , I am a woman too, although alas not a young one anymore- and it does feel great being courted and romanced and pursued . But if he is the strong and silent type, rather than the ardent , sweet talking suitor from some Harlequin novel... why does he have to change ?

It could be that, no matter how much you love him, and how much he loves you, - STILL this communication thing sticks in your craw, because your nature requires a more effusive, more talkative lover. It's only up to you- you know what you need, you know what you want, you know what you can't do without. So if having someone with your same emotional needs and your same high degree of attachment is a must , I am afraid you'd be better off findong someone new rather than trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole. Your BF has improved from this point of view, but I am not sure he will be willing / able to make more effort ; maybe he thinks that it's your turn to compromise and cut down your demands ...

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A male reader, Denizen United Kingdom +, writes (11 September 2017):

Denizen agony auntYou could try not communicating with him so much and see what happens.

It is hard to keep a relationship alive purely on texts, letters etc. Be sure you have something to say when you do reach him.

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