“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
~ Mandy Hale
Before you get concerned about communication changing between the two of you consider a few different factors that may be playing a role.
1. Have you left the honeymoon stage?
Researchers have shown that the honeymoon stage of a relationship can last up to two years but that relationships feel more settled down after this length of time.
In the early stages of a relationship, it is common to talk for hours and spend lots of time getting to know each other (if you didn’t have a pre-existing relationship before dating).
However, this is not bound to last forever (nor does it need to!). It may be that your communication is changing because your relationship is progressing.
2. Is he going through a life transition?
In times of chaos, our communication patterns change. Research shows that couples who live together (especially if they have children) spend an average of only 20 minutes communicating each day! What we talk about and how often we talk shifts depending on what we’re dealing with in our lives.
If your boyfriend is going through a big change (i.e. starting a new job, taking a difficult class at school, etc.), understand that this communication change probably has nothing to do with you. Give it some time to see if your communication naturally picks back up in a few weeks or so as he adjusts.
If both of those reasons don’t apply to your relationship, consider making the following changes to improve communication between the two of you:
1. Make the time – make sure you are giving him your full attention when you’re talking. If the two of you are struggling to find time together due to busy schedules, see what can come off your plate; you must first have time to communicate in order for it to happen.
2. Ask open-ended questions – Ask questions that can’t be responded to with just a one-word answer. Instead of saying, “Did you have a good day?”, ask “What was the best part of your day?” See if this gets more of a response out of him.
3. Try to pinpoint how he’s feeling – If verbal communication is in short supply, see what his body language or tone of voice is telling you (80% of communication is non-verbal!). Ask deeper questions while also respecting that he may not be ready to dive into exploring his emotions just yet.
Michelle Henderson, MA, LMHC – www.nextchapter-counseling.com
If you find that your boyfriend has quieted down and doesn’t talk to you the way he used to, this could mean that he is becoming more comfortable in the relationship.
It is not necessarily a bad thing for two people to share intimate and quiet time together. In fact, it can be a sign of a healthy relationship.
Once a certain comfort level is present, it is not always necessary to talk all the time.
This may not mean that he is not interested in you, but simply that there is a secure bond, and communication is happening in other ways. As a couple becomes closer, each person learns to read another’s nonverbal cues. This reduces the necessity for explaining every little thing.
In a different scenario, if you find that you are trying to have conversations with your boyfriend and he refuses to engage, he could be distracted or losing interest.
Try not to force conversations that he obviously doesn’t want to have, but at the same time, know when it is important to say what you need to say.
There’s a fine line between too little and too much communication.
If your boyfriend is in fact losing interest in you, that will become apparent in many other ways besides reduced conversation. There will be no doubt about it, and you will know that this is not working out. However, there is no need to jump to conclusions just because there’s a change in communication style in the relationship.
Throughout the course of getting to know someone, you learn about their personality at deeper levels, their moods, and each person’s need for space.
Try to give your boyfriend space if he needs it, as this can often help a relationship. People change and relationships change, and the only constant in life is change.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
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