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How can I get him to show his feelings more?


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Heh, probably the relationship question of the century


I know my boyfriend cares a lot about me and loves me. However since the beginning he has had trouble saying this to me. Honestly, were it not for a mutual friend of ours TELLING me all the nice, caring things he says about me, I would have no idea in terms of how he really feels. I mean, he's great when he's with me, he's supportive, honest and consistent and we have fun. But in terms of romance, it's NEVER there because he simply can't even say ''you're so important to me, I love you'' and things like that.


I've mentioned this to him, I've said ''Why is it so hard to tell me these things'' and he says its because he did it a lot with his ex and she hurt him really badly, and she never reciprocated the romance, so he's basically shutting it down with me. He's always apologised for this and he knows it is HIS problem and he hates it about himself. Occasionally when he is drunk all the romantic stuff comes out but even that is rare, and, as I said, most of the time I find out his feelings towards me from my friend!


I've said this to other people close to me, asking for advice. They always say ''it isn't a problem, it's sweet that he gets nervous saying it to you, I'd be more worried if he was saying it all the time and the other good stuff in the relationship wasn't there'' - which is of course true BUT the main dilemma is - because he can't tell me his romantic feelings towards me - he can't tell me when he is upset or angry with me either. Just as I find out the ''good stuff'' from a friend of ours, I have also found out all the ''bad stuff'' (things I have done to annoy him, his doubts) from friends also. I always say to him (and indeed, all my friends etc too) - ''tell me whenever I have done ANYTHING to annoy you, I'm the kind of person who wants to know when I do something wrong so I can ensure it won't happen again'' but yet I only find out from a third party when my boyfriend is annoyed at me (or when he is really, really drunk)


Even though the uplifting things I hear back from third parties about what he has been saying about our relationship GREATLY (by 1000 : 1 !) outweigh the occasional bad things he tells to close friends, I'm sure you can all understand how hard this lack of communication can be. I have a lot of other stresses in my life at the moment and I struggle with anxiety and trust in general, so it drives me crazy (and wastes soooo much time) wondering if he's annoyed at me etc. It also makes me apprehensive when hanging with friends in case it'll be one of those occasions where they tell me he's been angry with me.


What can I do?? As I've said, I've mentioned it to him before, and he's given me an explanation. Do I have to leave it at that or is there something else I can do?

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You won't like what I say here... I too was where you are, loving a guy who was hurt by an ex and making me pay for it. He didn't do it consciously, and the truth was he never WAS going to feel safe being truly in love with me. He was severely damaged. He never recovered from it, and we broke up long ago, and to be honest I know he has dated several girls with the same issues and results. If your boyfriend is similar, know that it may never, ever change. Realize that he may just never be able to love you the way you want/need.


I tried for almost three years. Now, at almost 34 years old, he is still afraid to move out of his parents' house. That's hard to explain with anything BUT severe emotional issues. Good luck.

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Thanks for your reply dear.


I know he is damaged, not just from his ex, but in general. He has self-harmed in the past, and drinks heavily. He also has issues because he doesn't know his father etc. The fact that he is as sensitive as I am in relationships doesn't help! He just, unlike me, doesn't show this sensitivity.


I hear what you're saying about the fact that he may never change regarding the showing of his feelings. If he can't change, I'll honestly be ok with that. I just want to know if there's anything I can do to help him open up more, but I guess if he is damaged in so many ways, i may not be able to.


Thanks for your reply anyway

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if he is going around saying he has been hurt too much by his ex, there is nothing you can do to try to "save" him. He has to WANT to get out of that train of thought. You can't do anything to influence him. If you try, he'll just reject it.


He may also be hiding in that train of thought as a shield so he doesn't get closer to you, or as a way out, like if, down the road, the relationship doesn't work out, he dumps you, he can always say, "well you knew I was damaged goods".

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I think at best you will program him to go through the motions. Like clockwork, he may say "you are beautiful" or "you are important" because you requested it enough of him. But what do those things really mean if he is just saying them to appease you?


I think that HE needs to feel your relationship is worth saving, and he needs to get some help professionally. Later on, it should become a couples thing. Right now, IMO, it's all about him.

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Thanks guys.


I understand where you're coming from about him not being romantic with me, but what about not telling me when he's upset/angry/annoyed at me? This is an even bigger problem...does his silence on this front tie in with his other issues, would you say?

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This guy may never change, but if you want to try working this out this may help.

Eventually he is going to start telling you his feelings, but with small things. Things that won't hurt him so much if you reject him. It's important to accept him for all of his feelings, and be kind about them. NEVER get angry at him for telling you his feelings, even if it's something you really didn't want to hear. But he can't feel like he's been punished for his feelings.


I used to be the same way your bf was. It took effort on my part and lots and lots of patience from my gf. So, he has to want to change, because it will take effort.

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I just remembered that a few weeks ago he said I had ''been a bit annoying recently'' because I'm stressed, and when i asked him to tell me specifics he said ''no, i accept your flaws and part of loving someone is accepting their faults'' - but he was really drunk when he said it....so even when he is drunk he still won't exactly tell me what I have done wrong, even if he puts a ''nice'' reason over it..does that make sense?

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I just remembered that a few weeks ago he said I had ''been a bit annoying recently'' because I'm stressed, and when i asked him to tell me specifics he said ''no, i accept your flaws and part of loving someone is accepting their faults'' - but he was really drunk when he said it....so even when he is drunk he still won't exactly tell me what I have done wrong, even if he puts a ''nice'' reason over it..does that make sense?


Well, first of all I think it's rude for someone to say you're being annoying. He may feel that you're being annoying and he has every right to feel that way, but telling someone that they are being annoying is just plain rude. He should have said he sometimes felt annoyed by things you have done instead of accusing you.

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He likes the benefits and convenience of alliance with you and he's not about to go postal on you or get romantically sobbing with you - he's not into you - he's into how much easier or beter his life is for him - with your options and benefits at his disposal.

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He is showing his feeilngs - with his actions. Its that he'snot taking the actions you want to get the messsage you want that is the problem.


If you want him to do something specific becuase that sends you a particular message - tell him "do this, so that I hear I love you".

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I think communication is a key to opening him up.

My fiance was the same way during our first year together.

So I told him over and over that I loved him and I needed strong emotional


I asked him how I could get that connection if I don't know what made you happy and

what made you sad and upset.


He's still working on it but he is quite changed now,

(we've been together for 2 1/2 years)

We're going to get married in July and we communicate really well.

He's not afraid to show me his emotions and share his thoughts.

He knows that when he opens up and shows me how he feels,

I value and appreciate that very much.


I think communication is the key to opening him up.

Tell him what you want.

Tell him you know it's hard for him but it's very important for you

to see him opening up to you and that's the way you make deep connection to people.


He'll try to make a change when he realizes how important this is to you.

But don't rush him.

Give him time to do this as fast or as slow as he wants.

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