He Won't Talk About His Feelings

Dear Karen,

I am feeling so frustrated with my boyfriend.  We’ve been dating for 5 months, and we are exclusive in the relationship. We see each other mostly every day.  The issue is he is not very forthcoming in talking about personal feelings that we have towards each other.  How can I approach this subject without coming across as pestering him?  Also, he occasionally will just not answer a question. Via text I ask him a question, and he just doesn’t answer. – Jaylee, RI

Dear Jaylee,

Ah!  The old “why won’t my man talk with me about his feelings?” question.  As you’ll hopefully see, that’s not exactly true, but I’m getting ahead of myself.


My husband and I will often comment on how we know exactly how our dog, Willie, is feeling – about anything.  We can read her moods, her desires, we can even predict what she’s about to do.

And you know what?

She doesn’t speak a word of “human”!

We “get” so much communication from our pets, and yet we never expect them to utter a single word.  Wouldn’t it be silly to withhold food/walks/affection/trust from our animal(s), until s/he said “I love you and I will never leave you”?

So what is your man telling you through what he does (or doesn’t do)?

So far, I’d say that if you’re seeing each other just about every day, he’s telling you that he likes being with you (pretty insightful, aren’t I?).  He’d rather be with you than with another woman, if you’re exclusively dating.  He’s telling you that he believes you’ll meet his needs, and trusts that to the extent that a) he’s able to, and b) is appropriate for how long you two have known each other.

He also doesn’t sound like a man who is keen to have the “how we feel about each other” chat – yet, anyway.  He may not be a “words” man, but more of a “do” man.

It sounds like things are going swimmingly well, actually, based on what you said.

When Insecurities Rear Their Heads

What’s going on for you that needs him to talk about the personal feelings you have for each other?  Is it just that you like the words, versus the actions, or is there more to this?

Do you have a hard time trusting your gut, and what you “know” to be true, and therefore need lots of external validation?  Are you afraid you’re not going to be loved, and need to feel some degree of control over the situation?

If you just like hearing the words, let him know.  A simple “I love hearing the words…I’m just that kind of gal” would probably work.  And, once you’ve let him know this about you, he’s in charge of when, how – or if – he does it…you’ll just torture yourself (and him) if you have expectations.

If, on the other hand, this is a case of your insecurities taking hold, get a grip, woman.  I can’t think of a relationship, anywhere, that’s going to be better because someone’s low self-esteem is in charge (or, as I like to call it, “driving the bus”).

Knowing if He’s “The One”

If your man is the right one for you, he’s going to keep spending time with you, showing you he cares, and showing you more and more of who he is (the deeper stuff: dreams, fears, and everything in between), as he develops more trust in you.

If he’s not the right one for you, you’ll know; either you’ll want to end the relationship, or he will.  Either way, he’s the wrong man for you, and trying to control the outcome doesn’t work.  Ever.

My advice to you: relax, enjoy the unfolding of your relationship, and trust yourself.  Oh, and learn to read his (non-verbal) communication better.  Woof!