When your boyfriend appears affectionate one day and then distant or moody the next, his behavior can leave you feeling frustrated, confused and angry. You may worry that you said something to upset him or even wonder if perhaps your guy’s feelings for you have changed. Take a deep breath. You can fret less about your boyfriend’s moodiness when you understand what influences his moods and how to respond to them.
Mars and Venus
Your boyfriend may respond to stress differently than you do, reports Rick Nauert, Ph.D., in the "Psych Central" article “Men Respond to Stress by Shutting Down.” Think about your own responses to stress during a recent unpleasant event. Women are more likely to diminish stress by connecting with family and friends. Conversely, men are more likely to tune out, turn off and shut down to process stress. When your boyfriend appears distant, he may be trying to process a new source of stress in his school, home or work environment.
Mum's the Word
When your guy is distant, he may struggle to tell you what’s on his mind, especially if the concern relates to your relationship. It may be easy for you to discuss issues in your relationship, but it’s probably different for your boyfriend, according to psychologist Shawn Smith in the "Psychology Today" article “Five Reasons Men Go Silent, and What to Do About It, Part One.” Early in their social development, women learn to talk more about relationship problems than men do, leaving men at a disadvantage.
He Pleads the Fifth
Consider the typical outcome when you and your boyfriend do not agree. If his revelations usually bring new criticism from you, and more problems for him, your boyfriend may conclude that his safest bet is a closed mouth. Present an open, nonjudgmental tone when your boyfriend seems distant, and do not give him a reason to feel defensive. Resist the temptation to remind him of multiple problems, and simply permit him to focus on the current source of tension. Your boyfriend may speak up if you demonstrate that you don’t need to contribute the last word.
It's About Him
Remind yourself that moods are much like the weather. In other words, your boyfriend’s distant mood is likely to change, and it’s not about you, advises physician Alex Lickerman in the "Psychology Today" article “How to Manage Your Partner’s Bad Moods.” If his aloof manner affects your own good mood, plan ahead of time how you will respond to minimize its negative effect on you. Spend some quality time with a good friend, a good read or a good pedicure.
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