Why Is My Boyfriend Distant and How Can I Deal With It?

Updated on July 13, 2018

My Boyfriend Is Acting Cold and Distant—What Should I Do?

I've been branded the 'Advice Queen' by most of my girlfriends and have been faced with this question a few times. I'm no professional, but I do give the best advice I can and have had no complaints—as of yet, anyhow!

A friend of mine had some problems with her boyfriend wanting space and time. Her boyfriend wasn't all over her as usual; he preferred being on his own. He was only sending her between one and three phone calls, texts, emails, and Facebook pokes, combined. When she came over, all she could say was "He's being so distant lately—what am I doing wrong? Should I do something? How can I fix it?"

I said what I always say: "How would I know? I'm the one that repels men." But they have been together for four years, and this was really bothering her. So, I thought about it for a second, gathered my thoughts, and gave it my best shot. I say this as if I am all-knowing—full disclosure: I am not!

Nonetheless, I compiled these tips for dealing with a distant boyfriend, listed below. It doesn't matter how long you've been with him—you may not have been with your guy that long, or you might even be married. If you're in the same boat, it just may help you, too.

Is your significant other acting as though he's far away?
Is your significant other acting as though he's far away?

Potential Causes

There are a number of reasons that can cause a guy can act distant. You may know many of these already:

  • Stress: It could be work, the pressures of family life, being in a relationship, or university deadlines. If he's stressed, his thoughts might be focused on finding a solution to (or distraction from) his problem.
  • Avoidance: He may be acting distant as a form of avoiding a situation that has nothing to do with you. Although you are not the cause, he may believe he must avoid you to avoid his problem because you would force him to face it.
  • Fear: Perhaps he has noticed how needy he is becoming and believes this might cause him to lose his independence. In this case, he probably likes you so much that it has just dawned on him how much needs you, and this might be to much for him. He may also fear the level of your commitment or expectations.
  • Cheating: Yes, it is quite possible that he may be cheating. However, being distant wouldn't be the only sign of infidelity. So fret not, ladies.

What to Do

  • Give him all the space he needs: If he's fearful of loss of freedom or independence, he'll snap right back to normal with time.
  • Love the hell out of your man: He needs you now more than ever before.
  • Stay happy: In other words, don't worry or play games to try to get him to talk.
  • Reassure him that you trust and believe in him: Give him confidence by letting him know he can handle it.
  • Stay breezy/chilled out/calm when you're together: If he retires to another room, keep things happy and smiley where you're at. After a while, he'll come out to feel the love. Positive energy is like a yawn—contagious!
  • Set up some quiet time between the two of you: Remove all distractions, so that he feels like he can talk, and he just might!

What to Avoid

There are a number of things you should and should not do if he's acting cold:

  • Wasting time worrying: Worrying will do neither of you any favours. What's more, he will sense that you're worrying, which will make him even more nervy and cold.
  • S-Mothering him: He needs your reassurance that he can handle this situation like a man. He is not a baby—nor your child.
  • Taking it personally: More often than not, it has nothing to do with you. As stated before, it could be work-, friend-, or family-related.
  • Trying solving it for him: This could put an end to your relationship. If he wanted you to solve it, he would have said so.
  • Playing mind games to get what's going on out of him: He will not enjoy it, and may even begin to feel he cannot trust you.
  • Making a big deal out of it, when he does open up and talk: Again, this is a vulnerable time for him. He needs you to be supportive, not demanding.

Something to Consider

Ladies, most of the potential causes listed above are fixable. Still, you should acknowledge that it could be the worst-case scenario—he may be ready to end it and is detaching himself, so it won't hurt when he's leaving.

But if you're willing to work through it, use the tips above to handle your guy's distance as soon as you spot it. Be brave—all relationships go through cold spots, and it's usually not the worst-case scenario.

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    • profile image

      Jimmy 

      11 days ago

      Thanks a lot, this was so helpful

    • profile image

      Jacqui 

      3 weeks ago

      Thank you I found this quite reassuring. I was very worried but I now feel alittle more secure.

    • profile image

      chole ryan 

      4 months ago

      so my boyfriend has not texted me for the past 2 days but has been texting his friends and Im scared he does not love me anymore but i really do love him , what should i do ?

    • profile image

      ceez 

      5 months ago

      My BF were in a relationship for 6 mos, he has a son who is 11 yrs old which he loves so much but we kept it a secret from the son first until he is old enough to understand. Partly, he is afraid because his son is resistant of him having a relationship. We have the almost perfect relationship, he constantly tells me he is very happy with me --that i take care of him and his needs and i have been very loving.. we never had major issues as a couple. we are happy and we meet each others needs.

      He moved to another state 2 mos ago because of job relocation. Since then he was a lil cold but i learn to understand him. I accompanied him moved to another state for 2 wks to help him move.

      two months ago --, he seems distant and not texting me as much and one of our conversation he became irritable and says its better we cool off or break up since he is not 100% sure with us..he wants his freedom, his priority is his son.. and he said he just needs time to figure out what he wants. so we broke up in a good way.

      I have a plane tickets paid to visit him next month ( we bought long time ago). I mentioned it to him that day we broke up over the phone and he said " that's ok if u stiill wanna see me and fly over, we can still see each other " .. it was a pleasant break up, but in my heart I am broken and torn... I cannot afford to question him why because i know i have been a great gf to him and I see that he loves me too.

      Two weeks after the break up he blocked me from FB and his phone is unreachable so I emailed him.. he replied nicely and he said someone hacked his phone so he blocked all contacts, he said he needs to isolate himself and he asked me how I am doing and greeted me happy new year and wishing me okay.

      I replied briefly and short just wishing him good things,...but he never replied since... I didn't text ( of course his phone is blocked and he may have a new phone number.. so email is the only source of contact i have)

      its been 2 weeks..and my flight supposed to go to see him is in 3 weeks --what should I do ??

      they said the No contact rule is to let him reach out ? what if he doesnt want to call me anymore ?

    • profile image

      vicky 

      6 months ago

      I have been in a distant relationship with someone truly love for 3 yes,but then 1yr we were both angry with each day .other and did not make contacts.he called and wanted to see me for reconciliation I dismissed him because I was still angry,since then he will not pick my call nor return,but late last year, he change and became nicer. he told me he loves me so much, but I can't trust or believe him,because he was hardly there, and never provided for me ,not even money to buy a bra,or panties, but I really love him a lot. please tell me should I continue with him or leave him

    • profile image

      Annonymous 

      6 months ago

      Hi I'm in a 6 year relationship and I currently have a 10 month old daughter. Me and my boyfriend are not going in a good season this festives. We had an argument early in Aighust last year. To cut the situation short, my boyfriend had 2 kids outside our relationship. So I feel the baby mother has not accepted as she continuously comes into the picture. She demands so many things that my boyfriend does and this sometimes derail our dreams cos it leads to difficulties in his finances. I'm working but had a house calling business. So with a 10 month child it's not easy to attend to my clients. We spoke about considering for a nany and agreed upon it. When the time came, he told me he could afford the nany. I was furious and got angry, said things to him that I admit belittled his man ego. I said things I didn't mean because I feel he compromise too much in his other kids then ours. He said I don't love his kids. Which is a lie. He was angry but we eventually sorted things out. But I could feel the distance between us, things wer not the same as usual. I felt empty and I relayed my feelings to him. We wer both trying but he was distance towards me and my child. I tried talking to him about it because he would take 6 weeks without seeing our child. One day I got very angry and gummed again. Again I said things because he disappointed me. This time it feels like we his not willing to fix things between us. Because I haven't heated from him in 2 weeks. I leave several missed calls and text messages he ignores. The only time I revived his contact was on Christmas Day, he send me an SMS and his regards to our daughter. I called him 5 days after with Amy mums number, he picked it up and he sounded cool to the tone of the voice. I don't know what to do, it feels like I have lost him

    • profile image

      Reallymessedupinthehead 

      7 months ago

      Thanks i won my man back and hes happy with me we've been together for 3 years today

    • profile image

      sammy 

      7 months ago

      the only way to 'be happy' though is to talk it through, if its bothering you then you should be able to freely talk about it, not pretend like you're fine when really its royally pissing you off

    • profile image

      8 months ago

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Confused 

      10 months ago

      Hi i have been in an on and off relationship with my bof whom i love the most. In over 1 and a half years that we have been together we broke up about 3 times. The last one was 4 months ago. Our breakups involved him still talking to his ex and at some point in one of our breakup he even had sex with her. It also involved him lying to me about it till i foound everything out through his phone. When he got back together with me 4 months ago he promised that he will change and indeed did everythng to win me back. He was all sweet and everything again in the beggining and lately i feel that he is becoming distant again. Also accused me one time of checking his phone when i really didnt. My gut feeling is that there is something wrong but i just couldnt put my fingers as to why. Im really trying my best to forget about the past and move on so we can have a good relationship buy it seems that i am not ok still. What should i do?

    • profile image

      IronGirl 

      11 months ago

      Thanks and great advice, Sa! I am a happy positive person normally and gotta stay that way for my hubby! I'll give him the space that he needs and remain strong for him!

      Have an awesome day!

      Mara :)

    • Myoho9292 profile image

      Myoho9292 

      11 months ago

      Great post indeed... Something I often need to remind myself of. However, I would love some advice on a case like mine. My partner suffers with anxiety and depression, and will do the distant cave man thing when his problems become too much. The downfall to this is, he has in the past, had sex with his child's mother during these phases. She has recognised that he 'uses' her as he always tells her he 'loves me' and that she was a 'mistake'... a mistake he has made twice in the year and a half that we have been together. He explains that when he does this action it doesn't make him happy and he doesn't know why he does it... (excuses or should I be trying to hear what he says?).... Anyway, due to what I have just explained... every time he goes into his man cave, I struggle greatly with sticking to the do's and don't because I am in fear that he will repeat these 'mistakes'. He has said to me in the past that it 'wouldn't need to be his child's mother, it could be any woman that he does this with'... indicating that he probably does this. Very difficult, am I being foolish here or?..... Before I met this man, I was into open relationships. He is the one who wasn't up for that, yet seems to be the person living it?

    • profile image

      CC 

      16 months ago

      i like this. this could really help me. he is being distant. and teenage boys are still pretty confusing so thank you.

    • profile image

      Lakey 

      17 months ago

      This is a hard way to live. "Give him space", "love the hell out of him", "don't worry" but "prepare yourself for the worst"

    • profile image

      Clarissa 

      19 months ago

      Theese things you are suggesting are not simple. When he is distant, you feel insecure and all little things become nerve wrecking and a motive for you to become more insecure. You have to be a hell good actress to fake you are ok and all smiles and be "breezy" when deep down you are sad, insecure and in fear of a breakup

    • profile image

      Emily 

      4 years ago

      In all honesty I was very skeptical but also desperate at the same time, anything was worth a try. I contacted purityspell@gmail.com who spoke to me at length about my situation and I decided to go ahead with the love spell. Then 4 days into it, I saw results that I never expected, my man came back and things began to progress, AMAZING.. I don't know what i would have done without Prophet Mike.All I can say is "thank you Prophet Mike you are the best

    • profile image

      jt 

      4 years ago

      Finally an optimistic and true article. Optimists are the only kind of girl that can keep a good guy. The other types have negative energy that will drive him away. I know that 90% of the time, when a guy goes distant it has nothing to do with you. Women of course assume the worse every time. Don't do that!

      In the beginning if he is distant, it's bc you are moving into his territory too fast which zaps your attraction level, and he's not attached to you enough to stay. If it's been a year or so and he becomes distant, it's the end if you have somehow hurt him beyond the level of what he's willing to endure. If that's not the case, then just be patient.

      My guy of 1.5 years recently got distant, and it was the reason above "avoidance". After a week of no contact I finally asked him calmly if everything is ok, and he told me exactly what happened. Our communication finally opened up again.

    • frmeital profile image

      frmeital 

      5 years ago

      It's a very nice and optimistic way to look at things...but sometimes your boyfriend can be distant because he is unfirtunately planning to bail. That's the hard truth. Guys don't like the direct approach to ending relationships and they rather trying to fade out "without being noticed". There are ways to prevent this, you can read about it here: http://www.howtogetaguytowantyou.com/boyfriend-is-...

    • profile image

      Stephanie 

      6 years ago

      We have been so close lately.. And then the past two days it's like doesn't even wanna talk.. My friends think there is something up his sleeve.. Tonight we were suppose to hang out but he was supposedly sent to the the hospital due to chest pains?? After reading that message today I feel like he is cheating I don't wanna assume the worst but I don't know what to do or say anymore??? Any advice lady's

    • profile image

      Michelle 

      6 years ago

      I have only very recently started seeing someone I have known for 14 years, we have had connections before and it just never worked out, you could say timing was off. but now we are in a position where we can move forward. It has been great, he called me several times on wednesday this week to tell me, in his round about way he was missing me, even though i had only seen him that morning. But when he called me last night, ( the next day) he seemed a distant and not as loving as he was the day before. He said he'd call me at 4pm today and now its 5.30pm and nothing. Why do men tell you they miss you one day and act like they aren't bothered the next? Especially as we have known each other for so long. He is not normally good at expressing his feelings, he does it in a riddle-like-manner. I am frustated and confused. Do I cut him loose completely and move on, or hang on incase this could be something amazing, after so long. Any suggestions. We are both very free spirited, although this is by no means an open relationship, according to him. Any advice would be great. :0(

    • profile image

      Tea 

      6 years ago

      Mine is an odd one...my bf made an off color comment about my family a few days ago. I called him on it, he apologized up and down but then insisted that I take some time to think - he offered ME space. I took a day at his insistence and came back to let him know what I had decided. He didn't even reply to my message and has been cold to me ever since. He messages in the morning to check up like a bf would but blows me off around 5pm every night. The next morning he apologizes and gives an excuse for disappearing. I've found that the only way he will even carry on a conversation with me is if I act super happy and busy - like I have tons and tons of stuff going on. Then he gets nosey and asks me if I'm hanging out guys or girls. Please tell me - is he braking up with me and being a coward about it? Or is he just taking some time off?

    • profile image

      Genie 

      6 years ago

      Im goin thru somin like tht I feel like hes cheatin cause I went frm c n him 3 times a week to maybe twice a month he use to call b for he go to wrk while he at wrk whn he get off all the way to his house but all tht.hve change we do hve a 9 month so whn he call it just b about the baby I haven't answered his call in4 days I need advice I dnt hve.a email so please respond back

    • profile image

      Worried girlfriend 

      6 years ago

      It says in your article that he might be cheating. It scares the hell out of me! I try not to think about it but it makes me nuts!

    • profile image

      a crazy girlfriend! 

      6 years ago

      all the things you said where "no-no,s" i have done! arhhh this opened my eyes!!

    • profile image

      xxmaishaxx 

      6 years ago from hudderfield united kingdom

      hi i liked your hub really interesting i found myself able to connect and relate to the question ... Are you being too needy/demanding/clingy? if im being honest me and my partner have been together nearly 3 years now and sometimes i don't know if it's a relationship we have or a friends with benefits relationship the reason im saying this is because when we first got together if was great for the first few months or so as everyone was so happy for the both of us but as time went by people then stated the ball of rumors going by saying things for example i was trying to reap him with a child and that he's a player and so on ............ i sometimes think to myself what should i do because when were alone it's the best feeling ever but the when his friends (BOYS) get in contact he seems to put them before me and some of them in the past have tried leading him a stray ......… he's a really nicer guy don't get me wrong but he doesn't. always treat me the way he knows he should for example he expects me to stop what im doing for example if he calls me and wants me to go to his house he then expects me to be down at his within 20 mins or so of him calling me and he apparently he tells people that he doesn't do girlfriend's but if that was the case would he get paranoid and always want to know were i am who im with and who comes and goes to my house .............. please please help or advise me as im now tried of feeling emotionally confused and blackmailed as i want to move on and find someone new but he's making it really hard as ive tried before and it doesn't seem to work as in the past ive been at the point of happiness and he's the taken it from under me by acting how he always does when were alone .......... if you could get back to me i would really appreciate it ... if u want to contact me by e-mail . my address is bibyangel2k8@msn.com

    • profile image

      mary 

      6 years ago

      When you stretch a rubber band it puts pressure on it and it can snap. However, if you don't pressurise it it will never break. Relationships are like rubber bands! Also, I often find if you distance yourself from your boyfriend that he begins to wonder what is wrong and makes much more of an effort to communicate with you.

    • profile image

      dan 

      7 years ago

      as a guy i have to say i have been distant before, my advice is to try and start conversions with him, asking how he feels. us cavemen have feelers to, we just hide them. most men are very insecure and sensitive. tell him you love him and your here for him. also stroke his ego a little bit. ask him what's wrong and see if he will tell you, if not don't ask again for a while. most likely he will tell you after a few days when he is not in as bad of mood. if any of you have advice about a distant girlfriend im in desperate need of help. i love her with all my heart and i don't want to loose her. my email is riker9@hotmail.com

    • charkamman profile image

      charkamman 

      7 years ago from portugal

      I read this Hub too late, made all the mistakes.. Luckily he is still talking to me, I might get another chance to put it right...Who knows.

    • RecoverToday profile image

      RecoverToday 

      8 years ago from United States

      Very good advice. Especially about going with your gut feeling. Sometimes it's not what we want to hear, but the truth can hurt. That 'distance' could mean they are covering something up if you have reason to believe he may not be honest. Watch the one who tells 'half-truths'. Then there is the one who has holes in his story. But it's not always bad news either. Whatever way you look at it, going with a gut feeling is a good thing.

    • Sa Toya profile imageAUTHOR

      Sa Toya 

      8 years ago from England

      @ Fish girl...If a guy has no time for yo for months and months...it's definitely not worth it, unless he's absolutely amazing and there is a guarantee it will get better soon. Unlikely right?! So I guess my advice would be to move on!

      Totally agreeing that it's not worth it, if the only time you have together, he is a grumpy so and so. You get nothing out of being with him.

      Thanks for stopping by nonetheless. Not sure if you were speaking about your present situation or a past one but good luck :D

    • Sa Toya profile imageAUTHOR

      Sa Toya 

      8 years ago from England

      @Cheeky Girl...lol at your boss, I do love football. I love how different we are from men but sometimes being more similar would help!

    • profile image

      Fishgirl 

      8 years ago

      Any ideas how to cope when your boyfriend is so busy and stressed with work he just has no time for you for months and months? He tried finding time once a week but was always so grumpy and antisocial it's just not worth it.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Womwn think differently from men. We network and discuss everything more than men. Except for sports. My boss never stops talking about football. Great hub!

    • Sa Toya profile imageAUTHOR

      Sa Toya 

      8 years ago from England

      totally agree with you here...us women over analyse. Most guys I know sometimes get quiet just because or for no reason. thanks for stopping by :D

    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Hello Sa Toya it is always nice to read your hubs. I think I always say this but you always seem so wise beyond your years and you have given some great advice to your friend, however having said that, men are just not that complicated...just like the movie "He's not that into you", most of the time when they do act like this, they are ready to go but who knows I am not an expert but I do have some experience with men and sometimes us women over anaylize things to death when men just act the way they do because it comes naturally to them to be indifferent when they are not interested anymore. Good hub.

    • Sa Toya profile imageAUTHOR

      Sa Toya 

      8 years ago from England

      :D cheers Cags!

      I agree honesty, trust and openness is a must for any relationship. It can be tough sometimes being a 'go to' but I do love my friends :)

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 

      8 years ago from USA or America

      I liked your hub. It's always to have a firm grasp on the relationship and where each one of the relationship wants it to go. The distance being created by very little contact is apparently how he wants it and not her, so there is a conflict. This needs to be discussed between them, openly and honestly, so as to strengthen the relationship. Should one not be honest about their feelings about the relationship, then everything else isn't going to make sense and will only cause more confusion. Thank you for sharing how people come to you for advice. It's always going to be like that, because we depend on one another for support and honesty. :)

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