Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for 8 months pretty seriously. He started a new job a week or so ago, and got a new game system. Ever since then I feel he cares less about me and isn't interested in our relationship. He's always tired and just wants to play video games. He also seems very distant lately, and it really hurts me. I have tried telling him he has been acting different but he doesn't believe it, and gets angry when I keep bringing it up. I think I may be overreacting, but I am still worried he's not interested in me anymore. I just don't know what to do.
A: First of all, let me reassure you that what you are going through happens in most long term relationships. Although it may not make you feel better right now, it is important to know that you are not alone in your frustrations, trying to figure out why your relationship may have changed and whether or not it means the end is near (which, by the way, it probably isn`t).
But what you really want to know is: is he still interested? So let's delve right into your question.
After a certain period of time (usually within the first year) one or both partners realize that all of their free time doesn't necessarily need to be spent with their boyfriend or girlfriend. They have become comfortable and feel secure in the relationship (both good things) and are moving back towards the kind of person they normally are when not actively pursuing a relationship. Let's face it: a new relationship is hard work, and oftentimes singles throw a lot of their normal escapes out the window - temporarily - until they know what they've got isn't going away anytime soon.
Where the problems start however, is when one person in the relationship is still expecting this heightened level of new relationship interaction after a longer period of time. Your boyfriend doesn't think anything is wrong, because to him, what he`s doing is normal when he`s comfortable with someone. As well, he may be needing a bit more time to himself than previously to work out how he really feels about you. Eight months is a long time, and he`s probably wondering where things are going, just as you are. Problem is, he most likely needs some space from you to figure it out.
If still you think your boyfriend isn't interested, here's what I suggest you do:
- Focus on yourself for a while. Don`t worry about what your boyfriend is doing, whether that's working a lot or playing video games nonstop. Think about the people and activities you've left by the wayside temporarily while the two of you were forging your relationship, and slowly start incorporating them back into your life.
- Take a look at your relationship expectations during your time away from your partner. A quick review may show you that your needs have changed, and a discussion is required with your partner. Alternatively, you may find that yes, your expectations have become unrealistic.
- Avoid calling, emailing, or otherwise contacting your boyfriend in any way for a week. Give him some space and time. In fact, if you are able, avoid contacting him until he makes contact with you first. Fill your life and time with other things that aren't related to your boyfriend, and see just how long it takes him to miss you. If your relationship is going anywhere, he will call you soon enough, and the two of you can reconnect lovingly. If, however, he does not make contact within a predetermined amount of time (say, a month), you will know that the relationship is over.
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