I’ve been going out with my boyfriend for just over a year, but recently I haven’t been happy with the relationship. He never talks about anything personal, like whats going on in his life or any problems he has, I don’t know how to get him to open up. I’d really like to know how he feels about our relationship. I did try talking to him, he said he wanted the relationship to continue and he’s been making an effort to see me more. But recently he cancelled on me to go climbing with a girl who’s just a ‘good friend’ of his. Which seems a backward step. I’m not worried he’ll actually cheat, but I am worried he’s interested in this girl, especially if he feels he can talk to her? So the two problem seem interlinked. Should I try talking to him (and how!?) or should I just cut and run? I like him but I don’t want to feel so jealous and frustrated!
It would be a pity to cut and run before or without trying to sort this out. I have to say, however, that it’s absolutely impossible for anyone to change another person’s behaviour or beliefs. Oh sure, you can lock the door or chain him to the radiator but in essence, the only person who can make changes is the person themselves.
That’s not bad news though; it means you have to look at tactics, and also what is really going on. What you can most certainly do is make some changes yourself and in yourself, and by doing so affect what he does.
Okay – so at present you seem to be saying that he doesn’t go in for the touchy feely emotional stuff and you don’t feel you know how he feels, although he has said he wants to go on seeing you.
For a start, no-one ever felt comfortable in opening up when asked questions. Especially to men, it feels like being badgered and interrogated, and asked to make yourself vulnerable. What works best is for you to take a lead, and to ‘model’ what you want back. That is, for you to talk and be open about your own feelings and needs. You say you talked ‘to’ him but be honest – were you talking ‘at’ him or ‘with’ him?
And look at what you do together. You say he cancelled to go climbing with a friend. Maybe he feels more comfortable with her because she doesn’t make demands. Maybe it’s simply that they share a hobby. Could you join in and ask to be introduced to their world? If you feel jealous and frustrated it’s more than possible that you’re making yourself so, not that he’s doing it too you.