Dear B. Scott,
I’m having trouble talking to my boyfriend. Our relationship is fine, but ever since things haven’t been right with his job he’s become hard to talk to. He’s not mean or aggressive, but distant and depressed acting.
Every time I ask him what’s wrong, he says he’s fine and that he just needs his space, but we’ve been together for 5 years and I know he’s not fine. I know he worried about his finances and we do a pretty good job of splitting the bills, but he's having some challenges at work and I’ve been taking care of the heavy stuff. It doesn’t bother me at all, but he won’t let me in and tell me what’s going on. I’m starting to get worried.
Dear Love Muffin,
There’s a period in every relationship where it comes time to put pride aside and have real conversations -- but that isn’t always easy.
If he’s dealing with personal issues that he’s not quite comfortable talking about, the best thing you can do is let him know that you’re there for him if and when he does decide to open up.
Unfortunately you can’t force a conversation to happen, but what you can do is be prepared for whatever conversation does happen.
In my experience, I’ve learned that men can be extremely prideful -- especially when it comes to finances and taking care of their household. It’s probably much harder for him to open up and come to terms with his current situation than what he’s letting on.
However, if you truly feel that he’s depressed then you should encourage him to talk to a therapist that can determine if he in fact is clinically depressed and seek appropriate treatment. WebMD has some excellent resources available if you’re not sure where to start.
Like you said, you’ve been together 5 years. You know him well enough to know if something serious is going on or if he’s just in a little funk -- and if he’s in a funk, he’ll come out of it...eventually.