Dear Swoonie B,
My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year, which has been the best year of my life (as far as i know). Well we go to different schools and are both very involved in sports and school activities which makes it hard to see each other. During this quarantine it is especially hard. Since we haven't seen each other in over a week things are kind of tense. He won't really talk to me much and I always check in on him to make sure he is doing well and to just see how he is, ya know being a girlfriend. Well apparently that is driving him crazy and I don't understand how. I'm not being controling or clingy, i'm just checking in on him. While this is happening, I also have noticed how he just doesn't really care anymore. I'll leave him paragraphs of sweet love letters to wake up to and I encourage him throughout his day but I just don't get it in return. I love him with all of me and I obviously care about him a lot. Also, I've compared how he talked to me before all of this has happened. He was so sweet and caring, texting me a lot and telling me he loves me and just making sure everything is OK but he doesn't do that anymore. All he says is "I love you," which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him. He is a little stressed at home with trying to find another job to pay for his car, constantly having to do things for his mom, being responsible for his siblings, and managing school. I know thats a lot but im doing a lot too right now and going through a lot of the same stuff he is but It seems to me he just does not care and i don't know what to do. Please help me or give me some advice on what to say, what not to say, what to do, what not to do. Anything at this point will help. Thank you!
If I had a dollar for every time I heard "these are unprecedented times," I'd be rich. But that's because it's true!
Not only is the world dealing with coronavirus (COVID-19) for the first time, but you and your boyfriend are also going through something that's unlike anything you've ever been through. Because of this, it is so important that you don't compare the current state of your relationship to the relationship you had when things were "normal."
Everyone is in survival mode right now, to be frank, and some people are coping better than others.
I'm going to be very honest here: I can relate to your boyfriend in this situation. I say this because, personally, the absolute last thing I want to do every day in quarantine is answer questions like "How are you?" or "What's up?" or "What did you do today?"
Why? Because the sad reality of the moment is that being asked how I am reminds me of how much better I could be right now, being asked what I'm up to reminds me that I haven't done anything with friends in months, and being asked what I did today makes me feel like I should have been more productive than I was. And I know I am not the only one who has been avoiding these conversations — your boyfriend sounds like he has too.
That said, you sound like an amazing girlfriend and I want to emphasize that you have done nothing wrong by asking him these questions or continuing to send him sweet love texts because you care.
At the same time, though, it's extremely important for you to understand it's also OK for him to feel "off" and not want to talk about certain things and it is not necessarily a reflection on your relationship.
So when he says it drives him crazy, respect those boundaries. Give him a little more breathing room because being quarantined (especially if he's having a stressful time at home) can feel suffocating as-is. Sometimes people just need to disconnect from the questions, texts, phone calls and just be. And that is more than OK.
Here are some tips I have for you:
1. Don't force conversations.
Skip the how-are-yous and what-did-you-do-todays. The truth of the matter is these answers aren't ever what we want them to be while we're quarantined. Instead, give him some space and wait for conversations to happen naturally without forcing them with a "hi!" This will not only be good for him and for your own mental health but also your relationship.
Reminder: you don't have to be texting 24/7 and sending a good morning and good night text every single day in order to be in a healthy relationship. Sticking to conversations that happen naturally will be much more fulfilling than having meaningless conversations where he's not giving as much effort as you are.
2. Ask him what he needs and tell him what you need.
Next time you and your boyfriend hang out or talk on the phone, tell him you know things have been a little different between you two because of quarantine and emphasize that you understand. Then tell him you want to make sure you're there for him without driving him crazy. Ask him what you can do to strike that balance!
At the same time, this is not all about him. You both have to bend a little to give the other person what they need at this time. If you want to make it work, finding a common ground you can both be happy with is key.
3. Put more space in between your texts, phone calls, and visits.
Again, things are scary and it's natural to change with the times. That doesn't mean things won't go back to normal once you and your boyfriend are back to a regular routine.
4. Be open.
As I mentioned earlier, your feelings are just as important as his. While it does sound like you are handling these changes better than he is, you still have to look out for yourself. Communication shouldn't stop just because you're talking or seeing each other less. In fact, communication is more important now than ever.
While you might chat less frequently, make sure you're sharing everything you need to when you do talk and make the most of these conversations so you come away feeling positive and happy.
5. Make plans.
Things can get lost in translation via text, especially during these trying times. Instead of trying to get him to respond to your messages, make actual plans to have virtual dates or dates that'll make you feel closer despite the social distance.
In the meantime, show yourself some self-love.
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