I can’t ‘get a single emotion out of him’

Contemplating a breakup? A crush? A divorce? Getting back in an app? What's on your mind? Send a letter to [email protected] or fill out this form.

Hello Meredith,

I need your help.

I'm a 26-year-old woman and have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for over three years. At the beginning, he was very attentive, vulnerable, and sweet. Now I feel like I can't even get a single emotion out of him. I feel alone a lot and it has a lot to do with the fact that I feel like I can't be open with him anymore. It seems that any feelings I do share go in one ear and out the other.

When I try to sit down with him to have an honest conversation about our relationship, he almost seems antsy and like he wants the conversation to be over as soon as possible. I have always been a hopeless romantic type and have imagined my partner being open, sweet, and thoughtful. I feel like I'm stuck in this relationship. I would hate to break his heart, but, if things don't get better, am I willing to make myself seriously unhappy forever because of how it might affect him? Please help.

– Alone and Confused

It sounds like this is a good time for couples therapy. Why? Because he's antsy about talking and you have questions. A third party might be able to manage the conversation so that you both get what you need.

A therapist/counselor might also be able to figure out whether he's disconnected from other parts of his life, too. How long was your boyfriend vulnerable, sweet, and engaged before he became distant? Has he been checked out emotionally for six months? A year? More?

I'm wondering whether he might be having his own mental health issues, something that might come up if you see a professional together. Ask him to join you for an appointment. Wait lists can be long (hop on them as soon as possible), and if you can't find an open appointment in your area, the app space for this is booming. Do some research.

Please know that if he tells you he's OK with things as they are, this isn't the relationship for you. You're not stuck in it, and yes, leaving him might break his heart, but a breakup could be the biggest step toward real happiness for both of you. There are a lot of people out there who might better match your communication style, love languages, or whatever you want to call what you're missing.

But first, ask about counseling. Keep the conversation short. Tell him that the therapy time is designed to minimize these other uncomfortable attempts at conversation.

When you say "I can't even get a single emotion out of him," I think it's time for some help.

– Meredith

Readers? Is something else going on here with him? How will the LW know when to walk?