Boyfriend Acting Weird
September 14, 2009 7:33 PM   Subscribe

Boyfriend acting different all of a sudden?

Me and my boyfriend have been together for 7 months. We love each other very much ( Ive never doubted that ) and were getting to the point where we can tell each other pretty much anything. I know that guys are entirely different than girls in alot of ways, and i often have trouble with that fact when he says something i think is mean or insensitive, which 95% of the time is me taking things personally and he didn't mean what i thought he did. On the other hand, I wish he could understand me more sometimes. I also know that relationships change at about the 6th month, where the initial attraction goes away and in this case, we are realizing that we dont have absolutely everything in common and handle our problems in much different ways. I like to talk about things, to let steam off, and he likes to keep it inside except for telling me maybe the main issue. He never says how he feels about it, says hes fine, but then acts weird and down the rest off the day. Today, I asked him if he wanted to hang out and go somewhere tomorrow because I'm getting my license and i want to celebrate my "freedom". He said he couldn't, that he had tutorials. I asked him what he was doing after and he just said stuff and that he couldn't hang out. I knew something was up, just by how vague he was being. I asked him what was up and he just said he didnt want to hang out with me. He's never really acted like this before, and i asked him if it was about me and he said he just doesnt want to hang out. Earlier today was fine: he seemed happy like nothing was wrong, and it was just like any other day. My best friend (guy) told me that i shouldn't take it personally, that guys just need time to themselves sometimes. Hes never been wrong before about a situation, and I believe him. I just need some insight on the way hes acting all so sudden, when i never did anything wrong. More important, i need help and advice on how to understand my boyfriend better and vice versa. I know it should seem simple but i need help
posted by xopaigexo to Human Relations (30 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your boyfriend wants some time to himself. This is common, and adolescents are not good at expressing it clearly. Don't freak out.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:36 PM on September 14, 2009

My guess is he wants some quiet time.
posted by bondcliff at 7:38 PM on September 14, 2009

Is this the same boyfriend here?
posted by jbenben at 7:41 PM on September 14, 2009

Yeah, look, we guys are a fairly simple bunch. We pretty much say what we mean with no hidden messages or subtext, and if we don't say anything its because we don't want to say anything. It's probably not about you because if it was he probably would have just said no. If he dosen't want to hang out then that's probably true.

I once read a humorous quip somewhere that said if you want someone to just listen to your problem, speak to a woman but if you want a solution to your problem, speak to a guy. Not universally true, but there's some truth to that, I think. I meantion this because usually if we blokes don't want to say something, it's because we're worried about something important in our lives and we're brooding and/or working the problem out in our heads. Once we're over it or have a way to fix it, we'll often start talking again.

Best advice I can give you is to give him his space, listen and be there for him if he does want to talk about his problem and otherwise just generally wait for it to blow over.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:42 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Same boyfriend? If so, he's acting out now what he tried to express earlier. It's normal for both guys and girls to act weird when they can't get out what they mean in words.

He might be going back and forth between everything wanting to be OK and feeling like everything is not OK and wanting out of the relationship. This, unfortunately, is normal behavior in men and women (and people older than you!). I've done it when I want to go back to how things felt before, but I just can't make it happen.

If I were you, I'd ask him if he wants a little space from you; be ready to hear something that's hurtful once you've asked him to be honest. Remember honesty is the best thing for any relationship, whether it's a friendship, a romance, or whoever. Spend time with your other friends (it sounds like you have some good ones) and find ways to celebrate your freedom without anyone bringing you down.

(P.S. You probably aren't overreacting to "mean and insensitive" comments "95%" of the time. With a lot of relationships, things like that are usually closer to 50/50. Don't be so hard on yourself!)
posted by motsque at 7:42 PM on September 14, 2009 [5 favorites]

Give him some space and let him know that's cool. He'll respect you for that.
posted by xammerboy at 7:43 PM on September 14, 2009

which 95% of the time is me taking things personally and he didn't mean what i thought he did

You're overreacting. Sit back and relax, he'll come around. If you pester him about it, it'll just make things worse. He'll open up to you if it's a serious matter.
Let him be.
posted by nikkorizz at 7:44 PM on September 14, 2009

Yeah, look, we guys are a fairly simple bunch. We pretty much say what we mean with no hidden messages or subtext, and if we don't say anything its because we don't want to say anything.

Yes, and we're all wondering when George is going to take us to see the rabbits. Come the fuck on.

I am a man and I have felt the urge to tell someone I cared about I needed "alone time" without any further explanation. Granted I am a little older than the guy in question but I would never be that rude to someone unless I felt they really really deserved it, and even then I would try to give a better explanation.

It's hard to say what's going on, but the best way to find out anything is to ask directly. It may be awkward, you may not like the answer, but anything is better than suspense.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:47 PM on September 14, 2009 [4 favorites]

oops "have *NEVER* felt"
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:48 PM on September 14, 2009

It's not just guys who need time to themselves every now and then. I know plenty of women who are the exact same way.

No one here can say for sure what's going on in your boyfriend's head, but it sounds to me like he just needs some individual time and isn't sure of how to express that to you. If he's anything like most of the introverts that I know, the fact that he wants personal time for himself has everything to do with HIM and nothing to do with you. However, I can certainly understand why you might want to take it personally, since it sort of feels like he's rejecting you.

My advice is to give him some space, and let him know that you're there if he needs anything. Keeping the lines of communication open with him will be the best way for you to get the answers that you need.
posted by sabira at 7:48 PM on September 14, 2009

Your friend is right, everyone needs some time to themselves, once in a while. He has tutorials, he had a few other things to take care of afterward, he wants some time to himself, and though he did not mention this, it is a school night. None of those things indicate dissatisfaction with you or the relationship. I can't tell if he became agitated or annoyed with you during your conversation, but if he did, it sounds like you thought there was a deeper issue and might have made this a bigger thing than it was. That would probably be very frustrating and lead to some tension between the two of you.

He probably could have explained himself better, but in the future, trust that what he says is what is really going on, and think about his actions in the context of the entire relationship, not aberrations when you might want different things. Also, I'm sure there are times he has wanted to do something, and you have been busy or not to keen on whatever he suggested. Maybe keeping that in mind will ease any concerns you may have when the same is true for him. Lastly, congrats on your license! A beautiful drive on a sunny day with your favorite music playing is a great way to make yourself feel better about pretty much anything, including confusing boyfriends.
posted by katemcd at 7:56 PM on September 14, 2009


Just for a little while.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:12 PM on September 14, 2009

Considering your other post, he is probably hanging out with another girl. Hence the secrecy.
posted by kathrineg at 8:16 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

What happened after he said he wanted to be friends and missed being single? It doesn't sound like he's changed his mind. If he's not spending enough time with you to make you happy, you can probably find someone else who can. Or just cut him loose and not spend so much time worrying about him and what he might be thinking.
posted by amethysts at 8:19 PM on September 14, 2009

Given the other post, I don't see how this is "all of a sudden."
posted by rokusan at 8:26 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]

My suggestion is that you try to talk to him, rather than idly speculate and possibly get alarmed about nothing. Most of the time men wish that women would ask them questions, as opposed to getting suspicious about some completely trivial or nonexistent problem.
posted by Aanidaani at 8:36 PM on September 14, 2009

I forgot to add! Me and him did break up a few weeks ago, and got back together within hours of the break up( older post). We broke up so we could figure out some things for ourselves, about how our relationship seemed more of a friendship, and see how we could fix it. We got back together because we realized that breaking up wouldn't solve anything and that his wanting to have more time for himself wasn't worth losing me and etc. Everything has been good ever since, and we have appreciated each other more in general since. I just thought i should clear that up since ppl have been referring to that post =)
posted by xopaigexo at 8:45 PM on September 14, 2009

Here's a good rule of thumb when it comes to relationships, particularly what appears to be a high school relationship.

If your relationship is barely 6 months old and you find you need to ask multiple Ask Metafilter questions in the space of only a few weeks because it seems to be on the rocks, the relationship is probably on the rocks. It sounds like your boyfriend really wants some time to himself. Whether this is because he's pulling away or because you're acting really clingy I can't say for sure. But either is problematic for your relationship.

My advice would be to chill a bit. You guys are really young and you're probably not so good at calibrating your sense of how the relationship is doing yet so just relax and see what happens over the next couple weeks. But I can't emphasize this enough: try to remain calm. Drama is not the basis for a good relationship. You might mistake it for passion for a while, but in the long run it just sucks you dry.
posted by Justinian at 8:51 PM on September 14, 2009 [10 favorites]

What motsque said above. Looked at your previous question too; please break up your question every 5-6 lines and start capitalizing 'i' when referring to yourself- I find it difficult to concentrate on content when conventions aren't followed.

Does he have his license yet? Could have something to do with his response to you. Good luck (if you still have the test to do) and congratulations (if you've already got it or when you do). Having that freedom and independence feels incredible.
posted by variella at 8:54 PM on September 14, 2009

Ah! There ya go. Some clarification;)

OK. I notice a few things, I hope I reference them respectfully, as I am not attempting to turn you "off" my overall points with any lack of diplomacy.

1. You're awfully young to be feeling so seriously about a romantic relationship -- any chance you could back off that a little bit?

I read both posts and all answers. You are in school with this guy. That's a lot to risk if/when things go badly between you because you'll still have to see him everyday. You might be setting yourself up for some real heartache (I know, I might be a little late to that party) and I hope you can, I dunno, get your feet back under yourself?

The way you speak about this relationship is suspiciously the way co-habitating adults speak about their significant other's. If I had to guess, I'd say you are putting way way too much weight upon this fledgling relationship. It would be preferable (for him and the safety of your heart) if you were just hanging out having fun, etc.

I mean well. I hope you can "get" the kernel of wisdom I'm attempting to impart here:)

2. You talk about your best friend a lot.

This is either great (yay! you have a trustworthy friend!) or potential issues for a few reasons. (maybe you're creating some jealousy w/ the bf by flaunting your bff? Only you know.) Mostly, it seems like your best friend is more reliable than boyfriend. See #1 above, and maybe stick with what is more solid in terms of where you put the bulk of your emotional energy. Think about the this, please.

3. kathring may be totally right.

I didn't favorite her answer earlier because... ouch! Yes? But interest in another party was my first guess for both posts. If not someone else, than maybe there's something else he's more focused on? I can see the bf getting back together with you temporarily, just to "do the right thing" or whatever. But ultimately, this is heading where it will end up.

Justinian, above, nails it.


Keep in mind most of answers are by folks who have already walked in your shoes and have perspective. Think about how you want to remember this incident in 10 years (fondly, as learning experiences go... or not at all because you've totally moved on!) and proceed accordingly.

In other words -- you have a full school year ahead of you. Is this really where you want to spend your energy?

Start making serious plans to have a great life and speed-bump this drama.

posted by jbenben at 9:33 PM on September 14, 2009

Oops. "kathrineg" !!
posted by jbenben at 9:37 PM on September 14, 2009

Me and him did break up a few weeks ago, and got back together within hours of the break up( older post). We broke up so we could figure out some things for ourselves...

So you broke up, for mere "hours", and have everything figured out now? come and go. You're young. I guarantee you're not going to marry this guy and settle down with him. I doubt you're even going to see out the year with him. He's experience. He's just a book. Read him, learn from him, reflect on him, and move on to the next one.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:40 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]

Yeah.. I hate to be harsh, but it sounds like he has something else cooking on the stove, if you know what I mean, and has no idea how to deal with it gracefully. Breaking off with someone you have an emotional attachment to is hard as hell -- even for adults, even if it goes to shit, even if you have someone else lined up.

General rule of thumb is to believe what people tell you. If he has already told you he wanted to just be friends, and is now telling you he doesn't want to hang out but isn't providing a coherent reason for it.. there's a roughly 99.5% chance he just wants to be friends like he said in the first place. You're learning that when relationships go sour, people don't behave rationally. They feel bad, have doubts, feel guilty, etc. You can totally convince someone they're making a mistake at this time, and the best of us will try to do this when we're being dumped, which is why people break up/make up multiple times. This can drag on for a long time, but it's all downhill. I promise you can do better than that.

This is probably advice you won't take, but for what it's worth: you should just tell him "that's cool" and date other people. Maybe he'll even come around when he realizes he made a mistake. Or not. But either way, you'll be able to deal with that better if your options are open.
posted by cj_ at 4:25 AM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm assuming you're both teenagers because you mention getting your driver's license, and, frankly, you're both acting like teenagers.

I am really, seriously, not being patronizing when I say this. This would have been a Big Deal to me too. I probably would not have listened to this advice, especially if someone prefaced it with "when I was your age blah blah blah."

But both of you are being flooded with hormones, your brains are changing, and your behavior is sometimes inexplicable, even to yourselves. He probably doesn't know why he's doing what he does. This is temporary. You will get through all this and you will see that this dude is but a blip in your long life. You will most likely forget this guy, date a bunch of others, and eventually find one with whom you're truly compatible.

tl;dr: Don't worry about this guy's behavior; life is too short. Go out and have fun.
posted by desjardins at 9:48 AM on September 15, 2009

He wants time to himself. I would also be willing to bet money that he still wants the relationship to be over, he's just scared--as many people are--of actually doing it.

Give. Him. Space.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:01 AM on September 15, 2009

I'm an introverted guy married to an extroverted woman. I'm coming more from the introvert/extrovert angle than from the male/female one (so this won't apply if your boyfriend isn't an introvert).

Although my wife knows I'm an introvert, I once really confused her when we were out socializing: she asked me to go to a bar with her. I said, "Sure, but can we leave by ten?" She would have liked to have stayed longer, but she agreed.

So we went, and -- though this isn't the usually the case with me -- I had a really good time. I got into a poker game and had a blast. At about 9:45, even though the game was still going on, I walked over to my wife and said, "Just a reminder: we agreed to leave at ten."

She got upset because she thought I was just stubbornly sticking to a rule for no reason. I didn't understand why she was upset, since we had agreed, but later, after thinking about it, I got it. From her point of view, I was having a great time, so why would I want to go home just because I'd arbitrarily said, "can we leave by ten?"

I wasn't being stubborn. The best analogy I can come up with was that I was happy but full, just as you can be too full to eat another piece of cake but still enjoy thinking about the piece you just ate.

In my wife's mind -- and my guess is most extroverts think this way -- the reason I want to leave social events is because I don't enjoy them. That is often true, but it isn't always true. I am capable of having a good time at a party or bar. But after a while, I will want to go even if I AM having a good time. I get socially gorged, and I know I'll get a social stomach ache if I eat any more socializing. BUT if I leave now, I'll leave with a happy glow.

When an introvert needs alone time, it doesn't always mean that something is wrong. We need time to recharge. We get exhausted by socializing -- even if it's fun. (If you're up late reading a novel and suddenly can't keep your eyes open, does it mean you dislike the novel? Does it mean "something is wrong?")

The agreement to leave at ten was VERY important to me, because it allowed me to relax while I was at the bar. It was part of the reason why I DID have fun. I knew that whether I wound up enjoying myself or not, I wouldn't be trapped there until 2am. It was important for me to stick to that structure, just so I could feel that it was a REAL structure.

Of course, your boyfriend might have other things going on. But if he's a typical introvert, he might have meant exactly what he said. He might just need recharge time. If you give it to him -- and if you make it clear to him that you respect his need -- he'll love and trust you all the more.
posted by grumblebee at 11:31 AM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

Look at it this way: you've asked two questions about this guy in the span of what.. three weeks? You're bombarding the hivemind with silly, mundane questions about your high school relationship, I can't even fathom how much effort you're trying to put towards this relationship.

And by effort I mean you're likely spending every waking moment with this guy, foaming at the mouth talking about things he probably doesn't care about, calling him asking him where he is or gushing to all of your girlfriends and his dudes about him.

But you know what, I was a teenage girl once. I get that. The first boyfriend I was super into (as in had an absolutely huge crush on before we started dating and it was his friends that hooked us up) and inundated with my *SQUEE!!!! OMG UR SO CUTE!!* crap kicked me to the curb two weeks later. I was absolutely devastated for even up to a year after it happened, but looking back at it I laugh. Man I was annoying. He only went out with me because he didn't want to make things awkward and he was a chill enough dude to try us out.

Like my ex (although in short-term relationships like that I like to call them "temps"), your guy doesn't want a high maintenance girlfriend. You're probably being a high maintenance girlfriend. Fortunately, this is easy to change if that's not the kind of person you want to be.

He's trying to tell you without hurting you (as you are obviously very emotional and he realizes this) that he just wants to be friends. It is not a bad thing. Some of the best friendships I had in high school were ex-boyfriends or flings that just weren't gonna work out. Being able to both get over that and say "Hey, we're still good people, we still like each other," is both awesome for you and puts you ahead of the crowd as far as high school relationship drama crap is concerned.

Like the kids say: relax your balls / checkity-check yourself before you wreckity-wreck yourself / etc.
posted by june made him a gemini at 3:10 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Breaking up for hours is not really breaking up. It's having a dramatic fight and then making up.

That said, when I was in high school and dating guys that I had been friends with, it always seemd to me like they were too afraid of being a big meanie and having me (or you) explode at them if they just flat out broke up with me (or you).

I think your boyfriend wants to break up with you, but does not hate you and want you to freak out and hate him. He wants to be friends with you. I think you need to talk to him about this and ask him point blank if he'd rather break up and go back to being friends. his distance is not a good sign for wanting to continue in a romantic relationship.

Now if he wants to be friends, and that is painful for you right now, realize that you do have the right to say that at some point in the future you would love to have his friendship back, but until you are ready you will need to distance yourself from him, both emotionally and physically (change you seat in history class!).
posted by WeekendJen at 11:34 AM on September 16, 2009

I probably should of titled this "HOW ME AND MY BOYFRIEND CAN LEARN TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER". I knew the answer to WHY he was being so weird, but i wanted some insight on it, and how to prevent something like me taking things personally in the future and how to understand things from his point of view.
Yes, he was acting weird that moment, saying he didnt want to hang out, which isnt like him, but later that night was saying that he would see if he could do anything the next day, and kind of apoligized for earlier. When hes ever being a butt he will recognize it and be extra sweet ive noticed that its his way of apoligizing. We didnt end up hanging out the next day, but today we did for a little bit (school night ehh) and things went great. He is not distancing himself from me, as one person said it. We are very affectionate. I just want people to see that he's not a cold fish. He's a very sweet, very introverted guy ( i shouldve mentioned the introvreted part earlier )
I know we broke up a few weeks ago for us seeming like friends and him needing some time for himself, and i know the whole "space issue" is a possible repeating factor for these two posts, but we have gotten better since we have broken up and reconciled-we give each other more space when we need it, and appreciate each other a little more as a couple, which i feel is the reason we felt like friends for a few weeks before. Every couple has their weakness, something they need to work on, and for us it's understanding each other more. I need help on how i can be an understanding girlfriend, because the reason for about 99% of our issues weve ever had is from misinterpretation of something one of us said or did that turned into something bigger than it shouldve been. I thank everyone for their insight and advice, i just felt there were a few important things i left out
posted by xopaigexo at 4:36 PM on September 16, 2009

Honestly, what you're misinterpreting is his objectives when it comes to what he wants from you. It seems abundantly clear that he just wants to be friends.

You should ask him, point blank, what he wants. Promise him that no matter what he says you won't freak out--and this is important: keep that promise.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:13 AM on September 17, 2009

« Older To the (regexpmobile|globmobile) Robin!   |   What was this song I heard? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.