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When Your Boyfriend Keeps Pushing You Away

Here are a few ideas for how to respond when your boyfriend pushes you away – these tips are inspired by a reader who is struggling in her relationship.

“My boyfriend of 3 years has completely shut down on me,” says Cyndi in response to 5 Signs Your Boyfriend Is In Love With You. “How do I show him I care, when he won’t see or talk to me? This is the third summer this has happened accept this time it seems worse… [In the past] he mentioned that I was always there for him. In fact we talked for the first time in depth about his issues. He apologised and said that all that was behind him now. We had a lovely year, lots of loving and caring. He tells me how much I mean to him and I believe him. He was working hard in his career to build a future for us.”

Below, she describes more of her experience. You may see your own relationship here – and this may give you some ideas on how to respond when your boyfriend keeps pushing you away.

Cyndi goes on to say that her boyfriend’s episode of depression seems worse to her. “He does usually make some contact, but when he does the problem never gets mentioned. I really don’t know how to cope with this at the moment. Does he really love me; did he just think he did? Does he want me to be here for him or would he rather I just go because he believes he is no good for me? He has had a very troubled past…This seems to be the root of the depression. He told me that he has been hurt 3 or 4 times in the past, most likely because the women couldn’t take this behaviour. I want to be there for him. I love him very much and when things are ok, it’s wonderful.”

When Your Boyfriend Keeps Pushing You Away

Here are some of the questions you may have about your relationship:

  • What is he thinking?
  • How can I tell him how I feel if he won’t talk to me or see me?
  • Is he trying to forget me?
  • Does he really love me?
  • How does he feel about our relationship?

I have no answers to your questions, but I do think you should…

Stop trying to figure him out

All the questions you asked are about what your boyfriend is thinking, doing, and feeling. Those are impossible questions to answer – you’ll never know for sure what’s going on in his mind. People are very complicated, especially if they have emotional health issues that affect their thoughts and actions. I think you’re wasting your time and energy by trying to figure out why he keeps pushing you away and whether you can show him that you care.

Instead, I encourage you to focus on getting yourself as emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy as possible. Don’t drive yourself mad trying to figure him out, because you’ll never find the answers or any type of peace.

Do you believe he loves you, but he doesn’t know how to show it? Read How to Increase Emotional Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Accept your boyfriend for who he is

I think you need to accept that your boyfriend will always be in and out of your life, both emotionally and physically. He can’t sustain a healthy long-term love relationship without taking time away. I don’t know why that is or what he gets out of his time apart from you, but it’s something he needs to do. He is pushing you away, and I believe he does know that you care about him.

If you need to reassure yourself that he indeed knows you’re there for him, you might write him a note that says you’ll wait for him. However, I suspect you’ve made it clear for him. He’s pushing you away not because of YOU, but because of HIM.

boyfriend pushes me awayTo be happy in your relationship, you have to accept him on his terms. Your boyfriend has had some painful experiences in the past that have made him the way he is, and if I were you I’d assume that he won’t change. Change is difficult no matter how old you are – though a counselor once told me that older people (over age 65) are sometimes more eager to change than younger people, because older people realize that what they’re doing isn’t working for them anymore. I’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but it’s an interesting thought!

Accepting your boyfriend on his terms means that you stop trying to figure out his thoughts, motivations, and actions. You need to accept him at face value. Appreciate and love him when he’s in your life, and focus on having a happy, fulfilling life when he’s not around.

Accepting him this way means accepting that you’re in a relationship that involves an absent boyfriend for weeks or months out of every year. Is this something you’re willing to live with?

If you find yourself trying to control your boyfriend, read How to Stop Being a Controlling Girlfriend.

I welcome your thoughts on what to do when a boyfriend keeps pushing you away, but I can’t offer advice. You may find it helpful to share your experience, though. Writing often helps us figure out what we really think and how we really feel about life.

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12 thoughts on “When Your Boyfriend Keeps Pushing You Away”

  1. Mine is a question.when your boyfriend ,out of nowhere start pushing you away and doesn’t want to talk about what he’s going through and keeps saying he needs his time to heal and find himself and keeps ignoring you,but when i ask what he wantd he says he wants to be alone andi if i cant let him be that we should part ways.what am i supposed to do because i love him and sometimes i feel like im not good enough for him or that he realized he doesn’t love me .what should i do

  2. When I’m fighting with my boyfriend, he never listens of what I explain he always angry grumpy mad and pushing me away but I’m still love him and I don’t know how to make us happy I try to fix everything of problems he make or I make but he always broke that, I always forgive him of what he do to me big things small things I want he do back to me be nice listen to me I’m so sad and upset don’t know how to be happy again
    Please let me know if I can do anything to make me and him happy again



    1. He pushing me away all the time when he was angry he push his ex girlfriend away with his baby before too, because he say he always get grumpy all the time he can’t listen,
      When I explain something about us,
      He always think he right I’m wrong when I’m not he try to be like boss to me say I have to do this do that why I not do this do that all the time and when I say I do my best but for him he just think I’m not good enough when I try to be nice but his mind just think I do wrong or do bad I try to explain it not mean like you think he never listen he only listen to his brain and he always say broken with me and pushing me away tell me to go away when I say don’t let’s me go I not wanna go I want stay with you I love you he never listen and then when I’m gone like 1 week or 2 week he try to message me again and say he sorry he miss me he want me back he say forgive him of what he do bad to me and I’m still forgive him and forget and start new life with him again and always problem like that more then 10 time
      And now the problem come again and I talk to him to make the problem it finish and make friends again but he just try to push me away again maybe if I gone again he will ask me to be back again
      Now I don’t know what to do I have to gone for real but I can’t be strong I’m so weak 😔😔

      I want to talk with someone and help me think about it

  3. Sometimes a guy will push his girlfriend away because he doesn’t want to be in a relationship anymore, and he doesn’t know how to end it. Sometimes people act in ways that push others away so that the other person leaves. This way, the guy doesn’t have to be the “bad guy” and cause a breakup.

    I don’t know what’s happening in your relationship, or why your boyfriend is pushing you away. Do you think he wants to be out of the relationship, but doesn’t know how to break up? What makes you think a breakup will hurt him more than you?

  4. in the beginning of my relationship, he was so loving but eventually after a year it stopped. he says he stopped bc he feels like he doesn’t need to try for me anymore. i told him i missed him doing it and all he did was say sorry but nothing changes. for the past five months, he’s been pushing me away. he’s beginning to be a jerk and always saying i could do better. i love him dearly and explained to him that i won’t leave and help him out with what is going on. he talks about having his own time that he doesn’t get to have at all and tell him all he has to do is say no to whenever i ask to hangout. he has also said he hasn’t been happy lately and a part of me wants to believe it’s my fault. it’s december now and i can’t deal with it anymore. i don’t want to break up with him bc i know it will hurt us both but it will definitely hurt him more than me. i also know that if we were too, we would just end up back together. i need help bc i feel lost

  5. I am experiencing the exact same problems with my boyfriend and it was so comforting to hear someone going through a similar experience. I often try to pull them closer, but now I have learnt that it is best to let them do what they need to do, while continuing to love your life in a healthy way. They will eventually return.

    1. What if you find you self getting blamed for not being good enough physically mentally and can’t control your emotions and you get blamed for health not being good, and make comment like you have unattractive low self esteem, or insecure or clingy. U find your plartner is always unfaithful and has sex with others, or say you can’t communicate or get connected. My psychologist say my partner is in emotional pain and how there form of escape. But It hurts me very much I try to communicate and get connected it like his mind is other places and not with me. How do u feel if your partner say tonight I want to have sex with some else be ur unattractive or u have too many problems to have sex with you. And what let me ask questions or request any thing. How would u feel that 5-8 times a week ypu partner has sex with another and u don’t or can’t request and any intermacy :( how you u feel it that happens then your partner say come and sleep with me
      After being with someone else for 2-8 hours.
      One thing the other thing I get told I have no rights
      It’s not fair when u love, care and support for my partner in the beginning I even had cosmetic surgery to look better at my partner request. I could say mor

    1. Take that as an answer that he does not want to be involved in your life. He might have feelings for you but they are not strong enough to want to be in your life. Don’t wait for him to show up for you. Show up for yourself. Love yourself. Write yourself love notes and find a fulfilling life. You deserve to be treated better.

  6. Hello, i want an advice of what i should do when my boyfriend has problems of getting a good Job and he is depressed and is pushing me away from him. he doesnt talk to me or even cares about me anymore. what should i do i am wondering if he stills wants me in his life if he still loves me . I am so depressed and i dont know what to do. so If anyone can give me a good advice to help me understand the situation and act correctly .I believe that we should be in our lives especially at hard times but he is pushing me and that really hurts me so badly

    1. You’ve probably figured things out by now but for anyone reading, the key to take with men who are like this is to set boundaries for yourself and him. If you are becoming depressed, he is a toxic person to you. If you are becoming depressed, you also may be codependent. His depression should not become yours and you should figure out why you are staying in a relationship with a man who is not actively pursuing a relationship with you. There is more out there to life than wanting a cold shouldered boyfriend.
      He might even feel like you are clingy if you are transforming into what he is: a depressed, lost soul. Often, depressed people can only handle their own depression and no one else’s. Many times what they liked about you in the beginning is that you were not depressed and not emotionally dependent on them. Figure out that your emotions are your responsibility and that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of another person.

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