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.

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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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