Emily saw her Google search history and thought what a pathetic sight it made,
“Why does my boyfriend ignore me but talk to everyone else?”
“Should I ignore my boyfriend when he ignores me?”
“Why does my boyfriend give me the cold shoulder?”
She counted 13 such searches as she tried to make sense of Joe’s sudden cold behavior. After conversations with reassuring friends, and Joe’s not-so-reassuring absence, she decided to not text him as well. She didn’t know that he too had been wondering the same thing. Thing is, neither wanted to appear clingy and yet had hurt feelings of the other.
You know you’re being ignored by your boyfriend when you actively try to connect with him and he actively avoids you. Ignoring someone is often posed as a tactic to arouse jealousy and interest in the partner (talking about you, Bridgerton). But it could also be a symptom of a bigger problem in your relationship.
9 Reasons Your Boyfriend Ignores You
When I was dating Matt, a journalist, the wait of a few hours every day just to see him became normal. I did feel sad at times and wondered often if he had stopped caring for me. It would feel like he was mad at me for something. I called my bestie to tell him, “My boyfriend is ignoring me and it hurts. I think that he is having an online affair.” He’d calm me down as he knew the kind of profession he was in. I later learned that the issue of my reporter boyfriend ignoring me was non-existent. He was experiencing challenges at work and was not in a state to pay attention to me. It was difficult but I loved him. We made it work.
So, what should you do when the question, “Is my boyfriend ignoring me?”, comes to your mind? At the very least, stop thinking that he’s having an affair. It may not be even a real thing but it can turn into a debacle if you don’t treat it the right way. So, let’s have a look into the reasons that someone would think “my boyfriend avoids me”:
1. It’s a premature relationship
It’s one of those relationships, where it’s just been a few months, but it feels like many years have gone by. If you have just got together, there is a good chance that you will constantly obsess over how things are going. You may be scrutinizing everything minutely, while he is just trying to find his footing with you. This is the reason why it appears that your boyfriend ignores you for no reason, or takes too long to take the relationship to the next level. And it is very frustrating as it makes you insecure about the relationship.
You don’t know a lot about each other to second-guess anyone’s actions. So, stop fretting about “Why does my boyfriend ignore me all day? Is something wrong with me?” Leave the concept of love-at-first-sight to Shakespeare and give him and yourself the time to be sure of each other.
- Don’t fret if it has only been a few dates. Many people take longer to commit
- If it’s a new relationship and you feel like he’s ignoring you, it’s also possible that he’s trying not to appear needy and playing it cool
- If you’ve had an argument recently, it’s possible he’s still trying to come to terms with it
- It’s also possible that he finds you too needy and is just backing up a little to find some space
Related Reading: 5 Signs He Is Ignoring You For Someone Else
2. Guys ignore everyone if they have a busy schedule
If your boyfriend works in one of those soul-crushing jobs that often skew work-life balance, then he only needs some time to relax and is not ignoring you. People isolate themselves from everyone, and not just their partners, to recover from the weight of quarter-end reports. I’d often lament about Matt not being there. But when I looked at his tired face every time he’d come to meet me, I understood what he was going through.
If he does call back when all the drama at his office has died down, then he is not ignoring you. So, stop letting thoughts like he’s having an affair at work dent your relationship. Learn to enjoy your life on your own. Go out a little. If all the distance has left you feeling anxious and unsure about the future of your relationship, plan a little getaway with your partner to rekindle your relationship.
- If he is a student, or is struggling with two jobs, or is working at a stressful workplace, he will find it difficult to pay attention to you
- It can be difficult maintaining a work-life balance. Be sympathetic to your partner if he is dealing with workplace exhaustion
- He may find it difficult to connect with you during month-end or quarter-end when a lot of companies perform their audits
3. He is an introvert
If you are an extrovert, or just not an introvert, please remember that not everyone would want to talk regularly. Unless they’re Ted Mosby, most men have difficulty expressing emotions. Some introverts show their affection through their actions and not words. Erin, a model from L.A., told me, “Everyone tells you that guys ignore you to pretend they’re cool. But Leo! You’d think he’s giving you the cold shoulder. For the first three weeks, it annoyed me, but then I got it. He’s just an introvert. He takes his time to open up.”
You need to chill and cut him some slack. Perhaps focus on identifying his type of love language instead. When you realize that he expresses his love and affection in his own ways, all the worries about him ignoring you might just dissipate.
- Ask yourself. Is he a very talkative person? If not, then you don’t have a “boyfriend ignoring me” issue. He’s just not into verbal dialogue
- Notice if there are any topics that make him quieter than others. It’s possible that those topics upset or trigger him
- To get rid of thoughts like “Why is my bf ignoring me for no reason?”, you can arrange for dates in places that won’t overwhelm him, like a library
- If he freezes while talking to everyone around him, then he might even have social anxiety. Then you need to educate yourself on his health and act accordingly
Related Reading: How A Man Show Love Without Saying It
4. He is dealing with personal issues
With a patriarchal upbringing, men often find it difficult to actively communicate their feelings. Especially in times of trauma or stress. Check if he’s going through a bad time like the loss of a loved one or has financial stress, or if he’s seeing a therapist. Trauma can manifest in a number of ways. It’s not always expressed as a physical display. A person could be playing video games and yet going through an upheaval internally. Don’t expect everyone to react the same way.
If he is going through something, then don’t expect him to chat with you all the time. Though you may be uncomfortable with his silent treatment, his silence is a plea for help, understanding, or space.
- Look for physical signs of distress, like a disturbed pattern of sleep, unusual appetite, consumption of drugs, change of routine
- Ask him if he’s dealing with a distressing situation. Sometimes that’s all that is needed to make him know that he’s not alone
Stop ignoring any sudden changes to his personality, especially if he’s already coping with depression.
5. He finds you too needy
It may not be easy to accept it, but are you like Regina George and can’t help but hog up a conversation, making it all about yourself? Because if you do, then it could be the reason why your boyfriend ignores you. No one likes to be in a relationship where they never get any attention. Etgar, a college friend, told me, “My ex was the main character of her life. Unfortunately, she thought she was the main character of my life too. Everything had to be about her. Nothing I said or did felt relevant to her. I felt like running to the hills after she called me at 3 AM just to have ‘sleep-time talk’ for the fifth night in a row.”
If you do love to talk all the time, and about yourself mostly, then you need to get a grip. It is important to address your boyfriend’s emotional needs too. Think about whether:
- You have narcissistic tendencies. You think everything is about you or should be about you
- You are often complaining about this or that, including your boyfriend
- You feel like you need him all the time. You can’t bear to be away from him
Related Reading: Why Does My Boyfriend Hate Me? 10 Reasons To Know
6. He needs alone time
Needing to take a break from a relationship sounds devastating, but it happens. It could be because the relationship is not working for him. Or that there is too much going on in his life and he just wants to get away from everyone to gather his thoughts. Or that things have been too monotonous for a while, and he needs that break to rekindle the flame. Often, guys distance themselves after intimacy. Everyone needs some time and space for themselves.
If your boyfriend tells you about going away for some time, don’t freak out. Give him some time. During this time, try to learn to enjoy your own company instead of constantly thinking about him. It is unbelievable how taking a break helps the relationship.
- Ask him if he wants a break from his life. Respect his needs and let him know you’re there for him
- If you can, gift him a vacation that he can enjoy by himself
- Take a leaf out of Sex And The City2, and stay by yourself for a few days a month. It’ll be refreshing for both of you
7. He is trying to manipulate you
This tendency results from a passive-aggressive nature. Revenge could also be a reason why your boyfriend ignores you. If it is, then it could be the trait of a toxic boyfriend. He ignores you intentionally so he can condition you. That way he can control your behavior and eliminate the things he doesn’t like. Think Nate Jacobs in Euphoria, ignoring Maddie strategically to control her.
So, if you’re asking the question “Why does my boyfriend ignore me but then refuses to let me break up with him?” or “How come my boyfriend ignores me around his friends?” then it’s probably because he’s training you to do his bidding. And trust me, it’s not worth it. You’ll soon be unable to recognize what you’ve become, a shell of yourself and a puppet to his strings. Better leave his manipulative ass and find someone nice.
- Notice if he has a cycle of punishment and reward, where he punishes you by ignoring you when you don’t behave as per his demands and rewards you with attention when you do his bidding
- He also gets mad at you if you try to confront him, by either deflecting from his issues or leaving the discussion altogether
Related Reading: 15 Subtle Signs Of A Manipulative Boyfriend
8. He is insecure
There’s nothing as fragile as the male ego. Men tend to clam up when they feel their masculinity is threatened. It could be due to self-doubt or a patriarchal upbringing. But if your boyfriend ignores you around his friends, or the horror of horrors, his mother, it’s likely because he craves their validation.
You could try to impress his friends or family, but it can be exhausting in long term. Plus, there’s no guarantee they’d like you. Just try explaining to him how difficult it is for you. If he listens, you can still work it out.
- He says he needs space but expects you to seek him during that time
- He is highly sensitive to any healthy criticism against anything about him or his world
- He constantly worries about what you or other people think about him and you’ve to reassure him repeatedly of your affection and admiration
9. You are heading toward splitsville
This is the part where he just doesn’t feel the relationship working for him anymore. Lack of empathy could also be one of the signs that he may be cheating on you. It’s the last nail in the coffin of your relationship if he shows complete apathy toward you. You’re together just for the show.
It is heartbreaking but you’ve to smell the coffee and make a decision. It’s better getting off the ride. It was fun while it lasted but you deserve better than being ignored by a man who feels nothing for you.
- The relationship has become skeletal. He’s rarely there
- He’s apathetic toward you. There is no physical intimacy or emotional connection
- He is showing signs of moving on, like looking for a new apartment or slowly moving out his stuff from yours
“Am I not good enough? Why is my boyfriend ignoring me all day? What could I do better to win back his attention and love?” Having such thoughts swirling in your mind all the time is one of the worst feelings in the world. You feel robbed of your worth and love by the person who is supposed to be there for you. But, it is better to take some action rather than wallowing in self-pity.
4 Things That You Can Do When Your Boyfriend Ignores You
Being ignored can prove worse than you thought. As per this study, “there are many other ways in which silence can be detrimental, not only as a means of ignoring a particular dispute or issue, but also as a means of disempowerment and otherwise reducing the quality of the interaction and of the overall relationship. Silence can be used as a tool of aggression, during a specific interaction …”
So if you’re constantly thinking “My boyfriend ignores me all day, what have I done wrong?”, then you could be in a toxic relationship. The repercussions can be far-reaching. It affects your self-esteem and mental health, and you may start overcompensating in a relationship. So, what can you do when your boyfriend ignores you? Here are four things to try:
1. Identify the reason why he is ignoring you
Overthinking ruins relationships if you don’t validate and understand the pain behind your thought patterns and do something to ease the hurt. It must be heartbreaking to reach the stage of “my boyfriend is ignoring me and it hurts,” but try to identify the reasons behind his behavior. It can be harmful to your relationship to act before thinking.
- Don’t go for the theatrics, crying or accusing him of an illicit affair. Often, the reason could be as benign as a busy week
- Look for signs. Try to identify a pattern. We have given you a whole list. Think of what represents his behavior the most
- Meanwhile, give him the space he craves
Related Reading: How To Fix Lack Of Communication In A Relationship – 15 Expert Tips
2. Confrontation and conversation
There’s no problem in the world that can’t be resolved by talking. Obsessing over his behavior is not going to help. You have to talk to him at some point. Tell them how dreadful being ignored by him is. Offer help, if you think he needs it. Don’t insinuate anything. Try not to make it a blame game. Point is to talk to resolve conflict.
People often ask, “Should I ignore my boyfriend when he ignores me?” Absolutely not. It won’t accomplish anything. It may settle things for a while. But in the long term, it will only cause more damage than you anticipate. Initiating a conversation is always the more mature and sensible thing to do.
- Initiate a conversation and tell him your observations about his behavior and how it’s hurting you
- Offer help if he needs it
- There’s a difference between support and solution. Listen to him and try to understand what he needs at that point. Sometimes all one needs is an empathetic ear
- See if your needs match with his, it may be an unfortunate right-person-wrong-time situation
3. Create some boundaries
If your boyfriend is ignoring you as a passive-aggressive strategy – for example, if his behavior leaves you thinking, “Why does my boyfriend ignore me but then refuse to let me break up with him?” or “Why does my boyfriend ignore me around his friends?” – then you need to confront him about his manipulative tactics.
Tell your partner you need space, for both of you. List the scenarios you are not comfortable with, and how you can both try to prevent them. Establish how any arguments will be resolved so he doesn’t have to resort to ignoring you.
- Decide boundaries for social media behavior
- Talk about the expectations regarding the time you spend with friends and family versus each other
- Decide what is up for discussion, and what is off-limits
- Suggest taking a break from the relationship, either for a few hours every day or for a few days every month
- Discuss if one of you thinks that the other is trying to cross the boundaries or is unable to understand them
4. Decide to make the call
If he shows hot-and-cold behavior or passive-aggressive tactics, then I’d probably say, because he’s trying to control you. If his behavior is destroying your mental peace, then you need to make some decisions. Tough ones.
That’s the time to take out your Taylor Swift playlist and start playing, We are never ever ever getting back together.
- Tell your boyfriend that your relationship is not working. Get to a mutual decision, if possible
- If the situation worsens, check for the signs if you should break up, and be ready to call it off. A relationship needs work from both the people in it. If one is not participating, then there’s not really a point to it
- Your boyfriend could be ignoring you for reasons that have nothing to do with you
- If your boyfriend is ignoring you, give him space to deal with whatever he has going on in his life at the moment, or offer support
- If it gets unbearable for you to be ignored by your boyfriend, then talk to him
- Do not be shy from expressing your distress
Pondering over the question of why your boyfriend is ignoring you is not fun in a relationship. But a relationship can sustain over time only if it’s given proper attention. So, when this happens the next time, don’t just sit there thinking, “Why does my boyfriend ignore me?” Dig deeper into the issue, and find out what’s really bothering your man. And work on it so you can overcome such barriers.
While it’s not okay for a person to ignore their partner purposely, it’s possible that your boyfriend is surrounded by other worries. If he’s going through something traumatic or distressing, he won’t be able to pay attention to you. It’s also possible that a recent event between the two of you has been upsetting to him and he just wants to let off some steam. It’s also possible that he is just a shy guy and may not even know that you feel ignored. Bottom line: communicate and empathize.
If you think you’re being ignored by your boyfriend, give him space to sort out whatever issues are bothering him. If his behavior gets distressful to you, initiate a conversation and try to learn what’s bothering him. Do not try to give him a taste of his own medicine by ignoring him. It may backfire.
If you’re purposely ignoring someone, then it’s definitely manipulative as you’re conditioning them to behave how you deem fit. So every time you think “Why does my boyfriend ignore me but talk to everyone else?”, look for a pattern of behavior like passive-aggression, manipulation, etc. However, people don’t always ignore people just to manipulate them. Often they have other things on their plate, or they just don’t realize that you need more of their time.