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Communication Breakdown: What to Do When He Doesn’t Want to Talk

Communication Breakdown: What to Do When He Doesn’t Want to Talk

Hey Felicity, I’ve got a problem that I need your help with. I consider myself to be a deep thinker and I love to talk about everything under the sun. And while I think my boyfriend is smart, he just doesn’t seem to want to talk with me about much of anything, least of all meaningful stuff. Can this work? The short answer is yes, assuming you’re both interested in making things work and are wanting similar things from the relationship. The longer answer is it’s may take some effort. I can speak from experience here, as I’ve wrestled with…


Hey Felicity, I’ve got a problem that I need your help with. I consider myself to be a deep thinker and I love to talk about everything under the sun. And while I think my boyfriend is smart, he just doesn’t seem to want to talk with me about much of anything, least of all meaningful stuff. Can this work?

The short answer is yes, assuming you’re both interested in making things work and are wanting similar things from the relationship. The longer answer is it’s may take some effort.

I can speak from experience here, as I’ve wrestled with this exact thing in my current relationship.

I have some questions for you to ask yourself.

When you say you’re a deep thinker, what do you mean by that? What sorts of things do you think about, and what kinds of conversations do you want to have with him?

Is it possible that you are making some assumptions about your boyfriend that may or may not be true?

What I mean by that is what leads you to the conclusion that your boyfriend is not a deep thinker? Is this something you’ve decided for him? Or has he flat out told you this is the case.

Either way, he could be using this as an excuse to get him out of having deeper conversations in general, or with you specifically.

It’s also quite possible he’s a thinker…just not a talker. You could have different communication styles.

I’m quite the Chatty Cathy. I process my feelings verbally and tend to have an opinion on just about everything. On the flip side, my boyfriend processes internally.

He isn’t one to pontificate out loud and generally only speaks when something is important. He is a man of few words. Which is actually a great balance to my chattiness.

But it did create some misunderstandings between us.

In the beginning, I sometimes mistook his quietness for not caring. Which was far from the truth. I also dominated most of the conversations and he started feeling a bit resentful of never getting a word in edgewise.

For a hot minute, we both thought we were doomed.

Luckily, one night over several drinks, he asked me to give him the floor and he opened up. We figured out we just had very different ways of communicating. Once that was understood, it created a whole new way for us to connect.

Decipher the disconnect

Perhaps the real issue is that you are longing to have more meaningful conversations with him about life, your relationship, your future.

Maybe you’ve tried numerous times and he responds in a way that makes you think he’s not interested. And maybe that’s not it at all. We’ll need to dive into that a little deeper to find out.

Sometimes we’ve been thinking about a certain conversation we’d like to have for a while. Maybe we’ve been stewing on it or working up the nerve to bring it up to our partner. And when we finally do and they don’t respond exactly like we’d hoped we assume it’s because they’re not interested.

We may start to read between the lines that aren’t there. Don’t do that!

If you simply want to have deeper conversations with him in general, keep in mind the things he enjoys talking about are not always going to be things you are interested in (which goes both ways) And that’s okay.

Which leads me to ask, do you know what he likes to talk about? Is it possible that the things you’ve tried talking to him about are things that only interest you? If that’s the case, start paying attention to the things that get him excited.

What I learned by doing this in my own relationship was he really likes to talk about certain TV shows and his career. As a result I’ve learned how to engage with him a little bit by watching some of his favorite shows with him or on my own.

I also chat with him at the start/end of his day about his career. What were his wins for the day and what’s on his plate for tomorrow? The surprising part that came from this exercise is that he now shows more of an interest in the things I want to talk about.

Pay attention to timing

Here’s the thing, when we want to talk about something, it’s not always the most ideal time for the other person to have those kinds of deep conversations.

If he’s heading to a meeting, stressed out about work, or on his way to meet his buddies you’re going to get a much different response from him than if you were to ask when he’s calm and relaxed.

Pick a relaxed environment so your focus can be on each other.

“We need to talk…”

Ugh, those are the most dreaded words. I do NOT recommend saying that.

However, when it comes to sensitive subject matter, setting up an agreed upon time to chat can work really well.

For example, “Would you be open to having a 15-20 minute conversation with me tonight over dinner without phones/TV to talk about (blank)?” The word “with” being key, because nobody wants to be talked at.

Letting him know in advance what you want to talk about helps so he doesn’t feel put on the spot. It also gives specifics to keep anxiety at bay.

Know your audience

Having said all of that, there are some conversations that are best saved for your close girlfriends. If you’re trying to have those types of conversations with your partner and he’s not taking the bait, maybe tuck them away for a girl’s night.

It’s perfectly normal to not talk to your guy about every single thing you are interested in (and vice versa).

Felicity Keith dishes advice on sex, dating, and love. She is the author of The Language of Desire and The Flirty Girl's Guide to Astrological Attraction. Dubbed the “Indiana Jones of the male mind” by relationship expert, Michael Fiore, her work has influenced tens of thousands of women and she is a regular contributor at Digital Romance, Inc.