I’m a 24-year-old woman in Austin, TX and I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for a year and a half now. About three months ago, I noticed things were starting to change. He disappears for hours on end with no warning or explanation. He hides his phone when he is typing or scrolling. He doesn’t show me affection like he used to. I’m writing for advice on whether or not I should look through his things to find out what is going on. My friends say I should leave it alone because it could be something innocent like he is planning a surprise for me. I have asked him on several occasions to tell me what is going on and he insists it’s nothing. I know something has changed. If he won’t tell me what it is what am I supposed to do?
-I Feel Crazy
Oh IFC, don’t disregard your intuition. Men like to make being with women complicated when it isn’t. Let us know how much we mean to you. Show us that we are a priority for you. Respect us and protect what we have together. Communicate when there is something wrong. It’s really not that hard. We aren’t crazy, IFC—men make us crazy. You have been with your boyfriend long enough to know him to a certain extent. Actions speak louder than words, and since he isn’t talking to you, his actions are all you have.
The real question here is why do you want to snoop through his life? Why do you want to waste your time on someone who doesn’t care enough about you to acknowledge your feelings and work to set your mind at ease? Your boyfriend isn’t planning a surprise party for you or talking to his sister about your Christmas present. He is hiding something from you and that in and of itself should be enough to tell you that he isn’t the partner you thought he was.
The “ifs” and “maybes” of the party or the presents is a fallacy we have come to hope for because romantic comedies have told us it’s possible. Like the moment you tell him it’s over for good, he is going to open a door and all your family and friends are going to be standing there yelling surprise two days before your birthday. While not impossible, it is highly unlikely that this is the case.
You are 24. You have nothing but time right now if you want to learn this lesson the hard way, but I urge you to learn from those of us who have come before you. What does true love actually look like? It’s supportive, fun, nurturing, collaborative, hopeful, and all consuming. Does this describe the love you have found with your boyfriend? If not, you are settling for something you will ultimately be unhappy with. You have passed the honeymoon phase of the relationship where everything your partner does is amazing. Now, this man is showing you who he really is. Actions speak louder than words.
What should you do? Communicate. Be direct and tell him that you are no longer happy in this relationship and that his actions have hurt you. Give him examples of things he is doing to make you distrust him. His reaction will tell you everything you need to know about whether or not he should be part of your future. You can’t change how you feel. It is what it is. If his actions are affecting how you feel about him, tell him that.
Everyone deserves to be with someone who makes them feel secure in the relationship. I used to be very pro-snoop. I will admit: I have done it myself a few times. Before long I realized that I was spending so much of my time pouring over emails or text messages or Facebook posts and for what? To prove to my mind something my heart already knew? If you were going to blatantly accuse your boyfriend of cheating, you would need proof. You don’t need proof to tell your boyfriend that his actions are making you unhappy. That is fact whether he likes it or not.
Trust your instinct,
Have a question for June? Submit your questions or stories to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @SharingStruggle or @ShuffleOnline!
June was born and raised in the south where “bless your heart” is an insult. Self professed serial dater and an expert in all matters of the heart. June also enjoys volunteering, dancing and sewing.