My Boyfriend is Suddenly Very Distant

Visitor's Question from a 13-15 year old Female
I've been dating this guy for 2 months. We've been friends/acquaintances for over 4 years now. It's one of those stories: he had a crush on me for years but I had no idea and we never got together because of bad luck and bad timing.

Anyway, things were going good between us until about 4 weeks ago. He started acting distant... he didn't hug me goodnight, he wasn't being being affectionate... basically acting like we weren't a couple. Then things went back to normal so i thought... but then all of a sudden he started calling me much less and he didn't return my phone calls.

I didn't know if he was feeling insecure or what. He knows college is important to me and that I'm doing very well while he's having a hard time with school and finding what he wants to do (I'm almost afraid he'll drop out). Also, I guess he asked my friend that sometimes he feels like I should be with one of my guy friends... just a "vibe" he gets when he sees us together. He said he wouldn't know what he would do if that happened. My friend reassured him though that we're just friends and that there was no chance of that happening which is completely true. I never mentioned that I heard about this and it makes me feel bad.

Anyway, I finally ended up getting a hold of him and talking to him about the situation. I told him it seemed like he was trying to give me a hint (because all of a sudden he was acting so different and I hadn't talked to him in over a week which wasn't normal) He said that it wasn't me and that he's not the kind of guy who would just ignore me to give me a hint; he'd tell me. He said that it was that had just started a new job working almost 40 hours a week, school wasn't going well and he was having trouble with his mom (his mom is basically bipolar). Generally, he was just overwhelmed. I asked him if he wanted to take a break from the relationship (another problem... we're exclusive but haven't actually come out and said so) and he said no, that he didn't want it to affect us but that he needed some time to figure stuff out.

I thought that things were okay. I understood where he was coming from didn't worry about him not calling as much. But the next time I saw him he still seemed distant. We went to a party and he was okay one minute and not the next. He told me he'd call me the next day and we'd hang out. He called and told me he was going to take a nap and I should call him around 10 cuz he didn't want to call me and wake my parents(?) So I called him and he didn't answer. I called a little later and he didn't answer so I left him a voice mail... He never returned my call and it's been a little over a week now. I know he's busy but he could have at least given me a call... I feel like he doesn't care.

My friend talked to him and she said he said that he had nothing but good things to say... that he still likes me and still cares about me and wants things to work out but he's just been busy etc. He said that he hopes that I don't think that he's avoiding me. She told him that he should give me a call and let me know that he's still interested but yeah, he hasn't called and I feel like he just doesn't care.

I just don't understand what's going on with him. He's been basically shutting a lot of his friends out and it seems like he's sleeping all the time. He's hanging out with people we don't know. That night he tried to tell me what was up with him I was worried because he was just driving around aimlessly in his car. I don't know what to do. I'm worried about him and I want to be understanding but I don't like feeling hurt, disappointed, and uncared for. And what if it doesn't get better? Plus, I still feel like maybe it was something I did. I keep thinking about the fact that we didn't have sex but we were intimate and that's when he started pulling away... Should I worry? I don't know if that's connected or not. He did start his job a couple days after that.

I'd like to talk to him but I can't even get a hold on him. His cell phone is disconnected and he's always busy with work and school. I doubt he'll return my phone call anyway. I just don't know what I should do. Should I call it off? I don't want to just end things with him... I know I'll miss him. Please help. Advice
It really doesn't sound like it's you or anything you've done. It sounds like he's gotten completely overwhelmed by work, school and life in general and is retreating from everything. Sleeping a lot is a sign of depression and that would also explain his not wanting to talk with anyone. If his mom is bipolar it might be that he is also having balance problems himself and doesn't want to talk about it because it's hard enough to deal with in his mom.

I wouldn't take anything he's doing personally - I would consider them all calls for help from him, that he is just feeling swamped with life. Find ways to go be with him and give him support, and get him someone to talk to that can help him out. College years can be VERY stressful and it can be hard to see that things will get better once you're out and just settled in a job and a life you have chosen.

Those years of dealing with courses and work and relationships and parents and everything else are probably the most stressful of your life. Let him know it's OK to feel overwhelmed, that there are people around who can help him, and that the best thing he can do is to admit that help would be good, to get the help and to go on with his life. Good luck with it!

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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