He is being very distant

-- Question for John --

I’m 19 and my boyfriend’s 20. He is a very closed off person and is being VERY distant towards me lately. He doesn’t call me often and rarely asks to see me. I love him very much and am getting extremely worried about his behavior (or lack of it). What should I do?

-- Answer from John --

This is a hard situation. It is a classic situation, too. One person gets distant, the other person feels abandoned or nervous about the situation and wants to get close again. This typically just pushes the more distant one away…. It’s a catch-22.

The classic advice most given in this kind of situation is that you need to let go and make a lot of space for him. Whatever is going on for him, and he is obviously not saying, he seems to need space.

I don’t know if his space is temporary or if it means he wants to go off in some other direction. Whatever the reason, I do believe one thing here. If you chase him, he will only need to get farther away. People usually back off when they feel (rightly or wrongly) that they are being suffocated by the relationship.

If you are no longer there, letting him have all the space he needs and more, this is the only way he will ever start to miss you and want to come closer again.

That’s the classic advice for this kind of thing. But of course, you are probably feeling anxiety, and really want to be closer again now. So it’s a hard piece of advice to follow. Nevertheless, if you do chase him, try to get him to open up and talk about what is going on, most likely it will only drive him away more.

I’d stick with the classic advice on this one. Step back, let him have all the space in the world. I know it’s hard. But you need to start taking care of your own needs…. including making new friends or doing new things with old friends.