My Boyfriend Blows Up Whenever I Try to Talk About Our Issues

Dear Neil: My boyfriend refuses to communicate when there is an issue in our relationship. He would rather I simply never talk about it. If I dared to make suggestions to him about how to better deal with conflicts or issues, he would blow up. I’ve tried to have calm conversations with him on what I need to change, but all he says is that he doesn’t want to talk about any of our issues. He has fits of anger if I confront him about anything. I know I should just walk away, as this is killing me.

Unhappy in Leicester, UK

Dear Unhappy: Every relationship has its share of disagreements, hurt feelings and misunderstandings. This is regardless of how happy or loving the relationship is, or how long you’ve been together. Being in an intimate relationship requires that arguments and wounded feelings be addressed and resolved in a timely fashion—or your relationship will inevitably become hurt, resentful, angry and distant. I am saying this about all intimate relationships, not solely about yours.

Your boyfriend doesn’t want to talk about uncomfortable subjects that he might find critical or imposing—or possibly he may be asked to compromise or do things your way—so he uses anger as a way to intimidate you into silence. But the two of you cannot sustain a close relationship that way. This is why we have all heard people say that marriage requires a lot of work. A close relationship requires—at the very minimum—a genuine willingness to hear out the other person without interrupting, stonewalling, dismissing or belittling. It necessitates extremely good communication skills, which asks us to say calmly and succinctly exactly what we feel, need and want, and it requires that we be truly good listeners as well.

A close relationship necessitates that we learn and practice effective conflict resolution skills, which in turn requires us to be willing to negotiate, compromise and problem solve so that both partners feel heard and respected. And it asks us to do this while repeatedly giving our partner the benefit of doubt and an assumption of good will.

So, for starters, your boyfriend’s refusal to communicate, and his angry reactions if you attempt to discuss an issue or a conflict is destined to leave you feeling hurt, resentful and distant from him. Sooner or later you are going to have to draw the line. If you walk away from him, you will learn very quickly whether he is then willing to communicate and resolve conflict when he realizes that the relationship will end if he doesn’t. But even then, if he refuses to listen or blows up when you say something he would rather not hear, it will be time for you to end the relationship once and for all.

Relationships ask more of us, not less. More desire to please, more interest in hearing you out, more willingness to engage, more ability to negotiate and compromise. If your boyfriend doesn’t want to do that, find someone else who will. You want someone who values how you feel and what you want, and who is willing to talk about it.

9 comments on “My Boyfriend Blows Up Whenever I Try to Talk About Our Issues

  1. Hello I’m in a narcissist relationship and wanting to get out badly and hurting, 2 years of nothing with this 59 year old narcissist alcoholic

  2. I live with my 61year old boyfriend of six years. We know we will never get married again, but in these six years, he’s never given me a piece of Jewlry or a personal gift, he can definitely afford it. I want a commitment ring, I do everything with his family, and he does with mine. He is a big jokester, people LOVE this man everywhere we go. But for me, he can’t get real and speak to me if it is serious, he starts screaming at me! Saying “ why was everything ok yesterday and now everything is shit?” Another thing that bothers me is he won’t ever put a picture of us on fb, “ in a relationship “ even his phone screen is a pic of his deceased dog! He has paid off all my debt,yes, very nice. I own a condo that is paid for that I rent and get a monthly check for. I’m not working now because sadly, my daughter died a few months ago and I’m heartsick. I’m thinking of moving back into my condo when the lease is up in July and going back to work and never dating again. He is also, a narcissist, we only go to concerts he has planned, he makes it look like “look what Ive done for you, “ when really, it’s all about him. Please, please, help me. I’m lost.

    • Wendy, I’ve been there. I’m 56 and my ex is 58. I have gone through all the things you have and more. We were together 3 1/2 years and I moved out 3 months ago. He would tell everyone we didn’t want to get married but I had told him I had and he ignored it. He was very generous with money and gifts and travel, but he absolutely hated any talk of us as a couple.

      I lived with him for these last 2 years and when his worthless, greedy, whiny, lazy, self centered college graduate (he paid every penny for) 23 yr old daughter moved in a year ago, it was as if she was the wife and I was the ‘can’t do anything right’ girlfriend. I became very bitter towards her as she refused to work or do anything around the house and I couldn’t say anything as he would get mad at me if I said anything negative about her.

      I had always paid rent and half of groceries to him when I moved in but his daughter didn’t pay for anything, not rent, not food, not cell phone, not even gas. He suggested that I buy a cabin home for us to visit in the winter when we go skiing and that I could have to fund my retirement. He still wanted me to pay rent to him but he didn’t want to add my name to his mortgage and didn’t want his name on my mortgage. We were never going to co-mingle anything he said because he wanted to make sure his precious daughter and his wonderful 27 yr old son (who I really liked who has a great head on his shoulders) would get it all when he died. I have a 25 yr old son in the Air Force and I understand him getting my share of what I have, but I always thought I would provide for him in my will and if I bought a home with a partner that it would be in writing that my son get his part. I always thought that a surviving partner would stay in the home until they died and then it would be divided up. My thoughts were not well received by my ex-boyfriend. You would have thought I was insane to suggest such a thing.

      I said I didn’t think I should be helping him pay his mortgage when he wasn’t going to help me pay mine if I bought a house. He was very angry at that. I know if he died that his selfish, greedy daughter would kick me out immediately. The tipping point was when she said she wanted her gainfully employed boyfriend to quit his well paid job and move in (he lived 2 hrs away). She wanted her dad and her mom to pay them to travel the country in a white van and do nothing for at least a year. I was shocked but her dad said it sounds like a fun time. This completely disfunctional boyfriend and his daughter was too much for me.

      As sad as I was to be single and on my own again, I was relieved I didn’t have to have the stress of being with someone who didn’t care at all what I really wanted and refuse to talk about it. I am worried I will die alone but I’m throwing myself into work and I will move out of this apartment that I live in when I find a home that I want to buy. I’m pre-approved for a mortgage and saving up my down payment.

      I still believe in love and I do hope someday I will find a man who is patient, kind, and willing to communicate about the tough things, and wants to be a real partner with me. This has been healing for me to write all this and I hope you find some courage on your part to leave your dead end relationship. Communication is key to a loving, lasting relationship and you must find it with someone else. I do believe it’s out there. You’ve learned your lessons.

      • I’m 25 and I’ve been with him for 5 years. Every time I bring an issue, he gets upset and ignores me. I then start to feel bad, and I’m the one who ends up apologizing for his problems. I usually stay quiet and keep to myself when there’s a problem that I can’t ignore I have to tell him. I calmly tell him the issues of our relationships, but he only gets mad and starts to scream and cuss at me. I love him so much and I don’t want to leave him. I’ve even begged him to go with me for couple counseling but he said “We don’t need it, we’re already perfect” I don’t know what to do, I need help.

  3. I’m sitting here crying over the same issue. I try and communicate my needs and he blows up. saying we, “never do anything ” and “it’s always a problem when I want to do something on my own.” He spends most his free time working on vehicles that seem to never get fixed. Then when I try and Express my needs, he starts acting angry and raising his voice. He never really hears me and ypicalpy talks loudly over me. He just thinks I’m too demanding or whatever……idk what else to do. I eventually cry and shut down saying it’s all my fault for being so needy just so it will stop…..
    I tell him if im such a burden then we should break up, but he doesnt want to break up. All I want is to feel like I’m worth planning for too without him treating me like I’m wrong for wanting his time….:(

  4. My boyfriend and I argue very often. And our problems are mainly because of him being very calculative with me. There are times when you’re tired and you slack on house chores, but he’ll be sure that you do a fair share of work at home. Like he washed the clothes and dries them. But he’ll make sure to leave all the unfolded clothes sitting in the drawer, waiting to be folded. No matter how many clothes are sitting, he would never fold any because he has done his part of the work, and I should pick up the slack to do mine. When I am home, I wash all the clothes and I fold them. No complains. When I try to talk to him about this, he would use the words “you want to fight with me?” And he will yell all the vulgar words and start calling me using vulgar words like fucker or bitch, etc. It’s been going on forever, and never once did he barge to listen and discuss about our issues. My friends calls him immature which I totally agree sometimes. Oh ya, and he gets angry very easily will still start banging on to things or slamming doors. The other day, my phone was on silent and I was on a call with my colleague. When he got home, he glared at me and started banging onto things. I don’t know how should I live in such negative environment. While typing this, I know he’s a shit head and I should get out of this relationship as soon as possible. But I’m not sure how.. we’ve just bought a house together and planning to move in in 1.5 month’s time..

  5. I’m Stuck….
    Nothing I do is ever good enough… we have a strained relationship. When “he’s in a good mood” he is so loving and sweet. But lately (we just moved into our own apartment lease is up in june) it’s always something… I am “a bitch, constantly complaining, lazy, dumb, stupid, a liar” anything he can think of and when I tell him that hurts that he says those things. His response is always “it’s the truth” so what am I supposed to do with that? Yesterday he got up in my face and yelled at me, tore our bed apart and was gonna start moving all MY SHIT into my kids room (thankfully they only visit for holidays) he want me out but I have invested so much into this apartment and our relationship (being a good girl & everything he wants) I’m lost I don’t know what else to do. If I tell him fine I’ll leave he starts grabbing my things saying “he will throw them out for me” then calls me a child and says I am petty. Help… I need advice… I see a counselor but I do home zoom meetings and hes there when I have my scheduled time so I can’t talk to her about this. Any advice is welcome.

    • Hi, It seems like you’re afraid of being called a child and petty. When in reality that’s a projection of what he’s doing. Just leave the apartment and take your stuff. Who cares if he throws your stuff. You’re out of there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *