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.

24 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.

    • If he is all these things then why want a “commitment ring”. He has plenty of money.. sounds like he could care less. I ring won’t make him nice or not a narcissist. You are young enough to find someone better or be alone for awhile. Say goodbye and buy yourself a beautiful ring!

    • I’m in the process of cutting my boyfriend of 3 years out of my life. I moved to his state, and everyone there were his huge family and his friends. When I’d try to discuss anything, no matter my approach he’d fly into a rage.
      I should have left when he was physically hurting me, but when I made others aware of it, he stopped. Verbal abuse hurts just as much. I’d hear that “everyone” thinks or that about me.
      I got sick of it and I left.
      He went into deep mourning so I gave him another, however I stayed in my home state. The first visit, we rented a room, and he was staring at the TV and not hearing if I spoke. It was Valentine’s Day weekend and you’d think with his supposed desperation to rekindle things, he’d have at least bought a damned single flower. “His visit” was my Valentine’s gift and his words were “What did I give him.l? ”
      He is impossible. I was fooled when first meeting him. NiwI’m so done. I had him blocked on all social media and my phone. Now I let his texts and calls go through, because he’d use other’s phones or apps to leave messages or texts.
      He’s still trying to regain control of me.
      I delete texts and voice mail. I won’t read them or listen.
      I understand how it is so difficult once with them, you know there is no way we want as a person asked me, “Do you want to spend forever like that?” Absolutely not!
      No one can understand unless ever having been in a situation like this. I would likely have said to just leave. It is very difficult to walk away, they have us where they want, and now in my situation it’s more that how dare I leave him!
      And I too never received any jewelry, acknowledgement on his social media or anything. I was given a cake and nice birthday once, no Christmas, Valentines Day gifts, nothing else ever. I on the other hand gave to him, just to have him insult the gifts I gave.
      How we get caught up with this kind of person, I can’t answer except that they are good at playing us and gaining control.
      My vehicle was new, and he trashed it. I had to have my daughter follow me out of state with no registration, because he controlled my money, and when I stopped allowing it. He would rage wanting to know what it was spent on… Etc. But if I even asked for a soda, he’d go into a rage saying that he had to check his bank balance.
      I was with a monster. I’d never dated anyone like him.
      I’m trying to keep him away, because the monster cries alligator tears…he ‘acts’ so kind and like he’s broken hearted. He doesn’t cry real tears at all, but he’s
      good .
      I now see through it all.
      I hope you got out.
      We deserve someone we don’t have to be sad over not fully being committed to us, soneone who wants to put a ring on our finger, soneone who’d never raise their voice at us in rage.
      Love is kind… We are not dealing with true love.

  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.

  6. My fiancé and I have been together 2 years. I must admit things did move quickly and he basically asked me to move in with him straight away which was probably the stupidest move I ever did cause once I moved it’s like he changed into a horrible selfish controlling person. He’d call me names and think it’s funny and if I got upset he’d get angry at me and say if I do not like being here then fuck off. He’s isolated me from my friends and my only brother I have living here in au. Sometimes he will say the most nastiest things to me for no reason just because he’s in a mood. He makes me feel like I’m walking on egg shells. When he’s mad he’ll slam doors, throw stuff, break stuff, put holes in doors, yell in my face, and he doesn’t care who’s around. He’s never apologised I’m always apologising when it’s never my fact. And his excuse is always that he’s a germ and he’s just like his father but never tries to change how he behaves. I’ve changed my whole life for him im not even the same person I use to be. I’ve got no confidence everytime I try do something new around the house or do something to make myself look better he puts me down and makes me feel like im not good enough to do anything.
    The reason why I haven’t left him is because 1 for some messed up reason I still love him and 2 he has a heart condition where he has an enlarged aorta and only recently dr told us it’s grown and he will need open heart surgery and will be off work for 6 weeks maybe more. He’s meant to get all these tests done to check his bloods etc and he hasn’t done any of it. In his head he thinks hes not gonna make it so he’s basically not even gonna try. I’m stuck in this situation where I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried reaching out to his family for help but they’ve done hardly anything everyone seems to be too focused on how great there own life’s are. I don’t even know why I’m writing this cause I don’t want anyone to feel anything of what I’m feeling.
    I can relate to all your situations though and truly hope you all find strength and happiness.

    • Please leave that man, you’ll always be stuck in his shadow and he is a grown adult who can take care of himself, he is currently refusing to which is his choice, he will learn from his mistakes when he gets a wake up call like you leaving. I suggest saving, make new friends or apply for new jobs, just make positive steps for YOU then get out before he becomes worse and god forbid hurts you or kills you, one day his anger will snap or burst out much bigger and onto you, trust me i have been there. You don’t want to be there when they explode.

  7. This really resonates with me. Tonight I tried telling my significant other that I’m depressed, I feel alone, and his lack of wanting to spend time with me or make plans with me is making me feel like we’re growing apart. I cried while telling him that I’m always alone in my feelings. Everyone I try to express how I feel, I end up shutting down. After expressing my feelings I’m told “everything you say out of your mouth is just to annoy me,” and I shouldn’t have to take care of the way you feel. He works 7 days a week, not because he has to, we’re fine financially. He doesn’t plan anything, doesn’t try to make a nice dinner, and I can’t communicate how I’m feeling without him wanting to fight. I guess it really is his lack of communication and feeling uncomfortable with feelings. Or….maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m wanting him to be someone he’s not. I pray for someone to come into my life that is understanding, gets to understand how I feel, and wants to make an effort to be there for me and us.

  8. Me and my boyfriend been together for 2 years. And sometimes i feel sad alone not happy. One time i was taking a shower and he wanted to brush his teeth i kindly asked him just give me a second im almost done, then he says im a boss to him saying i dont let him brush his teeth that wasnt the problem i didnt want the water to get cold. And he got in my face saying im prove you wrong and stuff that the water doesnt get cold. Lately things been feeling like i never do anything right. I love him and want to get married and spend the rest of my life with him. But lately everytime i try to talk to him about something wrong he always makes me feel like im wrong. I dont know what to do im lost. Hes always trying to prove me wrong with everything. I been getting sad depressed crying. I quit smoking years ago and now with everything going on i went back to smoking stress sadness and more. I need some advice please. I try going to family and they say thats just men for you. So lately i been trying to be the bigger person and apologize even if i did nothing wrong and tell him and myself its all my fault. Im so confused please help

  9. I have been living with my BF for 15 years now and we have 3 kids,the guy provide all my needs n his kids but the problems we have no communication when ever i try to ask him something he can angry n he like lies alot at me what can i do im tired

  10. I’m a boyfriend ( ex now ) that used to angry and blow-up with ffrustration when my girlfriend would want to discuss her feelings , want my help or undivided attention. I had no problem given her my attention or talking to her but it always had to be there and then usually when I was under pressure and trying to complete a task or my friends were over and she would try to make me feel guilty for having fun and smiling and laughing and I get comments like u don’t laugh like that when we’re together talking. Which wasn’t true. Or a female friend will ring me saying she’s broken down can I come help or pick her up… And I get comments like you don’t stop what you doing that quickly for me. And I say if you were stuck on side of the road I would. Eventually the only time she would have something to say to me I want to talk to me about something it would be negative demanding and soul destroying. So I have conversations with her that other general or interest-based topics and a lot of the time turn into me doing all the talking or she would say what do I want to know that for and ID say I’m trying to make conversation with you about blah blah. It’s interesting or it’s funny or just general knowledge. Occasionally we would have in-depth conversations about our relationship and talk through and would end up on the same page at the end with what I thought was a resolution in how we should progress but after that conversations finished it’s like we never had that conversation at all which made me blow up more when she would try to talk to me because I put so much energy in effort and I just know that it’s going nowhere with topic results so topics weed only end up topics then she want to bring them up at times that were most un convenient and sometimes costly taking time off work cause she felt it unsafe and she would not listen to reason so I would get angry and blow up. So I don’t think you should make the assumption that someone doesn’t want to discuss the relationship with their partner I think it’s obviously about clear communication but also give some indication prior of what issues might be and set aside a time that is convenient to u both. And ultimately in my opinion your partner’s going to be the happiest and the best if you let them be themselves. My ex was always trying to stop me from seeing my friends or from them coming over and I said to her the day that I got with her my friends I’ve had for 30 years they were there before you and they’ll still be there after you if we separated and that ended up being the case. So I think it’s important that you be totally real and I will actually make myself sound bad or show all my skeletons in my closet because eventually you can’t hide them . At the same time they may scare off a potential partner but if person still there after knowing you pick your nose or whatever then thats smart win win . Firstly you don’t have to go hide and pick your nose and look suspicious like you’re trying to hide something. Secondly you know she’s not going to leave you because you pick your nose or look at you in discussed and ridicule U . Don’t be impressed by how fancy, rich or all the good things about someone be impressed about the bad things and how you can tolerate them from the first date. people hate some terrible habits the end up being deal breakers because they’re worried about the other person will think of them well what happens 5 yes down the track when you totally in love with that person and then it comes out . it’s going to be more devastating isn’t it . And you wasted that time with that person that was always going to end. Ed Anyway I wish I had someone to share my life with but too many people are so just fake. And dating sites make money and cost rediculous amounts by stringing U along not connecting you with someone and have you conversing with fake profiles. Alot are so shallow and image nice car job etc and settle for nothing less.
    I like nice things but a scratch in my car isn’t that important to me and it is a new car. I’m over it so I don’t know how I’m going to meet someone.

  11. Hi I need help I’m going out of my mind I’ve been with my partner for 19 years we have 4 children together when we first got together it was lovely it was everything I wanted he treated me so well all of sudden things just change he started going to gym which I don’t mind if that’s what he wants to do I go to work everyday while he’s at home with the kids when I get home there no talking or asking how my day was it’s like has if I’m coming home to a stranger in my home he’s always on he’s phone never takes any notice of me or when I speak to him when I try talk to him he flips out at me he never helps with the children at bath times has he never here it’s like has if I’m on my own I love him so much and want this to work and want a future with him but I don’t don’t think he does me I try to touch him and get sexual but he tells me I’m watching this or I’m tired always making excuses I just don’t no what to do has it’s making me so unhappy

  12. I think articles like this miss the point — fundamental incompatibility.

    I don’t care how often you tell a buttercup that you wish it was an oak tree, it is not going to make it develop bark, make acorns, or grow any taller. Do you understand? It is what it is.

    People are the same way — they are who they are, and frankly, “discussing” it with them is every bit as much of a waste of breath as talking to the buttercup about how it “should” be an oak tree.

    Every person you meet has their own thoughts, opinions, ideas, beliefs, goals, value system, and so on. Your job is not to try and change them, your job is to decide if their thoughts, opinions, ideas, beliefs, goals, value system, etc. is a good fit with your own, and to leave if it isn’t.

  13. A poem I wrote about him:

    My Best Friend of 3 years,
    The very Best I’ve ever had,
    Gets upset at me when I ask him,
    To please be more affectionate towards me.
    Seems happier to offer me drugs,
    Than to offer me a hug.
    Can make me laugh,
    When I’m feeling sad,
    And that is something,
    No one else can do.

    My Best Friend,
    Offered to let me come in his house,
    On my birthday,
    Against his mother’s wishes,
    When he saw that I couldn’t stay awake.
    I protested,
    I didn’t want to sneak past her.
    I didn’t want to feel trapped.
    But my eyes couldn’t stay open,
    And my head kept falling down.
    So he guided me into his room
    To some blankets on the ground.

    He knew I loved him.
    And so he made his move.
    And to him, that night was magical.
    To me, it felt like I didn’t have a say,
    Like I had been taken advantage of,
    So, for months, I stayed away.
    When I came back around,
    Tears flowed from his eyes,
    He told me he missed me greatly,
    He called me His Darling,
    And kissed my face.
    He asked me why I’ve made myself a stranger.
    And I had to tell him why.

    And I watched,
    As the pedestal crumbled beneath me.
    And I watched,
    As my confession stole the adoration
    From his eyes.
    Everything I had ever wanted him to have for me, gone.
    I would not trade my dignity.

    Now I sit here,
    2 years later,
    In his room,
    on a bed,
    That we created together,
    Where I hold him,
    More than he holds me,
    And I cry everyday,
    Wishing for affection,
    But I stifle my tears.
    I don’t want pity.
    I want his Love;
    Pure and Authentic.

    He tells me he loves me.
    He only kisses me when I am about to leave.
    Or when I think he wants to make love,
    But it turns out,
    He just wants head and falls asleep.
    And forgets about me.

    I watch him sleep for a moment,
    Not knowing how to process this negligence.
    But I greet him tenderly when he wakes.
    And we don’t mention,
    The elephant in the room.
    And when I ask for more affection,
    He tells me that he is ‘spread too thin,’
    ‘Not good at relationships,’
    ‘Is feeling pressured and is Trying,’

    My Best Friend,
    Makes me wonderful food,
    Special for me.
    Is eager to help me,
    Find solutions,
    Without me asking.
    Loves to make me laugh,
    And is incredibly silly.

    I call him My Beautiful Baby,
    My Gorgeous Love,
    He calls me His Darling,
    His Sweetheart and His Lady.
    He tells me he’s jealous of other guys.
    And that he knows he has No Right to be.
    Because he cannot be what I need.
    But I love him anyways.
    And I thank him for his Love.

    • Your poem moved me so much. I read and reread it many times. It exactly captures what it’s like to love someone who gives you everything, yet also hurts you so much.
      I am so, so sorry you are in this place. I have been there. I finally found an incredible therapist. Despite this, I really hit bottom last spring, with an active suicidal plan. It was the one thing i was not going to fail at, and i told no one. It was going to look like an accident. Through an unlikely twist of fate, someone discovered my plan. I ended up in a partial hospitalization program, which helped a lot. Then I started Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR ). It was very hard in the beginning. My therapist had just finished a long training and offered it to me in July. It has really changed me. I have a peace i’ve never experienced before. I’m making decisions re. my marriage that i could never have made, after 25 years. I always felt bad for my husband. He had a horrible childhood. I accepted his reasons/excuses, and internalized his attacks on me. I came to believe that i was responsible when he was angry/hurt/sad etc. If only i listened better, tried harder, cared more, didnt put other’s needs first (my children, my father), etc, etc, he would be ok. We would be ok. After all, he did so much for me and our family, and he was very loving and wonderful (when he was happy), and could really make me laugh.

      I don’t want to go on and on. Just want to say I’m thinking of you, and all the hurting people here. You deserve to have peace in your life, and love that doesn’t hurt. Keep writing and reaching out. You are very talented.

  14. My relationship has been restored,❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    everything worked out like magic…

    I am the happiest lady on earth,

    Never too late to fix your broken heart.

    You can still get your lover back…

    Fix broken relationship/marriage…

    Solve Infidelity issues.

    Solve Cheating issues.

    Solve Divorce issues.

    Stop Lover from breaking-up

    Bring back your ex-husband/Boyfriend/wife,

    Keep up the good work, I appreciate you

    May God Continue To Bless and Use You.

    [ R.buck ler1 1‘ ‘g ma i l… c o m ]..

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