Dear Dr. Wallace:
My boyfriend says he loves me and that I’m the only girl he has ever loved. I like my boyfriend a lot, and there are many moments when he is very sweet to me, but at other times, he acts distant or disinterested. I don’t understand what he’s thinking, and it doesn’t make me feel so confident in our relationship. I’m not worried that he’s dating others behind my back or anything like that, but I find it strange that he can be sweet one day and kind of aloof the next day.
What should I do? I’m nice and decent-looking, and I don’t make demands on his time at all. It’s just that I wish he would just be consistent with me. He doesn’t need to be sugary sweet all the time, he can just be chill or casual, but I still want him to pay a little attention to me when we are together. Don’t you think that’s reasonable?
— Seeking Consistency, via email
Dear Seeking Consistency: I think you did an excellent job of informing me of your feelings as they relate to your relationship. In fact, you did such a good job that I suggest you bring these same comments up to him on the next occasion that he is treating you sweetly. Simply ask him about the other occasions that make you feel uncomfortable. Specifically ask him if there is anything you should know — or anything you can help him with if he has a lot on his mind.
Relationships have ups and downs, ebbs and flows. The key is to not get too high or too low at any point in time. You are a wise young lady to recognize subtle signals and to strive for consistency within a relationship.
A lot of young men have normal mood swings and are distracted by a variety of issues in their lives. It could be that his “aloof” times truly have nothing to do with you at all.
Therefore, communication is the key. Don’t try to pry or badger anything out of him at any point in time when he appears uncomfortable. Rather, let him know you are open to listening if there is anything he wants to get off of his mind.