Social Question

janelle's avatar

How can I get my boyfriend to stop ignoring me?

Asked by janelle (465 points ) June 23rd, 2012

If my boyfriend and I are argueing he’ll ignore me or brush off the argument without solving it. He’s more logical than I; i’ll think something’s a problem and he won’t believe that it is. That’s when we really just disagree. It’s disrespectful how he ignores me and I need it to stop, I told him I wouldn’t tolerate it in the past but it just happened again. He tried contacting me and I ignored him for about half of a day but then when I told him that I thought he owed me an apology he said he only ignored me because I was pestering him after he told me he was busy skyping with friends. I only bothered him because he didn’t reply to my text in the first place! and on top of that I didn’t even need to talk to him for that long, I was going to say thanks for doing what I asked even if he didn’t agree. I’m upset because he actually ignored me though. How can I make this stop??

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119 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Just so I am getting this story straight, you felt ignored, so to punish him, you gave him the silent treatment?

athenasgriffin's avatar

Solving this problem itself is difficult. You are trying to change another person’s behavior, which is always tricky and sometimes futile. I would suggest showing him you are serious by sitting him down and having a serious discussion about how you argue. Sometimes if you bring up issues like this during the argument, the other person doesn’t really hear you because blood is running high. If you broach the issue calmly in a week or so then you can probably get him to listen.

Another strategy would be to change the way YOU argue. The next time something he does makes you very angry, try to argue logically. Be calm, don’t raise your voice, stick to the issue at hand.

Is he often dismissive of you? If so, you have larger issues.

gailcalled's avatar

You both need classes in how to have a mature relationship. The details are confusing; but the gist seems to be that you both don’t know how to either talk or listen to each other.

Words like “ignore or brush me off,” “Ignoring him,” “pestering him,” “bothering him,’” don’t bode well for a good connection.

You both need to sit down and figure out what’s going on.

You are making threats, announcing ultimatums, and using techniques that are not working.

janelle's avatar

Yes I gave him the silent treatment. Solely because I felt as if I had no other option. I tried talking this problem through with him before and he said he would change. We’ve been dating for 9 months, are communication skills aren’t completely dull. The main problem is that I have a hard time explaining my side of the story to him because sometimes he’ll believe that there really isn’t a problem. Personally I don’t think criticizing someones relationship while trying to give them advice is helpful. Thanks to the first two comments though! I really appreciate it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Guys, go easy. Please.

athenasgriffin's avatar

@janelle Sometimes after a dating someone for a while we start to think we know exactly what is best for them, maybe that is what is happening here. You said that he doesn’t think it is a problem, maybe you need to explain to him why it bothers you.

And communication skills are built through conflict, so I’m sure you both are well on your way to figuring out how to deal with issues like this. :)

whiteliondreams's avatar

Breaking up will make it stop. As would finding a new submissive partner.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@janelle I just think you are being counter productive here.

I think you need to think of it from his point of view. I don’t think you can badger someone or punish them into wanting to contact you more.

I do not see, objectively, that he is doing something wrong. If you were out with your friends, some guy you were dating sent you a bunch of texts, and you let a few go to talk with your friends, and later he gave you the silent treatment, and said you owed him an apology? You would be all “WTF?!? When did my boyfriend get so needy?”

janelle's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought he first left an argument unfinished (to my belief). I waited a while and contacted him again calmly. Then figured out that he was avoiding me. If this happened on a normal day of course I wouldn’t pester him.

janelle's avatar

@whiteliondreams Here’s the thing. I don’t believe that breaking up would be reasonable because of this issue, but I refuse to tolerate this kind of disrespect any longer.

Adagio's avatar

Are you more articulate on paper? I have sometimes found that writing things down and sending a letter to the person involved is a good place to start, we can think clearly when writing and have as much time as we give ourselves to read and reread and edit what is being written until we are confident we have conveyed our message clearly. I’m not talking about e-mail either, it is too easy to push the button and send it off into the ether before we have had the chance to sleep on it and come back with a refreshed mind for the final reading and editing if necessary. This idea may strike you as somewhat old-fashioned, how much easier to send a text or e-mail you may think but there is something else at play when we write a letter and consider it carefully before mailing it.

chyna's avatar

If you refuse to tolerate this kind of disrespect, what do you plan to do then if you don’t want to break up?

janelle's avatar

@chyna I know i’ll have to think it over for a few weeks and i’ll be torn, but for my own sake i’ll break up with him. That is after i’ve tried everything possible.

whiteliondreams's avatar

@janelle Then I suggest you start considering what are the terms of your relationship and whether or not it is worth being in a psychologically abusive relationship. That is what is happening and based on your details, it isn’t going to be working the way you want it to if you are “interrupting” his Skype messaging while you turn around and ignore him for feeling he needs to apologize. It doesn’t sound like a relationship because there isn’t enough communication. Also, by you stating he is very “logical” makes no logical sense if he is unwilling to take the time to give you closure on the matters at hand. Best wishes.

janelle's avatar

@whiteliondreams This may or may not effect how you view the situation, but it may give you a better understanding. Here’s an example of a disagreement.

Subject: Whether he should keep photos of him and girls of his past on facebook
My point: It hurts my feelings because they’re being broadcasted; I find it disrespectful to our relationship; (i’m also trying to see how attached he is to these pictures)
His point: I view my facebook as a timeline of my life and would rather not disarray that. I myself am not keeping them there to broadcast them. They’re G rated, you shouldn’t feel so offended. I also don’t have many photos of myself up and would like to keep those.
Compromise: Pictures saved onto an external hard drive
He did it because I was really upset by how attached he was to the pictures, but he still doesn’t believe he should have had to delete them.

whiteliondreams's avatar

@janelle Based on your foto, you are very attractive and apparently you are dedicated to him for something other than his “logic”. If it bothers you and he compromises, good for the two of you, but if it’s a daily battle, you should seriously consider your other options. Also, I quote you, “I don’t believe that breaking up would be reasonable because of this issue, but I refuse to tolerate this kind of disrespect any longer”, which means you’ve been putting up with this for quite some time and for other reasons that aren’t this one. Reevaluate your needs and determine what you are looking for in a relationship.

jrpowell's avatar

You will never marry him, this shit can’t be fixed. I know you think you can fix him and you could if it was about the toilet paper being over instead of under. You will not change him and the hostility will grow. This isn’t your husband. The barrier to exit is low.

Dump his ass and start spending your time finding someone that doesn’t need to be fixed. You are wasting both of yours time.

janelle's avatar

@johnpowell likes to be blunt! What makes you say this can’t be fixed?
We’ve built a relationship together, I might as well give it a shot instead of just giving up.

gorillapaws's avatar

It sounds like you’re disagreeing about relatively pointless stuff. I’m not sure if one (or both) of you grew up with parents who did this as role models, but life is way too short to waste it bickering over dumb stuff. People should get in disagreements in a relationship, it shows that you care enough to voice your opinion, but only over truly important shit. What you’re describing dosent sound like it qualifies.

janelle's avatar

@gorillapaws I wouldn’t say that something that has an effect on my feelings is pointless. Some kid gave me a quarter the other day. It’s just a pointless quarter right? Actually it was the only quarter he had and we were behind a gum ball machine, until I realized I didn’t have a quarter. Might’ve just been a “pointless” quarter but it made me pretty happy.

chyna's avatar

@janelle You spent some kids last quarter on a gum ball? Wow.

janelle's avatar

@chyna and show him that his act of kindness was not accepted? I thanked the boy of course. Now I taught him that acts like those can help you make friends.

jrpowell's avatar

@janelle :: I say it as someone who has been your boyfriend a few times. To be totally honest here. My behavior was to get the girl to break up with me since we had a lot of shared friends and I didn’t want to be the bad guy.

YMMV.

This stuff shouldn’t be this hard.

janelle's avatar

@johnpowell Yes! Of course you know enough about my boyfriend to say that you’re exactly like him. My apologies for ever doubting you! How could I have been so blind?! Of course he’s like you, I mean I know you so well too!

Trillian's avatar

“We’ve built a relationship together, I might as well give it a shot instead of just giving up.”
Not much of a relationship if you’re trying to make him delete bits of his life and not being able to drop a subject when he’s clearly done discussing it.
You can’t make him do anything. There are two things you have control over in this life.
1. What you say.
2. What you do.
People with lots of experience have answered your question and given their advice, for which you asked.
It was kindly meant, none of us have anything vested in your relationship one way or the other.
Rather than waste time arguing and picking apart what people are telling you, take a step back and try to look at the big picture. In other words, remove yourself from the equation. If you saw two strangers in this same situation, what would your assessment be? Now change the roles, male and female. Same thing. Stop seeing the answers as arguments.
You asked how to make it stop, but you are asking the wrong question.
You want to know how to make him heel like a good little doggie.
Naga.
He is his own person with his own ideas. He lived his whole life before he was with you without your input.
A better question might be “How can I learn to let go and trust him?” Or; “What can I do so he’ll look forward to spending time with me when we’re apart?”

jrpowell's avatar

Now I am starting to feel bad for your boyfriend.

janelle's avatar

@Trillian My goal was never to make him delete them. I did my best to explain my perspective and to have him understand. For the record they were never deleted entirely. Instead of being broadcasted, they’re saved onto an external hard drive.

I want to know how to rid the relationship of the disrespect. Instead of noticing how i’ve been picking apart peoples’ comments that weren’t even relevant to begin with. If you want to try to be more advising, maybe you should try to get the facts straight.

I’m not speaking about trust or letting go or how to get him to want to spend more time with me. I asked about respect.

janelle's avatar

@johnpowell Oh and why’s that? You are the only that just straight up told me to break up with him without any sort of communication. I really have no reason to take you seriously.

Trillian's avatar

Respect is something earned.

janelle's avatar

@Trillian Thanks for a quote that i’ve already seen atleast a hundred times.

Trillian's avatar

^^Apparently the meaning hasn’t penetrated. Why should he respect a person who is, in her own turn, disrespectful? One doesn’t demand respect and have it just happen. We teach people how to treat us. You’ve taught him through your constant nagging and intrusiveness to ignore you. Well done.
You’re looking for answers that you aren’t going to get here. At the risk of repeating myself, people here have given you good, sound advice and much to think about. Ignore it at your own risk. None of us are trying to be slave owners. You’ll be sans boyfriend soon enough, and you can try again, next time maybe get someone you can control.
Good luck with that.

janelle's avatar

@Trillian The reason for my constant nagging was because of his lack of communication, he walked out in the middle of a disagreement and straight up ignored me. I’ve found a decent amount of helpful answers. Though none include yours. I’ve already talked out the problem with my boyfriend.

Thank you to those whose intentions were obviously to be helpful. :)

janelle's avatar

I don’t think many of you understand.
1. Disagreement- not an argument. Our beliefs clash
2. Because of his disbelief he chooses to ignore me instead of talking it out
3. I tell him I find it disrespectful
4. Continues to ignore

I’m not nagging him for nothing. And since most of you weren’t even paying attention, I quit nagging him.

chyna's avatar

@janelle Now that you have spelled it out more clearly, you are saying that no matter what is said, he ignores you. I don’t see the reason to stay.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

There are two ways to earn respect: Professional and Personal. Professional comes from ones’ title and the amount of respect an individual holds to that title, e.g., a parent or boss. Personal respect comes from building a relationship with a person. As @Trillian just said, it is earned.

Here is what I have learned. Are you familiar with The Golden Rule? It states, Do unto others as you want done unto you. It sounds as if this is what you are asking of the boyfriend when it comes to communication styles.

Since he has a different communication style than yours, the lesser known Platinum Rule might work better. It states, Do unto others as they want done unto them. If you make your concern known and he needs time to process it, then let him do so.

Choosing how to phrase the concern can put the issue on the table while not shutting a door. If you want this relationship to last and be successful, then it would be helpful to get some professional counselling in communication skill.

If you are comfortable and confident in your existing style, then the only choices left are either to stick with the relationship and hope to find happiness in the other aspects or break it off.

janelle's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Probably the best answer, thank you for elaborating on each subject. I understand that he probably prefers to take a step back and analyze a situation whereas I prefer to take it head on. I’ll talk to him about each other’s wants and needs and work on respecting his space.

And now i’m going to close this discussion.
Thanks again to all of the helpful comments.

gailcalled's avatar

Talking to him is good but you must listen to him also.

If you cannot provide a place where he feels comfortable expressing his feeling, then perhaps, as others have suggested, you need a therapist to help you both.

janelle's avatar

As I said earlier…...Thank you for the helpful comments, I think i’ve acquired enough information.

“each other’s wants and needs”= his wants and needs as well so yes I understand that I should listen.

Buttonstc's avatar

Since you’ve stated that you have a difficult time explaining your side of things fully to.him, why not write it all in a letter. This way you can phrase and rephrase until you’ve said precisely what youngish to express. Then give it to him with the request that after he reads it, the two of you need to have a BRIEF conversation to come to a conclusion on the matter.

This way he has the time to fully grasp your point of view and process what your telling him.

Then have a short conversation to settle the issue.

And the reason I’m specifying brevity is because its clear that you have a greater need and tolerance for protracted than he does. But thats certainly not unusual. Thats the way most guys are. Not all but definitely most.

Are you aware that research has been done that shows that women use ten times as many words as men in most cases? Check it for yourself. There is a significant difference between the sexes in this regard. Men much prefer to get to the point as efficiently as possible and solve the problem rather than a long conversation all around the Mullberry Bush. . I

f you are looking to change this basic part of his nature, you wont succeed. You need to adapt and find a way for you that works. Hence my suggestion of writing rather than talking. This meets your need for full expression and clearly outlines the problem for him to solve.

He isn’t ignoring you because he specifically wants to hurt your feelings. Hes doing it because guys have a low tolerance for overly long wordy encounters filled with angst.

Just ask any guy you know. They’ll tell you the same thing. It would help if you develop the skill to be very specific in asking him for what you want in as succinct a manner as possible.

Ponderer983's avatar

Look, girl. You came to us for help ,and the overwhelming response is to break up with him. You seem pretty young, therefore most of us are your elders and have been there done that. Break up with him!!! He is a little shit not worth your time. You are young, you will get over it, and meet a better man who respects you. Don’t come to us with a relationship problem as deep seeded as this and not expect for people to tell you to break it off. You are constantly defending yourself in this thread and that is not good. End it before it gets worse

Sunny2's avatar

She’s do better to find someone who wanted his life controlled. (They do exist, and they want someone like her.)

janelle's avatar

@Buttonstc thanks for your input. I think that your idea of writing a letter may be helpful. Yes it is commonly stated that women use more words than men, which is why when we converse I try to listen attentatively. I’m not asking him to change his nature, that sounds a bit drastic. But if he did have to take a step back i’d appreciate it if he let me know, then I would give him his space.

@Ponderer983 This is the first question i’ve ever asked on this website. I expected a helpful community and instead overall i’ve come across comments such as yours. You aren’t linking what you’re saying to what i’ve said. Therefor i’m not even going to bother anymore, you obviously aren’t taking the time into trying to be helpful

@Sunny2 I’m not trying to control his life. He was being disrespectful.

As I stated earlier, I believe that i’ve gotten a generous amount of good advice and have already talked things out with my boyfriend. There’s no need for others to continue posting. Especially those of you who are obviously just attacking me.

Kardamom's avatar

@janelle No one’s attacking you. You asked a question and a plethora of jellies with scads of experiences (good and bad) have answered you. They’re trying to save you from a life-time of pain and humiliation, not to mention, trying to save you from wasting your and your boyfriend’s time.

You sound very young and inexperienced (I’m talking about life not sex). You want what you want and you don’t see or realize that you can’t always have exactly what or who you want.

You and your boyfriend are not a good match. You can talk all you want. He can “ignore” all he wants. You can give him the silent treament all you want, you can demand that he change all you want, but the bottom line is that you and he are very different people with very different needs and desires. This guy doesn’t exactly sound like a prize (nor does he sound like the worst person on earth), but please do not try to force anyone (this guy or anyone else) to try to conform to your needs. If this was the right guy for you, you’d know it and you wouldn’t have to try to force him or teach him.

You’re right, it’s not very respectful to you, to have all of these photos of other girls on his Facebook. But since he does have them there, you have to wonder why? Obviously, he had relationships with them and he values them, even though those relationships are over (or are they? You’ll never know for sure, because he won’t tell.). But if he simply values them as part of his life, then he should put the photos on a hard drive, to save as part of his life experience, as part of the person he has become. But since he hasn’t done that of his own accord, and has to listen to you nag him about it, that should tell you that he either isn’t mature enough to care, or understand how his current girlfriend (you) might be effected by the pictures, or he simply just isn’t that into you and no matter what you say isn’t going to change that. If that’s the case, do yourself a favor and bow out gracefully.

P.S. I hope you will stick with Fluther and realize that we aren’t here to berate you or anyone else. You asked a question and legitimate, forthright, thoughtful answers were given. That’s all anyone can legitimately expect.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
janelle's avatar

oh but what the heck, i’ll backfire most of what you said in a minute or two.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Kardamom's avatar

@janelle, If you are done, then why do you keep responding? What do you have to say in response to my answer? I don’t want to make things worse for you, I truly want to help you. I was young and naive once, twice or three times before. Before some sense was finally put into my head.

You say the “problem” was resovled. In what way?

janelle's avatar

Because people like you are speaking as if you know exactly who my boyfriend and I are. And I feel as if I should correct that

janelle's avatar

Would you mind if I asked how old you are?

janelle's avatar

Either way I stated that I was finished. Problem has been resolved. No need for any more “help.”

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Kardamom's avatar

@janelle Right now, it sounds like you’re an angry little girl. You haven’t gotten your boyfriend to do exactly as you want. Stamp your foot! Stamp it hard!

We jellies can only respond to what you have told us. Of course, no one knows your boyfriend. Not even you. Clearly the problem is not solved or esle you wouldn’t be on here asking about it. Just realize that you are not a good match with this guy and let him go and find happiness elsewhere. You will likely find happiness elseswhere too.

If you wanted advice, why did you come on Fluther to ask for it, even if you were already bound and determined that you weren’t going to take any of it, if it made you look young and inexperienced. At age 19 (unless you are a hooker, a porn star or a floozy) you are inexperienced with life, and hopefully sexuality.

Sure, you can ask my age. I’m in my late 40’s. So I’ve already dealt with everything (minus the Facebook aspect of it) that you’ve described. I learned that not all guys tell the truth, even though we desperately want to believe that they’ve told the truth to us, specifically, because we’re special. I’ve also learned that most men, over the course of their lives, have a few special women that they cannot get over (or simply cannot forget about) certain special women that they want to save in their memories. Some of those women may be in the past, but some of those women are recurrent in their lives in a sexual way, in an emotional way, in a physical way. And those those types of relationships are hidden away, even when they have “girlfriends” who want to believe that they are the special one in their lives.

You seem hell bent on expressing your anger towards me and the other jellies and towards your boyrfriend. I can tell you this, you are likely to be an ex-girlfriend in the near future. Why would your boyfriend want to put up with your pissiness, even if you are correct that he really shouldn’t be showing all of these other girls, people he’s had relationships with, on his Facebook? There are plenty of other girls who won’t give him as much grief and won’t continue to ask questions about the situation on an online forum, even though they’ve stated repeatedly that they are DONE! This guy has probably had enough of you making demands of him and then stating that you are DONE! You can’t stop and he’s probably furious that you can’t stop.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
janelle's avatar

Yes I am angry, mostly sleepy. Why? because i’ve asked people to stop commenting on this because there’s no need to keep doing so.
I don’t need him to do exactly as I want, we’ve come to compromise where he gets his space without disrespecting me. Stamp my foot..? No thanks.
Clearly the problem is solved since i’ve already talked it through with him. Honestly you’re just entertaining me at the moment.

Oh but I did use the helpful advice that was given to me! and I thank the people that helped :]
“At age 19 you’re inexperienced with life….” That’s the sort of assumptions that I dislike. You’ve read about one aspect of my life and you think you have the right to say that. Well I guess you do, there’s just no way to really tell if it’s accurate since it is based solely off of…one aspect of my life. Lol i’m definitely not participating in any shape or form of prostitution, sounds like you’re getting aggresive eh?
Since you been around much longer than I, i’m sure you have experienced more and you’ve probably learned from those! I saw a couple of we’s there. Be careful and speak for yourself because I don’t agree with everything you’ve stated.

janelle's avatar

Like I said earlier, I felt the need to stick up for myself when something stated was false

janelle's avatar

You sound really really angry..and i’m pretty tired. Arguing with you was somewhat entertaining. Don’t worry I don’t argue with my boyfriend like this and we actually do care for each other. So go on, speak of how terrible I am. I showed this to my boyfriend just now, thanks for the chuckles xoxo

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
janelle's avatar

My my, you’ve been typing for a while.

Kardamom's avatar

Dear, I have no horse in this race, other than to try to help you to not get yourself into an uglier situation than which you are already in. Or to regret any decisions you might make in the future. You have already stated that you are done with this post, but 12 posts later, you are still ranting and still blaming everyone but yourself and still posting responses. Are you done yet?

What reason do I have to be angry? I’m not your boyfriend.

Oh my, now I see response number 13 coming, even after you said you were done posting.

Now I think I am beginning to see why your logical boyfriend has been ignoring you. He just can’t take it anymore.

Jeez, Janelle, lighten up and think about this whole situation. You and this poor fellow, are simply not a good match and you have a lot of jealous rage built up. Try to get some sleep and think about this in the morning.

janelle's avatar

I was done, you should have taken note of that and not commented in the first place.

Bye!

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Kardamom's avatar

@Janelle, that was so cute how you copied what I said about “Janelle is crafting a response.” Glad to know that you came up with something original.

God, just trying to help you not look like such a dork to your boyfriend. He probably thinks you are out of control. Go to bed. You, yourself stated that you are sleep deprived.

I’m so glad I’m not 19 or 20 or even 25 again. Those years are so fraught with drama.

Tomorrow, sit down and try to think about how what you say, and how you say it, and how often you say it, and how snarky you say it, effect how others, including your boyfriend, think about you. This guy probably has feelings for you, but I expect that his feelings are not as deep as yours are towards him. He probably likes you well enough (or maybe not after what you’ve told us you have done) but he probably doesn’t see you as “wife” material.

You can either enjoy this fleeting romance for what it is, and drag it out to the bitter end, or you can get out while the gettin’s still good. Just make sure that in the future, that you choose a better mate, someone who is more suited to your interestests and constitution. Most people have to date quite a few people before they find the one.

athenasgriffin's avatar

@janelle, I am fairly sure that everyone who has responded here was really trying to help you. Only you can decide what you are and are not willing to accept in a relationship. If your relationship still has worth to you, then you should keep it. If it didn’t then you would already be gone.

You are too proud, and so is the majority of Fluther. I think that is the one relationship we can all say isn’t really working.

janelle's avatar

@athenasgriffin incase you haven’t noticed, I stopped taking this post seriously somewhere around the 20th comment. All I have to say is, it’s been entertaining messing with this.

Response moderated
janelle's avatar

@Kardamom I love how your argument includes the fallacy slippery slope.

Kardamom's avatar

@janelle Honey, go to bed. You’ve already stated at least twice that you’re sleep deprived and tired.

Maybe tomorrow, your boyfriend can come on here and explain his side of the story.

janelle's avatar

Sure thing, I guess you are old enough to be my mom. Actually that sounds pretty interesting, he’d probably have a little more fun here.

Haleth's avatar

Only the mods can “close” a question on Fluther. Until then, it’s an open forum.

So many problems in relationships happen when one person has stronger feelings than the other. That root problem creates insecurity, because you start to see every other woman as a potential threat to your relationship. If he still has pictures of them, he might still have feelings for them, and that could mean he’ll be less invested in you.

It’s kind of a self-feeding cycle. The jealous/insecure one nags and pesters their partner, driving them away even more. I’ve been on both sides of this. When you’re the insecure, jealous one, it just comes from reeeeally wanting to be with your partner, as often and as much as you can, the emotional high you get from them, and the nagging feeling that they’re not as invested as you are. When you’re the avoiding one, it feels like you’re dating this nagging, overbearing hellbeast and you just want them to leave them alone.

Being in either position is frustrating and painful. It seems clear that your boyfriend isn’t going to budge on keeping these pictures, and he doesn’t really care whether it’s disrespectful. I can’t make a decision for you. If him keeping the pictures is something you can live with, then dropping the subject is probably the only way to make peace in your relationship. If it’s something you can’t live with, you may need to end the relationship. You can’t always have everything you want.

But sometimes, backing off can be the best answer. If you really want to be with him that badly, you might want to give him some space for a little while. Spend some time without the boyfriend, with other people who care about you, doing things that make you happy, and talk to each other once you’ve both had some time and perspective, calmly and rationally.

Also, I agree with everything @Kardamom has said and I think she is genuinely trying to help you. A lot of times the right answers are the ones you don’t want to hear. If what you were doing was working, you wouldn’t need to ask us for advice… right?

janelle's avatar

@Haleth What I like about what you said is that you got the point across without offending me. I now know when I need to give him space and he understands that if he asks, i’ll give it to him. I never thought of it as a cycle though, it’s true.

Ah and my apologies, first question ever so I wouldn’t have known.

Haleth's avatar

@janelle Welcome to fluther!

I think you should give him space even if he doesn’t ask. If he has to ask, things have probably reached a tipping point. Try waiting to spend time with him until you feel calm, not angry, and affectionate toward him. If that never happens, then you may have your answer.

Also I want to clarify some wording. “If he still has pictures of them, he might still have feelings for them, and that could mean he’ll be less invested in you.” I didn’t mean that the boyfriend holding onto pictures was actually a threat to the relationship. It’s a perceived threat in the eyes of the other person. The pictures themselves probably aren’t that big of a deal. It’s his reaction that is telling.

I’m glad I was able to get through to you without offending you. But I think there were some helpful points in the other answers in this thread and they deserve a second look once you’ve cooled down. And, you know, it’s the internet. Everything is kind of offensive. :)

mattbrowne's avatar

Take a genuine interest in him and ask plenty of good questions.

downtide's avatar

I didn’t see this as it happened but I have a few observations.

To the OP- you are irrationally jealous (as demonstrated by your degree of upset about the old photos) and you are over-needy (as demonstrated by how upset you get if you don’t get an immediate response to texts etc). You seem to be expecting your boyfriend to drop absolutely everything else in the world and pay attention 100% to you on demand whenever you want it.

Neither he nor anyone else in the world owes you that kind of attention. Even couples who are deeply in love with each other, in strong long term relationships, don’t do that.

You need to learn that everyone else’s needs are as valid as yours and that you should not be in a relationship at all with someone you don’t trust (even if your mistrust is irrational and unfounded).

Let him go. If he chooses to stay, he’s yours. If he doesn’t, he never was.

JLeslie's avatar

The way I see it he is a mixture of simply being a typical man (doesn’t want to talk to death a disagreement) and he is also probably passive aggressive. You wound up giving him the silent treatment because you get what you give eventually, so you dealt with him the way he deals with you. He is silent towards you first, you want to talk. Dealing with someone like him the rest of your life will suck. If he can’t realize why it is important to you to talk something through you probably would be best off leaving him. It is possible for him to get better at communicating, amd you might need some help too, but if he thinks the whole problem is you and he doesn’t want to look at his own behavior you’re screwed.

roundsquare's avatar

I skimmed some answers but didn’t read everything. So here is a random thought: if you want to confront him, make sure that underlying argument/disagreement/etc… is medium sized.

This facebook thing is probably the wrong argument to use. If he thinks it silly, then he won’t be able to take it seriously when you bring up the ignoring thing. He’ll zone out the moment you bring up the topic again.

If its a huge argument, then that should take precedence over this argument. For both of you, its better to settle that argument and then NOT bring up another one right away.

If its something in the middle, he can take it seriously but not think you are ignoring the more important topic.

Also, I’ve heard (and experienced a bit) that women remember offenses like this for longer. So that leads to two conclusions:
1) Don’t wait too long to bring this up after an argument. A few days or something I’d say.
2) You are probably holding on to each of these offenses longer than he would. So if you start bringing up how he’s done it for a long time, he may not even remember and/or might wonder why you can’t let the old ones go.

Of course, these last two rely on 1) somewhat stereotypical assumptions + 2) that you two follow along with those stereotypes. YMMV.

jazmina88's avatar

wow. welcome to fluther. You can control the questions, but we are free to choose answers. It kinda seems like you are a bit of a control freak.
Instead of being jealous of photos, try trusting.

It seems like an Archie-Edith Bunker match.

Dont settle. dont pout

blueberry_kid's avatar

This was interesting to read…

A simple solution could be, in my opinion, to just talk to him.

gailcalled's avatar

vvv It is irresistible, isn’t it?

janelle's avatar

@Haleth He deleted the pictures prior to this post. I wanted him to understand that most women do in fact find photos from the past offensive, but he took them down because my feelings were hurt. Now i’m just saying thank you to him for doing so. I’ll be sure to go through this and pick out the points, use the helpful ones and discard the useless ones once I have enough free time.
@downtide I wasn’t just upset because I didn’t get an immediate response. I was upset because earlier that day we hadn’t finished conversing about what I believe was a problem. I gave him some time after his first non response, then stated that I found it disrespectful for him to leave like that. I also told him that if he needed space like that again i’d prefer it if he asked instead of ignoring me. However, i’m not just going to give him space when he asks, i’m trying to be more observant so that I don’t push him to that point.
@roundsquare Thanks for the input. I just gave that as an example of when we just disagree because our beliefs are different. We have already come to a compromise.

gailcalled's avatar

I wanted him to understand that most women do in fact find photos from the past offensive.

This is a very bad way of talking to a S/O. First, you have no idea what most women do, in fact, find offensive; and second, you need to speak only to your needs and feelings.

It is wonderful that you are going to be more observant in order to not push him to “that point,” but that puts all the responsibility on you…again. Is he also going to be more observant?

JLeslie's avatar

I tried to skim, were the photos out in a picture frame? Or, laying in a box somewhere or what?

I don’t being upset about photos is a gneder thing, my BIL literally cut old photos in half that had his ex in them, which I thought was ridiculous. I could care less if my husband has some photos of his ex, but I would care if he looks at them every day.

janelle's avatar

@gailcalled I asked friends, family, and reviewed articles online. Yes most women do in fact find it offensive, from what i’ve seen.

@JLeslie They were on his facebook. I felt as if they were being broadcasted and was embarassed when my family saw them. He however states that he wasn’t broadcasting them and thought of his profile as a timeline of his life.

gailcalled's avatar

Yes most women do in fact find it offensive, from what i’ve seen. Wanna bet?

JLeslie's avatar

@janelle Old photos back in old facebook albums? Does he have you as his “in a relationship with” on facebook? Was he willing to delete the old photos when he saw it upset you?

janelle's avatar

@gailcalled ”...from what i’ve seen.” Not what i’m about to see. I think this is starting to stray from the topic.

@JLeslie They were in this Profile Pictures; yes he does have me as his “in a relationship with.” After we expressed both of our opinions I tried to shake off how I felt, but I was still bothered. So then yes, he deleted the photos.

JLeslie's avatar

@janelle Ok, so sounds like everything is fine.

If you have a constant nagging feeling that he is being dishonest, interested in other women, and annoyed when he has to “deal” with you…trust your gut! If he is cheating or not, if you don’t get a secure feeling with him he is not being a good boyfriend. That’s my advice.

jca's avatar

(raises hand as someone who does not find old girlfriend’s photos offensive)

chyna's avatar

(raises mine also)

harple's avatar

Hey @janelle! There’s a rather old book now that might be a really good read for you – I read it when I was about your age and it certainly made a difference to me then. It’s Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

One of the main things I remember from it was when it talked about how women (typically) like to talk problems through (and through and through), whereas men (typically) need to “go to their cave”. The premise being that they have a need to process stuff in their own head-space, and that the best thing we can do is wait it out until they’ve done this. Not ideal for women if they fall into the category of needing to talk and talk things through, but if their man falls into the “cave” category, then giving them the space to come back to you when they’re ready can be more productive.

Anyway, it’s an easy to understand read which might just suit you where you are right now.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Generally doesn’t upset me either. Unless those photos seemed more prominenet than photos of me maybe?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@janelle My sister and BIL have very different communication styles. He tends to prefer confrontation while she would rather have a calm discussion after mentally digesting his words. Several years ago, she told me how frustrating this was for her.

I shared with her a saying that I’ve heard more than once by a friend: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.” It seems applicable in your situation.

People can change their behavior, but our innate personalities are pretty much set in stone before we hit our 20s. In order to have a healthy relationship, one must decide if they are willing to live with what they perceive to be a flaw or move on. In the case of my sister and BIL, they have chosen to stay together and work out the difference in communication style in their own way. It’s not my cup of tea, but considering that their marriage appears solid after almost 30 years, who am I to judge?

As for the Facebook photos, I haven’t personally been in that situation. If an old beau were to post photos of us together, I would request that he remove or move them if it was part of his profile grouping. It’s one thing to be still be considered a worthy friend despite a past romantic relationship. It’s another if the person considers the photos as a trophy case of their past relationships.

downtide's avatar

I wanted him to understand that most women do in fact find photos from the past offensive,

Not at all true. Probably not even the majority.

I wasn’t just upset because I didn’t get an immediate response. I was upset because earlier that day we hadn’t finished conversing about what I believe was a problem.

This amounts to the same thing, more or less. You wanted to talk, he felt that there was no longer anything to talk about – either because in his mind the argument is over, or because he feels it’t pointless arguing with you because you keep going n and on, and never changing your mind.

He probably thinks he’s on a total lost cause.

People do not change their personalities. You are never, ever going to get what you want/need from this man, you are just going to make life miserable as hell for both of you.

janelle's avatar

I believe that the majority of girls in my age group do find it offensive

I’ve personally seen my personality change, so I believe it’s possible.

We’ve already come to an understanding, thanks for sharing your opinion.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I believe that a person can change their behavior, but not their personality. The latter still resides somewhere underneath.

Expecting someone else to change their behavior to suit others’ needs is asking a lot. They have to be motivated to do so. Motivation comes from within. Inspiration may generate that motivation. This is where role models come into play. They can generate inspiration in others. Yet it is up to the one listening to the message and agreeing with it to decide if they want to change their behavior.

I think that the challenge in your situation is that you feel that your communication style is what should be used by everyone. His communication style is different, and it is not necessarily ineffective…just different. Understanding how other people choose to communicate, accept it, and politely work with it is a great way to show respect for that person.

Since you have stated that you feel that his behavior is disrespectful, I would like to ask you to think about how your behavior might look if you were in his position.

jca's avatar

The past can’t be changed, so being offended by something like photos of a past girlfriend kind of makes no sense. I’m sure the majority of people have photos of past girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, etc. If we were all offended by that, the majority of us would live our lives feeling offended for something that can’t be changed.

Ponderer983's avatar

“I believe that the majority of girls in my age group do find it offensive” <—Key words = in your age group. A decent amount of the women on here who have given you advice are older and/or more secure in themselves to the point where these trivial things don’t matter. Would you mind telling us how old you are?

jca's avatar

@Ponderer983: I believe @janelle said she is 19 somewhere in this thread.

Ponderer983's avatar

@jca Oh…well…there ya go! Makes sense, all the insecurity about Facebook.

athenasgriffin's avatar

I am in @janelle ‘s age group and I would never even consider asking my significant other to remove pictures from his Facebook. None of my close friends would either, although some ladies I am friends with might. The only reason you have a right to ask someone to remove a picture is if you are IN the picture and it misrepresents you, in my opinion, or was taken without your knowledge.

janelle's avatar

When I first joined this site I believed I would be conversing with a truly helpful community. The problem has been resolved and i’ve used the advice which I thought would be helpful. Now I honestly feel like these comments are attacking me instead of trying to help. Whether it be your intention or not, that’s just how I feel. Since the problem has been resolved I don’t understand why some of you feel the need to keep “helping.” I won’t be checking this any longer. Goodbye.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
harple's avatar

@janelle This is an open forum – the answers aren’t just for your benefit, they’re for the benefit of other visitors who might, at some point, find themselves in a similar situation. That‘s why threads like this stay open. Also, not everyone answering will want to read through 103 other responses before giving their own. Some people prefer to give an answer they feel is true to them rather than having it coloured by other opinions.

JLeslie's avatar

@janelle Just stop following, don’t take it personally. Try some other questions where you can give some answers. I think you’ll find you like it here.

jca's avatar

I am baffled by the OP’s statement of feeling like the answers are personal attacks. You ask a question, people answer it. That’s how Fluther works. Just because you demand people stop doesn’t mean they will, but not to offend you, just because that’s Fluther.

FutureMemory's avatar

How can I get my boyfriend to stop ignoring me?

How often do you wear tops like the one in your avatar?

Incoherency_'s avatar

I agree with @FutureMemory: write your thoughts to him across your cleavage. ;-)

FutureMemory's avatar

@Incoherency_

You’re going to make me break out some old avatars, aren’t you? ;)

FutureMemory's avatar

Ok ok, here you go. Stop the PM’s please ;)

dabbler's avatar

Ref: photos of old flames, “offensive” is not the right word, “threatening” is. The past is facts, there should be nothing offensive about the past. If the guy is with you now, after those others, it means your the best one of the lot. Get over whatever happened in his past. You have a past too, and someday you may be with someone who could find it threatening. Pretending it did not exist is Not the way to deal with it.

Ref: the original question. Stop playing games with the situation, state clearly two things, how do you feel, what do you want. “I feel hurt when you dismiss me in the middle of a discussion. Please let’s discuss <xyz>.” If he doesn’t respond to a respectful and honest approach dump him. But If you haven’t tried to act in a respectful and honest manner, without dramatic b.s. or games, then you should expect to reap what you sow.

Blueroses's avatar

Ok, ok. The girl said she resolved the issue to her satisfaction.

What @janelle may not have realized is that putting this question to a public forum is not the same thing as putting it to friends who might actually know something about the individuals.

Now, we all have opinions and dammit! our opinions matter! (Even if we didn’t read the previous posts).

FutureMemory's avatar

Why did this thread stop?

jca's avatar

@FutureMemory: Let’s start it up again!

syz's avatar

@jca God forbid. What a bunch of annoying drama.

Kardamom's avatar

@syz Now she wants Fluther to ignore her question. Unfortunately once it’s posted, it’s there for good, unless there’s a good legal reason to take it down.

I actually feel a little bit sorry for the OP, because her _own behavior is getting her attention or lack of attention in ways that she doesn’t want. The only way for her to get attention in the way that she wants is to change her own behavior, and responses to other people’s behavior._

jca's avatar

@Kardamom: Re: The only way for her to get attention in the way she wants is to change her own behavior, and responses to other people’s behavior -

That’s too much work! This way is easier. Just be mad at all of us and the mods!

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Let’s not egg the situation on, guys.

janelle's avatar

I don’t even clearly remember this argument. I’ll just say that my boyfriend came to the realization that avoiding problems and disregarding my feelings was wrong. When he really does need space/time to think he informs me and I respect his need. and I realized that pestering doesn’t do much to help the situation, ultimately leading me to stop.

Bye all :)

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