How To Respond When Your Boyfriend Ignores You

By Stephanie Kirby|Updated April 12, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH

Being ignored is not something anyone longs for, but communication is key in these scenarios. If you are feeling unheard by your significant other, a therapist may be able to help you understand these emotions and plan the best way to talk about these issues in your relationship. On top of that, a therapist will help you find ways to empower yourself to live the life you deserve, overcome stress, or understand anxiety.

Relationships are not always perfect, and sometimes issues that you do not know how to handle may arise such as when your boyfriend ignores you. Nobody wants to feel like the person you have spent so much time, energy, and love on is ignoring your attempts at communication. The good news is that just because you feel neglected, it does not necessarily mean that your boyfriend does not care about you anymore. It also does not mean the relationship is falling apart. However, it may mean that you need to take some steps to improve the relationship. Yes, you. Remember, you can only control your behavior, not your partner's.

My Boyfriend Keeps Ignoring Me, What Do I Do?

When your boyfriend ignores your texts

First of all, take a breath and allow yourself to calm down for a moment. It's natural to start worrying or let anxiety take over if you haven't heard from your partner longer than is usual. You also want to make sure that you're reasonable in your assessment about what constitutes a fair amount of time. As difficult as it may be, try to access the logical part of your mind rather than the panicking part. Automatic thoughts are the initial thoughts that come to mind in any given situation. Because they're our first thoughts, it's easy to believe that these thoughts must be accurate. The truth is that while emotions are important, you need to access the rational side of your brain as well. If you act simply on emotion, you will likely believe the worst case scenario to be true.

Understand that whatever is going on in your mind (Is he with someone else? Did he have an accident? Am I annoying him?) is likely your anxiety talking more than fact. You should ask yourself what evidence you have that led you to this conclusion. It's likely all your imagination at this point because if he hasn't told you why he is unresponsive, then you just don't know his reasons. He could be busy or be somewhere he had to ignore his phone.

Even if your boyfriend is at home and could easily access his phone to return your texts, another thing to keep in mind is that he is not obligated to respond to every message you send him immediately. You don't need to take offense to that. Sometimes individuals in a relationship need a little space or time for their interests, and it doesn't necessarily indicate that anything is wrong. When you are in a partnership with someone whether it be a new relationship or a long-term marriage, you have to remember that while you are merging your lives, you are also two individuals who need physical and emotional space at times. You need to take care of yourself and do things without your partner sometimes. You want to have boundaries where you respect the space that your partner needs at times.

If your texts go ignored on a regular basis, then you may have more of a problem on your hands. In this case, you should choose a time when you are calm, and in person, to discuss with your boyfriend how it makes you feel when you send a text,, and he doesn't respond for a long time. Discuss what you both feel are reasonable lengths of time to expect a response. Be honest without being hurtful to your partner. Also allow him to explain his reasons and don't automatically assume that because you have different ideas about communication, that he doesn't care about you. Try and meet somewhere in the middle if possible where your boyfriend tries his best to respond more frequently while you work on managing your expectations and not expecting the worst if he doesn't respond as fast as you'd like.

When your boyfriend ignores you in person

Being ignored in person is also called the silent treatment. It may just be that your boyfriend doesn't say anything to you unless you specifically address him first. If this is the case, you want to be honest that you want to feel like he is interested in you and your life by starting the conversation more frequently. Something as simple as asking how your day went can go a long way. You may feel like your boyfriend is listening to you, but isn't actually hearing you. Making this distinction is important. Your ears can hear what people are saying, but your brain and heart may not be absorbing what the words mean.

Distractions might also be a big reason why you aren't feeling heard. We live in a world where technology rules. Think of how many times we see a couple sitting down at a restaurant and barely speak to each other because they are too busy on their phones. If you notice that your boyfriend is on his phone, playing a video game, or busy with some other task, ask him if he can please stop what he's doing for a moment to speak to you. If he tells you it's not a good time, it might help to make regular dates each week where you check in with each other and just talk about how the week has been for you.

Sometimes in these situations, your boyfriend may not even realize that you feel ignored. We tend to believe that after a certain amount of time, our boyfriend should be able to anticipate our needs, but that's not always the case. Sometimes you have to verbalize what you need instead of hoping that your boyfriend will be able to read your mind. If you're feeling like you're not communicating enough, the best thing to do is to approach him calmly because if you haven't talked to him about this in the past, it might come as a shock to him that you've been holding this inside for some time. During this time you can talk about what you both feel are reasonable expectations for communication. Be honest about your desire for more attention and discuss ways that you can improve in this area. Keep in mind that it takes time for people to develop new habits so don't be discouraged or think that your relationship can't be improved if you do not see the kind of results that you want immediately. If despite continued efforts, you don't see the kind of change that you feel is acceptable, you want to think about whether your boyfriend is a good match for you.

My Boyfriend Keeps Ignoring Me, What Do I Do?

Is your boyfriend not responding because he's angry or hurt about something? If so, then, now is the time to find out how you can work on the issue that started this silent treatment. Of course, you should still be honest that his reaction hurt your feelings, was not helpful, and not healthy while also trying to focus on how you can help him feel better about the relationship again too. After trying these tips, if your partner is still ignoring you, you may want to seek assistance from a trained couple's counselor to help you work on your communication skills. It's also not a bad idea to seek an individual counselor who can help you work through your struggles that may be contributing to the struggles you're experiencing in your relationship. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues. 

Counselor Reviews

"Cameron has helped me navigate some incredibly challenging things within my relationship. With his help I’ve developed confidence to be a more assertive person. Therapy had helped me understand myself and my partner much better, in addition to implementing practices and taking action to improve a situation whereas I otherwise may feel stuck or hopeless. I really loved that he took the time to get to know me and my history before trying to “tell me what to do.” I feel like he really understands how my mind operates and therefore can give great, valuable advice, in addition to being a comforting sounding board."

"Libby has been wonderful in guiding me and my partner through our difficulties and listening and providing feedback or asking questions that allow us to move forward and work through our differences. We really appreciate her and her work and for taking the time to help us."

Conclusion

Although we all have moments in which we ignore certain people, it never feels good to be ignored by your partner. If you notice a pattern of your boyfriend ignoring you, the next step should be communicating with him. Perhaps he simply gets distracted by work or hobbies like video games, and he doesn't even realize that he's ignoring you. You won't know how he feels (and he won't know how you feel ignored) unless you talk to him. Remember that this discussion doesn't need to be a confrontation. You can let gently him know how you feel, and listen openly to his response before determining next steps. If you're unsure of how to bring this up to him, speaking with a licensed therapist can help you learn how to best move forward

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