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I've been in a gay relationship with my boyfriend for about 12 year so now. About a year ago we had a small fight about the fact that I am not talking to him anymore. At first I didn't even notice that it was bothering him, he made comments about it but I just thought he was teasing me. One day I caught him in the garden mumbling to himself about it when he thought I was inside. I got very upset because he was implying I kept secrets from him and didn't love him anymore. At that time I told him that this is not remotely the case and that I simply have basically nothing that I could possibly talk with him about, except from the usual small talk.

I told him that I:

  • have no friends other than him that I could talk about
  • never go out without him, so everything I do he already knows about because he is with me
  • contrary to his belief, have no online friends I constantly talk with and could tell something about
  • have not much to tell about work because we work in the same company and sit basically next to each other. So again, everything that happens to me, he already knows about because he is with me, at the latest when there is the coffee break.
  • have no hobbies other than painting which is also nothing we really can talk about.
  • do nothing except waking up, work, eat, go to bed early, repeat (So I'm the most boring person you could ever imagine)

He seemed to understand and it got better. I tried to talk more to him about the few things that happen in my life although he already knows because we are always together, except when he goes out with his friends and I stay at home. Of course we also talk about politics or news but I always felt that's not what he wants, instead he wants to hear about my (boring and uneventful) personal life.

Unfortunately the problem came back a while ago and he started to make passive aggressive comments about the fact that I do not talk to him anymore. Reminding him of what I once told him doesn't seem to have any effect. I want to make it clear that my feelings are still the same and I'm only talking to him so little because I have nothing that I could talk about.

I have the feeling that it is hard for him to understand me because he has plenty of friends and acquaintance with whom he chats constantly and stories to tell, whereas I have like 3 contacts in my contact list I chat with once or twice a year and no friends or family I have any contact with. I even gave him access to my devices that he could see for him self that I don't talk to others all the time but not to him (something he often implies), but he refused.

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    What was your life like before this relationship? Did you have friends/hobbies/... and these gradually faded away or has it always been like this? – AsheraH Aug 5 at 15:43
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    @AsheraH yes. I had friends but I lost contact with most of them or left them on purpose because of their extreme political views I didn't want me or my boyfriend associated with. I didn't had much hobbies then either except for video games and painting. Now with being an adult with a full time job I often lack the time and energy to do anything. – NotThatGuy Aug 5 at 15:49
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    What hobbies is he interested in? Could you get involved or else talk about this? – marcellothearcane Aug 5 at 16:30
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    What about your opinions? You must have opinions: on life, love, feelings, on books and music and films, on history, on religion, on philosophy.... you two don't share your points of view? – essay Aug 5 at 17:08
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    @essay I have opinions on most that but after 12 years we basically now each other by heart and these things don't change very often or much. – NotThatGuy Aug 6 at 6:44
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From what you've said, it sounds like you are communicating your current thoughts effectively; you've told him that you don't have much to talk about and he seems unable to accept that and is upset. It seems like his communication needs aren't being fully met in the relationship at the moment. Would it be possible for you two to sit down and talk about what a compromise might look like?

Perhaps he can lower his expectations a bit when it comes to your conversations, and/or take the lead when it comes to conversations and be the one who does the bulk of the talking. Simultaneously, you could put in some additional effort to have more things to talk about. Maybe volunteer with an organization? Join a local book club? Take a class at a community center? Set up a weekly night out with a friend?

I've been in my own gay relationship for 5+ years, and we've had very similar experiences in the past. I am closer in personality to your boyfriend (looking to talk about personal life all the time), while my husband is similar to you (not very talkative, especially when there's nothing new to talk about). Aside from work & school, we rarely spend time with others, and our few hobbies don't make make for lively discussion. It has been a challenge for us to find a good balance on how much to talk and what to talk about, and has required effort on both of our parts.

There is nothing wrong with being a boring person. And there's nothing wrong with wanting your partner to have new life experiences to talk about.

He may not enjoy dating a boring person, and you may not enjoy being a more exciting person, but for this relationship to work, you'll both need to adjust.


While some comments have suggested talking about "life, love, feelings, on books and music and films, on history, on religion, on philosophy", after having been together for a significant amount of time, you know your partner's views on those subjects - those views rarely change quickly and don't make great discussions anymore.


Finally, I'm not a mental health pro, but your comment stating that you rarely have the time or energy to do things sounds like symptoms of depression. Living a low-key, isolated life works for some people, but if that isn't what you've done in the past you may want to meet with a therapist to talk about this stuff.

  • "on books and music and films" - Although the underlying views may not have changed, the given book/music/films portrayal of them will have. Example - I believe we are being oppressed by the government and it can only end badly. I can read 1984 and discuss how it deal with it, then I can read an discuss how Fahrenheit 451 deals with is whilst I still have the same, unchanged view, then how Animal Farm deal with it and so on. You can get plenty of discussion out of unchanging views! Not framing this as an argument, just a suggestion for your answer. – RyanfaeScotland Sep 26 at 12:57
  • I personally love the idea of reading a book and discussing it or telling the story to other people. Me and my boyfriend do it a lot. We also read the same book and afterwards we see the movie adaptation(when the book has one) and discuss the differences and alikes. Its a pleasant and low energy activity two can carry easily. – Peacekeeper Oct 1 at 13:07
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I so like your question!

I can understand your boyfriend. It's not really either of your fault... to him a conversation is a form of expressing love. It means you're looking into yourself and sharing yourself with him, even if the conversation turns out boring. It might be a bit dissatisfying to him that the conversation may be trivial and not deep at all, but it might be better than nothing. He may feel abandoned, not understanding how anyone could truly have nothing to say.

I can understand this because I'm learning my boyfriend is like this. I've been researching why, and that's how I came across this site. I see it as he's not self-aware... he doesn't actually know what's going on inside of himself enough to be able to share it (maybe like you said, nothing is). Like you, he works, a lot, and goes home, and sleeps.

But he can also seem kind of mean... like if he couldn't say anything mean or too criticizing, then he'd say nothing at all. Throughout our dating (about 1.5 years) I've asked him to be nice. He said he was nice. (Right!) After our last argument, I explained to him that it's a need I have, to be encouraged, and feel safe, otherwise, it seems he doesn't even like me, though I do know he does. It's a contradicting feeling. I asked him to say something nice once a day. After a long conversation about that (he's good at talking when things get really blown up), he seemed to accept that... and he's been trying.

Sorry to be so long. My point is that I think it's a need of your boyfriend to have conversations some, not just a longing, in order to feel loved. Otherwise, there's that contradicting message: My boyfriend loves/likes me, but he doesn't talk to me. How can he really love/like me? People feel love differently. You can check out the book, "The Five Love Languages" to get an idea.

Soon, I'm going to have to have a conversation with my boyfriend about talking... he'll have some small talk, mostly about work, grunt a little after I say some things, maybe have a comment or two. But he doesn't initiate conversations much. And if I run out of something to say, the talking's done (I won't even call most of it conversation). It's like he doesn't trust me to tell me what he's thinking so I can learn more about him and doesn't care enough to ask me questions to find out more about me. I know this isn't the case, but it's that same contradictory message. How can he like/love me if he doesn't talk to me, share himself with me or ask me questions? It's so potentially serious for me, I'm trying to determine if he is someone I could marry. And if not, then why remain his girlfriend? I think I'd be miserable, not being able to have deep conversations with my husband. Still trying to figure this out.

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I've been in a relationship with my husband for just as long (over 12 years) and this has come up as an issue for us too, especially since we both live and work together. (Literally, I am within <10m of him for all but a handful of hours a week).

This is also a normal and expected problem, because in the relationship there will be a person who needs 'more' talking and a person who needs 'less'. I'll discuss here what I've learned.

I'll start with a precursor:

0) Make sure you're at the root of the issue

Sometimes it's pretty hard to know what you want, especially when it comes to emotional needs in a relationship. It may be easy to think "when he talks to me, I feel better, and I feel bad, so I need him to talk to me more".

My husband and I use the metaphor of a 'love tank' to gague the state of our feelings. If our love tank is full, then we feel loved and satisfied and safe in the relationship. If it's empty, we feel lonely and neglected. There are varying levels in between. If your partner has an empty(ing) love tank, it may be easy to think that talking will solve the issue, perhaps because it has before, and that may be why he's asking about it.

But perhaps it's not "you're not talking to me enough", it could also be "I don't feel like we're connecting" or "we don't have much time together" or "I don't feel like you care anymore". Those are more nuanced, complicated feelings that can take some time to get to the bottom of, and he may have not got there yet, and may need some help/time to do so. His desire for you to talk more could be a symptom of a bigger communication or relational issue in your relationship.

So how do you get to the bottom of all this?

1) Not all talking is equal

Talking can be broken down into a couple of basic categories:

  • People:
    This ranges from personal likes and dislikes, to the neighborhood gossip, family relationships and other relational dynamics.
  • Things:
    Computer games, hobbies, functional day-to-day logistics of who's washing the dishes.
  • Ideas and feelings:
    Political opinions, philosophising, personal feelings and emotions.

Everyone has different needs when it comes to talking. Some people will have a love tank that is easily filled up by 'things' talk (like my husband!). Other people need more 'feelings' talk (like me). If your partner needs more 'feelings' talk to fill his love tank up, and you talk about hobbies, then it's not going to help.

So how do you get to the 'feelings' talk?

2) Set aside a dedicated time to talk

A conversation generally makes its way through the above progression. People first, then things, then feelings and ideas. If you never take the time to work your way through the progression, you won't ever get to feelings. So it's important to take the time to let the conversation go that path. No distractions, no playing video games at the same time, sit down, make eye contact and have a dedicated time to talk.

3) What to talk about: practical strategies

So I've written all of this stuff about the theory behind talking, and why, but that begs the question: what do you actually talk about?

You talk about what you've been thinking about. For some people, it's pretty hard to do that. Maybe they don't pay attention to what they're thinking about, or maybe translating thoughts into words is hard. So it may be something to work on.

What did you think about today? The colleague that annoyed you, the food you had for lunch, the new painting medium you want to try out, anything like that.

As an exercise to help you remember, when you go about your day and have opinions, I'd suggest writing your thoughts down as you go.

Even though it feels like you don't have much to talk about, you will be surprised how much thinking you do, and how many opinions you have.

4) The magic question: How was your day?

So after you've tried writing down a couple of thoughts that you had during your day, at the end of the day you sit down with your partner and take 15 minutes to ask the magic question. "How was your day?". Instead of saying 'fine', you go back to your list of things you wrote, and you tell your partner about them.

I keep a running list in my head of 'things to tell my husband about' and when our time comes at the end of the day, those are the things I tell him. Give the conversation time to progress through people and things to get to feelings. You can also talk about this question that you asked, and try to get to the bottom of what exactly the issue is.

Even though we spend all day together, being in the same room as eachother doesn't fill my love tank up (it does his), so we still have to take dedicated time at the end of the day to talk to eachother (we call it 'couple time') because simply being in the same vicinity is not enough.

And then finally, if you feel like all of this is something you need a bit of extra help with:

5) Get some outside help

There's nothing wrong with talking to a therapist or getting help with something like this. If talking to him is something you need extra help with, you (and him) may benefit from professional help working out exactly what the issue is and how you can work on it.

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