My Boyfriend Doesn’t Ask About My Life. Are We Doomed?

My Boyfriend Doesn’t Ask About My Life. Are We Doomed?

I have been dating my current boyfriend for almost a year now and things are good between us. We’re exclusive, I don’t doubt that he loves me and sees a future together, and he treats me very well. I really don’t mind his messy piles of clothes on the floor or his ineptitude in the kitchen. I don’t even care that he makes half the money I do. I’m just so thrilled that he’s sensitive, attractive, affectionate, and attentive, and that he chose me! He’s even commented about how happy he is with me because I’m so easy-going. It seems like a match made in heaven and I’m crazy about the guy. Except for one thing. And I just can’t tell if it should be a deal-breaker or not.

My concern is that he never asks me questions about who I am. He wouldn’t know anything about me if I didn’t volunteer it. I’ve always been the type to want to know everything about the person I’m in love with and I ask a million questions. I’ve asked him why he doesn’t have a curiosity about the experiences that have made me who I am or the dreams I have for my life, and his response has been “You tell me everything I need to know, why do I need to ask?” But if he only knew how much he doesn’t know! Some tough subjects just don’t come up over the dinner table. He has acknowledged my concern, but nothing has changed and I know I can’t make him change; but I thought by now we’d be closer emotionally because of the intimate things we know about each other that no one else does (or very few). A perfect example is the time we were discussing guns and I’d told him I’d never owned one because I am a felon. Wouldn’t you want to know about your girlfriend’s criminal history? Not him, apparently, and he still doesn’t.

I’ve never dated anyone before who didn’t ask at least an occasional question and it bothers me. If I start telling a story from my childhood or discussing my day at work, I think “He doesn’t care about this or he would have asked,” and I find myself cutting it short or not even bringing it up in the first place. Things are wonderful in so many other ways but this is beginning to really weigh on me and I’d love your advice from a man’s perspective: Is he a keeper? Is there a way I can naturally pique his curiosity? Can a man really be this poor at communicating? Thanks for your input/feedback. —Holly

I’m with you, Holly.

I don’t get people like this. I, too, am inquisitive, and am perpetually shocked when others are not just less inquisitive, but not remotely curious about me. No, “How’s your business going?” or “What are you working on next?” or “What’s your favorite part of being a father?”

You’re not going to win many friends if you never make anyone else in the world feel interesting.

The crazy thing is — as you’ve already acknowledged when you said your boyfriend is “sensitive, attractive, affectionate, and attentive,” these types of folks aren’t “bad” people.

But they are CLUELESS people who would be well-served to pick up a copy of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

You’re not going to win many friends if you never make anyone else in the world feel interesting.

Which only provokes me to ask the obvious question: how did you let a disinterested guy like this become your boyfriend?

Wasn’t it obvious after, oh, I don’t know — Date 1 — that his conversational skills were all about what was going on in his life, at his job, what he saw on TV, his funny stories from college?

If you’re pretty, nice, and accept him as he is, he’s probably gonna be a happy camper.

Didn’t it bother you from the get-go that he couldn’t even feign interest in what makes you tick? Or did it really take a year to dawn upon you that you are pretty much a stranger to your own boyfriend — and that he primarily likes you because you’re pretty and patient?

Maybe I’m a little egocentric, but that shit wouldn’t fly with me. I love the fact that my wife wants to know everything about me — stories of crazy ex-girlfriends, old family photo albums, dusty old screenplays sitting in the back of my closet. The fact that she cares enough to be curious about my past is immeasurably warming and comforting. And even if I’m not as interested in her past as she is in mine, I can still name all of her family members, friends, exes, and co-workers.

Yeah, between us, there aren’t many silences in the Katz household.

As for whether he’s a keeper, whether you can pique his curiosity and if he can really be this poor at communicating, those answers are yes, no, and yes.

This is your boyfriend. He ain’t changing. If you can live with this, because he’s a kind, loyal person with a solid job and strong values, I wouldn’t judge you. Hell, you’ve survived this long and said that things were “good”. And if you bring it up with him and discover that this is as deep as he goes, you wouldn’t be out of line to think you could have a stronger connection with a guy who actually cares what comes out of your mouth.

But the more important overarching lesson to women is this:

Holly’s boyfriend isn’t an anomaly. This is why it’s not nearly as important how many degrees you have, languages you speak, countries you’ve seen or books you’ve read. If you’re pretty, nice, and accept him as he is, he’s probably gonna be a happy camper.

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  1. 21

    Really, this is NOT a matter of communication styles ( as in, how much talk/how often) but of an emotional, intellectual and mental curiosity. I almost guarantee that   Holly’s boyfriend is consistent in that regard.. I would be surprised if she said he is generally a curious, involved and stumulating person BUT he chooses to give her space and not be curious about her. Does he have anyone he really knows in depth? Someone he has a meaningful relationship with that goes beyond “how was your weekend?” types of questions ?

    1. 21.1

      Here’s what I think, speaking from experience. These types (like Holly’s boyfriend) want to avoid anything unpleasant, and figure ‘ignorance is bliss’-so they never ask questions that will skew their set opinion of anyone. They live inside themselves. They do not want to know.Living in the reality they create for themselves is preferable to messy real life. Tell him his interest is important to you and see his reaction. If nothing changes then you have your answer. If he ignores your needs now it will only get worse over time. Would you ignore him if he asked you for something important to him?

      1. 21.1.1

        Hello everyone

        Some guys are just players.I think at this point-a guy who wants to have only sex,will not be paying too much attention to you as a person-they clearly show their interest in SEX ONLY,   rest-they can care less,if no future relationship is planned,no matter how great your chemisty is,I would get away ASAP,before you got hurt,and he will replace you with someone else,after he is done with you.I found this web as pretty clear explanation:

        Take care


      2. 21.1.2

        Susan, wow, you hit it on the nail.

      3. 21.1.3
        Christina M.

        Your explanation is completely spot-on Susan! I have experienced what you have described a number of times in my dating life.

  2. 22

    Try as I might, I can’t imagine being in a relationship with someone for a year before finding out they had a felony conviction in their past and then not at least asking “Can you give me more information about that?” That’s not prying or being disrespectful — that’s being smart.

    I don’t think it really matters whether Holly’s guy is  too lazy, too self-absorbed, or just too unskilled to inquire about her. What matters is it makes her unhappy. She’s already said she knows she can’t change him, and she’s smart enough to know she should not expect him to behave any differently in the future.   She’s already told him she’d like it if he inquired more, and he’s chosen to keep things as they are. Why would she (or anyone) settle for that just so she can have a happy camper by her side? What about HER happiness?

    Give and take is vital to a relationship, and I don’t think “nice” or “pretty” can ever make up for the kind of caring that’s shown when your partner asks about your life, your dreams, your worries, your day.  

    And I totally agree with Freya’s comments above (welcome Freya!). Nothing is worse than a first encounter with a guy who asks nothing about you…even after you’ve left the window of opportunity wide open for a long, uncomfortable time, and yet he still doesn’t get it that you’re waiting to be asked about. Something, anything. Who was my first grade teacher? Did I ever prefer Ken dolls to Barbies?   Have I ever consulted a psychic or had a perm?   Anything!  
    Holly, you deserve better…someone who cares enough to ask.

  3. 23

    Hm, this is a tough one. I’m an introvert and I keep my own counsel a lot, and I’m a very private person. I enjoy long periods of silence too, so I like being around people who are comfortable with silence.  When people ask endless questions about me and why I do what I do, it can just simply feel overwhelming and a little intrusive. Whilst I have been with guys who have wanted to talk and talk and know everything, and I appreciate that it’s a sign of interest, I ultimately find myself moving away from them.

    All this has meant that I have gravitated towards someone who is also a bit more silent and introverted. It’s just more comfortable.

    *However* when it comes to basic information about me, I do expect him to know this. I would expect him to know basically my hopes, dreams and passions. And  if there is an important event in my life, I  definitely *do* expect him to take an interest and ask, I would feel very hurt if he didn’t, simply because I am so undemanding in terms of communication the rest of the time.

    I also think it needs to be clarified at what stage of the relationship the not asking questions occurs. If it happens right in the beginning, the first couple of dates, there is no way I would bother with a guy like that. It’s just a turn-off.

    However, if it’s a long relationship and the guy has simply dropped the ball and isn’t asking what’s going on with you, and you are feeling neglected, I would pull back and reign in the effort I was making until he asks what is wrong (which he should, if he cares). At that point I would have a talk with him using “I feel…” statements.

    If it still doesn’t improve, you might find yourselves naturally drifting apart and the relationship ends on its own.

    1. 23.1

      I agree with many of you but, in the beginning my boyfriend was very open and honest, laughing and asking probing questions much like other men.   All of a sudden, poof it ended.   Once he planned a huge birthday weekend and told me he loved me POOF it was all over.   I never heard those words again.   He never calls me pet names or show affection one bit.   Any time things between us get “close” he seems to run.   He says nothing has changed but he cannot come up with why things went well in the beginning and not now.  

  4. 24

    I’d agree with Freya about the number of men out there that are like the OP’s boyfriend.   I reckon that women as a whole are not all that much better though and those of us with curiosity are, frustratingly, in the minority.   I met around 80 men over the course of 3 years on match, and I’d say that the majority were majorly lacking in curiosity, although to differing extents – asking no questions at all is at the extreme end of the spectrum.   Maybe around 6 or 7 had the amount I felt I needed to be in a relationship with them and this was after screening of profiles and emails, looking for this trait specifically.   

    Strangely, I found that there were a lot of men who were quite good with questions on the 1st and 2nd dates but then stopped abruptly when they had found out “the basics” – occupation, family background, favourite holiday destinations etc.   One man actually said to me on our 3rd date: “I think I know everything about you now”.  

    And while there were some men who didn’t talk very much themselves, even in response to questions, I’d say most were happy to talk about themselves given the chance and seemed to enjoy another person showing an interest in them.   Like you Freya, I also used to drive the conversation in most cases, and the date thus felt enjoyable and relaxed to the man.   It just made me feel so sad that they couldn’t see that what made them like me was what would make me like them.   Almost all of these men thought our date went fantastically and were always always so surprised when I told them they weren’t right for me.

    I have also had the experience of mentioning something “big” (I wasn’t a felon but it was a big piece of information about my life nonetheless) and not getting any follow up at all.   I actually had to tell the guy “I want to talk about this, and it makes it easier for me if you ask about it”.   He still didn’t ask, and said when I broke up with him over it that “he thought I wouldn’t want to talk about it”, even after me specifically saying that I did.   He never did find out and while he was properly heartbroken by the break up, I just didn’t feel that he had truly loved me for who I really was as he didn’t ever know who I really was.   This was the last time I tried to make a relationship work with someone lacking in curiosity.

    And I just don’t get the people who are saying they are trying to be respectful and not pry; if the OP wasn’t open to talking about the issue, she wouldn’t have brought it up.   The fact that she did suggests she was very keen to talk about it.

  5. 25

    Incidently, has anyone ever succeeded in making a non-curious person more curious?   I used to think that the men I dated could learn to become more curious if they realised how important it was to me, but any time I have tried to raise the subject, I tend to just get a blank or perplexed expression.   I have never successfully converted a non-curious man into a man that is even capable of feigning curiosity.   This is even in circumstances where the man has been crazily in love with me and is aware that the relationship may end if nothing changes.   These men were otherwise intelligent, capable men who had achieved a lot in their lives.   I still can’t figure out why learning to say “What do you think about that”?   or even “do you agree with me?” was such a challenge.   Often these guys were good listeners and would be happy to give input if I volunteered anything.   They just didn’t get that it was the being asked bit that makes me feel loved.

    1. 25.1

      That would be akin to changing someone.

      1. 25.1.1

        No, it is akin to telling someone you care about that you don’t feel loved and asking, if they do really care, to please listen and know that this is a must have emotional  need in order for the relationship to work. If the bells don’t go off in his head, and he doesn’t make an attempt, he really does not care.

        If a man told his so that her lack of interest in sex made him feel unappreciated and was a need for him in the relationship, everyone would understand him and say that she needs to be more sexually available. It’s the same thing. Emotional intimacy and physical intimacy are needed in a successful relationship.


    2. 25.2

      Is funny to see these answers because I was reading some male treads in a forum and the most frequent complaint was about woman don’t asking questions. Anyway I am a man and I suffer a lot because I’m very curious (not only about woman but everything) but most of the time they dont show any interest in me. I think there is a overbalance in all these relationships, including mine.

  6. 26

    Freya #18: I can’t tell you how many dates I’ve been on where the man did all, or most, of the talking. In reading this blog, however, I realized men put out their resume big-time on first dates. They are selling themselves. STILL, sensitive men WILL engage YOU in conversation. Period.

    In general I find that Southern men and people in general tend to be VERY good in two-way conversations, in showing real interest in a person’s background,   so it helps I live in the South (Southern hospitality and all that).  

    Goldie- you’re being too logical hun, imo. (Which is your strong suit, but still)  Clearly this woman has asked him to ask her more about her life and he still declines. I’m with Evan on this one that  he is happy with his sweet, easy  gf. Happy with the way things are.

    My ex of 25 years started off well I think, asked me about my day a little, other things maybe, but over time it became all about him. His career (he was self employed) in particular.  He was also not super loving in an emotional, touching way (outside the bedroom). My ideas were never quite good enough, he seldom agreed with me on much of anything. THREE times I told him my needs weren’t being met, and I made a point to look very unhappy each time, that it was serious business,  and each time he answered  “Ellen, I’m no cheerleader”. I eventually let him go in 2008 and am divorced now. Don’t miss him a bit and wish I had done it earlier, frankly, but like a lot of women I put my children’s needs ahead of my own.  

    Ladies, life is too short to never be heard, never given the satisfaction that the man digs  learning new things about you. My current bf is just great that way. We tend to delve much more  into his interests though, so last weekend I told him it would be just great if he could find something! to like about British Premier Soccer! And maybe my metaphysical interests. I told him guys never openly seem to learn from me or women in general (they resist it, they just do folks!)  and I’m quite tired of it and he could learn quite a bit if he listened, asked a lot of questions, etc. (I do have 20 years schooling and am well-travelled but I digress)….He chafed a  tiny bit, but I’m pretty sure now he’ll make more of an effort. And he can best be described as a brilliant (IQ & emo intelligence), elegant country boy into NASCAR and who leans right a bit…..Hey, you don’t ask, you don’t get, right? 🙂

  7. 27

    I also suspect that the felony issue would be different if the genders were reversed. A woman finding out that her boyfriend of a year was a convicted felon would be a pretty big deal, and you can bet she’d probably be upset that he’d waited so long to tell her. But because Holly’s a woman, maybe her boyfriend assumes it’s not a big deal. However, felons face barriers to finding both jobs and housing. Since felonies range from possession of drugs to murder, isn’t that something one’s partner would want to know about?

  8. 28

    Hi all, I’m the letter writer. Thanks so much, Evan, for printing and responding! To answer some questions and provide an update: No, it didn’t take a year for it to dawn on me that I’m a stranger to my boyfriend. That took about two weeks! It just took me a year to find the appropriate forum for voicing my concerns. Thank heavens for EMK and his avid, rabid fans!
    @Alyssa #5: You make a great point–while he may not ask specific questions, what I do tell him sticks in his head like a steel trap. He’ll bring stuff up I don’t even remember telling him, so I definitely know he gives a shit. He’s clearly shown me through his actions that he cares very much for me, but there are still times when I long for deep, intimate conversation about what makes each of us tick, not just him.

    @Moe #8–I think you’re spot on about him being a more of a “listener.”
    @Ruby #6: As I recall, when I told him about being a felon he pretty much just nodded and kept going with whatever it was he was talking about. Quite some time later I brought it up again because I felt it was something he needed to know (whether he wanted to hear it or not). He SAYS he thought I was joking, just trying to get a rise out of him, and he wasn’t going to let me get one over on him which is why he ignored it. Could that be true? Knowing him as I do now, yeah, maybe, probably, possibly not. I’ve decided to let it go and move on. Needless to say, he now knows the whole truth and he’s still by my side, so I take that as another sign he’s a keeper!
    @Helen #11: Yes, he’s a talker, but he does let me get a word in edgewise. The difference between us is that when he’s talking, I insert the occasional comment to let him know I’m listening and understanding. When I talk, all I get is silence. He’s good about making eye contact (and not engaging in other distractions), but his total lack of response is what makes me think he couldn’t care less about the topic. I believe he cares about ME, just not the subject at hand.
    @Goldie #13: There’s a difference in throwing out some bait to gather information about someone’s interest level and badgering someone into a corner. I do the former, NEVER the latter. And regarding the “why don’t you ask me about things you don’t know about” piece, I’m not expecting him to be a mind reader as you suggest. There’s a BIG difference between asking someone “What’s your favorite movie?” and “Did you make a ham sandwich with cheese and pickles last night?” (I did, by the way.)
    @Joe&Helen #14 & #15: Actually, I’m not a blirter. I’m pretty quiet all around which is why I tend to be okay with him yakking on and on about work, family, what car he wants to buy, etc. Perhaps, though, I’ve set him up in a comfortable pattern by NOT blabbering about myself.     
    @SnowdropExplodes #17: Yes! I do ask him all kinds of questions about himself, his life, his past, his hopes and dreams, to find out more about him AND in hopes that he’ll turn around and ask me the same back. Sometimes it works, usually not.
    And to answer everyone’s question about the felony, that’s between him and me! (But I didn’t kill anyone and no jail time, so really, it couldn’t have been that bad, eh?)
    I have mentioned my concerns to him about this in the past and lo and behold, he asked me a question about two weeks ago, all by himself! Ok, so it was about my “favorite position” (go figure–he IS a man, after all!), but at least we’re making progress, right?   😉 I still think this man is awesome in so many other ways (compared to the handful of duds I’ve dated in the past). If the relationship ultimately fails it will be primarily for other reasons that may come up in the future, but this will likely remain a secondary issue that bubbles up now and then. Hopefully we will find a solution.
    Thanks everyone, especially EMK. And while I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this (or knowing you, maybe not), CONGRATULATIONS!

    1. 28.1

      I had you read right! And he came up with a great answer he thought you were joking and didn’t want to fall for it. Could be true! Either way a good answer. The fact that he actually listens is good though not responding is annoying. But he does share his life….keep working with him. Sounds like you two are working this out.

  9. 29

    Evan, this was a great question to pick and as usual a spot-on advice! I’m grateful you keep managing your blog so closely despite having more fun things to do : ) I hope your little guy is growing well, and I wish you, your wife, and your older child lot of happiness together!
    @Holly #28: I’m always glad when the letter writer comes back with some follow-up and more information! Thank you! It looks like you have a good relationship… You know, I think we can always find something missing. No one is perfect. With time passing it’s tempting to take what we do have for granted and regret some secondary or tertiary items that might be missing in the relationship. In your situation, there is a whole range between not being the most intense conversationalist and not giving a sh*t. Your boyfriend seems caring, but simply not the most curious in all the little details.
    My boyfriend and I asked each other a lot of questions in our first few weeks of dating and then when we talked about how a marriage would look like (finances, children, career, home, etc), but now at 15 months we pretty much know everything essential and interesting there is to know. We now focus on the day-to-day happenings and the future. He could certainly ask me more questions, but since I spontaneously share/ask about what matters, he does not feel much need to do so. Now, if he stopped asking me how my day went and being able to listen to me for a little bit when I relate a couple stories, I’d be worried, but I’m not disappointed that he does not dig deep into the details of my life. That’s for my mom and the female friends!
    There are a couple things that I also wish were different or better in my relationship, but then I remember all the essential qualities he already demonstrates, his commitment to our relationship, and then my own imperfections and how accepting he is of them. He definitely accepted things that not everyone would, and I love him more for that as well.
    If your boyfriend is so non-judgemental that he accepts your criminal history, I would say that it’s pretty huge (not all men would accept such past), and calls for cutting a little bit of slack in other areas, as long as it’s not major of course.
    Good luck in any case!

  10. 30

    Has it occurred to anyone, that a lot of communication is non-verbal? Some people are very analytical and take in a lot about us, not by asking questions, but by listening and observing.

    One of my friends may not  ask a lot of direct questions, but he seems to watch people like a hawk and learns a lot about them by doing so. He would go with me to a social function and then comment on things my friends did,   which I had missed or been oblivious to.

    I agree it is enjoyable to be asked questions but I would have to confess I’m a bit self absorbed and  not so good at doing  it myself!          

    1. 30.1

      Interesting…people who watch and don’t immediately react. But…you said he would comment on things friends did which you missed….he is communicating and initiating so that is verbal. Which is what some of us want more of.

      1. 30.1.1

        Then find someone who does that, *if* it’s a top-tier value for you.

        I think the problem we see with this letter is that he has “all these qualities” but he’s missing this *one*, and the OP is unsure if it’s a deal-breaker.

        It’s a deal-breaker if she decides it’s a deal-breaker. Is she willing to trade away all the other values he displays for this one thing? If it’s that important, then she should move on and look for that, but understand she may not get the other things he already has (though she may, it’s just not a given).

  11. 31

    90% of communication is non-verbal.  Drop the 10% and be more effective.

  12. 32

    I agree with #30 and #31 about non-verbal communications, and thanks, Holly, for dropping in to fill in the gaps.
    I’m a listener with a steel trap for information, like Holly’s boyfriend.
    I prefer to listen to the full context, which means listening to what a person does say and what they don’t say, when and how they say it, and when and how they don’t say it.   I listen for all the tones and microtones and watch for body signals that are obvious and subtle.  
    I have found that I get the most accurate information when I listen this way INSTEAD of firing off questions.   In fact, the more precious the answer is to me, the less pressure I will apply to get the answer: I get least distortion that way because the speaker gets to frame the information exactly how they want to.   Or not.   If they never want to speak to me about it, then that is accurate information also.   Sometimes it takes months or years to learn what I’m burning to know, but I learn exactly what I want to know in the most amazing detail.
    I leave space for the other’s thoughts, and then I learn what thoughts they like to put in that space, and which ones they don’t.   This information about the other’s preferences is very important to me.

  13. 33

    Holly he seems like a really great guy!   I loved reading your follow-up post.

    Maybe at some point you can just mention that you love the eye contact and you feel reassured that he cares about what you have to say when he brings up things you’ve said in the past.   You really feel like he was  listening.   You’d just like a little bit of feedback while you are telling a story so you know he’s interested.   When he doesn’t nod or ask follow-up questions (or even the ah, uh huh, hmm noises) you worry you are boring him and stop talking.

    Also, ask him if he stays very silent on purpose so he can concentrate on listening.   Maybe he’s simply super-focused on what you are saying.

    Finally, try playing question games with him.   There are probably lots online that you could find where each couple asks questions.   Sometimes  you tally the scores at the end, and sometimes it’s just used as a fun way to get through a road trip.   Since he has the questions in front of him and it’s more formal, he doesn’t have to try to come up with questions.   And since it’s a game there is less pressure (you might want to start with fun questions).   Hopefully he will learn more about you, and maybe he will start to develop the habit of asking you questions. And even if he doesn’t, the question games might make you feel like your needs are being met in that area and you can get back to enjoying all the other great things about him!

  14. 34


    The bottom line is can you live with the boyf not asking you questions that show he has a vested interest in getting to know you on a deeper level? If you let him know that it would mean so much to you if he would take the iniative and ask you questions about yourself rather than rely on you to initiate and he makes and effort to do better, then you may decide that you have a keeper. However, if he refuses and you always have to be the one to volunteer information, you may decide that this is a deal breaker and move on. A person can tons of wonderful qualities, but that means nothing in the whole scheme of things if they have ONE particular quality that is a dealbreaker. Only you can decide what that would be.

    Best of luck!

  15. 35

    I broke up with a guy who agreed with me that communication was important but then wouldn’t communicate.   Of course I knew I had been phased out and kicked to the curb, but in my own experience, I think the end of the relationship was his true character, not the beginning.   He didn’t want me, he just wanted someone, and when the novelty wore off, that was it for me.

  16. 36

    I think I have been somewhat guilty of not showing enough interest by asking questions on some dates. And when I saw the same being done to me often enough, I started to become more aware of it on my end and how it may come off to people.   Agree with EMK “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a great read, and would definitely help anyone who tends to do that.      Anyway Holly, he sounds like a good guy, he might just be a bit introverted.   I think we   tend to be less inquisitive. Good luck.

  17. 37
    sarah P

    Lucy R Post no 27.
    Hi this is my first post. Lucy R confirms my own fears. You cant make a person more curious! I too am about to enter a relationship with a guy I have become friends with over 6 months. Having been so fixed upon getting to this point, now that we have I have let myself ‘check-in’ with the reality of what is.
    He is affectionate, sensitive, caring (I got to know him when he lent me his coat for the weekend on a biking weekend) clever, witty and we have that uncanny sameness going on with our values and beliefs. When I have asked for ‘advice’ he has listened and emailed ideas etc. He listens (and remembers)but rarely asks beyond what I say unless it’s truely bewildering news (quite rankly most of my day to day stuff isnt!).   Our pattern of daily emails, texts etc news. He remembers what I tell him. When I initiate we have in-depth emotional conversations wit my leading the way.
    HE NEVER ASKS ME HOW I AM unless significant (a 150 km bike ride, a minor accident, a major work review did the trick) or checks in in about the daily goings on in my life. I mentioned once that How are you?? makes me feel interesting and needed. He did it for about a week and then …….forgot?!
    Observing him with others, he doesn’t either. I am the opposite. I have a belief that asking others questions and being interested is the glue in any significant relationship.  
    Being an Occupational Therapist where change is everything (and early forties wanting to settle down not settle) I’m not sure my idealistic belief can get him to see why it’s so important and make those changes for me.

  18. 38

    Sarah P
    I don’t think he can make this change.     It’s not like leaving the cap off the toothpaste (and MOST people can’t even change that habit!)
    You say he’s sensitive, caring, you talk about emotional things, he listens and advises you  but you need him to say “How are you?”   Those words don’t mean anything to me.   To me, they are just filler words to be polite .   I’m british and we are surprised when someone responds with anything other than “I’m fine/well/not too bad”!.  
    This may just be cultural or the way  he was brought up. I don’t believe, based on what you said about him “in the round”, that it’s worth worrying about.   If you threw this guy over for someone more curious (and curious doesn’t necessarily  mean he cares about you) , you will likely  find  the new guy  comes with something else  that you’d like him to change.

  19. 39
    Karl R

    sarah P said: (#37)
    “I mentioned once that How are you?? makes me feel interesting and needed.”
    If you ask me “How are you?” it makes me feel like you’re just engaging in a customary formality. I strongly suspect that your boyfriend feels the same way.
    If you stopped asking your boyfriend how he was for the next week, he probably wouldn’t notice.
    sarah P said: (#37)
    “I have a belief that asking others questions and being interested is the glue in any significant relationship.”
    Your boyfriend doesn’t ask others many questions. I can guarantee that he has friends (and probably family) who are the exact same way. He has relationships that have lasted for years (or decades) without this “glue”.
    If it actually is the glue that holds relationships together, how do those relationships of his last?
    sarah P said:  (#37)
    “I’m not sure my idealistic belief can get him to see why it’s so important and make those changes for me.”
    What are the chances that I (or your boyfriend) will convince you that your belief is incorrect? What are the chances that you’d make those changes even if we convinced you?
    Seriously. What are the chances you’d change to seeing things our way (and behaving accordingly)?
    That’s exactly the same chance you have of convincing him to change.
    You can’t change him. You might be able to change your expectations.

  20. 40

    Hi Evan, before I forget, congratulations on your new baby.   Great stuff.   Enjoy – all future four of you.
    On the subject in question, maybe the guy is being discreet? Maybe he doesn’t want to know about his girlfriend’s/fiancé’s past because he trusts her?
    There’s a line to be drawn somewhere between discretion/being nosy and trust.  
    Hm, now I’ve gone off on a tangent but I’m sure there must be some truth there.

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