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. 41
    sarah P

    Thankyou for your comments. I have to say that the comment on being able to change my own expectations and the comparison to replacing the top on the toothpaste being challenging enough to change resonated….alot!!
    I don’t know how I will get on with being with a lovely man who simply doesn’t see the need to ask me how my night was, or my meeting at work, or my friend’s birthday do, o exchange in further questions when I volunteer information. I can but see what I can do with my own expectations. I have however said I like it a lot on the few times he has asked. So I guess we’ll see how this goes. And If I feel like I need more two way exchange in the same way I exchange with others; time to stop the relationship rather than try and drag it towards something I want and need but he may not.

  2. 42

    “Maybe I’m a little egocentric, but that shit wouldn’t fly with me”

    hahahahahahahaha…just too funny, Evan!

    That said, I *do* find this perspective to be incredibly egocentric, bordering on a character flaw. It’s definitely a turn off to me. What you describe as someone expressing curiosity comes across to me as grilling – something that I’ve never felt a need to do. Perhaps this is an Introvert’s perspective…I’m not really sure. But a few of my friends (though not many) share this perspective.

    Very interesting how differently we view this.

  3. 43

    I actually just broke off a 4 month relationship due to this reason. More-so it was the lack of meaningful anything.. I asked him questions about his life and maybe 99% of the time, no question was ever asked back. This soon began to bottle up and bother me.

    I also volunteered information about me and would try to engage in deep, stimulating conversations and would be left empty handed. He had an issue talking about his past and problems, and felt they should not be discussed or dealt with. I understood his way of communicating (or lack-of).

    I soon realized that there was nothing wrong with his or my “relationship style” but that I had to face the music and come clean that I didn’t feel I could settle for a lack of compatible traits, especially after voicing my concerns.

    Anyway, Holly I wish you luck in your relationship. Hopefully he will be able to see the importance of curiosity and understanding each other and how it can be satisfying to both of you.

    Evan, i’m with you 100%. I really liked this post as I felt I was going through the same thing. Thanks for the commentary.

  4. 44

    Oh my goodness! Holly, your boyfriend sounds identical to mine in every way, even down to recently asking me what position I’d prefer.

    I have been wondering myself whether or not his lack of curiosity into my life should be a deal breaker and so glad I stumbled on your post. He is sooo kind, caring and loving in every way and his actions tells me he loves me, even if his words don’t. I’m not going to ditch him because of this one flaw. I’m in the caring profession which means delving into people’s emotional worlds in depth and I also have girl friends to talk to when I want to communicate a bit of emotional depth myself. I doubt I’d found another sweetie like him who instantly cleans my muddy boots as a surprise or the windscreen of my car, brings me breakfast in bed, puts candles by the bath and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

    Thanks so much for sharing this.

  5. 45

    I have a similar fiance. He goes one better and doesn’t remember half of what I tell him.
    Even the MOST important and pressing issues…if he doesn’t want to talk about it he just won’t!
    FYI I am NOT the chatty type. I would like however to have a deeper conversation than, what we did at the gym today. Frustrated!!

  6. 46

    Holly, have you tried not talking and volunteering info? I ask this because I had the EXACT same boyfriend issue- my guy was sweet, respectful, and we could talk for hours about mutual interests, or for hours about him. But he almost never ever asked me about my life either before we met, during our time dating or about what I wanted for my future. I loved digging deeper into his stories to find out what came before that, and what came before that, etc. I wanted to know about all his experiences because it helped me understand his motives, fears, likes, interests, quirks, habits, etc. Knowing about your partner and all their funny, happy, sad, wacky, crazy, and sometimes traumatic history gives you insight into their character, and helped me understand who he was, which was important to me. He enjoyed being asked so many questions, he liked knowing I was interested in him. But he didn’t make the connection that it should be reciprocated. I brought it up a couple times but didn’t make much of a thing about it, until almost a year had passed and I had finally reached my limit. I stopped talking. I stopped asking questions. I refused to show interest. It wasn’t a game, it was me trying to step back and really access his level of interest in me. I considered that maybe I was spending so much time asking him questions, that he was in turn spending so much time answering, that it left very little time to switch the focus to me. So I stopped. I decided I’d let him come to me and ask what he wanted. I stopped volunteering info. I didn’t follow up on anything he said. And it took exactly one evening of not asking him questions or following up on his story about his day for him to finally confront me about being so quiet. I told him the truth about what I was doing- I was giving him space to show interest. After that he confessed he would always get the vibe that I didn’t want to talk about certain things, that he felt like I would dodge questions, so he didn’t feel comfortable asking. Like you, I would cut answers short because I would sense a lack of interest- but maybe that was just me projecting or assuming a lack of interest. I started to see I was contributing some to the problem. I worked on fixing my part of the problem right away. But you can’t change someone else or force them to do something they don’t want. He asked me if there was anything I wanted to share with him, but that just pissed me off. I wanted it to come from him, but he put the burden back on me to volunteer info, rather than showing interest in me and asking what he really wanted to know.

    So I would offer that as advice to begin with, just to give your boyfriend a chance to realize he might have questions about you, and let him take the step to ask them before you volunteer it.  

    For me, I realized my boyfriend’s anxiety issues really make it challenging for him to pursue questions about me, and that in the end was a deal breaker. He wasn’t selfish in the way I usually think about people being selfish, but he didn’t take care of me unless I asked directly for help, like when I was sick or if I needed to unload the car. He didn’t ask about my life or my hopes or dreams. He seemed to be very focused on his own inner dialogue and his own inner world than anything else. We had really amazing conversations that could last for hours, that I deeply enjoyed, but when it came to the personal relationship stuff, he just wasn’t bringing enough effort to the table. I would listen to him talk for e-v-e-r about his own problems and issues. Never happened the other way, though. He’d listen to me for a few minutes and move the conversation back to him. I understood his issues, that he wanted to be better at that stuff, and I loved him, very much and we connected so well in many other areas. But with little effort to make this better, and effort that wasn’t consistent, I knew I would really have a problem with these issues over the long term, and I needed to end it.   

    Just because a guy is nice, or kind, or treats us well doesn’t mean he’s a good match. As a confident outgoing person who is highly curious and a ‘doer’, I’m probably not ever going to find lasting happiness with anyone who is happy with the status quo.

    You deserve to have your boyfriend show enthusiastic interest in your life. Don’t settle for less.   

  7. 47

    I found this blog because I just had yet another frustrating incident with my husband.   I have lived with this situation for 12 years 7 of these years we have been married. Yes my husband is a good person but he has always been very self involved. We have gone around and around so many times about his self interest and lack of interest in my life. Bottom line is this is a miserable way to live. I picked up on his self involved tendency in the beginning but I made allowances for him thinking he would grow in the relationship over time. Big mistake on my part. I spend so much time feeling frustrated angry and lonely. My advice have a serious conversation with the guy then set a time limit for real change. If you are still unhappy end the relationship. I wish I had shown my husband the door a long time ago.

  8. 48

    I think this topic goes deeper than whether it is a personality defect. My understanding of the situation is that people are unable to even think these days as we are too busy trying to make sure our lives are reflecting the script our culture and society laid out for us even before we were born. I googled this topic because I don’t think my husband and I are on the same page. I’ve tried to point out the “lack” of communication, which often he makes some excuse about. I do not need someone to be curious about me per se, rather I prefer responsiveness, an awareness of what’s going on in our relationship and what’s behind the silence.   I need to be able to talk about these things with my husband, not you all, though I’m sure you’re wonderful people, but if talking is all we can do, with no understanding of the other person, then loneliness enters.   I do think “curiosity” can be faked but not an understanding. To the person who created this post, I think it is not the lack of curiosity that bothers you, but the feeling that your husband does not understand you that creates a sense of tension. The problem is, if you try to “solve” this problem by asking the other person to change, the the change isn’t coming from the person, their understanding of you, or a natural curiosity, but rather from   their relationship with the idea that you are unhappy and want them to change. So they try to change, yet there’s still no understanding. And really, I do not think people will really change, for what’s stopping them from changing right now? Why do they need more time?

    1. 48.1

      Nailed it.   Understanding is the driver in my case and I think a lot of others’ here.   It’s one thing to be able to listen to someone and regurgitate information given.   But to really assess an action or piece of info and be motivated to start a two way convo about it….that’s an entirely different ball game I think.

      My bf being able to listen and recall info has thrown me off, because I also have used lack of communication and gotten nowhere because “communication” is too broad and I couldn’t find a way to articulate the heart of the problem.

  9. 49

    If I may give my two cents, some people are plain introverted and they feel differently about communication. For instance, if someone that i know were to tell me something like this, i’d be definitely curious as hell and willing to know more, but i wouldn’t know what to ask for fear of sounding intrusive and judgmental. I would give the other person the chance to talk on their own rather than forcing them to answer questions that might otherwise be awkward for them. I’d just listen and try to be as nonjudgmental as possible. I believe that when people want to talk about something near and dear to them, it should be up to them to decide how much they want to share not up to the listener.

  10. 50

    Holly, i’ve been with my boyfriend for a year now, and i can tell you that all my past relationship were the same. There are different guys, the curious ones, the ones live the moment and not the past, the serious ones, and the serious ones don’t ask questions, because they have all the time in the world to know you, they see a future with you and dont want to find out about you in one day, but in a life time. If your bf asks you all about you, what else will be there for him to discover? Is like being at school, if you knew it all about the school projects in the 1st month, you would be so boring, because they were nothing else to discover or to learn. My boyfriend doesn’t ask me questions about me, and yet he knows everything. Because is is an observer. He went on holiday to India, and brought me a red scarf made by hand all painted between many other presents. I loved the scarf so much, i’ve asked him. Why in Red, because is your favourite colour, and me: how do you know, if i have never told you: he replied: because you wear Red a lot and the cover of your IPAD is Red… Guys love to be challenged. Let him learn about you, rather then you want him to know everything about you….and concentrate on the important things…

  11. 51

    I feel some men don’t ask questions because : –

    – they are insecure and worry about you recollecting a story that involves an ex, or something/someone they feel they cant measure up to in the present

    – they don’t ask about your work incase they don’t understand something and look stupid

    – they are immature on some level and self-centered at the same time

    – they process everything through their own selfish filter.

    I could be wrong, but it’s a feeling.

  12. 52

    Well I found this obviously while searching for answers, guidance, input. I also found myself saying out loud while reading this particular blog, “Oh Great! That’s just lovely! Yep & Yep!” Now I am on the verge of tears. I have been dating what I consider a lovely wonderful man who is thoughtful, kind, patient, laid back gentlemen, as well as, ambitious. However, the underlying theme, which is a theme I have struggled with in most of my relationships, is “He’s just not that into you.” This man is very adept at communicating, as he is successful and quite articulate about many topics including his work, sports, politics, family, etc. However, our conversations usually consist of him doing all the talking, perhaps because I am more of a listener and not the most forthcoming communicator unless asked for my input or opinion. Or perhaps because this is most men? At least most that I have encountered. I am a very independent person, sometimes to the point of being stubborn, however, I do feel this incredible sense of inferiority or indifference, when it comes to our relationship. Here is the kicker though…when this feeling of “him not being into me” rears its ugly head, I will throw out little lines to test his memory or to see if he actually is or was even listening on during the occasions I have contributed or volunteered information to our conversations. Guess what? He passes with flying colors!!! He has a ridiculously detailed memory and seems to remember everything I say in detail, yet our daily conversations are pretty much a monolog of all the activities going on in his life. I will admit that I don’t have near as much going on as he does however, I guess I feel that on occasion, he should at least dive a little deeper or make more of an effort to prevent the one-sidedness or its appearance. We have been dating for two years, my first relationship since my divorce almost 4 years ago. I have no idea what I am doing. LOL

  13. 53

    i wanna know about her felonies! HELLO….. back to subject – I too, have a man who is totally disinterested in knowing who I am and my past. Where he could probably name my children on the spot, being since they live with us; I’m sure he couldn’t name any of my other family members, of whom I talk about frequently (albeit to a brick wall). Mostly, as I notice his disinterest (he has a various assortment of signs) I quietly fade away….. he’s never the wiser. This hurts, as I know soooo many stories he has told over and over again about his life and, I never tire of them. I am suggesting to dump him, just as I must do to my guy. But only because we have soooo many other issues plaguing our relationship as well.

  14. 54

    Four months ago I picked out an envelope which looked like personal mail from a whole stack of mail which had accumulated during my absence (and which my husband of 16 years said he would check for me).

    I opened the letter; it was an invitation to a funeral.   “Somebody died”, I said.  My husband ´s  reaction: nothing. niente. nada.

    A few hours later I told him how disappointed I was that he didn ´t ask. So he dutifully asked. I said I would like him to ask me later, without me prompting him. I ´m still waiting.

    I ´m just back from an overseas trip where lots happened, including more people close to me dying (it ´s an age thing …).

    It hurts so much not being able to share these things with the person you live with, and after many years of being the   “radio” I just can ´t blurb on any longer.

    None of this is anything new, it just gets more extreme.

    Yes, and all is peaceful between us as long as I am “nice” …






  15. 55

    I know this is an older post, but I found it while searching for an answer to similar concerns. I just learned that my bf of one year doesn’t even remember my birthday, favorite color, movie, or band. He can’t even tell me my middle name. These are all things I’ve volunteered, but he doesn’t remember. I’m embarrassed to say that I thought we were headed toward marriage. Now I have a hard time believing that he values me at all. This isn’t the only indicator that our relationship is lopsided, but I see it as a big one. I can understand poor memory (not typical of him) or missing details, but my middle name? Really? I find it humiliating. Thank you to Evan and all who weighed in. Helpful points to consider.

  16. 56

    I too am interested in someone like this.   I lay it all out there and it’s like pulling teeth to get a simple text or call.   He’s really into himself and sports and even blames past relationships failures on himself.   We are really attracted to each other and he communicates in ways to say that he cares, but he never asks about my kids, grandkids, past or family life….we went on a few dates and he moved away, but we’ve been talking for over 3 years, and are finally meeting again soon.   I guess my gut will tell me if this is going to be the right thing.   I just think he’s really hard on himself and pulls away… but at the same time I feel like he won’t get my emotional needs when it comes to this.

    1. 56.1
      Karmic Equation

      When you say “We are really attracted to each other…” does that mean you were lovers or did you just make out?

      I’m asking this because it sounds to me as if you’re holding a torch for him and he may just be interested in more NSA sex with you (assuming that’s where it went before he left).

      You’re already making excuses for him, “He’s really into himself and sports and even blames past relationships failures on himself.”;  “I just think he’s really hard on himself and pulls away” — and he’s not your bf.

      My suggestion is that if you’re interested in a relationship with him, don’t have sex with him again (again, assumption, sorry if I’m wrong) until he’s your boyfriend.

      That is going to be the only way you’ll know if he’s really interested in you or just interested in sex with you.

      Your attraction is already clouding your judgment, you’ll have even less control over your judgment if you have sex with him (again) before he’s your bf. Don’t do that to yourself.

    2. 56.2
      Christina M.

      “…and even blames past relationship failures on himself.”

      If people are telling you who they are, you should listen.

  17. 57

    I find that guys feel they know a woman based on sterotypes, and therefore don’t feel the need to dig any deeper..I feel to some men, we are more of a species, rather than an individual person..that won’t change!

  18. 58

    “he’s probably gonna be a happy camper.” Exactly. But will you?  

  19. 59

    I’ve gotta weigh in on this because I’ve found myself just accused of being this way by my SO. The funny thing is, I would’ve never identified with being this way beforehand. I consider myself an extremely curious person, especially about other peoples’ points-of-view and opinions on philosophy, politics, etc.

    She and I talk a lot about all kinds of stuff, and because of this it never occurs to me to ask her questions about her life. I usually figure said things will come up in the conversations we have, and she’ll offer her point-of-view freely. I’m also quite private myself about things I don’t actively bring up, and I tend to view intimate questions about my past as prying.

    Anyway, I felt hit out of left-field when my SO got really (really) mad at me over this because I didn’t want to watch a particular show with her. I felt surprised that she didn’t seem to remember the times we’d talk about, for example, the writings of Ernest Hemingway and the spirituality of Alan Watts (the latter being a favourite of hers). Trying to remind her of those times got her angrier, which should have been predictable in hindsight.

  20. 60

    Oh gosh. I was in the exact same boat 4 years ago before marrying him and having children. Now we are going to therapy as he is extremely passive aggressive it turns out.


    The biggest red flag for me was ‘ i like you because you are easy going.’ What happens whrn ur not? When you really need something? Or feel strongly about something. Or you’re a raging hormonal mess through pregnancy and brestfeeding? Make sure by eay going, he doesnt mean : lets me get my own way.


    And the question thing is gross. Conversation is 2 way and it does require q and a on both peoples parts. Ive been holding up the conversation for 4 years now. While also being aware that in our first few months he was quite the conversationist. Its a power thing. He also earns less than me which isnt an issue for me but deep down was for him.


    Good luck!

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