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. 61

    I was in a year relationship with a man that i realized adter we broke up, but remained friends, that he never ask me any questions about myself. He loved me as long as i went along with the flow and family dysfunction but my needs always came last. After   months of coming behind his adult kids, teenager, a horse for the entitled teen, ex wife n her drama, i realized i came last, with our dogs. When i brought up money and child visitation agreement he said he wasn t going to change anything in his life and forget about compromises! We were engaged and i ran. No matter what age u r a relationship will never work without communication, work and compromises.

  2. 62

    Ok I’m 12 and i have a guy just like that, he never starts the conversation, I always have to.

    I know this is about her but I want to know if I should leave him. We both see a future….i think…..


    I dunno I guess I just need a few opinions

    Our conversations go like this

    Me “hi sugar how was you day”

    Him “good”

    Me ” what ya doing”

    Him” not much

    And that’s were it ends


  3. 63

    Sure, he may be a happy camper, but you may not be. It’s important to have your own interests, hobbies, goals, and endeavors. Maybe you’re “pretty, nice, and accept him…”, but you may also find yourself bored because you didn’t seek your own passions, since according to the author: degrees, personal travel, etc. isn’t as important as being pretty and nice to these non-anomaly guys. (And your looks will change…then what? I guess you’ll still be nice and accepting. Does 2 out of 3 count?) Apparently it’s more important (more important to whom? You? This guy who may or may not work out?) to fawn over his travels, old screenplays, what-have-you, than to be an interesting and nuanced person yourself. I can’t begin to imagine a man being told it’s more important to be “handsome, nice and accepting of you” than it is for them to travel or have passions. Just be nice & perhaps mildly interesting & make nabbing a partner whose happy with pretty, accepting, and boring you your goal. Rubbish. There won’t be many interesting stories to share if you are both nice and attractive, but are lacking in self discovery. And who wants to sit around and stroke someone else’s ego all day only to have them not take an active interest in you.

    Go find a guy who is an anomaly and who finds you fascinating like you find him to be. It may take time, but in the meantime, you can continue your journey of self-discovery, rather than settling down with a guy who simplifies who you are and your complexities, and who also doesn’t understand you or your needs, but thinks he does. Or don’t. It’s your life.

    1. 63.1
      Christina M.

      This is some solid advice right here.

  4. 64

    I wonder if part of it is the fact that Holly is more financially successful than him, and he, consciously or otherwise, feels threatened by her success and fears that any details of her life, her day at work etc. would remind him of that and make him feel even more inadequate.

  5. 65

    I have dated a couple men like this and, thankfully, have realized it fairly early on and not continued to date them. What I’m wondering is if you think most women need this deep level of communication/connection with their partner? I think most women do, but I don’t really know. I often wonder how these men, who lack this trait, will ever find a woman who is fine with it and/or who might be the same way.

  6. 66

    Wow this is kinda comforting and sad! Very grateful for this discussion. The only topic my guy is interested in knowing is about my sexual history. I once asked him if it was a pattern of his to not inquire about his partners and he said he knows he did it to one lover on purpose so he wouldn’t get too immersed emotionally. Maybe that’s his tendency. He is extremely generous, tries to be interested for a day and so loyal. But it is borderline deal breaker for sure when I am pre-menstrual is when I am tempted to call it off. Ayyyeee how can he not be curious about a woman?? This woman!

  7. 67

    Not sure why you’d label him as a keeper when you stated that “that shit wouldn’t fly” with you? Seems contradictory and the overall theme seems to suggest that women should expect less from men than men would accept.

  8. 68

    Found this post looking for answers because I’m in  the same boat.   Been with my bf six years.

    its both depressing and relieving   to hear this is a common problem among men and that it’s generally not something that can be changed.   I’ve had a few convos with my bf about this,   but only once framed this as a social skill problem.   By the time I said something about it,   I’d taken the habit very personally and assumed he was doing this on purpose with malicious intent, though he’s shown himself to be attentive and considerate in other ways.   I’ve struggled often with deciding whether to stay.

    I used to be more of a listener than a talker, but my bf also has ADHD so he willl often talk over me or cut me off on the few occasions I do talk at length.   Because I’ve been pleading and fighting to be hear/acknowledged for so long I often feel like I monopolize conversations now when I’m with other people, to compensate for not being heard at home.

    I believe my bf loves me,   and I’ve come to him in tears,   in anger,   and in resignation over this issue.   It gets better for a little while sometimes,   but most of the time he just finds other/new people to talk to instead of trying to ask me about myself.

    Other people don’t mind hearing him go on about himself because it’s that early phase of getting to know a person you just met, or they’re friends so they’re not necessarily looking for reciprocal interest as much as someone to hang out with. This is kind of why I’ve hung on for so long,   because if you ask any of our friends,   none of them ever complain or comment about this dynamic.   I seem to be the only one who has a problem with this or gets bothered by it,   and that led me to believe for a long time I was just being overly sensitive and craving an unhealthy amount of his attention as my bf for some reason I wasn’t aware of yet.

    So I’m partly posting to emphasize for any other partners in my situation…that you can’t rely on the quality of non romantic relationships to measure your expectations here I think.   Because this lack of a social skill doesn’t show itself to be harmful or a dealbreaker unless you’re trying to establish intimacy,   and really the only type of relationship that has to have intimacy universally to be considered successful and fulfilling is a romantic relationship.   That’s why the context of this post was so important, for me at least, because it brought out other folks seeing this problem specifically in the context of a romantic relationship and sharing feedback.

    I’m really glad I found this thread and echo other users who have decided to leave after addressing the problem and seeing no change.   I’m now preparing to leave because I’ve finally accepted that this isn’t something I can live with for the rest  of my life.   Like some other posters have said the problem extends beyond chats about your day or interests.   I’ve had very difficult emotional issues with family or work that I’ve navigated completely alone because talking to my bf did not do anything to help me feel supported.   He can’t   step outside of himself or his experiences to adequately offer encouragement or sympathy, and instead would try to fix the issue with limited information from me about the problem, which I just found condescending and terribly arrogant.   After years of this dynamic leaving me feeling unwanted, I’d prefer being alone than trying constantly to give myself to someone that can’t engage with me and make me feel like they are interested in me as an individual.

    Thanks for sharing this letter and response Evan, and congrats on your growing family.

  9. 69

    I know this article is quite dated, but I looked it up in your article database because it’s very relevant to me now. I’ve been dating a guy for almost two years and he is rarely interested in hearing about my feelings or my day. When I start talking about my day and including commentary about how it went, he starts to get annoyed and classifies it as “complaining.” He thinks all I do is complain. I’m not sure if he’s right, but I do need someone I can vent to freely. I’ve gone through quite a few traumatic experiences in the past three years and he has zero empathy for me, mostly bc he’s had an easy life due to his own failure to challenge himself. He’s not a curious person and he isn’t very deep. He’s a simpleton, and he’s called himself that as well. It’s a very frustrating and lonely relationship with me bc I, too, would prefer to know and share every little thing about our lives with my partner.


    Frankly, I’m shocked to read how many women have experienced this same problem with the men they’ve dated. And yet, many of these men end up married! What kind of woman marries these emotionally empty and unavailable men?! How can they stand it?! Anyways, thank you so much, Evan, for your sound advice once again. I appreciate it more than you know and I’ve been reading and following your work for years now.

  10. 70

    I stayed with him a month before I realized everyday when he got off work he talked solely about his greatness,   talked negatively about everyone else, and when it became my turn to talk he didn’t even acknowledge id just spoken. So while he was at work I packed my bag and left. He called me over to have drinks when he got off work and I thought would be explaining why I left.   He didn’t even ask. But when I interjected a comment on a long drawn out story he was depicting of him being a hero to all of ” those loosers”, he had and full on tantrum and yelled “let me speak!!!”.   I started to get mad for the diarespect when i realized he wasn’t working with a full deck of cards. He was acting like a three year old in a grown man’s body. A full on Narcissist. I explained that I was a guest and apparently we aren’t enjoying one another’s company so I’ll leave now.

  11. 71

    Wow, this is a long interesting blog. I’m wondering if my boyfriend of 1yr & 1/2 has asperger’s syndrome or man idk. He never responds to me with a “full” response with pretty much anything i ask him about. I only get responses from him that are simple, agreeing with me, and or neutral, and so many times he says nothing at all! Im like um okay. Well theres my answer😑 um.   I always feel like i have to drive ALL conversations we have…and I’ve had to pry him open to get him to talk at all about anything about him, his past experiences or even his back child support balance, etc. I dont get it. But its about to drive me bat crazy. Siggghhh…..please Talk! Communicate. Communication is the number one key for a healthy relationship.         And as the world turns😑

    1. 71.1

      Oh and some things about him seem to be so “scripted.” It’s strange.

    2. 71.2

      Men who have aspergers (a majority of them) a common problem is that they don’t talk much. They   usually do talk when it’s   about something they are passionate about like a hobby or special interest topic. But my fiance who has aspergers has never asked anything about me in 7 years. When I first met him it drove me crazy , I thought he was selfish in a way, but when we or I realized he has aspergers(by   investigating it ) I just accepted it because their mind doesn’t work in the way a normal mind works (NT). Social communication lacks in them. Basically the one reason they don’t ask is because they assume if we have anything to let them know we will or should. But don’t expect feedback from them if you do tell them something your proud of or find important . But it doesn’t mean they’re not listening. My fiance is a master at getting me great gifts because he will listen to me when i say I like something and a year later I find it in my Christmas gift or birthday.I recommend googling Maxine Aston and Tony Attwood. Read a bit on what they wrote about Aspergers. If you find a lot of commonality , most likely theres Aspergers in the mix in your relationship. Its actually pretty common.

      I have to be very observant in my relationship bc that’s the way I receive info, by watching small hints   that I sense is a reaction to me that tells me a lot. But if couples educate themselves on aspergers when it’s a possibility (many don’t get diagnosed professionally and if they do it usually happens in their 40s or later, many of them may hear it from a loved one and / or research psychological issues that ends up in the aspergers area on Google just by inputting symptoms )

      I highly suggest finding out for yourself if he has it by reading on it, and if you feel it in your gut that he may have it, take a good look at your needs that you Need in life because there’s a lot of sacrifices that go in hand with staying with an aspie guy. Don’t get stuck in an abusisive relationship. Bc they can be abusive at times during meltdowns. Emotionally. You deserve to have a partner who is willing to work on becoming a better supportive lover. Who openly wants to be a more emotionally available partner to the best of their ability.

      Lastly if he doesn’t know he has aspergers and actually does he has a lot of stress within himself bc they have an idea they are different but don’t have answers even for themselves .


  12. 72

    Holly, I am in a very similar position and I have found something that works – at least it lets my boyfriend find out more about me without him having to explicitly ask me questions and helps reduce the disconnect that I feel.

    Basically, it’s a game you play whereby you each have to tell each other three stories (2 true ones and 1 false) about yourself and then figure out which one of the other’s stories is false. So you can pick the nature of the stories like it could be something that happened to you in the past, with friends, things that happened during the day, things you wish to do in the future, or even talk about three passions you hold out of which two are true and one is false.

    I’ve tried telling my boyfriend I feel disconnected from him because i feel he doesn’t show interest when he doesn’t ask questions, which only pushed him away further cos he didn’t know how to change but when we play this game he comes alive and listens to everything I’m saying and even asks clarifying questions. He does like using his imagination to come up with the fake stories for himself so that helps. Good luck.

  13. 73
    James Bowen

    Honestly, as someone who is a bit on the other side of this…


    I  am curious, but I don’t want to pry too much.   I  volunteer information.   I expect you to do the same.


    Are you sure you aren’t doing anything to put him off from asking you questions?   I had an ex who would get upset if I asked about something she thought I should already know.   Or if I asked her about something that made her feel bad.   Or a bunch of other random triggers.


    I just learned not to ask, and then she got upset with me for not asking.   I’m not saying this is your situation, but I guarantee you she wouldn’t acknowledge this was her situation, either.   You might consider if you can do anything to make it easier for him to inquire.

  14. 74

    I may have a pretty good idea in what may be going on with your partner . I’m suggesting this as a experienced unbiased stranger and educated

    Every description you mentioned about him have classical Aspergers syndrome written all over it.

    I highly suggest for you to go on the net and look into Aspergers Syndrome.

    You may feel some heavy weight lift off your shoulders.

    Aspergers is manifested by quirky antics , he shows only   silenceness when you literally expect the total opposite. Do you constantly have feelings of confusion and expectations that should be met, Not met because the things he does or Doesn’t do or doesnt say   .

    Is he kinda nerdy? Or was he a nerd as a young kid?

    Is he quiet? But have horrible outbursts? Almost like a   tantrum ? Say really cruel and heartless things that aren’t his personality ?

    Does he have a fixation on a specific hobby that he’s really knowledgeable about?

    Does he like to be out and socialize ? Or rather he stay far away from large crowds?

    Does he get irritated by odd things like you touching him on a specific part of his body? Maybe he pulls away and says don’t do that. Does he not like strong scents or kissing you with lipstick because he can’t stand the taste of it , the feeling or smell ? Are there certain things he won’t eat? Does he have a simple wardrobe in your opinion? Maybe he doesn’t like tight fitting clothes or just even the tabs touching him?

    Does he repeatedly rock his foot or flap his hand ? Or just move repetitively?

    Was he bullied?

    Is he really smart or keep lists? Maybe he writes down a lot of things . Does he make a grocery list? Does he have a collection of something or hoard a particular thing?

    Do you think sometimes he’s a narcissist? Selfish ? Uncaring? Do you feel you walk on egg sshells? Is he happy one minute and then comes back from doing something and he acts like he’s mad or upset?

    Lastly, does he routinely do things that make you seriously question what the hell is going on?

    If you related to a lot of my questions or suggestions please go look up Aspergers and I suggest you Google Neurotypical (NT) . This term You may relate to .

    Good luck

  15. 75

    Hi Evan,

    Thanks for this piece, I’m new to your page.

    I have a somewhat similar situation, where the guy I’ve been dating for a few months says he expresses his affection through acts, not words. I will take a person who speaks through actions over a person who is all talk, but couldn’t there be a middle ground?

    I will say, he gives his time and attention, as much as a girl could ask for. He’s a good listener, he’s patient, and very physically affectionate. He (insists on paying for and) pays for everything when we go out (he earns twice the money that I do). I get the impression that, because I’m normally a talkative person and volunteer information about myself, perhaps he thinks he doesn’t need to ask. But it’s true, it feels like I’m an afterthought, and I’m one to always inquire, so it can be hurtful at times.

    However, in looking around, I notice that most men, not all but most, struggle with communication and the general expression of emotion. Society has not helped that at all, with toxic masculinity and so many cultures teaching men that they should only express anger if emotion must come out, or remain stoic in the face of any hardships (like this fellow I’m seeing.)

    I’ve talked to him about my need for him to express how he feels, he said he would try his best but he “couldn’t promise anything.” He’s better at doing so via text than through spoken words. I don’t count text as the same thing as speech, so while I’m trying to be flexible, I wonder if the sweetness will only ever be expressed via text or cuddling and kisses.

    But the subject of him asking how I feel, or asking about my past, is closely related to this. Since he does not express how he feels, and sees no need to do so (he seems confused when I ask how he is), he seems not to feel the need to ask me how I’m feeling. Even if he knows I’m not feeling well at times, he doesn’t really reach out.

    On the other hand, he gives me my space, and he prioritizes his family and close friends (he only has 1 or 2) and doesn’t give much energy or attention elsewhere, so I know I’d have a loyal partner who wouldn’t put his work first or something along those lines (even though I’d understand if he needed to, from time to time.)

    As I write this, I realize I need to decide whether this is something I can put up with for years and not mind it, as it will only matter more over time when something is missing.

  16. 76

    I also have girlfriends who aren’t inquisitive – far less, than I am about them. But I don’t fret about it as much because I’m not spending the rest of my life with them 24/7.

    What worries about me about Evan’s advice above is the “He’s probably a happy camper”, and that “this is not an anomaly” is that if many men are happy just having the bare minimum, then are we all doomed to find that person who does want to know us on a deeper level?? My last 2 boyfriends didn’t show an interest, and it did bother me, and made me think I’m likely happier single, but then I have days where thinking of not having a family really depresses me. It seems the odds are so much lower with this new trait, and on top of that there has to be alignment on chemistry, values, beliefs, lifestyle, and more!

    I know we’re not supposed to settle, but the OP’s question is legitimate: should we compromise for ‘good enough’ or strive for ‘the best’? Many of my girlfriends say their boyfriends/husbands/fiances are the same, and that that’s just “how guys are”. Is it????

  17. 77

    The last paragraph of the person who responded creeps me out a little bit. It sounds like a double standard. If a relationship is built partly on the other person’s enjoyment of being asked questions and getting to talk about his life, it’s unfair to say that you should be okay with him being a “happy camper,” but not get to talk about your life.

    Unless he was just saying that men won’t be judgemental about your experiences when deciding whether or not to like you. But I wouldn’t say learning that is “more important” than knowing that you’re worth being listened to lol.

  18. 78
    Angela Vittoria Elvebak

    First of all, no she doesn’t need to take scraps of a man because of a felony, you don’t even know why. What does that have 2 do with the price of tea in China. She can find a man who talks and accepts her. That is such an abusvie thing to say. Second, only a total loser would hear the person they live with can’t have a gun, because of a felony and not ask why. That is the biggest, narrissitic thing I have ever heard. That is something I would ask a co worker if they said. The is a baby, he wants a mommy, someone to do everything for him, take, take, take. He will never be interested in her, cheat when he feels like it, invalidate her feelings, and prob eventually do whatever and blame her reactions. Leave girl, run. Find somone who wants to know you, not just use u not to sit alone, but be a loser loner.

  19. 79

    Wow, I’m in something that looks like this…we met, chatted, liked each other and before a month he was saying he loves me. I then started noticing when I tell him something exciting about my day, he seems disinterested and not engaged. It has happened once or twice. Even when the story is interesting at the end he leaves me laughing or expressing my emotions and doesn’t have any response or input to what I just spent 10 minutes talking about. Today I asked him when my birthday was, my favorite food, where I moved from, how long I’ve been living in the country and he couldn’t even mention a word. I asked him to name one of my friends or siblings and he couldn’t. Later on picked a fight so that we wouldn’t address the elephant in the room “how come he doesn’t know the basics about me.” This issue was left unresolved, he had to go to sleep, he has a headache (by the way these reasons are so common every time he doesn’t want to deal with an issue between us.) anyway, he’s off to bed and I’m here awake in the middle of the night wondering how do I know so much about someone and they don’t know much about me, yet say they love me. We’ve been going out for 1 month, if he doesn’t think that THIS is a big deal, we will have to part ways…don’t be used in a relationship, don’t just be the giver, don’t just be the one to nurture the man and settle for “he’s good in other things” when all is said and done, all you will have is communication between you and if he is not attentive or interested in you, so sorry and so sad, you have to wait for someone who will be excited to get to know every single thing about you because you are dear to them.

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