When your boyfriend puts up an emotional barrier, it can feel like he is working hard to keep you from building an intimate relationship with him. However, it is important to realize that emotional barriers are usually put up for a variety of reasons. If you value the person that he is and want to continue getting to know him better, you will have to maintain a patient attitude while dealing with his emotional barriers.
Listen attentively to your partner, when he is ready to talk, in order to understand why he has put up an emotional wall. Learn about his family history, his past relationships and difficult times he is currently facing. Show an interest in his past as well as his current problems. When talking with him about his emotions, work hard to be sensitive and understanding. Don't be afraid to ask questions but don't push him into talking about something that he isn't comfortable opening up about yet.
Communicate with him to discover solutions to his emotional barriers that will work for both of you. For example, you should let him know that although you understand his emotional barrier, this wall makes you feel insecure, upset or unloved. Figure out ways that he can help you resolve these negative feelings. At the same time, talk about things you can do to help him feel more comfortable opening up his emotions to you. For example, consider visiting a couple's therapist together or encourage him to write down his emotions and struggles, before opening up to you, to organize his thoughts.
Practice the strategies that will work for both you and your partner. These could include maintaining journals throughout the week, working on articulating your feelings calmly or visiting a counselor each week. Realize that change and development in relationships take time and effort, so you will need to work hard to maintain these changes in your dynamic. Instead of fighting every time one of you fails or struggles, commit to letting each other know when something isn't working.
Wait until your significant other is comfortable before trying new things. For example, if he is uncomfortable with the label of a serious relationship because everyone he has been close to in his past has left him, gradually ease in to getting more serious by giving him extra space for alone time or time with friends, as well as keeping your conversations light. Avoid sensitive subjects until he is ready to delve into them. A physical relationship should not be pursued or continued until his emotional barriers are broken down.
- Remember not to sacrifice what you want in a relationship. If his emotional wall is insurmountable, tell him that and move on if you cannot find a resolution.