Figuring out how to navigate even the most basic relationship issues can be difficult, so when a guy starts acting different you are likely to be super confused. Do you act normal and hope he goes back to how he was? Ask him what’s up? Or do you snoop?
When maneuvering this situation, there is not a one size fits all solution. Depending on your style, your boyfriend’s behavior, and your history, what comes next can vary.
Different behaviors can mean different things
Before I get into advising you, I have one prerequisite for everyone. Do NOT jump to conclusions. You do not know why his behavior is changing. It could be stress. It could be nerves or anxiety, or it could be something wonderful. Or it could be bad news.
But worrying, stressing, and assuming you know what his change in behavior is about is not the way to handle it.
What to do when a guy starts acting different
Being patient and figuring out why your boyfriend is acting different should come first, before reacting out of suspicion. Internalizing his behavior, assuming it is something you did, or something bad will only cause more trouble than it solves. [Read: 15 questions to grow closer to your boyfriend]
So, let’s get into the details on what to do when a guy starts acting different.
#1 How is he being different? Is he distant? Or acting jealous? Is he cold or quiet? Perhaps he is being secretive or clingy. All of these behaviors can signal different meanings.
Often when a guy is prepping to propose or ask you to move in, he gets nervous and may be quiet or distant. The same goes for being secretive. But that could also mean he has something to hide. If he is cold he may be upset with you. And if he is jealous it may be mirroring his own deceitful behavior.
A lot of clinginess can oddly be a sign he is planning to end things. Even though these are common signs, it doesn’t mean that is definitely the situation you and your guy are in. But before you move forward try to see how exactly he is being different. [Read: 12 things men do that make women insecure in relationships]
#2 How long should you wait before speaking up? Often times when a guy’s behavior changes it can be stress related. You may react to stress by venting, but not all guys deal in the same way. So wait it out for a bit. I’d say if his behavior is still different after about five days, it is time to talk about it.
He may not be verbal about things that are bothering him, but with a gentle conversation he can put your mind at ease. And perhaps vice versa. [Read: 17 easy ways to be a good girlfriend to your boyfriend]
#3 Should you let him be? In many cases, even if your guy has told you he is stressed about work or something personal, he may not want to continue a conversation. Men tend to be less open about things they’re having trouble with. They often don’t want to admit something is upsetting them.
Don’t push. If you know he needs time to sort out whatever it is, give him that time and space. You don’t want to suffocate him with worry. Now if it is something serious like mental illness or addiction, you will need to step in and help, perhaps with the assistance of a professional.
#4 Don’t get mad. Yes, sometimes a guy starting to act different is a sign he is cheating. But more often than not it has nothing to do with you or your relationship. We immediately internalize something he isn’t sharing as a problem with us.
But just as you may not share everything that is bothering you, he wants some things to remain private. So, calm down before you bring it up. [Read: Is he cheating? 21 unintentional behaviours he just can’t hide]
#5 Try to see his side. Say you found out he lied about something like having coffee with an ex. If he admitted that what he did was wrong and came to you to share instead of continuing to hide it, try to appreciate that.
Men are not always the most intuitive when it comes to relationships. They often avoid confrontation, so if he has been keeping something from you it may not be out of malice. He may have actually thought he was doing what was best. Even though that behavior is a bit selfish and dense, try to look at it from his perspective.
#6 Ask him. Straight up ask him what’s going on. If his odd behavior is really getting to you, don’t beat around the bush. Say you’re worried and be sure he knows that he can share anything with you without judgement.
Don’t get mad at him for keeping something from you. You don’t know what the deal is. You don’t want to make him feel worse than he already does. Be understanding and just listen. [Read: 10 ways to be a better listener in your relationship]
#7 Reach out to friends or family. Whether you think he is acting differently due to work, something personal, or anything else. Reach out to someone. You, again, don’t want to be suspicious, but if you are close to a friend or family member of his, just ask if there’s anything going on that you should be worried about.
Whether it is something minor or more serious this person can probably give you a little insight. At the very least they can put your mind at ease by reassuring you that it’s not a big deal without breaking his confidence.
#8 Vent to your trusted friends. Not to distrust your gut or invalidate your feelings, but as ladies we do sometimes overreact. It’s not our fault. Guys from our past have made us paranoid. So when your guy starts acting different, it may not be as bad as you think.
Chat with a friend you trust and get an outside perspective on the situation. Sometimes you just need a fresh set of eyes to see the situation a different way.
#9 Should you check his phone? If you are suspicious enough to take that road, I’m sorry to say it but… There are more severe problems in your relationship than his weird behavior. There are definitely some deep seated trust or jealousy issues happening if snooping through his social is your next move.
And if that is the case, you may want to reevaluate your own behavior before worrying about his. [Read: Can you trust your boyfriend? 12 questions to help you decide]
#10 Cut the passive aggressiveness. Just because your guy is acting different doesn’t mean you should too. Don’t use underhanded anger, or leave sappy and cryptic tweets and Facebook statuses. Don’t reach out to an ex for revenge or pretend you don’t care that something is wrong.
All of those are immature behaviors and won’t fix anything. Rather they will likely make it worse or even cause irreparable damage to your relationship. So don’t make any rash decisions out of frustration or before knowing all the facts.
[Read: 14 common reasons why many relationships fail often]
We all have issues we keep bottled up, and they almost always find their way to the surface one way or the other. So if you’re wondering what to do when a guy starts acting different, just use these steps and get things back to normal again.
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