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Boyfriend Not Supportive During Difficult Times? (8 Signs and 6 Ways to Deal)

Last updated on October 27, 2022 by Danielle Harrison

Emotional support in a relationship is a beautiful thing. When you really listen to each other’s needs and build each other up, your connection grows and you’re both empowered to succeed in life. You know that you have a partner who will challenge any obstacle right alongside you.

Research1 has shown that the level of support in a relationship can determine how well the relationship holds up to internal and external stressors, like depression and job loss.

What Does It Mean If My Boyfriend Is Unsupportive?

Without a certain level of support, the relationship falls apart. You may feel insecure, anxious, and frustrated that your boyfriend isn’t there for you. You may even feel like you’re in this relationship alone. When going through hard times in relationships, this support is even more crucial.

Wondering if your boyfriend is unsupportive? Here are eight signs to watch out for.

Signs Your Boyfriend Is Unsupportive

1. He dismisses or minimizes your feelings

When you’re upset, does he acknowledge your feelings? Or does he tell you you’re just “overreacting” or that what you’re going through “isn’t a big deal”? You deserve to have your emotions validated by the one you love, even if he doesn’t always agree with them.

He may just be trying to turn it around or cheer you up by minimizing the situation without intentionally dismissing your emotions. The problem is, feeling unheard in a relationship still creates emotional distance between you.

2. He frequently lets you down

he frequently lets you down

Does he often break promises or fail to show up for you? No one is perfect, and occasional slip-ups are expected. Yet, if it happens over and over again, he either doesn’t care or he isn’t listening.

If you find yourself constantly doubting whether he’s going to do what he says, it may be time to re-evaluate the relationship. You should be able to rely on him the way you would a best friend.

3. He doesn’t show interest in your hopes and dreams

A supportive partner will not only show interest in your goals, he’ll also do what he can to help you reach them. He’ll celebrate the wins with you and be there for you during set-backs. He’ll ask questions, even if it’s not something he’s personally interested in. He’s interested enough in you that he cares about what makes you happy.

An unsupportive partner may not show any interest in your life and ambitions. He may even be negative or discouraging, calling them “stupid” or “unrealistic.” No one wants a partner who doesn’t believe in them.

4. He makes everything about himself

When you talk, do you feel like he’s actively listening? Or does it seem like he’s just waiting for his turn to share? Does he ask you questions or does he immediately try to one-up you with a comparable story?

You may even catch him interrupting or talking over you. It might feel like you can never fully express yourself. It hurts when someone doesn’t care about your feelings. Ultimately these are all huge red flags that point to him loving himself more than he respects you. 

5. He disappears during difficult times

Some men might seem supportive when things are going well. Maybe he’s always helping you achieve your goals or giving you advice. He seems interested in everything you do. Things are great.

Then, tough times strike. Maybe you’re going through something rough in your personal life, or maybe you’re going through an argument as a couple. A supportive, healthy partner should fight these obstacles with you, but an unsupportive one may grow distant or even stop talking to you.

No matter how great things are when they’re good, his actions during difficult times are the most telling. There will be many more difficult periods in the future, and you don’t want to feel like you’re battling them alone.

6. He doesn’t check in on you

Anxious about a big presentation at work today? Starting a new job? A supportive partner will check in. Whether that means words of encouragement beforehand or asking how it went afterwards.

Of course, we’re all human. He may forget about something from time to time. However, a persistent pattern of not making the effort to even send a quick text is a bad sign. 

7. He shuts down during difficult conversations

A partner who actively avoids difficult conversations may not be ready for a serious commitment. He might change the subject, ignore you, or even physically pull away. He may be uncomfortable with emotions or conflict in general.

You may start to find yourself afraid to bring up difficult topics because you expect the worst from him. You don’t feel like there is an open line of communication, which is necessary for a healthy partnership.

8. He doesn’t show up for you in other ways

he doesn't show up for you in other ways

Most men aren’t as emotionally sensitive as women. That doesn’t mean that they can’t show their support in other ways.

Even if he doesn’t always know what to say or how to show his affections, If he knows you’re going through bad times and feel stressed, he can show his support by running errands for you or buying you a gift.

He may have a different love language than you and struggle to express emotions, but there are other ways to show support in relationships. It should never feel one-sided or like he’s taking you for granted.

What to Do if Your Boyfriend Is Unsupportive During Difficult Times

If you’ve noticed any of the signs above, it’s time to do something about it. Here are 6 steps towards improving your relationship and getting the support you need.

1. Communicate your needs

Everyone is different and your boyfriend isn’t a mind-reader. You’ll have to tell him exactly what you need from him in order to feel supported. Don’t beat around the bush. Make specific requests, like “I’m having a hard time right now, and I would really love it if you could just sit with me.”

Is it like pulling teeth getting him to spend time with you?
The key to solving is understanding men on a much deeper emotional level. The number #1 factor that causes men to behave this way is actually relatively easy to change with a few subtle things you can say to him.

Take this quick quiz to see if he actually likes you!

Use “I” statements to explain how his lack of support makes you feel, instead of being critical. For example, you could say “I felt hurt that I didn’t hear from you the last few days, after telling you about the rough time I was going through.”

How your partner responds to these requests will be very telling. If he makes an honest effort, then he probably just didn’t realize that you felt unsupported. If he’s dismissive, it may be a sign that he’s not that invested in you or the relationship.

2. Let him know that you don’t need him to fix the situation

Generally, when men talk about their problems, their goal is to find a solution. So when they hear us talk about a problem, they think we want them to fix things. They don’t realize that sometimes we just need someone to listen to us vent.

Remind him of this. It will take a lot of the pressure off of him if he understands that he doesn’t have to save the day every time you’re upset.

Also, recognize and thank him for trying to help. After all, he is trying to be there for you in the only way he knows how. Let him know that you appreciate his effort and you normally love his advice, but it’s just not what you need at the moment.

3. Show him emotional support

When he’s going through a tough time, are you supportive? Keep in mind, he may not need support in exactly the same way that you do. Maybe he needs a beer and some space, while you want him to sit with you while you let it all out.

Ask him directly what would make him feel supported, and then give it to him. Show him that you’ll always be there for him in whatever way he needs it. If he feels cared for, he’s more likely to reciprocate and try to understand your needs.

4. Be patient

be patient

You can’t expect him to change overnight. The way he’s showing up for you now is probably the way he’s shown up in relationships for his whole life. The behavior is deeply ingrained. Unlearning it is going to be a long process.

Be gentle, but keep reminding him how you want to be supported. When he shows you the kind of emotional support you need, make sure to express your appreciation.

5. Make sure he’s not your entire support network

Your boyfriend shouldn’t be the only one you rely on for emotional support. That’s too much pressure on him and the relationship. That pressure could cause him to pull away even more. It could even cause some resentment on his end.

Make a point of seeking support from family or a close friend on a regular basis. It will lessen both your emotional burden and his.

It’s also important to practice self-care, if you don’t already. At the end of the day, you’re responsible for your own feelings so you need to know how to handle them, whether he’s in the picture or not.

6. Know when it’s time to move on

Is he making an effort to change? Yes, it will take time, but you should still see some progress. If that’s not happening, then he either doesn’t want to make the effort or he isn’t capable of giving you the support you need.

As much as it hurts, it’s usually better to rip the bandaid off as soon as you come to that realization. It’s only going to get harder as you become more attached and continue to feel unsupported.

FAQs

What do you do when your boyfriend is not supportive?

If your boyfriend isn’t supportive, it’s important to first consider the cause. Maybe he’s actually trying to show support, but you need a different kind of help. In that case, you may just need to communicate your needs more effectively. If he isn’t making an effort and isn’t willing to change, it may be time to re-evaluate the relationship.

What is emotional neglect in a relationship?

Emotional neglect is when one partner repeatedly fails to meet the needs of the other. They may walk away during a difficult time, instead of being supportive. They consistently show that they are not invested in the relationship by not respecting their partner’s emotions.

What is an unsupportive partner?

An unsupportive partner isn’t there for you when you need him most. He may shut down or even disappear when times get difficult. He may dismiss your feelings, rather than listening and validating you. He may not show interest in your hopes and dreams, or even discourage them.

How do I get my boyfriend to be more emotionally supportive?

If you feel that your boyfriend isn’t as supportive as you’d like, you should communicate what would make you feel better. Make sure you’re also showing him emotional support. Be patient, as it will take time for him to learn how to better meet your needs.

What does emotional neglect do to a woman?

When a woman feels like she has been emotionally neglected, she may become insecure in the relationship. She may think that her boyfriend doesn’t care about her feelings, which causes her to wonder whether the relationship has a future. She may also feel anxious, sad, and frustrated.

In Conclusion

It’s frustrating when your boyfriend isn’t supportive during tough times. He may dismiss your feelings, avoid difficult conversations, and frequently let you down. This can make you feel insecure and like you’re facing life’s obstacles on your own.

However, there are still things you can do to improve the relationship. Following the steps above can help your partner learn how to better support you.

I hope you found this article helpful. Let me know what you think about this topic in the comments and remember to share with friends!

Do you feel like all you think about is him, but he only thinks about himself?
This doesn't mean he doesn't like you. You have to understand how he is wired. Once you do, you'll find there is a subtle thing you can say that to him that will drastically change how he shows his emotions towards you.

Take this quick quiz that looks at whether he actually likes you or not!

Danielle Harrison
I have been writing for online publications for the last five years, using my background in Psychology to understand human nature. I am also a marketing copywriter specializing in sales funnels. In my free time, I'm usually traveling, hiking, or trying a new kind of tea.

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