What to do when your boyfriend is stressed and distant

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Relationships go through their ups and downs, but it can be really frustrating when you are trying everything in your power to make things work, but your boyfriend just seems distant. 

It’s difficult not to take these things personally – after all, you want to make your partner feel better! 

However, these situations usually have nothing to do with you at all! 

The good news? 

There are some things you can do both for yourself and for the relationship in case your boyfriend is stressed and distant, and I will tell you everything you need to know about that today: 

1) Communicate openly and ask him what’s wrong 

Okay, if you know me at all, you know that this is my number one solution to most, if not all, relationship issues. 

I know, it sounds like a cliché, but communication truly is the key to a happy and healthy partnership. 

The thing is, if your boyfriend has been super stressed about something, there is a chance that he hasn’t even realized how distant he’s been. 

He may not have even realized because he is afraid to show too much vulnerability, or he may think that you don’t like that kind of behavior and won’t accept it. 

However, if your boyfriend is willing to tell you about the situation in question, then the best thing is to talk about it calmly and openly

Talk about what’s happened in the past, how you feel he’s been acting lately, and whether or not there’s a solution to his problem at all.

The thing is, we often overthink things pretty quickly, interpreting all kinds of things into his distant behavior, when in reality, he is just stressed about work or an exam that’s coming up. 

Talking about it will not only easy your mind, but it will also show him that you care about him, and that his behavior has been affecting you! 

Trust me, a lot of guys will not connect the dots on their own, you need to communicate! 

Speaking of communicating, this can also be a great time to ask him what you can do to help.

2) Ask him what you can do to help 

Now: before you do this, I want you to understand that there is a chance that your partner doesn’t want to be helped. 

Maybe he is devastated by the situation and doesn’t want it to get better, maybe he feels helpless and vulnerable, or maybe you are already doing everything there is to do to help him, but it’s not enough. 

If that’s the case, then don’t force yourself on him – respect his decisions.

Sometimes, guys also just want to figure out their problems on their own, it makes them feel a bit more mature, but it can be tough for them to put in the effort. 

In cases like these, I encourage you to offer to help, but ONLY if your boyfriend feels comfortable with that. 

If he doesn’t, then don’t push yourself on him.

Now, when your boyfriend does tell you how you can help him, it’s important to really listen carefully to that. 

Don’t assume that you know what’s best for him and so you should tell him how to fix things, or that you should suggest your solution. 

Instead, just ask him what he thinks: is he feeling better now? 

Is there something he can do right now to help himself feel better? 

Sometimes, there will be nothing for you to do – it might just be a situation he has to deal with himself. 

The good news? 

There is still something you can do for him in that case: 

3) Give him a massage or do something else nice for him 

Nothing is better when you are feeling stressed than getting some love in the form of physical touch, like a massage, or acts of service. 

You see, when your boyfriend is distant because he has been really stressed, it might help to really spoil him with a few acts of service or with a massage. 

It will turn the focus off of the stressful situation for him, and it might even help him feel better about himself, too! 

Acts of service are super easy to do – you just have to know what he likes. 

The trick is to do something simple for him, like giving him a back rub when he gets home from work, or dropping off some food or coffee on his nightstand before he wakes up in the morning.

These little sweet acts will show him that you care about him and support him, without actually pushing yourself onto him. 

However, there is something that you need to understand: when you do this, you have to do it without expecting anything in return. 

You see, your boyfriend is tired and stressed, so don’t expect him to immediately do something nice for you, too, or to immediately stop being distant because of that thing you did for him. 

The thing is, guys can tell if we have an ulterior motive – so if you are only doing this to get him to give you more attention, that might stress him out even more. 

Instead, give simply for the sake of giving. 

It’s good to show appreciation, but don’t expect him to take you out in the evening if you do this. 

This might be a difficult time for him, and although relationships should be equal effort from both sides, it’s okay if that effort sways from time to time. 

You might have to put in a bit more now, whereas in the future, the tables might turn. 

Another way you can support him right now is what I talk about in my next point: 

4) Try to support him with what he is stressed about 

Has your boyfriend told you what he is so stressed about right now? 

Is it work? Or maybe lots to study? Or a family issue? 

Whatever the case, you can try to support him with what he is stressed about without pushing yourself onto him too much. 

Let’s say that he has a lot to study but is stressed because he can’t focus in the loud library that he goes to, but has no other place to study. 

You obviously can’t help him study, but maybe you could get him noise-canceling headphones that will make it easier for him to focus. 

You see, these little thoughtful acts will mean a lot to him because you are supporting him with his issue without getting too involved. 

Your boyfriend is stressed, and it’s okay if there is a little bit of distance between you two right now, because of how he feels. 

Giving him some grace during that time can really help him get out of that stressful time. 

One more thing you can do is to try and distract him a bit:

5) Distract him by getting him outside a bit 

When your boyfriend is super stressed and distant, you can suggest to go outside a bit with you, maybe on a hike or to do something fun. 

This might get his mind off of things for a bit.

It’s important that you don’t push yourself on him, though! 

You see, when we are stressed or depressed, we need to figure things out on our own first. 

Ask him if he wants to go outside. Then, when he says yes or maybe, go outside with him and only talk about fun stuff there. 

However, you have to understand that when someone is really stressed, the idea of taking a break can stress them out even more, so don’t be surprised if he wants to stay home or isn’t very interested in an activity. 

That being said, I do encourage you to go out there and have fun with him, because in the end, that will make him feel better about himself too! 

Now, one last thing that you can do for him before we go into the things you should do for yourself: 

6) Give him some time and space 

I know, this is probably going to be hard, especially if he has been distant. 

Trust me, I’m speaking from experience when I say that if a guy is distant and stressed, giving him some time and space is probably the number 1 thing you can do for both of you! 

Yep, not just him! 

Sure, he will have time and space to figure out his problems, but this will help you , too. 

You see, when you are always around him, you notice heavily how distant he is being. 

On the other hand, if you give him some time and space, you will also have that time and space to focus on things other than that – like a hobby, or school, or friends. 

This will really help you get over a rough patch, because it will feel like time goes by a lot quicker. 

I know that it can be scary to give an already distant partner more space, but oftentimes, that’s exactly what is needed in order for him to figure out his stuff and then really miss you. 

Think about it: when he is stressed and overwhelmed, but you keep bugging him for attention and reassurance, he might become even more distant and take even more time to figure stuff out. 

Oftentimes, when a guy is distant, he needs some space and time to figure things out. 

On the other hand, you need that too! 

Even though it feels scary at first, taking this time will be perfect for the both of you. 

So, what will you do in that time? That’s what I will talk about in my next point: 

7) Take good care of yourself in the meantime 

While you are giving your boyfriend some time and space, it’s time for you to take care of yourself in the meantime. 

This situation is difficult for your boyfriend, but you shouldn’t underestimate how difficult it is for you, too! 

When a partner is going through a rough patch and is distant, that affects their partner almost as much as them. 

That’s why you need to give yourself some extra love and attention. 

You see, you might have to put a lot of effort into making your boyfriend feel good but forgot about yourself along the way. 

You see, the good thing about being stressed is that when you get through it, you feel like a new person! You feel better about yourself and almost like there is nothing out there that can stress you out anymore.

However, you need to understand that you can’t just take care of everyone else’s needs – you need to take care of your own, too. 

Now: taking care of yourself might mean cooking yourself healthy foods, seeing friends, moving your body, or maybe just taking some time to be alone with your thoughts. 

Whatever the case, make sure that you give yourself that little extra love and attention. 

The thing is, your relationship with yourself is just as, if not more important than the relationship with your partner. 

And the most interesting part? 

Your relationship with yourself is a direct reflection of how your other relationships are going! 

You see, I learned this from the shaman Rudà Iandê. 

In his free masterclass, he talks about how many people self-sabotage their own love life, and it all boils down to the relationship they have with themselves. 

Their codependent behaviors drive their partners away and make them act distant, when they don’t even know what they did wrong. 

Does any of that sound familiar? 

Trust me, this masterclass saved my relationship and improved the way I saw myself tremendously. 

Have I mentioned that it’s free? 

So, what are you waiting for? This might be exactly what you need to hear right now to get over that rough patch with your boyfriend! 

One more thing about that rough patch: 

8) Don’t take it personally 

I know, it’s hard not to take it personally when your partner is being distant and stressed. 

You see, we always want to think that it’s something we did that made our partners distant or stressed. 

The problem is, this kind of thinking can be dangerous for your relationship. 

Not only does it make you feel even worse about yourself, but the more you blame yourself for making your partner distant or stressed, the worse your relationship will feel. 

The thing is, we can’t control other people’s emotions or lives. 

So, if your boyfriend is stressed and it’s about something outside of the relationship, then it really isn’t any of your business! 

Sure, you can try to support him and see if there is any way you can help, but you should not take this personally or make it your responsibility to make your partner happy. 

That is his job.

On that note: 

9) Meet your own needs during that time

You have probably been trying to meet your partner’s needs for a while now – trying to help him with feeling stressed and trying to get more closeness and intimacy into the relationship again. 

It’s time to take a break. 

His needs aren’t your responsiblity to meet. 

Of course, it’s nice when a partner can meet some of our needs, but it’s not their job to do so. 

Your job is to meet your own needs. 

Now that your boyfriend can’t do that, it is time that you figure out ways in which to make yourself feel good. 

How can you feel safe and calm? How can you feel good about yourself? 

These are all questions that you need to ask yourself right now.

Meeting your own needs is important because it ensures that you aren’t in a codependent relationship with your partner. 

Once you break that pattern and realize that you can take care of yourself fully, that’s when this last point will be a lot more clear: 

10) Know when to walk away 

Alright, I’m not saying you need to break up with your boyfriend! 

However, I want you to be very realistic and honest. How long has your boyfriend been distant? 

How significant is the stress in his life? 

If you feel like he is genuinely stressed, you understand why he is distant, and you have communicated clearly about this to the point where you feel safe in the relationship, knowing that this will pass, then you’re good. 

However, if your boyfriend’s “stress” is nothing that seems too crazy to you, or it’s been an incredibly long time without getting any love or attention in return for your efforts, it might be time to think if this relationship is truly what you need in your life. 

Again, this is not to say that you should walk away while your boyfriend is struggling. 

But usually, even when someone is stressed, they will voice their desire to be with you and they will help to reassure you, even though there is a lot going on. 

Even if it’s just a talk like: “Hey, I know I’ve been distant lately and I’m sorry, I just want you to know that I love you and appreciate your support through all this”. 

With that, you know that you are still in a good place relationship-wise. 

Honestly, it can be so simple to have a healthy relationship, even in times of distress… 

So, if your partner isn’t showing any of those signs and you’ve felt almost single for weeks now and nothing changes after communicating your feelings… then you should consider walking away. 

You don’t want to spend even more time and energy on someone who seemingly couldn’t care less. 

Final thoughts – Put yourself first 

No matter what happens in your relationship, never forget to put your own health, energy, and sanity first. 

You can’t help your boyfriend if you are feeling depleted and sad. 

Take care of yourself and make sure that you communicate openly with your partner – this will ensure that you will be on the same page at all times!

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

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