How do I decode my boyfriend's strange behavior?

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Answered by: Nikki, An Expert in the Advice for Dating Category
So your boyfriend is acting strange. What does that even mean? Strange behavior is typically code for someone behaving differently than normal, which could mean one of a multitude of things. It doesn’t have to mean the worst … and in fact, acting odd could be a good thing! Here are some ways to try to decode your boyfriend's strange behavior.He could want to propose

Is your boyfriend suddenly acting nervous, like he got caught in the act of doing something wrong? Is he clingy or needy? According to Ashleigh Frank, author at lifescript, he may be ready to propose. “Just imagine how he must feel during the weeks, days and hours before the big event. Nervous, panicked, sweaty…you get the idea. When he’s going to propose, your man might start to act just a little weird. One of the biggest signs that he is going to propose is a change in his general attitude. He’ll go out of his way to tell you how much he loves you. He’s hoping you’ll do the same; he’s looking for confirmation that the time is right.”

He could be lyingYour boyfriend could be lying, which affects his behavior. Jonathan Bennett, dating and relationship coach and owner of The Popular Man, provided me with this insight:

“Lying or hiding something can cause someone to act differently. Closed and nervous body language, as well as evasive answers, could indicate dishonesty.”

He wants to break up with you

It’s possible that the relationship is on the outs. Your boyfriend may want to break up with you but doesn’t know how to show it. Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, Founder & Chief Relationship Advisor of Relationup & Relationship Therapist, says you might notice he isn’t sharing as much with you or making plans for the future. He might also be doing things without you or is disinterested in sex with you. “You feel the distance and wonder where this is heading.”

Other signs your boyfriend is considering ending the relationship is if he seems to be picking fights with you, he talks bad about you in front of others—almost seeming to rally support in the negativity, or he ignores you completely.

The relationship is solid

If you and your boyfriend have been together for a while, and suddenly he stops bringing you flowers or wooing you, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s no longer interested. In fact, it could be the opposite.

Scott Haltzman, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, says, "When a man is confident his relationship is solid, he enters a comfort zone. He'll stop doing those extras because he doesn't need them and assumes you don't either."

What to do? Look for the little things for affirmation. "Men are more likely to rely on simple day-to-day actions rather than sweeping romantic gestures to say 'I love you.”

He needs some attention

Even though your stoic boyfriend has a hard time sharing feelings, he may need a bit of TLC once in a while. If your boyfriend is suddenly a little whiny, it may just mean he needs a little attention or coddling. "All guys are basically kids at heart," says Dennie Hughes, national relationship columnist and author of DateWorthy. "Deep down, they want to be taken care of, and who can blame them? On some level, don't we all?"

This doesn’t mean you suddenly have to step in and be a mom. In fact, you shouldn’t. Choose little gestures that pamper him but don't compromise yourself, recommends Hughes.

He’s jealous

Your boyfriend suddenly asks a little distant or possessive. He may be jealous if you saw an old beau out and about, or casually mentioned the guy you went to prom with. Pat Love, Ed.D., author of The Truth About Love, reveals, "Talking about an old boyfriend makes him feel powerless. He's thinking, 'How can I compete with a memory?'"

It’s okay if your boyfriend is jealous on occasion, but if he’s suddenly trying to read all your texts over your shoulder, wants to go with you everywhere, or starts criticizing your choice of showing a little skin, these might be red flags.

So what do you do?

Your boyfriend's strange behavior is an issue. He's pulling away. He’s unresponsive. He’s on edge. How do you handle his lack of communication if he hasn’t really done anything wrong? Sa Toya, author for Paired Life, gives these tips for dealing with a distant boyfriend. “Give him all the space he needs: If he's fearful of loss of freedom or independence, he'll snap right back to normal with time. Love the hell out of your man: He needs you now more than ever before. Stay happy: In other words, don't worry or play games to try to get him to talk.”

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