Long-distance relationships suck.
One of the main reasons is that the time and space apart can lead to a feeling of being overlooked.
This leaves you wondering what to do when your boyfriend ignores you in a long-distance relationship.
Here are 14 steps for what to do when your boyfriend ignores you in a long-distance relationship
1) Try to talk to him
If you want to know what to do when your boyfriend ignores you in a long-distance relationship, the first step is to do your best to talk to him.
Guys are not generally great communicators and it is possible he doesn’t realize how much his silence is impacting you.
He may also be very busy, stressed, or preoccupied and genuinely be forgetting to stay in touch with you as much as he would like to.
Reach out with a simple message or call saying you miss him and say you’d love to talk when he has a minute. If he still doesn’t respond or gives you the cold shoulder then it’s time to escalate.
As Melissa writes for Elephant on the Road, a good question to ask your guy is whether he thinks you’ve grown as a couple since being long distance.
“This is a great way to know if you guys are going in the right direction. Remember to always be open and ask his opinion about things.”
You might think everything is going fine, but for him, it might not be like that.
If he’s one of those guys that doesn’t open much, you need to ask to make sure everything is going well. Communication is key!
2) Find out if he’s cheating
I don’t know your boyfriend and I can’t speak for the motivations behind his behavior. Unfortunately, sometimes he is ignoring you because he’s cheating.
If his attention is being absorbed by the loving attention of another girl, it stands to reason that he’s going to be falling short on calls, messages, and interactions with you.
And when he does you may notice some awkwardness, weird vibes, and so on.
As for how to find out if your long-distance boyfriend is cheating? It’s tricky but far from impossible.
You can obviously keep an eye on his social media and online presence as well as observe his behavior, but there are even more things you can also do if you’re quite worried, including having a friend where he is “look in on him” and other more advanced tips.
Here’s a thorough and helpful guide from Rahul Iyer on how to tell if your long-distance boyfriend is cheating.
3) Plan to meet up soon
I believe it is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but…
I also believe that extended absence makes the heart grow colder and can lead to cheating, disappointment, loneliness, fights, and all sorts of other nasty things.
When you’re apart too long, many medium-strength love bonds start to fray.
You talk less frequently and get wrapped up in your own busy lives and eventually — let’s face it — you break up.
So if you’re in a long-distance relationship and your boyfriend is ignoring you, then you need to try to arrange a meetup in the near future if possible.
These days during border restrictions that may be tougher but do what you can to try to actually be in the same physical location at some point in the coming months.
It makes a big difference, and it demonstrates your investment in this relationship and his.
Whether it’s him coming to you, you going to him, or both of you meet halfway, do your best to make it happen.
4) Give him a taste of getting ghosted
Sometimes, even if your boyfriend isn’t intentionally ignoring you, the best thing you can do is ignore him right back.
Larry and Carla Sue write:
“It’s heartbreaking when a long-distance partner vanishes without giving an explanation.
It hurts so much to wake up each morning and find yourself wondering if you said something to drive your partner away, or if something terrible has happened to them… or if their heart was never truly yours, right from the start.
In some ways, being a “vanishing long-distance partner” is an easy thing to do. It happens a lot, and there’s even a word for it now: ghosting.”
Give him a taste of getting ghosted and see how he likes it.
Sometimes it takes someone else mirroring our behavior for us to realize how toxic and unhealthy our actions are to those around us.
Think of it as helping him out.
Ignore his calls.
Bring your social media interaction with him down to a screeching zero.
Let him really feel the absence of your attention and presence. Then see how long he keeps taking you for granted.
5) Keep it short and sweet
When you do reopen the lines of communication with your boyfriend, keep it short and sweet.
This isn’t about sending him passive-aggressive messages or being a bitch in some way. I’m just saying to be nice but curt.
“Talk to you soon.”
And so on…
Don’t be consciously cold or unfriendly but try to take it easy on the emojis and affectionate messages.
If this guy is still in love with you he can initiate that. Your job is to do you.
It’s a good idea to write short texts to your boyfriend to keep him interested. Like Adam LoDolce notes here:
“Texts are not emails. They are designed to be brief. If you’re getting long-winded in your text to him, consider switching to a phone call or Facetime.
Keeping texts short also creates the opportunity for back-and-forth conversation. If you do have a lot to say, break it up in several lines to give him a chance to read and respond.
That being said, don’t make every text you send three words long. Respond in full sentences…just don’t create a wall of text!”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
6) Support him
I’ve had friends in long-distance relationships who dealt with the problem of their boyfriend ignoring them and found out that the reason was that he was going through heavy stuff.
I know it’s a cliche but it’s true that many guys are still reluctant to show emotions or open up to their girlfriends.
For cultural, personal, and psychological reasons, they may feel it’s weak or “unattractive” to admit they’re not doing well or in a down period.
To be honest, I kind of understand.
This isn’t just about “macho” ideals or something. It’s about vulnerability. If you admit to your girlfriend that you’re doing badly and struggling in life and she leaves you as a result, you just got hit twice.
If you keep it to yourself and find a way to solve it without dragging the problems into your relationship, you only suffer on one front.
So if your boyfriend is keeping his struggles from you please don’t take it personally. Do your best to support him and be open to him if and when he wants to talk about it.
7) Let him initiate
Like I said, it’s a good idea to start by reaching out to your boyfriend and finding out what’s up.
But if you’re in a holding pattern of him ignoring you and you’ve already tried to reach out, do not keep initiating conversations.
There is a really common control fallacy that often affects people with low self-esteem, a history of past relationship trauma, and who are sensitive.
Basically, they blame themselves for other people’s shit and think they should, could, or would be able to fix things if they just did something differently.
But your control is massively limited if your boyfriend is ignoring you and you’ve tried reaching out.
8) Deal with relationship issues
If your relationship is on the rocks and it’s leading to your boyfriend ignoring you, then the best thing you can do is deal with the baggage.
It may be his fault, your fault, or both. It may be nobody’s fault!
But sooner or later you’re going to both have to air out your grievances and have at it if you want to have a future together.
Long-distance relationships are still relationships.
And if you let problems rot and fester they’re only going to get worse. Tackle them head-on, fight, cry and get it out there.
Because if you wait too long I guarantee you it will be too late.
9) Give him more space
All of us are human and sometimes we just need space. Your boyfriend is no different.
If you’re feeling neglected in a long-distance relationship your feelings are certainly valid, but so are his. One way or another you’re going to have to reach some kind of compromise or back-and-forth.
In this case, it can be good to give him more space if possible, even if it hurts.
This could mean a few weeks or even a month or more.
It could escalate into taking an overall break in your relationship. But no matter how it turns out, sometimes this really is the right option.
Here’s a great guide on how to give him space without losing him from relationship writer Sanjana Lagudu.
10) Focus on your friends and family
Sometimes when your relationship isn’t going how you’d like, the best thing you can do is focus on your friends and family.
This isn’t about running away from your problems and you’ll still have to deal with the problems with your guy eventually — obviously.
But if you’ve done what you can and sort of left it at a stalemate or an unresolved issue, now could be the ideal time to shift away.
Spend more time with your siblings, parents, and extended family. Have a great barbecue and enjoy some food and laughs. Get together with friends for a girls’ night out or a spa day — or weekend.
Nobody’s stopping you and that time with people who care about you (and pay attention to you) will do you a lot of good.
11) Develop your own self-worth
In many cases, we look to others to help us feel complete. But the path to finding true love and intimacy is all about feeling complete and connected to ourselves and nature without needing anyone else.
Developing your own self-worth takes time and commitment but it’s fully possible and not as hard as it sounds.
Positive self-talk, visioning, meditation, and breathwork are all good ideas but it’s also very important in my view to developing self-worth through action.
This means things like:
Going to the gym;
Working on new projects and skills;
Improving relationships that have been tricky for you such as with your parents;
And doing everything you’ve always wanted to but shrank back from.
12) Give him a time frame
In some cases, you’re going to have to let this guy know that your patience is wearing thin.
Tell him that long-distance isn’t working out for you or at least that his behavior in long-distance isn’t working out for you.
When you give a time frame, try to make it fairly general but still specific enough that he can’t just let it slide.
As Anna Yonk talks about here, she gave her boyfriend an ultimatum and it was the best thing she ever did.
“I had already been dragged down to the point where I had no idea how much I was worth. I just knew that I was ready to either get married or move on with my life. That realization lead to the ultimatum that would change my life forever.”
13) Go visit him and see if anything’s left
Sometimes an in-person visit is the best way to assess whether the relationship has any shelf life left. Like I said before, this may involve one or the other of you going to visit or meeting in the middle.
Base this decision on budget, schedule availability, and practical issues, not which of you “wants to meet more.”
If you’re in a relationship, it’s a commitment and you both need to put in some work to see if it’s going to work out.
Even if it’s just for a few days, make an effort to see him in person.
If the trip leads to breaking up, at least, it had a final resolution of some kind and not months more of uncertainty and heartache.
Speaking of breaking up, how do you know.
How do you decide:
14) Is it time to break up?
In some cases, there’s really no life left in the relationship.
There might still be strong attraction and personal affinity but that’s not always enough to make things work.
If you’ve done all you can and it’s still going nowhere — with no sign of interest on his end — it may come down to you to make the call and pull the plug.
Nobody wants to park their love and energy into a relationship that’s headed absolutely nowhere.
And as hard as it is, sometimes you just need to say goodbye.
As for when to know if it’s really over?
“It’s time to call it quits in your long-distance relationship when your relationship is dysfunctional, unsolved problems accumulate, and you feel emotionally overwhelmed.
When your long-distance relationship becomes toxic, it’s best to let it go.”
Sometimes he’s just not that into you and it’s time to end the relationship.
Other times there are issues you need to work through and there’s still a chance to salvage what you once had.
Just remember the wise words of 17th Century French writer Roger de Bussy-Rabutin:
“Absence is to love as wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small and kindles the great.”
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