I have been dating my boyfriend for about four months, and we had been good friends for about three years before we started going out. He is a pretty classic male — uncomfortable with heavy or emotional issues, withdraws when he's upset, etc. One thing I can't stop thinking about is that he rarely, if ever, makes eye contact. The other day, when we were talking about something important and were laying in bed, he actually had his entire body turned away from me. I couldn't even see his face!
I'm a psychology major, so I pay attention to body language. I know that lack of eye contact can mean the person is lying or nervous. The other night I flat out asked him why he never makes eye contact. He got defensive and said, "There isn't always a psychological reason for everything. It's just the way I am. I'm not an eye-contact sort of person." I don't buy it. Why do you think he does this? It makes me uneasy.
—Needs More of a Connection Connie
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Dear Needs More of a Connection Connie,
While it's true that many guys don't like sharing their emotions and laying their thoughts out on the table, guys are usually good at being upfront and open when you tell them about how you feel. It's great that you asked him why he never looks at you when you talk about important stuff, but he obviously took it as a personal attack since he reacted so defensively.
Instead of pointing out that he doesn't make eye contact, tell him how it makes you feel. Tell him what you told me: that it makes you uneasy and makes you think that he has something to hide. Explain that when he looks you in the eye, it shows that he respects you and feels comfortable with you, and it makes you feel close. When he doesn't look at you, it makes you feel like you can't trust him.
Some people are painfully shy and nervous when interacting with others, and it sounds like he has a hard time feeling comfortable connecting in that way. I don't think it means you can't trust him, since you said you’ve been friends for three years. He may just have a difficult time with intimacy. Be sure to continue talking about this issue, so he knows how important it is to you. I think that giving your relationship time and being patient with him may be all he needs. I hope this helps.