What to Do When Your Boyfriend Makes No Effort in Your Relationship

You love your boyfriend, but when he stops making an effort in your relationship…you begin to wonder about his feelings for you. Does your boyfriend still love you? Why isn’t he trying harder to show how much he cares? What do you do when your boyfriend makes no effort to please you or make you happy?

It’s time to pull back from your relationship for a few minutes, so you can see yourself — and your boyfriend — more objectively. Here, you’ll find several questions and tips to help you evaluate your love life and make a good decision about your future. You’ll start figuring out why your boyfriend doesn’t make time for you, and how to respond. And if you need help deciding what to do about a boyfriend who isn’t making an effort in your relationship, you can share your story in the comments section below.

How well do you know your boyfriend? On a scale of 1 to 10, would you rate your relationship a 1 (you started dating within the last couple of months and are still in the beginning phases of getting to know each other) or a 10 (you’ve been dating for 20 years and know each other inside and out). The middle of this “relationship scale” is a 5: you’ve been dating for a year or more, and you know each other fairly well…but surprises still crop up here and there!

Thinking about how well you know him is an important factor when you’re deciding what to do when your boyfriend makes no effort in your relationship. Why? Because it’ll help you decide if he’s going through a season of withdrawal because of work stress, emotional health issues, or family problems. If so, you’ll respond to your boyfriend’s lack of effort differently than if he’s just lost interest in your relationship.

5 Ways to Respond When Your Boyfriend Isn’t Making an Effort

Do you know your boyfriend well enough to determine if he’s not making an effort because of a temporary life situation he’s dealing with, or if he has lost interest in you? Knowing this will help you work your way through these tips…

1. Accept that you can’t change him

You’re normal if you wish your boyfriend would make more of an effort in your relationship! It’s natural to want him to want you, to yearn for his attention, approval, and affection. This is a healthy part of being in a relationship. Of course you want him to try, because his time, effort, and energy shows he cares about you.

But it’s also crucial to remember that you can’t change your boyfriend. You can’t convince, beg, or force him to make an effort in your relationship. You can’t make him love you more, or make him try harder, or make him want to spend time with you. You can’t cast a magic spell or find psychological techniques to make your boyfriend change.

Accept your boyfriend for who he is, because the changes that he’ll change are very small.

2. Remember who you CAN change!

If you’re depressed by first tip for what to do when your boyfriend makes no effort in your relationship, I’ve got good news for you. You can change the most important person in your life: you. You can look at your expectations, and adjust them if necessary. You can look at your boyfriend’s behavior in your relationship, and decide what to do about your future.

Don’t change your personality. Rather, change your expectations of your relationship. If you’re disappointed and sad because your boyfriend isn’t making an effort to love or be with you, examine what you expect from him. What do you want your boyfriend to do, say, or be? How do you want him to show he cares about your relationship? What do you want him to do differently?

Write down three things you expect your boyfriend to do or be in your relationship. Use your private journal or diary, or share your thoughts in the comments section below. Writing down your expectations will not only help you gain clarity and insight into yourself, it’ll also help you see if you need to change what you expect of your boyfriend.

3. Don’t settle for less than you deserve in a relationship

After you write down your expectations of your boyfriend, ask yourself if they’re realistic. For example, maybe you expect your boyfriend to text you five times a day, and call you first thing in the morning and last thing before you fall asleep. You can probably see that those relationship expectations aren’t realistic!

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But maybe you expect your boyfriend to make an effort by calling you once a week, or texting you once a month. Maybe you feel grateful when he finally decides to stop by — at 10 pm, without calling first — or he always expects you to just be waiting for him. Those relationship expectations are way too low. If you’re last on your boyfriend’s list of priorities, then you need to stop wondering what to do when he makes no effort in your relationship. You need to recognize that you’re settling for less than you deserve. And you need to figure out why you’re not holding yourself in higher esteem.

4. Look at your boyfriend’s life through his eyes

What’s going on for your boyfriend? This is where my first question comes in: how well do you know him?

What to Do When Your Boyfriend Makes No Effort in Your Relationship

What to Do When Your Boyfriend Makes No Effort in Your Relationship

If you’ve been together for a long time (a 7 or 8 on that “relationship scale” at the beginning of this post), then maybe you can see that your boyfriend isn’t making an effort right now because he’s dealing with serious issues in other aspects of his life.

If you haven’t been dating long — or if your relationship is less than a year old — you may not know your boyfriend well enough to determine why he stopped making an effort. Is your boyfriend dealing with depression? Maybe he’s coping with financial problems in his professional or personal life, or grieving the los of someone he loves. Maybe he’s too heavy into the party, drugs, and alcohol scene. Or maybe your boyfriend is dealing with an ex-wife and custody issues, and just doesn’t have the time or energy to make an effort in your relationship.

What’s happening in your boyfriend’s life? That may help you see why he’s not making any effort towards you. And, it may help you decide how to respond.

5. Talk to him without getting angry or upset

It doesn’t have to be a big, heavy “relationship talk”! How you approach your boyfriend depends on his personality, your style of communication, and your relationship. If you almost never see each other, then sitting down to talk about your relationship – or his lack of effort – would look much different than if you live together.

Find a low-key, nonthreatening way to approach your boyfriend. Try not to get upset, irritated, or emotional. Ask him open-ended questions about how he thinks your relationship is going, and if there’s anything you both can do to bring you closer together. What you talk about really does depend on the issues you’re facing, how long you’ve been together, and why your boyfriend isn’t making an effort in your relationship.

If your boyfriend never made an effort to begin with, then he may simply be lazy or indifferent to building and maintaining a relationship with you. Perhaps he wasn’t taught how to love a girlfriend, and he hasn’t taken time to learn what goes into a happy, healthy relationship. Perhaps he thinks guys don’t need to make an effort in relationships, and girlfriends should do all the work.

See why it’s so important for you to know your boyfriend — and know yourself — before deciding what to do when he doesn’t make an effort? All relationships are unique. And, your definition of “not making an effort” may not match your boyfriend’s definition…which means you’re operating from a completely different set of expectations.

If you think you’re smothering your boyfriend, read 11 Ways to Stop Being the “Clingy Girlfriend” in a Relationship.

What do you think, how do you feel? I welcome your thoughts in the comments section below! I can’t tell you what to do when your boyfriend makes no effort in your relationship, but you will find it helpful to share your story. Writing is how we make sense of things, and how we see our relationships more clearly.


Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.

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One thought on “What to Do When Your Boyfriend Makes No Effort in Your Relationship

  • Jennifer Smith

    This helps me to decide that I can’t wear rose colored glasses with my current relationship .thanks for helping me see what I have to remove from my life .