“I don’t feel loved” is a painful sentiment that can make you feel a variety of negative emotions. You feel like you aren’t worthy of someone’s love and affection. Your self-esteem will take a hit. You don’t feel secure in any of your relationships. These feelings aren’t unusual when you are feeling unloved by your partner and it can lead to a heartbreaking question – Have you and your partner reached a dead end? Is there no way out of this miserable situation? Fortunately, there are many things you can do to feel loved by your partner.
However, to make these changes, you and your partner have to put in equal effort to start feeling special in a romantic relationship. To find out more about how to feel loved and feel cared for by your partner, we reached out to life coach and counselor Joie Bose, who specializes in counseling people dealing with abusive marriages, breakups, and extramarital affairs. She said, “It’s normal to feel bored in a relationship. But it’s not normal when you are not feeling loved or appreciated in a relationship. This can create a lot of problems between partners and if this is not taken care of, it can even reach the inevitable end.”
Why Don’t I Feel Loved By My Partner?
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“Lack of communication among partners is one of the main reasons why you are not feeling loved in a relationship.” Some of the other factors include:
- Diminished show of care which once glued the bond together
- Reduced involvement in daily plans
- Taking a partner for granted is a certain way of feeling unloved
All of these things may make you feel like you are not loved by your partner. Lysa, an exam moderator, has experienced most of the elements listed by Joie. She claims that she has started to feel estranged from her husband, Mike. “I don’t feel loved by my husband because the spark seems to have fizzled out. We are not like we used to be – fun-loving and energetic. We would make an effort to do things together. Now, we have just slipped into a routine that includes copious amounts of television and takeout food,” she said.
Lysa has been looking for ways to deal with the “I don’t feel loved”or “I don’t feel special in my relationship” phase. She has been attempting to get Mike off the couch by getting him involved in hobbies – she tried out ways to keep the spark alive. But in a conversation over a cuppa, she told me that her tricks are not working and that it is driving her crazy. I told her that maybe she has to assess why she is feeling unloved. Our conversation helped me zero down on some reasons.
1. Your partner has stopped sharing their thoughts
“I don’t feel loved by my husband anymore because he has stopped sharing things with me,” Lysa complained, adding, “There was a time when I believe that we shared comfort because we were able to share things. Over time, it just fizzled out.” A relationship has 12 stages of development. The initial months are often glossy. Partners share every minuscule life update. They introduce you to the things they hold dear and even become vulnerable. Expressing love and all the other things you feel is the first thing you need to do in order to feel wanted in a romantic relationship.
Here are some things you can do when your partner has stopped sharing their thoughts:
- Don’t immediately react and don’t take it personally. They could be facing stress at work and are having a hard time
- Analyze if they are acting this way because you said something to hurt them
- Talk to them when their mood is right and find out what’s bothering them
- Be a good listener and don’t interrupt when they are speaking their heart
- Solve things amicably
2. You don’t feel loved anymore because they lied
Lysa said that one of the reasons she feels unloved is because she has caught Mike lying. “It was one of those cliche things – he would return home late and tell me that he had work. Once his friend let it slip that they were out at a bar. I found out that this had become a regular thing for him. I felt bad that he was avoiding me. I don’t feel loved when I am faced with lies,” she said.
It is normal for a person to reach the “I don’t feel loved in my relationship” phase when they catch their partner lying because lies give space to suspicion and suspicion can wreak havoc in a relationship. No one expects their loved ones to be untruthful to them. The moment they get caught could be sour and turn into a defining milestone. From here on, it will depend on how you take it forward. Will you confront and tell them “I don’t feel loved” or will you wait and watch?
Related Reading: 12 Signs Of A Lying Spouse
3. You don’t feel loved because your partner’s behavior has changed
This is the next question: Has your partner changed from when you met them versus now? When your partner was courting you, they were probably the best version of themselves. It was all new and you were feeling special in a romantic relationship. Then you both fell in love. Time passed by and you realized that the spark between you was either temporary or it is lost somewhere. Your partner is showing sings of losing interest – and you have started feeling that he doesn’t love you anymore.
The first thing you need to do is stop feeling comfortable in your relationship and find ways to come out of this stagnancy. In such circumstances, do you want to assess what went wrong or do you want to confront your partner? It is better to find answers to these impending questions. Because the longer you complain to yourself saying “I don’t feel loved anymore,” the longer you will be in pain.
Here are some things you can do with your partner to rebuild love in the relationship:
- Tap into each other’s love languages and make the most out of it
- Have at least one meal a day together and talk about random things
- Communicate your feelings without using hyperbolic terms like “you always” and “you never.” Use “I” sentences to share your thoughts
- Buy each other little presents every now and then to keep the romance alive
4. Your opinion is not considered
As Lysa deliberated on why she did not feel loved in her relationship, she concluded that it was also because Mike had started keeping her out of decision-making. She said that she had not signed up to be a part of unilateral decisions in their relationship. She had realized that Mike was using a lot of “I” and “me”, instead of “we.” This remarkable change in behavior put her in a dilemma. Moreover, she wondered if he was ignoring her for someone else.
If your partner isn’t taking your opinions into consideration, there is a chance you are not feeling loved or appreciated in a relationship. You must talk to your partner about it. Let them know that this behavior is only causing damage to your bond. If they want to save this relationship, then they better get their act together and start considering your thoughts and opinions as equally important as their own.
5. You may not feel loved if they stop introducing you to their friends
In the initial phase of your relationship, your partner was so keen on making you a solid part of their life that they introduced you to their favorite friends and family. They wanted you to be accepted by their loved ones. However, after one or two meaningful meetings, you have seen this urge to make effort wane away. It has made you worry that they are losing interest in you. This could make you feel unloved in a relationship. This is one of the reasons you feel this way about your partner. Have a talk with them an tell them you would love to meet their friends and family.
Related Reading: Every Guy Has These 10 Types Of Friends
Ways To Deal With Not Feeling Loved In A Relationship
Joie said that “unloved” is a personal feeling and so it is upon the individual to take charge and deal with it. “It is your responsibility to let the other person know that you are feeling unloved. And at the same time, you need to clarify and manage your expectations. Then, you could create situations that will allow your partner to shower you with love and care,” Joie said.
She added, “You must also make an effort. If you are being shown love, you could reciprocate to the fullest. If you don’t, you can’t expect your partner to do the same.” I talked to a few more people who had hit a rough patch in their relationships. They devised their own tips and tricks to overcome their problems.
1. Ensure you are happy with yourself
Before questioning your partner’s love, ask yourself if you love yourself first. This happens when we lack confidence or are dealing with bad past experiences. It has happened to me – I have said I don’t feel loved anymore, because my partner was not responding to me on time or that I was simply overthinking some things. I thought that my relationship was too good to be true. I would constantly find things to worry about. It was perhaps a little too late when I realized that overthinking ruins relationships.
“Focus on the good things you have, not on the negative aspects. To feel assured, celebrate how lovely your relationship is. Share the love with others, so that they can partake in your happiness. Go on dates frequently and spend time doing things that create memories,” Joie suggested.
2. Form new relationship traditions
Shaniqua, a young hospitality professional, said that once the honeymoon phase of her relationship with Doug, a college student, was over, she wanted to declare: “I don’t feel loved by my boyfriend.” She said that they were going on lesser dates and having less sex. It was a big letdown for her compared to the initial period of bliss. However, she claimed that she knew this was not the end and thus came up with some traditions and ways to reignite the spark in their relationship.
“I could not keep on saying “I don’t feel loved” anymore and not act on my insecurities,” she said, adding, “Doug is a little shy and I knew he would have found it difficult to restart the conversation. So, I started scheduling movie nights as we used to at the beginning of our relationship. It would often lead to intimacy. And guess what? This worked. We eventually started going out on more dates too.”
Here are some habits you and your partner can develop to strengthen your relationship:
- Practice empathy and gratitude
- If one partner is angry and venting their thoughts, the other partner can remain silent till they’ve cooled down. You can talk and resolve your issues when they aren’t bursting with anger
- Perform acts of service without expecting anything in return
- Talk about expectations and find out how you can manage them as a healthy couple
3. Tell your partner “I don’t feel loved”
Dealing with an issue in a straightforward way could bring unexpected and quick results. Telling your partner “I don’t feel loved” instead of sulking could help revive a conversation. Joie said that it was absolutely alright to tell your partners that you are not feeling loved. “Once you have told them, give your partner some time to change their behavior. You can also help them understand what you seek by confessing the fact that you feel unloved,” she said.
But before you tell your partner that you do not feel loved, you may want to identify what is making you feel insecure. Has their behavior changed or have they stopped sharing things with you? If it is the latter, Joie has some advice for you. “If your partner stops sharing things with you, have a conversation with them and have realistic expectations in a relationship. A healthy relationship cannot manifest without people sharing their lives. This will raise doubt and insecurity and make the other person feel distanced. Sharing enhances attachment,” she said.
Related Reading: 9 Things To Do When Every Conversation Turns Into An Argument
4. Take a break if you don’t feel loved in a relationship
Taking a break in a relationship does not have to be a negative step. It could be treated as a period of self-introspection – to figure out what is wrong. It must be looked at as a part of a relationship and not as a departure from the normal. Mileena, a martial arts trainer, and her boyfriend, Salim, a banker, took the break in the right spirit and used it to reset their relationship.
“It was time for a break in our relationship. We took a conscious decision to understand what was going wrong. We figured out what habits of ours were irritating each other. Salim was unhappy that I discussed our relationship in great detail with all my friends. In a way, he was right as after my versions of our fights, my friends had begun to feel that I don’t love my boyfriend anymore. That is not the case. I told Salim to work on his work-life balance, and he agreed. This break has given us a lot of hope,” said Mileena.
Listed below are some benefits of taking a break in the relationship to help you decide whether you want to go for it or not:
- Absence makes the heart grow fonder. The two of you may start realizing each other’s importance when you are apart
- When two people are in a relationship for a long time, there are chances of losing individual identity. When the two of you are apart, it will help you find yourself again
- You will have plenty of time to deal with your personal issues that have nothing to do with your partner or your relationships
- You will come to a decision whether you want to continue this relationship or terminate it
5. Get a counselor’s help if you don’t feel loved
My friend, Klause, once confided in me about his marital discord. “I don’t feel loved by my wife,” he said, while we caught up over beers. This has been going on for a while. Klause’s wife, Tinah, is a hardworking and busy woman. They are what you would call the perfect couple – they look great together and are successful. You would want to be in their company. So, when Klause told me that there were some problems, I realized that it was hard for him.
I advised him to talk to Tinah about his sentiments and that they should discuss it in great detail. However, he said that Tinah thinks there are no problems between them, and that by saying “I don’t feel loved by my wife,” Klause would create more issues. I told him to approach a counselor.
A counselor can help you unspool your thoughts and help you find a way. Sometimes, the problems pressing down on you are not as huge as you think and even one session can start making a difference. Some exercises given by the counselors can help you understand where you stand and how you should find a way. Bonobology’s experts can help you with your issues.
6 Ways To Feel More Loved By Yourself
When life gives you an opportunity to fall in love again with yourself, it’s best to grab it and not let it go. The more you love yourself, the more satisfied you will feel in your relationships. Otherwise, you will be stuck all your life saying “I don’t feel loved.” Here are some foolproof ways to fall for yourself:
1. Be kind to yourself
Joie said, “It’s a brutal fact that we grew up in a society that has been hard on us. Don’t let this affect your peace of mind even in the later stages of life. Be kind to yourself and consider all the things you went through were not misery but life lessons from the universe. Let it be known that these things have only made you a better person.”
This is the first step to self-love and self-care. Don’t pressure yourself by falling for society’s standards. You don’t have to be the perfect student or a perfect mom. You can excel at whatever you do by your own standards. That’s the most human thing you can do. Give yourself permission to break free of society’s expectations.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others
Whether it’s your personal life or work life, avoid comparing yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. No matter how much you feel loved for your partner, everything will fall flat when you look at other couples on social media and compare your love life to what you see on your mobile screen.
It’s never a good idea to feel envious of others’ lives. You will never feel good about yourself or appreciate what you have once you fall into the comparison trap. You will never allow yourself to be grateful if you don’t stop being envious.
3. Treat yourself to nice things
Candlelight dinner for one? Shopping alone? Eating a slice of cake all by yourself? A big yes to everything you do to make yourself feel great. These are momentary distractions that will bring a lot of mental satisfaction. You won’t regret spending money on yourself or treating yourself to some chocolate cake. It’s a different way to feel cared for by yourself but it’s a very important step to make you feel better.
4. Take a break from social media
Studies have time and again proved that social media can lead to depression. You spend hours “doomscrolling” your way out of life. Regardless of your age and gender, social media can cause depressive symptoms. If you can’t completely take a break from social media, then at least try to cut back. Spend quality time with yourself by limiting your daily usage and spending the remaining time doing something that can actually make you feel good about yourself.
5. Revisit old hobbies or develop a new one
Here are some hobbies you can revisit or develop if you are not feeling loved by your partner and are focusing on loving yourself first:
- Knitting, painting, and baking
- Journaling your thoughts down
- Reading good books
- Practicing gratitude by volunteering or doing some charity work
6. Satisfy yourself sexually
You need to tap into your erogenous zones once in a while to feel great about yourself. You can talk to your partner and let them know what you like in bed. Spice things up in bed by using sex toys and trying role play. If your partner isn’t around, then you can pleasure yourself. Getting to know your body better will change your life for the better.
- When you are not feeling loved in a relationship, it can lead to a lot of problems. This situation needs to be addressed immediately by both the partners
- Lack of communication, cheating, and lying are some of the reasons why you are not feeling loved by your partner
- Love yourself before you love someone else. Talk to your partner about this and make sure they know how you feel. By communicating unmet needs, both of you can find out ways on how to make each other feel loved and wanted in the relationship
It is natural for a relationship to have ups and downs – for a person to think “I don’t feel loved.” However, instead of letting this problem cloud your mind, you could take charge and find out what’s leading to the problem. You could start working your way up and once you see even a glimmer of progress, I promise you will feel better.
This article was updated in January 2023.
Relationships do not have a uniform road. Think of it as a mountainous pass instead – it’s a winding path with ups and downs. Thus, it is normal to feel unloved in a relationship. However, if you have been feeling so for a prolonged period of time, you could start a conversation with your partner. Be mellow with your words and do not let emotions get the best of you.
If you feel you have gone off your partner’s love radar, you could try reintroducing some traditions back into your relationship. Think of some things that you did in the initial days of dating and get them back into your mutual routine. Arrange for dates, make more love. Once they reciprocate, you will feel loved.