Loving someone is a full-time job. Yes, I’m calling it a job because you have to give constant attention in a relationship. And how? Whether you want to admit it or not, loving someone, being in a relationship, maintaining the love, planning surprises, having sex, doing the dishes, dealing with family, being a team – all of it is a great deal of work. You find yourself dissatisfied because you feel like you’re not getting enough attention from your boyfriend or your husband.
But if you are blessed and things are going smooth, this work may seem effortless. You might not even notice it; it will be your second nature. And if you love the person dearly you will love to give attention in a relationship.
What happens, however, when the partnership/team isn’t in sync, this loving someone business becomes negatively effortful and one or both parties start to feel a lack of attention in a relationship.
Why Is Attention Important In A Relationship?
So, why do we give so much importance to attention in a relationship? Is paying attention to detail in relationships really that important after all? Yes, indeed it is! And for good reason too! Read on to find out why undivided attention in a relationship is so important.
First let us tell you the attention in a relationship definition. It means noticing your partner and taking an interest in their life.
In the modern world thanks to our dependence on gadgets and need for multi-tasking, we end up not being able to give undivided attention to our partners. If you have gone out for dinner then the ideal situation would be to keep your phone inside your bag or pocket. But the boss says in the last moment there would be an important call so you keep fidgeting with it, expecting the call.
This could be annoying to your partner but they can’t say anything because work is work. In this way our behaviour often takes a toll on communication in a relationship. We are most often there physically with our partner but mentally we are ticking off to-do lists. So we are unable to give undivided attention in a relationship.
How Do You Give Someone Attention In A Relationship
At the end of the day, the entire ritual of being a couple is only worth it when you both feel the love for each other. If that’s missing, the ritual starts becoming futile and the relationship starts to die. Sometimes it’s the beginning of the end, and sometimes it is the warning which when heeded revives a relationship.
After all, we fall in love with each other, and become tied together in a variety of social contracts, not only to procreate but also for companionship and many other things. We want witnesses to our lives and want to be seen and heard, and partners do that for each other.
There are billions of us and our lives could get lost in that chaos, but the fact that our partner notices our lives, records it, lives it with us makes the whole thing worthwhile. It also keeps the communication in a relationship going.
So, if amidst all that you feel like you’re not getting enough attention from boyfriend/ girlfriend, what’s even the point? So if you feel that you are unable to give enough attention to your partner he is what you should do.
Related reading: When my loving husband stood by me in a dirty hospital
1. Understand paying attention the unspoken vow
What happens then when our partners take away that witnessing? When a relationship starts to fizzle out, people tend to look away from their partners. Their attention goes to different things, and you feel the lack of attention in a relationship.
This, of course, isn’t a conscious process every time, but even the unconscious turning away can be severely hurtful in a relationship. Paying undivided attention to each other is the unspoken vow that couples take when they get together. No one falls in love because they find the other person boring.
Falling in love makes people find their partners interesting, even if others think they are boring. I’m not suggesting that our partners are our sources of entertainment, but they better be interesting if we are going to spend our lives with them.
2. It cuts deeper than we might see
This is exactly why a partner ignoring you can hurt so much, to a degree where people get depressed and even think about ending their lives. Not only because their lovers stop noticing them, but because that lack of noticing erodes meaning out of their lives.
When the person you care most about, the one who’s your sunshine and starlight, stops finding you interesting, it can make you question your existence. That’s why an attentive partner makes you happy an inattentive one makes you morose.
You see, some people love with their heart and soul, they hold nothing back and leave all their cards on the table. For them, this gamble is worth the reward. The ends justify the means. They don’t hold back, because for them loving someone that way feels inauthentic.
Whether you love this way or not, when the other person takes their love away after giving it for some time, it produces a void. This void can be painful and grappling with it isn’t easy and they can even get clinically depressed in such a situation.
Therefore, paying attention to detail in relationships becomes all the more important. It improves the communication in a relationship.
3. Societal stigma worsens the situation
This becomes even more problematic when we take into account that our society stigmatises mental illness and discussing our emotions is considered a frivolous act. For a society that laps up Bollywood melodramas, we sure are tight-lipped and judgmental about our own emotions.
People often go to psychiatrists to talk about how their partners are ignoring them but they are unable to tell their partners they feel neglected. So, if not getting enough attention from boyfriend can be this harmful and attention in a relationship can hold so much significance, it brings us to:
Related Reading: 8 things to do if your girlfriend is ignoring you
4. Lose sight of communication
In long-term relationships people become so engrossed in the chores, children and paying the bills that they lose sight of communication. They could be watching a movie together on the living room couch, but they only pay attention to the popcorn. There is a lack of communication in a relationship then.
Keeping each other abreast of what’s happening in each other’s lives is a way of giving attention to the partner. You need to talk about your day, your kids make holiday plans and even cook together. Communication bonds people and you do not feel ignored if you are communicating well. If there is a lapse in communication in your relationship then you could try these communication exercises.
What does it mean to be attentive in a relationship?
How exactly can we be attentive in a relationship and what does being attentive in a relationship even mean?
Being attentive in a relationship is something that is unique to each relationship dynamic. For some couples, being attentive can mean being attentive to your partner’s moods while for others it can simply mean making them their favourite food to show they care.
The idea is to be perceptive towards your partner’s individual needs and not let your bond as a couple weaken. Being attentive is simply our way to show our partners we care and make them feel important and special. They hold a special place in our lives and being attentive to them shows them that.
Therefore, the lack of attention in a relationship can also hold a different meaning for different couples. Ignorance and not paying attention to detail in relationships can manifest itself in different ways in a relationship.
For one couple, not saying an I love you in the morning can hold as much weight as actively neglecting the partner. So how do you pay more attention?
How do I pay more attention to my partner?
Even though every relationship is unique, if you can still sense your girlfriend/partner thinking that she/he is not getting enough attention from her boyfriend/partner, here are a few things you can do:
- Listen: Listening is important in any relationship. A lot of times we hear our partner but don’t really listen to them which can make them feel like they’re not getting attention in a relationship
- Make plans with each other: Oftentimes, the constant drudgery of a routine can make it feel like everything in your life is stagnant, including your relationship. You can feel like you’re not getting undivided attention from your partner. To break through the monotony, you can make plans with one another, which can be as simple as a home-cooked dinner date or a movie date.
- Don’t shirk off their grievances: You may feel like your partner constantly complains about the same issues, but don’t dismiss their grievances. If you do this they can feel a clear lack of attention from your end.
- Make them feel special: Remember the days in which you thought you had found your soulmate? Well, this is the same person, and they deserve to feel special. Plan romantic date nights or recreate an old date you had. This is sure to cure your partner of the lack of attention blues.
- Plan a trip: Nothing can be better for a long term relationship rejuvenation than a vacation for two which gives you the opportunity to relax, unwind and forge closer bonds.
- Communicate with them: Communication is often the key to salvaging most relationships. It helps in clearing out any doubts, reassuring and reinforcing your love for each other. So, use these communication tips for more effective communication.
What we need to realise is that there’s a sense of being left behind that people can feel when there is a lack of attention in relationships. Free and open dialogue needs to become a regular activity.
We need to educate ourselves about mental health and also talk more about the evolving forms of marriage and romantic relationships.
While we teach our kids a lot about the rivers of our land, the politics of our people, the languages of our ancestors but we fail to equip them in matters of the heart. We don’t teach them about consent, we don’t talk about the way love works. But just send them off to figure out love on their own.
While every love experience is unique and subjective, there are basic rules of the game that we can share with each other. We need to teach people how to communicate so that they keep witnessing each other.
If love is what makes the world go round, clear communication is what keeps love going around and we need more of that. Especially in relationships where a clear lack of undivided attention can be felt.