Investment of time, emotions and effort is the pillar on which a blossoming relationship rests. However, so many people live with the constant nagging feeling that their partner neither appreciates nor acknowledges anything they do for the relationship, let alone make efforts at their end. If that’s how you feel in your relationship, it’s a sign your spouse may be taking you for granted.
All your loving, kind, caring thoughts and acts go unnoticeable by your spouse. You can start to feel alone in the relationship, and it can deal a blow to your self-esteem. A sense of indifference is usually the first sign of being taken for granted in your marriage.
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What does it mean when someone takes you for granted?
When someone dismisses all your efforts as ‘routine’ and does not appreciate you and treats you in a thoughtless, thankless and indifferent manner, you can be sure you are being taken for granted. A relationship is just about grand gestures and landmark events. It is the small, seemingly insignificant gestures of the everyday life that sustain a connection between two partners, makes their journey easier and their bond stronger. If your everyday acts of kindness are seen as ‘duties’ or it is ‘assumed’ that you will do them anyway, this tendency can start chipping away at even the strongest relationships.
And yet, the feeling being taken for granted in a relationship isn’t uncommon. In fact, many women approach relationship counsellors with the issue of being taken for granted rocking the boat of marital bliss. In a majority of cases, it is the wives who claim that they have tried to connect with their husbands and feel appreciated in the marriage for years, but to no avail. Often, by the time they seek professional help, they’re done with the relationship and considering a divorce. Even though more pronounced in marriages, the problem can take root in any romantic relationship. Take for instance the examples for this young girl who reached out to our experts seeking a solution for her boyfriend’s deteriorating interest in her and the relationship.
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15 signs your spouse takes you for granted
If you’ve been feeling underappreciated in your relationship, even if your partner vehemently denies your claim. For those of you still treading on a grey area and unsure whether your partner is taking you for granted or are you making overthinking the whole thing, here are 15 sure-fire signs to look out for:
1. Your spouse does not keep in touch
Communication is a key link that holds any two people together in a relationship. If your spouse shows no interest in talking to you, calling or texting regularly, it is a sign that they’re ignoring you. That can be a very difficult place to be in, in a relationship. A partner who values you will make time for you no matter how busy their schedule and irrespective of whose company they’re in. It’s best to face this unpleasant sign of being taken for granted rather than sit and watch the connection wither away.
A woman married to an NR living in Canada once narrated to me the heart-crushing tale of being in a one-sided marriage. Her husband’s phone calls to her began to decline steadily as soon as he returned to Canada after the wedding. For four years, she kept waiting to hear from him and for her visa to come through. When her family finally intervened, all she got was defiant rejection with her husband saying he was neither interested in staying with her nor ready to officially divorce her.
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2. Your partner does not value your opinions
Partners who connect on an emotional level and cultivate intellectual intimacy value each other’s opinions above all else. From the smallest decisions such as making a purchase for the household to big, life-altering moves such as switching careers or changing jobs, they sit together with their partner and talk it through.
If that’s missing from your relationship and instead of seeking your opinion your partner tends to dismiss them with contempt, it is a definite red flag that should not be ignored. Perhaps, years of compliance on your end has somehow given your spouse the idea that you will just yield to his/her wishes and do not have your perspective or opinion about things.
3. Your spouse forgets relationship milestones and special occasions
A friend of mine had just got married. It was her first birthday after the wedding, and she was expecting her husband to make a grand gesture of celebration to make her feel special like he did while they were dating. The man, however, completely forgot the occasion. Got up, got dressed for work and left the house.
She didn’t receive any calls or text from him all day, and even when he returned home in the evening, he had no inkling what day it was. When the wife expressed her displeasure, he picked a fight with her instead of being remorseful about the gaffe.
If you are the only one who remembers relationship milestones and special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, and your spouse forgets about them and comes up with lame excuses, it is a classic sign he is taking you for granted. Your partner’s forgetfulness can be interpreted as a lack of interest in the relationship.
Related reading: 13 signs you are the selfish one in your relationship
4. Your partner avoids doing his/her share of work
Splitting chores, errands and household duties is an essential component of a relationship, especially for cohabitating couples. If one of the partners suddenly becomes sloppy about doing their bit for the home that you both share and just lets things slide without guilt, it’s a reflection of how they feel about the relationship. They’re dropping the ball, and it’s now up to you to decide whether you want to make your peace with it or take a stand for yourself.
5. Your spouse does not give you time
Demands of work, domestic and social responsibilities can make life hectic and exhausting. It is absolutely alright for a person to not feel up for elaborate conversations in the thick of it all. Sometimes one just wants to watch sloppy television and switch off their brains. But if this pattern has become routine, irrespective of what day of the week is it or how much free time your partner has had at their hand, it’s a sign that you’re growing apart.
The situation can become especially hurtful if they can make time for everyone – friends, family, co-workers, kids – except for you. If that is the case, there is no doubt that you’re being taken for granted.
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6. You both hardly communicate with each other
Forget making phone calls or exchanging texts when you’re not together, if your partner cannot be bothered to have a conversation with you when you’re right in front of them, it’s a cause for concern and the health of your relationship may be taking a hit. When all your efforts to improve communication in the relationship are either ignored or met with cold, harsh responses, you can either work on your relationship or choose to walk out but don’t stay stuck in the rut, as it will start taking a toll on your mental well-being and self-esteem.
7. You are always initiating plans and vacations
In the world of dating, a lack of initiative from the other person is making plans is considered as a lack of interest and that is always a telling red flag most people factor in to decide on the course of the relationship. It shouldn’t be any different in a long-term committed relationship or a marriage either.
If the onus of planning travel adventures, getaways and vacations to carve out some quality time with your partner or your family falls squarely on you, writing is on the wall – you’re being taken for granted. A lot of times, people who have emotionally checked out of the relationship, don’t even take the trouble of helping out in executing the plans that their partner has made. This can cause a great deal of resentment and frustration, which ends up marring the whole experience of taking a break together even when you do manage to pull it off single-handedly.
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8. Your spouse never compliments you
A compliment here, a look laden with desire there…it is these little things that keep the spark alive in any couple’s life. Consider this scenario – you’re both getting ready to go out and you put on a dress that your spouse has always loved on you but they don’t even notice it, forget admiring you. And even when you draw their attention to it, they just can’t bring themself to compliment you.
It may sting to admit, but it’s a clear indicator that your partner may not be into you anymore. They may still stick around because the relationship is old and comfortable or there are kids involved, but that connection between you both is snapping more and more each day.
9. Your partner is aggressive and fights most of the time
Fights and relationships are like the two sides of a coin, one cannot exist without the other. That said, there is a fine line between healthy arguments and scarring fights. When a partner takes the other for granted, that line gets cross and it begins to seem as if there’s nothing you can do to make them happy.
Dealing with a cranky husband more often than not, and finding yourself at the receiving end of extremely aggressive and critical behaviour it’s a tell-tale sign that all is not well in your paradise.
Related reading: Does it take tragedy to stop taking partners for granted?
10. Romance disappears from your relationship
A woman who had been married eight years once reached out to our relationship experts to share how the lack of romance and affection was affecting her married life and that she felt tired of trying.
Apart from displaying all other classic signs of a partner taking the other for granted such as not helping around the house, picking fights on small things, not celebrating special occasions and not valuing the spouse, there was a total absence of emotional affection and romance in the marriage. That’s what seemed to bother this woman the most. You can read her account here.
Romantic gestures are a must for the sustenance of any relationship. Of course, as you and your relationship mature, the expression of romance and affection change to, and that’s only natural. Your partner may no longer bring you flowers or shower you with gifts every now and then, but a kiss planted on the forehead, cuddling up while watching TV can go a long way in letting you know that you’re loved.
If that’s missing from your relationship and your partner dismisses the idea of romantic gestures as childish and immature, it’s another box checked in the long list of ways you’re being taken for granted.
11. You do not feel satisfied sexually
It’s not as if the sex is missing from your relationship altogether, but the equation of physical intimacy is that your partner expects you to please them in bed but never returns the favour. If it’s starting to feel like your sex life is all about fulfilling your partner’s sexual desires and you are left high and dry every single time, it’s a sign that scream you’re being taken for granted.
12. Your spouse flirts with other people in front of you
It is an extremely hurtful experience to notice that your spouse, who has no energy or intent to invest in your relationship, is using their suave charm to flirt with someone else, right in front of you. Such a situation arises only when your spouse probably takes it for granted that you will be okay with such behaviour or how it’ll impact you doesn’t even cross their mind. This can also qualify as a sign of emotional abuse that you must not suffer silently.
13. You are no longer your partner’s priority
Friends, family, hobbies and work have become more important to your partner than you. Whenever it is about choosing between you and the other important things in their life, the odds are naturally stacked against you. If this is the accepted norm in your relationship, it may well be time to wake up and smell the coffee.
Related Reading: Does it take tragedy to stop taking partners for granted?
14. Your partner expects you to work according to his/her wishes
While nothing that your partner does is even run by you once, they expect you to comply with their every wish and act according to their whims and fancies. From your professional decisions to personal ones, they want to control the narrative of your life and any indication of defiance can lead to fights, or worse still, ultimatums of walking out on the relationship. It’s the sign of a selfish husband or wife who takes you for granted.
15. Your spouse makes no effort to impress you
Every relationship goes through that transition from when you both always looked your best to knock each other’s socks off to a point where you’re comfortable being around your significant other in your PJs and sweat pants. That’s called progress in a relationship. Yet, every so often, spouses do put in an effort to dress up to impress each other, especially on special occasions. If your partner makes no such effort at all, it may be a sign that they’re not afraid of losing you.
How to deal with being taken for granted by your spouse?
Being taken for granted by your spouse is not a sign of being in a healthy relationship. It can leave indelible scars on your psyche and even destroy your relationship completely. If you find yourself stuck in a similar situation and want to do everything you can to make your relationship work, look for ways to make your spouse fall in love with you again. But if push comes to shove and you feel that the relationship is taking a toll on your mental and physical well-being, remember there is no stigma is standing up for yourself and walking out.