Time, emotions and effort are the pillars on which a 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 makes an effort from their end. If that’s how you feel in your relationship, it’s a sign your spouse may be taking you for granted.
If you feel like, “My spouse takes me for granted,” then chances are all your loving, kind, caring thoughts and actions go unnoticed by your spouse. Once you start feeling alone in the marriage, 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. Even so, it can be hard to spot. Now that you’ve landed here reading this article, you’re already one step closer to learning about the signs and figuring out what to do about them. Let’s get right to it!
What Does It Mean When Someone Takes You For Granted?
When someone dismisses all your efforts as “routine” and does not appreciate the things you do for them and the relationship, you’re being taken for granted. You’ll be treated in a thoughtless, thankless and indifferent manner. On the other hand, a healthy relationship is about grand gestures, landmark events and celebrating milestones.
It is the small and seemingly insignificant gestures of everyday life that sustain a connection between two partners, make their journey easier and their bond stronger. If your everyday acts of kindness are seen as “duties” or as “expectations being fulfilled” by you, it can start chipping away at even the strongest relationships.
And yet, the feeling of being taken for granted in a relationship isn’t uncommon. In fact, many women approach relationship counselors with this issue of being taken for granted rocking the boat of marital bliss. In a majority of cases, it is the wives who claim they feel unappreciated despite having tried to connect with their husbands for years, but to no avail.
That’s what happened to Jacob and Marie. Jacob used to chip in with the cooking, but over the past few years, Marie couldn’t even remember the last time he’d stepped into the kitchen. “He used to be so kind, I never thought I’d see the day my husband takes me for granted,” said Marie to a friend.
“I feel like it’s expected of me to make all his meals for him, without ever even being thanked for them. He used to make me feel so special, all I feel now is invalidated,” she added. When your husband takes you for granted, just like in Marie’s case, it can start eating away at you.
Often, by the time such couples seek professional help, they’re done with the relationship and considering a divorce. Even though it’s more pronounced in marriages, the problem can take root in any romantic relationship.
However, it’s important to understand that perhaps your spouse may not even know the damage they’re causing. If you don’t communicate how you’re feeling to them, they may never be able to figure out what they’re doing wrong, hence never solving the issues.
So, if you’ve been saying things like, “My wife takes me for granted, what should I do?” or “I’m being taken for granted by husband,” the following signs can help you figure out if you actually are, and what you need to do about it.
Related Reading: 12 Tips For Married Couples To Split Finances
15 Signs Your Spouse Takes You For Granted
If you’ve been feeling underappreciated in your relationship, here are 15 signs your spouse takes you for granted even if your partner vehemently denies your claim. For those of you still treading a grey area and unsure whether your partner is taking you for granted or not, if you are overthinking the whole thing, here are 15 sure-fire signs to look out for.
1. Your spouse does not keep in touch
Communication is the 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. As a result, you’re bound to say something like, “My spouse takes me for granted.”
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 married woman whose husband was from 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 see 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.
Sure, this is the absolute worst-case scenario of taking a spouse for granted, but it’s still something that’s possible if left unchecked for the longest time.
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 their wishes and thus not ask for your perspective or opinion about things.
3. Your spouse forgets relationship milestones and special occasions
A friend of mine had just gotten married. It was her first birthday after the wedding and she was expecting her husband to make a grand gesture or organize a 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 texts 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 while your spouse forgets about them, 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, which might induce relationship anxiety in you.
4. Your partner avoids doing their share of work
Taking someone for granted is the worst thing you can do. 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
Work demands, and domestic and social responsibilities can make life hectic and exhausting. In the thick of it all, it is absolutely alright for a person to not feel up to engaging in elaborate conversations. 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 it is or how much free time your partner has had at their disposal, it’s a sign that you’re growing apart in your marriage.
If you are not spending quality time together and you feel, “My spouse takes me for granted,” then you are not wrong in your thought process at all.
The situation can become especially hurtful if they can make time for everyone else – friends, family, co-workers, kids – but you. If that is the case, there is no doubt that you’re being taken for granted.
Related Reading: 5 Red Flags Women Overlooked In A Failed Romantic Relationship
6. You 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 choose to 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 the one initiating plans and vacations
In the world of dating, a lack of initiative from the other person when making plans is considered a lack of interest, and that is always a telling red flag most people factor in when deciding 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, the writing is on the wall: you’re being taken for granted.
“My wife puts me last,” Jacob told us, talking about his marriage of three years, that looked to be on the rocks. “She’ll consider plans with her friends more important than her plans with me, and it always feels like I’m the absolute last person she gives her attention to – if there’s any left to give,” he adds.
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 is a sure-shot sign he is taking you for granted and perhaps a sign of a failing marriage. 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.
8. Your spouse never compliments you
A compliment here, a look laden with desire there, these little things 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, let alone admire you. And even when you draw their attention to it, they just can’t bring themselves 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 behavior, is a tell-tale sign that all is not well in your paradise.
Related Reading: 11 Signs The Marriage Is Over For Men
10. Romance disappears from your relationship
A woman who had been married for 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 over 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.
Romantic gestures are a must for the sustenance of any relationship. Of course, as you and your relationship mature, the expressions 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 favor. If it’s starting to feel like your sex life is all about fulfilling your partner’s desires while you are left high and dry every single time, it’s a sign that screams you’re being taken for granted.
12. Your spouse flirts with other people in front of you
It is an extremely hurtful experience to watch your spouse, who has no energy or intent to invest in your relationship, using their suave charm to flirt with someone else right in front of you.
Such a situation arises only when your spouse takes for granted that you will be okay with such behavior or when it doesn’t even cross their minds that this may impact you negatively. This can also qualify as a sign of emotional abuse which you must not suffer silently.
It’s extremely humiliating for you if they are flirting knowing full well it’s hurting you. It’s not only a sign they take you for granted, but also a sign of lack of respect.
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. If your needs, feeling and aspirations are not being prioritized, then it is a sign your partner is taking you for granted.
14. Your partner expects you to work according to their wishes
While nothing your partner does is run by you even 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, knocking 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 Stop Being Taken For Granted In A Relationship?
There are some strategies you can adopt to stop being taken for granted. If you are saying, “My spouse takes me for granted,” then chances are it is because you are allowing yourself to be treated like a doormat. Those who tolerate any sort of misbehavior end up fanning it.
There are times it’s important that you stand up for yourself, make your spouse understand your worth and ensure they do not take you for granted. When you’re not sure about how you can do that or what you need to say, we list out a few things you should do.
1. Say “No” when you have to
We are wired to say “Yes” to everything. Saying “No” comes with a sense of guilt, especially in a romantic partnership. But if you don’t want to be taken for granted then learn to say “No.”
Jason and Molina had been married for more than a decade. Back in the day, Molina would make sure she appreciated Jason every time he took time away from his busy schedule to do things around the house like general upkeep. It was almost expected that every weekend, Jason would mow the grass, take care of the deck and clean out the basement.
“She expects me to do these things for her without ever batting an eye or even acknowledging them. It feels as though my wife puts me last, and I wasn’t going to have it,” Jason told us. Only after he didn’t mow the lawn or clean the basement one weekend, did Molina pay any attention to it.
What followed was an amicable conversation about how he never felt like she appreciated all he did which left him feeling invalidated. Since they started the dialogue in order to arrive at a solution, they were able to avoid any harsh fights.
Instead of jumping in and saying something like, “I do everything for my wife and get nothing in return,” Jason made sure his point of view was heard by not putting it across in a rude manner. It’s important to remember that while you say “No,” you mustn’t do so with all the pent-up aggression in the world.
You can learn to say “No” to her relatives visiting you when you have work deadlines to keep up with. You can say “No to sex” without hurting him if you are not up to it. It’s perfectly fine, but it must be done so amicably.
Related Reading: What Does It Mean When Someone Ignores You?
2. Do not be at their beck and call
We love to do things for our partners, but unknowingly to ourselves, we find ourselves at their beck and call, and so they start taking us for granted.
“Have you ironed my shirt?” Here it is! “Have you warmed the food?” Here it is! “Have you put the kids to sleep?” Yes, it’s done. “Get me my laptop from upstairs.” Here you are.
Don’t let your relationship go this way. Your partner can definitely ask you to do something, but don’t let it be one-way traffic. You’ll end up saying things like, “I’m being taken for granted by my husband, and I don’t know what to do about it.”
3. Do not cancel your plans to accommodate their plans
You have to go out with the boys, but your wife starts creating a fuss about it saying she wanted to go for dinner instead. Promise to take her the next day, but do not drop your plans.
Your wife has to realize that your friends are important too and you enjoy your time with them. She has to respect that and give you your space. If you give in to her demands every time then you will be taken for granted, surely.
However, make sure you let her know that in a calm and kind manner. Don’t make her feel as though you’re taking her for granted, lest she end up saying things like, “My husband takes me for granted because he never respects our plans, and it feels like there’s a lack of mutual respect.”
It’s a difficult thing to navigate, but your heart will tell you what you need to do. If it feels like your partner expects you to drop all your plans for them, you must let them know that’s not the case. But if you’re always blowing them off for your friends, perhaps them saying things like, “My husband takes me for granted,” is warranted.
4. Do what makes you happy
We get so entrenched in making others happy that we forget about what makes us happy. We lose ourselves in our pursuit of happiness for others and then become frustrated and bitter because we do not focus on our own happiness.
There is nothing selfish in trying to be happy. If staring at the sky during sundown makes you happy, ensure you are in the garden at that time and not doing the dishes in the kitchen. If you enjoyed a hobby and gave it up because of lack of time, resurrect it.
A little personal space in your relationship can hold it together. If doing things by yourself makes you happy, so be it. Just because you’re married to someone doesn’t mean you’re always supposed to be joined at the hip with them. So if you’ve been saying things like, “My wife takes me for granted,” go ahead and take some time off.
5. Never lose touch with your friends
It’s your friends who have been through thick and thin with you. Just because you found love and are in a marriage doesn’t mean you will lose touch with your friends.
Ensure you take time out and meet your friends. A marriage cannot keep you so busy that you have no time for friends. If you have friends who support you and hang out with you, you will not look at your spouse for all your emotional needs. So they won’t get a chance to take you for granted since they’ll realize that they’re not the only person you can go to when you need someone.
However, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you can make your partner feel neglected by spending all your time with your friends. You may have a problem with your partner taking you for granted, but passive-aggressively spending all your time with your friends is not going to help either of you.
Related Reading: Online Affairs Reshaping The Idea of Fidelity In Modern Marriage
6. Practise self-love
Practicing self-love is important for your self-respect and for maintaining your self-worth. If you love yourself that does not mean you will love your partner any less. In fact, this will only ensure they will respect you because you respect yourself, and so they will not take you for granted.
When your husband takes you for granted, it can dismantle your sense of self, pretty quickly. Your self-confidence may falter since you’re not getting the validation everyone needs. If you’ve felt like you have been neglected to the point where you’re doubting yourself, it’s important to build your own confidence up.
7. Maintain space if they are not responsive
If they are not initiating intimacy or are ignoring you, constantly telling them that you feel neglected will not help if they’re just not capable of listening. Instead, give them space, let them process their feelings and issues. After some time they will get curious about you not being perturbed at all.
8. Couples counseling can help you
When every conversation turns into an argument, when he’s just not ready to accept any responsibility or she’s just not ready to listen to you, when it feels like the future of your relationship is in dire straits, couples counseling is the best thing you can do to save your relationship.
Instead of saying things like, “I do everything for my wife and get nothing in return,” to a friend or a biased third party, do it with a mental health professional. A licensed, unbiased professional will better be able to tell you both exactly what has gone wrong, and what the path toward recovery is.
If it’s help you’re looking for, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists can help you navigate this turbulent time in your relationship and show you the way back to the harmonious relationship you yearn for.
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.
There are a few things you can do to deal with your spouse’s attitude towards you:
- Let them know gently that you do not like their attitude of taking you for granted
- Once you communicate how you feel, try to initiate a solution-driven dialogue (note how we didn’t say monologue)
- Put your foot down when you feel that you cannot agree with what they are saying
- Make it clear that you expect them to take responsibility of the chores and children too
- Tell them that if they keep you informed about their decisions regarding small to big things that would be appreciated
- Let them know that this is a union of equals and you deserve the amount of respect they expect from you
- Nonetheless, make sure you listen and make your partner feel heard as well, instead of constantly berating them
- At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that anger won’t get you anywhere, have a constructive dialogue, and focus on solutions
When 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 in standing up for yourself and walking out. And if you think there’s still some work to be done, hopefully, the signs and pointers we’ve listed out for you today will help you figure out what it is you must do.
Your partner takes you for granted, because you focus entirely on keeping them happy and never utter a word when they ignore or neglect you.
You know it’s time to give up on a relationship when despite your repeated requests and efforts they do not change their ways. When even relationship counseling fails, it’s time to give up.
Learn to say “No”, stop being at their beck and call, put your foot down when needed. Practice self-love, do things that make you happy and never lose touch with your friends.