Is it normal to feel unappreciated in a relationship? Yes. Sometimes in long-term relationships, partners tend to fall into the trap of taking each other for granted. If you’re at the receiving end of this, you would know all too well what feeling unappreciated in a relationship can do to your self-esteem and overall well-being. Just because it’s normal to feel this way doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing.
No matter what you do, you just aren’t noticed by your significant other. Even if you do something nice and romantic for them, there’s just no appreciation at all. It also seems like they aren’t putting in any effort from their side and you’re single-handedly pulling the relationship ahead. You just feel like you’re stuck, not moving forward or backward.
When you are not valued in a relationship, it puts a big question mark on your self-worth. In your version, you are doing your best to balance a successful career and a healthy relationship. Once in a while, you prepare their favorite meal or you bring them flowers. Despite it all, if someone doesn’t appreciate your efforts, it breaks your heart a little.
These are a few signs of feeling unappreciated in a relationship. If you have experienced them first-hand, you need to address a crucial question: What should you do if you are not feeling valued in a relationship? To help you figure out the answer, we talked to clinical psychologist Devaleena Ghosh (M.Res, Manchester University), founder of Kornash: The Lifestyle Management School, who specializes in couples counseling and family therapy. So, let’s start decoding the complexities of your relationship.
What Does It Mean To Not Be Appreciated In A Relationship?
A relationship does not always feel like rainbows and unicorns. It goes through its fair share of ups and downs. However, not feeling valued in a relationship is a red flag you should not ignore. It is disheartening to not be appreciated by your partner for what you do, but the good thing is that you can take a stand and reverse this trend. To do that, you first need to understand what it means to not be valued by your partner. When a woman feels unappreciated or a man thinks “I feel unappreciated by my girlfriend/wife”, it could possibly mean:
- You are being taken for granted by your partner
- You’re making all the sacrifices but your efforts are not being noticed
- Your partner doesn’t say “Thank you” for all that you do for them and the relationship
- Your partner doesn’t spend quality time with you. They would rather be with their friends or make excuses to not spend time with you
- They are not attentive to your thoughts and feelings and have no value for your advice or opinions on important matters
Most people experience a phase of not feeling valued for their efforts at some point in the relationship. So, worry not. There’s no reason to panic. You don’t have to end things with your partner despite feeling unappreciated in a relationship unless, of course, it has turned emotionally or physically abusive. Let’s now move on to the signs of not feeling valued in a relationship and the things you can do as a woman or man feeling unappreciated in a relationship.
How Do You Know If Your Partner Doesn’t Appreciate You?
You may be feeling a dip in the romance but that doesn’t always mean that your partner is being unappreciative. This could also happen because you have both been busy with your schedules and haven’t been spending enough time together. Or it could be due to bad communication between you and your partner. Neither of these necessarily means that your importance in their life has decreased.
Sometimes the thoughts of feeling unappreciated in a relationship might be the by-product of the goings-on in your life. At other times, it can just be you reading too much into your partner’s actions or projecting your latent insecurities onto them. Do you often try to find a pattern of indifference between your past and present relationships? Just because it has gone wrong before doesn’t mean it’ll happen again. You are probably overthinking.
So, how do you know if what you’re feeling is a lack of appreciation or paranoia? Here are a few signs you are not valued in a relationship to watch out for:
1. They stop paying attention to you
You may end up feeling unappreciated by your boyfriend or girlfriend when they hardly reciprocate your affection. When they leave you in the seen-zone or hardly make any effort to put together a decent date night at home with you, not feeling valued in a relationship is natural. If you’ve been married for a while and you start feeling unappreciated by your wife or husband, it could be because your spouse has stopped noticing the little things about you. Things that, at the beginning of your relationship, would have unmistakably caught their eye.
Before, they could tell when you were upset, annoyed, or angry. Now, even when you’ve had a rough day, they don’t notice how tired you look, let alone ask what’s bothering you. This shift in their behavior could be a sign that they’re taking your presence in their life for granted.
2. Signs you’re feeling unappreciated in a relationship – The things that you do aren’t valued or respected
Another thing that can make you feel unappreciated is if your partner gives no attention to all the effort that you’re putting into the relationship. The small things being overlooked can be reasoned out but when big things, like romantic gestures, get no respect, it can be immensely hurtful and isn’t a promising sign for your relationship.
For example, you make a nice breakfast for your partner on a Sunday morning. Imagine how you would feel if they don’t compliment it or thank you for it. They just eat and leave. It really hurts, doesn’t it? Sadly, this sense of entitlement is a definite sign that your partner isn’t valuing you or the effort that you’re putting into the relationship.
3. Your feelings aren’t considered when they make decisions
Every relationship has its stages, ups and downs, happy phases as well as rough patches. However, in a healthy relationship, you don’t feel invisible and uncared for even during the lowest of lows. But, if at any point, you find yourself thinking, “Why do I feel unappreciated in my relationship by my boyfriend?” or “I feel unappreciated by my girlfriend”, chances are that your significant other has stopped factoring in your feelings when they make decisions.
My cousin, Robin, told me that he felt taken for granted in one of his relationships when his boyfriend would call him to meet up whenever he was free. Not once did his boyfriend ask him if he had the time or even wanted to get together. He started to feel more like a booty-call and less like a boyfriend.
4. The intimacy between you two has drastically decreased
A sign that you’re being undervalued in your relationship could be that no matter how much you try, you just can’t get close to your partner. This is especially true if the time both of you spend together has decreased recently. This kind of distance can impact the romance and connection in the relationship.
Signs you are unappreciated by your girlfriend or boyfriend will evidently show you how they are too busy to even meet you. Even when you see each other, they are glued to their phone. There are no sweet moments of holding hands, hugging, or the thrill of kissing in a movie hall.
This decrease in intimacy can lead to a change in your partner’s behavior. “Your partner may show an unusual interest in other people even at the cost of making you feel awkward,” points Devaleena, speaking of the signs you are not valued in a relationship. This change of behavior may be the reason you’re feeling unappreciated by your husband.
5. Signs you are not feeling valued in a relationship –They stop making an effort for you
At the beginning of every relationship, there’s a lot of effort from both sides. You try to look your best for them and do cute things for each other. These gestures of love and affection may start to roll downhill as the relationship progresses and you feel more settled in. But if all forms of effort disappear, it is an ominous sign.
This is especially true for women because they’re typically known to go above and beyond to make their significant others feel special, loved and cherished. If that special woman in your life has stopped doing those endearing things that made your heart skip a beat or even stopped putting an effort into her looks, then feeling unappreciated by your wife or girlfriend is definitely justified.
10 Things To Do If You Are Feeling Unappreciated In A Relationship
Being in a relationship where your efforts are not reciprocated can be very exhausting. A lot like pushing a boulder up a slope. The insecurities that your partner’s hot and cold behavior triggers can be devastating for your self-esteem. The situation can be confusing. It can leave you clueless about what to do.
Imagine you drove all the way to your partner’s office to surprise them on their birthday. But they don’t appreciate it, or worse, they blame you for embarrassing them in front of their colleagues. It is one thing if someone does not appreciate your efforts. But to accuse you of being clingy or nagging is downright mean.
For all of you who are feeling unappreciated in a relationship, Devaleena advises, “When you realize that you’re in a relationship where you constantly feel unappreciated and don’t want to put up with this unacceptable behavior, my suggestion is to start making small but powerful changes.” We tell you what these powerful changes look like with this list of 10 things you can try doing if you feel you’re being unappreciated in a relationship:
1. Look for appreciation through actions
Your feeling of being unappreciated in a relationship is based on the observation of your partner. If they don’t verbally appreciate you, then it can feel like they don’t care about you. This is a fair assumption, but given that you are in a relationship you should try delving deeper to see if that’s in fact the case.
Instead of just focusing on the things they say or don’t say, try observing their body language as well. Not everyone is comfortable with expressing their thoughts, this is especially true if you’re dating an introvert, which is why focus on their actions instead of words.
We all know that actions speak louder than words, so pay attention to what the person does, even the smallest things can be important. Something as simple as re-stocking your favorite cereal without you asking them to can be a sign that they still care about you and appreciate your efforts. Perhaps, you need to learn your partner’s love language to understand that they do appreciate you, albeit in their own way.
2. Try to consider whether you play a role in feeling unappreciated
Sometimes your partner’s coldness can be a reaction to how your behavior makes them feel. We’re not saying that you’ve purposely done something wrong, but there’s a chance that your actions could have been hurtful. There is also the chance that they overthought the situation, which made them feel offended.
Either way, you must introspect and figure out whether you’ve done something that could have led to the negativity in your relationship. If you are feeling unappreciated by your girlfriend or boyfriend, have a conversation with them about it before jumping to any conclusion.
Perhaps, it’s something that you can easily fix by apologizing sincerely for hurting your partner’s feelings. It could be as silly as a two-week-old fight that they are still brooding over. And here you were, falling into a dark abyss of despair. Lay your arguments on the table and see if you can straighten things up with your partner.
3. Let your partner ask before you act
“Why do I feel unappreciated in my relationship?” If you find yourself asking this question a lot, the answer could be that it’s because you’re too enabling. It is pretty much a given that after having been together a long time, you become extremely familiar with your partner. Their likes, dislikes, preferences, favorites – you know it all. Basically, there is no mystery in your relationship.
All this information that you have, makes doing things for your significant other very easy. After a certain point, your brain just automatically factors them in, no matter what you’re doing. For example, if you’re about to have an apple, you automatically think of cutting one up for your partner. Even though they haven’t asked for one.
You do this because you know that they would like to have one too. But this behavior can increase their dependency on you. So, instead of doing everything for them before they even ask you to do it, WAIT. Let them ask first. If you want, you can ask them if they want you to do something, but stop doing things intuitively.
4. Try saying ‘no’ sometimes
Another reason you could be feeling unappreciated in a relationship is that you agree with and do everything they say. Don’t. Fear of losing your partner can be daunting, especially at the beginning of your relationship. As a result, you may try your best not to offend them, owing to which you may have stopped voicing your opinions altogether.
This can lead to you being taken for granted. If you don’t break this pattern, your connection could degenerate into a codependent relationship over time. A manipulative person may use your insecurities as a trump card to get their way. Thus, when you don’t stand up for yourself, you are practically feeding them with fuel to take you for granted.
When a woman feels unappreciated or a man thinks “I feel unappreciated by my girlfriend”, they tend to do more to gain that appreciation. STOP. “Start saying “no” when your partner asks or expects something that is not possible for you to offer. Stop spreading yourself too thin to win love and appreciation,” advises Devaleena. Not for everything, but definitely for the things that you don’t like and requests that you might find unreasonable. This will show your partner that agreeing with them is a choice that you’re making, it’s not an obligation.
5. Communicate with your partner
Communication is the key to building a strong relationship. Fear of conflict should not stop you from voicing your thoughts and opinions. If you’re feeling unappreciated in a marriage or relationship, you must let your partner know. Devaleena recommends, “Start developing a voice, state your difficulties and if the other seems oblivious to it, then don’t let it go. Stick to your stand. The more you take responsibility, the more they expect from you.”
If a woman or man feeling unappreciated in a relationship does not communicate their feelings, it will eventually build resentment. To avoid that, you must communicate. There is a chance that your feelings are stemming from your own perception and aren’t a reflection of how your partner feels about you. The only way you can know this for sure is to talk about it. Secondly, if you are feeling unappreciated in a relationship, then talking it out can lead to a solution.
Besides, talking it out and letting your partner know how their actions have made you feel is the only way to give them a chance at fixing things from their end. If you struggle with talking about your feelings, you can always give counseling a try. Remember, your partner is not a psychic, they’re just as human as you are. The only way they can know how you feel is if you tell them.
6. Divide labor within the relationship
A one-sided relationship can lead to one person being overworked and undervalued. If you feel like you’ve been doing all the work in your relationship, then you need to discuss this with your spouse. There may be a reason for this imbalance in your relationship. Perhaps, they’re under a lot of pressure at work, for instance. Whatever it is, talking about it is important. You’re human and burning the candle at both ends will put an immense strain on you.
If you’ve been feeling unappreciated by your boyfriend or girlfriend for quite some time, see how best you can find a middle path to break this pattern. For instance, if the reason is an increase in your partner’s workload, then they can take over the weekend responsibilities. Things like grocery shopping can be given to them while you handle everyday tasks like cooking. Take your circumstances into account and divide the work.
Related Reading: 8 Ways To Fix A Broken Relationship With Your Boyfriend
7. Practice self-love, appreciate and develop yourself
Distance in your relationship can lead to feeling unappreciated, but sometimes that distance can’t be helped. Circumstances may make it impossible for you to be physically together and there isn’t much that you can do other than accept the situation. An example of this is a long-distance relationship, especially one where partners live in different time zones.
Just because you’re accepting of the new dynamic doesn’t mean that your feelings don’t get hurt if you feel undervalued or unappreciated, we understand this. So, in situations like these, we recommend that you take the opportunity to practice self-love. Rather than constantly looking for signs of appreciation in a relationship, how about you appreciate yourself for a change?
Take some time to evaluate your personal achievements and growth even during the relationship. You can try to write three positive affirmations every morning on a sticky note and pin it somewhere around your workplace. As you repeat the good words in your head more than once, you will eventually start to believe them.
Devaleena says, “Be kind to yourself, it will definitely start making you a happier person.” Just because circumstances are forcing your partner away from you doesn’t mean you can’t still love yourself. Self-love is one of the best antidotes to not feeling valued in a relationship.
8. Say NO to the blame game
Feeling unappreciated in a relationship can lead to stress and anger. You will always feel like nothing you do is being valued. Anger and rage are emotions that make you feel right, and consequently, everyone else wrong. You’ll start keeping count of the number of times your efforts went unnoticed. In a situation like this, it is very easy to engage in blame-shifting. Your emotions will tell you that it is all your partner’s fault, and then, all you’ll see is red.
Blame is easy and it can make you feel better about yourself but it won’t fix your relationship. Every conversation you’ll have will start with “You always do this!!” or “I have said this again and again…” These conversations never lead to solutions because honestly, you’re not looking for solutions at all. Such a mindset can create an impassable block in your relationship.
The feelings will escalate and the resentment might grow. Instead of letting things get that far, try letting go of the small things that have gone unnoticed. Maybe once they forgot to thank you for driving them to work. Don’t fixate on such minor misses, let it go.
9. Seek out professional intervention
If things have reached a point where the layers of unappreciation have led to a breakdown in communication but you’re still in love and want to save the relationship, then it’s time to consult a professional. Couples therapy can be an effective solution to fixing the problem of feeling unappreciated in a relationship.
One of the reasons why the communication between a couple breaks down is years of repressed frustration and resentment. Every time in the past that they didn’t communicate their feelings to each other contributes to the communication impasse you’re facing in the present. As a result, talking to each other can keep leading to fights and conflict.
However, you cannot go on with the angst of not feeling appreciated in a relationship. Over time, it will take a toll on your mental peace and productivity at work, and hamper all other aspects of your life. In such a situation, a therapist can act as a neutral party to help steer your conversations in a direction that will help you find a solution to your problems.
Devaleena advises, “For long-term transformation, seeking therapy is always a good option. It helps sort out the conflicts in the head and makes it easier to wean off people-pleasing habits which often stem from childhood traumas.” If you’re considering seeking help, skilled and licensed counselors on Bonobology’s panel are here for you.
10. Consider when it may be time to move on
Sometimes relationships go completely out of hand where even professional intervention can’t help you find a way to bridge your differences or get over your long-assimilated grouses. If the distance between you two has increased to the extent that no form of intervention can help, then it might be a sign that you need to move on.
Every relationship is a two-way street and both partners need to put in an equal amount of effort to save it. You’ve both got to be willing to change and accommodate each other. If even after repeated attempts to fix things, you’re still feeling unappreciated in the relationship, then perhaps the relationship needs to end. The sooner you accept the fate of this relationship, the better it is for both of you, at least in the long run.
Why Is It Important To Appreciate And Be Appreciated In A Relationship?
Feeling unappreciated in a relationship could give rise to feelings of anger and resentment and low self-esteem behaviors, eventually causing the partnership to end. To avoid such a situation, it is important to appreciate and be appreciated in a relationship.
When your partner appreciates you, you feel supported, loved, and cared for. There’s a sense of safety and security, respect, and trust that your partner will always have your back, no matter what. When you appreciate your partner, it makes them feel like you value and respect them for who they are. It lets them know that you are grateful for all the efforts and sacrifices they make for you.
When partners appreciate each other, it makes them feel happy and respected. You feel special and treasured when your partner appreciates you because you know that there’s someone in your life to whom you mean so much. You feel important and good about yourself and what you do. We all crave attention from our partners and showing appreciation is one of the best ways to offer that. It is key to building a healthy relationship with your significant other.
- Showing appreciation is crucial and one of the foundations of a strong relationship
- If your partner takes you for granted, doesn’t value or respect your efforts, doesn’t pay attention to you, or has no value for your time and emotions, know that you are not being appreciated in the relationship
- There are certain things you can do to make it right – look for appreciation through your partner’s actions, learn to say “No”, practice self-love, and stop blame-shifting
- Seek professional help. But, if you still end up feeling unappreciated in a relationship, then maybe it’s time to end things with your partner and move on
So, you now have everything that you need to know about being in an unappreciative relationship. If any of the things we’ve discussed have rung true for your relationship, it’s time to stop turning a blind eye to your issues. Address whatever you’ve discovered about your relationship and use our solutions to work on it. We hope you get to see the signs of appreciation in a relationship really soon. All the best!