Is it normal to feel unappreciated in a relationship? Yes. Sometimes when you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, partners tend to fall into the trap of taking each other for granted. If you’re on the receiving end of this, you’d know all too well what being unappreciated in a relationship feels like. Just because it’s normal to feel this way doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing.
No matter what you do, you 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. It isn’t a very positive feeling.
These are a few signs you are not valued in a relationship. Which brings us to a crucial question: What should you do if you are in this sort of 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.
How Do You Know If Your Partner Doesn’t Appreciate You?
You may be feeling a dip in the romance of your relationship but that doesn’t always mean that your partner is being unappreciative. It could be because you have both been busy with your schedules and haven’t been spending enough time together. Or it could be because you haven’t been communicating properly. Neither of these necessarily means that your importance in their life has decreased.
Sometimes the feeling of being unappreciated might be the product of 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 on them. So, how do you know if what you’re feeling is unappreciation 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
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 or annoyed. Now, even when you’ve had a rough day, they don’t notice how tired you look, let alone ask you what’s bothering you. This type of behavior could be a sign that they’re taking your presence in her life for granted.
2. The things that you do aren’t 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’d feel if they don’t compliment it or thank you for it. Just eat and leave. It obviously 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, and rough patches. However, in a good relationship, you don’t feel invisible and uncared for even during the lowest lows. But if at any point you find yourself asking, “Why do I feel unappreciated in my relationship?”, chances are that your significant other has stopped considering 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 you two spend together has decreased recently. This kind of distance can impact the romance and connection in the relationship.
This decrease in intimacy can lead to a change in your spouse’s behavior. “Your husband may show an unusual interest in other women at the cost of making you awkward,” points Devaleena, speaking of the signs you are not valued in a relationship. This type of behavior change may be the reason you’re feeling unappreciated by your husband.
5. They stop making 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 go on the down-low 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 effort into her looks, feeling unappreciated by your wife or girlfriend is 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. It has a way of feeling like you’re 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 has a way of being confusing and it can leave you clueless about what to do.
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 realize you don’t want to put up with this unacceptable behavior, my suggestion is to start making small but powerful changes.”
Well, to help you out with your decision-making process, based on our expert’s advice, we have compiled a 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 diving in deeper.
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.
We all know that actions speak louder than words, so see 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.
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 purposefully done something wrong but there’s a chance that your actions could have been hurtful. There is also the chance that perhaps they overthought the situation and that 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. Perhaps, it’s something that you can easily fix by apologizing sincerely for hurting your partner’s feelings.
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’d like to have one too. But this type of behavior can increase their dependence 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.
Related Reading: Love Maps: How It Helps To Build A Strong Relationship
4. Try saying ‘no’ sometimes
Another reason why 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 stop voicing your opinions altogether.
This type of thing can lead to you being taken for granted. Instead of seeing it as you saving your relationship, it seems like you’re dependent on them. This decreases the appreciation that they should have for you.
“Start saying ‘No’ when you feel it’s not acceptable. Stop spreading yourself too thin to win love and appreciation,” Devaleena advises. 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, not your habit.
5. Communicate with your partner
Communication is the key to creating 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 let it go. Stick to your stand. The more you take responsibility, the more they expect from you.”
There is also 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 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 then you can always give counseling a try. Remember, your partner is not 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. After retrospection, 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 in a relationship will put an immense strain on you. Take your circumstances into account and divide up the work.
For example, 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.
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 feelings of unappreciation but sometimes that distance can’t be helped. Circumstances can arise that cause you both to drift apart a bit and there isn’t much that you can do but accept the situation. An example of this is a long-distance relationship, especially one that occurs over 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 unvalued, we understand this. So, in situations like these, we recommend that you take the opportunity to practice self-love. Devaleena has said that “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.
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 assign blame. 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 been…” These conversations never lead to solutions because honestly, you’re not looking for solutions at all.
This type of mental set can create an impassable block in your relationship. The feelings will escalate and the resentment might grow. In the end, the only option you’ll have is to seek out professional help.
Instead of letting things get this 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 hold on to this type of minor ignorance, 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.
One of the reasons why the communication between a couple breaks down is years of repressed frustration. Every time in the past that they didn’t communicate contributes to the communication impasse you’re facing in the present. As a result, talking to each other can keep leading to fights.
In this case, a Bonobology counselor or licensed therapist can help you better understand your situation. They can act as a neutral party that helps steer your conversations in the directions that will help you find a solution to your problems.
Devaleena wisely advises, “Learn to reframe your negative thoughts. It’s not always your fault. Start making these changes. But 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.”
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 the two of you 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 the 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.
So, now you have everything that you’ll need to know about being in an unappreciative relationship. If any of the things we’ve discussed have rung true for your relationship, then don’t ignore it. Address whatever you’ve discovered about your relationship and use our solutions to work on it. We hope you succeed. All the best!