Feeling Neglected In A Relationship? (10 Ways To Handle It)

Last updated on June 7, 2022 by April Maccario

Feeling neglected in your relationship is the worst. It's better to be single because at least that way, you can stay hopeful that love will come someday, and your loneliness will be over. But when that awful emotion is now being dished out by someone who supposedly loves you, it hurts.

This may be hard to believe, but some people cannot relate to having their partner's attention when they are not being intimate. Those ones have gotten so used to emotional neglect that it's become their norm.

However, the disappointment is even worse if that isn't how things used to be. Like you used to be the most important person in the world to this person, what's changed? The good thing is, if you feel like this and are asking this question, you are already on the right path.

Whether you belong to category A (used to it) or B (something's changed), no one deserves to feel this way. Here are some things you can do to get back on the right path.

Feeling Neglected by a Partner? Here’s What To Do.

1. Get Your Facts Right

I know jumping to a conclusion at times like this is convenient, but try not to. You could be convinced it's one thing, and their reality is entirely different from whatever you are thinking. So, before you start spiraling and letting your imaginations run wild, take a minute or (a few hours) to separate facts from speculations.

Here is an instance. Let's say your partner's attitude towards you begins to shift with no apparent reason, so much that he doesn't even try to touch you, and nothing you try seems to interest him. There are about a thousand reasons why this could be happening, but your anxious mind keeps going back to him getting the juice elsewhere.

The longer you let that thought fester, the more it begins to make sense. That's when you start catching a scent that isn't there or thinking twice about him staying out late. Instead of doing all this to yourself, why not ask him? And if you think you won't get the truth from him (which is a problem in itself), find another means to gather your facts. Then, you can decide what to do.

2. Set Realistic Expectations

Don't make your partner be the alpha and omega of your life. That's God for some people, your partner is merely human. If you fantasized about having an all-in-one partner, you are not alone. But we all get jerked back to reality one way or another, and that disappointment leaves some people feeling utterly alone.

You want a man who gets you, makes you laugh, loves you like a soul mate, stimulates you emotionally, intellectually, sexually, and spiritually. A best friend and lover who wants what you want and you can actually live with. I hear you, girl, and I want him too. But until the world evolves to a point where we can build our own men, we may never get that person.

In the meantime, we have to make do with what nature gives us. Placing so much responsibility on your significant other can make you feel like you're being neglected when humanity sets in, and they can't meet your tall order. So maybe dial it down a little bit and see if you still feel that way. 

3. Reduce The Weight You Place On Your Partner

So, if you search yourself and realize that the real source of your neglect is your own unrealistic needs, then its time to declutter your partner's shoulders. And if you are lucky enough to have a partner who meets all of your expectations and then some, good for you! Still, it will do you some good to prepare for rainy days, so you don't feel abandoned when some of their fine qualities are found wanting. 

What you want to do is find other interests. Don't let your spouse be your everything. As there is a place for your partner in your life, have other things you enjoy doing as well. Get new hobbies, make friends, just find happiness elsewhere

This is not to say expecting emotional support from your partner is asking too much. What it means is that you also have to put in the work to push your emotional weight rather than leave it all to another human being. They can try to be there as much as possible, but we are ultimately responsible for meeting our own needs.

4. Don't Return The Favor

Returning passive reaction in kind will not get either of you anywhere, except maybe back to where you began, separated, and as strangers. Admittedly, not getting the same energy you put into your relationship can be tough. However, ignoring your partner back is not the best method to diffuse the situation, that's how things build up and become complicated.

Instead, focus on how to solve the problem on the ground. Do not approach the matter from an angle of resentment. Remember your partner is not the only person in the driver's seat of your relationship, you both have to contribute. So, when they start to steer off track and your emotional needs are suffering the effect, bring the car back to the road instead of watching it tumble.

I know I sound like a motivational speaker, but I promise you I'm not. On a more serious note, though, getting defensive or acting out of hurt can easily backfire, making your efforts counterproductive. Try and get to the root of the matter, and you just may find that their reason for switching up isn't actually about you. 

5. Think Of Their Positive Traits

Sometimes we get carried away by what our partners are doing wrong that we completely overlook the ones they do right. I'm sure there's some kind of science behind this thing because it happens to everyone. It's kind of like how you romanticize your previous relationships because you've been apart for long. Only it's the direct opposite that happens in your current one.

You unconsciously remember only the good memories you had with your ex and focus on the bad stuff your current partner is doing. When you start feeling like your sweetheart is disregarding you, don't allow thoughts of how caring your ex was clouding your emotions. Instead, consciously bring your mind back to the good attributes your present beau has too.

Take a minute to actually think about the good things they do for you. Like how they give the best advice or make you a cup of coffee while you are working. These may seem like insignificant stuff, but the thought behind them is what counts. Appreciating these small things may just be the ginger you need to work on reviving the spark. 

6. Put Yourself In Your Partner's Shoes

Those in relationships where emotional neglect has become the status quo can relate to this. You only feel loved or wanted by your partner when you two are making love – and this is putting it generously. He doesn't want to lose you and would probably go to the ends of the earth to make sure nothing bad happens to you. 

Still, your partner always seems so closed up when you're together that it leaves you wondering if it's the same person. If this is your man, then his case might be more mental than intentional. He may have suffered childhood emotional neglect himself that he doesn't know how to express his feelings now that's he's grown. 

This phenomenon is easy to overlook, and because the symptoms are mostly presented in adulthood, he may not have wrapped his mind around it yet. This is just one of the many underlying factors that could be causing your partner to ignore you. So before you conclude, try to see things from their point of view. They just might be feeling neglected too, and communication may be what you both need to change.

7. Communicate With Your Partner With An Open Mind

From where I'm standing, there is no other tool as magical as communication in a relationship. If you manage to do it right, you can always be assured of a breakthrough. It may not be what you want to hear at the time, but it is still better than being confused about how your partner feels. 

Again, this magic tool does not work if it is not done right. Accusations, making demands, and nitpicking are not sufficient because those are biased and will only make him withdraw further from you. I can't tell you what to say to your boyfriend when he ignores you because you know him better than I do. What I can tell you, though, is how to say it. 

Frustrated that he doesn't pay you as much attention as he used to?
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It makes you wonder whether he actually likes you or not.

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Wait till you are level-headed before talking to him about how you feel. The time you feel like screaming from frustration may not be the best time for effective communication. As you share the stuff you'd like to him do better, make it okay for him to share his emotions too. And when he does, listen. 

8. Consider Relationship Counseling

If you're in a serious relationship, seeking additional support at this stage may be what is right for you. Better to clear the air the right now in case there is a deep underlying reason than to let it fester into emotional neglect in marriage. When communicating in-house doesn't work, it may be time to involve a third party. But you shouldn't fill this role with just anyone. 

Your best friend shouldn’t be your sole advisor on complicated love issues unless they are a licensed relationship therapist. If not, then all they really have to offer you are listening ears and empathy, if you are lucky. On the flip side, a professional would bring objectivity, empathy, and, most importantly, expertise to the table. 

Whether you have been feeling the neglect for long or it just began recently, an expert is in the best position to diagnose the real problem. Beyond that, they will also guide you as to what the next cause of action should be, either to part ways or work on a fix.

9. Don't Try To Find Solace In Another's Arms

Above, I mentioned finding happiness elsewhere, but let's be clear. By that, I meant to think of other things that make you happy outside of romantic affiliations, not cheat on your partner. I understand getting tempted to give others a chance when the person you are with keeps acting up for no apparent reason. 

Many ladies have experienced getting disturbed by guys that seem to have something better to offer than their partners at this point. I can't say for sure why this happens, whether it is mere coincidence or some form of a universal algorithm. But I have come to understand that those people only look appealing because of your own need for whatever sweet thing they are saying to be true.

When you remove the allure that comes from newness and the rose-tinted glasses you see them through, you realize there is really nothing special about the new guy. Instead of cheating, why not try all you can to see if what you already have can be saved? 

10. Know When To Accept It's Not Working

"Cutting the head is not the cure to headache" – African proverb. 

In this context, it means don't throw the man away because he's being annoying at the moment. This is premium stuff, it's good advice. Perseverance is great. But it is equally wise to cut a cancerous tumor off before it kills the entire body. Knowing when to quit should be a superpower.

There is a thin line between doing your best to save your relationship and downright harming yourself. Healthy relationships require efforts from both sides to thrive. Sometimes, accepting it's not working is actually the best thing you can do for someone you love.

Even if they are open to trying to make it work too if none of the points above helps, leaving might be the only option left on the table. In this case, for the sake of your mental health, cutting the head off might actually be the cure to the incessant headache caused by neglect.


Is It Normal To Feel Neglected In A Relationship?

When you have an unrealistically high expectation of the other person, and they fail to meet it, it is possible to feel neglected. It could also happen as a result of another thing taking the attention you used to get. Altogether, neglect is a sign that your connection is waning.

What Do You Do When You Feel Neglected In A Relationship?

Create your own happiness, don't look to your partner for everything. Try to identify the source of the problem and understand that it could be a bi-product of another thing they are going through. Establish the habit of communicating your needs instead of expecting your partner to just know. If all else fails, try couple's counseling.

What Does It Mean To Feel Neglected?

It means you don't get the right amount of love and attention you deserve or are used to. Your partner doesn’t pay you any mind anymore and that makes you wonder if they still care. Kind of like you've become invisible to them. You feel lonely even when you're with them, and that sucks.

How Do You Know If You Are Being Neglected?

You know you are being neglected when the person you enjoy spending time with makes you feel bad for wanting their attention. You are afraid of sharing stuff with your significant other because their indifference is starting to make you feel like a nuisance. If this is someone you depend on emotionally, it can lead to low self-esteem.

How Does Being Ignored Feel?

Being ignored feels terrible. You're stuck somewhere between acceptance and rejection. You don't quite understand what the other person is thinking, so your mind keeps spinning worst-case scenarios over and over. If you are not in the right headspace, feeling ignored can make you lose your self-confidence.

On A Final Note

You deserve better than to stay stuck in a relationship that doesn't make you happy, especially when you can do something about it. If this is your reality, I hope this list helps guide you back to the love you deserve.

Let me know if it helps in the comments and make another person's life easier by sharing this article. 

Do you hate it how everything seems to always revolve round him while you just seem to be an afterthought sometimes?
We hear this all the time from women that contact us asking for help with their relationship.

It almost makes you wonder whether he actually likes you or whether he's just stringing you along.

Why don't you take this quick free quiz to see if he actually likes you!

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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