He Doesn’t Make Me A Priority (13 Things To Do When Your Spouse Doesn’t Put You First)

Last updated on June 17, 2022 by April Maccario

It can be a tough pill to swallow when the person who means the most to you doesn’t seem to share the same sentiments about you. You know your partner loves you because he’s said and shown it on several occasions, but there’s something missing; he doesn’t make you a priority.

Is this a red flag? Do you leave him or keep trying to make the relationship work? Is this even something other people worry about or are you overreacting?

He probably wasn’t like this when your relationship began, and that makes you wonder if this is a sign he’s starting to lose interest in you. What to do, what to do, what to do?

First, I’d like to say it doesn’t matter if no one else is asking the questions you are asking about their own relationship. It wouldn’t be much of a happy place if you don’t get to express yourself. 

Secondly, yes, many other people have the same concerns as you about feeling low on their partner’s priority list.

So, is there something you can do about it, or do you just leave things as they are? I will answer these questions and more in the post below. Keep reading!

What To Do When Your Spouse Doesn’t Make You A Priority

1. What Does Being A Priority Mean To You?

what does being a priority mean to you

As long as we are asking questions, I’d like to ask a few of my own. What do you mean when you say your man doesn’t make you a priority, and what does being a priority to him mean to you? Is your discontent based on the fact that you are never high enough on his list, or that you only get to feel like that some of the time?

Also, what is your idea of being a priority predicated on, is it realistic based on you and your partner's current circumstances, or what you think romance should look like? Your answer to these questions is the first step towards getting to the place you want to be with your man. So, examine yourself and answer them sincerely. 

2. Recalibrate Your Expectations

You have to understand that it is simply not feasible to be someone else’s prime concern all the time, life just doesn’t work like that. You are one of many parts of his life, all of which will require his attention at one point or the other. You may not have noticed at first, but they all came as part of the package when you chose him. 

Without the other stuff, he simply wouldn’t be the man you know him to be. Before you go spiraling again, consider putting those hopes of yours up against the backdrop of reality. Does his work or family life equally require his attention? Are you the one constantly pushing him to make money, but feel bad when he can’t come home on time? Then you need to take a step back and reconsider.

You also need to remind yourself that, though he may seem perfect to you, he is only a man. Like all humans, men are prone to mistakes, especially when they try to fit too many irons in the fire. So recalibrate those expectations, and see where work is left to be done.

3. Find Out Where His Commitment Lies

You know your partner best, and you’ve probably had a lot of arguments on the subject. Fighting about it hasn’t worked so far, so maybe consider approaching it with an open mind. 

From what you can tell, what are those things that seem to matter to him more than you? His job, his personal time? Friends and family? Passion projects? Pets? Food?

When you have those things down, weigh the importance of each as regards to their importance to his well-being. For instance, if the bone of contention has always been that he gets too engrossed in his work, then unless you’re capable of providing for him financially, there isn’t much you can do about that. 

However, if the sticking point has always been that he would put literally anything above you, even stuff that doesn't concern him, then you may have something bigger on your plate. What could make a man choose to continually disregard his partner like that? Is he even as into you as you think? 

4. Talk To Him About It

talk to him about it

Once you’ve solved the personal aspect of the puzzle, it’s time to bring him in on it. With a clearer sense of perspective, let him know how being treated like an option makes you feel. You may think what he is doing is pretty evident and that he doesn’t need to be told to put his girlfriend first in his life, and you may be right. 

What if you’re wrong? What if he doesn’t know any better and is probably going through life thinking he’s the boyfriend of the year? What if he has a different idea of intimacy from yours? 

These things could seem obvious to you but remember, we are each an aggregate of our experiences. You may have a lot in common, but at the end of the day, you are not the same people. 

Don’t assume he knows he’s not treating you right or that he is doing it on purpose, have the talk and whatever you find out will tell you the way forward.

5. Stop Demanding That He Make You A Priority

This may seem counter-intuitive, especially if your goal is to find out how you rank in his life. Making demands may get you what you want in the short run, but it is not a great long-term plan. At best, he succumbs to the pressure and pretends to be the person you want, but that can only go on for so long.

On the other hand, he might feel backed into a wall, push back and scatter everything. Or worse, he continues to pretend while he lowkey resents you until he can no longer keep up the charade, and the resentment comes out in an ugly way. So what can you do? You can stop demanding.

Stop making him choose between you and other things in his life that are important to him. Instead, let him have his peace when he needs it, and he’ll willingly come to you.

6. Try To See Things From His Standpoint

Understanding goes a long way in making your partner feel loved. While ‘standing your ground’ sometimes can make him pull away, making him feel loved draws him closer. You may not understand his reasoning sometimes, but respecting it anyway shows that you trust him to do the right thing, and that can mean a great deal. 

Put yourself in his shoes for a change and try to see things from his point of view. Is he focusing on his job because of an instinctual drive to provide? Does he forget to carry you along on important decisions sometimes because he already assumes to know what you’ll say?

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This is not to excuse or indulge all of his excesses. When you look at the situation through his own eyes, you get to relate better with him. Then you can both tackle the issue with one mind. Remember, it should be you and your partner against the problem, not you against him.

7. Help Him Understand Why This Matters To You

help him understand why this matters to you

You call each other partners for a reason, and each of you has equal rights to happiness, at least that’s the way it should be. As much as a romantic relationship isn’t about keeping a tally, it wouldn’t be fair if one person keeps making all the compromises while the other party does what they want.

After talking and listening and viewing things from where he is standing, it’s time to give him the chance to do the same. In another round of honest conversation, gently explain to your man why it is important to you that he does better. Let him know that as much as you want to spend time with him, it isn’t your only reason for pushing the issue.

Your reason for wanting to be a priority in relationships could stem from experience with an ex, childhood neglect, or some other insecurity. Letting him in on that little secret could just be what your relationship needs.

8. Agree To Meet Each Other In The Middle

Again, a relationship is a two-way street. For both parties to be satisfied, you have to work together as friends and partners. Drawing from your reflection and what he learned from you opening up to him, find a middle ground, and agree to put in the work of meeting each other there. 

If family welfare (yours and his) is his primary drive for making his job a priority, acknowledging that will help him feel more appreciated. He can also do a better job of carrying you along instead of assuming to know what you’d say. 

Sometimes, you resolve matters like this by letting them figure issues out for themselves, and other times, you have to help them get there. Make your peace with as many of his other priorities as you possibly can, and he’ll be willing to budge and compromise on the ones you can’t.

9. Set Clear Boundaries

Setting boundaries should be a priority in a relationship because it helps both parties maintain their individuality without necessarily straining the intimacy. According to Deborah Hecker, Ph.D., a Psychotherapist, and Re-partnering Coach, “Maintaining individuality is critical to establishing a long-lasting, healthy partnership.”

It is common to get so carried away by doing everything with our partner, that we feel like we are being betrayed by them when they decide to take a step back. Is there any chance that is what is currently going on in your relationship? The good news is that it isn’t too late to embrace boundaries if you don’t already have them in place.

You and your man need to negotiate what gets to stay in your relationship and what has to go. Setting the limits that work for you is the best way for things to keep running smoothly without either of you feeling disgruntled. 

10. Learn To Live In The Moment

How many times has your man’s tendency not to make you a priority come between you even when you both genuinely want to spend time with each other? You complain a lot about him putting his friends, sports, hobbies, job, and other people before you, and understandably so. 

Can you actually remember the last time the two of you just appreciated each other’s company without any of that stuff tainting the moment? Between your frustration from not seeing the change you want and his irritation at what’s fast becoming an incessant badger, I bet it’s been a minute.

If you really want that dynamic to change, let him enjoy whatever he’s doing when his focus is not on you. And when it is, you get his undivided attention and relish what little time you spend together instead of obsessing over all the times you don’t. 

11. Make Yourself Your Priority

make yourself your priority

This may be hard to hear, but what if the reason you are having a hard time being on his (or anyone else’s) priority list is because you are not even on yours? Don’t leave it all to him, be your own happiness, carve out time, and live life for yourself. Enough of letting your self-esteem take the hit for his inadequacies. 

The essence of maintaining your individuality isn’t just so your relationship can flourish, it’s also so you don’t lose your sense of self. Sometimes, worry about yourself, focus on yourself, girl! 

A man doting on you is good, but you know what’s even better? Loving yourself to the point of understanding that the way someone else arranges their priorities doesn’t diminish your worth. You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.

12. Keep Your Distance

When you’ve tried everything, and there doesn’t seem to be any real change, consider taking a few steps back. I’m assuming that you staying with him even though he doesn’t make you feel like a priority in his life isn’t just based on blind faith. 

He probably told you at some point since the issue first came up that you mean a lot to him, and you’ve been holding on to that. Well, it’s time to put the truth of it to the test by rolling back the leeway. Instead of making yourself available every time he needs you, take a few steps back, and let him catch a glimpse of how he’s been taking for granted.

There’s nothing more attractive than a queen who knows her worth. You’ve been putting your happiness on hold for this long anyway, so why not take this emotional risk, and see how it pans out? It won’t be smooth at first, but when you prioritize yourself, people around you learn to do the same.

13. To Leave Or To Stay

to leave or to stay

If after all of these, he still remains too set in his ways, then it falls on you to make the ultimate decision: to leave or to stay. The singularity of your pain points might seem trivial to other people looking in, but I think it says a lot that he keeps going back to them.

You are not in a relationship with yourself, so you shouldn’t have to be the only one to make cutbacks. Especially when even that isn’t getting either of you anywhere close to where you want to be. Take all the time you need before making your decision, but before you do, remind yourself why you’re doing it in the first place.

If he hasn’t felt the need to treat you like a priority up until this point, there is a chance he never will even if you stay. It’d be a shame to keep waiting for someone who doesn’t attach much importance to your feelings, but the ball remains in your court.


What do you do when your not his priority?

Ensure your expectations aren’t unrealistic. It is impossible to be someone else’s priority all of the time, but you should be available sometimes if that person is your partner. Have a conversation with him to see how you can both adjust without making any demands. Then keep your options open, and prepare for the worst.

How do you know you’re not his priority?

How a man treats you says everything about where you stand with him. When you are not his priority relationship, your opinion doesn’t make much of a difference to him. Your relationship with someone like that would never feel like an equal partnership as he would hold all the power.

Should you be a priority in a relationship?

The simple answer is yes. Being a priority means your needs are not considered inferior to your partner’s as long as it benefits the relationship. However, it is essential to tailor your expectations to your specific situation and not what other people tell you.

How do you know if you are a priority to someone?

Being a priority to someone means they factor you and your well-being into every decision they take. It means the person puts you first and would never willingly do anything to jeopardize the relationship. When you are that important to a person, you don’t need to ask to know.

How do you make him see you as a priority?

If you want him to realize what he’s been doing wrong then it’s best to focus on yourself. Sometimes, all a man needs to reset is a glimpse of what his life would be like without you. If you’re the type who brings something to the table, he’d fix up so he doesn’t lose you.

In Conclusion

I understand how frustrating it is when your spouse doesn’t put you first. Whether friends or lovers, there will always be people in your life who, despite meaning so much to you, will not treat you like a priority. The important thing is to know what to do when life hits you like this, and that is where this post comes in. No need to thank me, all I ask is that you leave a comment and share the 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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