What To Do When You Feel Unappreciated By Your Partner
Many want to feel like the people around them value their efforts, thoughts, and opinions. Appreciation from others might validate and motivate you; this positive feedback can improve your self-esteem and relationships. However, in some cases, you may feel that your romantic partner doesn't appreciate you, which may feel challenging.
Feeling unappreciated might affect your self-esteem and create conflict in your relationship. Feeling appreciated by your partner can be essential to the relationship. Learning what to do when you are feeling unappreciated can improve and save your relationship.
Why Appreciation Can Matter In A Relationship
Knowing you're valued as an individual and a partner feels very meaningful. It can help you feel safer, more driven, and happier. When your significant other shows appreciation for your efforts in the relationship and communicates how much they value you, they might make you feel confident and motivated.
On the other hand, feeling as though your efforts aren't recognized could lead to relationship conflicts, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, and mental health concerns.
What To Do When You Feel Unappreciated
Appreciation can be a vital aspect of an interpersonal connection, and feeling undervalued can create conflict in a relationship and lead to mental health concerns. If this is the case for you, there are several steps you can take to ensure a lack of appreciation does not negatively affect your self-worth or mental health.
Communicate Your Feelings
You may find yourself hoping others will instinctually know what you're thinking, even when you've kept quiet. This expectation may create tension in your relationship when your feelings aren't acknowledged immediately. You might feel your partner should know when you are feeling unappreciated and should correct their behavior. Unfortunately, your partner can't read your mind.
Consider discussing your feelings with your significant other when you feel your efforts aren't being recognized. If you tell them how a perceived lack of appreciation has made you feel, they may make immediate efforts to show their gratitude in the future. Additionally, studies indicate the importance of communication in long-term relationship satisfaction.
Let your partner know how you value them and ask whether they feel you show them enough appreciation. You might find that both of you show and receive appreciation differently, which might help you create a more cooperative and constructive partnership.
As you're talking, try to speak in a non-confrontational manner. Consider using "I" statements, such as,
"I feel that my efforts aren't being acknowledged."
"I feel sad when I'm not thanked for the kind things I do."
"I feel unloved when I try to show thoughtfulness, and it isn't reciprocated."
If your partner sees that you're approaching the situation from a place of love and cooperation, they might be receptive to your points.
Creating a respectful environment where you practice gratitude for your partner's actions may help you feel more appreciated. Modeling appreciation doesn't necessarily mean expressing appreciation to receive it in return. It means appreciating others because it is how you genuinely feel.
Pay attention to how your partner shows appreciation to others. You might adopt a new perspective on your partner's methods of showing gratitude. For example, you could notice alternative ways your partner shows love or affection, like repaying the favor through an act of service instead of acknowledging it with words.
However, if you notice that your partner doesn't seem to show gratitude or put effort into the relationship, this may be a sign that an unhealthy dynamic has formed. In this case, reaching out to a couples therapist or having a long discussion may be beneficial.
Know That Individuals May Show Gratitude Differently
Appreciation and love might be communicated in a variety of ways. If your partner isn't telling you that they value you, they may not be used to expressing their gratitude verbally. They might show appreciation by giving gifts, being affectionate, or practicing acts of service.
For example, your partner might pat you on the shoulder or kiss you on the cheek after you take out the trash, or they could bring home your favorite meal on a day when you ran errands for them. These actions are examples of love languages developed by Gary Chapman to show how different people express love and affection.
You might ask your partner how they prefer to show and receive appreciation. They might not be aware of their preferred method of expressing gratitude for the things you do. In that case, you can take an online love languages test together to find out.
In some cases, specific individuals struggle to show gratitude. Personality, hereditary factors, and brain structure may contribute to this ability. However, therapy or long-term efforts may help a person learn.
Set Clear Boundaries And Expectations
Feeling unappreciated may be related to extra work you're doing in your relationship or a lack of reciprocation on your partner's part. If there is an imbalance in your and your partner's contributions, consider setting healthy boundaries that let your partner know how much you're willing to take on and what they should do themselves.
A lack of appreciation may manifest as your partner taking advantage of you, so learn to say no when you feel a boundary is being crossed. For example, if you've already divvied up responsibilities when it comes to housework, you may have to decline if they ask you to take on one of their chores. If they do not pay their portion of the rent, let them know that you will not continue to do so for them.
Know Your Value
Consistently acknowledging your worth and what you bring to the table can help you feel more confident and prevent a lack of appreciation from negatively affecting your mental health. You can develop your sense of self-worth by practicing self-gratitude and self-acceptance. You can express appreciation for yourself by acknowledging the utility of your completed task. Say thank you to yourself, take a break, or treat yourself. Value yourself regardless of the validation you receive from others.
Take inventory of your strengths and think about how they positively impact your life and the lives of others. This technique may help you feel more confident and self-assured when it feels like you aren't being appreciated by your partner.
Often, we feel gratitude from our partners when they care for us. If you feel unappreciated, self-care may provide that gratitude to yourself. You can practice self-care by nurturing your body, mind, and soul.
This nurture can be anything from mindfulness, journaling, reading, or practicing sleep hygiene techniques. Consider creating daily routines to ensure you're showing yourself the appreciation you deserve.
Navigating Relationship Concerns With Therapy
If you feel like you're being taken for granted, or you'd like help working through other relationship concerns, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. You might go to couples therapy with your partner or try individual therapy on your own time.
Many modern couples opt for online therapy. Studies show that online therapy effectively addresses relationship concerns, such as those related to appreciation and communication. In one broad-based study, researchers concluded that online therapy could improve relationship satisfaction, communication, and commitment. They also noted that online therapy could address individual mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, which may affect self-esteem and feelings of appreciation.
Through an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can connect with a licensed therapist from the comfort of your home through video calls, voice calls, or in-app messaging. BetterHelp has a team of specialists who work with multiple topics, so you may match with a counselor who specializes in your area of concern.
If you'd like support and advice when it comes to feeling unappreciated in a relationship, help is available. A licensed therapist can help you take the next step in your relationship and mental wellness journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions on the topic of underappreciation.
What Does Feeling Unappreciated Mean?
Feeling unappreciated can mean you're feeling undervalued by others. Appreciation can mean determining or understanding the value of someone else's actions. Anyone may feel this way in intimate relationships, regardless of gender, social status, sexuality, or gender presentation.
What Should You Do When You Don't Feel Appreciated?
If you feel unappreciated, learn to take control through communication. Make your efforts known by telling your partner what you're proud of. Tell them you're feeling unappreciated, and give an example of behaviors they've showcased that made you feel that way.
Don't Coach Your Partner
Try not to teach or coach your partner multiple times. If you find that you are repeating yourself about daily tasks such as cleaning dishes, washing clothes, or paying bills, you may find it necessary to give your partner an ultimatum or go to therapy together. You are not your partner's parent, so trying to teach them behaviors you want to see more of may feel tiring.
Don't Complete Your Partner's Chores For Them
Additionally, try not to complete your partner's tasks for them if it is holding them back from doing it themselves. If this means that the home becomes dirty, you may set boundaries and let your partner know that you may have to live apart if they're unable to hold their weight at home.
Show Appreciation To Your Partner
Model appreciative behavior by appreciating what your partner does. If they start to do more for the relationship, consider praising and thanking them, as it may light up the reward centers of their brain. Although it might not be your responsibility to thank someone for basic behaviors, it could make your partner feel loved.
Let Go If It's Not Working
If your partner's behaviors or habits do not change no matter how much you talk to them, try to get support, or set boundaries, it may be time to let go. Although leaving a relationship can be painful, it may be the proper decision for you.
If you're struggling to make this choice, reach out to family or friends to discuss what's happening in your relationship. Additionally, you might decide that an alternative arrangement could be more beneficial, such as living in separate households or having a more casual relationship.
How Do You Know If You Are Being Taken For Granted?
If someone doesn't thank you for your hard work, acknowledge your effort, talk to you, or show interest in your actions, they may be taking advantage of you. This behavior may make you feel unappreciated, insecure, unloved, or sad. In this case, counseling or a change in the relationship may be in order.
How Do You Deal With People Who Take You For Granted?
Be honest with those who are taking you for granted. Tell them how it makes you feel. Set boundaries, and don't bend your boundaries for them in any circumstance. You do not have to do what someone else wants if it harms you.
How Do You Make Someone Feel Valued?
Consider someone's love language if you want to know how to show them you value them. Additionally, you might ask them outright what makes them feel loved or cared for. Some common ways you might show appreciation include:
Physical touch, such as a hug or kiss, with consent
Compliments or words of love
Spending quality time together
Money or gifts
A note or letter stating how thankful you are
Acts of service, such as getting your partner gas when they run out
Helping someone when they feel down
Letting them express their feelings by practicing active listening
How Do You Appreciate Someone In Words?
For those who value words of affirmation, phrases with deeper meaning or thought behind them may be more valuable than everyday phrases or repeated ideas.
For example, you might write a love letter, leave romantic sticky notes around the house, or try one of the following phrases:
"Every day with you is more special than the last."
"Your smile fills my heart with joy."
"I am the luckiest person in the universe to be your partner."
"I want to make all of your days the happiest day of your life."
"You are a ray of light in my universe."
"I promise to always do what I can to make you feel loved."
How Do You Become Strong When Someone Hurts You Emotionally?
If you're feeling unappreciated because someone has hurt you emotionally, it may help to focus your energy inward and try self-care. Surround yourself with people who make you feel appreciated and loved, such as family and friends.
If your partner constantly puts you down, calls you names, ignores you or makes you feel unlovable, you might be experiencing an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Emotional abuse can have detrimental impacts on your health, so consider reaching out for support.
If you are facing or witnessing abuse of any kind, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 for support. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text "START" to 88788. You can also use the online chat.
What Do You Say To Someone Who Feels Unappreciated?
Appreciation can make someone feel loved and appreciated in a relationship. If your partner communicates that they feel unappreciated, try the following methods.
Apologize If You Did Something Wrong
Saying the words "I'm sorry" may go a long way to make your partner feel unique and relevant. Try not to be defensive if you make a mistake. For example, you might say, "I'm deeply sorry for making you feel unappreciated, it wasn't my intention, and I can see that it still hurt you. I will work to change this behavior and show you more appreciation in the future."
Say "Thank You" More Often
Try to make it known that you appreciate your partner more often. Say "thank you" if they do something for you, even if it's unnecessary. Consider utilizing their love language to show them appreciation in a way that makes sense to them.
If they do something kind without being asked, such as taking out the trash two nights in a row or picking up your chores, show appreciation by doing similar actions for them in the future.
Surprise Your Partner
There are many ways you might choose to express yourself to make someone feel appreciated. Consider a surprise gift, date, or gesture to show your partner you care. It may make them feel more appreciated if they aren't expecting it.
How Do You Know If You're Not Appreciated In A Relationship?
Intimate relationships are often double-sided. If you feel underappreciated, there may be a reason, including one of the following.
You don't feel recognized
Your goals are unfulfilled
Your relationship feels like a chore
You feel resentment toward your partner
Your efforts to make changes are ignored
Your partner doesn't partake in your love language often, if ever
You feel you are holding all of the weight in your relationship
How Do I Make Him Worry About Losing Me?
There may be a few ways to encourage your partner to show they value you, including the following:
Stay occupied with your own pursuits
Communicate your needs
Focus on self-care
Ask for changes
Model appreciative behavior
How Do You Test A Guy To See If He Loves You?
Testing someone in a relationship can be unhealthy behavior. Healthy relationships may have certain behaviors present, such as a sense of equality, love on both sides, and respect. If you find yourself wanting to test your partner, it may be due to an unhealthy dynamic. Consider reaching out to a counselor to learn more.
When Should You End A Relationship?
If a relationship repeatedly negatively impacts your mental health, it may be a sign that it's time to leave. However, there are a few other factors that may indicate an unhealthy connection, including:
Deceit or lies
Substance use or addiction without support that accompanies unhealthy behaviors
A lack of respect
Long-term sadness or upset
How Do You Know Someone Is In Love With You?
There may be several signs that someone has fallen in love with you, including the following:
They tell you they love you or appreciate you
They treat you with kindness
They spend time around you and express an urge to spend more time together
They are physically close or intimate with you (in some cases)
They try to open up to you about their feelings
They are empathetic to your emotional experiences
You feel compatible with them
You feel respected when you're around them
You talk about plans for your future when you're together
They express affection through one of the five love languages
They express a desire to be in an intimate relationship with you