What To Do When You Feel Unappreciated By Your Partner

Updated November 18, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Most of us want to feel like the people around us value our efforts, thoughts, and opinions. Appreciation from others is often what validates and motivates us, giving us positive feedback that can improve our self-esteem and our relationships. But what do we do if we feel like we’re unappreciated by our partner? Feeling unappreciated can affect your self-esteem and create conflict in your relationship. Below, we’re going to discuss the importance of feeling appreciated by your partner and what to do if you feel that your contributions to your relationship are going unacknowledged. 

You Deserve To Have A Healthy, Respectful Partnership

Why Appreciation Matters In A Relationship

Knowing that you’re valued, both as an individual and a partner, is important. It can help you feel safer, more driven, and happier. When your significant other shows appreciation for your efforts when it comes to the relationship, they’re often helping you feel more confident and motivated, and they’re letting you know that they value you. Feeling as though your efforts aren’t being recognized, on the other hand, could lead to relationship conflict, in addition to individual concerns related to self-esteem, motivation, and your overall mental well-being. 

What To Do When You Feel Unappreciated

Because appreciation can be such an important aspect of our lives, feeling undervalued can create conflict in our relationships. If this is the case for you, there are several things you can do to ensure a lack of appreciation does not negatively affect your self-worth, relationship, or mental health. 

Communicate Your Feelings

Sometimes, we expect others to know what we’re thinking, even when we haven’t told them. This can create tension when our feelings aren’t acknowledged in the way we’d like them to be. You might feel as though your partner should know that you’d like to receive more appreciation; but they aren’t able to read your mind. 

When you feel like your efforts aren’t being recognized, consider having a discussion with your significant other. If you tell them how a perceived lack of appreciation has made you feel, they may make immediate efforts to show you their gratitude more readily. This is also an opportunity to let your partner know the ways you value them and ask them whether they feel that you show them enough appreciation. You might find that both of you like to show and receive appreciation in different ways, which can help you create a more cooperative, constructive partnership. 

As you’re talking, it can help to bring the topic up in an empathetic, non-confrontational way. Consider using “I” statements, such as, “I feel that my efforts aren’t being acknowledged.” If your partner sees that you’re approaching the situation from a place of love and cooperation, they might be more receptive to your points. 

Model Appreciation

Creating an appreciative environment—in which you practice gratitude frequently for even the small things your partner does—can actually help you feel more appreciated. Modeling appreciation doesn’t necessarily mean expressing appreciation in order to receive it in return. It may simply help you adopt a different perspective on your partner and how they show gratitude. You may start to notice alternative ways your partner expresses their appreciation for you (more on that below). Showing your partner that you value them can help you continue to build a relationship marked by mutual respect and appreciation. 

Remember That People Display Appreciation Differently

We show our appreciation toward others in a wide variety of ways, often without realizing it. 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 give you a pat on the shoulder or a kiss 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. 

Again, you may need to ask your partner about the ways they prefer to show and receive appreciation. They might not be aware of their preferred method of expressing gratitude for the things you do. Or they may let you know that they haven’t felt comfortable showing it verbally. This can happen for many reasons. Personality, hereditary factors, and brain structure all contribute to a person’s ability to experience gratitude. 

Even if it takes time for your partner to show you appreciation in the way you prefer, you may feel better simply knowing that they’re acknowledging your efforts in their own way.  

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 when it comes to you 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 can manifest as your partner taking advantage of you, so learn to say no when you feel that 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. 

Know Your Value

Consistently acknowledging your own 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 a task you completed or help you provided to someone—say thank you to yourself, take a break, or treat yourself. You practice self-acceptance, on the other hand, when you value yourself regardless of validation. Take inventory of your strengths and think about about how they positively impact your life and the lives of others. This can help you be more confident and self-assured when it feels like you aren’t being appreciated by your partner. 

Practice Self-Care

Often, we feel gratitude from our partners when they care for us. If you feel unappreciated, self-care can help you provide that gratitude to yourself. You can practice self-care by doing things that nurture your body, mind, and soul. This can be anything from meditating and journaling to reading and getting a good night’s sleep. Consider creating daily routines that will help ensure you’re showing yourself the appreciation you deserve.   

You Deserve To Have A Healthy, Respectful Partnership

Navigating Relationship Concerns With Therapy

Studies show that online therapy is an effective method of addressing 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 can affect self-esteem and feelings of appreciation.  

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 through an online therapy platform like BetterHelp. With BetterHelp, you can connect with a licensed therapist from the comfort of home, through video call, voice call, or in-app messaging. BetterHelp has a team of providers who have wide-ranging areas of expertise, so you’ll have a good chance of matching with someone who knows how to address your specific concerns. A mental health professional can help you process complex emotions related to underappreciation and give you tips for ensuring you’re valued in your relationship. Read below for reviews of BetterHelp therapists from those who have experienced similar concerns. 

Therapist Reviews

"I've been working with Nicole for a year now. During that time I faced some of the toughest situations ever and she was there with me every step of the way. With her great advice and support, I saw the bigger picture and learned to appreciate myself more thanks to her empathetic approach. Always quick to respond to any message, always on time for sessions and always helpful. I'm absolutely sure that without her, I wouldn't have come as far as I did."

"Ruth has been amazing thus far, she helped me figure out how toxic and awful my relationship was and has supported me though the transition of finding myself again. I would highly recommend her to anyone. Extremely helpful, a wonderful listener and just all around great to talk to! Thank you Ruth."

Takeaway

You deserve to feel valued and empowered by the people in your life, especially your significant other. By communicating your feelings with your partner, setting boundaries, and showing gratitude to yourself, you can foster appreciation when you feel it’s missing. If you’d like support and advice when it comes to feeling unappreciated in a relationship or similar mental health concerns, know that help is available. A licensed therapist can help you take the next step in both your relationship and your mental wellness journey. 

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

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