What To Do When You Feel Unappreciated By Your Partner

Medically reviewed by Kimberly L Brownridge , LPC, NCC, BCPC
Updated March 15, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

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.

You Deserve To Have A Healthy, Respectful Partnership

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. 

Model Appreciation

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. 

Practice Self-Care

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.   

You Deserve To Have A Healthy, Respectful Partnership

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. 


By communicating your feelings with your partner, setting boundaries, and showing gratitude to yourself, you may foster appreciation when it seems to be missing. 

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. 

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