What To Do When You’re Feeling Neglected
Feeling neglected is one of the most disheartening feelings in the world. In many cases, it is even worse than being disliked because it is simply a person's passive response to your existence. The person who is neglecting you is saying, "You are not important enough to me to waste my energy on."
Neglect can creep into a relationship as the years go by. When two people are together for an extended length of time, it is completely normal for them to take the other's presence for granted. The other person is always there, they stop dressing up for each other, they favor going out with their friends as opposed to spending time together. It is completely natural for relationships to go down that route, and unfortunately, it is also the main reason why relationships end.
Nobody Can "Make" You Feel Anything
Sometimes, the neglect you are feeling is coming from something going on inside of you and has nothing at all to do with your partner. Maybe you are depressed or have a hormonal imbalance that is causing you to feel more sensitive than usual. However, your feelings are always valid and should be talked about even if they are not due to something your partner is doing wrong. In fact, talking to your partner about the feelings you are having can do nothing but strengthen your relationship no matter what is going on.
Be sure you do not accuse your partner of "making" you feel neglected. You should start out by saying, "lately, I have been feeling neglected" and continue by explaining that you do not believe they are the cause. This works even if you do think they are the cause. You just never want to start out a discussion by accusing your partner of doing something wrong because everything after that will fall on deaf (defensive, angry) ears.
How to Address the Issues of Feeling Neglected
It is important to step back and take a look at the situation as a whole. Do not simply assume that because your partner is disinterested in you that it is entirely their problem. That will not benefit either of you. Instead, first take a look at your own actions to make sure there is nothing you could have done to cause this. If you have done something wrong, it was likely to have been caused inadvertently by yourself. It happens all the time. We say convoluted things which our partner misinterprets and it evolves into a huge problem instead of being taken as the misunderstanding it should have been. Such problems are simply a breakdown of communication.
As evident in the previous point, communication is the backbone to a healthy relationship. Without it, we are working with inaccurate beliefs about each other, making it entirely possible for hostility to present itself. Sit your partner down and ask them outright. When they are confronted with the repercussions of their actions they are more likely to be honest about what is upsetting them.
There are some communication exercises that relationship experts use in therapy that can help you and your partner discuss what is going on in your relationship. Some of these exercises include positive language exercises, sharing your emotions, active listening, and gratitude lists.
Positive Language Exercises
This is simply using positive language to talk to your partner no matter what you are talking about. Even if you feel like calling your partner a name or yelling at him or her, you should use extremely positive words like awesome, sweet, lovable, etc. This may sound like a silly thing to do but it is just like smiling when you are sad. It really works most of the time. Not all the time. But, most of the time.
Sharing Your Emotions
Many people are just not good at sharing their emotions. Maybe they grew up in a home where nobody shared their feelings or they were made fun of when they tried to share. This is a big problem for men who have been taught that sharing their feelings makes them less manly. But, telling your partner how you feel is the only way they will know because nobody can read your mind no matter how close you are or how long you have known each other. This exercise starts out with one of you saying "I feel…" and then filling in the blank with how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. You take turns telling your feelings and make sure you discuss why you are feeling that way so your partner does not think you are accusing them.
Communication is one of the most important parts of your relationship and if you are not listening to each other, this communication is not going to do either of you any good. It is like talking to the wall if the other person is not listening. You may think you are listening but many people just grasp onto the first few words that are said and then they are either preparing what they will say or they are just waiting for their turn to speak. To be an active listener, you have to focus on everything your partner is saying and try to think about it from their point of view. Also, when you are the one doing the speaking, stick to one point or thought rather than jumping from one thing to another.
How much does your partner really do for you? You probably have no idea of some of the things he or she actually does that benefits you. We tend to take our partners for granted and all of those things that they do get overlooked much of the time. Does your partner pick up your wet towels off the bathroom floor every day without complaining? Or, maybe your partner makes sure that your favorite television series gets recorded every week even when you forget. Yes, these may seem like small and silly things, but they make your life just a little bit better, right? This exercise includes writing down all of those things you are grateful for that your partner does, or does not do. Like leaving the toilet seat up or not putting the cap back on the toothpaste.
Even though they are your significant other, you cannot directly control their actions. There is a limit to how much influence you can have over a person, and if your efforts are still resulting in their indifference towards you then try to not let them affect your day-to-day goings on, however that hard might be. Their neglect will continue regardless of whether you enjoy your day at work or not, so you might as well enjoy your life outside of your partner as much as possible.
Look at Things Through Their Eyes
It is possible that your partner's neglect is not related to you in any way. Their disregard for you may just be a byproduct of another issue they are currently dealing with. Maybe they are feeling under the weather mentally or physically, or they may be busy with work, or suffering with a family problem.
Know When to Get Help
If you are constantly feeling neglected and you do not seem to be getting anywhere with communication, maybe you should see a couples counselor. Sometimes, when you are having issues and you cannot work it out on your own, having a therapist be your mediator can be a big help. If you are too busy or live too far from town, online therapy is a good option for you. The both of you do not even have to be in the same room. In fact, sometimes, this can be even better. However, it is best to try to be together during therapy and learn how to communicate with each other.
Knowing When to Let Go
Sometimes, no matter how hard you both try, the relationship is just not working. If you are putting so much time and energy into trying to make something work and you are still miserable after getting help, it may be time to let go. Just taking a short break from each other may be all you need to realize what you are missing. Other times, it is better to go your separate ways. Doing this may even help you get along better and you can start over as friends. Who knows? Maybe you can rekindle things later on down the line.
Before you decide to take drastic measures and end your relationship, consider all of the above and take the necessary steps to address the problems at hand. There is a very good chance you will be able to build a stronger bond with your partner as a result. If you are still feeling neglected after attempting to resolve your issues, it is useful to seek professional help guidance in order to uncover the underlying issues in your relationship.