What To Do When You’re Feeling Neglected In Your Relationship

Medically reviewed by Dr. April Brewer, DBH, LPC
Updated February 22, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

It can be disheartening when it seems as though your partner isn’t giving you the time and attention you feel you deserve. Neglect can occur for a variety of reasons, and it has the potential to create a significant rift in a relationship. For those who are feeling disregarded by their partner, it can be helpful to know how to address the situation. In this article, we’re going to discuss neglect in relationships and how you can find solutions for this challenge so that you feel cared for and valued.   

Relationships can be challenging

An overview of neglect in relationships

Neglect can occur in any relationship over time. Even in healthy, long-term relationships, it is common for both partners to feel disregarded by one another. When two people are together for an extended period, they may begin to take one another for granted. Perhaps they get used to the other person being around; they may stop making extra efforts for their partner or expressing affection as readily. 

While it’s a natural tendency for many couples to interact differently over time, it’s also important for partners to show each other that they are valued and appreciated. If you’re feeling neglected in your relationship, there are several things you can do on your own, with your partner, or even with outside help to address the problem and move forward. 

One of the most common forms of neglect in a relationship is emotional neglect. Emotional neglect occurs when one partner feels that their emotional needs aren’t being met. Perhaps their partner has stopped showing affection, expressing their feelings, or giving their time as freely. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, sadness, and frustration. 

What to do if you feel neglected

If neglect is occurring in your partnership, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your partner has stopped caring about you. There may have been many small changes that took place and led you to this current situation. By taking a direct but empathetic approach, you can communicate your concerns and find a solution. The following are tips for addressing neglect in your relationship.  


Perhaps the most important thing you can do when you feel neglected in a relationship is to communicate with your partner. Communication is fundamental to healthy relationships. Without it, you and your partner could be working with inaccurate beliefs about each other.

This can allow negative feelings like hostility, confusion, resentment, or apathy to present themselves. Consider preparing your thoughts, sitting your partner down, and letting them know that you have been feeling neglected and would like to discuss ways to address this issue.

There are several communication exercises that relationship experts use to facilitate a productive dialogue between partners. The following techniques can help you and your partner discuss neglect in your relationship. 

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Use “I” statements

Practice using constructive, first-person language when speaking with your partner. You can do this by using “I” statements. For example, instead of saying, “You never want to participate in activities I enjoy”, try saying, “I feel that we don’t participate in common activities as often as we once did”.

Active listening 

Listening is one of the most important parts of effective communication. Active listening can help you understand your partner’s point of view and find ways of compromising. Sometimes, people may think they are listening when really they are merely grasping onto the first few words that are said and then preparing what they will say, or just waiting for their turn to speak. To be an active listener, you must focus on everything your partner is saying and try to think about the situation from their perspective. It can also help to ask follow-up questions and summarize their main points. Then, you may be given a chance to respond. 

Express your gratitude

If you make it clear that you appreciate your partner, they may be more inclined to do the same. We sometimes take our partners for granted, and all the little things they do may get overlooked. Perhaps your partner picks up your wet towels off the bathroom floor every day; or maybe they make sure that your favorite television series gets recorded every week. 

Consider making gratitude lists to better recognize the efforts you and your partner put in. This can include writing down all those things your partner does that you are grateful for. Research suggests that couples who practice gratitude regularly may be better able to navigate challenging situations, such as feelings of neglect.

Relationships can be challenging

Look at the situation from their perspective

It is possible that your partner's neglect is not related to you in any way. Their actions may just be a byproduct of another issue they are currently dealing with. Maybe they are experiencing mental or physical health concerns; or maybe they’re busy with work or grappling with a family problem. Regardless, it can be important to try to understand the situation from their perspective.

They might not be giving you as much time as you are used to. This doesn't necessarily mean that things will stay like this forever, though. Relationships can go through ups and downs. People sometimes go through personal struggles that take time to pass. Consider giving your partner a bit of time if they haven't been attentive lately. Don't be afraid to ask them about what is going on, though. They might need your love and support to get through something that they're having a hard time with. 

Knowing when to let go

Sometimes, no matter how hard you both try, the relationship may not be working. If your partner still seems not to value you after you’ve attempted to address the issue, it may be time for you to move on. If you are putting so much time and energy into trying to make something work and you are still not seeing results, you may want to ask for a break or part ways completely. 

Before you decide to take steps to end the relationship, consider all of the above tips and try to take the necessary steps to address the problems at hand. There could be a chance you will build a stronger bond with your partner as a result. 

Additionally, it may be beneficial to reach out to your support network. Family members, friends, a support group, or a mental health professional can provide you with guidance, care, and compassion. Additionally, a mental health provider can help you address other concerns in your relationship. A therapist may have suggestions, treatments, or other resources like at-home exercises or related readings, depending on your specific needs.

How online therapy can help

If you are feeling consistently neglected and seem to be at an impasse, consider working with a couples therapist. Sometimes, having an unbiased third person lends perspective to complex situations. 

The results of an increasingly large number of studies point to the efficacy of online therapy for couples seeking counseling. For example, researchers in a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that online therapy was as effective for couples as in-person counseling in terms of increasing relationship satisfaction, improving mental health, and forming a strong therapeutic alliance. The study also notes the ability of online therapy platforms to circumvent geographical barriers to treatment.

Online therapy is a convenient way for you to address relationship challenges. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp (for individuals) or ReGain (for couples), you can work with a therapist remotely, allowing you and your partner to participate in counseling even if you aren’t in the same area. BetterHelp and ReGain work with thousands of mental health professionals—who have widely varying specialties—so you’ll have a good chance of connecting with someone who can address your specific concerns regarding neglect, communication, or other topics. Continue reading for reviews of BetterHelp therapists from those who have sought help for similar challenges in the past. 

Therapy reviews

"Erin really helps me set goals for communication, and it's really crazy how much it's improved the communication in my marriage. She also asks me every week what I'd like to work on, so it's just really great to be able to decide and then to put it into action. Without her, I wouldn't even know where to start."

"Stephanie is a gem! She's very thoughtful, thorough, honest, insightful but most of all helpful. This is coming from a person that never wanted to do counseling and just "knew" I didn't need it. She's been key in helping my wife and I find our better place. She made us grow as a couple and individually. Thanks Steph!"


It can be hard when you feel as though your partner is disregarding you. But by broaching the issue with your partner and working with them to find solutions, you can ensure you’re receiving the compassion and care you deserve. If you’d like further guidance as you navigate the emotional challenges associated with feeling neglected, consider connecting with a licensed therapist online. With the right support, you can focus on your own mental well-being while nurturing a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship.
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