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. When someone is being neglected it may feel like the person who is neglecting you is saying, "You are not important enough to me to waste my energy on." This has the potential to make you feel sad, lonely, and even depressed. Remember when someone you love is neglecting you, these feelings are a normal response. Many people have gone through a similar struggle and have recovered from this relationship rough patch.
Neglect in a Relationship
Neglect can creep into any relationship over time. When two people are together for an extended length of time, it is completely normal for them to take one another for granted. One gets used to the other person being around; they stop dressing up for each other and going on dates, and sometimes they prefer going out with friends as opposed to spending time together. It is completely natural for relationships to go down that route; however, this can be extremely dangerous for the couple, if the feelings of neglect are not disclosed or dealt with. There are some things you can do on your own, with your partner, or even with outside help to address the problem and move forward.
How to Address the Issues of Feeling Neglected
It is important to step back and view the situation as a whole. It can be helpful to understand that many small changes from both partners occurred over a period of time- leading to the current situation. We also 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. In a relationship both partners have the shared responsibility to address current issues in the relationship, and when a breakdown occurs, one of them must step up and begin to take healthy action. Here are some approaches to begin addressing this issue.
The most important thing to do is communicate. Communication is fundamental to healthy relationships. Without it, we are working with inaccurate beliefs about each other- making it entirely possible for hostility, confusion, resentment, or apathy to present itself. Prepare your thoughts, sit your partner down, and let them know that you have been feeling neglected and would like to discuss ways to address this issue.
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.
1. 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, practice using positive words when speaking with your partner. This may sound like a difficult thing to do when talking about hurt feelings, but it promotes productive and mutual problem-solving.
2. Sharing Your Emotions
Many people are just not good at sharing their emotions. Maybe they grew up in a home where emotions weren't discussed, or they were teased when they tried to share. Social or cultural obstacles may arise. For instance, men may be hesitant to share feelings, as they may perceive vulnerability as a sign of weakness. It is important to keep in mind that even though obstacles may rise, telling your partner how you feel is the only way they will know the dissatisfaction you are experiencing. 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 listening without interruption. The goal is to better understand your partner's feelings- even if you don't agree with them.
3. Active Listening
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. If the other person is not listening, it is like talking to a wall. You may think you are listening, but many people just grasp onto the first few words that are said; from there, 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.
4. Gratitude Lists
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 a majority 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.
5. Think Rationally
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 behaviors. Their neglect will continue regardless of whether you enjoy your day at work or not, so being mindful of what you can control may help you regain a sense of manageability over your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
6. 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. It's important to try to do your best to understand things 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. Relationships go through ups and downs. People sometimes go through personal struggles that take time to get through, too. Give your partner a little 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 actually need your love and support to get through something that they're having a hard time with. If you truly love your significant other, then you'll definitely want to be there for them even if you're feeling frustrated by their attitude or actions as of late.
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 guidance to uncover the underlying issues in your relationship.
You don't have to feel like you're alone in life. Being neglected in your relationship can be difficult, but know that things can improve. Don't hesitate to reach out to dedicated online therapists who can help you. Your relationship can get better, and you can live a life that is full of love once more. Take the first step today.