8 behaviors of men who secretly feel unappreciated, according to psychology

Feeling unappreciated takes a toll on your mental and emotional well-being.

Yet, it can be a struggle that goes unnoticed, especially among men who have difficulty expressing their emotions openly.

Do you suspect that might be the case with a loved one who’s been sulking lately? 

While you can’t read his mind, there are subtle warning signs that spell trouble.

Here are 8 behaviors of men who secretly feel unappreciated, according to psychology.

It’s time you paid attention to the little things.

1) Increased irritability

Men who feel unappreciated may exhibit irritability.

In other words, they become easily annoyed or angered by seemingly minor issues.

They are often socialized to suppress their emotions and appear stoic.

As a result, frustration builds up over time, leading to increased irritability as they struggle to cope with unaddressed emotions.

According to psychology, bitterness is a likely consequence of feeling invalidated in one too many situations and relationships.

And expressing said bitterness through anger is not out of the question.

Rather than confronting his underlying emotions directly, a man may deflect them by lashing out or becoming annoyed by minor stressors.

If a loved one suddenly becomes triggered by things that didn’t use to affect him much, you have a potential diagnosis.

2) Passive-aggressiveness

On a similar note, men may express their frustration about being unappreciated by becoming passive-aggressive.

Passive-aggressive behavior manifests in various ways, depending on the person:

  • The man withdraws and gives others the silent treatment, refusing to engage in conversation or communicate his needs
  • He delays or avoids completing tasks 
  • He uses sarcasm or mocking to dismiss the efforts of others whom he feels don’t appreciate him
  • He plays the victim and suggests that the universe is against him because no one applauds his hard work

This type of behavior is extremely unproductive.

If you don’t address it, the man will likely continue to sulk rather than be open about his resentment.

An honest conversation is definitely in order.

3) Emotional distancing

Whenever I feel taken for granted by someone, I slowly but steadily lose interest in maintaining that relationship.

For instance, if I notice that I’m the one always reaching out to a friend and they don’t reciprocate, I stop reaching out.  

If I’m in a relationship with someone and he shows zero signs of appreciation for having me around, I distance myself.

Would it be healthier to speak out about my concerns? Very much so.

But I have trouble expressing myself on occasion – and I know from experience that many men function the same way.

Psychologists point out that, for some, being emotionally detached is a coping mechanism.

They’re afraid of being hurt, so they create emotional distance to protect themselves.  

If a man secretly feels unappreciated, he may withdraw from the relationships that feel one-sided to him.

That brings us to the next point on the list.

4) Lack of enthusiasm

When a man thinks he’s being taken for granted, he can lose interest in activities he used to cherish.

Feeling unappreciated erodes his sense of purpose and commitment.

If he feels like his contributions at work go unnoticed, a man who was once passionate about his career may become disillusioned and lose interest in excelling in his field.

If he feels unappreciated in his friendships, a man who used to enjoy attending group outings may start declining invitations and spending evenings at home, alone.

And if he feels snubbed by his significant other, a man who used to be proactive about planning date nights may become indifferent to spending quality time together.

You get the idea.

5) Escapist behavior

pic man eating 8 behaviors of men who secretly feel unappreciated, according to psychology

According to psychology, escapism is generally defined as a desire or behavior to evade reality.

Consequently, it can take many shapes and forms.

Men who feel unappreciated may want to bury these negative emotions at first or ignore them, so they begin to devote more time to activities that offer distraction or relief.

For instance:

  • They rely on entertainment such as movies or video games as a way to temporarily forget about their feelings of unappreciation
  • They throw themselves into their careers, taking on extra projects or working long hours
  • They turn to substance use, such as alcohol or drugs, as a means of numbing their emotions and escaping from reality
  • They engage in high-risk activities or extreme sports which provide an adrenaline rush and a sense of excitement

While we all need escapism now and then to stay sane, losing ourselves in miscellaneous activities isn’t the answer to our problems.

Dealing with them directly is.

Something to remind the struggling man in your life.

6) Decreased self-care

Men who feel unappreciated may begin to neglect self-care habits.

Grooming. Exercise. Healthy eating. Stuff like that.

It’s easy to figure out why.

Feeling unappreciated can diminish your motivation to invest in yourself.

When a man perceives that his efforts are going unacknowledged, he can struggle to find the motivation to prioritize his well-being.

If others don’t even notice how hard you’re working to improve, what’s the point?

Plus, feeling unappreciated can erode a man’s confidence.

He may internalize the belief that he doesn’t deserve care and attention, leading to neglect of self-care habits as a form of punishment or resignation.

If this neglect goes on for long enough, it can turn into apathy.

Psychologists warn that persistent apathy affects not only relationships but everyday life and overall well-being, too.

Help your loved one snap out of his rut before it becomes a problem.

7) Need for external validation

Men who feel unappreciated by loved ones may seek validation from external sources such as social media or material possessions.

They do so to compensate for the lack of recognition in their personal life.

A man who feels unappreciated in his relationship may post frequent social media updates showcasing his achievements to garner attention from his followers – attention he isn’t receiving from his boo.

Or, he might indulge in retail therapy, purchasing luxury items as a way to fill the void swallowing his heart.

The problem?

External validation only provides temporary relief.

He’ll have to address the source of his frustration sooner or later.

8) Loss of interest in physical intimacy

Speaking of relationships, a man who feels unappreciated by his partner can experience a decrease in libido and interest in sexual intimacy.

When he feels disconnected from his partner, it’s more difficult to engage in physical intimacy.

Psychologists found there can be many reasons why partners stop having sex over time, including stress and aging.

Even so, unresolved issues take a prominent spot on the list.

If a man is resentful because his boo doesn’t appreciate him, the emotional strain dampens his desire for intimacy.

Have your efforts to seduce your partner been met with coldness lately?

This might be why.

Bottom line

No one likes to be taken for granted.

If a loved one feels unappreciated, create a safe space where he can articulate his frustration.

Offer to listen to his complaints and express gratitude for his efforts and contributions.

An honest conversation will go a long way toward easing his worries and reminding him that you value having him in your life.

Picture of Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Pleșa is a freelance writer obsessed with television, self-development, and thriller books. Former journalist, current pop culture junkie. Follow her on Twitter: @alexandraplesa

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