If you don’t feel seen and appreciated by your partner, these 6 habits may be why

Have you ever felt like your partner doesn’t see or appreciate you? It’s like you’re invisible in your own relationship. You’re giving it your heart and soul but it just seems like your partner doesn’t notice and they’re giving you nothing in return. 

When you feel like this, it’s easy to put all the blame on your partner like they’re 100% of the problem. But what if I told you that, some of your habits are contributing to the issue too? 

Here’s the thing: your partner is not a mind reader and sometimes they need a bit of help from you to understand what you need. 

It might seem tough to hear that you play a role in this, but actually, it’s a good thing. It means you have the power to make changes. Today, we’ll dive into 7 habits that could be part of the reason you’re feeling overlooked or undervalued by your partner.

If you can swap out some of these habits with more positive ones, chances are you’ll be feeling seen and appreciated in no time at all. 

Let’s dive in. 

1) Saying you’re fine when you’re not

You know when you’re really annoyed with your partner over something but when they ask “What’s up?” you just say “I’m fine.” We’ve all been there, right?

I get it, it’s hard to admit why you’re upset sometimes, especially if it feels silly to say it out loud. Being vulnerable like that is scary so it seems easier just to say you’re fine, keep to yourself for a while, and wait for the bad feelings to pass.

The problem is: if you don’t let your partner know what’s bothering you, they will keep making that same mistake over and over again. Sure, they know you’re upset but they don’t know if it’s because of something they said, or did, or something else entirely. 

Keeping your feelings bottled up isn’t good for you or your partner in the long run. It makes it very hard for them to make any positive changes that’ll help you to feel more seen. And it almost guarantees that you’ll continue to feel undervalued. 

Maybe it’s time to kick the habit of saying you’re fine when you’re not. Instead, open up, be vulnerable, and be honest about how you feel and what you need from your partner. It might be just what they need to make you feel more seen and appreciated. 

2) Always putting their needs first

Are you the kind of person who always puts your partner’s needs ahead of your own? 

Although this might seem like the loving thing to do in the short term, it’s sure to cause trouble for you and your relationship in the long run. You might be wondering why. 

Let me explain: when you put your partner’s needs before your own it often sounds like “I don’t mind, you choose” or “I’m happy to go with whatever you want”. After a while, this becomes the norm. 

When you don’t express your wants or needs your partner gets used to always getting their way. They forget to even ask what you want or need because the answer is always the same, “I don’t mind.”

The truth is you probably do have a preference at least some of the time, and it’s up to you to speak up and ask for what you need. It doesn’t mean you’ll always get your way but things will be balanced, and you’ll both have your needs met which is key to feeling seen.

Next time you notice your partner is having their needs met and you’re not, break the habit of always putting them first, speak up, and let them know what’s best for you at that moment. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll feel seen and appreciated. 

3) Talking about your partner instead of to them

One of the most damaging habits you can develop in a relationship is to talk to other people about your relationship troubles and frustrations instead of directly to your partner.

You know how it goes, you’re feeling underappreciated but instead of sitting your partner down and talking to them about it, you talk to your friends or family. It’s easier to vent your frustrations outside of the relationship for sure, but really, what good does that do?

Research suggests that “sharing information with friends in some cases may harm the relationship. Therefore, when you have a problem, it is best to go to the source and discuss it with your partner/spouse.” notes marriage and family therapist Marisa T. Cohen Ph.D., LMFT.

If you want to feel more seen and appreciated by your partner you’ve got to turn inwards towards them and talk to them when issues pop up. 

It doesn’t have to be a big thing, just a quick chat to let them know what they’re doing that’s making you feel underappreciated. Then it’s up to them to make a change or not. 

4) Being available to your partner 24/7

relationship is holding you back If you don’t feel seen and appreciated by your partner, these 6 habits may be why

Once the dating phase is over, the time for playing hard to get has passed, right? 

You and your partner are there for each other, supporting one another and spending lots of time together. That doesn’t mean that you have to be available to them 24/7. It’s ok to let them miss you just a little.

Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t about playing childish games. It’s just that sometimes, people fall into this comfortable pattern of taking you for granted because you’re always available. They forget to appreciate what they’ve got until it’s gone. 

Relationship expert Esther Perel talks about how “desire needs space” and how creating distance fuels desire and attraction. Through her research, she’s found people are most drawn to their partners “when she is away, when we are apart, when we reunite.”

Why not try mixing things up a bit? Instead of always being available for your partner, make some plans with other friends occasionally. Join a club or sign up for a weekly class. It sounds strange but creating some distance allows your partner to see and appreciate you more. 

After all, you know what they say “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

5) Focusing on the negative 

Did you know that as humans, through something called confirmation bias, we look for evidence to support our pre-existing beliefs? It’s like if you believe your partner doesn’t value you, you might only notice things that prove you’re right, and miss out on signs that they do care.

Have you been guilty of this without even realizing it? 

A friend of mine, Sasha found herself in this situation recently. She felt as though her husband didn’t care about her or appreciate her. When Valentine’s Day came around she was convinced he wouldn’t even get her a card. To her surprise, he did. 

But it still wasn’t good enough. He bought a cheap and generic card from a service station instead of a heartfelt card. Some might say it’s the thought that counts but Sasha was so focused on the negative, she viewed the ‘cheap’ card as confirmation he didn’t appreciate her.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of focusing on the negatives like Sasha and piling up more and more evidence against your partner that they don’t see you or appreciate you. But what good does that do for anyone? 

From now on why not try this instead; look for proof that your partner appreciates you and acknowledge it when you see it. Positive reinforcement like this goes a long way in encouraging them to do it more. 

6) Failing to set a positive example

You know that quote “Be the change you want to see in the world”? Why not be the change you want to see in your relationship instead?

If you want to feel seen by your partner, ask yourself how can you make them feel seen. If you wish your partner would appreciate you more think about ways to make them feel appreciated

You’ve probably heard of ‘giving someone a taste of their own medicine’ so how about doing that in a positive way? I’ve seen firsthand that when couples behave how they want their partner to, amazing things can happen. 

It might sound a little crazy but what have you got to lose? Make a habit of treating your partner how you wish they’d treat you and see if you can inspire them to do the same. 

Final thoughts

Be truthful, how many of these habits sound familiar to you? 

While changing some habits can help, remember that relationship issues are usually a two-way street, with both partners playing a role. Solving these issues requires both of you to come together and work as a team.

Begin by examining your own behaviors, but also make sure to communicate with your partner and let them know what you expect from them. 

Picture of Cat Harper

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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