7 Signs Of Emotional Neglect In A Relationship

Being in a relationship is not just about calling someone “your partner” and being with them physically. To really get connected with someone on a higher level, you need to make an emotional connection with them. Unfortunately, some relationships are not so fulfilling at this level. When your partner doesn’t respond to your emotional needs, your relationship becomes emotionally neglectful. 

If you feel unhappy in your relationship and think there could be something wrong, feel free to keep reading about 7 signs of emotional neglect in a relationship.

1. You feel like they’re not there for you

When you’re dating someone, you should feel like they’re the ones you turn to when something’s bothering you. But do you feel that way with them? Or do you feel like you’re left on your own to handle things alone, because talking to them feels like you’re bothering them? If you’re emotionally neglected in your relationship, you may feel like you don’t have their support at all. You may be sitting next to them, but you’re more lonely than you’ve ever been.

2. They react angrily when you initiate conversation

Sometimes you probably want to talk to them about some topics that are a bit more serious than “how was your day”. Maybe you feel like you want to tell them that something’s been bothering you about your relationship. What is their reaction when you try to initiate that conversation? Are they ready to listen or they shut you down? Maybe they get angry and annoyed, telling you to stop bringing it up, or maybe they try to postpone the conversation for the next day. And when the next day comes, they conveniently forget about it.

3. You’re losing your self esteem

While you’re next to your partner, you should feel beautiful, safe and loved.  But if you’re emotionally neglected, you may feel completely opposite. Since your partner fails to show any interest towards you, you may feel like you’re not so worthy of love and attention. You keep wondering if it’s your fault that your relationship is unfulfilling, and as the time goes on, your self esteem shreds to pieces.

4. You think they’d rather spend time with someone else

When was the last time you went out on a date? Or the last time you did some fun activities together? If you’re having trouble remembering the time you had fun together, or if it was a long time ago, it could mean spending time with you is not their first priority. In an emotionally neglectful relationship, your partner may prefer going out with their friends rather than be in your presence. Or maybe they’d rather play video games or watch movies alone. While it’s totally normal for them to have alone time or the time for their friends, they should be equally interested in spending time with you, too.

5. You’re bottling up your emotions

If your emotions are being neglected, it wouldn’t be surprising if you started bottling them up. Instead of expressing what you feel, you may keep it all to yourself, which could make your emotional state even worse. You could lay in bed at night and fantasize about being able to talk to your partner. And even if sometimes you start feeling like you just can’t take it anymore, you still might keep it to yourself because at this point you’re too scared you’d bother them with your problems.

6. You’re not intimate anymore

Did you have a burning passion between you when you first started dating, but now you feel like there’s not even a spark left? If you’re emotionally neglected in your relationship, intimacy could be the last thing on your partner’s mind. You barely kiss, touch, cuddle or have sex anymore. If you ask them about it, they might find some generic excuses such as “I’m just too tired” or “I’m not in the mood at the moment, let’s try some other time”. And while you’re happy to respect their boundaries, you can’t help but feel touch-starved, unloved and unattractive.

7. They invalidate you

How often did you hear them say these phrases:

“You’re overreacting!”
“I don’t understand why you’re upset about this!”
“It’s really not such a big deal!”

Sentences like these could be another sign your partner is not so emotionally invested in your relationship. Instead of trying to understand you, they might just brush off or invalidate your feelings. They could also be so invested in themselves that they simply can’t understand your point of view. This could make you feel like your emotions are wrong and wishing you could just simply shut off your feelings.

Closing thoughts

Do you see some of these signs in your partner?

If you do, you’re probably wondering what to do. There are some small steps you could try taking to help you deal with the situation better.

  • Try to find out the cause of the problem. Why are they acting this way? Is it you, them, or is something happening in their life?
  • Be honest with yourself. Admitting to yourself that you’re unhappy in your relationship is hard, but it’s an important step towards healing.
  • Consider therapy. A professional could help you gain insight into your relationship and your expectations. They could also help you deal with your feelings.

Hopefully, in some way, you will manage to take care of yourself, even without your partner’s help. Stay strong!

Thank you for reading!
Written by:
Stela Košić

References:

  • Steber, C. (2021, June 24). 17 Habits That Show Your Partner May Be Emotionally Neglecting You. Bustle. https://www.bustle.com/wellness/habits-that-show-your-partner-may-be-emotionally-neglecting-you
  • Uniacke, K. (2021, November 24). 14 Signs Of Emotional Neglect In A Relationship. A Conscious Rethink. https://www.aconsciousrethink.com/14549/emotional-neglect-in-a-relationship/
  • Webb, J. (2022, January 9). 10 Signs of Emotional Neglect in a Relationship. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/childhood-emotional-neglect/202201/10-signs-emotional-neglect-in-relationship

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