Love

Why You're Not Getting Enough Attention In Your Relationship & How To Get Reassurance Without Being Needy

Photo: Getty Images / Serhii Yevdokymov, BooBoo Studio, and WomenPunch via Canva
couple staring at each other

When you aren't getting enough attention in your relationship, it can seem like everything and everyone else is far more interesting and important to your partner than you are. 

Your partner might have a demanding job, hefty responsibilities and other obligations competing for their attention. This can leave you feeling last on their priority list.

Understandably, this could also lead you to act overly needy, while the question remains: how do you tell them that you need more attention without seeming like "too much"?

RELATED: 5 Ways To Get Love & Appreciation In Your Relationship When It Feels Like You're Being Taken For Granted

When you're needy, you call or text your partner frequently, especially if you don't get an instant reply. You are hyper-aware of any mood changes in your partner and take it personally if he or she is grumpy and irritable. You might often ask questions like, “Is everything okay?” and “Do you love me?”

Then, your partner shuts down or ignores you even more than before. You wind up feeling more alone and unimportant.

Recognize it when you're feeling and acting overly needy in your relationship, and stop the needy spiral that only takes you further and further away from the kind of relationship you desire.

Why a lack of attention is problematic in relationships

Any imbalance in a relationship is bound to cause issues.

A lack of attention tends to signal to the other that they're being taken for granted, are no longer worthy of being made to feel loved and special, and that what they contribute to the relationship doesn't just go unacknowledged, but ignored altogether.

When one partner doesn't feel seen or cared for, this can cause even the most secure individuals to have doubts about the well-being of their relationship. They may start devoting more energy and affection to caring for their significant other, contributing to the existing lack of balance and tipping the scales even more.

When they see their efforts are in vain, it causes the opposite intended effect. Because, while it's healthy to have needs, what comes across as excessive neediness can push the other away more.

Why your partner may not be giving you attention

This is especially in common in long-term relationships and marriages that have been well-established, to the point where the offending party usually feels as though there's nothing threatening the security of their relationship.

Further, different expectations in terms of time commitment and showing effort, affection, and dedicated demonstrations of love change over the course of time, especially after a series of years.

While this may be a non-issue for one individual, it can negatively affect the other in deeply hurtful ways that naturally sew feelings of insecurity.

Something else to take into account is that your partner may not be able to be present for reasons rooted in deeper-seated issues. It could be family, trouble at work, or dealing with other personal issues they're not ready to talk about — if you push them to discuss this before they're comfortable with it, it could potentially cause the rift to become even wider.

RELATED: What Men Really Mean When They Say You're 'Too Needy'

4 Ways to get attention from your partner without being needy

1. Know what you want and need.

Identify what it is that you want in a relationship. Think in more general terms and consider the qualities you'd like to experience — or experience more often — with your love.

Acknowledge if some of these qualities are already alive in your relationship — this is a place to build from.

It's also important to distinguish your wants from what you need. Your needs are those non-negotiables that you won't compromise on. These are the things that might cause you to re-assess whether you'll stay or leave the relationship. Things like monogamy, honesty and respect might be on your list of non-negotiable needs.

Remember, some people's needs might look like other people's wants. The point here is to get clear about what the difference is for you.

2. Fulfill yourself.

When you feel needy, chances are there is something “off” or empty that you want taken care of. It's painful to be in this place and it's understandable that you look to your partner for comfort and support.

Be considerate of the fact that this can be a lot of pressure to put on your partner, especially when you factor in all the other commitments they're already preoccupied with.

When you feel unfulfilled, it's not only unfair to simply expect your partner to fix it for you — it's impossible. The most loving and attentive person in the world cannot make another person feel loved, special and fulfilled at all times — certainly not if that person doesn't already know how to feel that way on their own.

Start by taking back responsibility for your well-being and for how you feel. If you are dissatisfied or feel like your life (or self) is lacking in some way, look first to you for improvement.

Think about any habits, behaviors or activities that you've experienced in the past that have given you a sense of joy, fulfillment and love. If you keep drawing a blank, brainstorm a list and try to start experimenting.

You're probably not going to feel great instantaneously, but be on the lookout for when you do start to feel a little bit better.

RELATED: 18 Signs Your Partner Is Touch Starved & Needs More Affection

3. Say what you want.

It's undeniable that your partner's actions have a strong effect on your experience. It's possible that you are doing what you can to fulfill your own needs and you still feel ignored and unimportant.

Maybe it's the constant texting with friends or incessant social networking online, and your partner seems to spend more time focused on other people and things, rather than you. This hurts even if it isn't a conscious rejection.

Talk with your partner about these specific habits. Choose your words — and how you say them — thoughtfully and carefully. If you use an accusatory tone or outright blame them for not caring about you, or you assume there are ulterior motives at play, this isn't going to help.

Defensiveness, hostility and further distance likely aren't the kind of attention you're seeking (or lack thereof).

Instead, talk about what you do want. Give credit for what's already happening in your relationship that you do appreciate.

Make requests like, “Can we cuddle together on the couch in an hour?” or “Would you join me for a (phones off) walk this evening?” 

4. Be your own unique, attractive self.

In each moment, continue to tap into and really value what makes you uniquely you. The more authentically you live, the more attractive and interesting you'll be to all those around you. You'll also be happier, too!

Be aware of your partner and what's going on with him or her, but make your central focus about you. Support yourself in being confident and true to you.

We promise, this will make neediness a thing of the past!

RELATED: Are You Needy ... Or Is He Just Emotionally Unavailable?

Susie and Otto Collins are YourTango Experts and Certified Transformative Coaches who can help you move past stress, challenges, conflict and misunderstandings and into a life with love and possibilities

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