5 Immediate Steps To Take When You're Being Taken For Granted In A Relationship

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woman cuddling with man

Have you ever felt like no matter what you do for someone, they don’t appreciate it?

Maybe you had a great relationship at one point, but things have sort of slid toward the dark side.

Feeling taken for granted can absolutely destroy a relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes as we live our busy lives we stop showing our partners how much we care for them.

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Here’s five immediate steps to take when you're being taken for granted in a relationship:

1. Depersonalize the situation

Work on this from the stance that they’re on your side and actually want to make you happy but — for whatever reason — can’t. That's a much more fixable situation than if you decide they don’t love you or care about your happiness anymore.

Often you experience a lack of appreciation in your relationship not because the other person doesn’t appreciate you, but because both people are busy, comfortable, and/or aren't great at showing their feelings.

You often put the people closest to you through the most grief because you think, They already know how I feel. Not so.

That’s why it’s important to take a step back and think about the other circumstances in your life.

Are you busy? Have you and your partner been using your time and energy to invest in your relationship?

All these circumstantial things can result in both of you neglecting to take the time to acknowledge the other person’s efforts.

Obviously, there’s a big difference between they're “so busy their head could spin,” and “don’t care about you anymore.”

It’s important not to take it personally when circumstances aren’t ideal.

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2. Think about your own behavior

When you want something in your relationship, sometimes it works well to mirror the thing you want to receive. If you want your partner to say thank you, make sure that you’re saying it yourself.

Don’t fall into the trap of withholding your own appreciation because the other person has made you feel unappreciated.

Remember that you can’t get what you need by denying someone else what they need. Make sure you’re noticing the things that your partner does for you and going out of your way to mention it and draw attention to how much it means to you.

People often rise to your idealized treatment of them, but this cuts both ways. If you expect them to act shabbily toward you, you’ll often find ways to back up your expectations.

I’m not saying to start trying too hard, I’m suggesting you make sure you’re showing them your own appreciation by verbalizing it out loud.

Sometimes when you’re lacking in your relationship, you fail to recognize that you aren’t putting out what you want to receive — potentially because you’re clueless, but also sometimes because you’re keeping score.

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3. Don't get stuck in bitterness

It’s so easy to get jaded in your relationship when it feels like things aren’t going well.

Unfortunately, when you allow it, bitterness creates a spiral where your partner stops doing things for you because you react bitterly, then they pull back more, and more bitterness results from that.

Sooner or later, this gets out of hand, and eventually, both people feel disheartened about the future.

Recognize when you’re hurt and angry because when you ignore those feelings, the resulting bitterness will drive the other person even further away.

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4. Discuss the problem — gently

Sometimes you get ideas about your relationship and don’t actually tell your partner, hoping they can read your mind. After all, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, right?

So if you’re upset and you don’t address it — unless they’re a talented psychic — the problem will continue.

When you decide to bring it up, sometimes a simple bid for reassurance can do the trick.

Something like, “I’ve noticed that you’re super busy lately, but it would really mean a lot to me if you told me more often you like things about what I’m doing for us. I don’t always know that you’re happy. I could use a little more attention.”

That sounds raw and honest because it is. It’s also not a listing of your partner’s failings or an indictment of their character. It’s a statement about what you need.

Remember that it’s easier to get what you want from your partner when you actually tell them what you want.

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5. Decide if the relationship is fixable

After doing the other things on this list, give it a little time to see if things improve. If you’re still feeling vastly under-appreciated, consider whether this can continue to go on, or if you’re willing to walk away from it.

Do you see things improving given your efforts?

Is this relatively minor or do you sense that you’ve chosen someone too selfish to acknowledge your needs and give you the kind of relationship you want?

If it’s the latter, staying is your choice, but recognize that they probably aren’t going to change.

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Elizabeth Stone is an author, dating coach, and personal development coach who helps women restore themselves in order to improve their relationships.