Humans have complex emotional needs and when we are in a relationship with someone it is very important that these needs are met.
Emotional neglect can be difficult to spot in a relationship or marriage, but it can also be very damaging.
We can all feel that our emotional needs are being neglected at times, but it becomes a significant problem when it happens consistently.
Not only can it affect your relationship, but it can also damage your self-esteem.
Here's an insight into what emotional neglect is in the context of a romantic relationship, how to recognize it, and what to do about it.
Talk to a certified and experienced relationship coach who will help you deal with emotional neglect in your relationship while working to improve things with your partner. You might want to trytalk to someone through RelationshipHero.comfor insightful, specific, and truly insightful relationship advice at its most convenient.
What Does Emotional Neglect Really Mean?
Emotional neglect is a concept we hear more in parent-child relationships than in romantic relationships or marriages.
But that doesn't mean it can't be a big problem between romantic partners.
Emotional neglect occurs when a partner or spouse consistently disregards the other person's feelings or actively ignores those feelings or emotions. It is a failure to respond appropriately to a partner's emotional needs.
Emotional abuse can be difficult to identify because it's intangible, but it involves at least some type of negative action. Emotional neglect, on the other hand, is about complete inaction.
Have you ever heard someone complain about their partner being emotionally unavailable?
When someone is emotionally neglecting a partner, it can feel like they have their walls up all the time. They don't take notice of their partner's feelings and definitely don't do anything about it.
If you don't have the emotional connection with your partner or spouse that you would like to have, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what you are doing or not doing that is making you feel that way.
But that doesn't mean it doesn't affect you. It can make you feel unloved and take a toll on your self-esteem. Not being noticed sends you the message that your feelings and needs just don't matter.
Because emotional neglect is so difficult to identify, we've put together some signs to help you spot it if it's present in your relationship or marriage.
14 signs of emotional neglect in a relationship
1. You are always the center of attention.
Your life and needs are always the focus. They don't recognize their accomplishments or bad days, but they expect you to celebrate them or show them sympathy.
You are the center of your own world and you feel like a sideshow.
2. They're not the first person you want to tell.
You get good news or bad news and your first instinct is to tell it... your best friend or your mother or your brother or whoever it is.
Your partner or spouse isn't the first person you want to tell because you know you won't get the response you hoped for or the support you need.
3. You feel like you're on your own in the relationship.
Your overwhelming feeling is that there is really only one of you in this relationship. That they are not really present at all.
You don't feel like you have their support or that they care about making the relationship or marriage work.
You can't shake the feeling of loneliness even when they are right next to you.
4. They shut down when you try to talk to them.
If you try to talk to them about issues in your relationship, just shut them up.
They'll shut down, just ignore you, or even leave the room if you try to discuss any issues or your future together.
They don't argue with you, that would just be too exhausting and would mean that you both would then have to resolve the conflict.
5. They treat you dumb.
If they are angry with you, they don't yell at you or tell you what you did wrong. That would mean putting too much effort into the relationship.
They would rather just treat you quietly and let you suffer and wonder what exactly is upsetting them.
6. You have no idea what they want from you.
You are not sure what they want from the relationship or from you. You don't know what they expect from you or why they are with you.
You feel like you are at sea without a lighthouse letting you know where the rocks are.
7. Your self-esteem is at an all-time low.
You start feeling down on yourself.
Your partner's lack of interest in you takes its toll as you begin to feel unworthy of his love and attention. Or, for that matter, someone else's love or attention.
8. You suppress your feelings.
The message you get from your partner or spouse is that your feelings aren't worth paying attention to and they don't matter, so start believing that.
You don't even take them seriously yourself, put them down and pass them off as trivial or petty.
9. They don't spend time with you.
They don't prioritize spending time with you, and at times it feels like they're actively avoiding it.
They're always busy with one thing or another, and quality time together is rare.
You never have long, lingering phone calls just bridging the time of day. They keep conversations short.
10. You feel like you can't be yourself with them.
You can't relax and unwind around your partner because you just don't feel comfortable around them.
You know they don't really love you for who you are and you've learned that they don't take your feelings seriously.
So now just hide them and just tell them what they want to hear.
11. You don't make an effort with your friends or family.
They don't make an effort to connect with you on an emotional level, and they certainly don't go beyond connecting with the people who matter most to you.
They have made it clear that they are not interested in spending time with your friends or family. And when you're with them, don't engage them in conversation or try to get to know them better.
12. You forget important data.
If they aren't emotionally involved in the relationship or marriage, they probably don't attach, or at least admit to, emotional importance to the dates most couples celebrate together.
You may forget your birthday, anniversary, or never remember the date that someone important to you died.
This can be very hurtful and mean that you feel unimportant or that your joy or pain is not worth taking seriously.
13. You hesitate to take steps forward.
You want your relationship to move forward, make plans for the future, have adventures together, or even have children.
But they find ways to procrastinate and procrastinate. They tell you it's not the right time, but they don't give you reasons why.
You cannot understand your need to talk about it, make plans and build a future together.
14. They always solve problems on their own.
You've learned that when things get tough, there's no point in turning to your partner or spouse for help or support, so now automatically take care of it yourself.
You know you are alone when it comes to solving all your problems, big and small.
You've developed some solid coping mechanisms that don't require you to ask your partner for their opinion.
8 steps to deal with emotional neglect.
1. Reflect on the underlying causes.
So you have realized that there is emotional neglect in your relationship or marriage. But before you can take steps to deal with it, you need to think about where it's coming from.
What is the reason for this emotional neglect? Where did it originate?
Is it something that has shaped your relationship since day one, or were they once incredibly supportive and this neglect has evolved over time?
Did it develop spontaneously and slowly, or can it be traced back to a specific event?
Sometimes emotional neglect is the result of a lack of love in a relationship.
When the initial rush of passionate romantic love begins to fade, instead of being replaced by another kind of love, as is the case in most relationships, sometimes it simply turns into apathy.
And instead of accepting that a lack of love could spell the end of the relationship, both partners simply settle for an unhealthy dynamic.
But that's not always the case. Emotional neglect in relationships can arise when a partner is going through a difficult time and becomes so focused on their own issues that they forget to consider their partner.
They take their partner's support for granted and become so focused on their own struggles that they stop returning that support.
If you're going through a difficult time yourself, it may mean you're not quite as supportive of your partner or spousein the interim, and that's fine. In long-term relationships and marriages, both partners need to support each other at different times.
The problem is when someone sees their own problems as a valid excuse for completely neglecting their partner's emotions in the long run.
A relationship should be an equal partnership and you can't expect someone to always be your rock if you never give anything back.
2. Consider therapy.
Emotional neglect in a relationship or marriage can be very difficult to fix without professional help.
Finding the right therapist could give you both the space to express your feelings, gain perspective, and reconnect.
We recommend the online relationship counseling services ofrelationship hero. You can discuss the issue at hand with an expert via video chat in the comfort of your own home and get the support you both need to change your relationship and get it healthy again.
Here is the linkto chat with someone right away and/or book an online appointment for a later date.
3. Take positive action.
If you want your relationship to thrive and last, you can't just sit back and wait for your partner to change or recognize their behavior.
You need to accept the situation and actively do something to change your relationship.
Instead of just complaining about their behavior, to other people or to them, you need to start thinking about how both of you can fix it.
Even though they are the one who is emotionally neglecting you, you cannot expect them to take all the responsibility for changing things.
4. Sit down for a conversation.
Many people try to avoid sitting down for serious conversations about their relationship or marriage, but that's not something a quick chat can fix.
You need to pick a good moment for both of you when there are no time constraints and you are not overtired, hungry or stressed. Bring up the issues in your relationship caused by their emotional neglect.
Make sure you come to this conversation from a place of love and understanding, rather than being angry and accusing from the start, as that won't get you anywhere.
5. Don't play the victim.
The fact that your partner or spouse has neglected your emotional needs may have caused you a lot of pain, but if you want to improve things between you, that pain shouldn't be the focus of your conversation.
Focusing on how they hurt you will only make them defensive.
If you want this to work, by all means vent about your behavior to a trusted friend, but not to your partner's face.
Instead, let her know that you want to get to the bottom of this so your relationship has a healthy future.
Talk about what you canbothdo to make a difference and create a healthier dynamic between you.
6. Spend time together.
Suggest to your partner or spouse that you both spend more time focusing on each other to try thisGet that spark back.
Book a vacation, meet up with friends, try something new or go on a romantic date.
Think about what drew you to each other in the first place and do what you can to rekindle that.
7. Be honest with yourself.
Unfortunately, emotional neglect in a relationship cannot always be remedied. It could be a symptom of cracks that are so deep that they cannot be patched.
If you can honestly say that you did everything you could to save your relationship and it just didn't work out, then maybe it's time to consider whether the two of you would be better off apart.
There's no point in staying in a relationship that's making you both miserable, so be honest with yourself when the time comes to let it go.
8. Be patient.
Always remember that problems like this are never solved overnight. It will take a lot of hard work from both of youGet your relationship going again.
But if you're patient and willing to put in that work, there's every chance you'll return to a place of mutual emotional support and happiness.
Still not sure what to do when you feel emotionally neglected by your partner or spouse?We just mentioned therapy in point #6 above and we would really advise you to at least think about it, whether alone or as a couple. What do you have to lose?Why notChat online with a relationship expert from Relationship Herowho can help you to understand things.
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