We all want to feel like our partner respects us and values all that we do to make the relationship work, so feeling unappreciated in a relationship can be quite upsetting.
Maybe you feel that your significant other just doesn’t acknowledge your efforts, or perhaps you feel completely taken for granted. Whatever the case, there are things you can do if you are feeling unappreciated in a relationship.
What Does It Mean To Feel Unappreciated?
Before deciding what to do about not being appreciated by your partner, it is helpful to understand exactly what does unappreciated mean.
A simple explanation is that feeling unappreciated means that you feel as if you are being taken for granted, and when you do nice things for your partner, they seem not to notice. Over time, this can lead to feelings of resentment.
Another explanation for what does unappreciated mean is that it involves feeling as if your value or your contributions to the relationship do not receive enough acknowledgment.
Maybe you do all of the housework but rarely get so much as a “thank you,” or perhaps you feel as if your partner does not recognize your value because all of their free time is spent with friends, or you make all the effort to keep the relationship going.
Why Is It Not Okay To Feel Unappreciated?
If you’re not careful, feeling unappreciated can lead to feelings of resentment and anger. Fortunately, these strategies can help you feel better and they might even prevent the relationship from being tarnished when you feel unappreciated.
This is because when you have put significant time and effort into caring for someone else, and they do not acknowledge your effort, it is literally heartbreaking. When you are not feeling appreciated in a relationship, it may even feel as if your partner has betrayed you.
Another reason it is not okay to feel unappreciated is that it may lead you to believe that you have done something wrong when this is actually not the case.
When your spouse or partner does not recognize your efforts, you are justified in feeling unappreciated, but finding ways to cope with this feeling is helpful, so you can move on from the pain.
Signs Of Being Unappreciated In A Relationship
If you start to notice some of the following, there is a good chance that your feelings are valid:
- Your partner never says thank you, no matter what you do. This means your partner is so used to the good treatment you give that they no longer take time to acknowledge all that you do. Your spouse or significant other simply expects your behavior and takes it for granted.
- Your significant other never asks for your advice about major decisions, suggesting that he or she doesn’t appreciate your input or role in their life.
- When your partner makes plans or commitments without consulting you, this is usually a sign of being unappreciated because it suggests your partner assumed you would be okay with whatever plans were made, and they didn’t consider your schedule or wishes.
- You may feel that you are doing more than your fair share of housework or taking care of the majority of the responsibilities within the household or relationship.
- You feel upset that your partner doesn’t acknowledge special occasions like birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries, even though these occasions are important to you.
- Your partner cannot even make small romantic gestures to make you happy or make you feel loved.
- You notice that your partner rarely asks you how your day was, or they don’t show any interest in hearing about your day.
- It is obvious that your partner doesn’t consider your feelings. For example, he or she may willfully do something they know upsets you or just generally be cold or rude to you.
- Your partner doesn’t consult with you about how he or she spends their time.
Importance Of Appreciation In A Relationship
Feeling valued in a relationship is healthy, and while you cannot expect your partner to meet your every need, it is reasonable to expect your partner to appreciate what you do for the relationship.
Appreciation is extremely important in a relationship because without it, the relationship will suffer, and you may begin to feel as if nothing you do pleases your spouse or significant other. You may also feel as if nothing you do is good enough to make your partner happy.
Ways To Cope With Feeling Unappreciated
Just because someone doesn’t say “thank you” doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate you. Not everyone uses words to express their gratitude.
Your partner pulling you in to a hug or a teenager giving you a big high five might be their way of saying thanks. Similarly, when your coworker invites you to lunch or your friend insists on paying for your coffee, they may be communicating their appreciation to you as well.
So, take a minute and consider whether those around you might be showing you their appreciation in a different way. You might discover that they’re likely more grateful for you than you give them credit for.
Say “No” More Often
Sometimes, the more you do for people without complaining, the more they expect you to do. And they might forget to appreciate all you do for them.
So it may be helpful to say “no” sometimes. This can remind people not to take it for granted that you’ll always be willing and available to pitch in.
Saying “no” sometimes can also be good for you if you’ve become a bit of a people pleaser. Declining a a social invite or request for a favor might be tough if you’re used to always saying “yes.” But doing so reminds you (and others) that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
There may also be times when you decide to set limits. For example, if you overhear one of your kids telling a friend, “You don’t have to put your dishes in the sink. My parents pick up after me,” you may want to have a talk about your role.
Sometimes, it’s helpful to share how you’re feeling. You might talk to your partner, your boss, or your kids about what’s going on by saying something like, “Sometimes, I feel like my work goes unnoticed. I really enjoy it when my work is appreciated.”
Don’t be afraid to say what you want. You might discover that other people are happy to show more appreciation when they understand how important it is to you.
But, there’s also a chance that they might insist they already show plenty of appreciation or they may turn it into a joke by saying something like, “I’ll appreciate you when you do better work.”
Just remember, some people make jokes when they’re uncomfortable. And their discomfort might just be a reflection of how they feel about themselves, not how they feel about you.
Focusing too much on the lack of appreciation you gain can cause you to forget to show appreciation for others.
But saying “thank you” to those around you can inspire others to appreciate you too.
Thank your friends and family for all they do for you. You might show your appreciation with a verbal “thank you,” or you might send them a note reminding them how much you appreciate them. Whatever way you choose to show your appreciation, make it genuine and heartfelt.
Reframe Negative Thoughts
Be on the lookout for exaggeratedly negative thoughts. Thinking things like, “No one ever does anything nice for me,” or “Everyone expects me to do everything around here,” will only make you feel worse.
Remind yourself of times when other people have shown appreciation for you (even if you have to think back awhile). And remind yourself of times when you have been able to put limits on what you do.
Responding to your unhelpful thoughts with more realistic ones can help you feel a little more appreciated. You might remind yourself of things like, “My family appreciates all I do for them even if they don’t say it,” or “My family appreciates me sometimes,” and you might feel a little better.
Talk to a Professional
If you chronically feel unappreciated, your relationships will likely suffer. You may want to talk to a licensed mental health professional about how you’re feeling. A therapist may recommend family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or other services to help you feel better.