“You should never have to look for evidence that someone loves you. True love is crystal clear.”
~ Mandy Hale
If you have ever felt that your man does not make you a priority, you are not alone.
When a woman believes that her partner is more interested in sports, hobbies, friends, work, or other activities, she can experience insecurity, frustration, loneliness, and pain.
Unfortunately, women often express these feelings in the form of nagging, yelling, causing arguments, pouting, and other ways that are ineffective in solving the problem, and can lead to her man avoiding her even more.
It is natural to have these feelings and concerns, and men do sometimes get caught up in their own toys, friends, and hobbies not realizing the impact it has on the relationship.
So, what is a girl to do?
How we approach these issues can shape the results, getting us more of what we want, or more of what we do not want.
First, recognize that you are feeling less important to you mate.
Instead of taking it out on him by criticizing something irrelevant, like why he never takes out the trash, try communicating in a clear and thoughtful manner how you feel, using “I” statements.
For example, “I miss spending time with you” versus “You never want to spend time with me!” Or, “I feel lonely when you leave every Saturday to go spend time with your friends” versus “You don’t even care about me anymore.”
Second, if you doubt your importance to your fella, seek reassurance.
The benefit of a healthy relationship is a secure attachment. Seeking reassurance, and getting it, helps to increase the secure attachment.
Simply saying, “I am feeling less important to you and need reassurance that I am still your gal” is a genuine way to ask for what you need.
Now, your man knows exactly what you are struggling with and can offer you that reassurance. Men are not mind readers. They do well with clear, specific, and concrete information.
Third, do you and you mate have hobbies, interests, and activities that you like to do together?
Part of a healthy and satisfying relationship includes having fun together. Be the partner that you want. If you want to go hiking with your man, invite him to go hiking instead of resenting that he is not asking you.
Finally, we tend to prioritize what we value.
Are the two of you prioritizing different things, or do you value the same things?
If your top values are the relationship and quality time together, and your mate values work and time with friends, your values are not aligned.
The most important aspects to a successful and satisfying relationship are having aligned values and shared morals.
If after trying these options, your man does not offer reassurance, will not acknowledge your fears and concerns, or shows no interest in exploring things you can do together; perhaps this isn’t the man for you.
Dr. Tracy S. Kelly, LMFT – www.DrTracyKelly.com
The word priority is defined as “the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important.”
If you are not feeling like a priority in your relationship, it likely means you are feeling un-important, overlooked or disregarded.
We prioritize the things we value and what we prioritize is often reflected by how much time and energy is devoted to each area of our lives.
I tell my clients that our time is like a pie, with different “slices” carved out for what we spend time on (picture it like a pie chart).
If you only take up a very small “slice” of your partner’s “pie”, this is cause for concern.
The first thing you can do to try to address this is to understand what else your partner is spending time and energy on instead of you.
- Is it time spent with his friends?
- Is it video games or other ways to relax?
- What does this say about him that this is what he wants to spend his time on?
While it’s absolutely okay (and healthy!) for him to have other people and things in his life besides just you, once you can pinpoint where the majority of his focus goes, this might be where you ask for some flexibility or change on his part to see if he is okay with making that “slice” a little smaller to create more time for you (consequently making your “slice” bigger).
If you have started to ask for more of his time or attention, do not expect changes overnight.
This is likely asking him to change a long-standing pattern in his life to prioritize you more.
Give him some time to see if small shifts start to occur whether it’s that he starts texting you back sooner or starts seeing you just a little bit more during the week than he once was.
What you should be worried about is if he is resistant to making more space for you or denies that your concerns are “real” in the first place.
In a healthy, long-term relationship, both people prioritize their relationship first above other people and things.
If he won’t take steps in that direction over time, it may be best to call it quits.
Michelle Henderson, MA, LMHC – www.nextchapter-counseling.com
If you feel that your partner does not prioritize you, what I would like you to consider is, “Do you prioritize, you?”
If you don’t make yourself a priority, you will find you attract people (and situations) into your life where they don’t make you a priority either.
This happens to reflect to you what is out of balance in your life. You will keep experiencing the same issues over and over again (even with different people) until you get the message and learn to honor yourself!
When you prioritize yourself, you’re telling the world (and those around you) you are important.
When you have boundaries in place, it shows that you value yourself. People know where they stand with you and understand what you will (and won’t) accept.
When you lack boundaries and allow others, including a partner, to treat you in a way that you don’t find acceptable, you’re telling them you’re “not worthy.”
You’re sending an unspoken signal/message that they can treat you how they want to. In short, you’re saying to your partner, “You’re more important than me!”
- Do you really believe your partner is more important than you? If this is the case, you may want to explore how you can work on your self-esteem.
- Do you let your partner cross your boundaries and hurt your feelings?
- Why do you place more value on your partner’s feelings than your own?
- What are you afraid of if you put boundaries in place?
- Have you tried discussing your concerns and telling your partner how you feel? If not, why not? If you have, what was his response?
- Better still, has there been a change in your relationship since you discussed your feelings?
Another area that is worth exploring is: does your partner have interests outside of the relationship and you feel insecure as a result?
If this is you, have you thought about taking up new hobbies outside of the relationship?
Spending time apart and having outside interests and activities is actually very healthy and beneficial for you and the relationship.
When you come back together at the end of an activity, you’ve got something exciting to add to your conversations and it can inject fresh energy into the relationship.
- Explore interests and hobbies you would like to do outside of the relationship and start doing one of them.
- Talk to your partner about your concerns and how you feel. Try to come from a place of honest and open communication rather than blame. For example, saying “You did… and you did…” is not an approach that will get you very far. Instead, try to say “I feel that I’m not a priority in your life because….”
- Reflect on your boundaries and whether you prioritize other people’s feelings over your own. If this is you, what can you do to work on your sense of self-worth and self-esteem?
You are important, you are worthwhile, and you deserve to be treated with love and respect.
Love, respect, and prioritize you, and others will too.
If your partner doesn’t treat you the way you deserve and you decide to move on, you will attract someone into your life who will!
You can do this!
Sharon Craig, Dating and Relationship Coach — www.coach2connect.co
“Be a priority, not an option!” This is something you’ve probably heard before.
When you are in a relationship with another person and you are being placed on the “back burner” you may start to question your relationship, your needs or even your worth. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help guide you in moments like this:
1. How do I feel and what do I need?
Most of the time, what we are feeling is a mix of abandonment and rejection. There might be some sadness involved as we grieve the loss of what our relationship once was. There could also be fear involved as you grapple with questions such as “does this mean he/she wants to leave me?”
If you can ground yourself in your feelings, you can then start to piece together what you need.
For example, if you feel fear you may need reassurance. If you feel abandonment, you may need to feel supported.
2. Are my expectations realistic?
Expectations can create major disappointment. I cannot expect my partner to meet all of my needs.
If I state to my partner, “I feel abandoned and I need to feel supported”, I can’t expect them to know how to make me feel that way. I have to be able to articulate my needs and expect that I they will not always be able to meet them. It is not fair (to you or to others) to put your emotional wellbeing in your partner’s hands.
3. Am I taking care of my own priorities?
I can’t tell you how many times I have worked with women who found themselves in the following cycle: have needs, try to get needs met by partner, get clingy, push partner away, blame partner for not meeting needs.
It is our responsibility to give ourselves what we are most looking for.
- If you feel abandoned, how can you stop abandoning yourself?
- If you feel scared, how can you tend to those fears?
Taking some responsibility for your own needs can drastically help your relationships.
4. Do I need to set boundaries or be in this relationship?
In some cases, your partner might be acting in a disrespectful way. This is where you have to make a decision about what you are willing to put up with.
A boundary might sound like, “When you spend time with everyone else before me, I feel hurt, confused and sad. I need to know that you value your time with me. If you continue to put me last, I cannot continue to be in a relationship with you.”
If you tried everything above and things are still not working for you, you get to decide if you want the relationship to end.
If you stay in a relationship hoping it will change, you are just going to hurt yourself more.
Jena Plummer, LCMHC, LCASA, NCC, MA – www.littleseedcounseling.com
The real question is do you make yourself and your needs a priority or have you left being a priority to someone else?
At the beginning of a relationship feeling special is a piece of cake. He calls all the time, texts sexy messages and sends flowers to the office just because.
If those signs at the very beginning of the relationship are not there, the chance of you ever being a priority are slim, cut bait.
However, if he shows significant and meaningful interest to start, and you feel and prioritize him the same, the relationship has some potential.
As the connection moves into a more mature and longer lasting relationship that sense of being “their world” can fade -as the infatuation period wares off, and a deeper sense of love grows you begin to see his and your own real relationship style and skills emerge.
Many men need to be taught how you need to be loved.
It might seem obvious to you, but it is NOT obvious to him. And each woman is different, so what worked in his last relationship most certainly won’t work for you.
I have found as a relationship expert that most of the work I am doing is “teaching” couples how to act lovingly and how to explain in non-threatening ways to their partner what their needs are.
Teach by example, be direct and be specific. Leave the guesswork out of love.
As an example, give your guy tons of positive and specific feedback. No one should have to wonder if you appreciate their efforts.
The idea of being coy to build a solid foundation in a relationship is long gone the way of the romance novel.
Being demure and flirty is great for fishing for a guy but not keeping one.
Be yourself, that is the ultimate best way to be a priority.
If you do not usually wear makeup, don’t put on a show. If you normally like to work out, do not sacrifice that for someone. Teach them what you like and maybe they will like it too.
Another great way to be a priority is to set limits that are honest and direct.
If he goes out with his friends and blows you off after you have made plans, calls you up in the middle of the night and you start complaining, you are not setting a boundary.
Don’t answer the phone and don’t return his call the next day.
When you are ready, to be direct and honest and calm then you can talk to him.
After a few days if he does not send those roses and apologize, figuring it out for himself, then thankfully you have prioritized yourself. Yes, it’s disappointing but it’s more disappointing to spend years trying to “make” someone prioritize you.
The hard fact at the end of the day is, you need to make yourself a priority and be yourself.
Don’t take crumbs, you deserve the whole cake.
Heather Ehinger, EdD, LMFT – www.heatherehinger.com
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