Ever felt like no matter what you do for someone, they don’t appreciate it? Feel under acknowledged by your partner?
Or maybe you had a great relationship at one point, but things have sort of slid toward the dark side.
Either way, lack of appreciation can absolutely murder a relationship dead. But sometimes as we live our busy lives, we stop showing our partners how much we care for them. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a lack of appreciation, you know how terrible it feels.
So what do you do if you feel like you once had a great relationship, but things have slid in the wrong direction?
Here’s how to get your partner to show you more appreciation.
1. Depersonalize It.
If you can 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 is a much more fixable situation than if you decide they don’t love you anymore and don’t care about your happiness.
Often we experience a lack of appreciation in our relationship not because the other person ACTUALLY doesn’t appreciate us but because both people are busy, get comfortable and/or weren’t great at showing their feelings in the first place. We often put the people closest to us through the most grief because we start to 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 that you have going on in your lives.
Are you busy? Have you and your partner been using your time and energy to invest in your relationship?
All of these circumstantial things can result in both of you neglecting to take the time to acknowledge the other person’s efforts. It’s important to give your partner as much of the benefit of the doubt as makes sense.
Obviously there’s a big difference between “is so busy their head could spin” and “doesn’t care about you anymore.” It’s important to be able to not take it personally when circumstances aren’t ideal.
2. Think about your own behavior.
When we want something in our relationships, sometimes it works well to mirror the thing we 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 want 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.
Note that I’m not saying to start trying too hard and overwhelming them with your attention, I’m suggesting that you make sure you’re showing them your own appreciation by verbalizing it out loud. Every time they do something nice for you, make sure you recognize it. No act of kindness is too small to praise.
Sometimes when we’re lacking in our relationship, we fail to recognize that we aren’t putting out what we want to receive—potentially because we’re clueless, but also sometimes because we’ve fallen into the trap of keeping score.
3. Reduce your bitterness.
It’s so easy to get jaded in 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.
That’s why depersonalization of the problem helps. So does recognizing when you’ve become hurt and angry, because when you stuff those, the resulting bitterness will drive the other person away further.
4. Discuss it, but gently.
Sometimes when we get ideas about our relationship and don’t actually tell our partner— hoping they can read our 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— it’s going to continue to be a problem.
When you decide to bring it up, sometimes a simple bid for reassurance can do the trick. Something like, “I’ve noticed that we’re super busy lately, but it would really mean a lot to me if you told me more often that 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.
5. Is this 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 over it.
Do you see this 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.
This post originated on Attract the One.