I remember being cuddled up with my ex-boyfriend one morning, trying to muster up the courage to bring something up that was bothering me: the fact we barely texted throughout the day. Eventually, I found the nerve to ask him, “Do you still really like me?” He looked at me, confused, and said, “What!? Of course I do! Why do you ask that?”
I went on to explain that I felt like I wasn’t getting enough attention from him, since I was always the one to initiate text conversations or phone calls. The lack of contact made me feel like he wasn’t into me anymore and had me doubting our few month old relationship.
Not getting enough attention can often equate to not feeling loved or desired. Of course you want to feel wanted by your partner — it’s only natural! Being attentive is really important in a romantic relationship, and some people require more attention than others (guilty as charged). However, as a relationship progresses and time goes on, the levels of attention you receive and give will naturally fluctuate.
Understanding The Ebb and Flow of Attention in a Relationship
When a relationship is just starting out and you’re in the honeymoon phase, everything seems pretty perfect. You’re so swept up in each other that you can’t help but shower your partner with love and attention. Once the honeymoon phase is over and life seems more back to normal, you’ll likely notice some changes in the relationship, including the amount of attention you get.
A lack of attention doesn’t always need to be a red flag, even though you might interpret it that way (like me thinking my boyfriend didn’t like me anymore since he wasn’t texting me first). The fact of the matter is, life gets in the way. Work, friends, family, kids, hobbies — you name it — can take time and energy away from a relationship. It’s up to you and your partner to prioritize various aspects of life and carve out time for one another.
Learn to Voice Your Concerns With Your Partner
That being said, it’s important to voice your concerns and share your emotions. A relationship is nothing without communication. If you feel like you aren’t getting enough attention and it’s hurting your feelings or making you doubt the relationship, tell your partner.
Trust me, I know how awkward it feels to bring something like this up. You might fear sounding needy or being perceived as clingy. Unfortunately, your partner’s not a mind reader, so if you feel like you’re not getting the attention you deserve, you need to speak up. Your partner truly might have no idea that something’s wrong unless you bring it up.
Let’s revisit my conversation with my ex. By voicing my concerns, we were able to have an open and honest dialogue about the amount of attention we both give and get. I got him to see where I was coming from and understand why I was feeling hurt. The best part? After that day, he was much more likely to text me first, which would always leave me smiling. It was just a little change, but it made a big difference to the way I felt.
We All Require a Different Amount of Attention
When it comes down to it, everyone’s different. Some people require a lot of attention, and some people require lots of…being left alone. If your partner is someone who doesn’t really need a lot of attention, they might just assume that others — including you —are the same way.
You might also want to take a step back and look at the situation rationally. Is the amount of attention you’re asking for reasonable? Be willing to compromise, but also know your worth and where you need to draw the line. Be frank about your needs with yourself and your partner.
If you are not seeing any difference in behavior from your partner after communicating about feeling unwanted and the lack of attention you’re getting, you might want to assess whether you’re in the right relationship — especially if you’ve brought it up multiple times.
Mutual Happiness is Key in Healthy Relationships
Ultimately, you need someone who can meet your needs. If you’re constantly feeling unwanted or like you have to beg for attention, will you be happy with this person in the long run? Probably not. If your partner doesn’t put in any effort or just accuses you of being needy without addressing your feelings, this is a red flag. Your partner should want to make you feel happy!
If they don’t take your concerns seriously, it’s time to cut ties and find someone who will give you the attention you want and deserve. Thank you, next!
Originally published on Talkspace.
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