Do you ever feel like everything you do goes straight over your partner’s head? Do you feel unseen and unappreciated in your relationship? Maybe you feel taken for granted, overlooked or misunderstood. If so, it may be time to think about addressing these issues so that you can work towards a happier, healthier relationship where both individuals feel valued and acknowledged.
Communication is a key component in any relationship and anyone who feels that their efforts are appreciated is much more likely to feel a sense of closeness and warmth towards the other person. In today’s world, it’s easy to see how life can get in the way of this; the stresses and strains of living through a pandemic is enough to affect even the most solid of relationships at times. Pressures like working from home; children; financial or health concerns can all take their toll on the relationship and simple things like verbally acknowledging our thanks for the lovely meal our partner cooked for us fall by the wayside.
If left unchecked, this sense of feeling unappreciated can fester and over time has the potential to cause problems within the relationship. If one of you is feeling taken for granted, that’s when the lines of communication may close down and before long emotions are being bottled up which will inevitably lead to feelings of neglect, anger and resentment.
Couples handle their issues in many different ways; some will scream and shout; others will push those feelings down and stay silent to keep the peace; and the relationship may limp on but with one partner harbouring secret feelings of hurt and neglect while the other carries on oblivious. Although everything may seem okay on the surface; emotions are left bubbling away underneath which can eventually erupt and before you know it, there’s molten lava dripping through the cracks in your relationship.
If this sounds like you and you’re wondering if there’s a better way, there is. Here are 4 tips to help you both feel more loved, appreciated and seen in your relationship.
- ‘I love you because…’
As much as it’s lovely to hear ‘I love you’, sometimes it can mean so much more to hear why the other person loves us. ‘I love you because you look after me so well’ or ‘I love you because you make me a cup of tea without me even asking’ tells the other person that you are thinking about them and not taking them for granted – it lets them know that you see them and you value them for who they are, and stops you from spouting empty ‘I love yous’ out of habit or expectation.
Taking the time to kiss one another good morning or good night each and every day creates a magical space for the two of you that is different to other relationships. Creating little rituals that only the two of you know about can foster an intimacy between you that maybe has waned over time. A date night once a month, a weekly stroll together, a few minutes every night to cuddle before sleep time all add to the connection we feel to our partners. These rituals may not sound like much, but they show a willingness and desire from both of you to keep working at the relationship and building and maintaining the intimacy between you.
- Communicate your needs
We all get stressed; have bad days and then fall into the trap of taking it out on our partner. We are human after all! Communication is such a key component of relationships and yet most of us are fairly inept at it.
After a long, stressful day at work it can feel like a lot of effort having to think about how we talk to our partner – surely after years together they should just know what we’re thinking, right?! – but, the reality is that we don’t even know our own thoughts and feelings half the time so why should anyone else?
Sometimes we expect our partner to know exactly what’s going on in our head and to know exactly how we are feeling even though we haven’t communicated this with them and then we resent them for getting it wrong!
Instead, try asking for what you need. Be honest and clear. So many arguments could probably be avoided if we just ask for what we want. Whether that’s ten minutes lying down alone in a dark room at the end of the work day or a long soak in the bath with candles and relaxing music- whatever it is, be honest about what you need from them and ask the same honesty from them in return.
Recognise that asking for what you want and need is not selfish. Your needs and that of your partner are valid and you both have every right to ask for those needs to be met. It’s when our needs go unmet, that’s when the trouble starts.
Think about what you need from them. Is it connection you crave or time alone to decompress the day; a walk by yourself or a hug? Encourage your partner to do the same and then honour their needs without taking things personally. They will likely be a better partner to you if you have listened to their needs without judging or criticising. It’s a small gift we can give to each other but it certainly helps to eliminate bad feeling between partners plus takes away all the guesswork!
- Laugh together
Most of us spend our youths wanting to grow up and become adults – and then when we do, we are faced with the stark realisation that adulthood is not all it’s cracked up to be!
Working to pay bills and a mortgage is often not a lot of fun, so it’s important to remember that life is meant to bring us joy, not just a ton of responsibilities! We are supposed to do things that are fun, not just quietly kill ourselves working to pay for everything.
Find things that you both enjoy doing together – a common interest – that you can do as a hobby or in your spare time. Whether it’s going to the cinema, listening to your favourite band, or going see your favourite comedian, find things to laugh about together and nurture a sense of humour. It’s said that ‘a good sense of humour is an escape valve for the pressures of life.’ – anonymous.
Laughter keeps us young, keeps us feeling alive. Without laughter we become robots – living the same mundane existence day after day. Laughter helps keep us connected to ourselves as children, when laughing with our friends was a part of daily life.
Laughter will keep you both feeling young as you grow old together but more than that – it will keep you connected and help you navigate the inevitable pressures of life but hopefully with a smile on your face!
With love and gratitude,