Feeling unloved and unwanted is when you’re denied the most basic human need. We all need to belong and feel loved. Sadly, relationships can shift and you gradually realize you’re simply two people under the same roof. Feeling unloved in a relationship is more common than one might think.
Why do I feel unwanted in my relationship?
Are you in the depths of despair and thinking to yourself: “I feel unloved in my relationship”? It’s a terrifying feeling that can dampen your self-esteem and further isolate you. In fact, psychologistAbraham Maslow considered the need for love as one of our core psychological needs.
There are actually many reasons why you could be feeling unloved by your boyfriend. You could have lost your spark or the clash of values might be more apparent. Alternatively, one or both of you might have emotional or attachment issues that lead to you feeling unloved in a relationship.
We tend to learn how to operate in a romantic relationship from our parents and our childhood experiences. Astudy in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that the way we express emotions and affection is linked to our childhood experiences.
What this means is that one or both of you might have to examine your past to understand how you relate to each other. Moreover, feeling undesired in a relationship could be linked to stress, insecurities and trauma from your past.
What does it mean to feel unloved?
Feeling unwanted in a relationship is like living in a bell jar, to takeSylvia Plath’s metaphor. Whilst she was clinically depressed and bipolar, the feeling comes from the same family. Furthermore, it can tip you into depression.
Feeling alone and unloved in marriage can also be triggered by depression as well as jealousy and anxiety. These strong emotions can alienate a partner such that you fall into a vicious circle. All these are symptoms though that could mean something much deeper is going on.
For example, some people are psychologically unable to love or they are emotionally disconnected. Then you also have the avoidant types who are afraid of intimacy. You could essentially be facing any of these mental issues if you’re feeling unloved in a relationship.
What all this means is that you have to pause and be honest with yourself about how you impact the relationship. Moreover, when you’re feeling unloved in a relationship, you also have to consider your partner’s patterns of behavior and how they impact you mentally and emotionally.
Signs of feeling unwanted
Feeling undesired in a relationship is actually very common because all relationships take work. This is especially true once the honeymoon period is over. The chemicals in your brain that trigger those feelings of euphoria have now dissipated and real life stares you in the face.
The signs of feeling unloved in a relationship are varied and depend on each couple’s personality styles. Some might start ignoring each other or you might realize your sex life has stopped. Perhaps you also feel misunderstood and that everything you say becomes an argument?
When feeling unloved by your boyfriend, it might also seem that he’s not paying enough attention. For example, you might feel abandoned if he doesn’t come with you to a social event. You might also be doing all the ferrying around for your kids without so much as a thank you.
Nothing excuses feeling unloved in a relationship and no one should have to be in that situation. Nevertheless, we’re all human and we all make mistakes. Work or health issues can distract us and we forget that our partners need love and appreciation too.
The good news is that there are things you can do when you’re feeling unloved in a relationship.
15 ways to deal with feeling unloved
What to do when you feel unloved in a relationship? You first have to look at yourself and what you need. Then, of course, it all comes down to communication. This Gottman Institute article goes so far as saying that “if you’re not arguing, you’re not communicating”.
The worst thing you can do is to keep quiet when you’re thinking “I feel unloved in my relationship”. All those negative feelings will fester and proliferate until all you feel is loneliness and contempt.
Instead, choose one or several of these approaches to stop feeling unloved in a relationship.
1. Connect with your feelings
Are you thinking, “My boyfriend makes me feel unwanted?” It’s tempting to react and blame him but first, connect with what those feelings really are. For example, do you feel empty or betrayed? Anxious or overwhelmed?
Understanding your feelings gives you insight as to whether your attachment style or approach is causing you unnecessary suffering.
2. Understand attachment styles
Feeling unloved and unwanted in a relationship can stem from how we learnt to love when we were children. Once you identify your attachment style, you can change from being anxious to confident about your relationships.
So, learn your style and start working to stop feeling unloved in a relationship.
3. Unpack your beliefs
Why do I feel unloved in my relationship? This is a good question to ask yourself initially because the issue could be embedded in your belief system.
For example, feeling undesirable in a relationship could be because deep down, you believe you’re not lovable. This could come from how your parents treated you or some other past experience. Either way, get to know your beliefs to start changing them.
4. Talk to your partner
Feeling alone and unloved in the marriage isn’t something you can fix on your own. You need to communicate. Once you’ve reviewed yourself, share this with your partner and get their views on the situation.
5. Show appreciation
Feeling unloved by your husband could be because you’re not paying enough attention to each other. We often fall into these loops of bad habits and forget to be kind to each other.
As psychologist Richard Davidson explains in his talk in the following video, we are increasingly victims of distractions and loneliness. He goes on to talk about the four pillars of a healthy mind and how compassion also leads to stop feeling unloved in a relationship.
When you’re feeling unwanted in a relationship, the chances are that your needs aren’t being met. The non-violent communication framework is always a useful tool for stating your needs calmly and assertively.
7. Note toxic behavior
It’s important to remember that if you’re feeling unwanted, you could also be a victim of toxic behavior. Toxic people aren’t always easy to spot which is why you might need to turn to support groups or even a therapist. They will help validate your feelings so you can find ways to move on.
If we want others to love us, we also have to know how to love ourselves. This isn’t easy to do because of our own patterns of unhealthy habits. If you want to improve your well-being and stop feeling unloved in a relationship, start by paying attention.
As this study on feeling loved explains, the more you pay attention to the tiny moments of love within your day, the more you’ll feel loved. Feeling unloved sometimes requires you to look at things another way and to look for those moments of feeling loved.
Feeling undesirable in a relationship could be due to conflict in values. Perhaps you value caring but your partner is more concerned about achievement? The more you can communicate about what makes both of you ‘you’, the more you’ll uncover the disconnect.
A great way to deal with the immediacy of feeling unloved is to have a strong self-care routine. Whether yours is more focused on the emotional or physical aspect almost doesn’t matter. Simply find something that works for you to stop feeling unloved in a relationship.
Feeling unloved and unwanted in a relationship sometimes starts when we don’t have time for each other. That’s why couples schedule date nights into their busy diaries. It sounds simple but it’s critical to stop feeling unloved in a relationship to have quality time together.
It’s always worth self-reflecting when you’re feeling unloved by your husband. Are you also giving him the love and attention he craves? Are you listening to his needs? Again, this is about quality time together and quality communication.
13. Be desirable
To stop feeling unwanted, you might need to reconnect with why you fell in love in the first place. Did you pay more attention to how you looked and how you behaved? Moreover, what happy memories can you conjure up together?
14. Recognize each other’s love patterns
Notice how you both love and how much spend time together. The point is not to focus on you but on your partner. Recognize what your partner expects and what you expect from them in order to meet a
15. Find a therapist
If you’re still thinking “my boyfriend makes me feel unwanted” and you’re not sure about the best approach, find a therapist. They’ll help you work through your feelings and emotional blocks as well as how to find the best way forwards for you and your partner.
Parting words for feeling unloved in a relationship
The question “why do I feel unloved in my relationship” is actually very common. All relationships take effort and can go off course due to various distractions or mental issues.
What to do when you feel unloved in a relationship starts with reviewing your own feelings, needs and beliefs. Alongside that, you need strong communication with your partner and to recognize where you have gaps. A therapist provides support and guidance to make all this easier.
Although, of course, at some point, you have to determine if the relationship fits your values and view of life. After all, life is about feeling grounded and supported in our relationships.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Annes passion and purpose in life are to guide people to find their own path and contentment by learning about themselves. Only then can we build and nurture the deep connections we all deserve to have. With a background in psychology and neuroscience coaching, she has helped countless couples transform their communication from aggression to assertiveness and appreciation.
She is both an ICF certified coach and mindfulness-certified, while being a counselor in training, meaning that she offers a holistic approach. You can expect to transform your view of yourself, your relationship, and the world by better understanding the habits of your mind and letting go of the unhelpful ones. You have power over your mind but you dont have to do it alone.