Do you ever feel taken for granted by your partner?
The other day I was waiting in line with my wife at the airport. I leaned over and gave her a kiss. “I’m not in the mood” she growled. I laughed and reminded her that she should feel fortunate that her partner of 40 years still wants to give her a kiss for no special reason! She smiled and gave me a big hug. Do you ever feel taken for granted? Unappreciated? I think we all do, from time to time. Modern life is so busy—work, kids, commuting, dropping someone off and picking up someone else, bills, yard, the messy garage, laundry, laundry and more laundry. Hey! What about the dishes? It can seem like an endless to do list that never is completed.
So, it’s easy to take your partner for granted. It’s natural to expect that they will be there, doing what they do everyday. It’s not that we don’t appreciate our spouse. More likely, we forget to express our appreciation. We become absorbed with what we have to do and forget to look up from our smartphones, tablets, and computers. We forget to let our loved one know how important they are to us. It’s all about connecting. It’s really easy to do. But you have to stop what you are doing, “see” the other person, and connect. It’s necessary to get out of your own preoccupations and “to do’s”. It requires being 100% in the present. It just takes one moment—it will always been appreciated! Interestingly, parents are pretty good at connecting with their children. We make it a priority to hug our kids when they walk in the door, ask them how their day went, and smile at them. We love our kids and we are programmed to show it. And the little guys wriggle with excitement when we walk in the door. It gets a little more difficult when they are teens, but we still make an effort, even if it is not reciprocated. So what do you do when you feel neglected? I think it’s easy for some adults to pout, feel sorry for themselves, and wonder when they will be recognized. Sometimes you might feel angry too. Why does he forget I’m here when he’s watching the Mariners!? He may wonder when was the last time she put her arm around him. He’s always talking about work. When is he going to remember that I’m here now? Most of the time, lack of expressed appreciation isn’t personal (notice I said, “expressed”. Lots of adults appreciate their partners, but do they express their appreciation?). It’s situational or sometimes it’s just your partner’s personality. My wife tends to get on a track and it’s hard for her to get off of it once she’s on it. She’s like a train headed for a destination---there are no detours on the route. It’s hard to get her attention when she’s on a path. But I don’t take it personally—it’s just the way she is. I might tickle her if she gets annoyed when I give her a hug! That usually does the trick! So here are some tips for those of you that feel taken for granted.
- Whenever you come or go, give your partner a hug and a kiss. Make it a habit and a ritual. However, make sure that you are 100% present when you give her that kiss.
- Remember to express your appreciation for the small things your partner does for you. Diane let me know how much she appreciated my bringing her a cup of tea, without her asking, when she was tired. It’s the small things that are often the most important.
- If you feel neglected, find a positive way to express your desire for appreciation. Don’t pout! Let your partner know how much you like it when she remembers to give you a hug and a kiss. Let him know that you miss his affection and attention.
- Don’t be withholding when you feel neglected. That’s a recipe for misery. Find a way to talk about your feelings.
What do you do when you feel neglected?