Jenny is irritated and worried. It seems that her fiance, Nick, has been ignoring her for the past several weeks. Sure, he talks to her and shares meals with her, but he seems distant and far away. He forgot their dinner date the other night which he’s never done– ever.
Jenny is aware that the past few years have been difficult for Nick. His father’s health swiftly declined and he died two years ago. On top of the grief about losing his father, Nick has spent a lot of time helping his mother transition to her new life as a widow. To make matters worse, several months ago, Nick was passed up for a promotion at work.
He copes with the grief and stress by spending more and more time online. In the evenings and on weekends, he’s often playing computer games and browsing the net. Jenny can understand his need for distraction, but she is starting to take this personally.
Nick proposed to Jenny just a few weeks before his father’s health crisis and death. Since that time, he’s doesn’t talk about them getting married and seems uninterested in setting a date. Jenny is starting to wonder if he still wants to get married to her at all.
She feels neglected, ignored and all alone.
If you feel neglected by your partner, like Jenny, you might have a clear idea about why this is. It could be that your partner is dealing with illness, stress, drama in his or her family or something else that is unexpected and difficult. You may be sympathetic to what your partner is going through…and you also miss having the expression of love and attention that you’re used to.
On the other hand, you might be used to feeling ignored by your partner. Perhaps, from your perspective, you’ve been low on his or her priority list since day one of your relationship. Maybe you say “I love you” to your partner, but don’t hear it often– or ever.
While every situation is different, feeling like you aren’t important, special or maybe even loved by your partner is sad and scary.
In reaction to how you feel, you might get needy and demand your partner’s attention or you may withdraw into yourself and possibly even act in passive-aggressive ways. These reactions are never effective if what you want is loving attention and connection with your partner.
When you feel neglected and ignored, don’t…
Unless you have verifiable evidence that your partner is breaking your agreements, lying to you or cheating, chances are your accusations will push him or her further away.
Jump to conclusions
It might seem clear to you what’s taking your partner away from you, but don’t assume. It’s likely that you’re wrong or not aware of the whole story.
Ignore important information
Don’t dismiss reliable information. If there are contradictions or things don’t add up about what your partner says, pay attention. If he or she is asking you for help in some way, be aware of that too.
As hurt and angry as you might feel, don’t get defensive. Being needy for attention, whining or trying to justify being needy isn’t going to move your partner closer to you.
Play the victim
We know, your partner’s actions might feel like a rejection of you. Try not to play the victim and make this ALL about you– unless you know for sure that it really IS all about you.