Love is hard. Love can be hard every single day, even if you’re with a partner that you care deeply about and who cares deeply for you, too.
Loving someone is hard work. It means being vulnerable – sharing your feelings, opening yourself up emotionally, prioritizing someone else’s needs. It also means being open to rejection if the person you love doesn’t return your feelings or if they’re not able to demonstrate their love in a way that makes you feel secure.
If you’re asking yourself, “Why do I feel unloved?” know that you’re not alone. Many people report feeling unloved, even in long-term, stable relationships. Feeling unloved can be incredibly difficult – it can lower your self-esteem and make you question your self-worth and your relationship.
Why do so many people feel unloved in relationships? And, if you’re feeling unloved, what can you do about it?
In this article, I’ll discuss the five most common reasons for feeling unloved in your relationship. Then, I’ll give you nine actionable steps you can take to improve your relationship and your self-esteem so you feel stronger and more loved.
5 Reasons Why You May Be Feeling Unloved in Your Relationship
“Why do I feel unloved?”
Many people ask themselves this question, even if they’re in committed relationships. Here are the top five reasons why you may be feeling unloved in your relationship.
#1: You Feel Under-Appreciated
Do you feel like you’re doing a ton of work without getting any recognition? Maybe you’re making all the meals or doing all of the laundry. Maybe you drive your kids to school every day and make sure everyone wakes up on time. Maybe your partner is sick, and you’re having to shoulder the burden of bringing in all of your household’s income.
When you feel unloved, it may be because you feel under-appreciated. When you feel like you’re pulling more than your fair share of weight or simply that no one’s recognizing your contributions, you may also feel unloved.
#2: You Don’t Believe You’re Worthy of Love
Do you have a hard time believing that anyone can love you? When you look in the mirror, do you see more of your weaknesses than your strengths? Do you constantly talk negatively about yourself?
When you feel unloved, you may actually be experiencing low-self esteem. If you don’t believe that you’re worthy of love, you’ll have a hard time believing anyone actually loves you.
#3: You Feel That Your Partner Doesn’t Understand You
Maybe your partner loves watching the Home Shopping Network and scoffs at you every time you want to watch baseball. Maybe you complain about work, and your partner dismisses your concerns. Maybe you simply have different interests.
Whatever the disconnect, having a partner who doesn’t understand you can make you feel very lonely and unimportant. You want to feel appreciated and heard by your partner, not dismissed.
#4: You’re With A Partner Who’s Emotionally Unavailable
If your partner is emotionally unavailable, that means that he or she is distant and either unwilling or unable to share feelings and emotions. Maybe your partner won’t tell you if he’s had a bad day, or she won’t share that she loves you. Regardless of how being emotionally unavailable presents itself, it can be extremely hard to deal with. You’ll often feel belittled, ignored, and unloved.
#5: You’re Not Being Spoken to in Your Love Language
Different people show love in different ways. And, different people like to receive love in different ways. Maybe your partner shows love by buying you gifts, but you really only care about having love expressed through words. If you and your partner’s love languages don’t align, you could be left wondering if they care, even as they’re trying to tell you how much they love you in their own way.
9 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Unloved
So what should you do if you’re feeling unloved? Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to improve your relationship and your sense of self-worth. Try out these ten methods to start feeling better.
#1: Practice Self-Care
One of the best ways to feel better about yourself is to take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and take the time you need to rest and relax.
By practicing self-care, you’ll feel more mentally stable and ready to take on challenges. Take the time to treat yourself well, and you’ll feel more positive about yourself.
#2: Treat Yourself
Wishing your partner would buy you something special? Why don’t you get it for yourself, instead?
Treating yourself to a small gift, a nice meal, or a relaxing day at the spa (or something else that you’re lusting after) is a great way to make yourself feel better. It also reinforces the idea that you’re able to take care of yourself and create your own happiness – you don’t need to rely on a partner to show you his or her love.
#3: Find Ways to Give Without Expectation
Helping other people is a great way to help yourself, too. Give to other people without any expectation of reward.
You can practice giving in a number of ways. You could cook dinner for your partner, just because you like helping out. You can also give to someone else – maybe your parent needs help getting to a doctor’s appointment, or a friend could use some babysitting support. Find ways to make other people’s days, and you’ll ultimately end up having a better one, yourself.
#4: Communicate Your Frustrations
Chances are, your partner isn’t a mind-reader. He or she won’t know how to make you feel more loved (or even that you’re feeling unloved) unless you communicate your frustrations.
Share with your partner that you’re feeling down and that you need more support. Frame your conversation in a positive, solutions-based way. Rather than accusing your partner of not doing something, provide suggestions of what he or she can do to make you feel better.
Getting in the habit of sharing your feelings can be difficult, but it’ll ultimately lead to greater understanding between the two of you.
#5: Share How You Love to Be Loved
As I mentioned before, different people have different love languages. Tell your partner what makes you feel good, whether that’s words, physical touch, quality time, gifts, or something else. That way, your partner can carve out the time to give you what you need.
#6: Take a Hard Look at Your Relationship
If you’ve tried communicating with your partner and your relationship simply isn’t getting better, it might be time to take a look at the relationship and see if it’s still adding value to your life. You and your partner may simply be incompatible, or your partner may be so emotionally unavailable that a loving relationship simply isn’t feasible.
Deciding whether or not to end a relationship can be a difficult, painful process. But ultimately it’s better to truly examine your relationship and decide whether or not it’s worthwhile than to stay blindly in a partnership that’s causing you pain.
#7: Spend Time With Those Who Love You Unconditionally
If you don’t feel loved by your partner, spend some time with people who you know without a doubt love you unconditionally. Maybe that’s your parents, or your siblings, or your friends. Spending time around people who truly, deeply care about you can remind you of your own worth and feel you with that warm feeling that comes from being loved.
#8: Stop Pushing People Away
Are you the problem? Are you constantly pushing people away? Maybe you put them down when they say “I love you” by responding “No, you don’t.” Maybe you talk about yourself negatively and dismiss compliments. Maybe you turn away offers for help and support.
If you’re pushing people away, you won’t feel loved, because you’ve created a barrier around yourself. In order to feel loved, you need to allow people inside your walls and start to trust their love for you.
#9: Consult a Therapist
Most of the suggestions I’ve given for ways to feel more loved are hard. It can be hard to open yourself up to people. It can be hard to communicate with your partner. It can be hard to decide to leave a failing relationship.
If you’re struggling with any of these issues or any others, there are people who can help. Therapists are trained to help you deal with complex emotional situations. Therapy is a great way to gain a better understanding of yourself and how you interact with those around.
Feeling unloved can be isolating and depressing. If you’re seeking love in your relationship, and aren’t getting it, you may often feel frustrated and upset.
Ultimately, if you’re wondering “Why do I feel unloved?,” you need to start by learning how to love yourself. The more you love yourself, the more you’ll be able to fight the idea that you’re unloved.