One of the problems I often hear as a couple therapist is, “I don’t feel like my partner loves me anymore, what do I do?” The answer to this question often depends on why you don’t feel loved.
We will review some reasons that people feel unloved in their relationships. Then discuss how to get the love you want and deserve. Finally, we will talk about how to know when to see a therapist for help and support.
Is it normal to feel this way?
It is normal for everyone to feel unloved at times. Even in healthy relationships people will do or say things to hurt their boyfriend or girlfriend. This is especially true at the beginning of a relationship or when something has changed in one, or both, of your lives.
Sometimes, feeling unloved isn’t due to anything our partner has done, but comes from inside ourselves. It’s possible we are having low self esteem.
Sometimes, it is an issue with the relationship or our partner. It’s also likely we’ve not been able to communicate to our partner what we need to feel loved. And the worst, is when we have communicated to them and they do not seem to care if we feel loved.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you could be feeling unloved in your relationship.
What makes me feel unloved?
Feeling loved by your partner is one of the best things about a love relationship. There are so many reasons that people will not feel loved in a relationship. Some of them are things we can change, and some are not. Let’s look at some of these below.
It feels like I give more than they do
When a relationship is balanced, it can make you feel very loved. However, when you feel that you are giving more than you are receiving from a romantic partner, it can be upsetting and even give you a negative opinion of your partner.
It could be that you are the one to make plans for every date, lead emotional conversations or initiate sex. Maybe you’re the one that is more romantic, or you do things for your spouse or partner that you wish they would do for you.
Any of these things can make you feel unloved. We want to be important to our loved ones and expect them to (obviously) take on part of the work of the relationship instead of just getting the benefits.
They don’t speak my love language
There is a lot of hype around the 5 love languages. There is good reason for this. People give and receive love in different ways.
In order to feel loved, you need to receive love in a way that works for you. And this is often different from how your partner wants to be loved.
Since we usually give love the way we want to receive it, this leads to a lot of miscommunication. It can make you feel incredibly unloved when your partner is trying their hardest to make you feel cared for.
For example, if your love language is gifts, it doesn’t help if your loved one puts every effort into planning dates. You will still feel unsatisfied.
They insult me or put me down
If you’re feeling this way because your partner’s words, this can be incredibly painful. Maybe when you fight with your boyfriend or girlfriend they say mean things to you or about you. It could be that they insult you, your family or your friends.
Insults or put downs can be very damaging to a romantic relationship. They can even cause you to break up if it goes on long enough and can damage your self esteem.
My partner treats me like a child
One of the wonderful things about romantic love is that it happens between equals. When you start to think your relationship is more of a parent-child dynamic that often leaves you not feeling loved. When you’re talked down to it looks like partners don’t accept you.
No one wants to feel that their lover thinks they are in need of parenting. No one wants to think they are the lesser party in a relationship. This dynamic also often leads to not only a lack of love, but also a lack of sex.
There is little or no physical contact
Speaking of the above, sometimes people do not feel loved because there is a lack of physical contact. This can not only mean intercourse, but also hugs, cuddles, hand holding etc.
In general if the physical aspect of the relationship starts to go downhill, and it’s not due to prior discussion, a person is not going to feel loved at all.
They talk to me less
Most relationships start out with a lot of talking and togetherness. When the talking slacks off, that can lead to not feeling loved.
This can also happen if the type of communication changes. For instance if you talk on the phone daily, and suddenly you only get texts. This can make you feel less loved by your partner.
They want to see me less
This is a big one for people whose love language is quality time. For those of you who have that love language, in order to feel loved you need to spend time connecting with your girlfriend of boyfriend.
If it seems your person is always busy, then it’s harder to feel wanted and even ore difficult to feel loved.
I’m not a priority
Everyone wants to be important to those they love. In a relationship you want to be their #1 priority. What happens when you know everyone from friends, to family to the dog comes before you do? You end up not feeling loved.
I feel like our love is conditional
Feeling loved is difficult when you think you must earn it. Feeling like you must act, dress, or be a certain way in order to get love makes it harder to feel loved. We feel like they don’t accept us for ourselves and we all want to be loved as we ware.
We fight all the time
When we fight often with our partners it can be devastating. It’s not important if the focus is past or present problems, it’s hard to deal when the conversation blows up into an argument. This negative cycle can make it harder to feel loved and even give us negative feelings about our person.
My partner has mental health issues and I’m afraid to trigger them
Sometimes it’s feels difficult to talk to your partner because you trigger their mental health issues. You know that you aren’t the problem and the issue is not related to the current moment, but something from earlier in their life or relationships gets in the way of yours.
This can lead to a lack of communication about even the most important things. It can create division and lack of respect between partners. All of which makes you feel less like you are loved in your relationship.
Things have changed between us
Some people love change, and some people fear it. I figure there are more people who don’t like it than do. Sometimes change can be good and can mean you are growing closer. However, sometimes the change is unexpected or unhealthy.
The romantic feelings you once had could seem like they are slipping or even like your love is fading away. You could be having a hard time trying to figure out what’s different or putting it into words. You just know you want the relationship to be like it was in the past.
Is the problem me or my partner?
The biggest question people often have around not feeling unloved is that they want to know if they are the problem, or if their person is showing them less love.
Most of the time, the problem lies not in one party or the other, but within the relationship dynamic and can be remedied with a bit of effort, a conversation or two, knowledge of your self and your partner’s world or the help of a therapist.
The first question in determining this is have you addressed the issue? Have you told your person that you are feeling less love and would like to find a way forward where you feel better in the relationship?
The second question is are you being verbally, emotionally or physically abused? If so, then the problem lies with the person perpetuating the abuse and with the reason you are willing to accept it to have love.
How do I get the love I want?
Everyone wants love. Getting the love you want is important, and there are a few ways to do that.
Get help for myself
There are three things you can do to get the love you want. The first is working on yourself. I know that sounds odd that doing personal work can make you reel more loved, but it’s true. The process of raising your self esteem can help you to realize what’s wrong.
If there is something from your life, or an issue with your self esteem, you can work on yourself. If you cannot accept love, then it doesn’t help to go on fun dates, it doesn’t help if your partner’s behavior is wonderful, you will never truly feel worthy of love. If you don’t feel worthy of love you won’t feel loved and fulfilled.
Discuss things with my partner
If you aren’t feeling loved, and you haven’t talked with your loved one about this, then now is the time to have the conversation.
You could find out that they have been looking for a way to bring you closer together and make your life better and just did not know how. And how else are you going to know if they even realize there is a problem if you don’t let them know.
Get professional help
If your pain comes from emotional, physical or verbal abuse, then know that you deserve better. This is a sign that something is truly wrong in your relationship and it is never healthy. This is something that you are unlikely to be able to fix on your own and it’s possible that your efforts would make things worse. This is a case where you need the help and support of a therapist.
If you have realized you are arguing quite a bit and there are even moments when you feel like you don’t know how to fix things, this is another time to chat with a therapist and let them coach you on communication skills. Couple therapy methods like Emotionally Focused Therapy and Gottman Method Couple therapy can help if you want to work on this together.
You could also reach a point when you are working on yourself and aren’t sure how to move forward. Again, this is a good time for a therapist to coach you or help you process any trauma or pain. They can also help you focus your work on yourself.
Leave and start over
In some relationships there comes a point where no matter what you do, it’s not going to work. In the case you really aren’t being loved, or else you’re being abused. Another reason to leave would be your person’s behavior is unacceptable and they don’t want to change or their mental illness is not being dealt with.
Sometimes the only way forward is to break up so that you can be happy and loved. If your current relationship will not provide the love you need, you must look for it elsewhere.
If you are having difficulty leaving a relationship that you know needs to end, this is the time for a chat with at therapist. Sometimes your partner has become your entire world and you can’t see moving on without them. At other times you feel no matter how much you search for a relationship you will never find love. This is not the case and you deserve the love you want. Be strong by reaching out for help and support.