Help! I Feel Neglected By My Spouse

Do you need more attention from your spouse?

It’s incredibly discouraging to feel unappreciated or neglected by your partner. Maybe you’ve brought the issue up to your spouse in the past, but nothing has changed. What should you do in that situation?

Consider What’s Behind Your Spouse’s Actions (or Inaction)

Some seasons of marriage can make you and your spouse feel further apart than you used to. Maybe you’re raising small children together. Your spouse may be having a difficult time at work. One of you, or a family member, may be experiencing chronic illness. Whatever the case, outside circumstances could be to blame.

It’s important to take plenty of time to step back and consider whether external factors are creating this divide between you. How you approach the situation will depend on what’s causing it. For example, you wouldn’t want to accuse your spouse of intentional neglect if you know an outside situation is keeping their mind or their time occupied.

Regardless of what has caused your situation, feeling neglected creates a deep emotional wound. We need our spouses to be tuned in to us and our needs. When those needs aren’t getting met, it can make us feel unloved and unimportant to our partner.

Talk to Your Spouse About Your Concerns

The next thing you need to do is set aside time to talk to your spouse about how you’re feeling. Bringing up an issue with your spouse might feel challenging, but it’s necessary to get things out into the open. Remember: they may be unaware that their behavior is causing a problem for you.

Keep that in mind as you decide what you want to say. Rather than attacking, blaming, or accusing your spouse, focus on how you’re feeling. You could say something like, “Lately, I feel like I don’t get to spend as much time with you as I’d like to. Can we talk about how to start making changes?”

Finally, be specific with your spouse about what you need. Of course, you’ll need to take external circumstances into consideration and know that all those requests might not get met right away. Still, giving your spouse an idea of what will make you feel more loved will give them a solid point of reference to start from.

Remember That Changing Behavior Isn’t Easy

Making changes to our behavior isn’t necessarily easy, especially when we’ve created habits and routines that feel effective to us. Once you’ve communicated your needs to your spouse, it’s important to give them time, grace, and patience. Check in with the situation from time to time to determine whether another conversation is needed, too. Above all, remember that you and your spouse are on the same team so you can work together to resolve this.

If you’re finding it difficult to make enough time for each other during this season, our book, Your Time-Starved Marriage, could be helpful. The book contains simple strategies to help the two of you create more time for each other. You can get a copy here.

Have you ever felt dismissed or neglected in your marriage? How did you and your spouse resolve the issue? Let us know in the comments.

One Comment

  • Henry Knelsen says:

    Hello, my name’s Henry,
    I’ve been married to my wife for nearly 19 years, of which the past 4 years I was forced to stay away from home and my family, because my wife had me arrested twice in 2019, and after a lengthy battle I was finally home with my family again. But she kept saying how happy she had been before I came back. One day she told me “you’re not going to be here long. You’ll see, I will have you removed” and a few days later she finally got what she wanted. She had me arrested a 3rd time in less than a year. On Valentine’s day of all days. And she planned for it.
    Anyway, I cod have been going home in may of 2022, but she refused to go sign the consent form. She said to my sister that she would, but never did. Now, my conditions to not communicate with her have expired and I’ve been trying to work out a plan for me to move home again. She wanted to wait a month, but then she wanted two months. So I gave notice to my landlord that in 3 months I’d be moving out. And surprise, surprise. Now she regrets not saying 6 months. Of course. She does this every single time. She’ll say something about being together at some point in the future, and when I have completed whatever I have been ordered to do or just what she said or decided a date for us to start working on our marriage, and make it good, every single time, she bails on me. She keeps making excuses to not be with me, and, to not have to admit what she did to me and said to people. Especially to her family. And I know they are cheering her on, and were part of the reason why she did it all in the first place. But she is so big mouthy now, and cruel, abusive. Not physically most of the time but every other way, She doesn’t seem to have any more empathy for me or anyone else. She goes to bed having hurt me speechless. I’ve caught her having a smile on her face because she was able to hurt me so much. She treats me like I am a child, and she’s letting our children do pretty much do whatever they want. She apposes just about every single thing I say. To her or the kids. She controlling and cruel and I don’t know what to do anymore. She refuses to talk to me about things, she doesn’t want to spend time with me, and I was led to believe she did want to be with me and I went through a lot of hardships for 4 years trying to be forgiving and patient with her, for the kids sake at least. She said she wanted to be together, and once again, now she doesn’t want to. She refuses to talk to me she refuses to take my side of things seriously. Or as valid. She makes decisions we should make together. She stonewalls me, blames her irresponsible actions on me, she destroyed my life and reputation. And she is still doing this.
    Is there anything that can be done to make her stop, and help her?

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