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When It Feels Like Your Partner Doesn't Care About You

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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD - Blogs
September 16, 2020
From the WebMD Archives

Your partner does not pay much attention to you. They’re often mesmerized by their phone, barely looking up when you talk. And when you try to talk to them about things that are on your mind, instead of lending a listening ear, they lob in dismissive responses like “stop worrying” or “just ignore it.” They just don’t seem to care about the experiences that are important to you -- and it sends the message that they don’t truly care about you.

It may seem obvious that caring is essential in any close relationship, but its importance is often lost in the activity of our lives. Loving someone involves doing your best to connect with them, understand them, and accept them for who they are. You care about that person, not the person you want them to be. Doing this requires that you and your partner take the time to get to know each other. You need to listen to what each other has to say in both their words and actions.

While you and your partner will not always agree, it’s important that your partner take your thoughts and feelings seriously. If your partner dismisses or ridicules your concerns, then there is a serious problem. They are not being respectful or showing care. If you feel sad, hurt, or disrespected or have any other upsetting feelings, be sure to share them. To increase the chance of your partner really listening, focus more on how you feel than on what they are doing wrong. Encourage them to engage with you, ask questions, and to try to understand your experience. If they still can’t relate to your feelings, can they at least respect them?

If your prompting leads to your partner showing more clearly that they care -- or if you get a sense that they are trying -- be sure to let them know you appreciate this. You might also want to express how it makes you feel warmer and closer to them.

By acknowledging you in a way that makes you feel like they care, your relationship is likely to grow, and maybe even flourish.

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About the Author
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a licensed psychologist in NJ and NY, and is on staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset. She is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. She accomplishes this through her work as a psychotherapist, speaker and writer. She is the author of Bouncing Back from Rejection and Insecure in Love.

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