Is the guy in your life guilty of taking you for granted?
Let’s face it, feeling ignored, unappreciated, or even unwanted in a relationship really knocks your self-esteem.
We all deserve to feel wanted by our partner, so what do you do when he just doesn’t seem to understand what he’s got.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, but how can you get him to change his ways before it’s too late?
Here’s how you can make him appreciate you more and realize just how much he needs you.
10 ways to make him realize how much he needs you
1) Stop doing everything for him to try to please him
You know what, he’s a big boy now. He can tie his own shoelaces, he can dress himself and he can even go potty without any help at all.
If that sounds ludicrous, just think of all the things that you’re doing for your man that he could, and should, be doing for himself.
Don’t get me wrong, doing nice things for each other in a relationship is wonderful. It is one of the love languages that can show just how much you care.
But there is also a line — and in the words of J Lo — you ain’t his mama.
Neither are you his employee, you are his partner.
We live in societies where even women who are the main breadwinners still do the majority of chores at home.
After doing some googling on how to make him realize that he needs you, I was quite shocked by some of the results.
I read one — slightly disturbing — article which included a sentence about reminding him who it is that prepares a hot supper for him every evening and has a clean shirt waiting for him in the morning.
I’m sorry, but was I somehow magically teleported back to the 1950s?
Let me be clear, I think there’s nothing wrong with a couple that chooses to divide household tasks however works best for them.
If one person prefers to do the cooking or the cleaning, whilst the other contributes in different ways — that’s your personal choice.
But let’s drop the BS of pretending that the way to “keep your man happy” is running around after him like he is a 5-year-old child.
In fact, if you are picking up after him, cooking his meals, doing his laundry and making sure he never has to lift a finger — all in a misguided attempt just to please him — you may find the opposite is true.
When you create a dynamic where he expects you to do certain things, it’s far easier for those tasks to go unnoticed and unappreciated as time goes on.
So if he is treating you more like an unpaid housekeeper, it could be time to reconsider the free labour you’re currently bestowing on him.
2) Create healthy boundaries
What is and what is not acceptable in your relationship?
Because you get to decide the behaviour you tolerate. The reality is that when we allow negative behaviour, that’s actually on us — not the other person.
The thing about personal boundaries is they are yours to set and yours to uphold too.
If he is signalling to you that he doesn’t value you in the way you would like, it’s up to you to draw a line in the sand.
That means if he is always cancelling plans, constantly chooses other people and things over you or comes home most nights and barely says two words to you — he needs to know that’s not good enough for you.
When we like or love someone, we can be tempted to let them push our boundaries. We don’t want to “rock the boat”.
Particularly at the beginning of a relationship, we want to seem super laid back. That may mean we end up saying yes when we actually mean no.
For example, you make a date and he is due to pick you up at 8 PM. You’re excitedly getting ready when you receive a message asking if it’s cool to do another night instead.
Before you respond, ask yourself, is it cool? Maybe it is fine for you, in which case, great.
But maybe it’s really not cool at all. Maybe you feel disappointed and a little bit let down.
Every time you pretend it’s fine when it’s really not, you are failing to uphold your own boundaries. This isn’t advocating unreasonable or Princess style behaviour.
Of course, relationships require flexibility and compromise, but you shouldn’t have to compromise on your self-respect.
Plus, putting up with bad behaviour is just masking bigger red flags.
If it’s feeling really one-sided, it could be a sign that he’s not that interested in you any more.
When his words or actions fall short of your expectations, you need to communicate that to him.
Whilst it can feel like keeping quiet is avoiding being upset in the short term, couples who can’t express their needs and wants to one another are on borrowed time.
3) Have fun together
Most couples find that when they’ve been together a while, things can start to feel a bit stagnant. It may not sound very romantic, but the shine wears off most things the more familiar they become.
Let’s say you go on vacation, staying at a beautiful resort with an ocean room that allows you to open your door straight on to the beach every morning.
Bliss. Sounds like paradise right? Surely, you could never tire of that.
But the funny thing about human nature is that what sounds like a dream scenario can quickly become the new normal.
Now, imagine this was your life and you lived in a home that had that same beautiful view, which you woke up to every single day.
As blessed as you would be, can you guarantee you’ll still feel the same way about it several years down the line?
Would you still wake up every morning feeling like you need to pinch yourself because it’s all just too good to be true?
It’s not that you don’t still love the view, it’s just that you almost stop noticing it. Most couples experience a similar effect at some point or another.
When we stop being grateful for what we have in our relationship, it’s easy to take it for granted — and in the process our other half too.
We all need a little reminder every now and again of how lucky we are.
You know what really makes us appreciate someone? When we love being with them.
Relationships can easily get bogged down by the pressures of life. If things have lost their spark a little bit, try to inject some fun back into your relationship.
Laughing together, doing things just the two of you and spending quality time with one another can provide some much needed good times that help you both remember why you fell in love in the first place.
Suggest a special date or even arrange a surprise for the two of you to get back some of that magic.
4) Show him what he’s missing
Just as it’s important to spend time together in your relationship, it’s also just as important to have a life of your own.
If you are sick and tired of sitting around waiting for him to take you out to dinner — then don’t wait any longer.
Call up your friends or family and make plans without him.
You certainly don’t need him to have a good time. When both you and he realize that, he’s more likely to appreciate what he has.
Independence is attractive.
If he knows that you are not going to be twiddling your thumbs waiting for him to throw a little bit of attention your way, he’s more likely to think twice about taking you for granted.
This isn’t about trying to make him feel jealous, but at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with him realizing that you do have other options.
The next time he is feeling lonely or bored, he’ll know that you’re no longer there at the drop of a hat because your life doesn’t revolve around him.
There’s a psychological phenomenon called the scarcity effect. It says that the more limited in supply we think something is, the more desirable it becomes to us.
So if you want to be more desirable to him, leave him with no doubt that you are a limited edition and in very short supply.
5) Don’t be tempted to play games
Sadly, most of us learn — and even advised — to use emotional manipulation as a means of getting what we want.
I find it quite shocking how often these kinds of tactics are still presented as an acceptable solution for relationship problems.
We see this show up in things like “dating rules”.
You know, all those little and seemingly innocent games like don’t reply to their text messages straight away, play hard to get, don’t show them you are interested.
Then when you are a couple and he isn’t behaving how you want, we’re told to make him jealous or ignore him.
But let’s face it, these are actually pretty disrespectful behaviours that nobody should put up with.
I’m not trying to seem all morally superior. I’ve certainly indulged in some fairly childish tactics myself in the past. But seriously, is this really the best we can do?
Plus, what those people who advocate playing games all too often fail to acknowledge is that in the long run, it’s a very ineffective plan of action.
Sure, game playing may allow you to win a battle or two but you’ll never win the war with them.
When I knew I was writing this article, I decided to get a guy’s perspective.
So I messaged my ex-boyfriend to ask him how a woman could make him realize that he needs her.
Here was his list:
- Silent treatment
- Withholding sex
- Being unresponsive
- Finding new priorities
- Having hot male best friends
- Making threats
- Posting pictures on social media doing fun things (especially with hot men)
Whilst I knew for sure that many of these were said tongue in cheek, I was curious to know if he was serious about any of them.
He admitted that all of them had worked on him at some point in his life to get him to pay attention to a girl.
So hands up, games can work — but then again, it really depends on your definition of “work”.
He also admitted that it never really worked for long and that now he’s in his 30’s he sees it as totally dysfunctional and it certainly wouldn’t work anymore.
The bottom line is that, as tempting as it may be, to get a quick victory by playing games, are you prepared to keep doing it forever, just to get him to show you any attention?
Any attempts to “keep him on his toes” is just hiding from a bigger problem.
If he isn’t interested enough to put effort into your relationship without you having to trick him into it, you have to ask yourself, what’s the point?
If we want a healthy adult relationship we need a more mature response.
That means being brave enough, to be honest about how we feel, rather than sulking until he notices.
It means telling him what you need from him and following through with the consequences if he doesn’t offer you that — as opposed to throwing around empty threats.
It involves getting on with your life, not because you’re trying to make him jealous, but simply because you know you are worth more than waiting around for him.
6) Don’t agree to just sex, if you want more
This one is for when you feel stuck in the “friends with benefits” category and secretly you wish you were more to him.
It’s true that plenty of friendships can turn into relationships and sometimes a guy says he just wants to be friends but his actions show differently.
But what’s also true is that the vast majority of men who straight out tell you they are not looking for a relationship with you mean it.
If you are going along with things in the hope that he may change his mind once he realizes how great you are, you have to be prepared for disappointment.
If you’re happy for it to be casual sex and not go any further then that’s fine, but if you would like it to be more, then you are selling yourself short settling for less.
When we have sex, we release oxytocin, otherwise known as the cuddle hormone.
So just because of biology, you may find yourself becoming attached to a sexual partner, whether you had intended to or not.
That’s why it’s a good idea to be really clear you are on the same page about what you both want out of the connection.
If you feel like he is just using you for your body, maybe it’s time to find someone who wants you for your mind too.
7) Let him know he’s your hero
Have you heard of the Hero Instinct?
Lachlan wrote an article all about it in detail and exactly how you can trigger it to your relationship.
But basically, it’s the idea that men need to feel like they are needed by the woman in their life. So to make him realize that he needs you, you also need to make sure he feels needed too.
Men biologically have a primal instinct to protect and provide for the people they care about. That means he wants to feel capable and useful to you.
When he does things for you, do you let him know that you’re thankful?
When he makes an effort do you compliment him for it?
If he does something that you think isn’t quite up to your standard or how you would have done things, are you quick to criticize?
It should go without saying, that nobody wants to be belittled or put down.
If you’re guilty of this behaviour with your guy, the chances are you are emasculating him and potentially pushing him away in the process.
If you need him, let him know.
Good ways to trigger his hero instinct is by boosting his confidence and making sure he knows when he makes you happy.
Yeah sure, you’re independent and can probably do it yourself, but it’s also nice to turn to him for help once in a while too.
We all want someone who brings out the best in us, so encourage him to be his best self.
In short, it’s important to remember that everything you want from him — all that appreciation, desire and respect — is a two-way street and he also wants to see from you too.
8) Give him his own space
Nobody wants a clingy partner.
Well, I guess some people might, but pretty much only insecure people want someone needy in their life.
Whilst some of us could do with more space than others, we all need time alone — and that is just as true when we’re in a serious relationship.
Far from taking it personally when he needs some downtime on his own or with his friends, you should see it as a positive. After all, you never get the chance to miss somebody when they are always around.
When you feel like your other half is part of the furniture, it’s far easier to take them for granted too.
If you feel like he’s stopped appreciating you because he’s got used to you being there for him, some time alone may help him to reflect on the hole you create when you’re not around.
9) Stop making him your number one priority until you become his
If it is clear that you are not his number one priority, it’s time to stop making him yours.
If he doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices you make for him or the attention he gets from you, then give him less of these things.
Become less responsive to his demands and decide not to cater to his every whim and desire. It’s not about acting out of spite, it’s a matter of self-respect.
Realistically, our priorities often shift in life depending on what is going on.
He may have lots going on and need to focus on things like work or family for a time — that’s completely normal.
But if you never seem to come near the top of his priority list things need to change. If it feels like he always puts himself before you, try doing the same.
Value your own energy and time enough to give it where it is appreciated and worthwhile.
Don’t cancel plans and come running whenever he calls.
If he cares, he will make time for you in his life when it suits both of you and not just when it’s convenient for him.
10) Find someone who you don’t need to convince
Ultimately you can’t “make” anybody do anything and you shouldn’t have to either.
Instead, you should focus on building up your own self-esteem and confidence so that you don’t need him.
Ironically, it is this quality that is magnetic to others and ends up attracting people to us.
There’s no perfect partner out there and all relationships require work and will face their ups and downs.
But if your attempts to highlight to him how he may be undervaluing you and your relationship is consistently falling on deaf ears — you might want to think seriously about whether it’s time to move on.
I wonder how many articles he is reading about what he can do to try and prove to you how much he needs you? Just a thought.
If you are putting in all the effort, is there someone else out there who is prepared to meet you halfway? I’m willing to bet you there is.
At the end of the day you don’t actually want him to “need you” — that’s not very sexy is it.
You want him to want you — because being chosen is far hotter than being needed.
You just want him to value, respect and show you that he appreciates. That’s certainly not too much to ask for.
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