Relationships are never a perfect balance, but they should always have some give and take.
If you’re in a completely one-sided relationship it’s a confusing and hurtful situation.
But sometimes you don’t even realize just how bad things really are until you look honestly at the actions of your partner.
If the below is happening then you’re being treated as an afterthought by the person you love.
Let’s take a look…
1) Expecting you to do everything
If your partner expects you to do everything, they don’t value you.
They may say they love you, care about you and couldn’t stand to lose you:
But they sure aren’t showing it.
Keep an eye out for this one-sidedness even in the early stages of a relationship.
It can start very small, with your partner refusing to adjust their schedule or demanding that you spend more than them when you do things together.
No relationship will be fully balanced, but it should always have some element of reciprocity!
2) Ignoring your emotions and well-being
Part of reciprocity is the emotional connection between the two of you.
If your partner rarely asks how you are or only does so out of obligation, they’re treating you as an afterthought.
This is all too common in relationships including marriage where your partner may have grown accustomed to your presence and started taking you for granted.
They don’t seem to care how you’re doing and even when you’re struggling they shrug it off…
As for the physical side of reciprocity, that’s where we come to the next relationship issue…
3) Being selfish in bed or ignoring you sexually
Sexual compatibility is a very overlooked aspect of relationship reciprocity.
For starters, it’s ideal that both of you be highly attracted to each other much more than you would any other good-looking person you pass on the street.
Secondly, your partner should care about what you like in bed.
If your partner only cares about getting himself (or herself) off and leaves you lying there feeling used, they’re treating you like a glorified dildo or fleshlight.
If they ignore you altogether it’s even worse.
In such a scenario, you can’t be blamed for asking what makes your relationship any different than a friendship or work-colleague connection of some kind.
4) Lying about addictions and poor behavior
Lack of respect is a key sign that you’re being ranked low on your partner’s radar.
When they lie to you repeatedly, it’s a way of not letting you in.
Making promises they don’t keep is another big red warning light:
But there’s a reason this confuses some people.
That’s because the partner succumbing to addictions or bad behavior can always say that they’re just giving in to their own weakness.
And maybe it’s true!
But often they are also disrespecting the promise they’ve made to you because they don’t love you enough. Alternately, they don’t fear the consequences if they write cheques to you that they can’t cash.
5) Barely communicating and expecting you to mind-read
Another way that a partner can treat you very low on their list of priorities is to clam up.
They not only ignore how you feel or downplay it, they won’t communicate about how they feel.
They will expect you to read their mind, and weaponize their moods against you.
What does this mean?
They will expect you to know why they’re in such a bad mood or imply it’s your fault…
They will get excited and demand that you join their festive mood even if you’re struggling with other things.
It’s immature, stupid and it’s enough to want to call it quits on your part. You’re being treated like a prop.
This ties into the next point…
6) Blaming you for any issues that come up
You can’t be held responsible for everything your partner goes through and vice versa.
Sometimes they may be upset because of something you did or didn’t do.
But expecting you to take ownership of their emotions crosses the line into codependency.
Instead of facing what’s going on or telling you they’re upset, which is honest and mature, they are saying you have to be responsible for making them feel well.
It’s a vicious cycle in which you are put in the backseat of your own life and expected to drive your partner’s life for them.
It’s nonsense, and it also leads down a dark path in which your partner may start to blame you for everything and anything that goes wrong in their life.
You then become their emotional punching bag and end up in an abusive relationship.
7) Making fun of you in front of others
Having a partner who jokes around about you in front of others is very humiliating.
After all, this is somebody you share your life with and care about.
You’re supposed to laugh along, right?
The last thing you’d want to do is look uncomfortable or confront them over mean behavior in public.
But that’s exactly why some people do this:
Because they know they can get away with it and ridicule you in public while you can’t defend yourself.
It’s low-down dirty behavior, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
And if this is happening you can be absolutely sure that you’re low down on the priority list your partner has and that he or she doesn’t love you (or at least doesn’t respect you!)
8) Letting themselves go
None of us can expect our partner to stay exactly the same physically or in their habits as when we met them.
But the habit of letting oneself go is very disheartening.
If your partner doesn’t groom themselves, practice basic hygiene or do any kind of physical exercise, you have grounds for complaint.
It’s not just that they’re physically (and emotionally) less pleasant to be around…
It’s that their own self-esteem and well-being is suffering as a result of not looking after themselves and you’re expected to just not care.
But you love them, so of course you care!
And if they cared about you they would be looking after themselves or at least concerned about why they’re not…
9) Not making any plans for the future with you
Future plans can be intimidating, but if your partner thinks of you as a priority, he or she won’t be scared of at least discussing the subject.
Maybe the content of those future plans remains very unclear and opaque.
But a discussion of the future in general shouldn’t spook them that much.
Even if the relationship is fairly new, for example, they should be open to at least talking about their general plans for the future or what they want out of a relationship in general.
This isn’t too much to ask.
Being somebody’s priority
Being somebody’s priority doesn’t mean they only think of you night and day.
Nor does it mean you do that for them.
No matter how in love you are with somebody, you need to maintain your own life:
- Your own friendships…
- Your own hobbies…
- Your own beliefs and values…
But when you are somebody’s priority in a relationship it does mean that it’s going to show in their actions (and sometimes in their words, too).
As I noted, a lack of communication can also be a sign that you’re an afterthought.
However for the most part you’re going to be able to tell how much you are somebody’s priority by their actions.
Do they invite you along with them to important events?
Are they truly interested in you and your dreams, values, struggles and hopes?
Do they help you when times get tough or just show up for the icing on the cake?
Pay attention to what your partner does, because if they’re treating you like an afterthought I can guarantee you that you deserve better.
What’s worse is that accepting less than you deserve can condition you to thinking that’s the only role you’ll ever play in a relationship.
So much for the afterglow
When you’re being treated like an afterthought you’re likely to go through the following stages:
- Denial (this must be in my head!)
- Comparison (is this happening in other relationships, too?)
- Anger and sadness (this sucks!)
- Solution-seeking (what do I do now? Can this be fixed?)
The initial glow of the relationship has worn off, at least it has for your partner!
You feel disappointed and let-down because even if you’re still in love, you aren’t sure how to rekindle what you once had or get your partner to care and start re-engaging…
As Everclear sings in their 1997 hit single “So Much For the Afterglow:”
“We never ask ourselves the questions
To the answers that nobody even wants to know
I guess the honeymoon is over
So much for the afterglow…”