Words carry a lot of weight, especially where romantic relationships are concerned.
A simple “I appreciate you” can go a long way. Sometimes, it’s the small things that matter in the long run, such as a kind word here and there or a compliment that reminds you of how much your partner still loves you.
But lots of us take those words for granted. I mean, it’s a normal occurrence to tell your partner you love them, right?
That’s what you’d think. Unfortunately, some partners can be neglectful on an emotional level, which means that even though they’re with you, they’re not fully invested in the relationship.
And it shows. If your partner never says these 8 things, they might be emotionally neglectful.
1) “I love you”
Let’s start off simple. “I love you” seems like such a basic thing to say, but you’d be surprised at how many people go months or years without saying it to their significant other.
When I was sixteen, I dated someone who didn’t tell me a single “I love you” for over half a year.
Looking back at his behavior now, I understand that the lack of “I love you” was a symptom of a deeper issue – he was being emotionally neglectful because he didn’t really want to be in the relationship anymore but was too scared to break up.
When he did finally say “I love you”, it felt like a birthday gift because it was such a rare occurrence.
2) “You’re beautiful”
We all know that telling your partner they’re ugly is a horrendous thing to do. Putting down the one person you should be lifting up is cruel, and it shows an obvious lack of genuine love.
But what if your partner is kind to you and just never…goes the extra mile? What if they treat you with respect but don’t ever compliment you?
That stuff can play with your mind just as much. I used to doubt my sexual appeal all the time, wondering if my ex even found me attractive anymore.
If there’s one person who should make you feel like the most gorgeous human on planet Earth, it should be your partner. And if they never compliment you, it’s a sign there might be something more serious going on.
3) “I’m here for you”
Your partner is the basis of your emotional support network. It’s someone you should be able to lean on in a time of crisis.
But if you reach out to them when you need them most and are met with crickets…yep, that sounds like emotional neglect to me.
Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. My ex couldn’t even make it on time for my birthday party, let alone when I was crying my eyes out over something serious.
Some people don’t realize just how much a simple “I’m here for you” means. Sometimes, we just want to feel like we’re not all alone in this.
4) “Let’s solve this together”
Similarly, you shouldn’t feel alone when there’s conflict in the relationship itself. On the contrary, this is exactly when your partner ought to make you feel like it’s the two of you against a problem, not you and them against each other.
With my ex, it was the same thing over and over again – whenever there was an issue, he withdrew, and I was left to carry the burden on my own.
Imagine my surprise when my next boyfriend didn’t run away at the slightest sign of trouble and instead said, “Let’s solve this together”!
His decision to work on the problem together as a team made me feel like the relationship truly mattered to him. Like *I* mattered to him.
5) “I want to understand how you feel. Do you want to talk about it?”
Empathy is one of the major players in conflict resolution. If you weren’t able to hear each other out and put yourselves in one another’s shoes, you wouldn’t get very far.
Unfortunately, there are lots of people out there who are so submersed in their own feelings that they rarely try to understand the emotions of their partners. And that self-centredness can quickly manifest in emotional neglect, making the unheard party feel lonely and misunderstood.
This is why “I want to understand how you feel” has such a monumental impact. It shows that your partner is not only willing to hear you out – they genuinely want to know your side of the story.
6) “I miss you too”
Let’s start this one off by saying that you don’t always have to miss your partner so much your heart hurts.
As someone who’s been through a long-distance relationship before, I know that you *can* get used to someone’s absence so much that the sharp pain turns into a dull ache, and even that might eventually disappear.
But “I miss you too” isn’t really about crying your heart out every five minutes that you’re separated from your significant other. It’s about the acknowledgment of what you mean to each other.
I once told my ex I missed him, only for him to tell me, “You’ll be okay.”
Excuse me?! It’s safe to say I spent that evening sobbing into my pillow.
Often, “I miss you too” is about reciprocity and reassurance more than about the absence itself.
7) “Thank you”
Relationships are hard. There will be times when you have to compromise. There will be times when you have to make a sacrifice on your end so that the relationship can thrive. There will also be times when you go out of your way just because you want to see your significant other smile.
The least they can do is say “thank you”, right?
But some people rarely thank their partners, which – as you may have already guessed – is a bit of a problem.
Just because someone is dating you doesn’t mean you’re entitled to every good thing they do for you. They don’t *owe* you anything – everything they do is out of pure love, and while you don’t necessarily have to return every single favor (relationships aren’t business transactions, after all), saying “thank you” shows appreciation and gratitude.
If your partner never thanks you for the stuff you do, do they really appreciate you? Or are they taking your love for granted?
8) “How was your day?”
Finally, love is often about the small things – such as checking in with each other.
I love coming home and having someone ask me about my day. Not because my day was necessarily super interesting but because it reminds me that someone actually cares to hear about it, no matter how boring.
What’s more, “How was your day” is a manifestation of a much more important thing: your partner’s genuine interest in your life.
In my experience, partners who never ask you about your day are also the ones who generally aren’t all that interested in your universe as a whole.
And if your partner – arguably, the person who should care about you the most – doesn’t ask you about your job, friends, and hobbies, what does that say about their feelings for you?
Sometimes, people just fail to show their love in the right way. However, that’s not always the case, and if your partner never says many of the things mentioned above, it might very well mean they’re emotionally neglectful.
That doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is over, of course. You can work on this. But it does mean that maybe it’s time to have a talk.