My boyfriend is taking me for granted and I feel like garbage.
There, I said it.
The question is what to do about it?
In order to answer this question, I set out on a quest to figure out why my boyfriend has been taking me for granted.
What I found didn’t exactly reassure me, but I’ve now narrowed it down to 7 main reasons he’s ignoring me and 21 things I can do about it.
Better than just stewing in my own misery, right?
The first thing I found out…
The first thing I found out was a real downer.
My boyfriend might be cheating on me. I don’t know if he is for sure, but it would basically explain all his behavior.
Of course, I’d already thought about it, especially on a few nights where he was out late for sort of unclear reasons. But I’d never really faced the reality until I started doing more research into emotionally absent partners.
Whether he’s sexting someone or physically having sex with her, I still think there’s a good chance he’s getting some on the side.
I’ve confronted him about it and he completely denied it.
I’m really not sure if his defensiveness was what a guilty guy would do or was just him genuinely pleading his innocence.
I desperately want it to be true that he’s not cheating.
Which is why I’ve narrowed it down to the following list of reasons your boyfriend my boyfriend’s been taking me for granted.
I’m going to go through it with you and then explain the options of what to do.
Let me tell you my story
Before I go through the reasons that boyfriends sometimes turn into dismissive dicks, I’ll clue you in on my story.
I’ve been in a serious relationship for five years. We actually got engaged last year and we share an apartment that we leased a year-and-a-half ago.
He was still into me back then, even though it seems like a lifetime ago, I’m now in this sexless wasteland I find myself in.
He is Roberto. I know, his name sounds sexy. He is too.
But he’s also kind of an asshole sometimes if I’m being honest.
Roberto’s hard edge and flair are part of what attracted me at the start, but over the past year since our engagement, it’s just become super annoying and frustrating.
He barely gives me a peck on the cheek anymore and seems to see me like a piece of furniture in our apartment.
I’ve talked to him, I’ve tried to seduce him, I’ve massaged him, I’ve cooked for him.
I even went off for a week trip with a girlfriend to go skiing. I’m giving him his space when I can, and I don’t smother him or anything…as far as I know.
But whatever small improvements I’m seeing are not nearly enough to bail out this sinking ship.
I’m ready to leave if things don’t improve, but the good news is I am working on several solutions that slowly seem like they might be waking Roberto up from his romance coma.
With that let me get to the 7 most likely reasons why your boyfriend has been taking you for granted.
7 reasons why my boyfriend is taking me for granted
1) He cares more about work or his friends than you
This one hurts like a bitch but it has to be faced.
Guys’ brains are wired differently. Once they feel they have you all to themselves and have won your heart, they can disconnect very rapidly.
His hero instinct may not be getting triggered, or he may simply have lost the thrill of the chase and he now finds time with his buddies or time spent on work matters to be more fulfilling at this point.
I definitely suggest watching this free video on how to trigger his hero instinct.
I also think you should be very careful when a guy treats you like an afterthought or a cheap prop.
Whether you’re serious and long-term or not, you shouldn’t be letting a man you’re intimate with take you for granted with things like last-minute calls, constant cancellations, and not paying attention to you.
If you let him devalue you this much, then he’ll continue to do so and repeat a pattern of making you feel worse and worse about yourself.
QUIZ: Is your man pulling away? Take our new “is he pulling away quiz” and get a real and honest answer. Check out the quiz here.
2) He’s cheating on you
This is that one that none of us want to be true but that all too often is, unfortunately, true.
When a guy is cheating on you his emotional and sexual energy is directed elsewhere.
He’s got his eyes on a hot new piece of sassy sexiness, not you. And he won’t be bothering with many conversations, dinner dates, or anything else either. Because he’s doing that with his new crush.
If he’s cheating on you there are some ways you can try to find out, but keep in mind that accusing him of cheating if you’re wrong can break up a relationship on the spot.
In terms of signs he’s cheating, there are a few to especially watch out for.
As Nik Hopkirk writes, there are a lot of signs that your guy might be going behind your back.
“Suspecting that something’s up is often the first sign for many women. Admittedly intuition isn’t proof that your fella is actually doing anything wrong, but you know that something doesn’t feel quite right…
Has he started changing his daily routine for seemingly no reason? Maybe his actual job hasn’t changed, but he starts leaving earlier in the morning and getting back later. Or perhaps he told you he was out with Steve last week, but you later discover that Steve was away at a conference.”
3) He has baggage of the emotional kind
Guys can be surprisingly emotional creatures with all sorts of issues, just like women. He may have deep-seated problems around intimacy.
This could include problems with shame, anxiety, depression, lethargy, and more.
It can also include psychological doubt and anger over physical problems like erectile dysfunction, which are often connected to broader psychological issues.
Emotional issues can be a major roadblock for guys when it comes to relationships.
If you’re a sensitive woman, you may feel like it’s all your fault when the truth is that he’s as messed up as a radioactive alligator on steroids.
I don’t know quite where that image came from, but it works.
Emotional issues can be truly radioactive and make everyone in the vicinity feel like crap and feel guilty.
But if he has some deep emotional issues or ongoing immaturity that’s his issue to resolve, not yours, and you shouldn’t be getting taken for granted in the meantime.
“Usually, emotional immaturity isn’t obvious right away. In the first few weeks and months of dating, as our best selves are presented, we’ve found ourselves thinking, Finally, a guy who isn’t emotionally stunted! He’s a MAN — not a man-CHILD! But at some point, the curtain is pulled back just like in the “Wizard of Oz” and, yup, his emotional issues are right there,” explain Ami Angelowicz and Amelia McDonell-Parry.
Initially, this gentleman comes off as exceedingly confident — he thinks he’s the best at his job, takes good care of his appearance, and is often the life of the party.
But he also cannot take a joke at his expense, overstates how successful he is, and is never happy for anyone who’s doing “better” than him — including the woman he’s with,” they add.
4) He’s too scared to just break up with you
Fear of breaking up can drive a man to do really messed up things.
Like, lie to you for months or years and bottle up all his emotions until they come out in some crazy outburst and lead to a massive breakup.
When he’s too scared to break up with you, one of the things he’ll do is take you for granted and be dismissive.
He can do that because he’s feeling crappy or unsure about you but doesn’t have the courage to just come out and say it.
So he hides it and ignores you and nods indifferently at whatever you say because deep down he doesn’t want you.
“Men often bottle their emotions up and don’t let anyone see them. They don’t like being vulnerable and sometimes they just don’t know how to handle them,” writes Adrian at the site With My Ex Again, adding “So how could you fix the problem if he didn’t tell you that there was one?”
5) He’s had too much of you
Sometimes when you spend a lot of time around your partner, you begin to get on each others’ nerves and the attraction wears off like an old coat of paint.
Paired Life has a good article on this:
“While it may seem strange, there is such a thing as too much intimacy…If you see each other 24 hours a day, then there is a strong possibility that your boyfriend or husband will get bored.”
When you see too much of someone even the good things about them can start to seem humdrum.
Your boyfriend may begin taking you for granted because you’re always around whenever he wants you and he barely has to put in any energy or effort to have your affection and time.
Even the best couples can wear out and start to get tired of each other when they begin to devalue each others’ time.
So if this is you then it’s a good idea to think about spending a little bit of time apart before you get so sick of each other you never want to see the other person’s face again.
6) He grew up with some bad influences
I know none of us wants to hear about how this guy is taking you for granted because daddy didn’t treat mommy very well, but it honestly could be a big part of the reason.
The patterns and emotional trauma absorbed in early childhood tend to leave a deep imprint.
If your boyfriend or husband grew up around an environment where women were seen as subservient or expected to do what men said then he may have subconsciously absorbed and replicated that attitude.
He takes you for granted because it’s the only way he’s ever seen women be treated.
The problem with this is that it’s going to take some time and real energy and maybe therapy to turn it around.
If he grew up in a caveman scenario, it doesn’t change easily and he can get skittish if you bring it up too directly with him.
Go slow but be honest and let him know that where you come from women aren’t pieces of property.
7) He just wants sex
This probably could have come up higher on this list but I didn’t want to start off on such an obvious reason he takes you for granted.
When a guy is just in search of some sensual adventures he doesn’t tend to expend a lot of emotional energy or any other kind of energy.
He just kind of strings you along and texts or messages when he wants to do a booty call.
When he takes you for granted and doesn’t introduce you to his family or friends, it’s probably because he’s not trying to fit you into his life…
He’s just trying to literally fit himself into you…
Sorry to put that image into your head. But like I said, Roberto is pretty hot.
Still, eghhh. It’s so disappointing when a guy treats you like his plaything and uses you for sex. It ruins the whole vibe.
What you can do about it…
1) Absence makes the heart grow fonder
This is my first piece of advice and it’s by far the most important. If you want your guy to stop taking you for granted, then stop taking yourself for granted.
Stop giving him your time and attention and love like it’s nothing. Spend time away from him and become a little more aloof.
When my boyfriend — my fiance, technically — was taking me for granted for months and months, I just let him do it. I blamed myself and tried harder. I sought to win his approval and contributed to a sad spiral where he lost more and more interest.
What I should have done — and what I’m doing now — is living my own life.
No more wondering what Roberto is thinking and feeling all day. He gets to spend some time apart from me and realize that I’m actually a pretty cool chick after all.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s true
2) Live your life
For a long time after finding love — or at least the closest thing to love so far in my life — I got trapped into living my life for Roberto.
I put my life and plans on hold so that I could do what was best for him but he didn’t reciprocate.
There were problems with my job that made me want to relocate to another city, but Roberto just basically ignored me when I tried to bring up the conversation or laughed it away and said he was sure I’d find something else good soon.
I explained to him that the opportunity I wanted was in another place, but he was clearly unwilling to compromise or ever put me first.
It was just one of the many ways in which he took me for granted.
I always had to be the strong one, the one who came up with a solution, while Roberto did whatever he wanted and what was best for him.
QUIZ: Is he pulling away? Find out exactly where you stand with your man with our new “is he pulling away” quiz. Check it out here.
3) Mirror, mirror
Mirroring is when you treat someone how they treat you.
When he’s ghosting you and prioritizing his friends and work above you then you do the same to him.
No time for even saying how his day went? Cool, guess what — you don’t have time either. In fact, you have a work-related event to get to pronto and will catch him later.
Obviously, it would be better if you could just have an open and clear conversation with him, but in many cases I know from my time with Roberto that trying to do that will just cause him to retreat further into an indifferent shell.
That’s why there are situations where mirroring can be your best option.
4) Work on yourself
I do believe that it’s true that physical and romantic passion fades a bit in intensity with the months and years.
But I don’t buy that love is always a limited-time offer. I think that a deep romantic bond can really last through ups and downs.
Call me a romantic.
That’s why it was so disappointing to be into a guy who only treats me like an accessory or an extra thing to attend to when he gets home from the gym or work.
So much for feeling like a princess.
So what I’m doing now is working on myself. Yoga, dieting, meditation, the whole deal.
I’ve even taken up a breathwork course that is proving to be super revolutionary and busting up a lot of my preconceived notions about how self-development works.
It turns out a lot of the biggest changes that take place aren’t in your conscious mind or emotions, they’re below the surface in that deep reservoir of the unconscious and the instinctual body.
5) Focus on friends and family
With me, this has taken the form of girls’ nights out at a local cafe and a new book club.
I’ve also taken to visiting my parents more and cooking for them on weekends. It’s not always glamorous, but it’s better than being stuck inside waiting for Roberto to notice that I’m on the couch feeling a little neglected…
Well, more than a little, let’s be honest…
But that’s why I had to reorient my whole relationship world view and shake it upside-down because I had it all wrong.
Instead of waiting for Roberto to come to me and appreciate and love me, I needed to focus on those who showed me love and let him decide whether we would continue as a couple or not.
Because at that pace, we will definitely not be.
6) Use your time wisely
Before I faced up to feeling totally ignored, my life revolved around Roberto.
If you took a look at my schedule, it might as well have just been crossed out and said ROBERTO in caps across it. That’s how dedicated I was.
Nowadays, I’m all about using my time for those who appreciate it and care about it.
I am working on learning Japanese and I’ve also taken up painting. I do a lot more physical activity and have also gotten into cooking.
I’ve been a busy beaver and I’m using my time to build up my skills and self-development.
If Roberto ever does shape up, we’ll probably have a bunch of new issues because my new super-skilled self makes him feel overshadowed and inadequate.
7) Boost your life permanently
The changes I’ve been making in my life require a lot of effort.
In the past, I would have just done them for a week or two and then gone back to chilling and taking it easy.
Now my mindset is much different. The skills I’m learning and activities I’m doing are part of the new path I’m taking. They aren’t obligations or burdens for me, they’re blessings.
Before I get too Instagram hashtaggy for you, let me just say that good habits do a lot more long-term temporary pursuits.
You can have the week of your life and make new friends that rock your world for a couple days on vacation.
But when you have a decent week where you get a lot done and enjoy yourself and spend time with old friends you love and trust, this is going to add up to a much happier life in the long term.
8) Be happy alone
One of the new activities I do is a fitness class for half an hour twice a week. It’s a short time period but it really improves my whole week.
The instructor has a favorite song she likes to jam. It’s called “Better Off Alone” by Alice DJ.
The words are basically just “do you think you’re better off alone?” over and over with a techno beat and then “talk to me oooh,” a few times.
My instructor loves it. She’s happily married as far as I know, but I guess something about it gets her — and our whole class — in the mood to sweat and grind.
And the words got me thinking: do I think I’m better off alone?
And you know I honestly am not sure at this point.
But if you want your boyfriend to stop taking you for granted, then you need to learn to be happy alone.
I don’t mean tolerating being alone. I mean reaching the stage where you are 100% honestly would be just as happy being single for the rest of your life as being in a relationship.
That’s when you’ll be ready for real love.
9) Have a spa day — or week!
One of the things that can sap attraction and interest is personal appearance.
This goes for guys as well. If you lie around on the couch and barely look after yourself then us gals are going to start noticing…
I admit I let myself go a little bit, especially last year during the height of quarantine days. Maybe there was some overeating going on as well…Just a bit…
So I took a spa day that became a four-day vacation at a resort with an old friend.
We came back looking like a million bucks and having spent about a million bucks too.
Roberto noticed. He paid a lot of attention to me that night.
10) Leave him hanging
When you’re looking hot and valuing yourself ,that doesn’t mean it’s time to fall back into the old ways of seeking after his approval and attention.
Far from it, girlfriend.
This is where you leave him hanging. What did he do to earn your time and affection, exactly?
A week ago, he was acting like he’s hot shit and you’re nothing and now he wants more cuddle time and wants to smell your neck all romantic-like?
Leave him hanging. Skip the sex, too. Take some extra time for work and friends.
11) Skip his invitation
If your boyfriend is taking you for granted, maybe you need to start taking him for granted, too.
What’s so great about his silly face anyway?
Next birthday or get-together you have maybe you just…happen…to overlook his invitation and forget to mention it to him.
Then when he gets mad, you laugh it off and apologize. But then you forget to tell him you’re going out with mutual friends tomorrow night as well.
13) Don’t give him unearned respect
Men like to gain a woman’s respect. But they also like to keep gaining it.
If you give him all the respect and love he could ever want right up front, then he’s going to probably start drifting off a bit in terms of his interest.
When you respect yourself and don’t wait on him, he knows that you’re not just going to attend to his every need regardless.
He understands instinctually and consciously that he must either hold himself to a higher standard and treat you like a queen or go find a woman of lower value who’s willing to be treated like a dishrag.
Cuz it ain’t you. And it sure as heck ain’t me.
14) Travel without him
Like I was writing, making him miss you is one of the biggest power moves you have in your repertoire.
Living your life — instead of waiting for him to notice you — is the best thing you can do. If he loves you, he will come after you and he will care.
Going on a trip — even if it’s just a four-day one, like my girl’s trip to the spa resort — is also refreshing as heck and awesome.
When I think back to the great trips I did before Roberto, I realized that I’d been letting his schedule and his wants take over my desires.
So I looked at a bunch of trips online and made definite plans to visit as soon as this damn pandemic is over.
Cuba here I come (someday).
15) Switch up schedules
When you always go to bed at the same time as your guy and coordinate your schedule with his, it’s considerate.
But it also shows that you’re accommodating to him and sometimes it can be part of why he starts to take you for granted.
You’re too good of a girlfriend. I know that sounds like bullcrap, but it’s really true that sometimes being too helpful and good can make you less interesting to your guy.
When you change up your schedule to do what’s best for you, then his caveman side gets the message loud and clear.
“This woman has her own life and plans and I’m gonna have to be a good boy if I want to keep her into me.”
16) Never chase
If you’re really on his mind and he has feelings for you then he’s going to send you a message or contact you in some way.
Never chase. Never ever chase.
Let me say that again: chasing is for journalists who are trying to cover a news story or your dog chasing a ball.
Chasing a guy is basically like just telling him you have zero value for yourself and your time or affection. Chasing his affection in a serious relationship or in the lead-up to one is one of the biggest attraction killers.
Avoid it like the plague.
17) Go easy on kisses
I used to kiss my guy in public or whenever the fancy took me. Now I give out kisses very sparingly — actually not at all since we’re currently on a break.
But when I used to be in the thick of our relationship and deeply in love, I’d be all over that dark and mysterious man. And looking back I can now see that this part of where he began drifting off…
His interest waned because mine was so strong. I was on him 24/7 kissing him like he’d just gotten back from a war or something and the guy started to value me less.
It hurts to see it now, but it’s true. I was too needy for attention and affection and it turned him off.
Simple as that. Don’t be me.
18) Demand more of him in bed
Men don’t only tend to be takers in relationships. They also tend to be takers in bed.
They expect you to do all the work and respond to them when they’re in the mood. But if you are and they aren’t? Stop being so needy, yeah…
That is so annoying, and it got old fast for Roberto and me.
So I turned the tables on him and told him to show me what he’s got. It turns out what he’s got isn’t half bad.
Now if only that gorgeous Italian-American stud muffin was half as good at communicating his emotions or not being a selfish dick, maybe we would have been able to get a little further with our whole ongoing relationship comeback.
19) Tell him the rules of the road
Perhaps it is entitlement, or maybe it’s just your particular guy, but some men really think that the world is their buffet.
They step down the line and grab a plate of delicious bacon and waffles and then go back for second and third helpings.
They never notice you there slaving away in the kitchen and looking after the kids or making sure that things are arranged for later in the week when both of you have more work duties coming up.
If your boyfriend is taking you for granted then he needs to check himself. Explain the rules of the road to him and that every relationship is a two-way street.
If he expects you to give and give while he just takes then you’re never going to end up anywhere — — except in a toxic and codependent nightmare.
Explain the rules of the road to him and tell him if he doesn’t want to play by the rules, he should get the hell off the road.
20) Spice things up
This is a great idea if your relationship has gone stale and you’re fighting to get him to notice your existence.
Have a date night during the week and try out a different type of food. Or if the pandemic restrictions are cramping that style, then order in and alternate who gets to choose a movie each time.
You can also try out some new lingerie, sex toys, sex positions, or many other things.
To be honest, I don’t see why it should all be on the woman.
Watch the movie Magic Mike and get your man to give you a strip show afterward or during the film.
Why shouldn’t us ladies get to enjoy ourselves too now and then, right?
21) Take a break, have a Kit Kat
This is what Roberto and I are doing right now as we try to sort through our (his) issues.
Well, if I’m honest, I do have some of my own issues to work out … But I made sure to stop blaming myself for him taking me for granted — that’s on him.
Andrea Lane has it exactly right:
“If you make him the center of your world, he’s more likely to bolt when things get too heavy. If you’ve noticed that he’s taking you for granted, it’s time to shake things up a bit by completely removing him from the equation.
If you want to go to the movies, go by yourself or with a friend. If there’s a restaurant you’ve been begging him to take you to, go check it out on your own.”
Roberto and I are taking two months apart to reassess and work on ourselves and see if we still want to be together after that time.
What you do with your partner is up to you, but usually, a few months is enough time to figure out if there’s still life left in the relationship.
While you’re having a break I suggest checking out Rudá Iande’s free video on Love and Intimacy.
Rudá is a modern-day shaman who gets relationships. Drawing upon his own experiences and the life lessons he’s learned through shamanism, he gets to the heart of what causes misery in relationships.
You see, we could wait for our relationships to miraculously change, or we can get on with it and do it ourselves. Your boyfriend takes you for granted (it sucks, I know), but what can you do about it?
I’d start with empowering yourself, working through your relationship hang-ups, and redeveloping your idea of a healthy relationship – all of which you can learn with Rudá’s guidance.
My relationship is far from perfect, but after watching the video, I can see where so many of our issues arise from – and how to potentially work through them.
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