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19 glaring signs you’re being taken for granted in a relationship

Peter Pan syndrome
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It’s no secret that life can get busy and stressful.

But in times of worry and pressure, it’s nice to know you can turn to your relationship as a safe haven, a place of comfort and connection.

For many people in relationships, however, this is simply not the case.

That’s because many of us are being taken for granted in their relationship. Does your partner give about as much attention to you as a piece of burnt toast while they check their phone in the morning?

What you want to know is fundamental: are they just preoccupied and going through a rough time that has nothing to do with you or the relationship or have they started seeing you as a replaceable doormat?

Here are 19 glaring signs that you’re being taken for granted in your relationship.

1) Where’s the respect?

You may have heard the song “Where is the Love?” by the Black-Eyed Peas, and that’s a damn good question.

But another question that’s going to be popping into your head a lot when you’re being taken for granted in a relationship is even more basic:

Where’s the respect?

Your partner treats you like a disposable car freshener. They never thank you, they rarely smile. They grunt if you help clean up after a meal.

They make plans and don’t tell you or cancel at the last minute. They show a lack of interest in doing things together or your life. They’re just checked out.

They’re a vacant husk where love used to be.

We’re talking unanswered calls and texts, going out without even mentioning it to you.

The bottom line is that your other half is not respecting you.

They are treating you like an afterthought.

They don’t even necessarily get angry at you or start arguments. They just don’t care and don’t factor you into their decision-making and life.

Ouch.

2) Adios, amigos

If you’re being taken for granted it can sometimes feel like you’ve just been blacklisted without even knowing why.

You start to get the sensation you’re trapped in a Franz Kafka novel grasping to understand some hidden code that you’ve broken and to find some reason for the emotional torture and cruelty you’re experiencing.

You try to start conversations and get met by a blank wall of indifference.

You watch your partner plan his or her daily and long-term life without any mention of your relationship.

When you do talk it feels more like some business partnership or old acquaintance. Chances are you’re wondering: what the hell is happening? Because it isn’t on your end.

You get this feeling like they’ve already broken up with you without mentioning it yet. And it hurts a lot.

It’s also confusing.

Sure, you are perfectly aware people and life situations change. But trying to stay involved and take an interest in each other’s lives is just relationship 101, no?

Apparently not in this case.

You’re being taken for granted bigtime, and this ride usually ends right under the unforgivingly harsh streetlights and emotionally homeless encampments of Breakup Boulevard.

3) They’re slacking off like a motherf***er

Excuse the language, but this one is just so frustrating.

You know the feeling?

You’re invested in a relationship and helping out in various ways – emotionally, literally, with advice, you name it – but your partner just doesn’t help at all.

It could be on multiple levels, but you’re going to feel the absence of their help, guaranteed.

Whether it’s money, emotional support, advice, helping out with tasks and practical things.

Your partner’s just not there.

They have more important things to do than be there for you or your relationship.

It’s crystal clear and it feels awful. That’s because you’re most likely being taken for granted by them.

Now and then when we’re busy or have other problems we fall through on relationship responsibilities – that is life.

But this is different: it’s like your partner is getting everything done in their lives except anything related to you or your relationship.

You are absolutely their last priority, and that’s not a good place to be at all.

3) Romance is a thing of the past

When you’re being taken for granted you don’t get roses or nice dinners or a romantic massage.

You get bare minimum – if you get anything at all.

You can expect zero gifts, zero kind words except for the occasional listless “love you too” and no extra hugs, kisses or intimacy.

You’re no longer someone who is valued and sought after by your partner. You feel more like a placeholder or some prop on a shelf.

You feel like sh*t and even though you try to reach out to them or schedule special occasions and take advantage of spontaneous situations that could be romantic your partner ducks out or shrugs like it’s nothing at all.

Even trying to hold hands can be like trying to grip an umbrella in a hurricane – slippery and fleeting.

Where did the romance go?

You need to bring it up directly with your partner because taking someone for granted at this level is just downright wrong.

4) They cheat on you

It’s a sad fact of life that many people get cheated on. It hurts and it makes you feel like garbage.

But you need to face it and reckon with what it means.

If you’ve been cheated on then it should be an absolute dealbreaker. Even if it was because of their own issues or temptations or anything else.

It’s a clear sign you’ve been taken for granted.

If they’re just spending more time with female friends than usual you may suspect cheating and be wrong, but even then it’s perfectly reasonable to ask for a bit more time from your special guy or girl and to make it clear that your needs aren’t being met.

That’s not being needy it’s just being honest.

As for cheating? It’s just the worst.

It’s like when someone puts a bet down at the blackjack table for everything in their wallet because they know they have a fallback investment they can always go back to in an emergency.

You’re that fallback investment. A plan B. An afterthought.

Feels pretty awful, doesn’t it? But don’t beat yourself up. It is not your fault that you are in a relationship with someone who takes you for granted.

As you learn to keep your standards high and love yourself fully you will grow to see that unhealthy relationships and codependent situations can never really become true love.

Fortunately, there are real and powerful ways to put yourself on the path to true love and intimacy that you can start today.

5) They cut you down

Anyone who’s struggled with self-image and self-esteem knows that positive support and solidarity can make a positive difference.

Just like how insults and negative comments can bring you even further down.

If your partner is bringing you down and making your issues worse it’s time to honestly ask yourself how much they care about you or take you for granted.

Would someone who’s afraid to lose you comment in casually hurtful ways on your appearance, friends, life, job or family?

Would someone who cares about what you have make disastrous financial decisions that get in the way of your future goals and then undermine you by saying your goals weren’t that important to start with?

If you’re honest you will see that the answer is almost always no.

A partner who puts the other one down is someone with deep issues they need to deal with. You can’t do it for them.

Nor do you have a responsibility to be the recipient of their toxic attempt to boost their own self-esteem at your expense or to buy into their mind games that try to convince you nobody else will ever love you so you have to accept whatever they give you.

Love will be there for you down the road. You do not need to accept someone who takes you for granted and treats you like trash.

6) They emotionally manipulate you

Emotional manipulation can become a form of abuse. I know because I’ve been on the receiving end.

You try to tell yourself it’s no big deal or that your partner is just going through a rough time. But here’s the truth:

There’s simply, absolutely no excuse for emotional manipulation.

For me it’s a giant red X on a relationship. Bye, baby.

You can tell you’re being emotionally manipulated when the power dynamic is all on one side – the opposite side from you.

Everything is apparently your fault, even things you had no involvement in. Your life is just there to please them.

The emotional manipulator is generally a narcissist. They will pull out all the stops and break up with you then ask to get back together under a laundry list of conditions.

They will build you up until you feel untouchable and then accuse you of being domineering and toxic.

They will shout at you and ask why you are always so difficult as you cry in the corner.

They will dispense intimacy like a gumball machine, carefully controlling how much you get and smacking your hand if you try to reach out for more.

The emotional manipulator is a relationship nightmare. You are taken for granted as a recipient of their own internal psychological drama.

The best time to leave was yesterday. The second best time is now.

7) The good lovin’ is gone

Physical intimacy isn’t everything in a relationship, but it’s still an important part.

It just depends how and when.

When your partner takes you for granted it can go hand-in-hand with them stopping giving you physical attention or only giving you physical attention.

Let me explain.

When you are no longer valued your partner may withdraw from you and seek sex and intimacy elsewhere, or they may “recategorize” you as only an object of pleasure and constantly want only sex.

They’re trying to get your panties or boxers down at all hours of the day, but if the topic of future plans or your actual life comes up they’re a million miles away.

They may even hold up sex as a bargaining chip, making you feel like you “owe” them intimacy because of their commitment to you.

Needless to say this is deeply unhealthy and toxic behavior and if you sink too deep into it you’ll get some really nasty emotional scars.

When the opposite happens it can also be a nightmare.

Your partner withholds sex from you and treats you like an old lady they bumped into by mistake at the supermarket.

It’s super awkward, hurtful and noticeable. They may even recoil slightly when you touch them.

What the hell?

These intimacy issues to either extreme need to be honestly discussed, because unless something else is going on they are a sign that you’re being taken for granted and strung along.

8) Double standards are the norm

When you’re being taken for granted everything is on you and the double standards abound.

Your partner demands that he or she be your priority, but you’re not their priority at all.

They want full emotional honesty and openness from you when they bring up a subject but they stay as closed as a top-security Swiss bank vault.

They cancel on you disrespectfully whenever they want, but if you even cancel once on them they will throw a childish temper tantrum.

They prioritize spending time with friends but never spend time with yours and act annoyed if you even bring it up.

“Why are you always so demanding to me?” they might ask.

They expect you to appreciate and care about their life, job and problems but couldn’t give a flying fruitloop about anything you’re going through.

The list of hypocrisy and double standards can become flabbergasting, frankly.

Welcome to being taken for granted.

9) Your feelings mean squat to them

Often many of us look to relationships for security, validation and intimacy.

We stake our hope on our partner and give our love to them, crossing our fingers that they will return our feelings and commitment to us.

Unfortunately it’s often a wager that’s not successful.

When you’re being taken for granted you may find that you feel like you’re in a one-sided horror film.

You reach out to your partner for love and connection but find nothing, yet when they are having a hard time or an emotional issue of any kind you feel the need to be there for them 24/7.

What is this power dynamic that’s playing out?

And why is it leaving you stranded and feeling like sh*t as you play the role of a caretaker to your pampered partner?

If you were doing any more emotional labor you’d be drawing a salary.

It’s downright exhausting, humiliating and infuriating. Trust me, I know.

They literally never think about how you feel in a situation or what it would be like in your shoes – because they just don’t care.

10) Their needs mean everything – yours mean nothing

On a similar level to the past point, if you’re being taken for granted in a relationship your needs are treated as nonexistent.

Your partner’s needs – on the other hand – mean everything.

Whether that’s a promptly-made meal or compliment when they get promoted or a night of sitting with them as they complain about their a**hole friend who took money from them in a botched business deal.

Your needs are nowhere to be found.

They’re stuck somewhere in the back of a closet with crumpled up dirty clothes and old Playboy magazines.

And if you bring them up you will be gaslighted like crazy.

“Why are you so needy?”

“Do you always think of yourself?”

“It sounds like a hard time, but honestly, you talking about this stuff is bringing me down.”

These are common phrases you will hear from your selfish and self-interested partner.

Your needs – physical, emotional, spiritual, conversational – are absolutely unimportant and don’t factor into the relationship at all, while your partner’s needs rule the roost and demand attention.

What a crock of sh*t.

11) They treat your point of view as unimportant or stupid

In a relationship where one person is being taken for granted all experiences are not equal.

The disempowered individual who is being taken for granted is not important.

If that’s you then you know what I’m talking about.

Your experiences are random tidbits that don’t mean much. Your partner tunes out two seconds into you talking about anything in your life.

But his or her experiences? Absolutely Grade A world-shaking importance.

That story you’ve heard 50 times? That contains the meaning of life (and explains why they’re such a great catch who never did anything bad in their whole life and has always been a victim of others).

Oh, great. It’s time to hear more reasons why your partner happens to be right about everything but everything you say is just stupid nonsense.

How flattering.

12) Your advice means zilch to them

When you’re in a healthy relationship, respectfully sharing advice and having meaningful conversations is one of the best parts about it.

When you’re being taken for granted your partner doesn’t come to you for advice.

And they don’t want to hear it.

They put up all sorts of emotional walls and won’t ever be “vulnerable” to you. Yet they still give you advice (more like orders) that you’re expected to listen to very attentively and follow to the letter.

Your advice – if you try to give it – bounces off them like a bouncy ball on a hardwood floor.

You feel useless and unappreciated. Your self-esteem may suffer, and the cycle of feeling inadequate and trying to gain or regain your partner’s affection and approval may increase.

It’s all part of a very toxic spiral where you’re being taken for granted.

Don’t spend anymore time of your precious life trying to convince somebody you’re worth loving.

Just don’t.

13) They care more about other people than you

If this is happening it can be subtle at first. After all, there’s nothing wrong with your partner going out of his or her way to help an old friend or pick up a relative at the airport or comfort a sick friend.

In fact, it’s kind of admirable and attractive in a real way.

Watching a man who is in touch with his hero instinct can be inspiring and increase the love that a woman has for him.

The problem is that the hero instinct is something his woman should be triggering and be on the receiving end of, not just friends and family.

Watching a woman who is in touch with her strong independent side is also sexy and increases the love a strong man has for her.

The problem happens when she becomes so independent and strong that she kicks her man into the dust and treats him like an emotional ragdoll.

A partner who is helpful and caring to friends and family is wonderful.

But if it’s happening at your expense then you’re being taken for granted.

Look at how they treat you versus how they treat others they care about. Is there a major imbalance? If so, that’s not OK.

14) They expect you to help them out financially and other ways but never help you out

When you’re being taken for granted you can sometimes feel like a cow that’s getting milked.

For attention, for affection, for help and – yes – for money.

If your partner expects you to help out with money and finances but never chips in themselves and only makes vague promises to help out in the future then they’re taking you for granted.

Our relationship with money is actually rooted deeply in how we were raised and our beliefs around scarcity and gain.

Many of us were viewed to see money as shameful or dirty. We may even feel we don’t “deserve” it and be roped into situations where others take advantage of us or leech of us in emotionally and financially devastating ways.

As the shaman Rudá Iandê teaches in this free masterclass on prosperity and developing a healthy relationship with money, our financial future is much brighter when we learn to see that how we relate to money is often how we relate to ourselves.

When we have a healthy relationship to money it can reflect a healthier relationship with our own energy and self, leading to increased control in our relationship and better balance of financial issues that can lead to us being taken for granted and used by our partner.

15) They overcommit themselves at work intentionally

Another sign that you’re being emotionally left behind in a relationship is when your partner intentionally over commits at work.

“Ah, I’d love to but I have to get this report done and these emails answered,” is the constant refrain.

It might as well be the chorus to a song called “I Don’t Care About You.”

Because chances are if your partner wasn’t taking you for granted they would be able to see beyond their work desk and appreciate the love you have.

Over committing at work is a classic tactic for dodging availability in a relationship.

Plus it provides the perfect pretext if you complain.

“Don’t you appreciate what I’m doing to support us?”

“I thought you knew that my job is important to me? Don’t you value what I do?”

Look for all sorts of emotional accusations and gaslighting from your overworked partner, but keep in mind they’re taking you for granted.

Also don’t forget that “working late” can often be the perfect excuse for a partner who’s cheating.

16) They’re emotionally unavailable\

Did you wake up one day and your partner was transformed into a cyborg who can’t answer texts or muster a smile?

It’s possible, and it would make a good plot for a sci-fi novel or movie, but it’s a lot  more likely that you woke up and your partner decided to hell with the relationship and switched off on you.

And that’s an awful feeling.

You want your loved one to be there through the ups and downs of life, you want the person you care about to be someone who can lean on you and you can lean on them.

Not in a codependent or clingy way, but in a mutually reinforcing and loving way.

But they’ve checked out, and their blank gaze and indifferent shrugs say all you need to know.

17) They act weird and detached when you’re out with friends

Hopefully, you don’t know what I’m talking about here or haven’t experienced it, because it’s awkward as hell.

You remember the good old days with your partner when you went out and had fun. A nice dinner, a night at the pub, a get-together at a friend’s place.

Now it’s all just awkward and stilted.

If they ever do come out with you their eyes dart around like a salamander and they seem to be in a competition to get out of there as fast as possible.

They’re shifty, uninterested, and full of fake laughs.

Your friends start to feel the weird vibes too and before you know it you too just want to get out of the situation.

Not only is this person ruining your relationship, they’re also ruining your social life and relationship with your friends.

Awesome.

18) They rarely even talk to you or look at you

This one is the most basic but in a way it’s also the most devastating.

When you love someone you value their attention and the connection you have. When that breaks down you can feel left behind and worthless.

It’s never a good idea to stake your worth or validation on another person, and the expectations that build up can be absolutely emotionally shattering when they crumble.

You feel that disappointing sinking sensation of being taken for granted, and yet you hope or wish or think about ways that you could come back from it.

And regain his or her trust …

And love …

And interest …

Trust me, it’s a losing game. You have nothing to prove and you are not of lower value than your partner.

This toxic pattern needs to be broken. And the first step is being brutally honest about whether you’re being taken for granted in your relationship.

Being taken for granted is rough …

If you’ve been taken for granted or are currently in a situation like those I wrote about above then you know how rough it can get.

Sleepless nights, tear-filled times alone, being next to your partner and feeling completely alone and unappreciated.

Frankly it is total bullsh*t.

If you’re being taken for granted it is time to take stock of your relationship and be a bit harsh.

Maybe you feel the deep core of love and connection that’s still there underneath or you have a family with your partner and feel that you can work through your issues for the good of everyone involved and come out stronger on the other side.

Maybe there are still lessons to learn and your partner is willing to come along on a healing journey with you that opens new perspectives and appreciation for the love you share.

Or maybe it’s time to throw in the towel. To take a hard look at what’s been going on and be honest that you’ve been treated like nothing by someone who has too many issues and illusions to truly be there for you or be your partner anymore.

Maybe it’s time to move on completely for your own good and the good of your partner. To seek new paths and new shores in which you can embrace the truest version of yourself and live your truth.

Only you can decide, and only by getting in touch with your innermost self free of conditioning and systemic lies will you be able to have clarity and emotional absolution.

Whatever you decide, there is one thing I really want to highlight and which I really want you to remember.

It’s something I struggled with a lot as someone who has been taken for granted in relationships and had issues with depression, low self-worth and toxic patterns of codependency.

The real problem doesn’t happen from being taken for granted.

And I want to emphasize this.

Because I really mean it.

The real problem – the real poisonous pattern of heartbreak and broken dreams – happens when you believe that you deserve to be taken for granted.

The real damage occurs when you buy into the story your partner is weaving for you.

The story in which you’re a drag, you’re boring, you’re annoying, you’re not hot enough, you’re negative, you’re weird.

When you start to feel deep in your core that these implications could be true that’s when being taken for granted goes down an even darker path.

So, my advice is simple.

Don’t believe the fiction that you are unworthy.

Don’t look in the mirror and focus on all your physical flaws.

Don’t fixate on all the times in life you’ve felt misunderstood or alone.

That isn’t you, that’s a story that’s been told to you – and possibly reflected back to you by others who are lost and damaged in their own illusions.

It’s not your truth and it no longer has lessons to teach you. You can leave the toxicity behind. You really can.

I promise.

One of the biggest breakthroughs I had in learning to stop grasping at unfulfilling relationships and external things and people to complete me was discovering the shaman Rudá Iandê.

His Out of the Box workshop in particular helped me break free of self-limiting beliefs and perspectives that were keeping my mind and heart stuck in a false paradigm.

I found out a lot more about my true self and the power inside me and it honestly made all the difference. Being taken for granted and used became a thing of the past because I learned how to embrace my own power and see the world through a more holistic lens.

You’re worthy of love, you have love to give, and nobody else can complete you.

You are on a spiritual journey that’s deep, rich and exciting!

Feel the air going through your lungs and affirm it on a deep level. I want you to feel the vitality deep inside you and the joy of being alive in a simple, basic way.

What a miracle!

Maybe you also feel a deep sense of pain and disappointment. You might feel betrayal and anger deep in yourself almost physically present. Embrace that, too.

What a miracle to be able to feel strongly and to experience emotions that grow and change and help us understand who we are.

Remember, as the author Tara Brach says, “pain is not wrong. Reacting to pain as wrong initiates the trance of unworthiness. The moment we believe something is wrong, our world shrinks and we lose ourselves in the effort to combat the pain.”

When it comes to relationships and our experience in life, we’re all worth far more than any “role” and being taken for granted is not the definition of your worth or your future potential.

Because your potential is unlimited, and you’re worthy to be in this moment and having this experience.

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Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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