What to do when your partner doesn’t listen to your needs: 10 practical tips 

Do you feel like you’re not heard in your relationship and your partner just doesn’t listen to your needs?

This is common among couples, so you’re not alone.

Discover how you can clearly communicate your needs to your partner through these 10 practical tips.

1) Communicate without criticizing

So, you feel like your partner isn’t listening to your needs?

There could be all sorts of needs that you feel aren’t being met.

For example, it could be:

  • You don’t feel like intimacy is there
  • You don’t feel like they make the time for you anymore
  • You don’t feel like they pull their weight around the house
  • You don’t feel like they understand your pressures

The list could go on.

Now, it’s normal for couples to sometimes feel like they’re partner isn’t listening or aware of their needs so, as I say, you’re not the only one going through this!

Maybe you’ve told your partner how you’re feeling on several occasions already… But they don’t seem to get it.

I have personal experience of this.

I’ve been on both sides: as the one who felt like I wasn’t being listened to and as the partner who was told I wasn’t listening.

From my partner’s perspective, there have been numerous circumstances where I’ve not registered what his needs are… and not listened.

We’re actually currently working through a few things at the moment.

For example, he’s in a line of work that doesn’t pay very well and it’s put him in financial trouble. He’s looking for a new job in a different industry so he can get out of this situation. But, for the meantime, he spends a lot of time stressing about money.

This means he’s often saying things like: “I can’t afford to do that”, and he suggests things like staying in and cooking as opposed to going out for a meal.

Now, I’m in a different place financially, and I find myself wanting to go out for nice dinners and hop on planes for weekends away.

Maybe I’ll be reading an article about a place or a friend mentions a restaurant – and I’ll tell him I want to experience these things. While he often acknowledges that these things sound nice, he’s quick to say he can’t afford to do them at the moment.

I’m aware that I don’t do a great job of hiding my disappointment at times… and this makes him feel like I’m not listening to his needs, which is to not overspend while he’s not earning enough.

He’s actually used the phrase “you’re not listening to me” when I’ve suggested costly experiences.

In my experience, this can feel like an attack… And it puts the other person on the defensive.

When he said this to me, I felt upset and like it was unfair. For many months, I’ve felt like I’ve been understanding of his situation, even though he ultimately didn’t feel like I was.

By saying outright that the other person isn’t listening to you, you’re criticizing them in some capacity.

This isn’t the way to go about communicating your needs. In fact, if you take this approach, you’ll likely cause an argument as you’re accusing them of not listening and being there for you.

It’s important you communicate without the layer of criticism and I have a suggestion for how to go about it…

2) Use “I” statements

If you’ve ever read articles on how to have the best kind of communication with a partner or if you’ve spoken to a relationship counselor, you might be familiar with the power of using “I” statements.

If you’re not – it’s a simple, straightforward approach to effective communication, while you’re not putting the blame on the other person.

By making statements that start with “I” instead of “you”, you’re taking responsibility for how you feel and you won’t be causing an inflammatory situation.

Well, at least that’s the idea.

For example, instead of saying something to the effect of “you seem to not care about my needs”, you can flip this around to say “I feel like you don’t really understand my needs”.

You’re telling them how you feel.

You see, this will naturally make your partner feel more empathetic and understanding, as opposed to feeling like they’re being challenged.

Here are a few examples of powerful “I” statements that you can use when you feel like your partner doesn’t listen to your needs.

  • I need you to know how this is making me feel
  • I  would really value it if you listen to how this makes me feel
  • I’ve been thinking recently about how this is making me feel
  • I feel like there is a disconnect and I want to try and resolve it

By using any of these, you’ll be approaching the situation from a place of finding resolution rather than criticizing and attacking.

In my experience, this will give you a much better outcome.

3) Express your emotions

Remember, your partner isn’t a mind reader.

Sometimes we all forget this, and we allow ourselves to feel upset when our partners don’t just get it and intuitively know what’s wrong.

If you fall into this trap of assuming, things aren’t going to work out very well for you.

Your partner will likely pick up that there’s an underlying issue but they won’t understand what’s up, which just creates a disconnect between you both.

What does this mean for you?

Don’t bottle things up.

Express how you feel to your partner (using helpful “I” statements), so you and your partner can work through things in a healthy way.

This brings me to the question:

Have you ever asked yourself why love is so hard?

Why can’t it be how you imagined growing up? Or at least make some sense…

When you’re dealing with feeling like your partner doesn’t listen to you, it’s easy to become frustrated and even feel helpless. You may even be tempted to throw in the towel and give up on love.

I want to suggest doing something different.

It’s something I learned from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê. He taught me that the way to find love and intimacy is not what we have been culturally conditioned to believe.

In fact, many of us self-sabotage and trick ourselves for years, getting in the way of meeting a partner who can truly fulfill us.

As Rudá explains in this mind blowing free video, many of us chase love in a toxic way that ends up stabbing us in the back.

We get stuck in awful relationships or empty encounters, never really finding what we’re looking for and continuing to feel horrible about things like our partners don’t get us.

We fall in love with an ideal version of someone instead of the real person.

We try to “fix” our partners and end up destroying relationships.

We try to find someone who “completes” us, only to fall apart with them next to us and feel twice as bad.

Rudá’s teachings showed me a whole new perspective.

While watching, I felt like someone understood my struggles to find and nurture love for the first time – and finally offered an actual, practical solution to having healthy communication with a partner.

If you’re done with unsatisfying dating, empty hookups, frustrating relationships and having your hopes dashed over and over, then this is a message you need to hear.

I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Click here to watch the free video.

4) Remember your partner isn’t doing it on purpose

The relationship experts at Symbis explain, in a blog post, that your partner probably isn’t choosing to not listen on purpose.

Essentially, give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

If you feel like you have to repeat certain things time and time again, it might be that you’re choosing the wrong time to speak to them.

In this case, things might go over their head because they have other things on their mind.

I’m not making an excuse for your partner letting things slip, let me explain…

In the blog post, they write:

“In today’s busy culture, it’s very likely that he or she is often multitasking. Trying to get multiple things done at once can make it incredibly difficult to retain the things we hear. It’s just like adding one more plate to the dozen your spouse is already spinning.”

With this in mind, rather than jumping to a place of thinking they don’t care about your feelings, just recognize it might be that they have so many other things going on in their life that they’ve not registered some of your needs.

If you feel like this is what’s going on, it goes back to communicating effectively and letting them know how you feel so you can work out a more of a balanced approach going forward.

What’s key is how you do it…

5) Let them know you need their attention when it’s important

It’s true, there is such a thing as a bad moment.

This is why some people say “pick your moments.”

Catching your partner off-guard when you want to have a heavy conversation, like the fact you feel they’re not listening to your needs, isn’t likely to end well for you.

If you spring it on them, there’s a chance they might say they don’t want to talk about it right now.

And they’re within their right to say that.

Now, if they do say that then you know what’s going to happen? It’s going to heighten the feelings you have about them not listening.

It will affirm what you were feeling, and it will probably escalate into a full-blown row.

You’ll probably end up screaming: “you never listen to me!” and that’s not going to help matters one bit.

On the other hand, it’s best to approach this topic in a setting when you know you have their full, undivided attention.

You could try:

  • Your living space
  • A local park
  • A coffee shop

Why? The relationship experts at Symbis explain:

“Framing the crucial moments when you need your spouse to be fully present with you when you’re speaking can help you feel heard. Don’t be afraid to ask for their full attention at times like these. You can say something like, “I have an important question for you, and I need to know you’ve heard me.” You could also ask for them to weigh in: “I need your input on something. Is this a good time to talk?”

Try this – and see the difference!

6) Share a written message with your partner

Nowadays, text and email are what we think of when we say a ‘written message’.

But why not try a good old-fashioned letter to communicate your thoughts?

Some of us are better at getting our thoughts down in writing, as opposed to speaking. It’s because it gives us more time to think about what we’re saying, and to go back and reframe how it’s coming out.

We can rip out the page and start again if it doesn’t sound quite right.

Simply put: we have more control over what it is we’re saying.

So, when it comes to feeling like your partner doesn’t listen to you, why not present them with a written message that conveys these thoughts?

The key thing is that you’re not criticizing and coming in on the attack, but you’re explaining how you feel and would like to feel going forward.

Of course, a written message has its place – but don’t fall into a trap of using them to avoid verbal communication. The idea is that they would generate a healthy, verbal discussion afterwards.

7) When communicating, pause between statements

So, you’ve chosen a good time to communicate with your partner and you’re telling them how you feel… next, you can implement a simple step that allows you to ensure your partner truly gets what you’re saying.

One suggestion is from the experts at GoodTherapy who think you take a second to pause in between statements, which will give you a chance to ask your partner to repeat back to you what it is you said.

Now, you don’t want to patronize your partner. This won’t go down well!

Personally, I think asking them to repeat everything you’ve said will sound a little patronizing. I know it wouldn’t work with my partner…

However, you could use it once in the conversation if you feel like it flows naturally; you don’t want it to seem too wooden and forced.

My tactic would be to ask engaging questions throughout the conversation to ensure they’re following what you’re saying. These would also allow them to organically repeat back what you’ve said already.

You could use phrases such as:

  • Does that make sense to you?
  • Do you understand what I’m saying?
  • Are you grasping what I’m saying?

If they say they don’t fully understand, then I would suggest that you ask them to repeat what they think they’ve heard and if it’s not right, you should correct them.

8) Balance negative points with positive

One thing I’ve learned from being in a long-term relationship, and now navigating a new relationship, is that the best way to approach any tricky conversation is to take a balanced approach.

That means not solely focusing on all of the negatives in the relationship and recognizing that there are (hopefully) positive aspects worth celebrating.

You see, we can get fixated on the bad things when there is a lot of good, too.

My suggestion?

When it comes to approaching a conversation about your needs being met, let them know you do recognize the thoughtful things they do for you – if this is the case.

For example, you could tell them you’re grateful about a particular action they did recently.

Essentially, you want to avoid any conflict and for them to feel like the issue you’re bringing up is fair.

If you’re going in and just focusing on the negative, their default may be to say: “well, what about this lovely thing I did for you”, so by you bringing it up in the first place, they’ll see you’ve thought it through and you do recognize all the good.

9) Remember you’re worthy of being heard

If you feel like you’re not being heard in your relationship, don’t just accept that it’s the way it is.

Remember, you’re worthy of being heard.

Your voice is valid, and you don’t have to stay quiet because you’re afraid of upsetting your partner and rocking the boat.

In the past, you might have let partners walk all over you and not have voiced your true desires, but don’t let history repeat itself.

Maybe this is the first time you’ve come up against this issue and you’re feeling like you shouldn’t say anything, as you don’t want to jeopardize the relationship.

The truth is, if you’re with the right partner, and in a healthy, loving relationship, you should be able to voice your concerns to them without worrying.

You deserve to feel appreciated and heard!

It’s up to you to not let your partner affect your self-worth by taking action.

You can’t control what they do, but you can control how you respond. This includes choosing to honor your truth and empower yourself.

The most effective way is to tap into your personal power.

You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it. We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.

I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.

He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your own inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.

Because true empowerment needs to come from within.

In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of and increase attraction in your partners, and it’s easier than you might think.

So if you’re tired of living in frustration, dreaming but never achieving, and of living in self-doubt, you need to check out his life-changing advice.

Click here to watch the free video.

10) Consider talking to a therapist

If you feel like you’ve tried everything and exhausted every avenue, and your partner doesn’t understand the problem or they’re constantly being defensive, it might be time to consider professional help.

You could do individual or couples’ therapy to try and get to the root of the problem.

An outsider’s perspective might be exactly what you two need to get your communication back on track.

They’ll be able to see things from an unbiased point-of-view and their ultimate goal will be to get you two working together well, so they’ll just want the best for you.

Investing in therapy for you two will also likely strengthen other aspects of the relationship and you learn to really hear what one another is saying.

However, if it’s really not working then it might be that you two unfortunately just aren’t right for one another.


Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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