Marriage can be challenging, especially after a few years together. It can be hard to stay focused and be attentive to your partner when there’s so much going on in life. However, you don’t want to let it get to the point where you start to neglect your partner.
Emotional neglect can drive a wedge between two people, as one may be incredibly distant and will fail to meet the other’s needs, which can impact intimacy, communication, and confidence.
So, let’s look at what emotional neglect is in detail, the signs to look out for, and how to avoid it.
What Is Emotional Neglect?
Emotional neglect is a pattern within a relationship where one individual’s emotional and affectional needs are not met. Their emotions are repeatedly ignored, neglected, disregarded, and invalidated by their partner.
Someone who is neglectful of their partner’s emotions may be disconnected from them and will fail to give them the love, affection, support, and closeness they need to feel loved and protected.
Within a marriage, neglect and a lack of action and attachment can push couples apart and leave individuals not feeling emotionally safe or secure.
Signs Of Emotional Neglect
Sometimes, your marriage can lose a bit of steam, and you don’t even notice that the foundations are starting to crack. When it comes to emotional neglect, you may not even realize that this is happening to you or being neglectful of your partner. So, what signs can we look out for?
The main signs of emotional neglect are when one partner invalidates the other, ignoring their cries for affection, connection, and attention, and disregards their boundaries, needs, and vulnerabilities. You can also spot some of the following red flags:
- Your partner shuts down and fails to communicate with you.
- You’d rather be alone than with your partner.
- You feel lonely despite being in a relationship.
- It’s unclear what your partner wants from you.
- You prefer spending time with a friend or someone else.
- You don’t feel comfortable around family and friends.
- You may suppress your feelings.
- You can’t be yourself around your partner.
- You are not physically intimate.
- You don’t do things together as a couple.
- You or your partner seem reluctant to move forward with long term steps such as having children.
How To Avoid & Prevent Emotional Neglect
Here are some ways to be mindful and help avoid emotional neglect.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Relationships do not work if you are not communicating with your partner. Without communication, it’s easy to assume, and it will only lead to crossed wires and arguments. If you’re feeling unsupported, talk to your partner about this, ask them why they are being distant, or try to figure out what is on their mind. Help and support them, and try to get their focus back on your relationship as a team.
Don’t Try To Protect Your Partner
Often when someone is emotionally neglecting their partner, the partner does not want to bother them with how they are feeling. But, keeping silent about your emotions can only make things worse, and you will not feel supported or emotionally attached to your partner.
A relationship is 50/50, and it should never be down to one person to fix it. Instead, speak to them about what is bothering you. Let them know you love them, but you want a more intimate relationship and connection. Explain your needs calmly, and come up with a solution together.
Spend Quality Time Together
When life gets busy, we forget how important it is to spend quality time together. Make sure that you take time to be alone and do something meaningful. Go on a dinner date, or have a long conversation while walking together. This can help create a more robust, deeper emotional connection.
Always be empathetic towards your partner. You don’t have to agree with everything they say or do, and you will feel differently about certain things and situations. But, you can understand their feelings and validate them.
If emotional neglect is causing a rift in your marriage, seeing a couple’s therapist can help. We can guide you through constructive communication and search for resolution and healing. Give us a call or contact us today to set up your first appointment or connect with us .
For more information, click here: Relationship Counseling