Neglect is a far more common disease in relationships than most realize. When we neglect to show gratitude, when we neglect to build up our partner, when we neglect to verbalize love, when we neglect to spend time with our partner, etc. it can be extremely damaging to the relationship. If you are feeling neglected, it is critical to do something about it, as feelings of neglect turn to feelings of resentment and hatred, which can poison and ruin a relationship quickly.
Consider the following:
How it hurts the relationship. Neglect makes people question intentions, and then themselves. When someone starts to wonder what is wrong with them, your relationship is in trouble. Neglect raises doubts: doubts in self, doubts of commitment, doubts of feelings, and more. Doubts can corrode relationships. It leads to lack of trust, and a lot of feelings of hurt and frustration. No one likes feeling neglected. Often, if a person feels neglected they will take those feelings out on their partner, ignoring them when they could be spending time together, saying things that hurt and can't ever be taken back in full, etc.
Because feeling neglected can kill a relationship, it is important to learn how to talk to your partner or friend about those feelings.
- Be honest. It sucks to make yourself vulnerable, and tell someone that you are feeling neglected. However, if you can't be honest with someone, then you should not be friends or partner's with them anyway. So, open up and tell them that you feel neglected. Let them know why you feel this way. Give specific examples of when you were neglected or when you felt neglected. For example, "When we went out with your friends last Wednesday, you did not talk to me at all the whole night." This is a specific time and place where you felt neglected.
- Don't blame. If you start to say, "You neglect me!" They will instantly get defensive. If this happens, problem solving becomes nearly impossible. Instead, start with "I" statements, and make sure they know that you don't think they are doing it intentionally, but that you want change. For example, "I feel neglected when we go out with friends. I know that it is partially because I do not know everyone, and so am not as involved in the conversation. However, I feel like I am not being brought into the conversation or included. When this happens, I feel bad."
- Next, let them know what you need. It is critical that you don't just tell them you feel neglected, but that you also tell them what needs to change to help you feel better. For example, "When we go out, I need you to make an effort to involve me in the conversation." Or "When you have to work late, I need you to call me and let me know that you won't be home." Or whatever the solution is that will help you feel good about things.
Do not neglect others in turn. Sometimes when we feel neglected we respond by neglecting in turn. This is petty and childish, and not healthy in any relationship. Don't do it.