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What Does Neglect Look Like in an Intimate Relationship?

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

A loving relationship is mutually beneficial. Giving your partner support in any way you can, should always be a two-way road. We want to see our partners succeed because we love them and want the best for them. Emotional support is a necessity. So what does it look like when we are emotionally neglected?

Emotional neglect is the absence of emotional awareness and response. Humans have complex needs, and when those needs aren’t met in a relationship, we feel neglected. Emotional neglect can be tricky to identify, even when you are the one experiencing it.


What is Emotional Neglect?

Emotional neglect is when someone is deprived of the emotional support they need in a relationship. Mostly it is when a partner consistently fails to take the other person’s feelings into account or ignores them completely. This is different from emotional abuse, as neglect is more about inaction than making the other person feel bad emotionally.

When someone is experiencing emotional neglect, it can feel like a wall is up in the relationship. It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how someone is being emotionally neglected. For this reason, here are a few signs of emotional neglect in an intimate relationship.


The Focus is Always on Them

When your partner is emotionally neglecting you, the attention is always on them and their feelings. Your bad and good days go unnoticed by your partner because they are constantly putting their feelings first. They also expect you to acknowledge their feelings and celebrate them when they accomplish something. This can make you feel as if you are always taking a back seat to their needs, which makes the relationship unbalanced.


They Tend to Gaslight Your Emotions

This can be tricky because gaslighting can be very subtle. Gaslighting is a form of manipulation and is extremely toxic. Gaslighting is when someone causes you to doubt yourself and evokes psychological confusion and a generalized thought that “I am crazy”. This makes you question your thoughts, judgment, and perception. It can be as simple as saying “it was just a joke” or “it didn’t happen that way” to confuse someone’s emotions. Watch out for this, as it leads to a very toxic environment and relationship


Putting You Down

This should be easy to spot. When someone is constantly putting you down, they typically nag about your negative traits and point out the things you do wrong. This is a sign of a very unhealthy relationship. You want your partner to build you up and make you feel good!


They Shut Down When You Try to Talk

A relationship is built on trust and communication. When you can communicate your feelings in a healthy way it allows you and your partner to establish a deeper connection. If your partner is emotionally neglecting you, it is common that they shut down when you try to talk about a situation or your feelings about something. They become closed off when you discuss things with them.


Dealing with Emotional Neglect

If your relationship is in a position to be fixed, sit down and have a serious talk with them, take positive action, or even consider therapy. Putting a stop to emotional neglect may not be easy, but it can be done.


Source: Katie Uniacke (2022) 14 Signs of Emotional Neglect in a Relationship

Source: Nicky Curtis (2022) 24 Sad Signs & Consequences of Emotional Neglect in a Relationship, https://www.lovepanky.com/love-couch/broken-heart/signs-of-emotional-neglect-in-a-relationship

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