What to Do If You’re Tired of Begging for Attention From Your Partner

woman arguing with her partner

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Are you at the point where you’re tired of begging for attention from your partner? Do you often feel like your need for affection is not being met? Being in this position can leave you feeling hurt, rejected, frustrated, and angry.

In a marriage, it’s important for each partner to feel seen, loved, and cared for. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, and professor at Yeshiva University says that for many married couples who have been together for years, a difference in expectations surrounding intimacy and attachment can develop among partners over time, with one partner taking the other for granted.

This article explores why you might feel tired of begging for attention from your partner, how this dynamic can affect your marriage and your mental health, as well as some steps you can take to improve your relationship.

Why You Might Feel This Way

There are different reasons why you might feel tired of begging for attention from your partner. Below, Dr. Romanoff explores some of the potential causes of this relationship dynamic.

Your Partner Takes the Relationship for Granted

This is a common dynamic among partners who have been together for many years, particularly if there is little perceived threat to the relationship. One partner may neglect the other because they take the relationship for granted and operate under the illusion that their spouse will always be a constant in their life, regardless of how they treat them.

The longer a couple is together, the more common it is for one partner to take the other for granted. Because they do not fear losing the other, they may withdraw effort and attention towards their partner.

Your Partner Has Different Expectations

For some spouses, living under the same roof meets their threshold for attention devoted towards their partners. This causes strain in relationships where the other partner requires more affection. This affection manifests through body language, engagement, eye contact, and time spent together.

In these relationships, it is important for the partner to understand the value of their full attention and how they can enhance moments of intimacy with their partner.

The Impact of This Relationship Dynamic

Reaching the point where you’re tired of begging for attention from your partner can affect your mental health as well as your relationship with your partner. Dr. Romanoff outlines the impact of this relationship dynamic below.

Impact on Your Mental Health

It’s important to feel seen and validated because your partner is an incredibly influential figure in your life, whose level of responsiveness has the potential to make you feel valued and important. When you don’t receive attention and validation, it prompts feelings of being judged, not being good enough, and being rejected.

You might begin to personalize your partner's behavior and assume there is something wrong with you. You might start searching for problems within yourself, which gives the illusion that if you solve that problem, you can gain your partner's attention and have more control over the situation.

You may think you need to take actions to become more attractive or change something about yourself to be worthy of your partner's attention/love. This only further erodes your sense of confidence and self-esteem

Impact on Your Relationship

When you are constantly begging for attention, the repeated rejection begins to have a cumulative effect. While each time you beg for attention might seem insignificant, the overall pattern of pleading and having your needs ignored adds up and becomes devastating to the relationship and how you feel about yourself.

Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

When you don’t feel seen, you likely will feel more frustrated with your partner, get into more arguments, and feel further disconnected and lonely.

— Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

Eventually, you may give up begging for attention from your partner. You may move to a place of resignation where you know that begging is not effective and only makes you feel further rejected and despondent. You may even reach a point where you give up completely.

As a result, you may make yourself less vulnerable to your partner and behave with more aggression toward them as your resentment seeps into your interactions. Your marriage may begin to feel more like a distant roommate situation as you and your partner check out from each other’s worlds.

How to Improve Your Relationship

Dr. Romanoff suggests some steps you can take if you’re tired of begging for attention from your partner, to improve your relationship dynamic:

  • Stop begging for your partner's attention. While it is important to be vulnerable, you should not resort to begging for attention. Not only is this approach ineffective, it also harms your perception of your own self-worth and value. If you beg for attention and don’t receive it, you will feel rejected. But if your partner does respond to your begging with attention, it will only be a temporary solution, because it wasn’t freely provided.
  • Focus on yourself instead. Do things that have always interested you. Start going to the gym, join a new book club, or take a class. Doing this will bring more fulfillment to your life and help you become a better version of yourself. By sincerely focusing on yourself and fulfilling your own needs, it may result in your partner's peaked interest/attention because you are genuinely caring for yourself and honoring your worth (vs. depending on them for validation of your worth). Take caution to ensure that you're not being unavailable on purpose as that is harmful to any relationship. Becoming strategically less available or "playing hard to get" is not an effective, honest, or sustainable solution.
  • Stop trying to control your partner. Realize that you cannot change your partner's behavior. So, stop trying to control theirs and focus on what you can control—your own behavior and responses.
  • Examine your behavior. Consider the ways in which your frustration with not receiving enough attention from your partner has made you more critical of them. There might be a self-fulfilling prophecy in play, where you are creating the conditions that set the stage for your partner to be distant.
  • Ask what your partner needs. Instead of asking your partner for what you need from them, ask them what they want from you. They may have their own reasons for pulling away from you and needs of their own that are unmet. This is a way of channeling more effective communication through a solution-oriented approach.
  • Provide positive reinforcement. Encourage your partner's efforts to provide attention and affection with positive reinforcement. Make it a point to highlight and validate the behaviors they do well instead of focusing on what they don't do.
  • Communicate. Be sure to focus on making sure that you clearly, honestly, and courageously express your feelings, experience, and requests.
  • Consider therapy. If the situation isn’t improving, consider seeking professional help through therapy. Sometimes it takes the perspective and presence of a neutral, clinically-trained third party to help identify negative cycles and help partners communicate better. You and your partner can undertake individual and joint couples therapy sessions to resolve your issues.

A Word From Verywell

Having your expectations for attention and affection go unmet frequently can take a toll on your self-esteem and your mental health. It can also affect your relationship with your partner, leading to negativity, fights, and loneliness.

If you’re at the stage where you’re tired of begging for attention from your partner, it can be helpful to break the pattern and focus on yourself instead. Apart from giving you more fulfillment and satisfaction, it can also make you more attractive to your partner. If things don’t get better, relationship counseling can help you and your partner resolve the differences in your expectations.

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3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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