When you're in a relationship, wanting to be your partner's priority isn't a bad thing at all. After all, if someone is important, you're going to do the best you can to keep them in your life and show them how much you value them. The reality is, there will be times when you won't be your partner's priority and that's completely OK. But there is a difference between not being your partner's priority sometimes and not being a priority at all, and if you feel your circumstances may be the latter, it's important to look for
signs you aren't a priority in your relationship.
"Life happens and things often get in the way of plans you and your partner may have made," dating expert and counselor,
Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. "As long as this doesn't happen all the time, you may very well have a good partner."
So how can you tell if
your partner is truly treating you well and prioritizing you as they should? According to Rappaport, it's all about thinking about things from their perspective. "Things happen from time to time and you and your partner may find that your priorities will shift with them," she says. "Honor those shifts and build a healthier relationship because of them — not in spite of them." For example, if finding a job needs to be a priority because one of you has been laid off, understand this priority shift as being necessary, but not one that will necessarily damage your relationship.
Sometimes not being a priority in the moment is necessary, but if it becomes commonplace, then it's time to change the dynamic. So here are some ways to tell your partner really
doesn't view you as a priority in their life, according to experts.
They Rarely Text You Or Initiate Conversation First
As you know, communication is super important for relationships to work. If your partner doesn't make the effort to communicate with you throughout the day or even the week, that's a sign they're
not making time for you.
"We understand that most people are busy but if you are going weeks without at least a phone call or a text message from someone, then that's a sign that you are not number one on the priority list,"
Temi Olly, Certified Relationship Coach & Speaker, tells Bustle. At the end of the day people make time for what's important to them. "So if your partner isn't making time for you, even if it's just to send a simple text, then that should tell you something," Olly says.
Getting angry at your partner for not texting you all the time can push them away instead of bringing them closer. Letting your partner know that you appreciate it when they check in with you throughout the week is one of the best ways to approach the subject, and let them know you'd like more frequent communication.
They Forget To Tell You About The Important Life Decisions They've Made
"If your partner is making
important life decisions without thinking about you and how it affects your relationship, that should tell you your relationship is not a priority to them," Olly says. For instance, if your partner brings up the fact that they're leaving to take on a six months-long project without consulting you first, your relationship might not have been on their mind when they decided to take the project on.
Big decisions like that are something that should be discussed together, especially if it involves one partner being away for a period of time. It's important to be a supportive partner, but it's just as important to keep each other in the loop. So make sure your partner knows you want to be taken into consideration when it comes to major decisions they need to make.
They Never Invite You To Family Events
One way to tell your partner isn’t making you a priority is if they doesn’t integrate you into their family. "Being important in someone’s life means meeting the other people in their life and forming connections with them," Jane Reardon, licensed therapist and founder of
RxBreakup app, tells Bustle. If you've been together for a while and have yet to meet anyone important, chances are you aren’t a priority to your partner. So if meeting their family is important, let them know. If they think it's "too soon" or have any other reasons for not introducing you yet, having a conversation about it can clear the air and help you figure out what their reservations might be.
They Don't Take Special Occasions Seriously
"I would say the biggest clue is if your partner doesn’t make time for you, especially
when there is an important event or occasion that you would want to share with your [partner] like a job promotion, a family member’s birthday, or an anniversary," Reardon says. "Everyone is busy, but at the same time if your partner is a priority then you should make time for that person." So if they constantly forget Valentine's Day is a thing year after year, or can't seem to remember when your anniversary is, that's a sign you may not be a priority. If special occasions are important to you, be sure to let your partner know that. If you know your partner constantly forgets important dates, setting a calendar reminder on their phone can be helpful.
They Only Make Plans With You Last Minute
If your partner can plan vacations with friends but not with you,
Stef Safran, matchmaking and dating expert, tells Bustle, you may not be a priority. "Maybe your [partner] has an annual trip and other trips that occurred before you met them," Safran says. "But if you feel like you're not a priority, it's important to air out these issues before it becomes resentment." Being mindful of your time and your schedule is just respectful. If your partner can't make the effort to make plans with you in advance and keep them, then it's time to have a discussion about where they see this relationship going.
There's A Huge Lack Of Physical Intimacy
If you've noticed that intimacy, either stops or slows way down,
Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW, therapist and relationship expert tells Bustle, that may be a sign your relationship is no longer a priority. A lack of intimacy isn't limited to the bedroom. If there are no affectionate touches, hand holding, or random kisses, it's important to be aware.
As Dr. Emily Morse, relationship expert and host of
Sex with Emily tells Bustle, there's no need to worry just yet. Making time for sex and getting your partner to initiate it more is as simple as scheduling it. "Although it may sound like the least sexy option, scheduling is a great way to make sure sex remains a priority in your lives," she says. "In addition to making sure it happens, it takes the pressure off deciding who initiates or resenting each other because so much time has passed."
Just because it’s scheduled doesn’t mean it has to be routine, nor does it mean it can't be flexible. According to Morse, scheduling is a good way to make sure you're setting aside a time for sex that you're both comfortable with. "It doesn’t mean the sex has to be boring," she says. "Plus the anticipation makes it super hot!"
You're Putting In All The Effort
"If you are the only one constantly calling, texting, or scheduling dates, meaning unless you initiate conversations you don't hear from them, that's definitely a sign that you are not your partner's priority," Olly says. If you feel like
you're doing too much without getting anything in return, that's a good indicator that you probably aren't your partner's priority.
If you're feeling de-prioritized or neglected in your relationship, it’s always best to discuss this with your partner up front. As Reardon says, "Communication is key for successful relationship. However, if you have to keep discussing the issue and nothing has changed, then it may be time to move on and find someone who will make you a priority."
Life can get in the way of your relationship from time to time. It may seem like you're being unfair by expecting to be a priority. But there's nothing wrong with wanting to be your partner's number one. So don't be afraid to bring it up.