7 Signs Your Partner Isn’t As Supportive In Your Relationship As They Should Be
One of the benefits of being in a relationship is having the support of your partner — someone who will be there to listen to your problems, boost you up when you're feeling down, and cheer you on when you're having success. This is a major part of a healthy relationship, so if your partner isn't being supportive, it can truly feel like an important piece of the puzzle is missing.
"Having psychological and emotional support in a relationship creates cohesion between two people," licensed psychologist Dr. Danielle Forshee tells Bustle. "It exemplifies the level of attachment, love and care, as well as stability and predictability of the partner. When support is not present, or when support is not consistently present, it renders the relationship vulnerable to being unsuccessful."
Which is, of course, why you need to let your partner know that you're not feeling supported, and figure out ways to fix the problem. For the healthiest relationship, you should both be taking the time to hear each other's problems, helping one another through tough times, and offering encouragement when necessary. If you're noticing any of the signs below that your partner isn't being supportive, it may be time to let them know that these are the things you need.
1. They Bail When Times Get Tough
"If you are undergoing a major life event (health issue, job change, accident, etc.), a supportive partner will make sure to be there for you, not only physically, but emotionally," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle.
So take note if they're nowhere to be found when sh*t hits the fan. "If your partner seems to back away when things get difficult, [they might not be] truly supportive," Bennett says.
2. They're Dismissive
If "you approach your partner with an issue that you would like to vent about ... and they are dismissive of you on a regular basis," it's a sign they aren't being as supportive as they could be, Dr. Forshee says.
It may not be "fun" to talk about serious things in the moment, but "a supportive partner will gladly hear you out," Bennett says. "If your partner won’t take your feelings seriously, it’s a red flag."
3. They Leave You Hanging
If your partner leaves you hanging for things like work events and family functions, point it out to them. "What you do is important to you and therefore is something your partner should want to learn about," Lauren L. Rigney, MS, LMHC, NCC tells Bustle. "By not showing up, they are not experiencing things that are special to you." And that's anything but supportive.
4. They Don't Offer Encouragement
While it's certainly beneficial to be self-motivating, it's also great to have the support and encouragement of your partner, too. As Rigney says, "Partners who support each other are invested in their partner's life, goals, and visions for their future. As a couple grows together, it must be understood that each member of the couple is also growing individually. Encouragement to do this demonstrates support."
5. They Aren't Happy For Your Successes
In a similar vein, be wary of a partner who doesn't seem genuinely happy when you do have success. As Dr. Forshee says, "If you are having successes in your life and would like to share the excitement with your partner, and their level of excitement doesn’t appear to be genuinely reciprocated, this can be a sign that they’re not supportive of that success."
While everyone gets preoccupied, and you can't expect your partner to be ecstatic for you 24/7, they shouldn't be in the habit of acting blasé about your achievements. "When there is dismissiveness over time in a relationship, it creates a distance between the partners, which lends itself to an increase in arguments and general unhappiness in the relationship," Dr. Forshee says. So nip that in the bud, as soon as you can.
6. They Talk Over You
Everyone slips up and interrupts others on occasion. But if your partner can't stop talking over you, it may be a sign they aren't supportive.
"Your voice matters," Rigney says. "If you are telling a story it is because you want them to share in the experience, even if it just a funny anecdote. If they often cut you off and never circle back to your story or opinion, it is not a good sign."
7. They Don't Follow Up
It takes but a minute to text someone and see how they're feeling, or send a few words of encouragement. So it's really not asking much of a partner to follow up or check in — especially if they know you're going through something difficult.
That why, "if your partner doesn't call or text when you are dealing with tough stuff or they don't make time with you to just talk," they're likely not being as supportive as they could be, therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW tells Bustle.
And if it's bugging you, let them know. "It is difficult to handle everything on your own," Hershenson says. "People need encouragement and support to help make life easier. Voice your needs and express your desires." And hopefully your partner will step up their game, and be more supportive.