Family life

Feeling neglected: How to get the attention you deserve

By Liza Finlay

Feeling neglected: How to get the attention you deserve

Feeling neglected: How to get the attention you deserve

Hellooo? Can anybody see me?

We all know the feeling — complete invisibility.

The laundry gets folded, the kids get chauffeured, even your partner’s mother gets a call on her birthday — and it’s all thanks to you. Not that anyone seems to notice. Your partner acts as if fairies float in while he sleeps, maintaining order with their magical pixie dust.
 
We all feel neglected sometimes. There are moments in all relationships when it seems like everything and everyone else is more important to our partners than we are.
 
Here’s how to get the attention you want, and likely deserve.

Feeling neglected: How to get the attention you deservePhoto: Izabela Habur/iStockphoto

Recognition, not roses

Acknowledgement — that’s all any of us need. We want to be seen. We want our efforts and actions noticed.

Acknowledgement is a magic bullet, erasing any feeling of neglect. Make sure your partner knows that. Let him know that the bar has been considerably lowered (virtually guaranteeing a slam dunk). Sure, roses are nice, but for most of us, recognition is the real reward.
 
Easy-peasy acknowledgement example: “Honey, I noticed that you folded all my shirts. Thank you.” It really is that easy.

Feeling neglected: How to get the attention you deservePhoto: Catherine Yeulet/iStockphoto

Build a foundation

Create a family infrastructure that supports the acknowledgement of everyone’s efforts. Build in opportunities for routine recognition — making positive attention systemic.

In our house, we hold weekly family meetings, and each one begins with “appreciations." The benefits are twofold: Not only do you get the kudos you deserve, but your family is also trained to find and reflect on everyone’s efforts.

Feeling neglected: How to get the attention you deservePhoto: Slobodan Vasic/iStockphoto

Be the change you seek

You want your partner to pay more attention to you? Pay more attention to him.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but in fact, we are wired to mimic the behaviours of those close to us. It’s in our DNA: Monkey see, monkey do. Most of us spend our time trying to get an ideal partner, when we should be trying to be an ideal partner.

Show your partner what loving devotion looks like. Believe me, it will come back to you in spades.

Feeling neglected: How to get the attention you deservePhoto: Grady Reese/iStockphoto

Positive reinforcement

Don’t take this the wrong way, but humans aren’t that different from dogs — behaviourally, anyway. Like dogs, we respond well to positive reinforcement.

Put another way, you catch more flies with honey....

So, react warmly and effusively whenever you detect the slightest whiff of appreciation. If there is even a mere hint of heartfelt gratitude, catch it, remark on it, and repeat as needed.

Feeling neglected: How to get the attention you deservePhoto: Joshua Hodge Photography/iStockphoto

Date nights!

You’ve heard me say this a million times, but it bears repeating: Do date nights — regularly. And try not to get huffy about it. If he hasn’t “asked you out," take matters into your own hands. Just put it in the calendar.

If getting the attention you seek requires you to play social secretary, so be it. Holding out for a Prince-Charming-worthy display of chivalry is a test — and no one likes tests. Don’t set your partner up for failure; set both of you up for success. Take the high road. You see a problem (you feel neglected), and you see a solution (date night)? Make it so.

Feeling neglected: How to get the attention you deservePhoto: londoneye/iStockeye

More great relationship tips!

Feeling neglected: How to get the attention you deserve

Are you feeling neglected in your relationship (and in your family)? Here's how to get the attention you want — and deserve!

This article was originally published on Jan 13, 2014
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