One of the biggest upsides of being in a relationship is having someone you are comfortable around. But one of the silent killers of relationships is getting too comfortable. There comes a point where your significant other may get used to being in a relationship, so they no longer do all the things they did for you before the relationship began. Instead of growing together in the relationship, they begin taking your love and what you have to offer for granted. Here are five telltale signs you’re being taken for granted that you should talk to your partner about immediately.
1. You’re not a priority
Your significant other should want to spend time with you fairly often. Of course, they’ll probably have other priorities, but it can become problematic when you’re not high up on their priority list. If it’s been days and they’ve hung out with every friend they’ve ever had since third grade and not you, that should be a warning sign. Alaina*, a sophomore at Azusa Pacific University, says that her boyfriend prioritizing his friends over her led to problems. “If I asked if we could hang out, it was always brushed off to the side,” she says. “Every weekend, he would party with his friends, so being busy wasn’t an excuse. Even when I suggested things for us to do, he would rarely commit to anything. Hanging out was always centered around when it was convenient for him.”
Relationships don’t run on convenience. Neither of you committed to being in a relationship just to talk or be around each other when you’re bored. Even with hectic schedules, your partner should be making it known through actions and words that you are important to them.
2. They put no effort into date night
There’s probably not a soul on Earth who can’t find at least a little joy in Netflix. “Netflix and chill” can be a legitimate date, but if that’s all they’re willing to do, they probably have gotten too comfortable. Stephanie*, a junior at Stetson University, felt as if her boyfriend began taking her time for granted when he no longer put any effort into how they spent their time together. “Towards the beginning of our relationship, we would always go exploring—different museums, coffee shops, cafes, hiking trails, day trips and more,” she says. “Several months into the relationship, I found that all we did was lay in bed and watch TV and movies. It’s not like I didn’t enjoy his presence, but there’s a better way our time could’ve been spent.”
There may be people who will argue that their money is tight, so that’s the only thing to resort to. At this age, your significant other most likely isn’t expecting a date at a five star restaurant (although we wouldn’t complain if you’re toying with the idea). Honestly, it doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. A simple walk in the park, making dinner together or a stop by the Humane Society to play with some pups are inexpensive ways to connect with each other. A partner who isn’t even bothering to try to venture out of the realm of “Netflix and chill” is someone who is taking your time for granted.
3. They’re not appreciative
Doing things for someone can feel so rewarding when you know how much they appreciate what you’ve done. However, when you put forth effort for someone and all you’re met with is disinterest, it can be really damaging.
May*, a freshman at Reinhardt University, tried surprising her boyfriend after many hours put in at work. “Things seemed pretty flat in our relationship for a while, so I surprised my boyfriend with NBA tickets and dinner reservations,” she says. “His response didn’t even measure up to how hard I worked to try to make him happy. It really opened my eyes.”
Relationships involve sacrifice, whether that be with time, money or in other departments. If your partner isn’t taking into account all the hours you had to work to get them a little gift or the money you spent on them that could’ve been used on more groceries for the week, it’s time to step back and reevaluate. You shouldn’t have to beg or prod them for a genuine “thank you.” They should recognize your efforts and sacrifices on their own. It’s also time to think about if things are becoming one-sided. Don’t drain yourself trying to making someone else happy. There should be equal effort from both sides.
4. They don’t check up on you
Part of being in a relationship is having someone who cares about your mental wellbeing, what goes on in your life and your overall safety. However, for Maria*, a sophomore at University of South Carolina, her relationship of three years went sour when her boyfriend acted like he simply didn’t care enough to see how she was.
"I remember watching him as he waited for me to get inside safely each night," she says. "I thought he was so caring. Fast forward three years and it’s like he didn’t even care what was going in my life. I was accomplishing all of these great things at school and he couldn’t even ask ‘How are you?’ or ‘How has your day been?’"
Your significant other should be someone who is interested in what’s going on in your life, through your lows and highs. When they ask how you are, it gives you the opportunity to update them on your day and how life is treating you. If they all of the sudden have stopped asking, they’re taking your wellbeing for granted. Shouldn’t they at least want to know if you are safe and sound?
5. The romantic gestures disappear
Before you guys actually started dating, there was probably a lot of romantic effort put in from both sides to keep each other’s interest. Your significant other may stop doing what they did when they were “chasing” you because they finally have you. There comes a point when “I love you” isn’t spoken as frequently, compliments are nearly nonexistent and the romance simply disappears. Remember that this is not normal. No matter how long you guys have been together, keeping the spark alive in a relationship is what keeps it going.
Glenn*, a sophomore at Valdosta State University, admits to taking his girlfriend for granted. “You just develop a mindset that you’ve already got them and don’t have to keep trying as hard as you once did,” he says.
Being romantic shouldn’t be a burden on anyone. Understandably, not everyone is a diehard romantic, but they should not be so unromantic that you question if they still love and care about you.
If you realize that you might be taken for granted, speak up. Nobody is perfect, but let your significant other know how you’re feeling. Their reaction might tell you a lot about where you need to head in the relationship next. Ideally, they will listen to what you are saying and take action to fix their end of the relationship. Never let them belittle, invalidate or argue with you about your feelings. You are a gem so you should be treated like one every day.
*names have been changed