In terms of priority, where do you feel like you rank with your partner?
Are you and your relationship their 1st priority?
Or are you and your relationship…
2nd… 3rd…. or (gasp) an even lower priority?
If you and your relationship is a top priority to your partner– then, we say congratulations because there are many people who would love to trade places with you.
The reason we say this is…
We couldn’t help noticing a common feeling being expressed over and over from the people who write to us–the feeling of not being important and a low priority to their partner.
Feeling like you aren’t important or your partner’s priority can be a very lonely feeling. Those thoughts and feelings can cause you to act in jealous ways and cause feelings of doubt and mistrust.
Here’s a note from one of our readers who is trying to deal with this very situation…
***QUESTION FROM A READER:
“Hi there, thank you for all your advice on relationships. My question is … When we have spoken of an issue like broken agreements–he says he will ring the next day but the phone call never comes.
“He claims to love me and I have expressed the feelings I have when he breaks his promises. All my past relationships, family and partners–I was always a low priority.
“I am attractive and slender and make my feelings known so that I am up front and men don’t have to guess as to what I am.
“The present relationship has been going for 3 months and we have a wonderful closeness……. when he does eventually call…….. only when he has the need for sexual intimacy.
“I feel wonderful when I am with him and then the cycle repeats. I have explained how I feel that my self esteem is affected and he says he will try harder, but he doesn’t and I feel deflated once again.
“What or how do I make sense of it all as I am consumed with this feeling that I will always be a low priority in anyone’s life?”
So you’ve expressed your feelings to him about his broken promises but nothing changes. You still feel like you’re not a priority in his life and you’re pretty upset and frustrated.
The problem is that you get amnesia when you are with him and you’re feeling close to him–right?
You think “maybe he’ll change this time” but he just keeps doing the same thing over and over.
Something important to realize about this situation is…
He’s not changing because he doesn’t have to–and some part of him doesn’t want to either.
While we really don’t know what’s going on inside him or his motivation, or rather lack of motivation to follow through on his promises…
We’re guessing that when he promises he’ll call you, he has no intention of doing so.
He’s learned to say “yes” and agree (probably not just with you) because it creates less hassle in the short run for him.
Or maybe saying one thing and doing another is a habit and a coping mechanism that he unconsciously uses to get through his life.
The bottom line is that in your experience, you’ve attracted someone to you who breaks promises you think you’ve made with him–and that makes you feel unimportant and once again, a low priority.
If you can relate, here are some ideas that will help you move to the relationship you want…
1. Inside you, go beneath the “wonderful feeling” when you are with your partner and feel what you are really feeling about your relationship.
In the example of our reader, because she’s suggesting that he calls only when he wants to get her in bed, she’s probably doubting that this “wonderful feeling”–while nice–is building a foundation for true love and connection.
The “lesson” is to just be honest with yourself. If you feel like a low priority the majority of the time and you want it to be different, look at it as a wake up call to make some changes toward what you want.
2. As tough as it might be to admit–if you are feeling that you are a low priority in everyone’s life–and always will be, what you are really saying is that you are a low priority in your own life.
Start identifying ways you can make yourself and your wants and desires a higher priority to you.
Maybe you jump when others say jump without checking inside yourself first to feel if what you are being asked to do is right for you at this time.
It may be that you are waiting around for this guy to call and not living your life.
We suggest that you write down some things that you’d like to do and other people you’d like to be with–and then start broadening your life to include these new experiences.
Don’t make your partner the only source of your joy. Make yourself important in your own life.
3. We’re glad our reader is up front with her feelings AND we suggest that when you or anyone expresses these feelings, you also talk about the kind of relationship that you want–and invite your partner to talk about what he or she wants. Then listen closely.
Something like this…
“I feel frustrated and upset because you don’t call when I thought we had an agreement. I’m wondering if we can talk about how we’d like to create clear agreements that we both buy into.”
We cover a lot more strategies that could probably help you in situations like this in our “Stop Talking On Eggshells” program.
One other word of advice we’ll offer is this…
If your partner likes things exactly the way they are and is unwilling to shift, it’s up to you to decide if you want to stay in a relationship like this–knowing your partner is not willing to change.
Make yourself important to you.
Find ways in every moment–from your thoughts about yourself to your actions with others–to love yourself.
If you do, you’ll find your relationship changing for the better.