First of all don’t. Don’t do that. Trying to make someone afraid of losing you is a form of manipulation and that’s just gross.
Note: This is not exclusively applicable to hetero relationships, but for simplicity and to keep it brief, I’ll focus on hetero relationships. Please apply pronouns to your specific situation as you see fit.
Warning: This article is not going to be softened with any fluff. I’m likely to offend at least a few of my readers with some brutal honesty. If you take personal offense to anything I’ve written, I will encourage you to explore the reasons why. And second, I’ll remind you that there is nothing comfortable about personal growth. Read on and face your own shadows head on… or stay in your comfort zone. It’s totally up to you.
Listen, if you are manipulating your partner to stay with you, be more attracted to you, or stop looking elsewhere for attention… Just stop. Stop it now. I don’t know how many articles I’ve read with headlines like this and felt sick to my stomach. They’re written for women to learn tactics on how to manipulate men. Ladies… this may be an unpopular opinion, but men are not stupid. They know when they’re being manipulated and controlled. And if you feel you need to employ these tactics to “land a man” or “keep him interested”, you really need to take a closer look at your self esteem, and your own feelings of self worth. This is game playing, and it allows for bad behavior to continue on both sides. Men need to be held accountable for bad behavior and that means you don’t contribute or allow it. Because as long as you’re giving attention to something, that’s reinforcing that behavior. So instead, take away your attention. Don’t nag, don’t cry, don’t yell, just walk away. You want to complain about men not appreciating you, well here’s the harsh truth: We teach people how to treat us.
A. You deserve a relationship with a partner who appreciates you and sees your value without you having to point out or make a show of all the reasons you’re great. (Okay, a tiny bit of fluff).
2. If you aren’t bringing your “A” game to the table, then you need to ask yourself how you can step it up. Have you gotten lazy and stopped taking care of yourself? Are you dressing like your partner would be proud to stand by your side? Have you developed a nasty attitude, complaining constantly, are you rude to people and a gossip? -Please understand, this goes both ways. Both parties in a relationship are equally responsible for showing up in a relationship with their “A” game.
Third. If you’ve brought your “A” game, and they can’t appreciate you as you are, then you’re not in the right relationship. End of story. Stop trying to put lipstick on a pig. Holding on tighter to someone who does not put in the same effort, will never have the effect you want it to. It will literally push them away.
If you are in a relationship where you’ve brought your “A” game, and you feel they have become complacent… let them! Part of adulting is learning how to find gratitude for all of the wonderful things and people in your life. You absolutely can not control how others feel about you or any given situation. If you are trying to make your husband appreciate you more, you need to ask yourself why. Are you afraid of losing him? Why? If a relationship is not serving you, if you are not mutually benefitting and growing together that is a problem. Staying with someone because you’re afraid of the unknown, afraid to be alone, afraid of what your friends and family will think, afraid you won’t find another love, afraid that your children will be negatively affected by divorce… there are a thousand reasons why people stay in relationships that they shouldn’t… but have you noticed anything common with the few reasons listed above? Fear.
Do not allow fear to prevent you from making good choices.
If you’re staying for the children, consider the example you’re setting. Kids are not stupid, they see how mommy and daddy talk to each other. If you are in an unhappy marriage and can not appreciate each other, your children are likely to repeat that pattern in their own relationships when they get older.
Note: If you or someone you love is in an abusive situation, I encourage you to seek help. National Domestic Violence Hotline.
And if children are not part of the equation, and fear of the unknown is part of the reason you put up with someone who doesn’t appreciate you. You need to stop worrying about all the negative what ifs, and instead ask yourself:
What if there is someone better out there for me?
What if this relationship is holding me back from reaching my fullest potential?
What if I left and felt better than ever?
Now, I’m not suggesting that the only answer to feeling unappreciated, and undervalued is to leave. What I’m suggesting is this… IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO MAKE SOMEONE ELSE APPRECIATE YOU. Either they do or they don’t it’s really that simple. The only thing you have any control over is how you show up in the relationship. Having a conversation about feeling unappreciated is the first step. There may be differences in your Love Languages. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. And then if you’ve had a level headed conversation without verbally attacking your partner, and they are still emotionally checked out… you give them emotionally exactly as much as you’re getting in return.
You are the only one who gets to choose who you give your attention to.
You are the only one who gets to choose who you give your attention to. And if you are giving someone attention because you feel obligated, or guilted to do so, that’s still your choice, (i.e. “He works so hard and pays the bills, but he never talks to me. I know he doesn’t love me like he used to. And I’m pretty sure he’s having an affair…”) How many times have you heard this from someone you love, how many times have you had similar thoughts? I’m not passing any judgement here, I want to be very clear on that. We all make decisions based on our current emotional/financial needs. That’s a sad truth. But I implore you to consider how living like this will affect your self esteem and feelings of self worth? Again, you deserve love. But as long as you allow someone to treat you badly, you will face the ill effects. Yes, you read that right. You are allowing them to treat you badly. And you will never be able to manipulate someone into treating you with mutual respect by yelling at them, nagging, begging or pleading, shaming or guilting, or making them afraid of losing you. If you’re ready to leave, just go.
Do you manipulate your friends? No!
You don’t try to make your friends appreciate you more by making them fear losing you if they don’t “shape up”. Note: If you do this in friendships, you may want to talk to a licensed counselor and get to the root of that behavior. But for most of us, if you have a friend who is not meeting you half way in the friendship, you cut your losses and move on. And the same rules of mutual effort and respect needs to be applied to your intimate partnerships. You absolutely must value each other as friends first (and continually throughout the relationship). This is not where you get to say, “Well we were friends first.” You must continue to show up, as a friend every. single. day. And if they’re not showing up with the same level of enthusiasm, then it’s time to cut your losses. You deserve better.