Feeling like you’re being taken for granted can be one of the worst feelings in the world, and while you love your boyfriend, he’s supposed to offer you the same in return. It’s not like you’re expecting him to fall at your feet in gratitude on a daily basis, but showing a little appreciation for the things you do to make his life and your relationship better really wouldn’t kill him. You’re nobody’s option, so here’s what you need to do when he starts to treat you like one.
- Perform a reality check. Before you go any further, you have to think logically about what’s happening. Is it possible that you’re misconstruing the situation or expecting too much, or is your boyfriend legitimately taking you for granted? Are these small behaviors something you could change with a bit of old-fashioned communication and a little effort? If you feel like he wouldn’t be receptive or you’ve already tried that to no avail, it’s time to move on to step two.
- Reevaluate the Relationship. When he starts to pull away and isn’t treating you with the love, respect, and consideration you deserve, it’s time to reevaluate. Don’t sit around and worry about what’s going through his mind—it’s pointless. Instead, take control of the situation and start to assess whether this is someone you really want in your life. If your boyfriend is too focused on other things to really make you a priority in his life, maybe it’s time you start focusing on something else too—like other eligible guys who are willing to put in the work and effort to keep you happy.
- Get a Life. If you’ve noticed that your boyfriend has been treating you differently lately, it could be because you have way too much time on your hands. Boredom has a way of driving you insane because it leaves too much time to overanalyze every aspect of your relationship. Stay busy with your hobbies and hang out with your friends so you won’t even notice how much of an ass he’s being. The second you take the focus off of him and start doing things that really make you happy, you might find things change for the better.
- Fight Fire With Fire. If he’s treating you like an option, you need to treat him the exact same way. Don’t wait around until Friday evening for him to ask you to hang out that weekend—make your own plans and go out and enjoy yourself! Nothing will bruise his ego more than the thought of you not giving AF about seeing him when he finally makes time for you. It’s going to hurt at first because I know you’re dying to spend time with him, but it might make him realize that it takes two to have a good relationship and he should be treating you the way he wants to be treated.
- When All Else Fails, Ignore. Some call it game playing, I call it karma. If your guy is too busy for you all of a sudden, hit the decline button every time he calls. He’ll most likely send you a text asking, “WTF?” Do yourself a favor and ignore that message too. Sometimes, the easiest way to show your unhappiness is not by nagging and having a sit-down conversation with him. Guys respond better to action so stop answering his calls for a bit. If you delay your messages and give him one-word answers, he’ll instinctively know that the crap has hit the fan. Maybe then he’ll actually listen to you when you tell him how unhappy you are.
- Give Yourself the Love You Want from Him. If you’re waiting for him to show his love and appreciation for you, you might be waiting for a lifetime. That’s why it’s always best to give yourself the love you’ve been craving. So how do you do that exactly? Well, it’s pretty easy. Buy yourself something nice or go get pampered at the spa. Tell yourself how smart, beautiful, and funny you are. If you can fill yourself up with the love you think you’re missing, you won’t care whether your boyfriend is in your life or not.
- Remove Him from the Equation. If you make him the center of your world, he’s more likely to bolt when things get too heavy. If you’ve noticed that he’s taking you for granted, it’s time to shake things up a bit by completely removing him from the equation. If you want to go to the movies, go by yourself or with a friend. If there’s a restaurant you’ve been begging him to take you to, go check it out on your own. When he finds out you’re having so much fun around the city and not nagging him to tag along, he’ll feel left out, and that’s the whole point. His FOMO will be the spark you need to help him straighten his act out and start treating you with love and respect.
- Let Him Initiate. Chances are, you’ve noticed he’s treating you like an option so you’ve been going into overdrive to spend time with him. If you’ve been asking him to hang out and the answer is always no, it’s time to chill out a bit. Stop initiating and take a backseat instead. Give him the opportunity to come to you by allowing him to initiate text messages and dates. If he still doesn’t do a 180, then maybe it’s time to call this relationship quits.
- Make a Mental Deadline. Don’t allow him to dictate how much time the two of you spend together and how the flow of your relationship should go. Give yourself a deadline for things to get better. You’re not going to want to share this deadline with him, of course—that would defeat the purpose. Just keep track of the date in your head. Maybe you’ll give him two weeks to get his act together or perhaps you really truly love him so you’re going to give him two months. Either way, when that last day approaches and things haven’t improved despite your best efforts, it’s time for you to throw up the peace sign and bid him adieu. Life’s too short to stay with someone who isn’t treating you like a priority.
- Stop Settling for Breadcrumbs. If you don’t hear from him in two days and he finally sends you a text message with nothing but a kissy face emoji, that’s a breadcrumb. If he finally plans a date with you but he tells you he has to call it an early night just an hour into your meeting, that’s a breadcrumb too. Breadcrumbs are a way for a guy to hold on to a girl without a lot of commitment or effort. If you feel like your boyfriend is giving you nothing but breadcrumbs, stop settling for his BS. It’s time to recognize you can do better than someone who’s stringing you along with no end in sight.
Why your boyfriend might start to take you for granted
Admittedly, it’s unlikely that he’s purposely taking you for granted. In fact, he probably doesn’t even realize he’s doing it. However, there are reasons this tends to happen in long-term relationships, and while knowing them won’t prevent it, it does at least offer a bit of understanding on what’s going on.
- He’s gotten a little too comfortable. The longer a couple is together, the more comfortable both of you get. Generally speaking, this is a good thing. It means that you know you can rely on your partner to be there and that you’re confident in your partnership. However, it has the unfortunate side effect of meaning that instead of appreciating the things your partner does for you, you start to expect it. This is when your boyfriend will start to take you for granted.
- You’re too nice for your own good. We need more nice people in the world, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. It’s no wonder you get taken for granted (and taken advantage of) when everyone knows how “nice” you are. That becomes code for overly agreeable and people start to believe they can get one over on you. Don’t let this happen.
- You avoid confrontation at all costs. Even when something happens that you don’t like, you struggle to speak up and communicate that to the people in your life. You should be able to tell your boyfriend that you don’t approve of something but because you don’t, he thinks he can get away with bloody murder. No one’s going to tell him differently, so what do you expect?
- You’re a people pleaser. This is similar to being too nice but goes one step further. Do you often find yourself going out of your way to do things for your boyfriend that are totally unnecessary or even unacceptable, just because you want to please him and you crave his approval? If he knows that you’re going to go above and beyond for him on a daily basis without him having to do anything at all, he’s going to start to take you for granted.
- You don’t know how to say no. When you don’t want to do something, say so. If you’re asked to help with a task or take it over and you’re already busy, tired, or just not in the mood, you’re not beholden to doing it anyway just because your boyfriend asks. You need to learn how to say no, not only for your own protection but also to ensure that you’re never taken advantage of or taken for granted. Easier said than done, but it’s a skill well-worth learning.