6 Reasons Why Your Partner Doesn't Pay Attention To You

A man and woman walking arm in arm on the street; the man is preoccupied with his cell phone.

Christian Vierig / Getty Images

When you’re feeling as though your partner isn’t giving you the attention you deserve, it can be incredibly frustrating, confusing, and hurtful. This can certainly take a negative toll on your relationship (and your self-esteem) if you constantly have to repeat yourself; you can’t help but feel your S.O. doesn't pay attention to you, and they're not fully present when you’re together, for example. Coming to the realization that a partner is no longer emotionally invested in your commitment isn't an easy pill to swallow, but it isn't something to ignore, either.

The truth is that there a number of things that could cause your partner to check out, and they're not indicative of a happy, healthy relationship. So whether you've only just noticed your partner giving you the proverbial cold shoulder, or have undergone the iciness for weeks/months/years, now is the time to take a closer look at your relationship to establish the reason for the discontent—and determine if the relationship is worth mending. Perhaps, it comes down to one of these six culprits.

Loss of Interest

One particularly painful reason that a partner has checked out could be that they've lost interest in the relationship and don't wish to pursue it any longer. When your partner no longer cares about what you say, doesn't value your presence, and doesn't seem to be invested in what’s going on in your life, it’s clear that they're taking steps toward living a life without you. If you aren't getting the attention you need and deserve, you may actually need to move on.


It could be, very simply, that your S.O. is dealing with the pressure of having other things on their mind, such as an achingly difficult work project or personal and/or familial issues that sap them of the energy to deal with little else. When a partner is heavily distracted by other commitments, tasks, stress, and anxiety, they may find it too challenging to redirect their attention—and they may even be so wrapped up that your needs don't even register.

Unwillingness To Prioritize

Overuse of the phone, computer, social media, and video games—along with an unwillingness to unplug even after being asked—is a big departure from the early "getting to know you" phase of your relationship when all conversations seemed interesting and all concentration was focused on your time together. It's also a definite sign your partner is unwilling to prioritize your relationship, communication has eroded, and you're no longer top-of-mind.

Not Being "Heard"

Could you be the one who's not listening? If, say, you’re a non-stop talker, you frequently talk over your partner, tend to interrupt, and just aren't a good listener, they'll stop sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings because they don't feel "heard." And frankly, they're probably tired of listening to you, too. So if your S.O. feels as though what they say doesn't matter (and they've stopped talking altogether), then look within. Carve out time for conversation, get in tune with their needs, stop avoiding difficult chats, empathize with what they say, and listen to how they say it.

Lack of Reciprocation

Perhaps you're the one who’s losing interest: If you're constantly distracted, always on the phone, and aren't invested in your S.O.'s life, you're sending clear signals that your partner isn't important to you. And you’ll likely receive the same treatment. In order for your partner to communicate, share ideas, and feel close to you, you must reciprocate their attention; a healthy relationship isn't a one-way street.

Hurt Feelings

If every word out of your mouth is an insult, a critique, or disparaging remark, your behavior is toxic and negative, and no one, least of all your S.O., wants to hear it. (Even seemingly harmless criticism and patronizing comments, too, can take a toll.) While you should always feel free to express yourself and say what’s on your mind, take a good look at the way you're communicating. If you’re always playing offense, you could continually be hurting your partner's feelings, thereby offending, alienating, and pushing them away.

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