People refer to their romantic partner as their “significant other”, because that’s exactly what they are, a significant, whom they love and appreciate.
Being significant means being a priority, not an option and when you are in a romantic relationship, it is completely normal to want to feel significant and special to your partner.
But sometimes life happens, and there will always be inevitable circumstances where other commitments such as family, or work that we may have to take a back seat; but this should be the exception and not the norm.
If however, you constantly feel like you’re not a priority in your partner’s life, then it’s important to be able to recognize the signs that might mean that you’re just an option to her.
Signs You Are an Option, Not a Priority
We all want to feel loved and important in our relationships. Unfortunately, not everyone gets the attention they deserve. If you find yourself feeling like you’re an option, not a priority in your relationship, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Do you often feel that your partner doesn’t put you first?
- Do you find yourself planning your life around hers and hardly ever your own?
- Do you feel like she doesn’t respect or “see” your needs?
- Does she make you feel like it’s up to you to make all the effort?
- Do you feel generally unappreciated and unsupported?
If so, then these are all indications that your partner views you as more of an option – not a priority.
This is not a nice place to be. In fact, being made to feel an option by the person that we love is a horrible place to be, and this can actually start to take a toll on our happiness and even our health.
Evidence suggests that the quality of our romantic relationships can have a big impact on our overall health and wellbeing.
According to relationship expert and professor, Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones, from the University of Utah, men have been found to be particularly healthier when they are in mutually supportive and loving long-term relationships, and research also shows that they actually live longer.
However, whenever our relationships are not mutually loving and supportive, then the opposite is true.
Bad and toxic relationships where we are mistreated and do not get our needs met, can negatively affect our mental and emotional wellbeing.
It can be especially hard for men to feel unwanted and like they do not have a place within the life of the woman that they love.
This is because a significant proportion of men’s self-esteem, confidence and happiness is linked to whether or not he feels like he holds “a place of importance” in their own life, and also their partner’s life.
Is your partner making you feel undervalued and unsupported as a man? Do you feel like you come second to everything else in her life? or even worse – last?
Here are some signs that you may be an option, not a priority.
1. Your partner does not make you feel important
Maybe you feel like you make all the effort in the relationship but you don’t feel like it’s reciprocated. For example, whenever there is something that she really wants to do, you pay attention and keep the date free in your schedule to make sure that you’ll be available.
Whether it’s going to see her favorite band or a movie that she’s excited about, you make efforts to make sure that her wishes, wants and needs are a priority. But yet, you feel that you don’t get the same in return.
For example, if you ask her to keep a specific date free for something that you really want to do, she always seems to “forget” or tell you that “something else came up”.
Or maybe she never seems to want to take you to important events to do with her work or family?
This can leave you feeling like you’re not “good enough” or “important enough” for her to want to show you off to people. You’re eventually going to feel unhappy and unappreciated in your relationship.
2. Your partner rarely texts you or starts conversion first
Communication is critical for any relationship to function, and it should be a two-way street.
If your partner is never the one to contact you first, it might be a sign that she doesn’t really think about you during the day. A good partner will always try to find little ways to make their loved one feel special; even if it’s just sending a quick text message.
But if you feel like it’s always you that has to initiate conversations and never your partner, then this could be a big sign that they see you as just an option, and not a priority.
Maybe you notice how it’s always you sending the first good morning text or checking in after work to say “hey” and see what’s up. Or maybe when you check your call log you’ve realized that it’s always you constantly calling them, and never the other way around.
If so, then that is not a fair or balanced relationship.
For a relationship to thrive, both parties have to make an effort, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to constantly remind your partner to call or text you.
This is definitely a sign that you’re not your partner’s priority.
3. All plans are on their terms
Does your partner only contact you at the last moment to make plans to go out? Maybe they aren’t considerate of your schedule or your life plans at all and just expect you to drop everything whenever they call.
Maybe you feel like a last resort and that they only seem keen to spend time with you when they’ve exhausted all their other options.
Life happens, and there will always be times when unforeseen circumstances come up and we have to cancel plans. But if your partner is constantly canceling on you last minute, or making up excuses as to why she can’t see you, it might be a sign that you’re not as high on her list of priorities as she is on yours.
Furthermore, if your partner never seems to have any problem making time for other people in her life, but always seems to be too busy for you, it’s definitely a sign that you’re being treated as an option.
This is not a nice way to be treated. In fact, it’s a horrible way to be treated by the person who is supposed to love and respect you.
If your partner is constantly treating you this way, then it’s time to reclaim your masculinity and self-respect or just walk away.
4. Your partner treats you horribly
The saying that “love is blind” really does have some truth to it.
Whenever we have deep feelings for someone, we really want to only see the best in them. This can lead to us trying to rationalize or explain away our partner’s behavior, even when they are treating us horribly.
If your partner constantly lets you down; for example, maybe they miss important dates like your birthday, or planned dinner dates with your family and friends, and then when you try to bring it up to them, your partner nonchalantly invalidates your feelings, then this is a form of emotional manipulation and you don’t deserve to be mistreated or disrespected in this way.
5. Your partner does not include you in their future plans
A relationship is a partnership and when you are building a life with someone, the least you can expect is to be consulted about big decisions that they might be making.
But if your partner keeps making important decisions, whether it’s related to her career, health or family, without even consulting you – this is a massive red flag, that you are not her priority.
It can be very hurtful to be left out of your partner’s plans and even embarrassing when you feel like you’re the last to know about her new promotion at work, or her plans to move to a new city.
While we don’t expect to be the exclusive focus of our partner’s minds 24/7, we can at least expect them to keep us informed about important developments in their life.
6. You feel unhappy and misused
Romantic relationships are meant to add to our happiness, not take it away. But if our partner is always treating us as an afterthought, and not respecting our wants and needs, this can start to make us feel unhappy and even lower our confidence or self-esteem.
Whenever we’re in a relationship, it should feel like we are part of a team, planning and building for our future together, but whenever we are constantly made to feel like just an option at the bottom of somebody’s list, this can even start to make us feel depressed.
Have you noticed that since being with your partner you have started to feel more insecure? Or do you find yourself feeling irritable, confused and unhappy regularly?
These can all be signs that your relationship is affecting your happiness, and also a sign that you need to make a change, either to the dynamics of your relationship or to the nature of the relationship itself.
This is your one and only life, and you deserve to be appreciated, loved and have your wants and needs made a priority by your partner.
7. Your partner never introduces you to her friends and family
When someone sees you as a priority in their life, they will want to introduce you to the people who matter to them.
If your partner never introduces you to their friends or family, it is a sign that they are not ready to fully commit to you. They might be afraid of what others will think or they might not see you as a long-term partner.
If you’ve been in a relationship for a while and if your partner never talks about you to her friends or family, it’s a sign that you’re an option, not a priority.
8. Your partner is always flirting with other people
Does your partner constantly flirt with other people, even when you’re around? Maybe you’ve caught her eyeing up other guys or you’ve heard her making suggestive comments to them.
This is a big sign that she sees you as an option and not a priority. If your partner was truly in love with you, she would never do anything to make you feel jealous or insecure.
Flirting with other people when you are in a relationship is a clear sign of disrespect and it’s definitely not something that you should tolerate.
9. Your partner does not make any effort to improve the relationship
A good partner will always try to find ways to improve the relationship and make their loved one feel special.
Maybe she will surprise you with flowers or little gifts, or maybe she will cook you dinner and do all the things that you love.
But if your partner never makes any effort to improve the relationship, it might be a sign that she doesn’t see it going anywhere long-term.
If she is constantly picking fights with you or starting arguments for no reason, it might be a sign that she’s not as invested in the relationship as you are.
If she constantly threatens to break up with you or says things like, “I’m not sure if this is working out,” or “I need some space,” she’s trying to be manipulative to get what she wants and it’s a sign that she does not see you as a priority in her life.
What to do if you feel like you’re an option, not a priority?
What do you do when you are not a priority in your partner’s life? How should we respond to someone who is always treating us as a choice or an option?
Well, first, you need to start doing exactly what your partner is not; and that is to start taking your own needs seriously.
Sometimes whenever we are so used to prioritizing someone else’s needs, we can forget what ours even are?!
So a great first step is to take a moment for yourself and list down what’s important to you, what needs do you feel that your partner has been neglecting? What would you like to do more of in your life and how do you wish to be treated?
Next, have a calm, and open discussion with your partner where you tell them exactly how you’ve been feeling and also read out your list of reasons why your partner’s behavior has been making you feel this way.
Explain to your partner that you need them to re-evaluate their relationship priorities because right now you feel like your needs are not being met and that you’re being treated as nothing more than an option.
Finally, make it clear that although you love them and want things to work, you need to start feeling like more of a priority moving forward.
Give your partner some time to consider what you have said, and time to hopefully implement some changes, it may be that your partner sees where they have been going wrong and they, therefore, start making more of an effort.
The best case scenario would be that they take everything on board that you say, and as a result, you then begin to feature a lot higher on your partner’s priority list.
But we also need to be aware that this may not be the case, and she may not take you seriously, she may not be able to see your point of view or be able to make the necessary changes that you deserve.
If this case, then it may be time to make yourself a priority and leave. This can be an incredibly complicated situation to navigate, and you might be feeling apprehensive or anxious about how to proceed.
If your partner is always putting her own needs ahead of yours, flirting with other people, or making you feel like you’re not a priority in her life, it’s time to have a serious talk.
These are all clear signs that she doesn’t see you as a long-term partner and she’s not interested in committing to you.
If you’re not happy with the way things are going, don’t be afraid to speak up and tell your partner how you feel. If she’s not willing to make things work, then it might be time to move on.
If you’re struggling in your relationship and you’re not sure what to do, our relationship coaches can help. In our program, we will help you identify the issues in your relationship and find ways to overcome them. You’ll learn how to communicate better with your partner and build a stronger, more fulfilling relationship.