Are you at the point where you’re tired of begging for attention from your partner? Do you often feel like your need for affection is not being met? Being in this position can leave you feeling hurt, rejected, frustrated, and angry.
In a marriage, it’s important for each partner to feel seen, loved, and cared for. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, and professor at Yeshiva University says that for many married couples who have been together for years, a difference in expectations surrounding intimacy and attachment can develop among partners over time, with one partner taking the other for granted.
This article explores why you might feel tired of begging for attention from your partner, how this dynamic can affect your marriage and your mental health, as well as some steps you can take to improve your relationship.
What to Do When Your Partner Doesn’t Appreciate You
Why You Might Feel This Way
There are different reasons why you might feel tired of begging for attention from your partner. Below, Dr. Romanoff explores some of the potential causes of this relationship dynamic.
Your Partner Takes the Relationship for Granted
This is a common dynamic among partners who have been together for many years, particularly if there is little perceived threat to the relationship. One partner may neglect the other because they take the relationship for granted and operate under the illusion that their spouse will always be a constant in their life, regardless of how they treat them.
The longer a couple is together, the more common it is for one partner to take the other for granted. Because they do not fear losing the other, they may withdraw effort and attention towards their partner.
Your Partner Has Different Expectations
For some spouses, living under the same roof meets their threshold for attention devoted towards their partners. This causes strain in relationships where the other partner requires more affection. This affection manifests through body language, engagement, eye contact, and time spent together.
In these relationships, it is important for the partner to understand the value of their full attention and how they can enhance moments of intimacy with their partner.
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The Impact of This Relationship Dynamic
Reaching the point where you’re tired of begging for attention from your partner can affect your mental health as well as your relationship with your partner. Dr. Romanoff outlines the impact of this relationship dynamic below.
Impact on Your Mental Health
It’s important to feel seen and validated because your partner is an incredibly influential figure in your life, whose level of responsiveness has the potential to make you feel valued and important. When you don’t receive attention and validation, it prompts feelings of being judged, not being good enough, and being rejected.
You might begin to personalize your partner's behavior and assume there is something wrong with you. You might start searching for problems within yourself, which gives the illusion that if you solve that problem, you can gain your partner's attention and have more control over the situation.
You may think you need to take actions to become more attractive or change something about yourself to be worthy of your partner's attention/love. This only further erodes your sense of confidence and self-esteem.
Impact on Your Relationship
When you are constantly begging for attention, the repeated rejection begins to have a cumulative effect. While each time you beg for attention might seem insignificant, the overall pattern of pleading and having your needs ignored adds up and becomes devastating to the relationship and how you feel about yourself.
Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD
When you don’t feel seen, you likely will feel more frustrated with your partner, get into more arguments, and feel further disconnected and lonely.
— Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD
Eventually, you may give up begging for attention from your partner. You may move to a place of resignation where you know that begging is not effective and only makes you feel further rejected and despondent. You may even reach a point where you give up completely.
As a result, you may make yourself less vulnerable to your partner and behave with more aggression toward them as your resentment seeps into your interactions. Your marriage may begin to feel more like a distant roommate situation as you and your partner check out from each other’s worlds.
How to Improve Your Relationship
Dr. Romanoff suggests some steps you can take if you’re tired of begging for attention from your partner, to improve your relationship dynamic:
- Stop begging for your partner's attention. While it is important to be vulnerable, you should not resort to begging for attention. Not only is this approach ineffective, it also harms your perception of your own self-worth and value. If you beg for attention and don’t receive it, you will feel rejected. But if your partner does respond to your begging with attention, it will only be a temporary solution, because it wasn’t freely provided.
- Focus on yourself instead. Do things that have always interested you. Start going to the gym, join a new book club, or take a class. Doing this will bring more fulfillment to your life and help you become a better version of yourself. By sincerely focusing on yourself and fulfilling your own needs, it may result in your partner's peaked interest/attention because you are genuinely caring for yourself and honoring your worth (vs. depending on them for validation of your worth). Take caution to ensure that you're not being unavailable on purpose as that is harmful to any relationship. Becoming strategically less available or "playing hard to get" is not an effective, honest, or sustainable solution.
- Stop trying to control your partner. Realize that you cannot change your partner's behavior. So, stop trying to control theirs and focus on what you can control—your own behavior and responses.
- Examine your behavior. Consider the ways in which your frustration with not receiving enough attention from your partner has made you more critical of them. There might be a self-fulfilling prophecy in play, where you are creating the conditions that set the stage for your partner to be distant.
- Ask what your partner needs. Instead of asking your partner for what you need from them, ask them what they want from you. They may have their own reasons for pulling away from you and needs of their own that are unmet. This is a way of channeling more effective communication through a solution-oriented approach.
- Provide positive reinforcement. Encourage your partner's efforts to provide attention and affection with positive reinforcement. Make it a point to highlight and validate the behaviors they do well instead of focusing on what they don't do.
- Communicate. Be sure to focus on making sure that you clearly, honestly, and courageously express your feelings, experience, and requests.
- Consider therapy. If the situation isn’t improving, consider seeking professional help through therapy. Sometimes it takes the perspective and presence of a neutral, clinically-trained third party to help identify negative cycles and help partners communicate better. You and your partner can undertake individual and joint couples therapy sessions to resolve your issues.
What to Know About Attention-Seeking Behavior
A Word From Verywell
Having your expectations for attention and affection go unmet frequently can take a toll on your self-esteem and your mental health. It can also affect your relationship with your partner, leading to negativity, fights, and loneliness.
If you’re at the stage where you’re tired of begging for attention from your partner, it can be helpful to break the pattern and focus on yourself instead. Apart from giving you more fulfillment and satisfaction, it can also make you more attractive to your partner. If things don’t get better, relationship counseling can help you and your partner resolve the differences in your expectations.
Common Marriage Problems and Solutions
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Gottman JM, Tabares A. The effects of briefly interrupting marital conflict. J Marital Fam Ther. 2018;44(1):61-72. doi:10.1111/jmft.12243
Kardan-Souraki M, Hamzehgardeshi Z, Asadpour I, Mohammadpour RA, Khani S. A review of marital intimacy-enhancing interventions among married individuals. Glob J Health Sci. 2016;8(8):74-93. doi:10.5539/gjhs.v8n8p74
American Psychological Association. Couples therapy. Dictionary of Psychology.
By Sanjana Gupta
Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.
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Clinginess can be a caused by a variety of things. Very often, it can be caused by low self-esteem or insecurity. Expressing a strong need for attention can be a manifestation of the fear that a partner either doesn't like you, or that they'll leave.Why do I feel like I need constant attention from my partner? ›
Clinginess can be a caused by a variety of things. Very often, it can be caused by low self-esteem or insecurity. Expressing a strong need for attention can be a manifestation of the fear that a partner either doesn't like you, or that they'll leave.How do you tell your partner you're not getting enough attention? ›
Say what you want directly.
Let him know exactly how you're feeling as soon as you feel it so you can address it right away. For example, you might say, “I feel like I haven't gotten as much attention as I need,” or “I feel that I've put more effort into our relationship lately.”
Lack of Attention in relationships will make us insensitive in so many ways. In time, we will no longer see our partner's needs, the bond that we need to work on, and the family we are trying to build. No matter what reasons you have that are causing you not to pay attention to your spouse, it's not worth it.Is it wrong to ask for attention from your boyfriend? ›
I wish I had learned that it's okay to want attention much younger and that someone actually taught me how to directly ask for it." While attention-seeking has a bad rap, there's nothing to be ashamed of in wanting attention. In fact, attention-seeking "is about advocating for needs," says Fielding.What is Microcheating? ›
Micro-cheating is a term used to describe small, seemingly harmless actions or behaviours that may indicate a partner is emotionally or physically involved with someone else.Am I selfish for wanting attention from my partner? ›
In the end, it's not selfish to want another person to appreciate, value, or desire you (no matter how you might feel about yourself). In a certain sense, desires themselves are never selfish—but how we act on them can be.What is stonewalling in a relationship? ›
What does it mean to stonewall someone? In simple terms, stonewalling is when someone completely shuts down in a conversation or is refusing to communicate with another person.How do you tell your partner you are tired of the relationship? ›
Often the most direct answer is the best one, so don't be afraid to address the problem head-on. Obviously, you don't want to say something like, "I'm bored of you." Instead, just bring up that you feel like you are in a bit of a rut in the relationship and that you think you should both be making more of an effort.What does lack of affection do to a woman? ›
Since affection is the primary basis on which women bond, not having affection in their relationships makes women feel disconnected and lonely. For a woman, a lonely relationship is one where she feels unseen, unheard, and invalidated. Men, in contrast, can bond over simple things like sports.
- You're putting in much more energy into the relationship than your partner.
- The relationship feels one-sided more often than not.
- Your partner doesn't initiate romance, sex, or intimacy.
- Your sex life has altered (e.g. having sex less often, disinterest in trying new things)
In fact, it's a human need. Humans are wired to have a deep longing for physical contact. Our need for physical affection with human beings is rooted in our biology, as touch and close connections with others is of huge importance in our overall well-being, mental health, and survival.Should I tell my partner I need more attention? ›
That being said, it's important to voice your concerns and share your emotions. A relationship is nothing without communication. If you feel like you aren't getting enough attention and it's hurting your feelings or making you doubt the relationship, tell your partner.How do you ask for attention without seeming desperate? ›
- Just talk to him. Start a conversation that's meaningful, not just passive conversation, like “How was your weekend?” Ask questions that will help you to really get to know him and his personality. ...
- Compliment something about him.
When a woman feels neglected in a relationship, she is likely to feel as if she isn't important. This can lead to her also feeling sad, depressed, or hopeless. She may also begin to feel lonely as if she has no one to turn to because her partner is emotionally unavailable.How do you communicate your needs without being needy? ›
To avoid getting stuck in this neediness, practice being calm and clear. Look beyond the anger and defensiveness. Approach your partner from deeper emotions and try writing down what you really need. If you're hurt because you're lonely, then tell your partner directly that you need some time together.What to do when you feel like cheating? ›
- Don't Shame Your Sexual Thoughts or Feelings. ...
- Understand How You and Your Partner Define Cheating. ...
- Use Your Cheating Thoughts to Help Your Relationship. ...
- Allow Your Relationship to Shift—or End. ...
- Don't Fake It.
Just because you haven't had sex with someone else doesn't mean you are being faithful. Emotional affairs, work spouses, deleting texts, and keeping in touch with exes can all be forms of infidelity.What does a cheater look like? ›
Signs of cheating include a partner who improves their appearance, guards their phone, changes their schedule, and fades away emotionally. Someone could display several signs of cheating and still be faithful. Regardless, any such "signs" point to a breakdown in the relationship.Why is my boyfriend not giving me attention? ›
Unwillingness To Prioritize
It's also could be a sign your partner is unwilling to prioritize your relationship, communication has eroded, or you're no longer top-of-mind. "Life happens and things often get in the way of plans you and your partner may have made," says dating expert and counselor Davida Rappaport.
- Never compromising.
- Not attempting to fix or change things that upset you.
- Making plans without considering you.
- Good at making excuses.
- They prioritize your achievements over you.
- “Me” is more important than “we”
- They are controlling.
- They never check how your day was.
Signs of Selfish Lover
They always put themselves first, and they never really take your feelings into account. They'll do whatever it takes to get what they want, without any consideration for your feelings of well-being. They don't really have any friends because they don't care about anyone else but themselves.
According to the study, a back-burner is “a person to whom one is not presently committed, and with whom one maintains some degree of communication in order to keep or establish the possibility of future romantic and/or sexual involvement”.What does falling out of love feel like? ›
Falling out of love can be a very scary feeling. It might feel like having noticeably less interest in your partner and feeling less excited about spending time with them, even though you still care about them.What is the 3 day rule after an argument? ›
The 3 day rule after argument is a common practice in relationships where individuals agree to take a 3 day relationship break from each other after a heated disagreement. During this time, both parties cool off, reflect on their feelings/thoughts, and avoid communication with each other.Why do I feel drained around my partner? ›
If you experience anxiety, fatigue, or depression when you're around your partner, it may be time to reach out to a licensed mental health professional or relationship counselor. Cherlyn Chong, a breakup specialist, helps her clients reevaluate whether their relationship is impacting their mental health.How do you tell when a relationship is over? ›
If you're not sharing what's really on your mind, it might be a sign that you no longer want a deep connection. Similarly, if you've found that the usual fun banter between you is gone, or it's difficult to have engaging conversations, your bond could be getting weaker.Why do I feel so tired in my relationship? ›
Whether you're stressed, busy, or just not in the mood lately, a loss of physical intimacy can lead to you feeling tired of your relationship. You aren't getting something you need from the relationship, and even if you get along well, it can feel more practical than romantic.Am I affection deprived? ›
Touch starvation, also called affection deprivation or skin hunger, occurs when you don't get enough physical contact with other people. Humans are hard-wired to feel good when we're touched — regular touch can ease stress, improve your immune system function, and increase feelings of happiness.How long should couples go without intimacy? ›
There is no set number for how often you and your partner should have sex. Plenty of couples are content with sex once a month while other couples prefer once a week. Keep communication open and don't be afraid to try something new, like scheduling time for sex, to give your sex life a little boost.
Touch starvation refers to the desire for physical contact that people may experience after receiving little to no physical interaction with others for a period of time. Some people may compare it to the desire for food during hunger.What is Breadcrumbing in dating? ›
Breadcrumbing is a manipulation tactic that strings a romantic partner or potential romantic partner along via quick messages, so they keep coming back for more validation. In reality, the recipient might never even meet the breadcrumber.When should you stop trying in a relationship? ›
Some signs that it is time to end the relationship include: You've both stopped trying. There is no emotional or physical connection or intimacy. You have differing goals in life.What to do when you don't feel desired by your partner? ›
Communicate your desire.
Stop trying to read your partner's mind, and avoid making assumptions about how he or she feels about you. If you desire your partner, it is your responsibility to directly communicate it. You can also communicate to your partner how he or she makes you feel desired.
Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a mental health condition marked by unstable emotions, a distorted self-image and an overwhelming desire to be noticed. People with HPD often behave dramatically or inappropriately to get attention.Why am I so desperate for attention love? ›
Attention-seeking behavior may stem from jealousy, low self-esteem, loneliness, or as a result of a personality disorder. If you notice this behavior in you or someone else, a mental health professional can provide diagnosis and treatment options.How do you know if you're begging for love? ›
- You Are Always “Available” ...
- You Feel You're Not Good Enough. ...
- There's No “You” Without Your Partner. ...
- You Are Insecure. ...
- You Engage In An Overdose Of Affection. ...
- You Avoid Conflicts. ...
- You Remember Every Detail In The Relationship. ...
- Why Do You Feel This Way?
Consider limiting it to one or two days a week at the beginning of your relationship and maybe one or two weekends a month. By three months, you're probably starting to fall into a routine and may increase the number of days you see each other to three or four.How do I not be needy but show interest? ›
- Set clear communication boundaries (when you text, how often, etc.)
- Openly express your needs.
- Independently explore your own hobbies.
- Make time for other relationships in your lives.
One example of a way to tell someone that their lack of affection is bothering you is to say, "I have been feeling sad because I need more affection than I'm receiving in this relationship. It would make me really happy if you were willing to work on becoming more affectionate."
There's a term for this: walkaway wife syndrome. This term is sometimes used to describe instances where a spouse – often the wife – has felt alone, neglected, and resentful in a deteriorating marriage and decides it's time to end it.What does emotional invalidation look like? ›
Emotional invalidation can look like blaming, name calling, and problem-solving before understanding the other person's experience. Playing down another person's experience is another way to invalidate.Am I needy or do I just have needs? ›
The big difference between neediness and having needs. Being needy: Being needy means there is no emotional ownership from one or both partners. It means we aren't independently regulating our emotions; instead, projecting insecurities or self-doubt onto someone else and asking them to manage those feelings for us.Why can't I express my needs? ›
Alexithymia is when a person has difficulty experiencing, identifying, and expressing emotions. It is not a mental health disorder but has links with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, and various other conditions. It can occur with autism.Why do I crave so much attention in a relationship? ›
Attention-seeking behavior may stem from jealousy, low self-esteem, loneliness, or as a result of a personality disorder. If you notice this behavior in you or someone else, a mental health professional can provide diagnosis and treatment options.What disorder is wanting attention all the time from partner? ›
Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a mental health condition marked by unstable emotions, a distorted self-image and an overwhelming desire to be noticed. People with HPD often behave dramatically or inappropriately to get attention.How do I stop craving attention from my partner? ›
- Stop begging for your partner's attention. ...
- Focus on yourself instead. ...
- Stop trying to control your partner. ...
- Examine your behavior. ...
- Ask what your partner needs. ...
- Provide positive reinforcement. ...
- Communicate. ...
- Consider therapy.
“Often, it can be due to feelings of insecurity, self-doubt or anxiety about the future,” she said. “A lack of confidence in relationships can also contribute to clinginess.Is craving attention beyond your relationship wrong? ›
If you're looking for outside attention, even if you're not cheating outright, you have to face it: this is a serious sign that something is wrong in your relationship. Left unchecked, it's often the first step towards your marriage unravelling completely.Why do I seek validation outside of my relationship? ›
Quite often when we look externally for validation it's because we aren't sure we are enough. We need others to tell us that what we are doing is okay, or that we are accepted. Working on the relationship we have with ourselves is the first step to getting better at self-validating.
Attention-seeking behavior—positive or negative—is essentially narcissistic supply. Wanting attention, accolades, and validation are not inherently narcissistic. We all need to feel heard and accepted, but narcissists crave this attention constantly.Why do I Hyperfocus on my partner? ›
Typically, a person with ADHD hyperfocuses on their partner in the early stages of a dating. They makes them feel like the center of their world. When the hyperfocus stops, the relationship changes dramatically. The non-ADHD partner takes it personally.What mental illness makes you crave attention? ›
A histrionic personality disorder, or commonly known as a dramatic personality disorder, is a psychiatric disorder distinguished by a pattern of exaggerated emotionality and attention-seeking behaviors. A histrionic personality disorder is categorized within the "Cluster B" of personality disorders.How do I stop being a needy wife? ›
- Set clear communication boundaries (when you text, how often, etc.)
- Openly express your needs.
- Independently explore your own hobbies.
- Make time for other relationships in your lives.
- Allow My Partner Freely Perform These Actions.
- Create and Follow Boundaries.
- Determine My Attachment Style. Anxious Attachment. ...
- Identify Clingy Behaviors.
- Pinpoint Why We Are Clingy.
- Put Our Phone Down.
- Stay Busy. Find new hobbies. ...
- Take New Relationships Slow.
Examples of Clinginess in Relationships
Calling your partner several times a day. Repeatedly messaging them throughout the day. Working yourself into a panic when they don't respond. Constantly stalking your partner's activities on social media.
High stress, relationship problems, exhaustion, and illness can all increase a person's feelings of neediness and/or needy behaviors. Some people tend to exhibit characteristics of neediness more than others, and in these people, the term might be used to describe their personality.Am I needy or is he emotionally unavailable? ›
If you find yourself cling to someone who really isn't deserving of you, chances are that you are being needy and the man you are seeing is emotionally unavailable. The reason for this is because often times women will specifically go after men that are emotionally unavailable, if not consciously, then unconsciously.