8 Signs You Aren’t A Priority To Your Partner

Realizing that you might not be a priority in your partner’s life can be a painful and confusing experience. As relationships develop, both partners must nurture each other’s needs and priorities to create a healthy and balanced partnership.

However, it’s essential to recognize the signs that indicate your partner may be putting you on the back burner. In this article, we will discuss some of the common signs that indicate you may not be a priority to your partner.

Remember, every relationship has its ebbs and flows; no one can be the center of attention all the time. However, a pattern of feeling sidelined or neglected is something to pay attention to.

Sometimes, recognizing these signs can be as painful as the reality they reflect. Yet, knowledge is power, and clarity can provide the impetus for change and growth.

Table of Contents

Recognizing the Signs of Not Being a Priority

Being a priority in a relationship means that your partner values your time, effort, and needs. When this is not the case, it’s essential to recognize the signs indicating that you are not a priority. Being aware of these signs can help you make informed decisions about the future of your relationship and ensure that both your needs and wants are being met.

Lack of Time and Effort

For any relationship to flourish, it’s fundamental that both parties are committed to investing time and effort in one another. This mutual endeavor is akin to the air we breathe – not immediately visible, yet absolutely vital. However, when the scale of this investment starts to tip one-sidedly, it becomes a cause for concern, for it can be a clear indication that your significance in your partner’s life is diminishing.

Canceled or Unimportant Plans

An individual who values their time with their significant other will make an effort to keep the engagements and spend quality time together. It is natural for plans to change occasionally due to unforeseen circumstances. However, if it becomes a recurring theme, it’s a warning sign that the partner’s interest may be dwindling.

You may find yourself on the back burner when it comes to making arrangements with your significant other. Their schedule and their needs always come first, and you are left to accommodate their preferences.

When a person starts feeling like their desires, opinions, or interests are brushed aside, it can also pave the way for emotional turmoil in the relationship. They might feel unimportant, insignificant, and resentful.

For example, if the partner often opts for activities catering to their interests only and disregards the other person’s preferences, it can make them doubt their importance in the relationship. Healthy partnerships require mutual understanding and willingness to accommodate each other’s desires.

Limited Attention and Support

Emotional support is the bedrock of any healthy relationship, ensuring both partners feel respected and cherished.

A person should be attentive to their partner’s needs and feelings, offering a listening ear, comforting words, or reassuring gestures. If one partner starts noticing a decline in the other’s interest in their thoughts, feelings, and achievements, it may be that they are no longer a priority for them. A partner who doesn’t take their significant other’s emotions into account may unwittingly contribute to a deteriorating relationship.

Lack of attention in daily life can also manifest in subtle ways, such as not replying to texts, forgetting important dates, or not being present during conversations.

These may seem trivial, but when experienced repeatedly, can leave a lasting impression of carelessness. No one is perfect, and everyone forgets things from time to time. However, if this behavior becomes consistent, it’s time to communicate about the issue and reassess the relationship.

Communication Red Flags

Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship, and a lack of it, or a shift in its quality, can often reflect the overall health of the bond. When communication breakdowns become the norm rather than the exception, they raise conspicuous red flags that demand attention.

Inconsistency in Texting and Calls

If your partner is frequently late in responding to messages or seems to ignore your calls without reason, this could be a sign that you are not a priority in their life. While it is entirely normal for individuals to have busy days, a pattern of erratic communication could indicate that they prioritize other aspects of their lives over the relationship.

Moreover, consistently late or lacking replies to messages and declining or ignoring calls without explanation might suggest a deeper issue.

If these patterns of communication persist and no effort is made to rectify them, it could indicate that the partner doesn’t prioritize maintaining the connection or simply doesn’t value communication in the relationship as much as they should.

Disregard Your Opinions in Arguments

Another communication red flag is when your partner disregards your opinions during arguments or conversations. This dismissal can come in various forms, such as shutting you down when you express your feelings, gaslighting you by questioning the validity of your emotions, or simply ignoring your perspective altogether.

A healthy relationship should involve listening to your partner’s perspective, validating their feelings, and working together to come to a resolution. When a partner consistently undermines your opinions and fails to give them the attention they deserve, it might be an indication that they consider their own views and feelings superior to yours. This unbalanced dynamic often points to a lack of respect, making you feel like you are not a priority in the relationship.

Unfulfilled Promises

Unfulfilled promises can also signify that you’re not a priority to your partner. If they consistently fail to follow through on commitments or promises they’ve made, it may indicate a lack of respect or consideration toward you. Such a pattern might involve a partner consistently canceling plans, failing to follow through on assurances, or not keeping their word on various matters.

Unfulfilled promises not only create trust issues within the relationship but also signify a lack of respect for the partner on the receiving end. This communication breakdown can leave you feeling undervalued and uncertain about your position in the relationship. If a partner is truly dedicated to making the relationship work and prioritizing your feelings, they will make an effort to keep promises and be accountable for their actions.

Neglect on Special Occasions and Decisions

If one’s partner continually omits them from special occasions, fails to acknowledge important dates, or frequently bypasses them in making significant decisions, it can be a distressing signal of their lower rank in their partner’s list of priorities.

Ignoring Birthdays and Important Events

One clear sign that an individual may not be a priority to their partner is if their partner consistently ignores or forgets their birthday and other important events. This can be especially hurtful because special occasions are typically times when partners should be celebrating together.

When a person’s significant other continuously forgets these milestones, it can make them feel unappreciated and as though their partner is not taking their feelings into account.

Related: What to Do When You’re Feeling Unappreciated

In a committed relationship, it is crucial to acknowledge and celebrate each other’s achievements and milestones, whether they pertain to work, family, or personal growth. Failing to do so can erode the emotional bond between partners and lead to feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction.

Exclusion in Relationship Decisions

In a healthy and balanced relationship, both partners should have an equal say in important decisions, whether they pertain to financial matters, family issues, or future plans.

When a partner unilaterally makes important decisions without discussing them first, it can leave the other person feeling excluded and undervalued. This lack of communication and collaboration can be detrimental to the relationship’s long-term health and may eventually result in its dissolution.

By recognizing these signs, individuals can determine whether they are being treated as a priority within their relationships and take steps to address any issues that may arise. It is essential for both partners to communicate openly and honestly about their expectations and needs, thereby fostering a mutually respectful and supportive connection.

Low Priority in Schedule and Social Life

A person’s schedule and social life can act as a mirror, reflecting their priorities and values. If you find yourself consistently at the periphery of your partner’s calendar and social circles, it might be a signal that you aren’t as important to them as they are to you.

This sign is subtle yet powerful and can manifest in numerous ways. From recurrently rescheduling dates to excluding you from social events, this consistent sidelining is an indication that you’re not a priority.

Taking a Back Seat to Friends and Work

When someone is not a priority in their partner’s life, they may often find themselves being put on the back burner when it comes to plans and social life events. This can include their partner prioritizing friends, work, and other activities over the time spent together.

Furthermore, their partner might constantly reschedule or make last-minute changes. This lack of respect for the relationship can leave one feeling like they are low on the priority list and not truly valued.

In this scenario, the partner may also show more interest and investment in their work or social life, leaving little time and energy for nurturing the relationship. As a result, the person feeling undervalued may start questioning their worth and importance in their partner’s life.

Loneliness and Feeling Unsupported

Another sign that one is being deprioritized in their relationship is the feeling of loneliness, even when together. Their partner may seem distant and detached, and emotional support may gradually diminish. This can lead them to feel unsupported in tough times, making the relationship lack the emotional intimacy it once had.

Overall, when someone is not a priority in their partner’s life, they may experience a lack of attention, respect, and support. It’s essential for both individuals in a relationship to continuously evaluate their priorities and make necessary adjustments to maintain a healthy and balanced connection.

Diminished Affection and Intimacy

When partners begin to place you lower on their list of priorities, one of the earliest and most impactful effects is often felt in the realm of physical and emotional intimacy.

Affection, both in its verbal and non-verbal forms, can start to wane, as can the profundity of shared intimate moments. A change that is typically characterized by less frequent hand-holding, fewer sweet nothings, and the dwindling of those shared soulful stares.

Reduced Physical Intimacy and Touch

A decrease in physical intimacy and touch can be seen in many ways, including reduced hand-holding, cuddling or hugging, and a reluctance to engage in any form of sexual intimacy. These changes often happen subtly, and it might be hard to pinpoint the exact time when they began, making it crucial for both partners to remain attentive and open about their intimacy needs.

A possible reason for this shift in behavior might be a result of external factors, such as work-related stress or personal issues, but it is important for the partners to address the changes and express their concerns. If the decrease in intimacy remains even after trying to improve it through discussion and actions, it might be a sign that one partner is no longer a priority.

Distant in Arguments and Compromise

Arguments and disagreements are natural and inevitable in any relationship. They can even contribute to the growth of a partnership when dealt with constructively by both individuals. However, when one partner becomes disinterested or distant during conflicts, it can be a sign that they are no longer invested in the relationship and may not see their partner as a priority.

This disinterest can manifest as a lack of willingness to engage in discussions or an inclination to dismiss the partner’s opinions and emotions. Additionally, the partner may become reluctant to compromise, rigidly sticking to their point of view, or they may simply concede in an effort to end the conversation quickly without genuinely addressing the underlying issue.

In a strong relationship, both partners should be open to discussing their needs and want, as well as finding a middle ground that meets everyone’s requirements. If your significant other consistently avoids addressing issues, breaks promises, or disregards your concerns, it can mean they are not putting in the effort needed for a healthy and loving connection.

When Others Take Precedence

In a healthy, well-balanced relationship, your significance should be clear, where the care and attention you receive from your partner mirror your own. However, when others consistently take precedence over you, it’s a strong sign that you aren’t a priority to your partner. This can manifest in a myriad of ways: from choosing to spend time with friends over you, frequently canceling plans, to always taking their side in a dispute.

Always Choosing Friends Over You

It is natural for people to spend time with their friends, but if your partner consistently prioritizes their friends over you, it might be a sign that you’re not a priority in their life. This could involve canceling plans with you in favor of socializing with friends or continually making you feel left out when they are with their friends.

This can lead to feelings of disregard and unworthiness, which can be detrimental to building a solid foundation for a healthy relationship. It is important to have a balance in a relationship, and both partners should be able to enjoy time with their friends and each other.

The Silent Treatment During Gatherings

Another potentially telling sign that you might not be a priority to your partner is their behavior during social gatherings. For instance, if your partner tends to ignore you when they’re around their friends, barely includes you in conversations, or often leaves you alone to navigate these situations, this could be indicative of their attitude towards your role in their life.

A partner who values you will want to incorporate you into their social circle and show you off to the people who matter to them. They will involve you in conversations and introduce you to their friends, making you feel welcomed and appreciated. If this isn’t happening, it could be a sign that you are not as high on their priority list as you should be.

Removed from Their Priority List

The balance in any romantic relationship relies heavily on how both partners prioritize each other and their shared bond. If you have begun to feel as though you’re slipping from the pivotal position on your partner’s list, it may serve as a signal of your diminished importance.

Exclusion from Important Decisions

Being included in the decision-making process of any relationship is a clear indicator of partnership, respect, and mutual engagement. When you’re a priority to your partner, your input is sought, and your views are valued. But when you’re excluded from important decisions, it can signify a disregard for your place in their life.

When you’re not a priority to your partner, you might find yourself consistently left out of important decisions. They may make choices that significantly impact your life without including you in the decision-making process. It could range from decisions as small as weekend plans to bigger ones like financial management or future goals.

When a partner consistently makes unilateral decisions without considering your input, it’s an indication that you’re not top on their priority list. This exclusionary pattern undermines the essence of a partnership, creating feelings of isolation and insignificance.

Disregard Your Opinions and Feelings

Another sign that you aren’t a priority is when your partner disregards your opinions and feelings. They might dismiss your thoughts or make you feel like your emotions and perspectives aren’t valid or important. This lack of consideration can be painful and can lead to feelings of invalidation or a sense that your partner doesn’t truly know or understand you.

Ideally, in a healthy relationship, decisions, especially the crucial ones, should be made jointly, embracing the ‘we’ concept rather than ‘I.’ This promotes an environment of trust, respect, and unity. Therefore, a pattern of exclusion may suggest a deeper issue where your role in their life isn’t valued as it should be.

Not Considering Your Needs and Wants

A fundamental aspect of being downgraded on a partner’s priority list is when they consistently neglect to consider your needs and wants. Whether it’s your emotional needs, like the need for affection and understanding, or practical wants, like the desire for shared hobbies or activities, these are vital components of a loving and respectful relationship.

They may prioritize their own needs or those of their friends and family, which can make you feel overlooked or unappreciated. It’s essential for a healthy relationship that both partners take each other’s needs and desires into account, but when you aren’t a priority, this balance may be lost.

They’re Distracted During Your Conversations

A simple conversation, when done right, can be a bonding experience, a way to understand one another on a deeper level. It’s in these exchanges that we reveal our inner thoughts, feelings, and desires, and in turn, we hope to receive the same level of attentiveness and care.

However, when a partner is persistently distracted during these moments, it can feel as though you’re talking to a brick wall rather than the person you love. Such behavior could potentially signify that you’re not as high on their priority list as you thought.

Lack of Presence

The first sign of distraction is a noticeable lack of presence. This means that even though the partner may be physically present, their mind seems elsewhere. They may frequently check their phone, stare into the distance, or appear lost in thought, even in the middle of important discussions. This level of disconnect suggests that the partner’s focus lies elsewhere and they’re not fully committed to engaging in the conversation at hand.

If your partner is constantly scrolling through social media, checking emails, or texting while you’re trying to have a meaningful discussion, it could be an indication that they don’t regard your conversation as a priority.

Related: How Social Media Affects Communication Skills?

Such behavior can imply a lack of respect and attention to your words, and by extension, to your feelings and needs. It is crucial, however, to differentiate between occasional distractions and consistent, habitual inattention.

Interrupting Conversations

If your partner is always in a rush to finish conversations or frequently changes the topic to something else, this could be a sign that they are not fully invested in the interaction. Regular interruptions could also indicate a lack of respect for your thoughts and feelings, further suggesting that you are not a priority in your partner’s life.

Consistent, unwanted interruptions can leave the person on the receiving end feeling unappreciated and unheard. This pattern of behavior can eventually lead to feelings of disconnection and discontent within the relationship.

Inability to Recall Conversations

Lastly, if a partner repeatedly fails to remember or recall previous discussions, it is another strong indicator of their distracted state during those conversations. This is especially true for conversations involving key details or important subjects.

Forgetfulness might be natural to a certain extent, but the consistent inability to recall indicates that the partner wasn’t attentive enough during the conversation to commit the information to memory.

This behavior not only signals distraction but can also lead to frustration for the person who feels their words aren’t being valued or remembered. If these conversations pertain to promises, plans, or agreements, repeated forgetfulness can result in broken trust and feelings of instability in the relationship.

Addressing the Issue and Moving Forward

In relationships, the feeling of being a priority is fundamental to emotional well-being and overall satisfaction. However, for some individuals, it can be disheartening to realize that they are not receiving the attention and consideration they desire from their partner. Recognizing the signs that you aren’t a priority to your significant other is the first step toward addressing the underlying issues.

Improving Communication and Self-Respect

One of the crucial steps in addressing the issue of not being a priority in a relationship is to improve communication between partners. Open, honest, and non-confrontational conversations can help both parties express their feelings and concerns. Initiating regular communication and setting aside time for a ‘date night’ ensures that both partners feel supported and heard.

It’s also essential for individuals to develop and maintain self-respect. To do this, they should prioritize their own needs and desires, cultivate confidence, and understand that they deserve to be treated with respect and love in any relationship.

Seeking Professional Help or Making Decisions

In some cases, couples may benefit from seeking professional help, such as a relationship coach or a marriage counselor. Working with a professional can provide a neutral space for both partners to express their feelings and receive advice on how to improve the relationship.

On the other hand, individuals might need to make difficult decisions about their relationship if they continue not to feel like a priority. This could involve setting ultimatums, taking a break, or even ending the relationship if the situation does not improve.

Establishing Healthy Boundaries

Creating and maintaining healthy boundaries in a relationship is essential for fostering a sense of respect and priority. Healthy boundaries aren’t about restricting each other. Instead, they are about ensuring mutual respect and understanding.

This may involve scheduling regular ‘me’ time, balancing personal and shared responsibilities, and clearly communicating emotional and physical expectations. Boundaries should be designed to foster equality and prevent feelings of neglect or deprioritization.

Couples should openly discuss and establish these boundaries, ensuring that each person’s needs are being met. This allows both partners to feel more secure and valued in the relationship.

Evaluating the Viability of the Relationship

It’s crucial to assess whether the relationship is worth the time, effort, and commitment required to make changes. Individuals should watch for red flags, such as a partner who consistently invalidates or disagrees with their needs.

Questions to consider might include: has the relationship improved after addressing the issues? Is the partner making an effort to change their behavior? Is there a mutual and balanced feeling of priority and importance? The answers to these questions can help determine whether the relationship is beneficial and satisfying or if it is causing more harm than good.

If the other person is unwilling or unable to prioritize the relationship and make an effort, it might be time to consider whether it is a healthy and viable partnership.

Setting Boundaries and Developing Self-respect

Setting boundaries, both physically and emotionally, is crucial in any relationship. This includes understanding one’s own needs and communicating them effectively to the partner. Developing self-respect involves recognizing one’s worth and ensuring that one is treated with love and care.

Developing self-respect also includes learning to stand up for oneself and not tolerate being treated as an afterthought. It means prioritizing your own emotional needs and understanding that it is perfectly okay to walk away from a relationship that consistently devalues you. By developing self-respect, individuals can cultivate healthier, more balanced relationships in the future.

When individuals love themselves and prioritize their needs, they are more likely to attract partners who will also prioritize and respect them in the relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my partner accuses me of not making them a priority when I feel that I do?

If your partner feels they’re not being prioritized, listening to their concerns is crucial. Perception is a significant factor in a relationship, and what may seem like enough effort to you may not be perceived the same way by your partner.

Try to understand their needs better and express your own as well. This could be a sign that you must reevaluate how you show love and care in your relationship. You could explore the concept of love languages to better understand each other’s preferred ways of giving and receiving love.

Could the feeling of not being a priority be due to my insecurities?

Yes, it’s possible. Sometimes our personal insecurities or past experiences can cause us to perceive a lack of priority that really doesn’t exist. This is why communication is so essential.

By expressing your feelings and thoughts with your partner, you allow them the opportunity to understand and possibly adjust their behavior if needed. If you find it hard to separate your feelings from your insecurities, you might benefit from seeking professional help, such as a therapist or counselor.

Is it normal to feel like you’re not a priority in the early stages of a relationship?

While the dynamics of each relationship are unique, it’s not uncommon to have feelings of uncertainty in the early stages of a relationship. During this time, both parties usually still explore each other’s personalities, habits, and expectations.

However, if this feeling persists as the relationship progresses and becomes more serious, it could be a sign that you’re not being prioritized. Part of a healthy relationship is that both partners make a conscious effort to show their commitment and interest in each other, even in the early stages.

Can a relationship survive if one partner constantly feels they aren’t a priority?

If one partner continually feels like they’re not a priority, it can lead to dissatisfaction, resentment, and emotional distance, which negatively impacts the health and longevity of the relationship. A relationship thrives on mutual respect, care, and prioritization of each other’s needs and desires.

If such feelings persist despite all efforts to communicate and resolve the issues, consider professional help such as couples therapy.

Therapists can provide strategies and tools to improve communication and understand each other’s needs. However, it’s essential to remember that both partners must be willing to make changes for improvement.

Are there cases where the feeling of not being prioritized is justified?

There may be situations when a person may not be the top priority, which is justified. For example, in times of personal crisis, your partner may need to focus more on self-care, or if they’re a parent, their children’s needs may often come first.

But even in these scenarios, a loving partner will communicate these situations and try to reassure you how important you’re in their life.

If you constantly feel like you’re not a priority, that can be a warning sign in a relationship. However, it’s also essential to consider the context and be open about your feelings before jumping to conclusions.

What should I do if I feel like I’m not a priority for my partner, but I’m afraid to talk about it?

Feeling nervous about discussing sensitive topics is natural, but communication is essential for a healthy relationship. Try to approach the conversation from a place of understanding rather than blame. Be open about your feelings and ready to listen to your partner’s perspective.

If the thought of having this conversation overwhelms you, you might consider writing down your thoughts and feelings or even practicing what you want to say.

Another approach could be seeking the assistance of a relationship counselor to help facilitate the conversation. Professional counseling can provide a safe and structured environment for expressing feelings.

What should I avoid if I feel that I’m not a priority for my partner?

It’s essential to avoid making assumptions without communicating your feelings to your partner first. The problem might stem from a lack of understanding or different expectations, not necessarily a lack of care or love.

Also, avoid reacting impulsively out of hurt, such as lashing out or remaining silent toward your partner. These actions could lead to further misunderstandings or resentment.

Instead, gather your thoughts and express your feelings openly and respectfully. Healthy communication can solve many relationship concerns.

How can I show my partner they’re a priority despite my limited time?

Even with a busy schedule, there are ways to show your partner that they’re essential to you. Small acts can have a significant impact.

For instance, a simple text message during the day to check in on them, express your love, or even share something that reminds you of them can go a long way.

Make the most of the time you have together. Try to make it quality time, free from distractions. For instance, have regular date nights, or establish a routine, such as having coffee together in the morning or doing an activity you enjoy.

By showing your affection and commitment consistently, you can show your partner that they are a priority to you, despite your busy schedule.

Can past relationships affect how much I feel like a priority in my current relationship?

Past relationships, especially those that were challenging or hurtful, can influence your feelings in a current relationship. If you have felt undervalued or neglected in past relationships, you may be more sensitive to feeling like a non-priority in your current relationship.

It’s important to recognize these past influences and understand that they don’t have to define your current relationship.

Open communication about past experiences can be beneficial for both partners. If these feelings persist, you should seek professional help to address the past experiences and their influence on your current relationship.


Recognizing your worth in a relationship is key. It can be distressing to acknowledge the signs of not being a priority to your partner, but this awareness is an important step towards understanding your needs and standing up for your value.

The indicators of not being a priority—such as lack of quality time, absence of mutual respect, inadequate emotional support, consistently broken promises, and feeling secondary to other aspects of their life—are alarming but not definitive.

Communication is vital in every relationship; therefore, if you’re experiencing these signs, the first step should be an open, honest, and respectful conversation with your partner.

Discuss your feelings, express your needs, and listen to their perspective as well. In some cases, they may not be aware of their actions, and your conversation could help them change for the better.

However, if your partner is unwilling to change or remains indifferent, it may be a strong indication that they don’t value your presence as they should. In such instances, it’s important to remember that you deserve to be loved and prioritized. You should never have to plead for attention or affection. It may be hard to let go, but always remember to prioritize your emotional health and well-being.

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Bea Mariel Saulo

Bea is an editor and writer with a passion for literature and self-improvement. Her ability to combine these two interests enables her to write informative and thought-provoking articles that positively impact society. She enjoys reading stories and listening to music in her spare time.