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Providing moms with strategies that create more ease.

When You Don’t Feel Like a Priority

Today marks a celebration of love, but for many, not feeling like a priority happens everyday, and for some today is no exception.

For years, my husband, John, was consumed by work, often putting in 70 plus hours a week. This posed a significant issue for me quality time was my love language. Our disagreements escalated. I always felt neglected. He was present but detached. It was a struggle. I wanted desperately to be a priority in his life, above his career. Despite knowing he loved me, I didn’t feel like a priority, in my opinion I was merely an afterthought.

After giving birth to our middle son, John returned to work the very next day, leaving me emotionally drained and physically recovering alone. Wheeling myself to see Jonathan in the nursery after my C-section, I was on the verge of tears. John was absent, but thankfully, my friend Nicole and her husband showed up and came to my aid, pushing me the rest of the way. Their support was a relief, yet it highlighted the absence of my husband, plunging me deeper into isolation. Managing household chores, childcare, etc. all alone, I felt overwhelmed and unseen.

While I understood John’s efforts to provide for us, it didn’t alleviate my sense of feeling unloved, unappreciated, and insignificant. This cycle persisted until I reached a breaking point and considered divorce. Our story didn’t end here, we worked it out and found a way forward.

If you’re experiencing feelings of being disregarded, lonely, and a lack of appreciation, know that you’re not alone. Many moms face similar challenges. 

Love languages offer valuable insights, but there’s a caveat. Often, when we neglect to fulfill our own love language, we seek it from others.

I’m not excusing my husband’s behavior; he had his own journey to navigate for our marriage to thrive. However, I realized I wasn’t prioritizing myself, always putting others before me, rarely saying no, and neglecting my personal quality time. Addressing these internal needs reduced my intense craving for “quality time” from him which enabled me to effectively communicate with him.

Here’s one other thing: his transformation followed mine. Your personal growth can also inspire change in others.

Here are some things that can help:

  1. Get curious about your insatiable needs – Take a moment to check in with yourself mentally. If you find yourself aching for things like quality time or words of affirmation, pause and ask: Am I consistently giving this to myself? I’d bet you might be trying to fill a void that only you can truly satisfy.
  2. Give yourself what you need. If quality time is what you crave, make it a priority for yourself. Treat it as you would an emergency; if you had to take a couple of hours out of your day to handle a crisis, you would, right? Well, consider this situation an emergency too. You’ve lost touch with yourself, and until you’re willing to embark on the journey of self-love, those feelings of loneliness, lack of love, and overwhelm will persist. Not only do these feelings affect you, but they also impact how effectively you communicate your needs. Learn to spend time with yourself, take yourself out on dates, and love on yourself in any way imaginable.
  3. Deal Breaker? Yay or Nay. Ask yourself: Is this issue a deal-breaker? If it is, then it’s time to make decisions accordingly. But if it’s not a deal-breaker, it’s best to let it go and move forward. Why dwell on something that isn’t a deal-breaker and can’t be changed? It’s only causing you unnecessary grief and disconnection.

Share your feelings and desires openly with your spouse, but refrain from emotionally attaching to expectations of change. Why? Because holding onto that “ideal husband” only brings more pain. When you express your needs, like needing XYZ, and they aren’t capable or willing to provide it, you end up feeling unloved. This will prompt you to mentally compare your “flawed” reality and your idealized version of who you want him to be.

My friend is married to an NCAA coach. He’s always working and handling the duties that accompany the role of head coach. He works over 11 months out of the year. They’ve moved over six times in the past decade, and guess who’s mostly in charge of packing and finding houses? Yep, her. I truly believe he really loves her, but he tends to promise more than he can deliver. She frequently requests tasks from him that, let’s be honest, exceed his current capacity. Let me clarify what I mean by “capacity” – it refers to what someone is both willing and able to do. 

Little things like helping complete tasks with the moves or just helping out with everyday tasks. She feels if he can competently coach at high major D1 schools, these tasks should be manageable. I don’t disagree with her but that’s beyond his current “capacity”.

Just the other day, they had a virtual appointment scheduled during one of his away games. She doubted his ability to make the call, but he insisted he could do it. Right before the appointment, he couldn’t make the call because one of his players got sick, which meant he had to change plays for the game. She told him to cancel the appointment, but he forgot. These type of incidents happen several times a month, and she’s frustrated. So, I asked her: is this a deal-breaker for you? If it is, then make a decision accordingly. But if not, maybe it’s time to release the mind drama. 

My friend wants her husband to be more realistic with his capability.  However, this isn’t who he is at this moment.

I wanted my husband to be more present for me.  That wasn’t who he was at that moment in time.

It could be you’re hoping for your husband to step up the romance game. But truth be told, it isn’t who he is at this moment.

Maybe you’re wishing for more help around the house. In that case, hiring someone might be the way to go, because let’s face it, that’s just not who he is or chooses to be.

Or perhaps you’re longing for him to take the lead and plan outings. But again, that might not align with who he is.

Quick side note: Many of my Type-A clients tell me often they want a take-charge man to plan fun things. Being the take-charge “alpha” man isn’t just about planning amazing getaways; it’s about taking control of all sorts of things, like finances and spending. And most of my driven clients prefer to pick and choose what they want their “alpha” man to manage. But it doesn’t quite work like that.

Here’s another common scenario among my clients wishing their husband would to plan an outing. “Happy” might not be their primary emotion when it’s all said and done…. “Why did you choose steak you know it upsets my stomach?” “Did you look at the reviews, it looks dated?” I could go on and on with the complaints, I mean “suggestions.

Let’s flip the script…

Imagine your husband wants a wife who doesn’t second guess or challenge his decisions but that’s not you.

Maybe he desires someone who always wears heels, has a full face of makeup, and never has a hair out of place. But that’s not who you are presently. To be honest, if you’re like me that will never be you!

Perhaps he craves a partner who initiates sex everyday but that’s not who you are right now.

We must allow people to be themselves and decide if we’re willing to accept them exactly as they are, without expecting any changes.

I’m not suggesting that you remain in a relationship where there are major non-negotiables, including emotional and/or physical abuse. However, it’s worth asking yourself if you’re more focused on the negatives rather than appreciating the positives in the relationship. Continuously dwelling on issues that aren’t deal-breakers can inflate their significance over time, leading to feelings of neglect and isolation. 

Ultimately, the decision is yours to make. Choosing to stay in the relationship but constantly replaying the how things should be different is no way to live.  You will have a miserable marriage.  

This Valentine’s Day, if you’re finding yourself dissatisfied, opt for a different approach. It might involve making tough decisions or shifting your perspective to positively impact your marriage.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve love.

It all begins with you!

If you feel this blog was speaking to you, it’s time to do something different.

Ready to make a change as in right now, like today? That’s great I’m here to assist you.

Let’s have a conversation!

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