My ex was one of the emotionally selfish people I've ever met. Sure, when we were together, they put up a good front by seeming to be present in the moment, and lulling me into a false sense of security. Despite the act, I still felt a growing sense of unease and unhappiness I couldn't put my finger on. Once the fog lifted, I realized I was in a relationship with someone who didn’t make me a priority and never would. There are signs your partner will never put you first, and I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to spot them in my own relationship.
While it's easy to look back in retrospect and see what was happening, it can be a lot harder to spot a partner who doesn't make you a priority when you're in the throes of love. That's partly because, in the early stages of the relationship, this behavior is easier to explain. You think, "Of course they aren't including me in important decisions or celebrating special occasions with me. The relationship is
new. That will come with time." And you're right, it should. The problem is when the relationship evolves and the behaviors stay the same.
If you want to avoid being with a partner or spouse who doesn’t put you first, then here's what the experts say to look out for.
They Cancel Plans Regularly
When you have plans with you partner, is there a little part of you that’s nervous because you know at any minute they may cancel on you (mostly because they’ve done it several times before?) Relationship expert and matchmaker
Alessandra Conti of Matchmakers in the City says that’s a big ol’ red flag, as it means your partner likely doesn’t respect your time.
“I always ask… is a certain behavior a fluke or a flaw? A fluke is something that happens rarely, while a flaw is a repeated behavior,” she says. “If a person is consistently canceling plans with you because of work, family, or friends, even if they have a good excuse for the cancellations, you are clearly not their priority.”
They Never Ask Your Opinion
Putting your partner first in a relationship means asking their opinions, because that means you value their input and want to consider their point of view. If your SO never seeks your opinions on things — like where you should go on your next date night or how you two should spend your next vacation — then you may have a problem.
What that likely means, according to NYC relationship expert and love coach
Susan Winter, is that, to them, “the only view that counts is theirs.” Not only is this hurtful, but it can also indicate that “you have no voice and no weight in decisions made within the relationship,” as Winter tells Elite Daily. If you feel all decisions in your relationship — both big and small — are being made without your input, then your partner may not actually care what you think. 03
They Have Control Issues
Relationships should be about give and take, and no one person should have all the control. Each partner should take into consideration the happiness and needs of the other, and from that comes a willingness to compromise. However, if you’re with someone who always has to have their way — either explicitly or just by not even considering your feelings — Winter says it's because, in your partner’s eyes, “the relationship is all about them.”
According to family and relationship therapist
Nicole Richardson, if you feel like your opinions are being diminished by the person you’re dating, then this is a sign they’re exhibiting controlling behavior. She also notes that it’s a red flag when they’re constantly convincing you to see things their way. “ If you can get clear about what your needs are and communicate them to your partner without retribution, there is hope for the relationship,” she explained. If not, then your partner likely cares more about getting their way than your feelings.
Talking about the future is an important part of any relationship, since you need to know you’re on the same path and have the same priorities. However, Conti warns, “If you are dating someone who talks about the future, makes exciting plans with you, and then doesn't follow through to actually put those plans into action, [they have] other priorities that are taking their attention away from you.”
When a person values you as a partner, they will invest their time into the relationship, and part of that investment is keeping their promises. Your partner may talk a big talk, but if they cannot deliver, then there’s a good chance they’re only making empty promises to someone they don’t prioritize.
They Forget About Special Occasions
While it’s easy to put unnecessary pressure on birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries, it’s a telling sign if your partner does nothing to acknowledge those days. And while those dates can slip your SO’s mind, what matters more than forgetting a special occasion is your partner’s reaction to realizing
If your partner shows no signs of feeling sorry and has no intention of making it better, then it might be time to have a more serious conversation about where you fall on their list of priorities. As
Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, previously told Elite Daily, “ Everyone wants (and deserves) to feel loved and feel special, and if [partners] fail to do this... this tells you all you need to know.” 06
They Neglect To Invite You To Special Events
An SO who values you will want you by their side during all important life events, but it should set off some alarm bells in your head if your partner doesn’t want you around their friends and family. “
Gaining access to your SO's inner circle is a mark of their commitment,” Winter previously told Elite Daily, and she said that withholding that introduction may mean they're withholding their emotional commitment to you.
Someone who hesitates before bringing you around their friends and family may not just have issues with commitment — it may indicate that they don’t see you as a serious part of their life, either. “Though your introduction may be tricky due to certain factors, a committed partner will stand by your side with pride, and want you to be a part of their family,” Winter added. “If they love you in private, they should have no problem presenting you in public.”
They Make Important Life Decisions Without You
When someone considers you a priority, then they will want to make sure they’re making major life decisions with your needs and wants in mind. And while they shouldn’t be expected to run every decision they make by you, it’s def an issue if they decide to take a job or move to a new city without questioning how it will affect their relationship with you.
Brittaney Young, a relationship expert and online life coach at Blush, previously told Elite Daily, if they aren't talking about the future with you, then they aren't taking you seriously. “Now we're not talking about a relationship that's only three days in,” she said. “I mean one that's established and has been going strong for a while. If you guys are a year in and they don’t openly discuss their dreams, goals, or game plans with you, it's time to start assessing why that is.”
When you’re in a committed relationship, you deserve to feel like a priority. However, if your SO treats you more like an option, then it may be time to reconsider your own priorities.
Sources: Alessandra Conti, relationship expert and matchmaker of Matchmakers in the City Susan Winter, NYC relationship expert and love coach Nicole Richardson, family and relationship therapist Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking Brittaney Young, a relationship expert and online life coach at Blush Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily staff.