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Why doesn’t my boyfriend pay attention to me? How can I make him more attentive and loving?

Hi Lovush,

I have been with someone for three years now and the “roles” between us have been divided in a certain way – he always talks and I am always the patient and understanding listener. He never sees when I am in distress and need someone to talk to. But when he says how difficult it is for him at work I stop everything and listen to his troubles. Six months ago I began seeing a psychologist just to have someone who would listen to me.

I have already talked to him about it but in vain. This is the person he is. Still, I can’t get used to such a situation, neither now nor when we are married, that will be soon. What can I do to wake him up?



Dear one,

You create your own reality and within it you attract certain people to your life who reflect to you certain aspects of you that need attention.

Your boyfriend may indeed be an egocentric person whose attention is centered solely on himself. He is perhaps not as sensitive to people around him, you included, as you would like him to be; perhaps he has no patience for other people’s issues and his thinking may generally be more rational than intuitive. But this is the person you have chosen to be with and you can’t expect him to change just because you two will be married soon.

Now, having said all that, it is definitely not necessary that you accept this status quo and give up. Leaving him would also not change the basic problem because you would only attract a person with the same character. In order to change your life, to have a healthy and balanced relationship in which you give and receive equally, you must look inside to locate that repetitive motive that creates the frustrating reality.

So, is it possible that you do not give to yourself enough? Have you neglected your own desires and needs in life? Have you repressed a hidden passion that was burning inside for many years, perhaps since childhood? Have you sacrificed your dreams for artificial satisfaction that seemed to you important at certain times in the past?

You need to check the basic beliefs that you have accepted as truth along the years. This status quo, in which you are the listener and your boyfriend is the one who receives all your attention without giving, is an image of the reality that you allowed to develop without stating clearly - no more! Placing limits and boundaries in relationship is very important and many individuals fail to do so out of fear. They sacrifice their own wellbeing to keep their spouses with them; they live in a survival mode in order to satisfy their spouses’ basic needs; they do it for the sake of domestic peace and less drama. Nevertheless, holding back and repressing natural impulses from the soul quite often ends with illness and physical imbalances like cancer. Your call right now – “I have had enough” – is appropriate and you should congratulate yourself for being determined to take care of your self. Be sure that soon after you begin the change your boyfriend will be faced with the “new you”, who will give him no practical alternative but to alter the way he currently thinks and behaves.

Then he will gain a new balance as well.

Reader Comments (24)

Wow.. i am faced with the same issue. A friend of mine gave me the same advice and I tried it and it was like he didn't care...maybe he was happy with the space. I will try it again even if it hurts me because i'm guessing this usually takes a while before he really realizes that he's not getting the attention like he used to. Also, I really need to start focusing on myself more since a lot of things has stopped me from doing so.

Thanks for this Q&A.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 15:16 | Unregistered CommenterAnita
My bf has some issues when he is busy with work, sometimes he works from home, I give him his space so he can focus in his work. But sometimes I wish him to be more attentive towards me. I don't want to beg for attention. Tonight I am going out without him.. I hope he misses me because I always do! ... I wish you could answer my need. I always sacrificed my needs and dreams to satisfy others. :( I am the second person in my own life
Friday, November 6, 2009 at 18:52 | Unregistered Commentermilagros
What matters is not who comes first and who comes second in a relationship. That is a game that your mind (ego) is playing with you. Don't go there. Rather, it's important to BE in your relationship who you really are and all that you are. Often times the best act of love towards ourselves and our spouses is to express - clearly and distinctly - our needs and wants. Try that with your own boyfriend and you will instantly feel empowered and loved.
Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 16:41 | Registered CommenterDavid
Many (or rather most) times when we are in situations like that, we are afraid of speaking up because we are afraid of loss.....afraid of losing that person we think is the one that brings us happiness. We tend to forget that true happiness can only come from inside. It doesn't mean that we have to walk away right there and then....we do have to speak up for our needs as long as we believe that they can be satisfied from the outside (meaning from our partner). BUT we should always remember and remind ourselves that what matters most is the inner change.
Monday, November 9, 2009 at 10:25 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia
we also are afraid that our needs and requests and wants might not be met or accepted by our partners. And then what? what will that make us? unworthy! small! not important! (so we think).
So, in order to avoid that scary potential we prefer not to speak up our needs. We say to ourselves: "If i don't ask him for things, for what I want, I also will not have to face a refusal".

So, we live in our comfort zone, half-dead, half-alive.
A Splendid way to go through life, isn't it?
Monday, November 9, 2009 at 11:13 | Registered CommenterDavid
my boyfriend and i have only been together for about 5 months , in the begining it was amazing , he did things around the house , he always made sure that i was his first priority . since then he started playing a game called evony he hasnt been the same towards me . we started argueing because he would get up at 3am just to play it , and im fine with that because thats what he enjoys , but then he started to ignore me , he dosent kiss me anymore unless i ask him too . and he almost left because he said that i ``didnt clean the house enough`` so i told him that he was to be more affectionate and in return i would clean up more . but its not enough , we dont have sex . he wants me to give him blow jobs but he wont give them to me . so hes gets his relief but i dont . i dont think its fair , when i ask him whats wrong he says nothing , he doesnt talk to me when he gets home from work nothing . i was talking to my mother and she said that hes just falling out of love with me. i have tied everything to please him and i get nothing , not even an i love you . i am the only one that has to say it first . so when he pays his share of the bills i am kicking him out and if its ment to be then we will find ourselves together again some way or another .
am i making the right decision by leaving him ?
Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 19:38 | Unregistered Commenteralyssa
You are making the right decision by putting yourself - YOU - as first. Then, leaving him may be the natural next step. Or not - if he hears about your frustration he may reconsider his behavior. You must be clear, honest and direct with yourself and then with him about the kind of relationship that you want for yourself. If equality is important for you - then say it. If showing affection is important for you - then say it. When you are clear with yourself you are clear with the world and then the reality begins to respond to you rather than you respond to it.
If you just leave him without changing the way YOU behave, the way YOU think, the way YOU make choices, then you will have the exact same experience with the next guy you'll meet. So, this is a beautiful lesson that you have given yourself in order to learn about self esteem, making choices and standing on what you deserve as a human and a woman. Use this experience wisely.
Good luck!
Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 10:30 | Registered CommenterDavid
I am facing the same problem wherein after 3 years my boyfriend has stop doing paying attention to my needs ans desires...I have fought with him many times stating what all i like and what all i wish for but I do not see any change in him.. Every time i fight he just listens and says that he loves me...Nothing changes...
What should i do?
Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 13:59 | Unregistered CommenterShikha
Hi Shikha,
The solution is always the same - you have to check with yourself, within, where have you neglected your desires, your wants, and your wishes. You see, your boyfriend is only reflecting back to you the only person that is real – that is YOU. He is a mirror of the way you treat yourself. There is no much use in fighting him or forcing him to do something, to change. Of course, it may seem easier for you, but the best way - and only way - to achieve a long lasting change is to change from within. Sorry for the cliché, but this is the truth.
So, the bottom line is, you have to look within yourself - in your behavior, your thoughts, your actions, where (and when) have you given up on yourself. Perhaps it was a childhood dream that you gave up on, or perhaps you allowed the condition of your physical body to deteriorate. Mostly - check with yourself if you gave up on something that was important for you in order to peace or please other people!
When YOU will begin to re-pay attention to yourself, your boyfriend's attitude will accordingly change.
Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 07:59 | Registered CommenterDavid
Ive been with my boyfriend for 5 years now and sometimes he pays so much attention i wonder why! and sometimes he doesnt care at all!! hes a dj and is alwayss commenting on other girls etc.. then when i tell him about it he says hes "checking the crowd" or that he was "looking at me" i just dont know what to do anymore :(
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 21:43 | Unregistered CommenterMand
Dear Mand,
The issue with your boyfriend is an issue of choice and trust. You have been with each other for 5 years and that's a long time. If you believe and feel his love to you then you should trust his answers and not doubt it. On the other hand, if you don't feel that he wants to be with you or that he loves you, then you should consider this relationship. One thing is certain - you cannot change him. If what bothers you is lack of attention from his end then you should read again my answer to the question above. You must ask yourself what kind of feeding you exercise here from him; what does his attention give you that you can't give to yourself. When you find the answer you will realize that the isse of attention is solved. :-)
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 23:26 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
I have been with my boyfriend for about 2 years now. We have a 6 1/2 month old little girl. When we first got together it was great. Then after I got around 5 months pregnant his whole attitude changed. He stopped hugging, kissing and making love. I thought it will go back to normal after baby was born, but it didn't. He hardly speaks, but he is a quiet person at times. We still do not make love it's been about 2 months since the last time. I have tried talking to him and he only gives me the blame saying it's my attitude, but I tell him I am this way because of how he treats me. I tell him it's like I feel as if I am a slave and a room mate not his girlfriend. I have even lost all of the baby weight n then some. I am smaller now then I was before. I don't believe he's cheating bc most of the time he is home with me. He will not even take showers like he used to or shave or anything in that nature... So I am just mind boggled at this whole experience. Please help!!!
Monday, April 23, 2012 at 17:53 | Unregistered CommenterTabby
Hi Tabby,
Sorry for the late response.

your situation is similar to many men and women. I know it is not much of a consolation.
I would recommend you to take a break with all your thoughts and finger pointing. You seem to be an aware person so take a good and close look at your behavior. I am not judging you. Your situation after birth is understandable. But still, you want to solve the situation dont you?

So, even if you are the most loving gf in the world, try to put more effort into SHOWING your love. Obviously your bf was hurt because he thouhth you didnt love him anymore. so try to show him in acts that you still do.
it may take some time but eventually with persistence things between you will go back to track.

from another level, your bf has an issue with loving himself and finding love from within. But, it is not your job to change him. not that you could.

Good Luck!
Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 13:04 | Registered CommenterDavid
me and my boyfriend was high school sweethearts for 4 yrs. we been broken up for bout 4yrs we jus got back together its been 5 mths now and we have had our ups & downs cause of his ex but ii still stayed with him and ii know he happy wih me and loves me cause he always talkn to his mama and she told me that he said he was happy being with me and loves me but he never really shows it like he use to unless ii say something to him about it then he shows it then it stops then he is always tell me that I dont never show him love but when I try to he turns away so when I try talking to him about it we end up fussing or him talking over me I love him very very much and he knows that but sometimes I get sooooo tired of the way he treat me like he jus dont care about me are what I do for him and I tell him that and he jus be like okay Sheree or he'll say I do care about you and sometimes he leave the house and stay gone all night and dont come home til 1 or 2 in the morning I give him his space cause we live together but sometimes it just drives me crazy cause its like he takes it for granted and I dont want break up with him for something that can be solved. Please Help Me!!!!
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 20:44 | Unregistered CommenterSheree
Hi Sheree,
how old are you two? what do you do? study? work? please give some details so i can relate, here or by email.
Monday, June 25, 2012 at 08:45 | Registered CommenterDavid
I have been with my fiance for 6 years on and off, we have 2 kids together and we live out in the country, he works 14 hr days, and im always stuck at home with the kids because i have no vehicle. He hardly pays attention to me anymore, i know he works a lot and when hes home he is sleeping.. we have no time for each other. When he does get time off he is out with his friends. I tell him i feel lonely and i need that attention from him because im so far from the city none of my friends come out. i'm always alone and i try and tell him how i feel, he says oh well. The only attention i get from him is sexual, he wants it when he wants it and if he doesn't get it he gets really mad. i dont know what to do, i cant take it anymore. I'm almost at the point where i want to give the ring back.. also when i said yes to him he was working normal hrs it was after that he accepted the promotion. Even then he still didnt pay attention to me.
Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 22:47 | Unregistered CommenterJodi
Hi Jodi,
If you read my answer to the question above posted by Danguilsh, you will know the answer. It is all about You!
Your fiance takes you for granted because you take yourself for granted. In a way, you have become a furniture in the house. But please do not blame him because he is responding to your energy, to what you transmit outside. Also, do not use the lack of a vehicle as a reason for not doing something for yourself. These are all excuses that stem from the basic and profound stance that you have put yourself in. it is not easy to turn the wheel but it IS POSSIBLE.

My advice to you is to begin with a decision. Make a clear decision that from now on you WILL pay more attention to yourself. note - DO NOT break the rules, do not run away from your responsibilities at home, to your kids and to your partner. After making that choice, look for something that you can begin doing for yourself; some activity, preferably on daily/weekly basis, that will benefit only you. This activity should be for your benefit. something that will make you feel good about yourself.
In time, your energy vibration will change, and your fiance and the reality will begin to respond to the new you. Then you will want to make new choices, bigger choices, as to what kind of life you want.
But again i stress - it all begins with you and the way you nurture and nourish yourself!
Good Luck!
Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 00:06 | Registered CommenterDavid
I am a 31 year old single mother to my beautiful daughter. I've been dating this guy for 3 years. During our relationship, we have broken up and reunited several times. He hardly pays any attention to me at all. He always uses work as an excuse.. when we first started dating, he invested so much time in me, even showered me with gifts.. I guess to 'get' me.. we would always be together, he would often send sweet text messages to me as well. I rarely receive calls or texts. For the past year or so, he has blocked ne from Facebook - stating" we just can't handle it" I feel like that is a huge problem for me. I cannot trust him. He also makes his friends a priority and tosses me to the back burner. Whenever I raise concern during conversation, he says, ' I don't want to deal with this, maybe we need a break" its as if I am afraid to voice my concerns. I tell him, I want yo settle down and getmarried, etc he doesn't want to hear it. He is 34 years old. I know what I want and deserve - yet I keep putting up with it. I'm always afraid if I say the wrong things, he will walk away...again. he gives me barely any attention. I am an independent, attractive girl who has a lot going for myself. Not sure what the problem is. I don't want to be used. I wish he would just be honest.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 02:10 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
Hello Denise,
The Core issue here is your attachment to him and to the situation of relationship. You wrote it yourself: "I am afraid he would leave me".
In a way, this is your lesson here - to learn to dis-attach yourself and release this fear. Once you release the fear you are able to make choices from the genuine place within you. The place that knows that you deserve to be treated in a loving manner and with honesty and respect. As long as you are living in fear of being abandoned you are imprisoned in the box of misery.
You are putting efforts in convincing him to change. Forget about it. You are never able to change others!! mark my words. You will never be able to. so, focus on yourself. then you change the reality changes, like i explained above about releasing the fear issue.
How to release fear? Basically, it's through inner work, connecting to your soul self, finding nourishment and support from your Self. Then the energy changes and you no longer need anyone to make you feel secured and satisfied. THEN the real magic happens - either your boyfriend changes or he gets out of your life. One way or the other - solution found. Problem solved.
Exactly what you are looking for!
Good Luck!
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 14:02 | Registered CommenterDavid
Hi Denise, something led me to visit my dear friend Davids website tonight and as I read what you were expressing above I feel that he has been honest with you for you said he has said " I don't want to deal with this, maybe we need a break" I feel that you have created just the perfect situation to let yourself know that he is not for you. You express that you are beautiful and you deserve more, then love your self until you are so full of love that you will bring to yourself that which you really deserve. You are beautiful and it is only when you really know that for yourself, as David said, that the magic will happen. Always in this life, Denise, we bring to ourselves the mere image of what is inside us. Every thought you have is recreated in your physical reality and so all you need to do is begin to change the pattern of your thoughts and the love you seek will happen then inside and will eventually manifest in the physical. Blessings to you in your journey to self and a new reality.
Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 08:10 | Unregistered CommenterSharon
What if you do have outside interests, are successful and independent. What IF you just want attention and affection from the person you love? How is that dsyfunctional? Isnt that was being in love is? I dont want a friend. I have plenty of those. I want a lover, a confidante, and someone to nurture me, a person to call my best friend. If someone has promised to be that to you whether by being in an committed long term relationship, or engagement, or marriage, and then doesnt deliver that at some point. I think that is bound to hurt anyone and is a pretty natural thing as well. In this day of technology, and anything goes, i dont think anyone remembers what it means to actually give and want love. And if you do then youre considered needy, or unhealthy? Such a cold world we live in that encourages detachment. So sad for all of us. We got it all backwards I think.
Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 07:02 | Unregistered Commenter?
"What if you do have outside interests, are successful and independent. What IF you just want attention and affection from the person you love? How is that dsyfunctional? Isnt that was being in love is? I dont want a friend. I have plenty of those. I want a lover, a confidante, and someone to nurture me, a person to call my best friend. If someone has promised to be that to you whether by being in an committed long term relationship, or engagement, or marriage, and then doesnt deliver that at some point. I think that is bound to hurt anyone and is a pretty natural thing as well. In this day of technology, and anything goes, i dont think anyone remembers what it means to actually give and want love. And if you do then youre considered needy, or unhealthy? Such a cold world we live in that encourages detachment. So sad for all of us. We got it all backwards I think."

Dear one, If this is what you want then see it, feel it be it and then wait for it. Do not look at what you see around you or has happened to you so far rather look at what you can create and write in the inner visions of your subconscious reality. We create our world and we can change it and rewrite our story as we would like it to read. Look in the mirror, see the wonder that is there, change the pattern of your thoughts and know that when you do life will send you the answers that you are looking for and forge the road to your rewritten story. Tonight writing this here has helped me see that what I am writing is true. It is reminding me to edit a part of my story and bring into my life in the way I want that which my heart desires. blessings to you...whoever you are. And so it is.
Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 07:19 | Unregistered CommenterSharon
"What IF you just want attention and affection from the person you love? How is that dsyfunctional? Isnt that was being in love is?"

well, there is nothing dysfunctional about wanting to be loved in our relationship. After all, we choose someone to be with thanks to their merits to show love and care and when they cease to show love we feel that the "contract" that we have signed with them was broken. BUT, and this is a big but, the point is this - as long as you maintain the need or the want or the expectation to be loved (and more so if you have a certain way for that love to be shown to you) then you are bound to have those expectations broken. When that happens you may blame your partner (and seek out for another; easy in our technological era). However, if you manage to release yourself from those "outside interests" (your term) then you will see how life brings to you someone who is present and loving and caring and attentive- and you don't need to do anything (other than being yourself) to have that flow of love from the "outside" coming to you. Until you try you will never know.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 12:13 | Registered CommenterDavid
The relationships are not that simple as these are taken by people. It is not about attention of your partner.. what matters is importance. Girls take it as they are cheating on us .. May be it is the reason but there is also an probability of some another reason for all this. So try to explore the reason by indulging into talks with him and you will find the reason why he is acting like this. May be its just cooking inside your mind,... If it is not then you can try to be more serious regarding him...
Friday, March 29, 2013 at 10:15 | Unregistered Commenterקורס פסיכומטרי

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