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Unloved but still lovable
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
Feeling unloved and unlovable are two very different things despite sounding so similar. When you feel unloved, you perceive that your partner or others are not showing that they appreciate you. They are caught in their own "stuff" or don't know value when they see it. However, when you feel unlovable, you sense that the problem is in you. You perceive that there is something flawed or inadequate within you as a human being that prevents others from being able to love you. This is a deep, dark secret that many people hold and that their partners (often unknowingly) feed. It can unfortunately keep people from trying to change their relationship or leave it. Because they don't expect anyone can really love them, they believe they should be happy with what they have.


Do you identify with feeling unloved or unlovable? How have you dealt with that in your relationship(s)? For this and more information please visit Dr. Becker-Phelps on her The Art of Relationships blog.
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3point14 responded:
I've felt unlovable my whole life. My parents would play this crappy game where they'd basically alternate between telling me that I was perfect, but also that any pride in myself was detrimental or undeserved. I feel like basic stuff, like going to a doctor when I'm sick, is my being an egomaniac, so it's a struggle for me to do things that are "good" for me.

I get through it with medication and ignoring it as best I can, basically. I trust my BF enough to be honest with me, and he tells me he loves me. So I just put it out of my mind. It's not ideal, but it's functional.
 
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gd9900 responded:
What you describe as "unloved" sounds pretty close to how I think my ex perceived things. In the last few years of our marriage he expressed with me he didn't feel appreciated by me or my kids. I really don't understand why he felt that way, to me it was a slap in the face. We didn't walk all over him, he was well respected by each of us. I took on a lot of extra responsibilities so as not to interfere with his business (self-employed). I was there for him whenever he needed me - one exception to that was a period of time when my libido was low and his wasn't. I do understand how that could make someone feel unloved, yet I still showed him love in so many other ways. I have come to understand that our marriage came to an end in large part because he was caught up in his own "stuff".
 
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BalconyBelle responded:
I can definitely relate to feeling unloved. It's the reason why my relationship ended after 6yrs. Benign neglect would be the most charitable way to describe how I was treated during the last two years of it--and it taught me absolutely that no matter how badly you want things to work, relationships require the effort of both parties involved to be functional. I deserve more than someone who was never there for me, who broke promises, blew me off, and put me at the bottom of his priority list. As a result, moving on is going pretty well--I gave it everything I had, and he basically shut me out--so I have no regrets aside from not ending it sooner.

Feeling unlovable isn't something I've dealt with since my teens. I felt unloved by my parents; at the time, I thought it meant that there was something wrong with me--something so horrible and damaged that even the people who were supposed to love me unconditionally couldn't bring themselves to do it. Leaving home at 16 to live on my own gave me a new perspective on the situation and myself. I AM worthy of love, and I always have been.

PS: Pi, I hope the more you accept the fact that your BF loves you, the more you'll be able to accept that you're worthy of it (Hugs)
 
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mw0223 responded:
I have been married for 34 yrs. Have not really felt loved by my spouse @ all. Stayed for various reasons money, family ties etc. I don't know how to move on. My spouse has many mental health issues that keep me in this realationship.

He does things for me like washing my car, taking the dog to vet etc. wants sex w/no intimicy whats so ever.

Been living like this for so long, I start to think well maybe this is normal. But in my heart I know I deserve better.
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to mw0223's response:
I feel for you. And I really hope you feel loved by someone in your life- life is so much harder without that. As for your marriage, you are in a difficult situation, but are making a good start by saying that you know you deserve better. But, I wonder what you think better is for you. Does it involve you working this through more within yourself? Does it involve changing things in the relationship or getting out? What do you imagine your next step is?


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Dr. Becker-Phelps is a well-respected psychologist, who is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotio...More

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