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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have been with the father of my child for 4 years. In every

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I have been with the father of my daughter for 4 years. In every situation of our relationship I feel that he puts me second. He tells me he loves but his actions don't make me feel loved. He does not communicate with me and I just can't seem to breakthrough to him. I have given him an ultimatum (2yrs ago) for us to get married or go our separate ways but he has not taken any action. When is enough, enough? I am at the point in our relationship where if he asked me to get married, I would have to really think about it. This weekend he forgot our anniversary and instead invited me to his parents house for a get together. I expected him to acknowledge that he forgot and make it better, take me out make me feel special but the whole situation just felt like a slap in the face. We are fine if we don’t talk (or go deep emotionally) we don’t fight. But if I need support or any type of emotional support from him he shuts down. I know he had a rough life and is “different” but I feel at this point of his life he needs to make a choice to get it together or continue to be sad and what seems to be incomplete. I don’t think he knows what happy truly is, and this is affecting me and my life.

I was married before and called it quits after two months, I always regretted that and I think that is why I stick around. But I don’t know how much more I can do this. I know I can’t change him but I want to help him and don’t know what to do.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


From what you are saying, it sounds like you do not feel important to your boyfriend/partner. You want to feel like you are a priority to him, which you should be.


You said that you've been together for four years and that he still puts you second. There could be a few reasons that I can see. One, he is putting you second because he is not as devoted to the relationship. Two, he may be devoted but feels resentful or upset about something in your relationship. Three, he may have a background that taught him to put his relationship with a girlfriend/wife behind other things in his life. For example, his parents could have had the same type of relationship and therefore he learned that is how relationships work. Although he should be putting you first, sometimes our feelings about our relationships blocks our ability to express ourselves. Regardless of his reasons, anytime we feel this way in a relationship it can hurt and cause much resentment, which is usually expressed through anger. That is completely understandable. However, for the relationship to heal, both people need to come together and forgive.


Communication is key here. You said that you already gave him an ultimatum. I'm not sure that will produce the results you are looking for, unless you feel that you are really ready to move on. What really needs to happen is the two of you have a serious sit down discussion about the state of your relationship and where each person feels it needs to go. There must be rules to this discussion, however. One, each person uses "I" statements. No accusing here. Two, the tone must stay neutral. No yelling or fighting. If that occurs, take a break and come back together when everyone is calm. Third, each person must be allowed to say how they feel without being criticized. These tips will help you get started.


There is also a site that might help you. It's at This site is helpful to gain more insight into each other's needs.


If all else fails, consider couples therapy. If he won't go, go yourself. You may need the assistance of a neutral party to help you work out the issues and develop a good, solid foundation for your relationship.


If this relationship is what you really want, don't give up. There are numerous books, resources and help out there to keep you both together.


I hope this has helped you,


Edited by Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC on 12/13/2010 at 5:49 PM EST
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