A Letter To Anyone Who Has Ever Felt Unappreciated

I have been speaking to a lot of you lately who have left long term relationships because your significant other wasn’t giving you what you needed mentally and emotionally.

They weren’t putting in effort, or listening, or paying attention. They were basically just coasting along because they’d already “gotten” you, and for some reason didn’t understand that the same effort would be required to keep you.


Perhaps you can relate to the feeling of being anchored down by someone who isn’t willing to put the same effort into a relationship or themselves as you are. The “ball and chain” feeling of pulling someone along who either flat out refuses to learn and grow, or simply doesn’t have any interest in it – when you do.

If you have felt this, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you committed your time, energy, and effort to someone who wouldn’t give you the same in return. I’m sorry that you had to learn the hard way that being in the wrong relationship will make you feel more alone than being single does. I’m sorry that you gave that person a piece of your life that you can never get back.

But, don’t get too down on yourself, because in reality you did get something in return. You got perspective. You gained a greater ability to recognize the qualities you do and don’t want in a future teammate. You gained the ability to draw your line and say “I will no longer accept this in my life,” and only the person who didn’t give you what you needed, can provide you with that ability. Silver lining.

Of course nobody is perfect, and we can’t expect anyone to know our wants and needs without us communicating with them, but that’s what relationships are about: Communication. The ability to not only speak, but to listen. To absorb. And most of all – to act on what we have learned.


Even worse than passive apathy, is someone who actually makes you feel badly about yourself. Someone who is insecure in themselves will try to break you down too, so you don’t have the courage to leave them. They will consistently discourage you or point out faults or flaws. This is unacceptable and you need to get away from this person, because they will not change. I understand some of you feel the need to try to “fix” this person and work harder in order to gain their approval so they finally love you for who you are and stop making you feel bad about yourself, but here is the harsh reality: They will not stop.

They will not stop because in reality, these issues have nothing to do with you. It doesn’t matter how much you change or improve to try to please them, because you are not the problem. They are projecting their own insecurities onto you so they don’t have to face it in themselves. They go beyond not appreciating you into actually trying to lower your self-esteem. The moment you feel that you need to prove yourself to the person you’re with, is the moment you need to walk away.

If you are not being appreciated in your relationship, the first step is to ask yourself if you have been honest and open about what you want and need. Some people simply do not have the emotional intelligence to pick up on your non-verbal cues and they need a little more help. Do not condemn them at first, give them a chance to work on their shortcomings.

But if the same problems persist, time after time, promise after promise, and apology after apology – don’t ignore this massive red flag waving in your face. This person is the same one you will find behind their desk working just hard enough to not get fired. When the hammer is about to drop, they will try a little harder to stick around, but those are not the times that you can judge them by. It is everyday life and what they do when they don’t need to, that counts.


You deserve better than the emotional slacker. You deserve better than the person who doesn’t have any interest to connect with you on a deeper level. You deserve better than the person who sent their representative on your first few weeks/months worth of dates until you committed to them, and then showed you their true colors – making you feel trapped.

Your self-worth is not determined by how much someone else does or doesn’t appreciate you – that’s why it’s called self worth, and you need to stay true to it. You need to set your bar at a certain level and not accept anyone into your life who won’t rise up to meet it.

Stay strong, stay positive, and most of all – stay true to yourself. There will be someone who comes along and appreciates you for you.


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26 thoughts on “A Letter To Anyone Who Has Ever Felt Unappreciated

      1. Hello James,
        I’ve never responded to any blog post before… I found a link to this letter while reading an article on YourTango.com. I just wanted to say that I’m sure you here this 1,000 times a day, but THANK YOU. By verbalizing those encouraging thoughts, you just saved me (and many others) from the “free-fall” that is realizing that giving your best and being deeply connected with another human simply doesn’t hold the same value to everyone. From that realization, even the most confident feel obscured in someone else’s valuation system. This “free-fall” of self doubt can damage so much inside of us. Thank you for using your words to catch me and others from falling further and reminding us all is not lost. Thank you for giving of your thoughts – it matters much.

  1. Wow. Hit this one out of the park. Again. I sent my friend these at work all the time and she always says “he must be a woman! Are you sure he is real??”

  2. Totally relate to this. I’ve had a pattern of dating men who were charming and seemingly romantic in the courting phase, but once they “got” me, they revealed their true colors and turned out to be emotionally unavailable or otherwise not as reciprocating of my efforts for whatever reason.

    But I’m happy to say I’ve finally broken the pattern (thanks in part to the insight in your posts) and I’m currently dating a guy who continues to surprise me with his affection and appreciation 🙂

  3. Completely relate to this, and am currently going through it. I guess what my question is, if you state what you want and need, and the person basically does nothing, how many times do you communicate your needs? I really appreciate your insight and love these articles.

    1. Looking back on this article and just reading your reply, I recently just went through with the same experience. I could sense the emotional disconnect that happened. And no matter how much I tried to comminicate it, somehow, he just didn’t seem to understand. He was okay with already having me, but did he really “get” me? Eventually, I had to break it off.

  4. This is like the weird fortune cookie that says what you really need it to say. Broke off a two year revolving door of these issues because I thought I could “fix it”. Learning the reality of this unappreciation hurt the most once I realized it wasn’t me.

  5. I was in a relationship where I felt more alone than when I was single. I knew it and didn’t like myself for not staying true to myself and my gut. After the inevitable breakdown and break up of the relationship. I have recently heard that after many rumours of his sexuality, he has got engaged very quickly to his now pregnant fiance! Good luck to him and hopefully he shows her more love in their relationship. I do hope she doesn’t feel lonely!

  6. Of course I’m just seeing this today after realizing I’d completely missed Step One: the first step is to ask yourself if you have been honest and open about what you want and need.

    Ha! Thank you James (and Life!) for the reminder that my needs need to be openly communicated if i feel they aren’t being met.

  7. This is me!! It took me 9 long years to break free from it! That man was a monster, he broke me down so far that I wanted to end my life. No physical abuse, all mental, but one day I finally said no and I left!!
    I enjoy reading your articles, wish there were more men like you!

  8. I feel that most people has experienced this situation at some point in their life, especially by the time a person is middle-aged. The sad thing is that sometimes the lack of appreciation can sometimes be so subtle that it can be difficult to detect! Such as, “Someone who is insecure in themselves will try to break you down too, so you don’t have the courage to leave them.” That person could be doing everything right, except pointing out your flaws, which does ultimately makes one feel inadequate or insecure in themselves, even those subtle comments that usually go undetected by the receiver. Everyone is different, does things differently. If someone appreciates you, they appreciate ALL of you and build you up, not break you down.

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