“My Partner Has Empathy For Everyone But Me”

Does it feel as though your partner is able to show empathy and compassion to everyone besides you?

That they’ll be a shoulder for others to cry on or a listening ear for others to vent to, but never do the same for you.

It can be hurtful and frustrating to think that your partner is there for others but doesn’t demonstrate the same level of care for you. After all, as a couple, you should be each other’s biggest supporter, and be there for each other in the good times and the bad.

You want your connection to be strong enough that you naturally support each other’s needs in the right moments and the right ways and understand each other almost better than you understand yourself.

So why would your partner have empathy for everyone but you?

There could be lots of innocent reasons why your partner reacts the way they do when you need emotional support, and it doesn’t have to mean there’s a negative reason behind it either. They could have their own motives for pulling away from you in your times of need, or they just simply don’t understand how to help you in the way you require.

On the other hand, they might know exactly what they’re doing. Their lack of empathy for you is a way for them to take control of how you feel and the way you see yourself as part of this relationship. It can be hard to see that what your partner is doing is having an unhealthy and calculated effect on the way you feel about yourself, but there are signs to watch out for if you think you could be in that position.

If you aren’t sure what’s behind your partner’s behavior and how you’re even meant to feel about it, read some of the scenarios below to help you figure out why your partner seems to have empathy for everyone but you.

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You’re asking too much of them.

You think that your partner has no empathy for you, but have you ever considered that you’re expecting too much of them?

They might not be as openly emotional as you are or show their support in such an obvious way, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t showing it in a way they know how.

You see how your partner seems to show empathy to other people, but could you be missing all the ways they do their best to support you? It might be that they did the grocery shopping this week or filled your car with gas. They might have bought you a small gift while they were out to show you they were thinking of you, or maybe they have been in touch more often than they usually are to check in on how you’re feeling

Just because they aren’t openly asking you how you feel and telling you that they empathize with you, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care. They might have to show their support in that way to others because they don’t understand them as well as they understand you, so they need to be more obvious about how they demonstrate empathy.

Whereas with you, they try to show their love for you and respect for your emotions by supporting you in a more personal way.

If the way they show they care isn’t enough for you, or you’re never sure that they do, it’s worth speaking to them. Discuss how you each prefer to show your love and try to understand what it is you both need.

But just because they aren’t showing their empathy in the same way you might doesn’t mean they have no empathy for you at all.

They’ve spent too much emotionally on other people.

We only have so much emotion to give before we start feeling drained and can’t give any more.

If you’re feeling that your partner never has any empathy for you, think about who else they might be supporting at the moment and where their emotional energy is going.

They could be giving too much emotional support in another area of their life, so when it comes to you, they just don’t have any more to give. As their partner, they don’t feel like they have to put on a show of emotion for you, and so they use their time with you to regroup and recharge.

If your partner has a friend or family member who needs extra support, not only could this be emotionally and physically taxing on them, it could also be causing worry and stress that you aren’t even aware of.

Even though they are showing emotional support and empathy outwardly, they are also dealing with the consequences of being in a stressful situation, leaving them overwhelmed by their own feelings with no emotional bandwidth to be able to support you.

If you think they’re taking on too much emotionally from other people in their life, see how you can help and support them. Encourage them to protect their own emotional state so that they feel better themselves and will be a better partner for you as a result.

They can’t cope with your emotions as well as their own.

Some people are better at coping with emotions than others. You might think that your partner never shows empathy for you, but they might just be unable to process emotions the same way.

If your partner has always struggled with their own emotions, or being around other emotional people makes them uncomfortable because they don’t know how to help, then they might not physically be able to show you empathy in the way you want them to.

You think that they’re showing empathy to everyone but you, when in reality, they’re doing what they can to show support, while trying to remove themselves from the situation. With you, they don’t have to pretend that they know what to say or what to do, so they don’t do anything.

For them, just dealing with their own emotions is enough to be working on without taking on your feelings too. Giving them guidance on the type of support you want from them could help them understand how to be there for you in a way that will help, rather than running away from the situation out of the fear of making it worse.

They want you to be more independent.

Did you ever think that your partner could be trying to show you some tough love by not being empathetic?

If you’ve noticed your partner treating you differently to other people, especially when you need them to empathize with you, think about whether they could be deliberately acting this way to try to encourage you to react differently.

This could be your partner’s way of trying to teach you to cope with difficult situations on your own before running to them to make everything better for you. They might be worried that your dependence on them for emotional support could be making you too reliant on them and that it will stop you from having confidence in yourself whenever they’re not around.

They’re purposefully putting distance between you so you can learn to be your own emotional support.

This type of behavior is manipulative, even if your partner thinks they’re doing you a favor. It’s much better to communicate with each other, and if your partner thinks you’ve become too reliant on them, they should still be upfront about how they feel and support you in finding your independence, rather than forcing you into it.

Equally, take this as a wakeup call to start thinking for yourself and know that you are the only one you really need to get you over any hurdle ahead.

They believe in your emotional strength.

Your partner might not be showing you empathy simply because they don’t think you need it.

Rather than seeing this as a negative thing, your partner’s actions in not empathizing with you could actually be a sign of how much respect they have for you.

It’s not that they don’t care about how you feel, their lack of empathy is down to the fact they believe that they know you completely and know how emotionally strong you are.

You see your partner showing empathy to others because they consider other people emotionally weaker than you. They trust that you’ll be okay no matter what, and they feel their time is better spent helping others.

No matter how emotionally strong you might be, there are times when we need someone else to be strong for us. As much respect as your partner has for you, they need to know when it’s your turn to have some support and be there for you in the same way they are for others.

You never show how you really feel.

One reason why your partner never seems to show you empathy toward you could be that they don’t know how you really feel.

If you’re someone who keeps their emotions to themselves and prefers to work through their own feelings privately, then your partner might not know to take you seriously when you finally admit to needing some emotional support.

If you see your partner being emotionally supportive of other people, it could be because they have asked for your partner’s help. Your partner may find this friend or family member to be less complicated in the way they show their emotions, so it’s easier to understand how to be there for them.

Your partner may not know or believe you really need their empathy, especially if it’s not something they’ve had to do for you before.

Spending the majority of your relationship being emotionally independent and then suddenly expecting your partner to know when you do want some empathy from them—versus all the times you said you were okay—is a tall order for anyone to live up to.

Give your partner a chance to understand that this time it’s different and you do want some support. Finally open up and let them know how you’re feeling so they can give you the empathy you need.

You’re the rock in the relationship.

Are you always the one who is there for everyone else but you never ask for the same support back?

As the level-headed one in your relationship, you are always there for your partner when they need you to be, without ever having to be asked. You know them so well that you can anticipate their needs. If your partner, a family member, or a friend is going through a rough patch, you are relied upon to pull them through.

Even if you are the sympathetic and understanding one that everyone goes to for their problems, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need the same level of empathy back once in a while.

Your partner has gotten too used to you being the strong one of the two of you and doesn’t consider the fact that being the go-to person for everyone else can leave you emotionally exhausted yourself.

They show everyone else empathy because they’ve never considered that you’d need it—you’re their rock. They don’t doubt your ability to cope for a second because they don’t want to imagine what it would be like to not have you as the foundation that keeps your relationship together.

Just because you need some understanding of your own doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to cope or can’t be there for others in the same way you always have been. You can reassure your partner that you’re still the same you, but a little support once in a while would be welcome.

You’ve lost the emotional connection between you.

Could the lack of empathy from your partner be a sign that you’ve lost your emotional connection?

A relationship is made up of a lot of things, a physical connection, a love for similar things, a shared understanding, goal or morals, and an emotional connection.

Your partner is the person who you feel closest to, who knows you better than anyone else. When you’ve got a good emotional connection with someone, you’re in tune with how they’re feeling. You learn to instinctively respond with the support they need and are there for each other in the good times and the bad.

If you’re feeling out of sync with each other, it could be that your relationship has run its course in your partner’s eyes. They’re disconnecting from you emotionally because they aren’t feeling as invested in the relationship anymore.

It doesn’t necessarily have to signal the end—you might just need to work on bringing that closeness back into your relationship again. Lack of time or other commitments may have caused you to grow more distant from your partner than you ever used to be, and you both simply don’t know how to be there for each other in the way you require.

It might be that you need to start paying more attention to your relationship again. Look back to your early days together, plan a date, and enjoy your time as a couple again. Put aside your other commitments and have some moments where you are focused solely on each other

Finding the spark you once had could be the simple answer to understanding each other better again. This can help your partner to understand how to be there for you emotionally when you need them to be.

You need to explain what you need.

You and your partner might be close, but that still doesn’t necessarily mean you can read each other’s minds.

Sometimes, no matter how long you’ve been together, or however many times you’ve been in a similar position in your relationship before, your partner isn’t going to know what you need from them without you saying it out loud.

They might think that they are being empathetic with you, while in your eyes they’re not supporting you in the way that you need them to and are therefore not being empathetic enough.

You want them to know exactly what you need from them at the right time, and nine times out of ten they might get it right. But, on that one occasion they get it wrong, it’s better for you to just speak your mind.

The situation will only become worse if you punish them for not reacting in the right way, and if you haven’t told them what’s wrong, then they have no hope of getting anything right in your eyes.

Explaining yourself to them and telling them what the support you expect from them looks like could help them gain a better understanding of you and your emotions. A relationship is a constant learning process and neither of you will get everything right all the time. But learning from situations so you can be there for each other in a better way is what will make it last.

You’ve got an unresolved argument.

Your partner might not be empathetic toward you because they’re too angry to be sorry for you right now.

If you’ve had an argument recently and expect your partner to immediately be able to see the version of events from your perspective, then you’re going to be disappointed.

An argument needs to be resolved and forgiven before you can start appreciating each other’s side of the story. If you haven’t agreed to put your argument in the past then your partner could be harboring a resentment toward you that isn’t going away because, for them, your argument isn’t over.

You need to draw any negativity between you to a close and be ready to forgive each other and learn from your mistakes.

Try not to leave an argument between you hanging in the air, and especially think about whether or not your partner is ready to hear your point of view before you expect them to show you empathy for it.

You’ve hurt them.

It might be hard for your partner to empathize with you because they never feel as though you empathize with them.

Think about whether there was a time in your relationship where your partner felt let down by your response when they were expecting you to show empathy.

Even the smallest occasion could have stayed with your partner and, if they feel as though you never acknowledged that you made a mistake or weren’t there for them like you should have been, this could be their opportunity to make you feel the same way.

Their apparent lack of empathy for you compared to everyone else is their attempt at making you feel how they felt when you let them down.

Even if, in your opinion, this event that they’re clinging onto wasn’t as significant as they seem to be making it out to be, it’s still important to address because it’s clearly hurt them.

You don’t always have to agree with each other in a relationship, but you should have respect for each other’s feelings. Even if you don’t feel as though your partner is justified in the way they’re reacting to something they think you once did, it doesn’t mean that the subject isn’t still causing your partner pain.

The best decision you can make in a situation like this is to try to get to the bottom of your partner’s grudge. Acknowledge any mistakes that could have been handled better and apologize for causing them pain in the process. Then raise the bar for emotional standards in your relationship.

Your partner is a narcissist.

It’s not what you want to hear, but if you never truly get any genuine emotional reaction from your partner or empathy shown toward you, then it could be because they’re a narcissist.

By laughing or complaining about you and your issues to other people and giving others more attention than you’ve ever received, your partner is manipulating your relationship to be on their terms.

As a narcissist, they feel that their thoughts and feelings are superior and more valid than any you have. They will only support you if they are getting something out of it too, and they can’t be there for you just because you need them—there’s always an ulterior motive.

Narcissists make selfish and fickle partners. You can’t rely on them to compromise or make any sacrifices for the sake of your emotional needs. You’re likely to end up feeling that somehow the reason they aren’t there for you when you need them is your fault.

It’s best to keep your distance from people like this, and avoid getting into a relationship with one if you can. If they’ve shown their true colors too late for you to easily get out of your relationship, it’s still never impossible.

You need to put your own well-being first and believe that you deserve to be with a partner who will willingly put your happiness on par with their own. You deserve someone who loves you as an equal, not a partner who treats you like a commodity.

You’re being manipulated.

You need to try to understand whether your partner isn’t showing you empathy because they don’t know how or because they don’t want to.

If they know you need their support but they’re deliberately not giving it to you, then this is emotional manipulation and it’s a sign of a toxic relationship brewing between you.

By deliberately showing empathy to others and not to you, your partner knows they’re belittling the way you feel. They’re isolating you by creating a false image of themselves to the people around you and showing you that your emotions aren’t as valid as everyone else’s. This will inevitably make you doubt yourself and what you deserve from a loving partner.

Making you question the importance of your own feelings compared to those of others is a way for your partner to control how you feel about yourself. Their constant dismissal of you and your emotions will make you gradually lose confidence in your own opinion and rely on theirs.

It’s an unhealthy position to be in, and the moment you don’t feel heard or respected by your partner is when you’ve lost any equality between you. Every relationship should be based on love and respect. For that to happen, both partners need to have the space to express themselves and be taken seriously. If you don’t have that, then this might not be the relationship for you.

In closing.

If you’re feeling as though your partner has more time for everyone else than they do for you, try to remember that their actions might not always be coming from a negative place.

There are a lot of reasons why your partner might find it difficult to know how to comfort you in the way you need them to, especially if you aren’t communicating what it is you require.

As much as you love each other, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll both always get everything right in your relationship. There are times when your relationship will be put under pressure and you could end up making decisions that, in hindsight, you would have done differently—like being there for your partner more.

Learning how to read each other and be there in the way the other one needs all comes with time. The more you get to know one another, the better you’ll both know how to react when one of you is feeling vulnerable.

But it’s not all on your partner to do the learning. If you think that you could be mistaking your partner’s behavior or are being overly sensitive about the way they respond to you, you also need to learn how to control your own emotions. You need to understand when to give your partner a break and if the level of attention you’re asking from them is even something they can live up to.

If they’re already emotionally drained from other relationships they have in their life or their work, or you know that they don’t react to emotion in the same way as you do, you have to understand what is fair to ask of them in response to you in moments of need.

There could still be situations when your partner’s lack of empathy is exactly that, it’s a lack of care for you and how you’re feeling. They’re manipulating you by keeping you down trodden in your relationship so they can exercise their control over you. You just need to realize if that’s the situation you’re in.

Your feelings are worth being heard and validated, you just need to know if you’ve got the sort of partner who will do that. Just because they aren’t there for you in the way you expected them to be doesn’t mean they aren’t trying their best to be supportive and empathize with you in a way they know how.

Working out if they care or not is the first step to understanding why your partner might not be showing you as much empathy as you’d like. The only way to really know is to open up a channel of communication between you so you have the opportunity to better understand each other. Speak to them about how you feel, listen to their perspective, and find out if this is something you can work on as a team or if your partner really cares at all.

Still not sure why your partner seems to lack empathy for you? This is a tricky situation, and one that can easily be made worse with the wrong approach. But HeyRitual can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. It includes regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert and tailored videos, advice, and exercises via an app. Learn more about HeyRitual and start your journey today, either individually or as a couple—get 20% off when you use the code RETHINK20.

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