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30 signs you’re an option, not a priority in your partner’s eyes

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A true partner is someone you can rely on, who always puts you first, and who meets your needs.

You want someone who makes you feel special and important, not someone who uses you as a backup plan when their other plans fall through.

The question is: are you a priority to your partner or are you just an option?

We’ll talk about all the signs that you’re an option to your partner, but for now, you should know something very important…

You deserve someone who puts you first and does all the things that you expect from your partner. You’re not crazy for wanting them to make time for you and put you first. And you’re most certainly not crazy if you end a relationship where you don’t feel like you are a priority to your partner.

Don’t get me wrong, your partner should have their freedom and a life outside of your relationship. But being someone’s option, a backup plan, a plan B, isn’t fair to you. You’re not just someone who hangs around waiting for your partner to get bored enough to show up for you.

You have every right to expect them to always put you first, even when you don’t ask for it. Don’t tolerate anything less than what you deserve and know that you deserve to be put first in your relationship.

Here are all the signs that you’re just an option to your partner, not a priority:

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1. You don’t even feel like you’re in a relationship.

Are you even in a relationship or does it feel like you’re being used? Do you talk about your interests and your future? Are you going on dates and having quality time together? Did you meet each other’s friends, and do you attend family gatherings together?

Or are you just someone who answers a call after midnight when no one else is willing to pick up the phone?

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with having a casual fling or even being a booty call, but only if you’re both aware and on board with it. If this is not what you signed up for, don’t settle for it.

2. You didn’t put a label on what you have.

Does your partner avoid labeling your relationship? Do they tell you that it would ruin what you already have? What is it that you actually have? Any sort of relationship between two consenting adults is fine, but did you agree to this or are you left craving more?

If you want a serious relationship, don’t settle for something that has no label. Avoiding labels just means that your partner isn’t interested in a serious relationship and likely only wants a sexual one—and only when it works with their schedule. You deserve better than that.

3. They never put you first.

When there’s a party with friends and a date with you, your partner doesn’t think twice. They will always put everything and everyone else above you on their list of priorities. Whether it’s work, hobbies, friends, or anything else, their schedule is fully booked whether you’ve made plans or not.

They only reach out to you when all their other plans fall through. If your partner only puts you first when there’s no other option, then you are not their priority. You deserve someone who chooses you over all else, especially when it’s important to you and when you need them.

4. They don’t make you feel special.

Your partner should make you feel like you’re one of a kind, one in a million, and the only one they have eyes for—that’s what love is all about.

Instead, your partner treats you like everyone else in their life, if not even worse. They don’t make you feel like you’re more special to them than their acquaintances, and you probably feel like other people are more special to them than you are.

If they don’t see how special you are, then you’re not The One for them. This is also why they don’t want a serious relationship. They’re only using the love that you’re willing to give until something better is offered.

5. They don’t make you feel important.

Would they care if you disappeared for a while and ignored their calls and texts? Would they even contact you at all or notice that you’re missing? Do they give importance to your thoughts and feelings and the things that matter to you? Or do you feel like you don’t matter to them at all?

If you feel like what you say or do, or think or feel, doesn’t matter to your partner, why are you still with them? Your partner should make you feel like you’re the most important person in the world, because you’re the most important person to them. When you’re just an option, you can’t feel this way, and it shows that it’s time to reconsider dating that person.

6. They don’t care about your needs.

When you don’t matter to your partner, your needs don’t matter either. They don’t care if you want to talk to them or if you need help with something. They likely care only about their own needs and expect you to meet them while giving nothing in return.

Your needs would come first to the person who makes you a priority. When you’re an option, your needs don’t matter—you exist just to cater to someone else, and only when it’s convenient for them.

7. You always have to adjust to their schedule.

When you’re someone’s option, it doesn’t matter what you want and need; it only matters what they want and how you can give that to them. So, you always have to adjust to their schedule. You’re never the busy one; they are the “busy” one. You’re the one who eagerly waits by the phone for them to have a blank spot in their schedule, and then you can jump in and drop everything else.

Yes, you’re the one who’s constantly available, while they are only available to you when there’s nothing else going on in their life. Everything moves at the pace they set and at the time that suits them. You’re just there to accommodate their schedule, and they don’t even care about yours.

8. They rarely or never contact you first.

You’re always the one who initiates contact, whether it’s calls, texts, or meetings in person. They never contact you first, or they do so very rarely and usually when there’s nothing better to do.

They are either bored or their other plans got canceled. Those are the only situations when they might think of you. Other times, you keep pushing them to talk to you more, while they agree only when it’s convenient for them.

Sometimes they don’t respond at all or answer with short, closed-ended sentences. They clearly show that they don’t want to prolong the conversation, and they avoid texting with you altogether—unless it’s late at night and they are lonely.

9. They treat you badly.

All in all, you know that you’re not being treated the way you deserve. They treat you poorly and as some sort of backup plan, not as a girlfriend/boyfriend. They don’t want to cut ties because it’s convenient for them to have a plan B in case nothing else works out, but they’re not really interested in you, especially not in the long run.

They don’t ask about your day, they don’t show up for you when you’re feeling sad, and they don’t try to make you laugh. If you’re feeling miserable in a relationship, why are you still clinging to it? Know that you can find a person who’ll always put you first and do all that is in their power to make you happy.

10. They don’t make plans for the future with you.

Someone who wants to have a future with you will plan that future with you. If instead they avoid making long-term plans, or even tell you about plans that don’t include you in the picture, then they’re just using you as a backup until someone better comes along.

Don’t be fooled. A person who sees you in their future won’t be vague about it. They’ll make plans and even invite you to things that are scheduled months from now to secure their position in your life.

A person who avoids planning the future with you intends to leave at the first exit sign.

11. They don’t want you to meet their friends and family.

A person who wants you in their life will introduce you to other people that are important to them. When a partner avoids letting you meet their friends and family, they don’t have long-term plans in mind.

Granted, meeting the family comes at a later stage in a relationship, but you should know your partner’s close friends and even hang out with them together sometimes. That’s a normal part of dating, and it is missing if the relationship is not as serious as you might think.

12. They don’t make you happy.

Do they try to make you smile and laugh? Do they cheer you up after a long day at work with small acts of kindness? Do they give you sweet nicknames, ask about your day, carry your bags for you, and make you happy with things they do out of love?

If not, they’re not serious about you, and they’re just using you as an option.

The whole purpose of love is to make you happy. When it’s not making you happy, it’s not love. Sure, love isn’t always smooth sailing, and there are always bumps in the road, but a person who loves you wants you to be happy. That doesn’t change for as long as they love you.

13. They flirt with other people.

A person who loves you has eyes only for you. When their eyes wander around the room searching for someone better to come along, they’re just waiting for that new person to show up so they can end things with you.

Maybe your partner openly flirts with other people and you are aware of it. While flirting may be innocent, if you’re just an option to your partner, they’re not flirting innocently. They’re trying to find someone else and only sticking with you until they catch a bigger fish.

They’re well aware of the fact that there are plenty of fish in the sea, so they regularly go fishing. You might be a total catch, but they don’t see it that way. They are still looking for their perfect match.

14. They’re always late or cancel plans at the last minute.

A person who won’t commit to you won’t commit to any plans with you as well. They’ll always show up late or even cancel plans at the last minute. Why? Well, a better option opened up in the meantime and they don’t feel like they owe you anything.

They’re probably unsure that they even want to make plans with you, and you’re just a backup in case other plans don’t work out. When something else pops up, they make it a priority instead of you, like they always do.

15. You’re in a one-sided relationship.

Be honest with yourself. Are you the only one who’s putting effort into this relationship? Are you investing all of your resources (time, money, energy, effort, affection, attention…) into this while your partner invests little to none of theirs?

A one-sided relationship is a kind of relationship where all the love and effort comes from one side—yours, while your partner doesn’t reciprocate in the same measure or at all. Basically, you love someone who doesn’t love you back. They just agreed to some sort of a relationship to get something from you since there’s nothing/no one else available at the moment.

16. They don’t want to improve the relationship.

Maybe you are aware of the problems in your relationship and you want to work on them, but is your partner willing to invest any effort into this? When your partner doesn’t want to work on the relationship to improve it, they don’t care if it ends.

It’s painful to be in a situation like this, but it’s better to know than to continue pursuing someone who keeps running and lets you catch them only when they get tired. You can’t improve this relationship all on your own; your partner needs to work on it too. And if that’s not what they want or are willing to do, it’s better to call it quits than keep investing all on your own.

17. They only want sex.

What is your partner gaining from this relationship that keeps them hooked? Most likely, it’s sex. Keep in mind that if your partner gets all the benefits of being in a serious relationship, they’re not gonna want to have a serious one. Why would they when they get what they want anyway?

Maybe your entire relationship is based on sex. You meet up to sleep together and that’s basically all you do. Don’t be fooled, if they only remember you late at night, you’re a booty call, not a girlfriend/boyfriend.

18. They don’t care about things that are important to you.

Your interests and passions should be important to your partner, but they don’t ever ask you about them and don’t care to listen. They don’t care about what you do with your free time, your dreams, or what you’re passionate about. They don’t listen when you talk and don’t ask questions to learn more about you.

This is a surefire sign that they don’t really care about you. If they did, they would care enough to memorize your likes and dislikes and even use them to surprise you with small gifts or romantic dates. Do you even get gifts and go on dates? If not, you’re not really in a relationship.

19. You feel like you’re being used.

Maybe you know, in your heart, that this is not a relationship because you feel like you’re being used. Think about what you’re giving and what you’re getting in return—trust your instincts. If you’re giving your all into this relationship and getting little to nothing in return, you’re being used.

Being used doesn’t have to apply only to sex. You could also be used for your time, money, attention, and anything else that you’re willing to give without asking for anything in return. Your partner uses you as a backup plan and this means that they’re using all of your resources without reciprocating, not just using you for sex.

20. They don’t have time for you.

Perhaps you are dating a busy person. But no one is THAT busy. Even the busiest people in the world find the time for people that matter to them. The only question is, do you matter to them enough for them to make time for you? If you are low on their list of priorities, they won’t make time for you.

Time management is all about prioritizing, and rest assured that your partner has enough time for everything they want to have time for. People don’t really have time, they make time for what matters to them. If they don’t make time for you, you’re just an option when a free spot occurs.

21. They don’t want to include you in their private life.

What do you really know about your partner? Do they tell you about their day, friends, whereabouts, interests, passions, and dreams? Do you know what they do with their free time? How much do you really know about them?

If they don’t want to include you in their private life, they aren’t that serious about you. People like to share information like that with their partners when they are serious about making it work. When they just want to keep you as an option, they don’t want you infiltrating their world too much, so they keep you in the dark.

22. They don’t try to get along with your friends and family.

Maybe they don’t want to meet your friends and family despite your constant suggestions to introduce them to your social circle. This is a clear sign that they don’t have long-term plans with you.

On the other hand, maybe they have met your friends and family. However, they made no effort to leave a good impression on them, and they couldn’t care less about how your loved ones perceived your relationship. This is your cue to run for the hills.

23. They don’t ask you about your thoughts and opinions.

It’s like your thoughts don’t even matter. They never want to listen to your thoughts and opinions, and they don’t ask for them. Maybe they even make you feel stupid for wanting to voice your thoughts.

When they have big news either good or bad, or when they need help, they don’t go to you. They never ask you for your advice or include you in their decision-making process.

24. They don’t do little things for you.

A person who makes you a priority would show up at your office with your favorite coffee when you’re having a long day at work. They would bring you flowers just because it’s Tuesday, surprise you with your favorite candy when you’re feeling blue, and bring you chicken soup when you’re sick.

These little things are how people show affection, and if your partner doesn’t do them, they’re not as into you as you might think. Be with someone who would do anything to make you happy, not with someone who wouldn’t even remember your favorite coffee order, let alone buy it for you.

25. They don’t tell you about big decisions.

It’s not just that they don’t include you when making big decisions, they don’t even tell you that they’ve made them. You’re not included in their decision-making process or in their life.

You’re not the first person to know when they’re going to apply for a promotion or sell their house. You’re the last person to know. They don’t feel obligated to tell you about their big decisions because they’re not in a serious relationship with you.

26. They only make last-minute plans.

Sure, they might make plans with you but only last-minute ones. This is because their other plans fell through or they simply just remembered you at that point because they were bored.

Last-minute plans aren’t really plans. They mean that the person wasn’t intending on seeing you, it’s just that a spot opened up in their schedule and they know that you’re always available.

27. They don’t celebrate important dates with you.

Some couples celebrate every month they’ve spent together, not just every year. Your partner won’t even celebrate Christmas or your birthday with you. They don’t give importance to things that matter to you, and they don’t give importance to your relationship.

You likely spend all the important dates alone because they have other plans. They make other people and things a priority instead of you even when a certain date is very important to you. This shouldn’t be tolerated.

28. They don’t show physical affection.

Sure, maybe you have sex, but do they display other forms of physical affection? Do you kiss every time you see each other, hug, hold hands while you’re walking, and do all those little things real couples do? If not, you aren’t really in a relationship.

You shouldn’t consider sex a physical form of affection if it’s all you’re getting from your partner. Unless they’re also happy to kiss you and cuddle with you, you’re not in a relationship and are probably being used.

29. They don’t take you or the relationship seriously.

All in all, your partner doesn’t take you seriously, and they don’t take your relationship seriously either. Maybe you’ve threatened to leave before but they didn’t care. This is likely because they’re taking you for granted and are sure that you’ll always be available.

In addition, they don’t care about the relationship ending because it was just a temporary solution for them. It hurts to hear all that. But if it is the current state of your relationship, you should prove that you are really ready to walk away if they don’t want to commit. You can find someone who will treat you the way you deserve.

30. They are cheating on you.

In the end, it’s possible that they’re already cheating on you. There may be someone else who they’re making a priority which is why they keep you as an option. Maybe they haven’t yet cheated with this person, but they’re likely making someone else a priority.

On the flip side, maybe they have several options and other women/men are in the same situation as you are with them. Either way, they’re not committed to you, and you should walk away from that relationship because you deserve to be someone’s priority, not an option.

Still not sure what to do about a partner who doesn’t treat you like a priority? This is a tricky situation, and one that can easily be made worse with the wrong approach. But Relationship Hero can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. Through regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert (by yourself and/or as a couple), you’ll learn precisely how to create a healthier and more fulfilling relationship—one that can last a lifetime. Learn more about Relationship Hero and get the kind of tactical relationship advice and ongoing support you need.

About The Author

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.