A Therapist Teaches You How To Make Your Partner Feel Loved Again

Make the right moves to show your loved one you are in it for the long run.

By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | March 31, 2023

Feeling heard, validated, and loved in a romantic relationship provides us with a source of endless strength. But it's easy to forget that love is a two-way street – and that you can't take out more than you put in.

When we become overly consumed with how our relationship is making us feel, we forget to ask the more important question: how am I making my partner feel?

To help you look beyond yourself in your relationship, you can ask these three questions to balance the love scales and form a relationship that is reciprocated and requited.

#1. Am I practicing self-love or just being selfish?

Boundaries are essential in every kind of love. The absence of boundaries can cause one partner to step into the other's space and make them exhausted. Maintaining a healthy balance between your personal spaces as individuals and your collective space as partners is essential for your combined happiness.

However, pushing this line too much by foregoing empathy and constantly putting your needs first (and perhaps setting unrealistic boundaries) can put your partner in distress.

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that people who are quicker to exercise their need for autonomy in their relationships come off as less committed, and even more controlling, to their partners. Putting self-love before the needs of one's partner is the narcissist's way.

A little bit of mindful thinking can prevent you from crossing that boundary. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to avoid treading into narcissistic territory:

  • Am I calling the shots in the relationship or is my ego?
  • Do I really need my partner to do this or am I making them do the heavy lifting?
  • Am I considering the position I am putting my partner in?

An excess of self-love creates an imbalance in relationships, making you look inconsiderate and selfish. Building a healthier habit of frequently checking in with yourself before expressing your needs can help build a more fulfilling relationship.

#2. Am I being sincere or just feeling obligated?

A natural response to feeling loved, appreciated, and cared for by a partner is to offer the same in return. But sometimes, this happens with little thought of commitment or sincerity. After all, how would we look if we did not return their kiss or compliment them back?

Habituated responses that stem from obligation lack a certain genuineness, which can be felt by one's partner. Similarly, a lack of thought in 'loving' gestures can make your affection seem saccharine and forced, making your partner feel small or unlovable.

Research published in Personal Relationships explains how having a sincere and vulnerable conversation with your partner is effective in conveying understanding and validating a partner's experience, enhancing relationship satisfaction. Being more engaged, expressive, and emotionally responsive helps strengthen the connection between you and your partner. This form of radical honesty and vulnerability is especially helpful when you need to own up to a mistake you've made.

This means that a mundane but heartfelt conversation can make your partner feel far more loved than an obligatory barrage of empty gestures and compliments. For a more genuine display of affection, you may ask your partner about their needs and wishes while also considering your own comfort in fulfilling them. A simple conversation with the intent to learn about one another can help develop a deeper bond.

#3. Am I only considering my convenience or acknowledging their preferences?

One common misconception people develop in relationships is that their partner prefers to be loved in the same way they do.

This is rarely, if ever, the case. Instead, partners must be curious about what makes their partner feel loved.

Take time to figure out how your special someone likes to be loved. You can start by asking your partner: "What do I do that makes you feel loved?"

You will spend far less energy and time when you ask what your partner needs directly instead of putting yourself through the perils of making assumptions for them.

Additionally, setting aside time to check in with your partner and talk about what you need more of and what you need less of can be a fun weekly exercise. If your partner is unsure how to answer, use these options as thought starters:

  • Do you feel we are spending enough quality time together?
  • Am I offering enough physical gestures of love and affection like a hug or holding hands?
  • Am I helping to make your life easier?
  • Am I buying you thoughtful gifts and trinkets that evoke a sense of comfort and safety?
  • Am I affirming my love for you by using kind and uplifting words that make you feel heard and validated?


Giving love is a slow and steady process that relies upon consistency, frequency, and dependability. Any relationship built on the foundation of receiving more than giving is doomed from the beginning.