Search icon

Feeling Like an Option in a Relationship? 9 Signs and 8 Tips to Handle It

Do you often feel like you're just an option in your relationship? Are you questioning yourself and wondering if it's all just in your head? It's frustrating to love someone and feel like your partner would leave you for someone "better" if the opportunity presented itself. 

You may feel unimportant, lose self-esteem, and question your worth if your partner treats you like an option. Perhaps you were a strong and confident woman before you met this new guy. 

You're not alone if you don't feel like a priority in your relationship. Many women have been in this situation before. However, there is hope for you if you feel like you’re only an option in your partner's life. 

Below are 9 signs you're being treated like an option, and 8 ways to deal with not being a priority in your relationship.

9 Signs He Treats You Like an Option

1. When you are not a priority, you’ll feel like you're a burden

You should feel like the most spectacular woman in your relationship. If you don't, pay attention. The right guy will do absolutely anything to make you feel special. 

However, if instead you feel like you are a burden to your partner, this may be a red flag. He's likely treating you like an option if he purposely excludes you from calls, or texts, or ignores you for several days. 

Don't invest your time in anyone who doesn't treat you well. You deserve to find someone who makes you feel important and special.

Mandy Hale, the author of The Single Woman, sums it up perfectly, "You deserve to be someone's first choice. You deserve to be cherished and not taken for granted. You should be chosen and not settled for."

2. Your partner doesn’t initiate communication or dates

Communication is a significant aspect of any romantic relationship. However, if you're putting in all the effort with no reciprocation from your partner, this is a red flag. 

You can't do all the work and expect a relationship to be successful. Relationships will fail without both people putting in an effort. Both you and your partner need to initiate dates, texts, and phone calls fairly equally. Otherwise, you're in a one-sided relationship.

If you notice that your partner doesn't remember your birthday or other important events in your life, he may be taking you for granted. Have a conversation with your partner and let him know your expectations. If your partner steps up, great! If not, reconsider the relationship. 

You'll feel resentful and unimportant if you continue to put in all the effort without any support from your partner.

3. You’re just an option when your partner doesn’t include you in much

you're just an option when your partner doesn't include you in much

If your partner doesn't include you in important events like friends' birthdays, business holiday parties, or weddings, then your partner doesn't consider you a priority. 

It's a good indicator that he isn't interested in you or feels embarrassed by you if he "forgets" to inform you of important events or family gatherings.

Keep in mind that people who respect and love their partners want to take them everywhere. Your partner should be proud to show you off and have you as their partner. 

Here is a great quote to remember from Maya Angelou, "Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option."

4. They don’t show interest in your hobbies

Does your partner ever ask you how your day was? Or show interest in your personal hobbies? If your partner treats you like an option, they probably don't show any interest in your life. If you notice your partner doesn't seem interested in you, be honest with yourself. 

It's painful to realize that you're just an option to your partner, but remember you should feel loved and important in your relationship. You deserve real love from someone who cares about you.

5. They only come to you for physical needs

If you’re feeling like an option in a relationship, it may be because your partner will only spend time with you for physical needs. Maybe your partner avoids eye contact with you in public, but in private, they want to have sex with you right away. 

Someone who wantsphysical affection from you in private only is a red flag.It’s a sign that they do not prioritize you. Only showing you love when you’re alone means that they are only interested in sex. 

You should consider getting out of this relationship to find someone who can offer you a more fulfilling one. 

6. Your partner treats you like you’re a third wheel

It never feels good to be a third wheel, especially if you're with your "significant other." 

You may be the third wheel in your relationship if your partner doesn't include you in activities with others. Or maybe your partner invites you to events, but you feel left out when you are with his friends. You may feel invisible and like he wouldn't even notice if you left. This is painful and hurtful to you. 

Talk to your partner if you continue to feel this way. Your partner should take steps to rectify the situation to make you feel included. If he wants to be with you, he will make you a priority.

Use this tool to check whether he actually is who he says he is
Whether you're married or have just started seeing someone, infidelity rates are on the rise and have increased over 40% in the last 20 years, so you have all the right to be worried.

Perhaps you want to know if he's texting other women behind your back? Or whether he has active Tinder or dating profile? Or worse yet, whether he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool will do just that and pull up any hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more to hopefully help put your doubts to rest.

If you continue to feel like the third wheel when you're out with your partner and his friends, it could be that your partner is just not that into you. 

7. Your partner is unsure about you

Sometimes it may feel like your partner can't get enough of you, especially in private. But, then, you'll go days without hearing anything from them. It’s easy for your partner not to put in any effort when you are just an option in their life.

Healthy relationships require a give-and-take on both sides. When you're a priority to your partner, they will go above and beyond to make you feel valued and seen. 

Many people who have an avoidant attachment style may behave in ways that indicate that they are unsure about you. However, it's not up to you to heal their attachment style. It’s up to you to take care of yourself. 

8. Your partner does not try to fix the relationship

Any good partner will initiate conversations and do anything to nurture your relationship. Healthy partners want to make their loved ones feel special and loved. 

However, if your partner doesn't make any effort to improve the relationship, especially after you've communicated with them, it's a clear sign that this person doesn't see you as a priority. 

9. You feel insecure

you feel insecure

It's normal to feel somewhat insecure when you begin a new relationship. We often worry if our partners are going to like us, and we want our feelings to be mutual. 

However, when someone treats you like an option, you may feel even more anxious. If you're having consistent doubts about your relationship, you should listen to your intuition. Feeling like an option in a relationship can make you feel unhappy and depressed. 

Don't ignore your intuition, and be sure to practice a lot of self-respect. Get out of any relationship that doesn't leave you feeling uplifted. You want a partner who can't wait to learn everything about you. 

If you’re feeling insecure in your relationship consider this quote from, “when someone treats you like an option, help them narrow their choices by removing yourself from the equation."

8 Tips to Deal with Someone Who Treats You Like an Option

1. Communicate your needs and expectations

All romantic relationships require good communication, but if you feel like you’re just an option, it’s vital to talk to your partner about how you are feeling. 

First, you need to acknowledge to yourself that you have expectations. Once you are aware of your needs, let him know how you want to be treated. If he can’t live up to treating you like a priority, reconsider that relationship, and know your worth. Don't back down. You matter!

2. Build your self-worth

If you’re struggling to let go of someone who isn’t treating you well, work on your self-worth. You can do this by reading self-help books, talking to a therapist, and ultimately leaving anyone who doesn’t honor you. 

It’s common to get stuck in a toxic cycle when you keep going back to people who don’t step up for you. Be gentle and kind with yourself as you are making these shifts in your self-esteem. 

Remember, you deserve to be with someone who treats you like the queen you are. You're not high maintenance for wanting more from your relationship.

3. Keep your options open

It's important not to sit around thinking about your partner and what they are doing. If you're not a priority in your boyfriend's life, it’s likely that they are not sitting around thinking about you either. 

Get your happiness back and go out and meet new people! This will help you to get your mind off of this person. You will also learn that there are lots of people who would like to spend their time with you.Keep your options open, and love yourself.

“A busy, vibrant, goal-oriented woman is so much more attractive than a woman who waits around for a man to validate her existence.” - Mandy Hale

4. Listen to your intuition

Being treated as an option feels terrible. Always listen to your intuition. If something feels off with the person you are dating, pay attention. If you notice that he only seems interested in you when you’re alone and ignores you most other times, it's not a good sign. 

If you’re having a hard time hearing your intuition because you're too busy, take some time to slow down. You can try:

  • Meditation
  • Talking to a therapist
  • Journaling
  • Spending time in nature

All of these activities can help you to quiet your mind so that you can hear your intuition clearly.

5. Don’t obsess over it

don't obsess over it

Feeling like an option in a relationship? Perhaps your partner is someone who is immature and incapable of being in a committed relationship.

If this is the case, there's no reason for you to obsess over it. The way your partner is acting says nothing about who you are but tells you a lot about your partner. 

Focus on your own life. Build up your self-worth. Focus on your career goals or personal goals. You are sure to find a secure partner in the future by becoming more confident and more secure with yourself. 

6. Don’t take it personally

The best advice is not to take it personally when your partner treats you like an option. It's easier said than done, of course, but people who don't consider their partner's feelings in a relationship are often insecure and selfish. 

They may blame and take things out on you, but remember, it has nothing to do with who you are. Take your power back and get out of the relationship. 

There is a beautiful book by Don Miguel Ruiz called, The Four Agreements. Ruiz writes:

"Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering."

7. Don’t fight for affection

Fighting for affection from someone who cannot give it to you may lead you to feel depressed. It’s also a big sign that you are not your partner's priority. 

Make some time for solitude and give yourself affection instead. Take a bubble bath and participate in other self-care practices. Unfortunately, a partner who is incapable of putting you as a priority is probably not going to change.

Wait for the right person who will cherish you. But the first step is always to value yourself. The more you value yourself, the less you will waste your time on people who cannot meet your needs fully.

“To the right person, you will never be made to feel like you’re not enough.” - from The Minds Journal 

8. Walk away

When someone treats you like an option, walk away. It’s not always easy to walk away from a relationship, but there’s no point in staying committed to a partner who does not consider you a priority. 

Staying with someone like this can cause anxiety issues for you. Also, hoping that your partner will change will only hinder your self-esteem over time. 

After you walk away from this person, perhaps seek therapy. You can find a therapist at Relationship Hero. A qualified therapist can help you to pinpoint where you fall into the trap of not feeling good enough and settling for incompatible partners.

Do You Feel Like You’re Always an Option? Find Out Why

do you feel like you're always an option? find out why

If you’re always feeling like an option in a relationship, you need to dig a little and understand why you’re continuously finding yourself in these situations. Learn to stand up for yourself, sort out your relationship priorities, respect yourself, and your personal boundaries. Don't allow your partner to treat you like an option. 

If you find yourself in this situation often, take a step back from relationships and focus on yourself. Getting to know what you value and what you will and will not tolerate is vital to finding the right man for you. 

Are you tired of not being a priority? Then, you must prioritize your worth and value yourself first. Don’t settle for less than what’s best for you.


Why do I not feel like a priority in my relationship?

You may not feel like a priority in your relationship because your partner excludes you or doesn’t answer your text or calls. When someone treats us like an option, it’s hard not to start doubting ourselves. However, it’s important to recognize that some people may be incapable of loving you the way you need to be loved, so it might be better to leave that relationship behind. 

What’s the difference between priority and option?

When you are a priority in someone’s life, you will feel special and important to your partner. You will trust that your partner has your back and will be there for you. However, if you are only an option, you will feel like high maintenance and constantly feel like you are not good enough. You can feel the difference if you tune in to your intuition.

Why would a guy not treat you like a priority?

There are several reasons why someone wouldn't treat you as a priority. It could be that they are interested in someone else or have an avoidant attachment style. Not being treated like a priority doesn't have anything to do with you. It says a lot more about your partner in the relationship. Don't stay with someone who treats you like second best.

Should my relationship always feel like work?

It’s true that all relationships take work, but it should not feel like a constant uphill battle, especially in the beginning. If you are not a priority, you will notice that your relationship feels like more work because you are the one doing everything. When people treat you like an option, they don’t initiate dates or conversations. This is an indicator that you need to re-evaluate your relationship.


Refer back to this list any time you’re feeling like an option in your relationship. There are many signs you are an option not a priority in your relationship, and there are lots of ways to handle being treated that way.

If you do not feel like a priority, take a step back and take care of yourself first. Build up your self-worth and self-esteem. Let go of anyone who doesn't honor and value you. 

I’ll leave you with one final quote to consider when you’re feeling like an option: 

“You cannot find the right man if you are still holding on to the wrong man.” - Unknown

If you enjoyed this article, please remember to share.

Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.


Join Our Newsletter

Receive weekly tips & tricks to improve your love life.
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.