I ended a relationship that had slowly died over a decade ago.
The memories of the breakup have become vague, but the behaviors that shaped that breakup are still as clear as day.
Our relationship didn’t suddenly end. We didn’t fall out of love or were attracted to other people. Although we were in love, we grew apart without even knowing it; we killed our relationship with our own bare hands.
It was then that I learned about the term “micro-rejections.”
Micro-rejections are subtle moments of abandonment. They’re not intentional, but their impact is big.
Some examples include:
>> Half-listening to our partner or scrolling on the phone during conversations.
>> Interrupting our partner when they’re talking.
>> Not reciprocating a touch, a hug, or a kiss.
>> Not asking about our partner’s day.
>> Ignoring their calls or messages.
>> Neglecting their problems or thinking they’re unimportant.
>> Not giving compliments or forgetting their birthday.
>> Refusing to take responsibility for our mistakes.
>> Procrastinating important conversations or tasks.
>> Being late, changing plans, or ignoring preferences.
How do we know we’re being micro-rejected? We might feel unimportant, unworthy, or annoyed. We might feel that our emotional, mental, and physical needs are not being met. When we feel rejected over and over again, we slowly turn away from our partner. Instead of feeling loved, we feel dismissed—ignored.
And so our relationships die a slow, ugly death.
Over time, resentment develops and partners start to dislike one another. This will ultimately lead to huge blowouts and fights that might terminate the relationship.
We might think that micro-rejections are caused by a lack of love or attention. In fact, it’s a lack of connection. It’s a lack of wanting to remeet our partner—every single day. The problem is that after months or years or even decades, we might show them less interest and appreciation.
Since we live in the same space and see each other almost every day, it might be difficult to see our partner with new eyes. Although we love them and assume that everything is fine, the truth is we’re gradually taking them for granted.
How can we break this destructive pattern? How can we reconnect and stop rejecting each other?
We need to care. We need to communicate and be present. We need to understand that a small, unintentional behavior can leave a long-lasting effect on us.
Please stop turning down your partner. You might be causing them more pain than you realize.