Signs That You’re In A ‘Back-Burner’ Relationship (And How To Deal)

If you’re at a point in your relationship (whether it’s casual, serious, or even long-term) where it starts to feel like you are putting in far more effort than your partner is, it might be time to reevaluate exactly why.

You could be trapped in a back-burner relationship without even realizing it.

Has Your Partner Ever Made You Feel Like A Last Resort?

Sad woman looks frustrated and downcast
Photo Credit: Liza Summer / Pexels
Photo Credit: Liza Summer / Pexels

Do you ever feel as though your entire relationship runs on your partner’s schedule?

If you only get to see them on their time, or if they constantly make you feel like a last resort, there is a good chance it’s because they are keeping you pushed to the “back burner.”

So What Exactly Is A Back-Burner Relationship?

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Photo Credit: Milan Popovic / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Milan Popovic / Unsplash

Back-burner relationships can often happen when one person is feeling especially lonely but does not want to fully commit their time to a partner.

Instead, they keep someone around so that they are available when it’s convenient for them, which is extremely unfair to a partner.

A Power Imbalance Is Created

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Photo Credit: Alex Green / Pexels

This type of relationship can actually become fairly toxic because it creates a power imbalance, giving one person more control.

Most back-burner relationships really benefit one person and leave the other feeling like they are valued less.

How Can You Tell If You Are In A Back-Burner Relationship?

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Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels

You will find yourself making excuses for your partner and accepting behavior you wouldn’t normally accept from other people in your life.

It’s easy to make these excuses when you are trying to convince yourself that the relationship is worth working on.

You Partner Ignores Your Calls, Texts, And Goes Long Periods Of Time Without Seeing You

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Photo Credit: Jake Pierrelee / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Jake Pierrelee / Unsplash

If your partner is doing things like ignoring your calls or messages or going long periods of time without making an effort to see you, they are not treating you as an equal.

Being dismissed like this can start to leave you feeling confused and sad about why your partner doesn’t put you first.

There Is An Obvious Lack Of Physical Affection In Your Relationship

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Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels

Everybody shows their affection differently, but if physical affection is almost nonexistent in your relationship, it’s a bad sign.

Even if they are not an overly affectionate person, they should be making an effort to show you they are attracted to you.

You Feel Like You’re Constantly Bothering Them To Spend Time With You

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Photo Credit: RODNAE Productions / Pexels
Photo Credit: RODNAE Productions / Pexels

You should never have to feel like you’re begging your SO to spend time with you or take you out.

Your partner should want to see you and spend time doing activities with you because they enjoy your company, not because it’s convenient for them. They should also pay attention to you when you’re together.

They Lack Communication Skills

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Photo Credit: RODNAE Productions / Pexels
Photo Credit: RODNAE Productions / Pexels

If you have been burned multiple times because they forgot to tell you about something important like an event or dinner you were supposed to attend, there is probably a reason.

It’s possible they may not actually want you there and are making excuses for not inviting you.

You Have Caught Them In Lies

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Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels

No matter how big or small, a partner who lies to you cannot be trusted.

If your partner tells you things like, “I have to work late,” but then you find out they went out for drinks, it’s a sign that they are pushing you to the farthest back burner. It could become an easy habit for them.

You Are Always The Last Resort Invite

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Photo Credit: Imgur
Photo Credit: Imgur

If your partner always seems to be attending random events like concerts, sports games, movies, etc., but you are never invited, it’s time to start asking why.

You may be getting bumped for a friend or coworker, but the reality is, you’re just as great a friend and you deserve to be treated like one.

They Don’t Listen To Important Information You Tell Them

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Photo Credit: Anthony Shkraba / Pexels
Photo Credit: Anthony Shkraba / Pexels

Partners who are keeping you on the back burner are hardly paying attention to the information you share with them.

If you have noticed how your SO constantly forgets important things you’ve shared with them, it’s probably because they were not listening in the first place.

They Are Not Super Interested In Your Hobbies Or Accomplishments

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Photo Credit: Mary Taylor / Pexels
Photo Credit: Mary Taylor / Pexels

If someone is keeping you on the back burner, they probably don’t really care about what’s going on in your life.

They may tend to steer the conversation back to themselves or change the subject when you start talking about your own interests instead of listening.

You Get Overly Excited When They Do The Bare Minimum

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Photo Credit: vjapratama / Pexels

If you find yourself getting butterflies and overly excited when your partner does the bare minimum, it’s a bad sign.

They have conditioned you to think that you don’t deserve to be treated like a priority all the time so that you feel extra special when you are.

Get Out As Early As You Can

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Photo Credit: Polina Zimmerman / Pexels
Photo Credit: Polina Zimmerman / Pexels

There is a fine line between a back-burner relationship and a straight-up toxic one.

If you think you might be on someone’s back burner, it’s best to get out as early as you can before they waste any more of your time and mess with your mind.

Are You The One Putting Someone On The Back Burner?

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Photo Credit: Katerina Holmes / Pexels
Photo Credit: Katerina Holmes / Pexels

Now that you understand what it feels like to be put on the back burner, it’s worth asking yourself whether you are the one putting someone else on the back burner.

Are you only dating someone because you are lonely or because they are always there as a fallback if you need them? Do you really like this person?

End Things Before Anyone Gets Hurt

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Photo Credit: mikoto.raw Photographer / Pexels
Photo Credit: mikoto.raw Photographer / Pexels

If you find that you might be the person who is stringing someone along, it’s time to end things before anyone gets hurt.

It’s easier said than done to ditch that “security blanket” person, but in the long run, it’s only fair to them and you will grow from the experience.

You Deserve To Be A First Priority

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Photo Credit: Anna Shvets / Pexels
Photo Credit: Anna Shvets / Pexels

So you’re in a back-burner relationship, now what? Well, the best thing to do is acknowledge the situation and then end it in the most mature way possible.

You deserve to be a first priority and front and center in your partner’s life (within reason of course), and if they cannot provide the level of priority that you deserve, it’s time to leave.

Know Your Worth And Ask For It!

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Photo Credit: Jack Sparrow / Pexels
Photo Credit: Jack Sparrow / Pexels

You may find that ending the relationship leaves you feeling lonely, but being lonely is a hundred times better than feeling undervalued by someone you care about.

You deserve to be given all the same effort and value you bring to the table in a relationship and it’s never a bad thing to know your worth!