Couples in healthy, loving relationships must strike a fine balance between individuality and togetherness. However, if your boyfriend consistently puts other people before you, it may mean that he hasn’t yet accepted you as the most important person in his life. You can change this by communicating with him and encouraging him to commit to the relationship, while recognizing that he sometimes needs space to pursue his own interests.
Communicate with him. If your boyfriend puts his family and friends before you, tell him how this makes you feel. Be calm yet assertive. If he cares about you, he will listen to what you are saying and try to make amends for behavior that makes you feel isolated and undervalued.
Arrange to spend more time with the important people in your boyfriend’s life. Ask him to introduce you to his friends and family, if he hasn’t already done so, and make an effort to involve yourself in family activities. Your boyfriend is more likely to view you as the number one person in his life if you become an integral part of it.
Encourage him to express his emotions. Ask him to tell you that he loves you, particularly if you know that he does but finds it difficult to say the words because men sometimes feel vulnerable expressing their feelings. Your boyfriend may find it easier to accept how important you are in his life after he openly acknowledges his feelings. Broach the subject when you are both upbeat and relaxed, or when you feel particularly connected to your partner.
Adopt a positive attitude toward your boyfriend’s outside interests. This seems contradictory, but your boyfriend may feel less threatened and is more likely to commit if you relax and respect the fact that he occasionally needs to spend time away from you. Don't try to change his regular routine too quickly because this will make him feel more insecure. Spending time pursuing your own interests while your boyfriend is with his friends helps you both to appreciate one another as individuals.
- Consider whether you should pursue the relationship if your boyfriend doesn't listen to your concerns or makes it clear he doesn't want to commit to you.
Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Elizabeth Burns began writing professionally in 1988. She has worked as a feature writer for various Irish newspapers, including the "Irish News," "Belfast News Letter" and "Sunday Life." Burns has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ulster as well as a Master of Research in arts.