Recently, a friend, age 72, said to me, “It will be nice to be appreciated by someone rather than be taken for granted. What’s your opinion?”

He was referring to a relationship that he had recently terminated. He and I had discussed the relationship three times previously. I felt I had heard enough information about his situation to intelligently respond to his question.

His decision had been difficult for him, one he pondered time and time again — because he cared about her — but each time he thought about it, he reached the same conclusion: He wasn’t being appreciated.

I said to him: “From what you’ve shared with me, it appears you tried hard to make the relationship work. You were always doing nice things for her. And, you accommodated her expressed wishes to dine in upscale restaurants, drink expensive wine, and stay in pricey hotels when you traveled together.

“Expressing appreciation to a mate, or actually, anyone, is a considerate, thoughtful, and kind act. It shows you are grateful for their efforts.

“People like to be recognized. When they do something nice for a mate, regardless of how small or minor, it’s good to hear that what they did was appreciated. Appreciation and recognition can go a long way to strengthen relationships.

“When people are appreciated, they will keep looking for ways to please their mates, because appreciation and recognition are positive taps on the shoulder. But, with your former woman friend, you didn’t get those shoulder taps. As you said, she was taking your kindness for granted.

“When people take their mates for granted, and don’t notice or appreciate the little things done for them, relationships can be adversely affected. That’s what happened with you.

“A lack of appreciation from a mate might be a red flag that the mate doesn’t care enough about the relationship. That doesn’t mean the mate is a bad person; it could be as simple as the mate isn’t in love.

“When a mate doesn’t appreciate you, and that behavior repeats itself, you may say to yourself: ‘I won’t take being treated that way anymore.’

“Lack of appreciation creates disappointment and disillusionment. When it happens too often to a person, he or she may slowly stop caring. The relationship suffers. It’s like decay in a tooth. Let it go long enough without remedial action, and you’ll lose it.

“I’ve written about new singles making a list of the qualities they require in a mate. High on their lists should be a partner who appreciates them. In return, they must do the same for the new partner.

Appreciation works both ways in relationships.

“Your decision to move on was, in my opinion, what was best for you. Moving on is always hard, but when it’s the right thing to do, you’ve got to do it. All you wanted was appreciation; it wasn’t forthcoming.”

Lesson for all seniors in relationships: If you appreciate receiving appreciation, don’t overlook giving it. It’s a powerful love tool.


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