I love falling in love and of course, without love, a relationship is prone to failure. In an ideal world, I’d have both, but if I had to choose between love and respect, respect would win hands down every time. That might sound weird but hear me out.
- I want to be seen for who I am, not who he wants me to be. I’ve been in way too many relationships where my partner has pressured me to be something I’m not. I’m all for self-development, but if my boyfriend tries to change the fundamentals of who I am, he clearly doesn’t respect me. If he wants me to be someone else, he’s better off going out and finding that person elsewhere.
- Emotions fade with time, respect is lasting. The first throes of falling in love are wonderful and everyone adores the honeymoon period. Once that wears off though, things start to get real. That’s when an underlying foundation of trust is so important. Being on your best behavior when there are butterflies in your stomach doesn’t mean much if you start to treat me like trash the moment those feelings wear off.
- If he doesn’t take me seriously, I’m out. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s being patronized. If my partner speaks down to me, belittles my ideas, or otherwise dismisses something I have to say, I’m not going to stick around for long. He can profess his love for me as long as he likes, but if he doesn’t treat me as an equal, I’m out of there.
- Relationships based on respect last longer. Author and blogger Mark Manson once did a survey of 1500 couples, asking for their relationship advice. He found that couples who had been together more than 15 years listed communication as the most important factor in a successful relationship. But couples that had been together more than 20, 30 or 40 years said that respect was the most important factor keeping their relationship a happy one.
- My autonomy is so important to me. The biggest way I experience respect from my partner is when I know I can live my life without him attempting to control me. I’m a very independent person, so it’s important to me that my partner respects my personal time, space, and choices. I’m always willing to talk, of course, if there’s something that’s not working for him. But if I sense that I’m being coerced, manipulated, or guilted into giving up my freedoms, the relationship won’t last.
- Without respect, I’m wasting my time. I’m all for giving second chances, but respect is something I won’t compromise on. If I’m investing in a relationship, I want it to be with someone who holds me in high esteem, who celebrates my autonomy and who believes in me. Of course, I’m not perfect and I also want a partner who will call me out on my shortcomings – that’s part of respect too.
- Respect is what helps us to grow. I know a man respects me when he’s honest with me, and sometimes that means telling me the hard truths. Relationships are opportunities for growth and the most beneficial relationships I’ve ever had were the ones that included full openness – especially with things we don’t like to hear. A man who doesn’t respect me will lie to me rather than face the uncomfortable task of challenging me with the truth. I’d much prefer the latter.
- It’s just as important that I respect him too. Obviously, it’s a two-way street. I don’t expect respect without giving it in return. When I trust that my partner is doing the best he can with the tools available to him, I have more empathy and understanding and hold him in higher esteem. This is respect in action and it’s what keeps a good relationship running.
- At the end of the day, respect is a fundamental part of love. If my partner says he loves me, but doesn’t respect me, perhaps our definitions of love are different. I can respect someone without loving them, but I can’t love them without respecting them. Love means a million different things to a million different people but to me it means desiring that person’s happiness and wellbeing, in all situations. Sounds a lot like respect to me.