I’d Rather My Partner Respect Me Than Love Me Unconditionally

Unconditional love is nice in theory, but I’d rather my partner respect me than love me forever regardless of what I do or who I become—here’s why.

  1. I need to be taken seriously. I used to date someone who’d laugh at me every time I got upset, tell me I was being unreasonable whenever I called him out on his BS, and made constant jokes about having sex when I tried to talk to him about something serious. I can’t stand stuff like that. Sure, he “loved” me, but he didn’t respect me and it showed.
  2. You can’t have a healthy relationship without it. When I ask older couples what the secret to their long-lasting relationship is, it’s rarely just love. They always have a deep respect for one another at the root of everything. They never put each other down in front of people and more than that, they value one another and hold each other in high regard.
  3. It means he values my independence. A partner who respects me will also recognize and appreciate my individuality. He’ll recognize that I exist as a whole person outside of our relationship and encourage me to continue to live a full life with thoughts, ideas, and opinions of my own. I might not agree with him on certain things, I might have fears and hang-ups that he doesn’t understand, but a guy who respects me will respect our differences too.
  4. I know there’s no such thing as unconditional love. Let’s be real for a second—unconditional love is a load of BS. Even when we give the homeless person on the street a dollar, we’re expecting something from it. We’re expecting them to be grateful and make us feel good for giving them something. You’d have to be nuts to stay in a relationship where you give love but get nothing back. What would be the point in that? You have to give respect to get it, sure, but it’s more of a selfless thing.
  5. A guy who respects me knows I have opinions and wants to hear them. Guys tend to think they’re right about everything (sorry guys, but it’s true). However, my partner is different; he knows that he should at least listen to my opinion before making a decision and he respects me enough to take it seriously. It’s so easy to write your girlfriend off as being unreasonable or overreactive, but being respected enough to be listened to means more than all the love in the world.
  6. A guy who doesn’t respect me will only embarrass me. Everyone has been in the situation where you’re out with friends and your partner unknowingly puts you down in front of the whole table. They think it’s cute and fun to make fun of you in front of your friends, but really it’s just disrespectful. That’s why I can’t tolerate any sort of behavior like that in public—it’s embarrassing and inappropriate.
  7. Respect means he isn’t controlling the relationship. You know what they say about respect—it goes both ways. It takes two to make a relationship work and a respectful partner will recognize that you have freedom within the relationship to be yourself and do what you want. It’s not up to him to make all the decisions.
  8. Love is temporary, respect is forever. To me, love happens in waves—it goes up and down throughout the days, weeks, and months we’re together. It can be reignited when we travel or do something new and can be dimmed during stressful times. The thing about love is that it isn’t always felt by both parties even though it should always be there in the background. Respect is different—it’s something that will never die because it’s not based on emotion, it’s based on intention and strength of mind.
  9. If he respects me, it means that he accepts me for who I am. One of the main reasons I demand respect in my relationships is because I need to be seen and accepted for who I am. All too often, people will choose someone with the intention of fixing them down the road and that seems so wrong to me. I need someone who can accept me from the get-go. They don’t have to like everything about me, but they do have to respect me enough not to try and change me.
  10. With respect, he’ll never hurt me. Lack of respect often results in people getting hurt. It’s that idea of having total disregard for another person’s feelings or not recognizing how your actions can affect the person you “love” that’s so damaging. I’ve had my feelings hurt countless times by partners who don’t respect my boundaries and it always ended with me in tears. Honestly, respect should be baseline in every relationship.
  11. People cheat because they don’t respect each other, not because they don’t love each other. Ask someone if they cheated on their partner because they didn’t love them anymore and more often than not, they’ll say no. A lot of people don’t know why they did it, they just did. I have the feeling that it’s the result of not respecting your partner’s feelings. What else would it be?
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.