Without respect, relationships become one-sided and are pretty much doomed to fail. “Respect is an important component of every healthy relationship, yet it’s absolutely critical for the long-term success of a romantic relationship,” explains clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly. “When a sense of solid respect is present, partners tend to feel more appreciated, seen, and safe in the relationship. When respect is not present, partners will tend to feel wary, angry, and deeply resentful.” Here’s how to recognize the signs of disrespect and why you have to walk away.
Signs he doesn’t respect you
- He dismisses your feelings. Whether or not he understands where you’re coming from, he should at least validate your feelings and accept them. When he doesn’t, it’s clear he doesn’t respect you. “If you are partnered with someone who doesn’t respect you, you feel like you are wrong for having your feelings,” says registered clinical counselor, Angela Caruk. “This is because your feelings will feel to them like an inconvenience or a threat, so they will try to manage their difficult feelings by controlling your way of being.”
- He flirts with other women. Whether this happens behind your back or right in front of you, this is not okay. If he’s in a relationship with you, that means caring enough about you and respecting you enough not to be actively flirting with other people. And if he’s not happy being part of a monogamous couple with you, why doesn’t he just end the relationship?
- He lies to you all the time. While we’re all guilty of telling little white lies from time to time, if you’re repeatedly catching him telling you a load of BS, that’s not okay. “When a partner speaks down about you or uses your insecurities and limitations to their advantage, […] these all are indications that your partner does not have enough respect for you,” says clinical psychologist Josh Klapow, Ph.D.
- He completely disregards your boundaries. Relationship boundaries aren’t just a healthy part of any good relationship, they’re vital. If there are certain behaviors you’ve deemed unacceptable that he completely ignores, there’s a problem. “Whether a partner borrows money and doesn’t return the funds, invades personal space, or engages in unwanted physical advances,” you shouldn’t have to (and definitely shouldn’t!) put up with it, according to Dr. Manly.
- He gives you the silent treatment. Not only is this extremely immature, it also indicates a serious lack of respect. If he cared about you, he would be willing to discuss issues like an adult and try to work them out rather than stonewalling you. “Your partner may default to this pattern of avoidance [on an ongoing basis], which leads to the issue remaining unaddressed and you stuck without an avenue to confront it,” Caruk says.
- He uses your insecurities and anxieties against you. If he knows that you’re extremely insecure about something and he finds a way to use that against you to bring you down and build himself up, he not only doesn’t respect you, he’s actually being emotionally and mentally abusive. This is not a good situation and you shouldn’t stick around.
- He expects you to do all the heavy lifting. Whether it’s cleaning up the house and doing all the cooking to putting in the effort to plan dates and remember anniversaries, a guy who puts in zero effort and expects you to carry the weight of the relationship on your shoulders clearly doesn’t care about you, nor does he respect you.
- He makes decisions without consulting you. If he’s cool with planning things, whether it’s what you’re doing this weekend or the decision to take a job three states away without so much as mentioning it to you, that’s not okay. You’re supposed to be a couple, so if he’s cool with disrespecting you by making decisions as if he’s single, that’s your sign to exit.
Why you have to walk away from the relationship
- If he doesn’t respect you, he doesn’t value you. You deserve to be valued in every relationship you maintain. Feeling like he really treasures you starts early on — it’s likely what attracted you to this guy in the first place. There’s something he did differently or something that made him stand out from everyone else in the pack. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself because he fails to acknowledge your accomplishments and fascinating differences, you’ll start to resent him while simultaneously ruining your self-esteem.
- A lack of respect means he’ll put himself before anyone else, especially you. In his eyes, he’s the sun and everything revolves around him. All of his decisions will factor his own happiness first. If he forces you to keep going out to that bar that you’ve said you hate time and time again, he simply doesn’t respect you, nor does he care about your feelings. And yes, your feelings should always, always matter.
- Not respecting you shows a lack of character. You might notice the lack of respect, but you still might be blind to the 900 other things wrong with this guy. Respecting others is a lesson he should have learned back in kindergarten. If he still fails to grasp that concept, there are probably many other signs that this guy isn’t meant to be in a relationship, nor does he know how a good one functions.
- With a disrespectful guy, you’ll never be right. Doesn’t it feel amazing being wrong all the time? It seems like no matter what you say, you’re shoved aside. He always has to talk louder and he never leaves the room without having the last word. Show yourself some respect and quit dating someone who thinks you’re silly, or someone who just doesn’t know how to shut up and listen during an argument.
- Lack of respect in a relationship probably means a lack of respect professionally, as well. There’s a good chance that you’re not the only person being treated like garbage. It’s possible this guy treats his colleagues the same way. If he refuses to listen to your hopes and dreams at home, it’d be awful to see how he handles his female coworkers who might have better ideas than him on how to keep the business afloat.
- You can’t trust someone you don’t respect, and trust is equally important in a relationship. Can you imagine having a relationship with someone you can’t trust? You wouldn’t be able to tell him any of your secrets and probably have to keep your valuables on lockdown — simply put, it’s a lot more effort than it’s worth. Respect is exactly the same. If you don’t respect someone, you’re not going to want to share with them or get to know them deep down. If you appreciate him, but he doesn’t appreciate you, your relationship is off to a terrible start.
- Respect affects communication — without respect, he won’t give a crap about how his words make you feel. Sometimes when we’re feeling angry, our words get heated. I mean, think about how many times as a kid, you told your Mom “I hate you!” just because you knew it’d sting. But hey, you grew out of it. You realized words can be hurtful, and improved your communication to make sure you didn’t keep making those types of mistakes. This guy doesn’t respect you, so he doesn’t even care that his negative tantrums are hitting you hard. Sound familiar? Stop believing anything he’s shouting at you, and walk.
- Respect helps build the relationship — if he doesn’t show respect, he doesn’t want things to grow. When you respect someone, you want to spend time with them and learn from them. So when you’re dating a dirtbag who doesn’t value you, he obviously doesn’t give a crap about either of those things. He’s not putting the time into the relationship to have it flourish. The relationship has no future. You’ve got to accept it, respect yourself, and move on.