A relationship can weather almost any storm by working together as a combined force against life’s challenges. But, if there are challenges within the relationship, such as disrespectful relationship behavior, not only is your relationship at risk, but so are your self-esteem, confidence, and self-respect.
Often we don’t realize we’re experiencing signs of disrespect in a relationship or displaying a lack of respect in a relationship ourselves. Below we’ll explore the most common signs of disrespect in a relationship, examples of disrespectful behavior in a relationship, and what to do when there’s no respect in a relationship.
Over time disrespect can build into resentment and even abuse, creating a cycle of toxic behavior.
The importance of respect in relationships
Respect is essential in all relationships: romantic, platonic, or familial. Mutual respect is essential, as respecting someone who doesn’t respect you will only negatively impact your self-esteem and mental health.
When there’s no respect in a relationship, the expressed love is unlikely to last longer than the honeymoon phase and lead to a messy break-up or ongoing toxic behavior.
When you and your partner respect each other, you become more attuned to each other’s wants, needs, and desires. Remember, relationships should be all about building each other up to become more fulfilled individuals. Being in a mutually respectful relationship can keep that growth continuing years and decades down the line.
20 signs of disrespect in a relationship
What is considered disrespectful behavior? Below are some of the most common forms of disrespect in a relationship. You should be aware of these signs, both for you dealing with disrespect in a relationship and your partner who may be feeling disrespect in a relationship caused by your negligent behavior. Here are some examples of disrespectful behavior in a relationship.
1. Disregard for your free time
You should be a high priority when it comes to your partner’s free time. Being disrespectful in a relationship can include spending an excessive amount of time with others over your partner.
Being taken for granted in this way can impact your sense of self-worth. On the flip side, expecting your partner to constantly choose you over other essential individuals in their life, such as family, can be seen as demanding respect in a relationship and can result in increased tension and a loss of respect from your partner.
2. Being late
Being late or making your partner late for their commitments is a sign of disrespect in a relationship that many of us don’t realize we commit.
Not being on time for an event that’s important to your partner (like a wedding, party, or dinner) implies that what’s important to your partner isn’t necessary to you. Being late may also make your partner look bad to others, which can cause your partner to lose respect for you too.
3. No care for your safety
Ever had a moment with someone where you haven’t felt safe? This can be a sign of disrespect in relationships.
For example, if you feel your partner is driving too fast or is too distracted and doesn’t listen to your requests to slow down or focus on the road, then they are compromising your safety which is a sign that they don’t respect not only your feelings but your safety too.
4. No respect for mental/emotional privacy
While in a relationship, you should be open and honest with your partner. However, they do not need to know what you are doing, feeling, or thinking about every second of the day. Even if you’re a very close couple, you are still your person and have a right to privacy.
5. Breaking promises
In a close or romantic relationship, not keeping your promises is a form of disrespect that says you’re not worth going the extra mile for and committing to. It betrays the trust you have in your partner.
6. Devaluing your ideas and opinions
No one likes it when their idea is shot down or ridiculed, especially when the person devaluing your input is your significant other. When we speak our minds, we open ourselves up to the world. This is why it stings so much when our ideas are ridiculed, causing us to withdraw into ourselves.
No relationship should ever make you feel this way and is a clear sign of when there’s no respect in a relationship.
7. Belittling you
Belittling occurs when someone deprecates you or plays down an aspect of yourself. This could be about a big achievement in your life or the rehashing of a mistake of the past. Belittling behavior is designed to make you feel small and insignificant and is a classic example of disrespect in relationships.
A loving partner should build you up and encourage you to feel good about yourself, not disrespect your appearance.
9. They make decisions without you
We’re talking about the more meaningful decisions in a relationship. Making decisions on large purchases, taking out new contracts such as subscriptions or loans should be discussed, especially if you share a household budget. Not doing so implies a lack of trust and encourages secret-keeping behaviors.
10. They won’t socialize with your friends and family
When you start a new relationship, sometimes your new partner doesn’t get on with one of your friends or family members; that’s ok as long as both parties remain cordial with one another.
If your partner refuses or tries to avoid hanging out with your friend group or family, they display disrespectful relationship behavior.
11. They snoop
The most common form of snooping is checking your mobile phone or tech devices. A disrespectful partner may also go through your bag/backpack. This disregard of your privacy is a blatant form of relationship disrespect.
12. They don’t fight your corner
This point can be a bit of a double-edged sword, as a partner who’s overly protective or defensive can stifle you. However, you should be a priority in your partner’s life, and part of a strong relationship is looking out for one another.
This dates back to our prehistoric ancestry, where groups of hunter-gatherers would stick together to become a more vital unified force. While some people naturally aren’t combative, everyone knows when an individual has gone too far or crossed a line. If your partner isn’t there for you in these moments, they show that they don’t care for your safety and emotional wellbeing.
13. Financial disrespect
Financial disrespect comes in many forms. Most commonly, it occurs when one partner earns significantly more than the other, for example, if one is the full-time ‘breadwinner,’ and the other works part-time or is a stay-at-home parent.
Both jobs are vital to the successful running of the household, but a disrespectful partner may make their other half feel lesser for bringing in less monetary value (despite the value of the work done in the home).
14. They don’t contribute
Both parties must contribute to the household when a relationship becomes serious or long-term, and shared accommodation or children are involved. This includes doing chores, childcare, and so on. A lazy partner is often a disrespectful partner because they show they don’t value you enough to contribute.
15. Excessive flirting with others
Some people are natural flirts and don’t realize how their words or actions could be construed. This is where knowing your partner comes in, as some flirting may be meaningless or part of their personality.
Excessive flirting, however, especially brazen flirting when you are present, displays a lack of respect in a relationship. It could also be a worrying early indicator of a partner who may stray.
16. Disrespectful personal habits
We all have habits that drive our partners crazy, and part of loving someone is accepting their foibles. However, some habits are just inconsiderate. Of course, no one’s going to criticize their partner for an honest mistake. Still, if you’ve brought something up several times and your partner refuses to change, they’re disregarding your feelings and disrespecting you.
17. Weaponized insecurities
This refers to bringing up things from the past, mockery, and name-calling. Weaponized insecurities highlight something you’re uncomfortable with or embarrassed about. In a worst-case scenario, this can be something you’ve told them in confidence, such as a childhood fear or memory.
18. They keep trying to change you
While a person in a supporting relationship should help you improve yourself, a person who has no respect in a relationship will instead try to change you to suit their desires.
From pressuring you to lose weight, eating healthily, or stopping one of your hobbies, when your partner is trying to change you, they say they don’t respect who you are now.
19. The silent treatment
The silent treatment (also called stonewalling) is a form of punishment that doesn’t solve the original problem. Instead, silent treatment makes the other person feel bad, often without knowing why and can feel disrespected in the relationship.
20. They’re always interrupting
Interruption is another form of disrespect in a relationship. In a social setting, this can imply that your words have less value than theirs.
If your partner constantly talks over you or doesn’t let you finish your point, or even cuts a story short of replacing it with their own, they send out the message that their voice and input are more important than yours.
How can disrespect impact your relationship?
What happens when there is no respect in a relationship? Disrespect can adversely affect your relationship with your partner. Some ways it can cause trouble in paradise include –
Disrespect is like a grain of poison that settles in your relationship and can grow into resentment for each other, or even abuse.
Being frequently disrespected by your partner can lead to the development of insecurities and complexes, which can impact you in all areas of your life and even for years after the relationship has ended.
Disrespect in a relationship can impact your relationships with friends and family. You may be more on edge or take your feelings out on others without meaning to.
Feeling disrespected in a relationship can also impact your sense of purpose. Tasks may remain unfinished around the house. You might become more forgetful or show a lack of care for your appearance or surroundings. Factors such as these can cause even more disrespectful behavior as well as arguments.
Long-term disrespect can crush a person’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth and often verge on emotional or mental abuse. This can cause a person to withdraw from their friends and family and develop feelings of depression and anxiety.
What to do about disrespectful relationship behavior.
What should you do if you feel disrespected in a relationship and see signs of disrespect in a relationship? Here is the recommended course of action.
This may sound obvious, but we often ignore the things that concern or worry us. It’s often easier and more convenient to sweep things under the rug than confront difficult things head-on. This can lead us to become willfully oblivious to disrespectful relationship behaviors.
We often disrespect or hurt others without meaning to. Your partner may not realize how their actions make you feel, and they might be utterly mortified to find out when you tell them and will modify their behavior accordingly.
However, if you don’t bring up how you’re feeling, they won’t know that their behavior is at fault, and you may start to resent them for something they don’t even realize they’re doing.
Make it clear when their behavior crosses over this boundary, and over time your partner should start to correct their behavior before the boundary is reached. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Some disrespectful people thrive on making other people feel small.
Give your partner a few chances, as no one’s perfect, but if they keep slipping back into old behavior or refuse to change then, it may be time to call it quits.
Disrespectful behavior often only worsens over time and can leave you feeling trapped in a relationship where you are not valued and feel emotionally and spiritually crushed.
To understand more about what to do if you feel disrespected by your partner, watch this video.
Know when to call it quits
If your partner isn’t changing, or you’re stuck in the same old cycle that is making both of you unhappy, then it’s probably time to end the relationship and move on to hopefully find a healthier and more fulfilling love.
If at any time your partner scares you, or their disrespectful behavior increases and you no longer feel safe, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are many resources available online such as at www.thehotline.org or call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) if your partner’s behavior starts to concern you.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.