Most of us will experience at least one toxic relationship. It’s one too many. Let’s change this by recognizing the signs of disrespect in a relationship.
I had my first serious relationship in my early twenties. It was wild and passionate but highly toxic. If I’d better understood the signs of disrespect in a relationship, I might have saved myself some heartache.
We argued all the time, and he used classic manipulation tactics; I fell for every single one of them.
Mind you, I wasn’t innocent either. To get back at him, I would say hurtful things just for him to feel the pain I felt. It was two people who really shouldn’t be together. But, at the same time, there was a sick love for one another.
However, the foundation wasn’t built on mutual respect, and without mutual respect, it’s doomed to fail. And, of course, the relationship ended years later. It wasn’t easy to pull away, especially because I was young, inexperienced, and naive. I listened to his promises and waited for change that never came.
This relationship left me deeply damaged. But it was the only example of love that I knew. I knew what the passion felt like, so I chased after a relationship that could provide me with the same feeling.
Naturally, it never happened. With that intensity, it all comes with instability and abuse. But, I managed to understand my past and avoid relationships that would give me the same results. It took years, literally years. But, that was the time I needed to grow and learn this lesson.
If you’re in a relationship founded on disrespect, things aren’t going to get better. And if you were in a disrespectful relationship, understand and recognize the signs so you can focus on entering a healthy and loving relationship. [Read: Love vs lust and how to know what you’re feeling]
It’s time to be honest with yourself. How many of these signs of disrespect in a relationship do you see in yours?
#1 You don’t feel good. I know this sounds simple, but when you’re in a disrespectful relationship, you never feel truly happy. There are happy moments, but more often than not, there’s a lot of yelling, screaming, and crying. Those small happy moments don’t outweigh the pain that’s filling the relationship. [Read: 13 ways toxic love can harm you permanently]
#2 Your partner doesn’t listen to you. When you talk to your partner, you feel like you’re talking to a wall. They’re not actively listening to you. Instead, they grunt or make the minimal effort to show they’re engaged, but you know they’re not. If your partner is showing zero interest when you talk to them, this is a sign of disrespect.
#3 You’re not a priority. When you’re in a healthy relationship, both partners commit to making each other a priority. They put each other first. This is the ultimate sign of respect. But if your partner spends more time with their friends or at work, it shows they’re not fully invested in the relationship. If they did respect you, the lack of time they spend with you would bother them. [Read: Why something feels off in your relationship and what to do about it]
#4 They try to hurt your feelings. When I was in a toxic relationship, I did that. I wasn’t showing my partner respect because I wasn’t receiving it. This doesn’t mean your situation is the same. If your partner is trying to hurt you purposely, not only is this very disrespectful, but it’s also highly abusive. You should never want to hurt the person you care for.
#5 They don’t keep their word. Who else can you trust if not your partner? When our partner tells us that they’re going to do something, we expect them to follow through on their word. This is only normal. But your partner routinely makes promises and never follows through. This shows you they don’t respect you, and the relationship isn’t a priority for them.
#6 They lie to you. These lies don’t need to be big ones. They can be small, insignificant lies. But the point is, why lie to your partner about small, stupid things? If they’re lying to you about small things, it shows you they’re not concerned whether you know the truth or not. And if that happens, well, who knows what they’re capable of hiding from you. [Read: 15 ways a pathological liar lies and confuses you]
#7 They don’t respect your boundaries. Everyone has their own personal boundaries. And with time, you learn what your partner likes and doesn’t like. If you respect your partner, you don’t cross their personal boundaries. But if there’s a lack of disrespect, those boundaries don’t matter, and your partner will push their limits to make you feel uncomfortable. [Read: Healthy relationship boundaries and the part they play in love]
#8 They talk down to you. We all tease each other and crack jokes if something funny happens, but never with the intent to put someone down. However, does your partner routinely use language that makes you feel small? Calling you “idiot,” “stupid,” or “a dumbass,” these are all words that are used to emotionally squash someone and is one of the clearest signs of disrespect in a relationship.
#9 They don’t want to spend time with your family and friends. When you’re in a relationship with someone, you’ll meet their family and friends. Of course, you may not like all the people they hang around, but those are the people in their closest circle.
If your partner refuses to spend time with the people in your circle of friends and family, it’s disrespectful. It’s your duty as a couple to support each other, which also includes spending time with family and friends.
#10 They love to give you the silent treatment. When you argue, instead of communicating, they give you the silent treatment. The silent treatment is a form of manipulation in the truest sense because it leaves the person unsure of what’s going to happen. Through the silent treatment, they can control your emotions and manipulate you to take the blame. [Read: How to handle the silent treatment without falling apart with guilt]
#11 They check your phone. Why does your partner need to check your phone or computer? This is a huge warning of a serious lack of trust and respect. Your partner should trust you, and if they’re constantly checking your personal phone, hunting to find anything that makes you look guilty, this is extremely unhealthy. It won’t get better; it’ll only get worse, and possibly violent.
#12 They do inconsiderate things. When they do something, you often think they never thought about how you would feel. Instead, they just do whatever feels good for them at the moment. Your feelings aren’t even considered after the fact. And that’s a huge sign they don’t respect you as a person. You shouldn’t have to remind them about your feelings constantly.
#13 They cheated on you. If you know your partner has cheated on you, they’ve broken your trust. It’s that simple. If you’ve decided to stick together and work it out, that’s your decision. But if they continue to act shady and engage in suspicious activities, then it’s clear they don’t respect you or the relationship.
#14 They never compromise. In a relationship, you will never always get what you want. There will be moments where you compromise and negotiate. But in your relationship, you don’t get to have any discussions. It’s either their way or the highway. And that is a huge red flag. They’re obsessed with control, and it’s only going to get worse. [Read: How to understand the thinly veiled line between controlling and caring]
#15 They don’t stand up for you. There are moments where you get into arguments with other people, but if your partner is beside you, they take your side. But your partner never takes your side, especially when you need it the most. They say they don’t want to get involved or don’t want to choose sides, but you are a couple. Where’s the support?