Disrespectful Boyfriend: 17 Subtle Signs and the Best Ways to Deal with Him

Do you have a disrespectful boyfriend? If you aren’t sure, here are the signs that you do, and some tips on how to deal with him. It’s time to take your power back.

disrespectful boyfriend

Disrespectful boyfriends seem to be an epidemic. They sprout up everywhere in different shapes and sizes with different interests, different styles, and different jobs. They are young and old. Learning how to deal with a disrespectful boyfriend will matter in life.

Some disrespectful boyfriends are tricky and manipulative so you don’t know he is disrespectful until you are in deep. Others show you their true colors right from the start.

But after the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, it’s time to speak up and shut down disrespectful boyfriends. They must go. [Read: 17 signs of disrespect in a relationship that shouldn’t be tolerated]

Signs of a disrespectful boyfriend

Believe it or not, some women don’t even know that they have a disrespectful boyfriend. The reason for that is because they might think the way he treats her is “normal.” So, here are some of the signs of a disrespectful boyfriend so you can determine whether or not you have one.

1. He calls you names and puts you down

If he is saying that you’re lazy, a loser, fat, dumb, a bitch, or anything else that is negative, then that is unacceptable.

Not only is it disrespectful, it probably isn’t even true. He puts you down because he doesn’t feel good about himself, so he wants to drag you down to his level so you have bad self-esteem too.

2. He ignores you

A disrespectful boyfriend doesn’t put any effort into the relationship. In fact, he could ignore you most of the time.

Whether it’s because he’s playing video games 24/7 or he’s out with the boys all the time, he never spends quality time with you. He always puts someone or something as a higher priority than you. [Read: 23 boss steps to make a guy feel guilty for hurting you and ignoring you]

3. He is selfish

He doesn’t care about your wants, needs, and desires. Instead, all that matters is what he wants. Even if you have talked to him or begged him to meet your needs, your words still fall on deaf ears.

Anything he wants he gets. Anything you want or need, you never get. He is selfish and only thinks about himself.

4. He doesn’t listen to you

If you voice your concerns in an effort to fix the relationship, he’ll try to ignore you. Even if you just want to talk to him about the bad day you had at work, he won’t listen. He has terrible listening skills, and as a result, it makes you feel like he doesn’t care at all about what you have to say or what your feelings are.

5. He thinks you are his slave

He is constantly expecting you to cook, clean, do his laundry, and make his lunch for work. If you have kids, he never helps out with them either.

You might as well be his maid, cook, and slave because he never lifts a finger to help you out with anything. He thinks he is entitled to be served by you all the time. [Read: 23 subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend most girls don’t notice]

6. He abuses you

Abuse comes in many different forms. What we discussed above – name-calling and putting you down – is a form of mental and emotional abuse.

But of course, that can turn into physical abuse. Whether it’s holding your arm so tightly that he gives you a bruise or he flat-out beats you up, this is unacceptable and beyond disrespectful.

7. He controls you

He wants to control your every move. Your friends and family haven’t seen you as much as they used to because he doesn’t want you to. He asks about how much money you spend and where are going when you leave. He might even control what you eat or when you take a shower. This is a huge sign of a disrespectful boyfriend, as well as being yet another form of abuse.

Should you deal with a disrespectful boyfriend?

This is the question you should answer before going any further. Should you even be dealing with a disrespectful boyfriend? Does he deserve your effort? [Read: Disrespectful husband – Signs and ways to teach him to treat you better]

The answer is no. Sure, some guys are worth the effort and some guys are totally clueless about how to treat a woman. There are plenty of guys that will listen and learn. They will try to see the situation from your point of view and do better.

If you have a boyfriend like that, keep him and teach him. But, there are a lot of boyfriends with no desire to be respectful.

Unfortunately, there are a large number of men who are boyfriends or husbands that just do not respect women. Maybe they think their job is more important than their girlfriend’s, or they expect their girlfriends to do all the cooking and housework. [Read: 22 early warning signs of a really bad boyfriend]

Then some boyfriends seem to be respectful on the surface, but when push comes to shove, they still have toxic masculinity at the forefront of their minds. They put their careers first, expect you to take on the traditionally feminine roles, and even try to control your actions.

Disrespectful boyfriends are often set in their ways and there is no changing them, so why deal with that when you deserve so much better? Don’t.

If you think your disrespectful boyfriend is beyond help and too close-minded to see how the world is advancing to make us all equals, dump him and spend your time with people that respect you. [Read: 20 misogynist red flags that reveal a disrespectful man]

How to deal with a disrespectful boyfriend

As awful as disrespectful boyfriends are, some of these are actually clueless guys. Boys will be boys is not an excuse for disrespectful behavior, but they will never change their behavior if they don’t know they are doing it or how to fix it.

Some men actually want to grow and become better people. As do we. By sitting idly by and letting our disrespectful boyfriends treat us badly, we avoid potential confrontations but also do nothing to change the situation.

We can improve ourselves, our boyfriends, and our relationships by speaking up. Talk to your boyfriend and help him to understand why his actions are so disrespectful. Once he understands how what he does makes you feel, he will want to change *if he is a decent person*.

From there, work together to help him outgrow any patterns of behavior he has become accustomed to. At the same time, you can work on patience. He will not become prince charming overnight. [Read: 16 reasons why your boyfriend is so mean]

These disrespectful behaviors our boyfriends have are not random. They have seen these behaviors on TV, people in their lives, and for years this behavior was rewarded. In a sense, many men are conditioned to be disrespectful to their girlfriends.

You and your boyfriend should work together to recondition him into his own man who respects you and all women. But how?

1. Work together

First things first, it is not just you dealing with a disrespectful boyfriend. This is a relationship. You deal with it together. If you feel like you are in it all alone, you might as well be. Drop the dead weight and respect yourself. [Read: Why you should run if you see these relationship red flags]

You can’t expect to fix him if you don’t work together as a team. He needs to know that you think his behavior is disrespectful before he can change it. That is if he can change it.

2. Talk it out

If your boyfriend is disrespectful, he has likely been this way for a while. He will not change overnight and this will require more than one conversation to sort out.

Talk to each other. Let him know where you are coming from. If you don’t tell him, he will never know and this behavior will continue.

3. Create a safe space

We all deserve respect, especially in a romantic relationship. But, because it seems like something so basic that is lacking, we can get quite frustrated when talking about it.

Before beginning your discussions, create a safe space so you both feel comfortable sharing and don’t hold back. Let each other know if you feel disrespected. Be sure to only talk about it when you are in this space. [Read: 18 emotions you shouldn’t feel in a healthy relationship]

4. Answer his questions

Firstly, let him ask questions. As much as we expect everyone to understand the progressive and feminist standpoint, that is not how the world is just yet. You can see his disrespect so clearly and think it is insane he can’t understand, but let him develop at his pace.

Let him ask questions. As dumb as they may seem to you, the answers you give are what is driving him to be better, so be patient with him.

5. Share your feelings

As we said, this is not a one-time conversation. You can’t tell him he is being disrespectful and expect him to change his behavior from that. Let him know why his behavior is wrong and how it makes you feel.

If he cares about your feelings he will try, but he has to know what your feelings are. Tell him how you feel when he is disrespectful and how you would like to see the change happen.

6. Remain calm

Anger is a big part of this issue. When we have been disrespected we feel like we are seen as less than. We feel betrayed and misunderstood. We feel like we are being looked down upon.

These feelings make us frustrated and angry. We deserve better. But getting angry and lashing out will not fix a disrespectful boyfriend. All it does is reignite anger and disrespect. Remain calm; that is the best way to deal with a disrespectful boyfriend. [Read: How to fight fair in a relationship and grow closer]

7. Remember your feelings are valid

Through all of this, you give a lot. You put up with something that shouldn’t really even happen, and it wouldn’t in a perfect world. But, our world is far from perfect and everyone can be better.

So no matter how much you are not perfect, remind yourself your feelings are valid. You deserve to be treated with respect. You have every right to ask that and even demand it from your boyfriend.

8. Give him a chance

As much as you think dumping him is totally justified, if you are willing to work on this and think he has the potential to change, give him a fighting chance. Do not give him a deadline. People do not work that way.

When it comes to learning how to deal with a disrespectful boyfriend, let him try. If he messes up, remind him that these are the moments when he is being disrespectful. Give him a chance to right his wrongs. If he still goes back to his old ways, dump his disrespecting ass.

9. Are you respecting him? 

When we are disrespected, we automatically go into a mode where we demand respect. That is perfectly fair. But, within this headspace, we lose respect for him.

We cannot expect him to respect us if we do not respect him. This is a two-way street. It is all about being treated equally. You cannot look down on him because he wasn’t filled with progressive knowledge before you got together. [Read: How to show respect in a relationship and love each other better]

10. Go to therapy

If all else fails, visit a professional. This offers you a safe space you may not be able to create on your own. An unbiased third party looks at your relationship from a new perspective and provides new insight.

They can also assign exercises to use when these disrespectful moments arise. Couples therapy is not just for marriage. Whether you have been together for four years or four months, you can benefit from a healthy space to work on issues like a disrespectful boyfriend.

[Read: The signs you’re being used by a man and it is time to ditch him]

You should no longer be wondering how to deal with a disrespectful boyfriend. You have choices. Work it out together, dump him, or find someone who can direct you to the right path for your relationship.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...