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19 Truths To Respect Yourself In a Relationship & Stop Being a Pushover

If you are being treated with disrespect, then it’s time to learn how to respect yourself in a relationship. Love yourself enough to say “no.”

how to respect yourself in a relationship

Whether you believe in love at first sight or are taking a closer look, whether you’re in a long-term relationship or something that is still fresh and new, there has to be respect involved. Yes, being in a relationship indeed calls for mutual respect and understanding, but at the core of it all, you have to know how to respect yourself in a relationship.

You have probably heard horror tales of women letting their partners step all over them because they’re afraid of ending up alone. Hello, girlfriend! Wake up!

There’s a whole world of men out there, and if you think that the loser who’s pushing you around is your best option, then maybe you really deserve to be with him. It all boils down to taking a look at yourself and evaluating your self-worth.

What is more important – self-respect or a relationship?

If you even have to ask yourself this question, then it’s really good that you’re reading this feature. Because there is no contest – your self-respect is way more important than any relationship! 

You see, at the end of the day, all we really have is ourselves. People come and go in our lives – it’s inevitable. You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your own. And more importantly, you have to love yourself. [Read: How your self-respect in a relationship affects you and your love life]

You are the only person who you will go through 100% of your life with. So, that’s why it’s so important to love yourself! Be your own best company. Become your own best friend. Don’t be afraid to be alone, because you deserve to be respected in a relationship.

Most people get disrespected in a relationship because they don’t love or respect themselves. If they did, then they wouldn’t allow anyone else to treat them with disrespect. So, that’s where it all starts. Self-love.

Now, self-love doesn’t mean that you are a narcissist. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Narcissists don’t truly love themselves – they just pretend that they do in order to have power over other people. [Read: Rock-steady self-respect – how to fine-tune your internal compass]

Someone who truly loves themselves is humble, loving, and empathetic to others. So, don’t let anyone tell you that self-love is selfish. It’s not. Having self-love is the only way you can give real love away to other people.

So, if you don’t respect yourself, then you can’t love yourself. And if you can’t really love yourself, then you can’t really, deeply love other people. You might think you can, but all love starts with you.

To answer the question – is self-respect more important than a relationship, the answer is a very resounding YES!!! And if you are wondering whether or not it’s okay to lose your self-respect for the person you love, the answer to that is a resounding NO!!!! [Read: How to respect yourself – the secrets to self-respect and honest self-belief]

The things you need to do to start respecting yourself more

There’s nothing more important than feeling good about yourself. Whether you have a man in your life or not, you need to prioritize yourself. Remember that only once you respect yourself will he respect you back.

We’re not saying that it’s going to be easy. It’s probably going to be bloody difficult breaking that bad habit of not respecting yourself in a relationship, but trust us when we say that your hard work will pay off. [Read: How your self-respect affects you and your relationship]

If you have no idea where to start, here are 16 things that you can do to start respecting yourself in a relationship.

1. Let your voice be heard

Don’t let your man dictate the terms of your relationship. You’re not an animal to be strung along. Sure, relationships are all about compromise, but be sure that there is a balance and that it’s not just you doing all the compromising.

2. Spend time with your friends

Set aside several days a month for your friends. Whether it’s a one-on-one brunch with your bestie or cocktails on ladies’ night, be sure to respect yourself enough to nurture relationships other than the one that you share with your man.

3. Spend time alone

Besides spending time with your friends, you also have to carve out time to spend alone. Sometimes, all you need is a little space to clear your head and center yourself.

Don’t let anyone intrude on your private time. If you can’t disappear for a day, commandeer the living room for several hours and do your own thing. Don’t let him venture in until you’re ready. [Read: Tips to fall in love with yourself and be a much better you]

4. Be independent

Respect yourself enough to make your own decisions. Set personal goals, have your own circle of friends, and take the liberty to be an independent woman. You’ll find that the more independent you are, the more power you’ll have in the relationship.

5. Make time for your hobbies

A problem that most women face when they enter into a relationship is that they don’t have enough time to do things for themselves.

Whether it’s sitting at a café alone to people watch or spending the afternoon getting your nails and eyebrows done, don’t neglect the things you enjoy doing just because you have a man to ‘look after.’

6. Don’t do something you don’t want to

Whether it’s indulging in S&M, backdoor sex, or lying for him, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable doing. Of course, with that being said, don’t restrict yourself to your bubble, and be sure to try new things that he wants to introduce you to.

Partake in healthy activities that will improve your overall well-being. Examples include mountain biking, rock climbing, jazz lessons, and anything else fun and positive that you never thought you would try.

7. Set down rules

Another way to respect yourself in a relationship is to set down some ground rules. Of course, there’s no need to set anything in stone, but be sure that both parties are aware of the dos and don’ts.

For example, be clear about the consequences of infidelity, and highlight how important it is to practice mutual respect for one another. Let him have his say and be sure to have yours. [Read: How to master positive self-talk and banish negativity]

8. Look good

Another way to respect yourself in a relationship is to never let yourself go. Take pride in looking good, not just for your man but for yourself.

Exercise, eat right, and don’t neglect hygiene. No harm ever came to anyone who overindulged in yoga and made it for her monthly wax appointments. [Read: Easy ways to amp up your physical attractiveness instantly]

9. Forgive yourself

If you did something wrong, forgive yourself and move on. Don’t overburden yourself with guilt because, at the end of the day, it’s easier to forget than to dwell on it.

For example, Maddy’s boyfriend entrusted her to care for his pet iguana when he was out of town. Sadly, she overfed it and it died 3 days in. Although he eventually forgave her, Maddy still hasn’t forgiven herself. It has been 5 years since that dreadful reptilian incident.

Do you see the point in not letting go? We sure don’t. Respect yourself enough to forgive your past grievances.

10. Accept who you are

No matter what, don’t let your man try to change you unless, of course, it’s to become a better person. If you truly believe in something, don’t let love sway you. If you love doing something, don’t let him stop you.

For example, Alexis, a devout Christian, is dating David, a staunch Atheist. We have no idea how they managed to make their relationship work for 8 years, but the point is that they did despite their core differences.

According to Alexis, “He never tried to force-feed his beliefs onto me, and I never did it to him. We respect each other’s beliefs and that’s what makes us work.” [Read: 20 signs you’re a people pleaser who’s never willing to change]

11. Stop comparing your relationship

We know someone who got dumped soon after she made the move to Finland to be with a man she only knew for 5 months. Her Facebook updates were all rainbows and butterflies, but she was dying inside.

The thing is, she displayed a deliriously happy image of herself and her relationship to the whole world that anyone who didn’t know the real story would undoubtedly be jealous of her.

The moral of the story is to respect yourself enough to be happy with what you have. Don’t compare your relationship to someone else’s. You don’t know what lies behind those cleverly filtered Instagram photos and happy-go-lucky status updates. [Read: 23 must-know relationship advice for women]

12. Don’t regret your decisions

Stick to the choices you made and roll with them. There’s no point looking back and regretting every little thing you did.

Your life is as shitty or as awesome as it is because of the choices that you made. Don’t regret anything that happened and respect yourself enough to know that you can improve things if you try.

13. Follow your heart

No matter what you think, respect and honesty go hand in hand. Respect yourself enough to listen to your inner voice. If your heart is telling you to take time off from your relationship, do it; if it’s telling you to take the next step, do it; if it’s telling you he’s cheating, investigate; if it’s telling you to try harder, do it.

14. Constantly make room for improvement

No matter how awesome you think you are, there’s always room for improvement. You should take active steps to be better at everything you do.

From being a better listener to being a better chef, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to become a better version of yourself. It’s a definite indicator that you respect yourself enough to try. [Read: How to change your life and find your happiness]

15. Practice effective communication

Another way that you can respect yourself in a relationship is to communicate effectively with your partner. Don’t take it upon yourself to pent things up inside and assume that you’ll work everything out on your own. Share your troubles, fears, joys, and anything else you feel with your man.

16. Know your worth

Never underestimate your worth, and never be bullied into submission. Fight for your rights and be sure that he treats and appreciates you the way you deserve. Respect yourself enough to ditch him if he doesn’t. [Read: 16 reasons why you’re so easily taken for granted by others]

Always listen to that inner voice of reason in your head. It’s your soul telling you what to do next. Respect yourself enough to pay attention to it and you will find that your relationship will be better than ever.

If your man can’t accept the new and improved you, then it’s a clear sign that you can do better. Never pin yourself into a corner when you have a world of opportunities *and men* out there waiting for you. [Read: The secret signs that reveal a bad relationship]

Reasons your partner disrespects you

You might wonder why your partner is disrespectful to you. You love him, so why would he treat you so badly? In a good relationship, you wouldn’t have to know how to stand up for yourself because you would automatically be treated right. So, here are some reasons your partner is not treating you with respect.

1. He’s selfish and/or a narcissist

Everyone is a little bit selfish. But other people are extremely selfish and/or bordering on being narcissistic. Being extremely selfish, a person cannot think about other people’s needs and desires – only their own. That’s why he treats other people badly.

2. He doesn’t love himself

All love starts with self-love. And if he doesn’t love himself, then he can’t love other people the right way. He probably doesn’t even like himself, so he feels like he has to treat other people with disrespect because, in his own head, he disrespects himself too. [Read: How to deal with a disrespectful boyfriend in the best way possible]

3. He can’t control his anger and is reactive

Some people just can’t control their emotions. They have low social and emotional intelligence. So, he might not be able to control his anger. As a result, he is reactive to everything that is said and done to him. 

None of these reasons are good excuses to treat anyone with disrespect – especially you. So, don’t make excuses for yourself for not standing up in your relationship.

What should you do if your partner has no respect for you?

Now that you know that your partner has no respect for you, it’s time to have a talk with him. You can’t expect things to change if you don’t tell him that his behavior is unacceptable. [Read: 17 signs of disrespect in a relationship that reveal the lack of love]

You also need to put yourself first. Don’t allow him to manipulate you into putting him first. You have to have your priorities in order, and that includes you – not him at the top of the list. 

Another thing you have to do is to learn how to say no and draw boundaries. That’s what standing up for yourself in a relationship is all about. Your partner needs to know that you respect yourself enough to not take any disrespect from him – ever again.

[Read: 25 signs of disrespect in a marriage that shouldn’t be tolerated]

And most importantly, remember this. If you don’t know how to respect yourself in the relationship, why should he?

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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...