When we love someone, we want to believe they have our best interests at heart. We want them to care for us, to think we're important, and to consider us in their own actions as they go about their day. This should be standard in a relationship, really, but there are some people who simply do not see their significant other as an equal.
These people do not respect their partners, and this disrespect can be hard to spot if you don't know what you're looking for. There are some reliable, telltale signs of romantic disrespect, ones you should be keeping an eye out for if you're feeling uneasy.
One thing that can keep us trapped in relationships where we aren't respected is the ghosts of traumas we endured in youth, traumas that still affect us and diminish our self-worth. To uncover the root of these traumas and learn how to overcome them, there's a simple quiz you can take.
Your Own Person
The foundational trait of any relationship should be respect. To respect someone is to value their thoughts, their opinions, their identity, and their independence. Respecting your partner means seeing them as the whole, unique person they are and placing worth on their role in your life and in their existence at large.
Unfortunately for many, there are those out there who don't see their partners as individual people, instead considering them an extension of themselves or an accessory to their life. If you're in a relationship with someone like this, they don't respect you, and will often show signs of this—such as the ones listed here.
1. Not Considering Your Feelings
A partner not considering your feelings is a huge, waving red flag that they don't respect you. They do as they please with no thought about how you may feel. They'll cancel dates, forget important moments, or ignore your requests while feeling no guilt or concern for how you may react to them.
They don't actively think about what could trigger your sorrow, anger, or anxieties. They live a life entirely self-serving. These people are also the type to ask the world of you, to push you to make sacrifices for them despite never reciprocating. To them, you're no better than an assistant.
2. Insulting You
This one seems obvious at its face, but people will put up with a lot from those they love, even if it's something as clearly rude as insulting you or calling you names. This is especially true if the name-calling doesn't start until well into the relationship. Things so far have been good, so surely this period of rudeness and vitriol is just a weird phase, right?
Wrong. Even if it is, do you really want to stay with someone who will periodically be very vicious towards you for seemingly no reason? Someone who respects their partner will never be looking for reasons to be cruel to them. Playful jabs are one thing; personal attacks are another.
3. Lying To You
Another sign that seems obvious but is easy to write off when you're deep in the throws of love is lying. A white lie here or there may not be anything to worry about, but frequent, consistent lies only show that your partner doesn't even have enough respect for you to tell you the truth.
This compounds further if what they're lying about are things like what they get up to when you're not around or who they're spending time with. You don't need to know what's happening every minute of your partner's day, but they also shouldn't be hiding huge chunks of their life from you.
4. Rude Towards People You Love
When someone respects you, they trust the company that you keep and want to stay in good favor with them. They value the friendships you already have and want those people to think highly of them, approving of and supporting any budding relationship that could happen between you two.
If someone is rude towards your friends, family, or anyone else you consider important, they've now made it obvious that they don't care about making you comfortable or supporting your inner circle. At worst, they may start to isolate you from those people so anyone else's negative opinion of them won't get into your head and make you second guess things.
5. Refusing To Apologize
Mature, responsible people can admit when they're wrong. They own up to mistakes, apologize, and prove that they learn and grow from missteps made along the way. They respect your feelings enough not to want to do anything to hurt you again, even if it was an accident, and actively change their behavior to prevent it from happening again.
Someone who doesn't respect you will never apologize for anything they've done, even if they're so clearly in the wrong that it's obvious to everyone around them. They don't respect your feelings enough to say sorry. They'll deny their wrongdoing up and down until you start to feel guilty for bringing it up.
6. Flirt With Others In Front Of You
A partner who doesn't respect you also won't respect your commitment to one another. They'll openly flirt with other people in front of you, and if you ever get mad about it, they'll claim they were 'just being nice' or say it isn't a big deal because they 'didn't actually cheat' on you.
It shouldn't matter how far the flirting went. If that's a boundary you have, that should be enough for them not to want to cross it. Complimenting someone is one thing; flirting is something else entirely.
7. Crossing Your Boundaries
Speaking of boundaries, a partner that doesn't respect you will constantly be finding ways to ignore, push, or just stomp right over the lines you draw. They never cared about them to begin with, thinking of them as casual suggestions instead of the steadfast rules that they are.
Then, when they do cross them and you inevitably get upset, they'll pretend like they don't know what the big deal is or why it matters so much. They'll belittle your reactions, and your feelings and, as mentioned before, be incapable of apologizing or admitting they did anything wrong.
8. Don't Care About Your Interests
Anybody who claims to love you should have a genuine interest in who you are as a person, which includes all of your hobbies or passions. Even if they don't "get it" or aren't as into the activity, they should, at the very least, be interested whenever you speak about it and want to hear about your developments. They're happy when you're happy, so they'll want to encourage your participation in the things you enjoy.
A partner who doesn't respect you will, at best, ignore your interests and never acknowledge them, and that's still awful. At worst, they'll insult these things, finding them to be childish, boring, annoying, or whatever other insult they choose to throw your way.
9. Being Condescending Towards You
To respect someone is to embrace your autonomy and existence as a unique person. This also means they should respect your role as an adult. A partner who doesn't respect you might not think of you in the same light, believing you're below them and addressing you that way.
They'll be condescending, speaking to you like you're either a child or far less intelligent than they are. They will never see you as an equal. This creates an inherent power imbalance in their mind, which is not conducive to a healthy relationship.
10. Not Valuing Your Time
Because a partner who doesn't respect you doesn't see you as your own person, they also don't see you as having your own time. Your time is tied to their time, your days are their days, so they don't see any issue with wasting your time as they see fit. They'll busy your days doing tasks for them without concern about your obligations, events, outings, or simply free time.
If they're more militant, they may even scold you for having free time, saying there's so much more you could be doing (as long as it serves them, of course).
11. Stonewalling You
Stonewalling is a cold response to discussions that indicate someone has no regard for you or what you're saying. Stonewalling occurs when, for example, you bring up an issue you've been having in the relationship, and they respond by tuning you out, ignoring you, pretending to be busy, etcetera. They'll avoid what you're saying and not talk about it, meaning nothing gets resolved.
This reaction proves that they not only don't care about your feelings, they fully don't care about what you're saying, nor do they have any interest in repairing what's already broken.
Never Too Late
No one deserves to be in a relationship where they're not respected. Not only is it hurtful, it's dehumanizing and often traumatizing for those who suffer through it. While there are many signs, it can be hard to identify, as those who behave like this have learned over time how to do it covertly, slowly building up bad behavior until you've put so much time and effort into the relationship that you'd consider it a loss to leave it now.
Know that it's never too late to leave, and if it's your mental health on the line, you should absolutely do so. No partner is worth suffering years of discontent and disrespect for.
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