Home  >  Love Couch  >  Better Love

34 Signs of Disrespect in a Marriage that Reveals a Toxic & Mean Partner

When you get married, you think you will live happily ever after. If you feel like that’s not happening, here are 29 signs of disrespect in a marriage you need to know.

signs of disrespect in a marriage

No one said marriage was easy. Well, if they did, then they either haven’t been married or they haven’t been told about the tribulations of maintaining a “happy marriage.” Although each marriage operates differently, there are some universal signs of disrespect in a marriage that create tiny holes, which will eventually rip the marriage wide open.

We have all been around that bickering couple who makes you feel uncomfortable. With the hostility that can be cut with a knife even while they’re in public, you just know things aren’t good at home. But, there are two types of marriage discord situations: the silent type and the outward type.

Sure, talking badly to or about your spouse is one big sign of disrespect in a marriage. However, there are many other covert and much more hurtful ones that no one sees but the people who receive them.

The signs of disrespect in a marriage

Disrespect is something intolerable in any relationship. Even if you think you’re strong enough to weather the disrespect storm, not only will the tide take you over, but you simply shouldn’t be with someone who disrespects you.

Disrespect comes in many forms. From using crude language to derogatory phrases, usually, it is the sum total of the way that someone makes you feel. If you think they disrespect you, don’t second guess yourself. You deserve to be in a relationship where you feel valued and loved.

1. They never put their phone down

Sure, phones are super fun and important, but they shouldn’t ever be more important than spending time with your spouse. When you put your phone in front of your face, it says to your partner, “I’m sorry, I have better things going on right now.” [Read: Phubbing – Why it’s the rudest thing you could ever do to anyone]

2. Their friends know more about them than you do

They say that you should marry your best friend. If you find out about major life events, or just day-to-day things, from someone other than your significant other, then that is a sign that your spouse doesn’t make you a priority.

3. They never introduce you to other people they know

Not much is worse than standing there while your spouse goes on with someone who is clearly a good friend and not only do you not know them, your spouse doesn’t even consider you important enough in their life to say “Hey, this is my wife/husband ___.”

4. They only take care of themselves and couldn’t care less about the household

A partnership is supposed to be just that. If they only care about themselves and what is on their agenda, guess what? They don’t respect what is going on in your life. Either way, that isn’t cool. [Read: One year itch: 25 tips to avoid marriage problems early on]

5. They don’t acknowledge your accomplishments

If you respect someone, then you honor their accomplishments.

Someone who isn’t proud of you or what you have accomplished isn’t respectful of you. Being respectful means not being jealous of someone’s achievements, and giving someone a, “hey good job” no matter what is going on in their personal life. [Read: Signs your partner is truly supportive of your goals]

6. They take every opportunity possible to make you feel less than

When you respect someone, you want to make them feel good about themselves; to build them up. If they take every opportunity to cut you down, point out your insecurities, or just make you feel bad, that is extremely disrespectful and not something you should put up with.

7. They talk about and to you derogatorily

Respecting someone means you boost them up, not tear them down. If they can’t follow the “Thumper Rule” of not saying anything if you can’t say something nice, or even worse, can’t say nice things, then that is one of the signs of disrespect in a marriage.

8. Nothing is off bounds

If they don’t know when to stop, think laughter should be at your expense, or tell intimate details about what goes on in your lives without any thought to how it affects or hurts you, then they simply don’t respect you.

9. They hide things from you

Part of being respectful to your partner is showing trust and being open and honest. If they keep secrets from you, big or small, there is a reason why. They try to maintain control. Controlling someone doesn’t exude respect. If someone can’t be trustworthy, they are extremely disrespectful not just to you but to the commitment you made together. [Read: Giveaways to tell if someone is lying to your face]

10. They treat you like if you disappeared tomorrow they wouldn’t notice, or better yet, they’d be happy

When you respect someone, you make them feel loved, appreciated, and valued. If someone treats you like the only thing that would change is the laundry piling once you are gone, that doesn’t scream respect. That screams, “I take you for granted and would just move along if you moved on.”

11. They make a big deal out of other men/women and look right through you

Respect in a marriage means you make someone feel like they are indispensable to you.

If every time you are out somewhere you know that it doesn’t matter if you are around because they no longer see you, then that is nothing but disrespectful *not to mention hurtful*.

12. They never take your side

Respecting someone means standing behind them simply because you know they are a good person, and, if they say something, you trust they are right.

Sure, there are going to be times when they aren’t. But being respectful means you stand behind them. And, even if you whisper in their ear to take a second look, you hold them up and are on their side.

13. They make sure they are fed, clothed, and taken care of first

Showing respect is like having a guest; you ensure they are taken care of first. That goes for you both, it’s not just one-sided. If you find that you are the only one taking the initiative to care for the other, that is a big sign of disrespect in a marriage.

14. Their social media is full of inappropriate contacts and conversations

Right out there for the world to see. If your mate inappropriately texts, tweets, or Snaps behind your back, or worse yet, in your face, with people of the opposite sex, that is disrespectful. Period.

15. They openly watch porn whether you are around or not

Seriously? We know that all guys do it, but have enough respect to hide the evidence or save it for when you are alone and without us, or watch with us … [Read: Porn for couples: Why it might just save your relationship]

16. They talk about how hot other people are in your presence

Whether it’s a supermodel, celebrity, or the person next door, it makes no difference. Your spouse should be the only one in your eye, at least on paper and as far as they know. Don’t lie; just hush. We all know we aren’t a perfect 10, but when you respect someone, you let them have the illusion.

17. They cut down your style, your outfit, or anything about your appearance continually

That is just ugly, disrespectful, and not helpful.

18. If you struggle, they couldn’t be bothered to help

Another big sign of disrespect in a marriage is that they never help you. Your spouse is supposed to be your best friend and the person there for you through the good times and bad. If they aren’t ever there at all, it disrespects and negates the commitment they made to you.

19. They choose their friends and family over you every time

When you respect your marriage and your spouse, they take the number one position in your life. If your partner never takes your side, that says, “I don’t respect you.” It is one of the major signs of disrespect in a marriage.

20. They make it clear you are not a priority

When you say I do, it means “I do promise to honor and cherish you.” Cherishing someone means telling them how much they mean to you. [Read: How to set boundaries: The crucial steps to feel more in control]

21. They don’t think they are lucky to have you

A person who respects you knows they are lucky to have you in their lives. If they treat you like they do you the favor, that isn’t respectful. It is downright degrading and not anything that you should put up with!

22. They aren’t polite to your friends or your family

Let’s all be honest here, just because you marry someone and you marry their family, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to love them.

But, you do have to show them kindness, acknowledgment, and be respectful enough to treat them like they matter. If someone doesn’t ever act like the people most important to you are important to them, that is one of the clear signs of disrespect in marriage.

23. If something is important to you, it is important to you only

Marriage is a shared effort all the way around. If you are excited about something, even if they aren’t, they should pretend they are.

24. What is theirs is theirs, period

Marriage means 50/50. That means you share everything. You don’t think you have dibs on anything. There might be something special that means something to one of you or the other, but, in general, community property is community. [Read: Selfishness in relationships: 15 tips to do the right thing]

25. They can’t give you two seconds of their time because it is that important

Being respectful of someone means when you have something to say, they put time aside to show you that you mean something.

Even if it is totally stupid or infantile, you have to go with it when you are married to show someone how much you respect them.

If you allow someone who is supposed to be your best friend, your support system, and your partner in life, to treat you with anything less than the respect you deserve, then someday you will wake up, look around, and feel bottomed out.

26. They never compliment you

In a happy, healthy marriage, both people should say nice things to one another. Simple words like, “You look really pretty in that dress” or, “I love how you did your hair today” are very important. It helps build up each other’s self-esteem. If your spouse never has anything nice to say about you, then that’s a problem. [Read: Why narcissists ignore you, your texts, and do the selfish things they do]

27. They are abusive

Abuse comes in many forms – not just physical. But of course, if your spouse is laying their hands on you or beating you up, then that is beyond disrespectful. Mental and emotional abuse are just as bad too. If they are calling you names, saying you would be nothing without them, or cutting you down, that is very harmful to you.

28. They isolate you

In order to control you, they get you away from your friends and family. They know that isolating you will make you “do as you’re told.” So, if they are trying to control your every move and never let you see anyone you love, that is incredibly disrespectful.

29. They blame you for everything

The phrase “personal responsibility” is not in their vocabulary. Instead, they blame you for everything that goes wrong, even if it’s not your fault. Gaslighting and deflecting the responsibility to you is something that a disrespectful spouse does. [Read: Selfish people – how to spot and stop them from hurting you]

What to do if you have a disrespectful spouse

Now that you know the signs that you have a disrespectful marriage, what should you do about it? Should you just put up with it for the rest of your life? Well, the answer to that is no! You should love yourself enough to protect yourself from their disrespect. Here are some ways you can do that.

1. Stand up for yourself

When they say or do something disrespectful, don’t take it. Let’s say they said, “You are lazy and a bad cook.” You can say, “No, I’m not lazy. I cook and clean and take care of the kids every day. And everyone else seems to like my cooking, including myself. So you are wrong.”

2. Don’t play their game

A disrespectful spouse will play mind games with you, so refuse to play them. For example, if they are trying to gaslight you or make you think you are crazy, don’t allow them to.

Tell them you know the truth and that you are not going to be a participant in this craziness that they are trying to create for you. Simply say, “I’m done with these games.” [Read: Signs a narcissist is playing mind games with you and gaslighting you]

3. Stop their behaviors

Disrespectful people will keep being disrespectful and rude as long as no one stops them. So, who is going to stop them other than you? You have to tell them “no.”

Tell them to stop the name-calling or any other disrespectful behavior they might have. They are a bully, and bullies don’t like people who stop them and stand up for themselves. So, don’t be an easy target.

4. Raise your self-esteem

You probably don’t want to hear this, but the core problem with why your spouse is disrespectful to you is that you allow them to be. You need to love yourself enough to say, “I won’t take any more of this!” So, if you haven’t done that yet, then you need to try to raise your self-esteem. Only when you feel good about yourself and have love in your heart will you be able to stop them.

5. Go to therapy

If you don’t know how to love yourself, then you might need to get the help of a trained therapist *if you can*. It’s not easy to work on problems by yourself. But if possible, it would be very helpful for you to not only get individual therapy but, if your spouse is willing, couples therapy too. That is if you still want to try to make the marriage work.

[Read: How do you know when your marriage is over? And is it too late?]

If you are respectful to your spouse and it isn’t returned, that isn’t right. Use these signs of disrespect in a marriage to end the behavior.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

LovePanky icon
Team LovePanky
The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...