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29 Signs of a Lack of Respect in a Relationship You Must Never Ignore

When you meet someone new, you don’t expect things to go wrong. But, if you see a lack of respect in a relationship, it’s time to act or move on. 

lack of respect in a relationship

There are many components that make up a healthy and successful relationship, but respect is one of the most important. Lack of respect in a relationship creates the foundation for a toxic relationship. 

How can you feel like you’re in a true partnership there’s no respect? How can you be equals? Of course, respect comes in many different forms and it’s important to understand what it is to you.

For example, some people consider a sign of respect when their partner opens the car door for them. But, other people may see it as a sign of belittling. Neither is wrong; it’s just how you picture respect.

No relationship is perfect. Period. Sometimes people we love do things that upset or hurt us, but there is a line that must not be crossed.

When these signs of a lack of respect in a relationship pop up, reassess if daily interactions are still grounded in mutual respect. [Read: How to show respect in a relationship and love each other better]

The disturbing signs of a lack of respect in a relationship

If you have respect for each other, the obstacles you’ll face as a couple will be easier to overcome because you will both be able to look at it from each other’s perspectives. But when there’s a lack of respect, the relationship doesn’t have a solid foundation and is ultimately doomed to fail.

You won’t be able to last in a relationship that doesn’t show you respect, or if you do stay in it, it’ll wear you down. Either way, it’s not a good option for you. 

Here are the signs of a lack of respect in a relationship to know where your relationship falls.

1. You don’t feel like you’re a priority

When it comes to relationships, your partner should be a priority in your life, and vice versa. When you’re a priority, you’re seen as an important part of their life. But if you’re the only one who’s always making plans or working around their schedule, that’s not a sign of respect.

A relationship is a two-way street, and they need to meet you halfway. [Read: Should you never make them a priority when you’re only an option to them?]

2. Your partner doesn’t listen to you

It can be hard to be an active listener at times. But if your partner is never fully engaged in the conversation, then that’s a sign of disrespect. If they cared, they would be giving you their complete attention, especially at times when you need it. 

3. They don’t try to change their selfish habits

We all have habits that are seen as selfish when living with someone else. If you’re living alone, then those habits are fine because they don’t affect anyone else. But once you’re in a relationship, some things you do need to change.

For example, leaving their clothes on the floor or washing the dishes days after cooking. Those things are small, but show how inconsiderate they are of you. [Read: These signs of disrespect in a relationship indicate a lack of love

4. They’re open about their attraction to others

Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re blind. Of course, there are going to be other people you see who are attractive, but that’s where it stops. You recognize they’re good-looking and then move on with your day.

If your partner is commenting to you about their attraction to other people, that’s not respectful at all. They’re not concerned about your feelings and how those comments affect you. In that case, there’s a lack of respect in a relationship. [Read: In a relationship but like someone else? 13 steps to decode your mind]

5. They don’t want to hang out with your family

Your family is an integral part of your life; they’ve raised you from birth. Naturally, your family is the closest group of people you have in your life, aside from your friends. Your partner should be supportive and attend family events with you, etc.

But if they’re avoiding spending time with you and your family, it’s disrespectful. Of course, if your family doesn’t like your partner, we understand why they avoid seeing your family. But other than that, not investing time into the things you love is a bad sign.

6. They lie to you

When it comes to a relationship, your foundation needs to be built on honesty and trust. If you’ve caught them in a lie, even if it’s something small, that shows a lack of respect in the relationship.

Your partner doesn’t feel they need to tell you the truth. Plus, they’re not feeling guilty for lying and hiding the truth from you. That’s not a good sign. [Read: What to do when there’s lying in a relationship – Can it survive?]

7. They never go out of their way for you

When you’re in a relationship, your partner relies on you for different things. Sometimes, you go out of your way to help your partner out. This is what being in a relationship is all about.

But your partner won’t do anything for you if it takes a little extra effort on their part. And that doesn’t show love or respect.

8. There’s no compromising

When two people are in a relationship, there’s always going to be compromising. Unless you are exact clones of each other, your needs will be different. So, this takes communication and empathy.

But in your relationship, your partner doesn’t compromise, it’s either their way or no way. And if things don’t go their way, they make sure you see they’re upset about it. [Read: How to compromise in a relationship and not feel like you lost out]

9. They try to hurt your feelings

There are times when we screw up and say things we shouldn’t say. But intentionally trying to hurt someone’s feelings is the biggest sign of disrespect.

Why would you intentionally want to hurt someone you love? This is a huge red flag because it can progress into serious emotional abuse. [Read: Don’t overlook these important signs of emotional abuse]

10. Sex is more of a transaction

You almost feel that you owe your partner sex. It’s not something romantic and intimate anymore. Instead, it feels like a transaction, something that you should do.

And yes, sex is a big part of a relationship, but you don’t owe your partner anything. If they’re making you feel this way, get out of the relationship.

11. They overstep your boundaries

You’ve established your boundaries and communicated them to your partner. Normally, if your partner respects you, they understand your boundaries and avoid overstepping them.

These boundaries can be sex-related or not. Regardless of what your boundaries are, your partner should never disrespect them. [Read: 15 healthy boundaries all couples need to set early on]

12. They don’t follow through on their word

For example, your partner told you that they’re going to take you out for dinner on your birthday. You get ready, and you’re excited to go, then your partner cancels the date.

Maybe they had a good reason, maybe not. But if this isn’t unusual behavior for them, they don’t respect you. If they did, they would follow through on their word.

13. They’re never on time

This one sounds maybe a little much, but listen, time management is based on respect. Yes, it’s normal to be late from time to time, things happen.

But if your partner is always late, they don’t respect their time or your time. If they did, they would make more of an effort to show up when they say they’re going to.

14. They give you the silent treatment

We all argue with our partners; this is a normal part of being in a relationship. But, what’s important is how you communicate with your partner during those arguments.

If your partner gives you the silent treatment on a regular basis, that’s a form of abuse. The silent treatment is a form of manipulation by keeping you on your toes. [Read: How to respond to the silent treatment and stop being power-played]

15. You feel unhappy

If you were being treated with respect, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. But, you’re not feeling happy in your relationship, and you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong.

You know, deep down, whether this is the relationship you need to be in. And if you’re not happy, then you know the answer. [Read: 16 clear signs it’s time for you to leave the relationship]

16. Verbal abuse

Most romantic relationships involve a certain degree of teasing and friendly banter especially if a couple is close or has a long-established relationship before they got together. But if left unchecked, innocent jabs can devolve into verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is not only hurtful, but disrespectful.

Teasing becomes verbal abuse when one partner resorts to personal attacks and makes use of their partner’s personal insecurities against them. If this happens frequently enough, respect will totally fly out of the window. [Read: The 15 signs of a verbally abusive relationship and how to set yourself free]

17. They invade your privacy

Even if two people are in a romantic relationship, respect your partner’s right to privacy. Privacy is a human right that’s even protected by laws in many countries.

Being romantically involved with a person doesn’t give anyone the right to check their phones, emails, social media accounts, or written correspondence without asking for their partner’s consent.

Exercising your privacy shouldn’t be taken as a sign that you’re hiding something. If it’s none of their business, then they should be the first ones to respect those boundaries. [Read: These signs of disrespect in a relationship indicate a lack of love]

18. They embarrass you in public

What’s worse than subjecting your partner to verbal abuse? Doing it in public where they are most vulnerable. Most people have that cringe-worthy experience of witnessing someone screaming at their partner.

If you felt discomfort or shame for the person receiving the abuse, imagine how bad the person must have felt in that situation.

As the saying goes, never hang your dirty laundry in public. If you argue, do it in the privacy of your own space for both your sakes. Public shaming digresses way beyond the realms of disrespect. It can be considered a form of emotional abuse and one of the clear signs of a lack of respect in a relationship.

19. They invade your personal time

Surprising your partner with flowers or a home-cooked meal at work is considered sweet when done occasionally, but invading their personal time with friends, family, or work time when they’re busy is downright disrespectful.

Just like privacy, each individual is entitled to their personal time where they can enjoy activities alone. Disturbing this shows a clear disregard for their needs. [Read: 18 bad habits that’ll make your partner want to leave you]

20. They talk over you when you’re trying to say something

Talking over your partner when they’re trying to say something shows that you’re not keen on listening. And when you don’t listen enough, it shows that you don’t care for what they think, feel, or whatever they want to convey to you.

Remember, proper communication is one of the key foundations of a lasting relationship. When one partner fails to listen, it damages the relationship. There’s a reason why you allow a person to finish speaking before you say your piece.

Whether it’s your boss at work, your parents, friends, or your partner, not interrupting their speech is a form of respect. [Read: How to fix a toxic relationship… or is it too far gone?]

21. They regularly flake on your dates

On the topic of time, frequently flaking on your dates is another grave form of disrespect and one of the clear signs of a lack of respect in a relationship that shouldn’t be ignored. A person who suddenly and frequently cancels on a pre-agreed appointment shows that they don’t value the time that they allot for you.

Time is a precious commodity. If a person blocks off a part of their busy schedule to spend time, it’s a sign that they care. Sudden cancellations, unless it’s for a life-or-death reason, are a big slap on the face and only show that they don’t value your company at all. [Read: 16 characteristics of a narcissist that give them away instantly]

22. They only meet you when it’s convenient for them

A relationship follows a form of a social contract in order for it to work. To a certain degree, both partners must participate in the activities of the other. And mutual effort should be exerted by both partners.

Once you disrupt this balance and one person does not extend the same effort as the other, it shows disrespect towards the other.

A healthy, respectful relationship has both partners extending balanced effort and patience to spend time together. After all, true love is motivated, and no matter how far, how tight the schedule, and how bad the weather is, a healthy relationship will have both partners find a way.

23. They belittle your achievements

It can be common for one partner to be more successful than the other. After all, people are not equal in abilities or their drive for success. Healthy relationships are partners supporting each other… even if their achievements don’t necessarily match.

If this inequality becomes fraught with envy or arrogance with one partner belittling the other, then the resulting interaction might become hostile and disrespectful. [Read: The rules to be a good partner in a relationship]

24. They break your promises

A promise to your significant other, no matter how simple, carries great weight and responsibility. Breaking a promise damages trust and respect within the relationship. Breaking your promises devalues your word and reliability. It might even put your ability to commit in question.

25. They disregard your dreams and plans out of selfishness

As relationships grow, partners make big plans as a couple for their future. Often, they compromise on a plan that considers both their individual plans and goals.

However, if one dominates this conversation and plans without considering what their partner has to say or how this plan may impact the life of their partner. They clearly show that they don’t respect the needs and dreams of their partner.

Aggressively pushing a plan built on one’s own selfish interest will lead to a strained relationship and a bleak future as a couple. [Read: How to spot selfish people and stop them from hurting you]

26. They badmouth you

If your partner has a grievance towards you, the mature thing to do is to talk to you. They should tell you about the problem in person. After all, relationship problems should be communicated to the person directly involved.

Letting other people know, even if they’re close friends, is a grave sign of disrespect. Nobody wants to be talked about behind their back especially if it’s their own significant other doing the talking.

27. They badmouth your family

Badmouthing a partner is one thing, but badmouthing their family falls into a worse form of disrespect. Sure, some people may not get along well with their partner’s family. But it’s no reason to badmouth them in front of other people.

Communicate displeasure in a civil way and through proper channels to not disrespect others.

28. They’re overly judgmental or critical of decisions and actions

A relationship should be a source of support and encouragement. Partners count on this type of reassurance in their difficult times. Of course, people make mistakes and bad decisions along the way, but criticism is never the answer to make things better.

It hurts the most when the person we count on for comfort and support is the first to judge and criticize our shortcomings. Being overly critical and judgmental in a relationship doesn’t only harm self-esteem, but shows utter disrespect towards them. [Read: The real signs of true love in a relationship]

29. Always taking and never giving back

Romantic relationships are two-way streets. The ones that last the longest are a balance of give and take: love, time, affection, support, and effort. Once this balance is disrupted, it becomes parasitic. The relationship becomes mentally and emotionally draining for the partner who does all the giving.

Taking from a relationship without a thought of giving back is pure selfishness. People who do such things will sooner or later be left alone. They will find it difficult to establish meaningful relationships later on.

If you notice a lack of respect in a relationship, what should you do?

It’s possible that your partner isn’t aware of their behavior. Unless the things they’re doing are extreme, sit down and have an open and honest conversation with them.

Try to avoid using blame language, such as “you make me …”, or “you always …”. Instead use phrases like “I feel …”, “I would like …” and see where it takes you. However, if after a conversation you find that the lack of respect continues, or it simply goes back to the way it was before after a short while, it’s time to go. 

It’s hard to leave a relationship when you still have feelings for the other person, but it’s not worth putting up with a lack of respect. You deserve a lot more than that. 

[Read: The 18 traits of selfless love that sets it apart from selfish love]

When it comes to relationships, it can be tricky. But one thing is for certain; a lack of respect in a relationship will not make for a happy partnership.

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