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17 Signs of Disrespect in a Relationship that Reveal a Lack of Love

A lack of respect in a relationship is never okay. If you think you’re in a toxic union, learn the signs of disrespect in a relationship and fix it fast.

Signs of Disrespect in a Relationship

For many people, their first serious relationship is full of mistakes. You learn lessons as you become more experienced in love, but at some point, you might experience a lack of respect in a relationship. We put up with things we shouldn’t when we’re young or lacking in self-confidence. But, it’s important to know the signs of disrespect in a relationship so you can either try to fix it, or get out before things get worse.

You might think that constant arguments are about passion, but sometimes it’s about something else. If someone isn’t showing you respect, you’ll feel it on some level, even if you don’t notice it directly. It will slowly drag you down and make you feel far less than you’re worth.

A healthy relationship is built on mutual respect, and without mutual respect, it’s doomed to fail. [Read: How to fix a toxic relationship… or is it too far gone?]

Why is disrespect so toxic?

You might put certain behavior down to your partner just not listening or not thinking for a second, but it’s still not right. If your partner doesn’t respect you, they don’t actually care about you. They don’t take you seriously and don’t listen to anything you say. How is that healthy?

A toxic relationship doesn’t have to involve physical abuse to be negative. Sure, if it does, you should get out immediately, but there are other types of toxic behaviors that can be just as harmful. When your partner doesn’t respect you and uses manipulation to get what they want, they’re eroding your self-confidence and making you feel a shadow of who you really are. [Read: How to deal with a disrespectful boyfriend in the best way possible]

Signs of disrespect in a relationship

If you’re in a relationship founded on disrespect, things aren’t going to get better. And if you were in a disrespectful relationship, understand and recognize the signs so you can focus on entering a healthy and loving relationship. [Read: Love vs lust and how to know what you’re feeling]

It’s very easy to stay stuck in this type of relationship because you’re somehow tricked into thinking that it’s normal. It’s not. We see so much relationship drama on TV that we start to think that love should be a constant rollercoaster of emotions. Yes, there are always ups and downs in any relationship, but the heart of it should be full of love, trust, and respect. Arguments and problems should be faced together and you get over them without feeling the need to resort to toxic behavior tactics.

It’s time to be honest with yourself. How many of these signs of disrespect in a relationship do you see in yours?

1. The relationship just doesn’t feel good

We know this sounds simple, but when you’re in a disrespectful relationship, you never feel truly happy. There are happy moments, but more often than not, there’s a lot of yelling, screaming, and crying. Those small happy moments don’t outweigh the pain that’s filling the relationship. [Read: 13 ways toxic love can harm you permanently]

2. Your partner doesn’t listen to you

When you talk to your partner, you feel like you’re talking to a wall. They’re not actively listening to you. Instead, they grunt or make the minimal effort to show they’re engaged, but you know they’re not. If your partner is showing zero interest when you talk to them, this is a sign of disrespect.

3. You’re not a priority

When you’re in a healthy relationship, both partners commit to making each other a priority. They put each other first. This is the ultimate sign of respect. But if your partner spends more time with their friends or at work, it shows they’re not fully invested in the relationship. If they did respect you, the lack of time they spend with you would bother them. [Read: Why something feels off in your relationship and what to do about it]

4. They try to hurt your feelings

If your partner is trying to hurt you purposely, not only is this very disrespectful, but it’s also highly abusive. You should never want to hurt the person you care for. This can also be a form of manipulation. Narcissists use it very successfully to erode away at self-confidence, so the person is reliant upon them in the end.

5. They don’t keep their word

Who else can you trust if not your partner? When our partner tells us that they’re going to do something, we expect them to follow through on their word. This is only normal. But your partner routinely makes promises and never follows through. This shows you they don’t respect you, and the relationship isn’t a priority for them. 

6. They lie to you

These lies don’t need to be big ones. They can be small, insignificant lies. But the point is, why lie to your partner about small, stupid things? If they’re lying to you about small things, it shows you they’re not concerned whether you know the truth or not. And if that happens, well, who knows what they’re capable of hiding from you. [Read: 15 ways a pathological liar lies and confuses you]

7. They don’t respect your boundaries

Everyone has their own personal boundaries. And with time, you learn what your partner likes and doesn’t like. If you respect your partner, you don’t cross their personal boundaries. But if there’s a lack of disrespect, those boundaries don’t matter, and your partner will push their limits to make you feel uncomfortable. [Read: Healthy relationship boundaries and the part they play in love]

8. They talk down to you

We all tease each other and crack jokes if something funny happens, but never with the intent to put someone down. However, does your partner routinely use language that makes you feel small? Calling you “idiot,” “stupid,” or “a dumbass,” these are all words that are used to emotionally squash someone and is one of the clearest signs of disrespect in a relationship.

9. They don’t want to spend time with your family and friends

When you’re in a relationship with someone, you’ll meet their family and friends. Of course, you may not like all the people they hang around, but those are the people in their closest circle.

If your partner refuses to spend time with the people in your circle of friends and family, it’s disrespectful. It’s your duty as a couple to support each other, which also includes spending time with family and friends. 

10. They love to give you the silent treatment

When you argue, instead of communicating, they give you the silent treatment. The silent treatment is a form of manipulation in the truest sense because it leaves the person unsure of what’s going to happen. Through the silent treatment, they can control your emotions and manipulate you to take the blame. [Read: How to handle the silent treatment without falling apart with guilt]

11. They check your phone

Why does your partner need to check your phone or computer? This is a huge warning of a serious lack of trust and respect. Your partner should trust you, and if they’re constantly checking your personal phone, hunting to find anything that makes you look guilty, this is extremely unhealthy. It won’t get better; it’ll only get worse, and possibly violent.

12. They do inconsiderate things

When they do something, you often think they never thought about how you would feel. Instead, they just do whatever feels good for them at the moment. Your feelings aren’t even considered after the fact. And that’s a huge sign they don’t respect you as a person. You shouldn’t have to remind them about your feelings constantly. 

13. They’ve cheated on you and don’t change, or continue to do so

If you know your partner has cheated on you, they’ve broken your trust. It’s that simple. If you’ve decided to stick together and work it out, that’s your decision. But if they continue to act shady and engage in suspicious activities, then it’s clear they don’t respect you or the relationship.

14. They never compromise

In a relationship, you will never always get what you want. There will be moments where you compromise and negotiate. But in your relationship, you don’t get to have any discussions. It’s either their way or the highway. And that is a huge red flag. They’re obsessed with control, and it’s only going to get worse. [Read: How to understand the thinly veiled line between controlling and caring] 

15. They don’t stand up for you

There are moments where you get into arguments with other people, but if your partner is beside you, they take your side. But your partner never takes your side, especially when you need it the most. They say they don’t want to get involved or don’t want to choose sides, but you are a couple. Where’s the support?

16. They flirt with others in front you

If your partner is flirting with other people in front of you, even innocently, it’s just not on. It shows clear disrespect. The best way to work out whether it is disrespect or not is to ask how they would react or feel if you did the same thing to them. The likelihood is that if you starting flirting with others in front of your partner, they’d hate it and make it very clear to you. [Read: 9 Subtle signs he’s being too flirty with other women]

17. They use your insecurities against you

We’ve mentioned that a form of disrespect is to make fun of you, but it can also mean that your partner identifies your weak spots or insecurities and targets them. That could be in the middle of an argument to deliberately hurt you and get you to back down, or just generally. Over time, it causes your insecurities to worsen and again, you start to lose your self-confidence completely. It’s disrespectful because it hurts and your partner should never try to hurt you.

If you notice signs of disrespect in a relationship, what should you do?

There is no solid answer to give you in terms of what to do if you notice disrespect in your relationship. That is because the choice has to be yours and yours alone. However, you have to realize that a person who continually disrespects you does not have your best interests at heart. In that case, why would you want to give them your heart? [Read: 10 Questions to ask before leaving someone you love]

There is a chance that they simply don’t realize what they’re doing. For instance, if they’re inexperienced in love or they’ve been hurt before, it could be a defense mechanism they’re using without their actual knowledge. That doesn’t mean it’s okay; everyone knows how to treat someone decently whether they’ve been hurt or they’re inexperienced. In that case, perhaps a deep conversation could change things for the better.

What you need to do however is set boundaries and make sure you stick to them. If you tell your partner how you feel and you see no lasting change, you have to walk away. The situation will only improve if they choose to change. If they don’t do that, your only option is to call time on it and find someone who gives you the love and respect you truly deserve.

[Read: 15 signs of a toxic relationship that’ll go from bad to worse]

After knowing the signs of disrespect in a relationship, are you in a relationship filled with disrespect? If so, make the choice to leave because things aren’t going to get better. 

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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