Just like trust, loyalty, and faithfulness, respect is of the utmost importance; without it, any relationship is bound to fail. If you often find yourself questioning whether your partner truly respects you, it’s time to take a long, hard look at the nature of your relationship. A lack of respect, whether it be blatant, condescending, rude, or otherwise, means there’s an imbalance of power, which is why it’s so important to recognize the signs of disrespect early on.
A partner is supposed to be just that — a partner. Someone who supports your goals, shares your responsibilities, and respects your opinions. If any of these five signs sound familiar, your partner isn’t giving you the respect you deserve.
1. Your partner shows up unannounced
Surprising you with flowers on a random Wednesday is a welcome treat; showing up unannounced when you’re clearly busy or have a lot going on is not. If you find your partner repeatedly popping up at inopportune times or at inconvenient places, there’s a problem. As mentioned by The Frisky, if he or she shows up at your work, class, or home unannounced and uninvited, causing a scene, they don’t respect you.
This could escalate into stalking
Most people probably picture a psycho with a restraining order when they think of stalking. But the fact of the matter is, a stalker has many different characteristics. Being in a relationship with a person who is constantly showing up when and where they’re not welcome could eventually escalate to stalking. For this reason, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs.
According to Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, there are lots of behaviors that qualify as stalking. Non-consensual communication, such as endless phone calls, emails, and text messages, and repeated physical or visual closeness, such as following someone, are all examples. Basically, any behavior used to contact, harass, track, or threaten you is grounds for a breakup right away.
2. Your partner uses gaslighting techniques
If you often find your partner using sneaky techniques to keep you in check, he or she doesn’t respect you. According to YourTango, “Gaslighting is a phrase assigned to an emotional abuse technique that has one partner convincing the other that reality is an illusion. If your partner is denying they said and did things or blaming you for saying and doing things you didn’t, it’s abusive.”
Have you ever known a person who, no matter how at fault they may be, somehow seems to vaguely skate over the issue, turning it around on you? Dealing with a person like this is infuriating. If this is your partner’s norm, it’s likely it will never change.
You could be dating a narcissist
If your partner is constantly shifting blame, you’re definitely dating someone who doesn’t respect you. And they’re possibly a narcissist, too. While leaping from a person who lacks respect to one who displays narcissistic behavior is a big jump, it’s something to consider. What other kinds of characteristics does your partner display? Dating someone who’s a narcissist might be even worse than dating someone who doesn’t respect you, so be careful.
3. Your partner treats sex as a transaction
Any time a person expects sex in exchange for something, the most basic form of respect is tossed out the window. Sex should never be used as a method of coercion or a form of payment. It’s your body, and it certainly doesn’t belong to anyone else, no matter how committed two partners may be.
If your partner does the chores, is it your job to owe them a sexual favor? No. Sadly, though, not everyone takes the same stance on the issue. Case in point — this article from CafeMom calls out Pat Robertson, host of a call-in show, who has claimed that wives should thank their husbands with sex each time they do chores around the house. No, just no.
This can escalate into a form of sexual assault
Even if your partner isn’t clearly threatening you, you should never feel pressured or coerced to have sex, regardless of your relationship. Sexual assault can happen in intimate relationships, too. In fact, SexInfo Online defines intimate partner sexual violence as “any form of sexual assault that takes place within an intimate relationship.” This includes shaming of sexual preferences, threats or coercion to obtain sex, and not respecting your partner’s sexual or physical privacy.
4. Your partner isn’t proud of you
Just as you’ve strived for your parents’ approval throughout your life, seeking those heavily-weighted words of acceptance, you want the same from your partner. To hear “I’m proud of you” from someone you respect is a big deal, and it’s important that both partners take pride in the relationship.
When your partner is proud of you, and proud to be with you, Bustle says, there’s a mutual respect for one another. Could you imagine being in a relationship in which your significant other doesn’t really think you’ve worked hard for that promotion you just got? Without a partner who’s genuinely proud of you, your accomplishments, and your overall contributions to the relationship, they clearly don’t realize or value your worth, and you shouldn’t stand for that. Ever.
It’s important you let your partner know how proud you are
Showing one another you’re proud of each other’s accomplishments is so important. As Family Share puts it, you need to show your partner love and attention whenever they’re “on stage.” In other words, this goes for “[a]ny activity where [your partner] has prepared hard and needs your loving encouragement and applause,” the publications writes. Showing your love, appreciation, and pride for one another is key to any healthy, thriving relationship.
5. Your partner refuses to compromise or negotiate
It’s only natural the person closest to you will get under your skin, and part of a relationship is being able to discuss life’s major challenges as a team. But when one person in a relationship isn’t willing to act as a team, there are bound to be long-term issues. A big part of respecting someone is being able to reach a compromise in which both parties are satisfied with the outcome.
The Centers for Family Change says, “Respect is established when you consistently: consider and value the feelings and opinions of your partner; talk to and treat your partner in ways that you would want to be treated; and compromise and negotiate with your partner.” If you and your partner aren’t doing this, you’re not getting the respect you deserve.
Make an effort to work on communication
Communication comes in many different forms. And forget all the yelling and refusing to compromise; proper communication is key if your relationship has any chance of surviving. If you and your partner can reach a point where you’re able to communicate on a healthy, productive level, perhaps your partner will see they need to make some drastic changes or you’ll be on your way.