Well Being

Lack of Respect In a Relationship


Respect in a relationship is one of the fundamental pillars necessary for it to work. However, time, boredom, and poor conflict management can often compromise the stability of a relationship. Nevertheless, a lack of respect, in all relationships, is an extremely harmful element. This is due to its enormous destructive power.

Sometimes, you can fall into a dynamic of disrespect almost without realizing it. You may even come to allow things to happen that you’d never permit in other relationships.

Once you reach this point, your relationship might deteriorate so badly that it ends up breaking down. For this reason, it’s important to know all the various ways in which disrespect can appear.

Emotional manipulation and condescension

Emotional manipulation is one of the most frequent and painful manifestations of disrespect. It occurs when one partner makes the other feel bad if they don’t agree with their wishes. They say things like “I’d love you more if you dedicated more time to me.”

This type of communication shouldn’t exist in any relationship because, when it does, feelings aren’t negotiated or exchanged. Everyone has their own way of showing their love or affection. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to coincide with what the other expects or wishes.

Sometimes, in relationships, one partner treats the other as if they were inferior. In fact, they respond to their affection with an expression of condescension.

Although this may seem like a common dynamic in many couples, it actually demonstrates a lack of respect for the identity of the other. In these cases, one partner isn’t respecting the other in terms of their personality and their purpose in life.

Continuous criticism

Over time, it’s common to be less careful when it comes to saying things to your partner. However, if you’re not careful, you can cross a dangerous threshold, and enter into the territory of constant criticism.

Then, instead of valuing your partner and telling them what you don’t like in a respectful and assertive way, you start to make value judgments about them. Furthermore, you start to criticize everything they do and how they do it. In fact, constantly and negatively judging the tastes and preferences of your partner can turn into a profound lack of respect for them.

In the same way, disparaging and insulting criticisms of your partner’s family are also disrespectful forms of treatment and don’t contribute to the growth of your relationship.

The main problem with criticism, in addition to the fact that it can cause a lot of damage, is that it doesn’t help to solve any of your problems. Basically, it’s a way of denigrating and underestimating your partner. It ends up affecting their self-esteem and, of course, your relationship together.

If you need your partner to change something about their behavior, it’s better that you ask them tactfully and affectionately. 


It’s extremely common to see couples who, almost automatically, in front of others, contradict each other’s words. They say things like “That’s a lie, it wasn’t like that ” or” That’s not what you said at home the other day”. This shows a complete lack of respect. In fact, they’re underestimating the opinion of their partner and placing it lower than their own.

When you respect your partner you respect them for having their own opinion on an issue, an opinion that they can change if they want because they have their own version of events.

Woman arguing with her partner

Nicknames, teasing, and mean jokes

Nasty nicknames, mean jokes, and constantly making fun of your partner are also forms of disrespect. As a matter of fact, hurtful jokes can deeply damage their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Humor is an important part of a relationship, but it has to be shared and enjoyed by both parties.

Insults and rudeness

Finally, it’s extremely clear that when insults and rudeness appear in an argument, there’s an obvious lack of respect in the relationship that must be addressed and resolved immediately.

How can it be changed?

If you suspect that you’re disrespecting your partner, or vice versa, it’s important to act on the following points:

  • Set boundaries. If you feel disrespected, you should talk to your partner and explain to them how it makes you feel. In addition, in that conversation,you should establish a series of boundaries that must not be crossed.
  • Ask for forgiveness Generally, it tends to be forgotten how necessary this is, and the power it has. Therefore, if you feel that you’ve disrespected your partner and want to change things, start by asking for forgiveness. Furthermore, make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
  • Really forgive. Likewise, if you’ve forgiven your partner because they’ve disrespected you in some way, you must truly forgive them. It’s useless to forgive and continue feeling resentful. That’ll only make the situation worse.
  • Set an example. Always treat your partner the way you’d like to be treated. Remember that you can’t demand what you’re not capable of giving yourself.
  • Work on empathy. Being able to put yourself in the place of your partner is essential for understanding their motivations, interests, and fears, and the way in which they decide to express them.
  • Communication. It’s essential to learn to communicate well, in an assertive way. If in your relationship with your partner, one of you communicates aggressively, imposing their ideas on the other, you must start working together. The benefits that this can bring are innumerable.
  • If you work on these aspects and nothing works, take a break. Indeed, taking time to reflect on why you treat each other like this and to consider whether or not you want to return to the relationship is sometimes the best solution. It gives you room to think about what you should change and whether you should resume the relationship with another attitude.
  • On the other hand, if you’re not able to work together or the relationship has reached a problematic point, but you want to continue together, the most appropriate thing is to go to a couples therapy specialist. Sometimes you need a neutral person to analyze the problem, and a specialist will try to find the solution that best suits your case.

Ultimately, respect is something you have to work on from the beginning of your relationship. If you build your relationship on this basis, you’ll assess the principles, interests, and needs of your partner. Also, if you commit to this habit, it won’t involve any effort and everything else will start to go smoothly.


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