Love is blind. When one is newly in love, there is a tendency to ignore the red flags. So what if he disrespects you or insults you? It must be a one-off instance, you tell yourself. Maybe he was under stress and that’s why he snapped at you. Didn’t he say so and then apologize profusely? You want to believe him too because everything else about your relationship is just perfect. Is it really?
Gradually, the one-off instances become too frequent. And the signs of disrespect from a man – from your man – begin to pile up. You may begin to realize that you have no respect in the relationship. That’s when you start to think that the signs of disrespect in your relationship were always there, just you chose to ignore them.
We receive many queries on disrespectful relationships and in many cases, eventually, the partner feeling slighted ends up thinking about ending the relationship and some even go through with their decision. Remember every couple will have arguments and fights, but sorting the differences respectfully is the only way to save your relationship.
When a man disrespects you, there is no excuse good enough to justify his behavior. Feeling disrespected in a relationship chips away at your self-esteem and sense of self, and that’s why you must never put up with it. But the trouble is that it is not always easy to recognize the signs of disrespect from a man for what they are. That’s why we’re here to help you identify the red flags as well as learn how best to deal with this situation.
What Is Respect And Why Is It Important In A Relationship?
Love is simply not enough to maintain a peaceful and happy marital relationship – a foundation of mutual respect is equally, or perhaps, even more important. A disrespectful spouse can disturb the healthy dynamics of a relationship. He may claim that he loves you and you know he does, but if he does not respect you, he does not deserve you.
Respect in a relationship does not mean not having differences, it means listening to the other person and their point of view even if you do not agree with them and then state your thoughts on it. It means understanding each other in such a way that the differences of opinions do not disrupt the healthy flow of conversation in the relationship.
Both partners should understand one another even when they cannot appreciate the other’s perspective and not impose what one thinks is right. And then decide on the course of action based on a mutual decision. That is the secret of happy, successful relationships. However, when a man disrespects you he repeatedly dismisses your opinions, puts you down in conversations, talks to you in a way that fills you up with self-doubt. This can be extremely damaging in the long run. That is precisely why respect is a crucial cornerstone of a well-rounded and wholesome relationship.
Related Reading: 21 Elements Of Developing Respect In A Relationship
13 Signs He Disrespects You And Does Not Deserve You
When your boyfriend/husband shows you respect, you will feel treasured, important and dignified. However, if your man disrespects you, you will feel the exact opposite. Molly, a sales executive and a mother of two, found herself constantly feeling disrespected in the relationship because her partner would dismiss her point of view on just about everything, especially on matters related to parenting.
“My partner speaks to me disrespectfully and is dismissive of me in front of our children. This has started affecting my relationship with my kids as well. Now they too are rude to me and don’t seem to listen to anything I tell them. I feel isolated within my own family, I don’t know what to do,” she wrote to us, seeking expert insight on how best to handle the situation.
As is evident from Molly’s experience, it can be a suffocating experience to be with someone who thinks nothing of you and is controlling in nature. A relationship marked with disrespect soon turns abusive. Being disrespected by an intimate partner can make you lose confidence in yourself, change the way you perceive yourself and leave you desperate for your partner’s validation. If you closely examine the signs a man disrespects a woman, you’d observe that lack of respect essentially boils down to a need for power and control in the relationship.
A relationship where you’re not considered an equal partner but as something that needs to be controlled is certainly not one that will do you any good. You owe it to yourself to push back and reclaim the respect that is rightfully yours. The first step is that direction is identifying the 13 most telling signs he disrespects you:
1. You doubt your potential because of him
Instead of being confident in what you do or say, you keep doubting your potential. This is because your boyfriend or husband has instilled that doubt in you by making you feel inherently incompetent. He disregards your thoughts and opinions constantly to the point you start thinking they have no merit.
You keep questioning your sensibilities, dreams, your future, and your life choices all day long. This is definitely a sign that your partner is not supportive and probably disrespects you. Maybe because he is a man with low self-esteem and feels the need to put you down in order to feel better about himself. The reasons for his behavior notwithstanding, his constant dismissal of your thoughts and opinions can leave you feeling disrespected in a relationship.
2. He seems distracted when you talk to him
Signs of disrespect in a relationship manifest in ways that are easy to overlook. Like attention. Whenever you are in a conversation with him, you give him your entire attention. You expect him to extend the same courtesy to you and pay attention to you. But even this basic and realistic expectation is not met. You may notice that he often seems distracted when you talk to him, even if it is something that’s extremely important to you. This is one of the glaring signs of disrespect from a man.
He may look through his phone as he is talking to you or have that far-away look in his eyes which tells you that in his head he is somewhere else. Getting your boyfriend or husband to listen to you can seem like a mammoth task because you have to nag him for his attention and then he shows disinterest in you because you are nagging him!. This is downright disrespectful behavior.
3. Your partner does not keep his promises
One big disrespectful trait in any relationship is when the man does not make any efforts to keep his promises and disappoints you repeatedly. He will keep forgetting things that are important to you, and even when you speak of them, he will not bother much. Maybe he will promise to call you and then conveniently forget about it or may even text you canceling dates.
All this is enough to give you the signal that you cannot depend on him and you are probably not that important in his life. If your partner is not willing to put in even minimal effort into the relationship and honor his promises to you (no matter how big or small), there is something deeply problematic about the way he sees you. He is displaying on the classic signs a man disrespects a woman. One of our experts advised on how to curb this behavior here.
4. He makes fun of your professional goals and dreams
Disrespect in relationships borders on rudeness. No matter how absurd and weird your dreams and goals may be, your partner is supposed to encourage you. And a serious sign of disrespect is when you are looked down upon, or made to feel less. When a man disrespects you, he’d also find it hard to respect the choices you make for yourself. This will shine through in the way he speaks about your professional goals and aspirations.
If your man is making fun of your career and goals, then he is being selfish and has no right to judge you. No one is perfect, agreed, but the role of your partner in your life should be about making you feel loved and cared for, not inferior in any sense. He is disrespecting you by not valuing your vocation.
5. You hardly have any personal space and time
Surprising you once in a while by visiting your workplace or when you are out with friends is a different matter. But if it’s a pattern with him to butt into your personal space and life, then he could be keeping tabs on you. And this can be something that you should think about seriously. He is probably stalking you because he feels insecure.
Your man might not respect you enough to trust you and give you your personal space and time. This is a sign that he disrespects you. Lack of respect in a relationship often paves the way for suspicion, boundary issues and codependent tendencies. It may seem endearing at first that he wants to be around you all the time. But if you really look at what’s going on here, you’d see that it’s a classic case of him wanting to keep you on a short leash because he doesn’t respect your personal space or your ability to honor the promise of loyalty you’ve made to him.
6. He exhibits narcissistic tendencies
His desires, needs and wishes take top priority in his life and he is willing to do all in his power to ensure that his wants are fulfilled first. He is the center of his universe and he does not bother about your wants and needs going unmet. Your partner thinks of himself as supreme and considers you to be inferior to him.
Given that people with narcissistic tendencies are devoid of any shred of empathy, you may find yourself slowly realizing, “My partner speaks to me disrespectfully.” Living with a narcissistic spouse or dealing with a narcissistic boyfriend is no easy task. He will drain you of the last ounce of joy, self-confidence and peace of mind.
Related Reading: My Boyfriend Takes Everything I Say Negatively, What Do I Do?
7. Your partner does not apologize
A relationship is a delicate balance. When one hurts the other partner, it is a foregone conclusion that apologies will be offered. But when there is disrespect in a relationship, there is no question of offering an apology. One of the most telling signs a man disrespects a woman is that he is incapable of apologizing to you for his mistakes. He will not bend and offer an apology. He does not admit his mistakes and probably explains to you how his mistake too is your fault.
We received a query in which the wife wrote to us that her husband blamed her for his ill-temper even as he hit her saying that made him mad enough to make him hit her. At times, to avoid any criticism from your side, he will make lame excuses to convince you that he is not wrong. Either way you will never get him to admit even if he is completely in the wrong and he knows that he is.
8. Being super secretive is a sign of disrespect
In a relationship, both partners must remain honest with one another. This is the recipe for a healthy and lasting relationship. But if you find your partner keeping secrets from you and perhaps even lying to you, then it is a sign of disrespect and you must delve deeper into what is really behind it.
A partner who hides things may try to justify his behavior by saying that he did not want you to fret or worry or did not think you needed to know. Mind you, do not fall for these sugar coated words, it is still very much a sign of disrespect in a relationship. No good can ever come out of lies in a relationship. That’s why you need to dig deeper to get to the root cause of his tendency to keep things from you and plan your response accordingly.
9. You are forced to transform yourself
While in a relationship, we all make some compromises to make things work. And that is absolutely normal. Making smaller changes in your life to ensure compatibility with your man is a good thing to do. On the other hand, transforming yourself completely and forgetting who you are as a person just to please your partner is something serious. As time passes you will detest him for turning you into what you are.
Also even if you do understand how difficult loving someone unconditionally is, you do also know that love means letting the person be. To acknowledge the person doesn’t value you and to still put up with it day after day is also degrading yourself in the eyes of people you love. There are things not worth compromising on and you must at least know if you are compromising your soul.
10. He put you down in front of other people
As a partner, he should make sure that your good qualities and positive attitude are highlighted, he should praise you for your achievements and efforts. Every partner has grievances with their partners but if your partner makes it a point to share that among his friends and in the process makes you look stupid and does this often then you should sit back and reflect on.
A friend of mine recently told me that her boyfriend constantly felt embarrassed by her. According to him, she was always either too loud or just did not speak up, too fat or one who did not have proper restaurant etiquette, too hippie-like or sulky. Whatever her mood, he always found being around her embarrassing and made no bones about telling her the same. Well honestly, my only response to her was, “Cut him off if he disrespects you.”
11. Lack of commitment is a sign of disrespect too
There are many signs which indicate a lack of commitment. He will stonewall you when there is an issue, he will promise and keep going back on it, even when you try and tell him to speak of the things that are important to you, he will take them lightly. When your relationship goes through a tough phase, he will be far less inclined to fix it than you are and will wait for your anger or persistence to die so that he does not have to make any changes. This is a sure sign of a lack of commitment.
It simply means the relationship is not his priority. You will know that while you are giving your 100%, he is not even giving 10%. The onus of making the relationship work smoothly is totally on you. He is a commitment-phobe, and that is one of the signs he doesn’t respect you or your relationship.
12. Your boyfriend does not hesitate to give the silent treatment to you
Giving you silent treatment means not respecting you enough to share with you the cause of his resentment and to allow you to clear the misunderstanding. Even if he sees you seething in helplessness trying to figure out why he is upset and resolve the issues, he will not have a conversation with you.
By exhibiting this disrespectful man behavior, he tries to manipulate and control you according to his wishes. Silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse and a partner who chooses to abuse you emotionally is certainly not operating from a place of respect. As we said before, when a man disrespects you, it’s almost always about control. This is a classic example of it.
13. He flirts with others in front of you
What can be the worst sign of disrespect from a partner? Among other things, flirting with women in front of you will make you feel disrespected. You should get the hint that your man does not respect you truly when he flirts with other women in front of you. Even if he jokingly mentions being attracted to someone else, you must know that it is impolite and your feelings probably do not matter to him as much.
We had a client who had told her husband repeatedly how hurtful it is and he went ahead with his behavior nonetheless. It was only when she threatened to leave him and take the kid that he sat down and took some notice. They also found out that he did this a lot more when he was drinking and they addressed that issue as well.
Why do men disrespect women?
First, let us not assume that all men disrespect women. That being said, it’s not unusual for men to treat their partners in a manner that leaves them feeling disrespected in a relationship. Often, the signs of disrespect from a man can also be a result of years of patriarchial conditioning that has taught them not to treat their partners as their equals.
This is not to justify a man’s disrespectful behavior toward a woman but simply to state that lack of respect can often be a result of internalization of a problematic social structure. This also explains why so many women fail to recognize the most obvious signs of disrespect from a man. Now that you know what red flags to look out for, let’s take a look at what prompts a man to be disrespectful toward a woman:
- Self-esteem issues: Men who have issues of self-esteem and think they are superior to others end up disrespecting women, especially their romantic partners
- Past experiences: Some may have suffered at the hands of a mother, ex-girlfriend or a woman in their lives because of which they fail to respect other women
- Lack of awareness: There are some men who might have never been in a relationship and do not genuinely know how to deal with women, so it seems as though they are disrespecting them
- Abusive tendencies: Abusive men are incapable of respecting their partners. Since they view the relationship as a contest for one-upmanship, putting their partners down becomes their go-to mechanism to retain an upper hand in the equation
- Manipulation and control: Closely tied to a tendency to abuse, romantic manipulation and an all-consuming need for control can also push a man to be deliberately dismissive and disrespectful of his partner
If you are in a relationship with a man who falls in any of these categories, then you must be aware of the signs of disrespect that your partner might exhibit, so that you can tackle the situation accordingly.
Related Reading: Top 9 Reasons Why Relationships Fail
He Disrespects You, How To Deal With It?
The importance of respect in a relationship is often minimized and overlooked to an extent that many people, especially women, find it hard to recognize the signs of disrespect. Much less see how problematic it is that they’re feeling disrespected in a relationship and need to take concrete actions to break this pattern.
Amy, a military veteran, found herself in a similar situation when she returned home to her long-term partner after her final tour of Afghanistan. Still trying to rediscover her place in the world and find a suitable career option, Amy needed her partner Mark’s support more than ever. Instead, she found that he’d miss no opportunity to mock her, humiliate her, privately as well as in public. When Amy brought up her concerns, Mark dismissed them as her “being too sensitive”.
“My partner speaks to me disrespectfully and is unwilling to hear me out when I tell him it’s okay for him to treat me like. I don’t know how to handle this situation. I’m tired of giving him the benefit of the doubt but at the same time, walking out isn’t the easiest option for me right now,” she says.
As with Amy, many women find themselves struggling to figure out how to deal with disrespect in their relationship. Sure, “cut him off if he disrespects you” seems like great advice but it’s not always a viable option for many. So if he disrespects you, how to deal with it? We share a few insights:
1. Don’t ignore the disrespectful behavior
Now that you recognize the signs of disrespect from a man, don’t let your partner’s disrespectful behavior toward you slide. Yes, sweeping things under the carpet can seem like a better option than having that uncomfortable conversation – and probably a full-blown argument – but you must call him out for any unacceptable behavior if you expect to see a change.
Related Reading: 21 Elements Of Developing Respect In A Relationship
2. Communicate your concerns clearly
“He disrespected me and I said nothing.” How many times have you lamented over this? If you’ve been feeling disrespected in a relationship for a while now, our guess would be often. Change that. Sit with your partner and explain to him why you feel disrespected in the relationship. Also, outline the behavior patterns you’d like him to change so that you can foster harmony in the relationship. Cite specific instances and examples to put your point across so that he cannot dismiss your concerns off hand.
3. Don’t let him gaslight you
“You’re being too sensitive.” “It was just a joke.” These are classic examples of gaslighting you may be accustomed to hearing when your partner disrespects you and then brushes it off as if it was nothing. The next time your partner tries to do that, don’t let him get away with it. Instead, tell him in a clear yet non-offensive tone, “I don’t think you can tell me how I do or do not feel.”
4. Set clear boundaries
As with most relationship issues, disrespect also takes hold in a dynamic where the couple has failed to define clear boundaries. To not let your partner get away with disrespecting you, it’s time to change that. Take some time to ascertain what behavior is acceptable to you and what’s not, and then communicate it to your partner clearly and unambiguously.
Now that you’ve defined healthy boundaries in the relationship, it’s equally important to uphold and enforce them. If your partner crosses a line you don’t want him to, remove yourself from the situation and refuse to engage with him. For instance, if you’ve told him that you do not appreciate him resorting to name-calling during heated arguments and your partner does it anyway, tell him, “I’m not comfortable with the direction this conversation is going in. I need to take some time off”, and walk away.
5. Think about second chances
In an ideal world, we would all be in relationships that heal us and help us become the best versions of ourselves. Our partners would be our biggest support systems. However, life is neither ideal nor always pretty. So, take some time to decide whether you want to cut him off if he disrespects you or give him a second chance.
However, remember second chances are not get-out-of-jail-free cards. And you cannot keep giving him a ‘second chance’ a 100 times over. If despite your willingness to look past the disrespect you’ve been met with and work on the relationship you see no change in your partner’s attitude, it may be time to weigh your options and consider moving on.
6. Seek therapy
If yours is a rare case of “he disrespected me and now wants to make amends”, there may just be light at the end of this dark tunnel for you and your partner. It is possible that his disrespectful behavior may have been induced by certain external factors and he is truly remorseful of his actions. In that case, you can put this behind you as a rough patch and start afresh.
However, you cannot overlook the fact that the lack of respect may have already caused serious damage to your bond. Seeking professional help by going into couple’s therapy can help you put this behind you and heal as a couple. If you’re looking for professional help, skilled and licensed counselors on Bonobology’s panel are here for you.
7. Move on
If you’ve tried it all and still find yourself stuck with the thought “my partner speaks to me disrespectfully and refuses to change”, it’s time to call it quits. You’ve given this relationship your all and then some, but your disrespectful partner has refused to meet you halfway. Staying on despite that means telling him that it is okay for him to continue treating you the way he does.
Except it’s not okay. You deserve better, you deserve to be with someone who sees how wonderful you are and can love and respect you for that. Don’t let the comfort of the familiar keep you trapped in a toxic relationship.
No matter how deeply you love him, no matter how long you’ve been together, no matter how much is at stake, never ignore the warning signs of disrespect from a man. You don’t necessarily have to deal with the situation by snapping the chord but do stand up for yourself. And if the need arises, don’t hesitate to cut him off if he disrespects you – and especially if he continues to disrespect you despite being called out and told that it’s not acceptable.
The reasons why a man disrespects you can range from low self-esteem to dealing with external pressures, patriarchal mindset, abusive tendencies, manipulation and need for control. Whatever be the reason, remember that the lack of respect in a relationship is never okay.
To get a man to treat you with respect, you need to stand up for yourself. First and foremost, don’t let him get away with disrespecting you. Call out his behavior then and there. Communicate how his disrespectful attitude is affecting you, set boundaries, and seek professional help to work through your issues. Lastly, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to walk away if a man continues to disrespect you.
Leaving needn’t be the first option on the table if you’re dealing with disrespect, especially if it’s a long-term relationship and there is a lot at stake. You can try to work your way through this issue with honest and open communication, the right boundary setting and therapy. However, if he refuses to mend his ways despite it all, you should leave him.