Being in a relationship is tricky stuff, especially when you’re trying to decide if you want to spend the rest of your life with him.
Many people say you will know “without a doubt” when the right guy comes along. But sometimes it’s not that easy.
That’s because many women don’t actually know what they want in a relationship or what they need from a man.
There is one thing that all women look for in a relationship though: respect. If he doesn’t respect you, you need to move on.
Here are 16 ways to tell if a man really respects you.
(After that I’ll talk about 7 surefire signs that he doesn’t respect you and what you can do about it).
1) He pays attention to you
In the age of cellphones and social media, it can be hard to get and hold someone’s attention.
When someone is staring at their phone, what they are saying to you is that anything on the internet is more interesting than you are right now. Ouch. That hurts. But everyone does it to everyone else.
However, when a man is really interested in being with a woman, he’ll put his phone down and give you all of his attention.
He’ll hear you when you talk, and he’ll actually be able to carry on a conversation with you because he was listening. If he’s always scrolling through Facebook seeing what his friends are up to, he doesn’t respect you.
2) He supports you when you need him
Women are stronger than ever and are living independent lives of their own accord. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to be in meaningful relationships, and that doesn’t mean that they don’t need someone’s shoulder to cry on once in a while.
Strong women need strong men to be by their side, and in today’s society, it can be hard to find someone who will stand beside you when the going gets tough.
You’ll know your guy is special and respects you if he picks up the phone when you call, and he gives you space when you need it.
Support doesn’t always come in the form of hand-holding: sometimes women need their space, and a good man knows when to let you have it.
(Related: Do you know the strangest thing men desire? And how it can make him crazy for you? Check out my new article to find out what it is).
3) He maintains open lines of communication
Women often roll their eyes at the communication styles of men. It seems that men and women have different communication styles, yet women continually expect men to adopt the communication styles of women.
Instead of waiting around for your guy to become a woman, pay attention to how he does communicate his wants, needs, and feelings to you regularly. If he isn’t a talker, does he listen to you when you talk?
If he isn’t much of a phone person, does he send you text messages to let you know he is thinking about you? If he doesn’t like crowds, does he give you all of his attention when it’s just the two of you?
Rather than criticize his communication styles, look for ways he maintains open lines of communication. If he respects you, he’ll show you by saying the right things, but also by showing you he cares.
4) He makes you and your relationship a priority in his life
Women sometimes find themselves taking a backseat to a man’s job or friends. If you have experienced this, you know that it can lead to a lot of resentment and distrust.
When you are in a relationship with a man, he should be able to express his interest in your relationship by showing you that you are a priority for him.
This doesn’t mean that he needs to bail on a meeting in the middle of the afternoon to bring you ice cream and you’d be a jerk to think it does.
It means that he makes time for you and doesn’t let other areas of his life interfere with your alone time.
5) He protects you
A man worth being with makes his partner feel safe, whether physically or emotionally.
Does he make sure you’re safe when you cross a busy road? Stick up for you in a verbal argument with someone else? Or put his arm around you when you’re feeling vulnerable?
These are simple gestures a man will do if he truly respects you and the relationship you have together.
But here’s the kicker:
Are you actually bringing his protective instincts to the fore? Do you let him step up to the plate to protect you?
Because it’s built into a man’s DNA to seek out relationships that allow them to feel like a protector.
Men have a thirst for your admiration. They want to step up for the woman in their lives and be an indispensable part of it.
This is deeply rooted in male biology.
There’s a psychological term for what I’m talking about here that’s generating a lot of buzz at the moment. It’s called the hero instinct. This term was coined by relationship psychologist James Bauer.
The simple truth is that if a man’s hero instinct isn’t triggered, he is less likely to stay in a relationship. And he will eventually seek out one where he feels this powerful emotion.
To learn how to activate the hero instinct in your man, check out this free video. James provides several unique tips to make him feel more like a hero.
I think the hero instinct provides a compelling explanation for what drives men in relationships. Because I can relate to the psychology behind it in my own life.
I’m not the most alpha of males. Sure, I drink beer and watch football, but I’m also a keen student of Buddhism, I’ve written a book about mindfulness, and I’ve never fixed a single thing around my house.
But the drive to provide for and protect the woman in my life is an extremely strong one.
Here’s a link to James’ video again. Some ideas in life are game changers. For relationships, I think this is one of them.
6) He is kind
Good men are not just kind to you, but they are kind to others. If you are still on the fence about being with a man, watch how he treats other people.
For eons, women have looked to how a man treats his mother, but pay attention to how he treats co-workers, how he treats wait staff at the local restaurant, and how he interacts with strangers.
Kind men see people; they don’t just glaze over them in passing. If he does this to other people, he is likely to do it to you.
7) He is honest
A man who respects you will always tell you the truth, even if it is hard to do. There’s a big difference between being a jerk and being candid.
Sometimes hard conversations need to be had in relationships, and if he respects you, he’ll be able to have those conversations with you.
If he doesn’t, you’ll find him drinking beer with his buddies trying to avoid the situation.
A real man will step up even when it’s uncomfortable because he knows the relationship, and you, are worth it.
8) He is grateful for who you are
When a man is comfortable in his skin, he won’t try to get you to change who you are.
He’ll not only make room for your awesomeness in his life, but he will encourage you at every turn to do what feels right for you.
Your strong, independent nature is not going to scare him off.
9) He is in it to win it
He will be committed to you no matter what.
You’ll be able to tell early on that this guy is the real deal when he starts talking about making plans for the future, and when you are settled into your relationship, he’ll continue to show up and be his authentic self later on.
There’s no need to hide who he is because he knows you’ll accept him for him, and that’s where he feels safe.
10) He makes you feel protected
A real man always makes his partner feel safe, whether physically or emotionally.
It’s not like you need him to take a bullet for you, but it would be nice if he did stand up for you when you are bitching about your boss that hit on you.
A man that respects you gets it when will make you feel welcome, protected and safe at every turn.
11) He delivers on all fronts: mind, body, soul
Not only does he take care of your mental well-being, but he doesn’t hold back in the bedroom either.
A real man is confident in his body and wants to show you that confidence when you are alone.
He puts your mind at ease about your body and tells you how amazing you are every day.
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12) He is happy to lead or follow
A man with integrity is not threatened by a strong woman, and so if you feel the need to take charge of what is going on around you, he’ll give you space to that.
But he’s perfectly happy to take charge if the situation calls for you.
There are no scorned feelings here because he knows you two are partners; it’s not a competition.
13) He can make the tough decisions
When you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to take the reigns, he can do that.
He can pull the plug on something that is not working, and you’ll respect him for it. He’ll return the favor to you when you are able.
Whether you need a shoulder to cry on or you need a kick in the pants to quit that job and go after your dream business already, he’ll be there to help you make those tough calls.
14) He will always take responsibility for what he does
If he messes up, you better believe a respectful man is going to own up to it fast.
It might be said and done, and he’ll be at your doorstep telling you all about it because he doesn’t want you to find out from someone else that he dropped the ball.
If he starts a fight, he’ll admit it. If he shows up late, he won’t make excuses. He’ll just say he is sorry for keeping you waiting.
15) He speaks his mind
You can either love him or hate him for it, but a real man is going to tell you what he thinks.
He’ll also respect your thoughts and opinions so don’t think you need to hold back when grievances are being aired.
It’s a free for all when it comes to being honest, and he will always be honest with you.
16) He is cool with you doing your own thing
A real man does not need to be in your life every second of the day. He knows you have things you want to achieve in life and there might not be a place for him in those areas.
That doesn’t make him feel threatened or less needed because he knows the place he has in your life.
17) He puts you first
When push comes to shove, he will always show up for you, no matter what.
He lets you know that he cares because he puts your needs ahead of his own.
It might be something as simple as driving you to work when you get a flat tire, despite making himself late in the process.
He’s ready to give it all up to make you happy, and that’s how you know that you’ve got yourself a real man.
[Independence is a key attribute of strong women. In our latest eBook, we outline why men love strong women and how you can become one yourself. Check it out here.]
On the other hand, seven signs he doesn’t respect you:
While the above signs are an excellent indicator that he wants to build a healthy relationship with you, there are also signs that indicate the opposite.
Because the bottom line is this:
If a guy doesn’t respect you, it’s impossible for a healthy and fulfilling relationship to grow.
In fact, according to Peter Gray, Ph.D., respect is even more important than love in a relationship.
So, how can you tell if your partner doesn’t respect you?
Most importantly, listen to your gut. You can instinctively feel whether someone respects you or not.
But if you’re still struggling to work it out, you can look for these seven signs:
1) They don’t listen to you
If they struggle to listen when you speak, then it’s a surefire sign that they don’t respect your opinion.
Communication is one of the essential aspects of a healthy relationship.
After all, you need to be able to vent and express your feelings. If they’re not allowing you to do that, then it’s unlikely you’ll be happy in the long run.
Watch out for these red flags:
– Is your partner not listening to you even when you know the subject interests them?
– Is your partner always racing ahead of what you are saying by thinking how to respond?
– Are they quickly judging that what you say isn’t important?
– Is your partner ignoring you in the hope that you stop talking?
If any of these habits are constant, then you might want to consider talking about it with them.
2) You’ve caught them lying
This is a huge red flag that they lack enough respect that they’re not even open and honest with you.
And don’t get it twisted: This is the case for even the little things.
If they’ve gone out drinking with the boys, but they tell you they’re working over time, then it stinks of disrespect.
You have the right to know the truth, and you shouldn’t settle for less.
3) You’re not a priority
If you’re their significant other, then there are no two ways about it: You should be high on their priority list.
They should respect your time and what you do day-to-day.
How can you work out if you’re a priority?
Well, if they’re spending more time with their friends than they are with you, then you may no longer be a priority anymore.
Another sign that they don’t respect is if they’re always showing up late or making excuses at the last minute as to why they can’t make it.
4) They’re using a silent tactic
All couples disagree sometimes.
But a great sign of a healthy relationship is to see how a couple communicate when they do experience an argument.
The silent treatment is an extremely disrespectful tactic to use because it keeps you second guessing as to what you did wrong.
According to Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski:
“It is one of the most frustrating tactics and can provoke even the most patient person. Depending on the method used, it can make the person on the receiving end feel powerless, invisible, intimidated, insignificant, “dissed”, looked down on, disapproved of, guilty, frustrated, and even angry.”
5) They flirt with others
If you’re out in public and they’re flirting with someone else, it’s a huge sign of disrespect.
After all, you’re their significant other, and you deserve their attention.
If they’re trying to make you jealous, then they’re trying to manipulate you and control you.
No woman should settle for a man flirting with someone else.
It’s a sign of disrespect because they don’t mind hurting your feelings or they’re trying to manipulate you.
Either way, you shouldn’t stand for it.
According to dating expert Justin Lavelle:
“When your significant other starts talking about other [people] or you notice them staring at [someone] right in front of you, it is a sign that [they’re] showing little respect for you and your feelings.”
6) They’re purposely trying to hurt your feelings
This is an obvious one that they don’t respect you or what you’re going through.
If they’re willing to hurt your feelings to make a point, or to manipulate you, then there’s a lack of respect for your wellbeing.
How can you recognize if it is intentional? According to Gregory L. Jantz Ph.D. usually, your gut reaction will recognize the offense for what it is.
7) They don’t want to spend time with your friends and family
It may not be the most thrilling activity, but he knows that your close friends and family are important to you, so if he isn’t making an effort at all, then he’s not respecting you and what you hold important.
When you have a significant other, there’s a responsibility when it comes to family functions and important events with your friends.
What to do if they don’t respect you
If you’re sure there’s a lack of respect in the relationship, then you seriously need to reconsider the relationship.
At Hack Spirit, we believe that without respect, there can’t be trust. And without trust, a relationship can’t grow.
But if you’re not willing to move on just yet, then here are some strategies you can use to attempt to build respect in the relationship:
1) Say what you mean and mean what you say
If you want to build trust and respect, then you need to stop saying things that you won’t follow through on, or that don’t represent your actual feelings.
If you feel like you’re not be listened to and you’re annoyed, let him know. It’s time to talk about it.
2) Be vulnerable, slowly
Emotional vulnerability is important. Building trust and respect involves a willingness to open up.
To see if they’re willing to respect you and open up to you then you need to open up yourself. Gradual of course, to protect yourself along the way.
3) Let them know that you feel disrespected
Communication is important in any relationship, so you need to be open and honest about how you feel.
It also gives them an opportunity to rectify their behavior.
4) Give them the benefit of the doubt, to begin with
If they’ve only just started acting in ways that disrespect you, then express yourself honestly and give them time to adjust.
Perhaps they just have a bad attention span, or they’re stressed at work. But if it continues, then don’t hesitate in ending it because you know they won’t change.
5) Create your boundaries for what encompasses respect and don’t let them get away with crossing it
Your boundaries could include:
– Your opinion is heard and valued.
– You’re allowed to disagree.
– Your feelings are regarded.
– When you are wrong, you are confronted respectfully, not talked down to.
In fact, therapist John Kim has a great definition of respect in a relationship that you may want also to consider:
“Respect means no one has power or authority over someone else. It means we don’t have to agree with someone to love them. Respect means to give someone space to have their own opinions and journey. Respect means to let go. Accept. Not judge. Don’t react. Don’t control. Let be. Let grow. Respect means to not place your definitions on someone else. Respect means to work on your own issues. Respect means to have your own safe life container.”
6) If you’ve talked with them about it and they continue to disrespect you, then you need to move on
If you’ve been direct with how you feel and you’ve asked them to change, but they’re simply not changing, then you might want to move on.
According to therapist John Kim, respect is the most important predictor of a healthy and long-lasting relationship.
7) Does this keep happening in your relationships?
Has respect been missing in all your relationships? Is it becoming a pattern?
If you think this might be the case, ask yourself: Why?
Don’t blame him or her. Bring it back to you: Why haven’t you made respect a non-negotiable?
The most likely scenario is that it’s happened slowly. Respect started to wane, but your feelings were telling you otherwise.
And that’s fine, but don’t let it happen next time. Never accept being disrespected in a relationship.
Because if you do, you’re compromising yourself. You’re sacrificing your self-worth for an unhealthy love.
And you’re not doing your partner any favors as well. If they’re allowed to disrespect you, they’re not growing as a person.
Work on taking responsibility for yourself until respect becomes a non-negotiable. And never let it go.
You may also like reading:
- He doesn’t REALLY want the perfect girlfriend. He wants these 3 things from you instead…
- This is the one thing all men want (and it’s not sex)
- The strangest thing men desire (And how it can make him crazy for you)