9 behaviors you should never tolerate from your partner, according to psychology

Navigating relationships isn’t always a walk in the park. Sometimes, it involves dealing with behaviors that can be detrimental to our emotional well-being.

Psychology tells us that there are certain patterns of behavior we should never endure in a relationship. These are actions that, however subtle or blatant, can chip away at our self-esteem and overall happiness.

Let’s take a closer look at these behaviors. Here are nine things you should never put up with from a partner, according to psychology.

This isn’t about pointing fingers or creating villains. Instead, it’s about understanding our worth and setting the right boundaries for a healthier and happier relationship.

1) Disrespect

Respect is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. Without it, the foundation begins to crumble.

Psychology tells us that persistent disrespect from a partner can erode our sense of self-worth and breed resentment. This can manifest in various ways – it could be constant belittling, disregarding your feelings, or even refusing to acknowledge your accomplishments.

Steve Maraboli once insightfully remarked, “Poisonous relationships cloud your vision. I wasted a lot of time adjusting my boundaries and justifying disrespect when it would have been so much easier (and a lot less painful) to simply adjust my life to their absence.”

This quote underscores the importance of recognizing disrespect and taking decisive action to maintain one’s self-respect and boundaries.

It’s crucial to remember that everyone deserves respect in a relationship. If you constantly feel disrespected, it might be time to reevaluate the dynamics of your relationship.

Don’t mistake disrespect for honesty or tough love. There are ways to communicate honestly, even about difficult subjects, without being disrespectful. Holding onto this understanding can help you set clear boundaries in your relationship.

2) Constant Criticism

No one is perfect, and it’s normal for partners to point out each other’s flaws from time to time. But when the criticism becomes a constant stream, that’s a red flag.

I remember in one of my past relationships, my partner had a habit of constantly pointing out my mistakes. It started off subtly – perhaps a comment about my cooking or the way I dressed. Over time, it escalated to criticizing my ideas, my career path, and even my personality traits.

What was worse, these criticisms were often delivered in front of our friends or family, which was embarrassing and deeply hurtful. I started doubting myself and felt like I was walking on eggshells around them.

This kind of constant criticism can lead to a lower self-esteem and even depression. It’s important to recognize this behavior and remember that it’s not constructive or healthy. Constructive criticism is meant to help you grow and improve, not tear you down.

3) Emotional Manipulation

Emotional manipulation can be subtle and difficult to spot, but it’s one of the most destructive behaviors in a relationship. It involves using emotions to control or exploit the other person.

This can take many forms, from guilt-tripping and gaslighting to playing the victim. It’s all about gaining power and control, often at the expense of the other person’s mental and emotional health.

Interestingly, a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that those who manipulate their partners are more likely to engage in infidelity. This highlights the importance of recognizing and addressing emotional manipulation early on in a relationship.

Everyone deserves to be in a relationship where they feel safe, respected, and free from manipulation.

4) Lack of Communication

Good communication is the lifeblood of a healthy relationship. It’s how we express our needs, feelings, and expectations. Without it, misunderstandings can fester, leading to resentment and conflict.

If your partner consistently shuts down communication or dismisses your attempts to discuss issues, it’s a problem. This could mean giving you the silent treatment, avoiding tough conversations, or simply refusing to listen when you talk.

Such behavior can leave you feeling unheard and undervalued. It’s important to understand that open and honest communication is a basic need in a relationship. If your partner isn’t willing to provide that, it may be time to reconsider the relationship.

5) Controlling Behavior

Control in a relationship can take many forms. It could be dictating who you hang out with, how you spend your money, or even what you wear.

This behavior is often justified as concern or protection, but don’t be fooled. It’s about power and domination, and it’s a clear sign of an unhealthy relationship.

If you find yourself constantly seeking your partner’s approval or permission for everyday decisions, it might be time to reassess. A healthy relationship allows both partners to maintain their independence and make their own choices.

Love is about respect, not control.

6) Dishonesty

Trust is the bedrock of any meaningful relationship. When it’s compromised through dishonesty, the entire relationship can start to feel shaky.

Imagine investing your time, energy, and emotions into a relationship, only to find out your partner has been lying to you. The hurt that follows can be immense, often leaving deep emotional scars.

Whether it’s little white lies or significant betrayals, dishonesty erodes trust and can cause irreparable damage. It’s important to remember that you deserve honesty and transparency in your relationship.

A relationship without trust is like a car without gas – you can stay in it all you want, but it won’t go anywhere.

7) Neglect

In a relationship, it’s not just about being there physically. Emotional presence is equally, if not more, important.

There was a time when I felt like I was in a relationship with a ghost. My partner was there, but they weren’t really there. They’d be on their phone while we ate dinner, zoned out when I shared my day, and emotionally absent when I needed support.

This kind of neglect can leave you feeling lonely and uncared for. It’s a silent killer in relationships, slowly eroding the connection and intimacy.

Everyone deserves a partner who is not just physically present, but emotionally invested.

8) Disregard for Boundaries

Everyone has boundaries – they’re our personal “do not cross” lines. They protect our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

When a partner consistently overrides or ignores your boundaries, it’s a clear sign of disrespect. This could be repeatedly showing up unannounced, sharing your personal information without consent, or making you uncomfortable with their actions.

It’s important to stand firm on your boundaries and communicate them clearly. A partner who respects you will respect your boundaries.

Boundaries are not obstacles in a relationship – they’re markers of mutual respect and understanding.

9) Physical or Emotional Abuse

This is non-negotiable. Any form of abuse – physical, emotional, or psychological – is unacceptable in a relationship.

Abuse is about power and control, and it can leave deep emotional scars that can take years to heal. It’s not just about visible signs like bruises or scars; emotional abuse can be just as damaging.

Never justify or make excuses for a partner’s abusive behavior. Everyone deserves to be in a relationship where they feel safe, loved, and respected.

Remember, your well-being matters. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Final Reflection: Self-Worth is Key

At the heart of all these behaviors is a critical concept: self-worth. Understanding your worth is not only vital for your personal growth but also forms the foundation of any healthy relationship.

Psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” This notion holds true in relationships as well. Accepting your worth allows you to recognize unhealthy behaviors and take steps towards change.

When you know your worth, you become less tolerant of behaviors that compromise your happiness and emotional well-being. You understand that you deserve respect, honesty, and love in a relationship.

So if you find yourself enduring any of these behaviors, remember this: You are enough. You are deserving of respect and kindness. And most importantly, never let anyone make you feel otherwise.

Reflect on this as you navigate your relationships. Remember, change starts with you.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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