We all know relationships are complex, and your partner can upset you or disappoint you.
But there’s one thing that your relationship should always have through all its ups and downs, and that’s respect.
If your partner doesn’t respect you enough, unfortunately there’s a very slim chance your relationship will be happy and healthy.
Sadly, I’ve had this experience myself. But the silver lining is, it has helped me learn to recognize the 7 behaviors that your partner displays when they don’t respect you enough.
Let’s have a look at what they are.
1) They criticize you constantly
As we’re all human and have room to grow, it’s natural that your partner will have some feedback for you or point out things you can work on.
But as long as they respect you, they will find a way to do this with love and empathy.
If instead they criticize you, that’s a red flag that they don’t respect you enough.
This immediately makes me think of my ex — the first few months with him were amazing, and I couldn’t get enough of him.
But as time went on and we got used to each other, he would start finding things about me he wasn’t happy with — a LOT of things.
How I folded the laundry, that I finished work late, how I was distracted when I was tired… it started feeling like I could do nothing right.
It took a big toll on my self-esteem that actually took me years to fully recover from afterwards.
Make sure you don’t let this happen to you, and set clear boundaries about how you’re willing to accept feedback from your partner.
2) They ignore your boundaries
Following up from my previous point, once you set boundaries with your partner of any kind, if they respect you they MUST follow them.
This is not negotiable — it is crucial to your happiness and the health of your relationship.
I learned this firsthand with my ex. I wanted to have time to spend with my friends, as well as some quiet time to read or work on my side business.
But my ex wasn’t able to understand that, and expected me to cancel my plans or my work in order to spend time with him if he suddenly had free time.
We had quite a few conflicts about this and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t get him to see things from my point of view.
Now in hindsight, I see that the problem was his lack of respect for me. He was prioritizing his own wants and needs over mine, and I felt totally dismissed.
If you can relate, take this very seriously — communicate how it makes you feel and why it’s essential for the relationship. If it continues, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship in itself.
3) They make decision that affect both of you without you
Obviously, even in a relationship both people conserve their independence and freedom of choice.
So naturally, you can make some decisions on your own, and so can your partner. But there are also decisions that you should be making together, as they affect both of you.
At least, if your partner respects you. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself surprised or even blindsided by decisions that you should have made as partners.
Maybe you share your finances but he makes big purchases without consulting with you first.
In my ex’s case, he decided what we would do for our vacation together without asking me first.
The message was clear: my thoughts, feelings, and opinions were secondary to his own. I didn’t realize this right away, but it was definitely affecting me on a subconscious level.
It undermined our trust, commitment to each other, and also my individuality — I started feeling like I had to fight to make my voice heard, and that’s something you should never go through.
4) They dismiss your interests
Dismissing your interests is a subtle yet damaging way of expressing a lack of respect in a relationship.
Though they probably don’t say it outright, they’re sending you the message that what you love, what makes you unique, and what brings you joy is unimportant or trivial.
I used to love painting in my free time. It was a hobby that allowed me to express myself and unwind.
But my ex never took an interest in my art. He’d brush them off as a “silly pastime”, and sometimes even make fun of them a little. He never once asked about what I was working on or why I enjoyed painting so much.
Slowly, I found myself painting less and less, partially because I began internalizing his opinions and started feeling silly about it myself.
And at the same time, his lack of interest in something that was a part of me made me feel unsupported, unloved, and undervalued.
Your hobbies and interests are extensions of yourself, and a loving partner should at least show interest or support, even if they don’t share the same passion.
5) They are very jealous or possessive
If your partner shows constant jealousy or possessiveness, that’s another sign that they don’t respect you enough.
Of course, I’m not talking about the little twinge of jealousy you feel when you see your partner having a super good time with someone else, or hear them appreciate something about another person that you wish you had too.
I mean when jealousy becomes a constant theme in your relationship.
My own experience with this was deeply troubling. I wanted to learn how to dance, and so I attended dance classes and socials.
My partner didn’t dare outright forbid me from going, but he did make it clear through his comments and behavior that he wasn’t okay with me going, and wanted me to stay home.
I tried to see it as a sign that he cared about me, but as time went on, it became suffocating.
6) They take without giving back
In relationships, there should be a constant give and take. Not in the sense that the two of you keep score and make it exactly 50/50, but in the way that both of you love to give to the other.
Unless your partner doesn’t respect you. In that case, it will start to feel one-sided where you’re doing all the work, and they’re reaping all the benefits — or almost all.
I remember with my ex, I would try to go out of my way to help him, planning our vacations on my own, cleaning his apartment so he wouldn’t have to do it when he gets home from work tired, and making cute surprises for him.
But it never seemed to occur to him to do something like that in return.
Sure, he would do things if I asked him for them, but otherwise he didn’t seem to think about giving to me just because he cared about my wellbeing.
Eventually I started feeling resentful, and stopped giving so much to him myself — so in the end, we both weren’t giving to each other.
As you can see, this is definitely not the recipe for a healthy relationship, or sustainable in the long run.
7) They don’t listen to you properly
Listening is one of the most basic forms of respect. When someone truly listens, they’re saying that your words matter, your feelings are valid, and your thoughts are worth considering.
But if your partner doesn’t listen to you properly, it’s a clear indication that they don’t respect you enough.
I still vividly remember trying to share my feelings with my ex, pouring my heart out only to have him give me one-worded responses or generic responses like “I’m sorry to hear that.”
All I wanted was for him to care enough to ask me some thoughtful questions and say something meaningful and to the point about what I was sharing with him.
Without that, I started feeling alone in the relationship, and like my voice didn’t matter.
And this is obviously a big issue — don’t let this behavior go unnoticed in your relationship.
Get the respect you deserve in your relationship
Now you know the 7 behaviors that your partner may display when they don’t respect you enough.
You may not notice them right away – as I mentioned, with my ex, we started out incredibly happy together.
But as time went on, I suppose we started taking each other for granted, and then these behaviors started coming to the surface from his side.
What can you do in this case? You cannot change who they are, but you can set boundaries and decide what you are willing to put up with.
I personally started with trying to have open conversations about it. For some couples, this can be enough to fix these issues.
For me, I realized that it was not the right relationship for me, and walked away — and that’s totally fine too.
If your partner isn’t able to respect you enough, then it’s time for you to find someone who does.