Disrespect In Marriage: How To Deal With It

Written by Harini Natarajan , Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Every relationship is based on the pillars of mutual love, trust, and respect. And marriage calls for greater commitment to these values – both of you vow to love, respect, and cherish the other throughout your lives. However, over time, disrespect can creep into a relationship.

Disrespect in marriage can turn your relationship hollow and demolishes the building blocks of a healthy relationship. This article explores the signs of disrespect in marriage and ways to address them before the issue escalates. Keep reading.

Respect could mean different things to different people. It could also have gendered or cultural connotations, which adds to the diversity of what constitutes respect.

However, respect is about treating your partner as an equal and acknowledging their individuality. It allows each partner to freely live their lives on their terms while acknowledging the shared relationship and the responsibilities that come with it. Respect is a thread that joins two separate, whole beings.

Respect also forms the ground for trust and faith even when there are disagreements between the couple. And even if you do end up arguing with each other, respect calls for fighting fair wherein the opinions and feelings of both partners are honored and validated.

Quite often, people fail to notice disrespectful behavior in a relationship. They may shrug off disrespect in marriage as a part of their partner’s personality or assume that they are over-sensitive. To make things clear, check out the signs of disrespect in a marriage that you may overlook.

15 Signs Of Disrespect In A Marriage

1. Dishonesty



Honesty is always the best policy, especially in a relationship. An honest partner is respectful as they share and communicate with you as though you are their equal. In contrast, if your partner is dishonest with you, it indicates that they do not think of you worthy enough to know the details. In this way, your partner is depriving you of building a connection, which is also, in a way, disrespectful.

Of course, white lies, such as saying that the dress does not make you look fat, are harmless. But dishonesty regarding major issues like finances and whom you spend your time with could erode trust.

2. Dismissing Needs

A healthy marriage requires that both partners meet each other’s needs, including physical, emotional, and mental needs. However, if you notice that they do not pay attention to your needs or ignore them entirely, it is disrespectful. It means they do not value you as an individual.

3. Constant Comparison

If your partner is constantly comparing you to other men or women and acting woeful about it, it is a sure-shot sign of disrespect in a marriage. Marriage is all about loving and accepting another person just the way they are. And such unwarranted and unnecessary comparisons show that they do not respect your individuality.

4. Blocking Off Communication

Blocking Off Communication


Communication is the key to a healthy and happy marriage. However, if you feel unheard or that your opinion does not matter, your partner is shutting themselves out of such conversations.

Marriage calls for openly communicating feelings and emotions and listening to them without judgments. But if you are just a punching bag for your partner to vent their emotions without catering to yours, that is a clear sign of disrespect.

5. Demanding Too Much

Does your partner take up all your time and energy with a long list of demands? If they implicitly expect you to clean up after them, fix their favorite food, pay all their bills, or catering to their emotional needs – it is a warning sign of disrespect in a marriage.

It shows that they do not respect your time and only see you as a channel to meet their needs. Such a situation worsens when they are not ready to compromise or be accommodating. It is mostly “my way or the highway” with them.

6. Not Prioritizing You

In a marriage, your partner is always your priority. Putting them and their needs above everyone and anything else indicates your respect for your partner and the relationship. If your partner puts you at the bottom of their priority list, that is disrespectful.

7. Taking Major Decisions Individually

Be it handling a financial crisis or managing other crucial crises, if your partner does not value your opinion and refuses to find a solution together, that is a red flag. Moreover, if your partner takes all the crucial decisions by themselves – be it your kid’s education or moving cities for work – that is also a sign of disrespect.

8. Being Unsupportive

Being Unsupportive


A healthy relationship is impossible without couples supporting each other. When one falters, the other must stand beside them like a rock to help them get back on their feet. You can always fall back on your spouse for support, even in the craziest of adventures.

It indicates that they trust your judgment and decisions and support them wholeheartedly. But if you find this aspect missing and feel like you are all alone in the marriage, your partner is disrespectful.

9. Insults And Mocks You

Insulting and mocking your partner is a clear indication of disrespect. It even accounts for when they insult you behind your back. Making fun of you is another way to show disrespect.

Of course, an occasional playful jab at you is an entirely different thing. But if you notice them constantly making jokes about you in social settings to the point where others get uncomfortable, it is time to draw the line. This often happens when your partner does not respect you at all.

10. Complaining Constantly

No matter how hard you try, there is no pleasing your partner. Does this statement ring a bell? If yes, it is a clear sign of disrespectful behavior. Complaining about your paycheck, job, looks, cooking, friends, family, or anyone dear to you shows your partner’s lack of respect for you.

Such behavior is a subtle indication that your partner considers themselves above you. It may also mean that you do not fit the mold of their ideal partner even though you leave no stone unturned. Of course, pushing you to be a better person or encouraging you to achieve more is a healthy thing to do. But if their demands leave you utterly exhausted, it is disrespectful.

11. Acting Bossy

Does your partner try to control your actions? Do they often try to dictate how to do stuff and get on your nerves? If yes, your partner is bossy and controlling. This is a major flaw in a relationship and a sign of disrespect. Even signs of micro-aggressions, such as talking over you, undermining your achievements, or making decisions on your behalf, demonstrate that they do not value your opinion.

12. Not Apologizing

Not Apologizing


Even the healthiest marriages have arguments and disagreements. But how the couple reconciles and overcomes the problem is what makes the marriage successful. Regardless of who is at fault, both partners must have the humility to say sorry and extend the white flag occasionally.

But if you are the one who is always apologizing while your partner basks in it, something is off. Your partner’s inability to apologize indicates that they do not value you or your emotions.

13. Withdrawing Affection

If your partner is using sex, intimacy, or affection as a tool to have things their way, they are disrespecting the relationship. They may withdraw affection to use it as leverage to pressure you into something you had not agreed to in the first place.

14. Giving You The Silent Treatment

Much like withdrawing affection, giving silent treatment is also a sign of disrespect. Moreover, it is rude to deliberately ignore someone you love. It is one of the most unproductive ways of communicating in the relationship and reflects your partner’s immaturity. Since it is a passive-aggressive cry for control, experts often categorize it as a form of emotional abuse.

15. Invading Your Personal Space

Is your partner snooping around your phone or obsessively checking out your social media profile? If yes, they are clearly out of line. It is a sign that they do not trust you to be faithful. Of course, such behavior may make sense if your marriage has had a brush with infidelity. However, if it stems from a place where reason does not reside, it is a clear sign of disrespect.

Once you have detected the signs of disrespect, what do you do? Does that mean you need to call off your marriage and go separate ways? Not necessarily.
There are several ways to salvage a relationship, even if it has been ravaged by disrespectful behavior. Here are a few tips.

How To Deal With A Disrespectful Spouse

How To Deal With A Disrespectful Spouse


  1. Have an honest conversation with your partner. Share your emotions on how their behavior or treatment makes you feel and find ways to improve the situation.
  2. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. It is occasionally possible that your better half decided to say something in mirth, which ended up being tone-deaf or disrespectful. Talk to them and clarify. Try to understand if it was unintentional. Discussing the issue will help them practice caution while talking.
  3. Start becoming verbal with your praise and appreciation, and who knows, your partner may soon follow suit and do the same for you!
  4. Have a trusted friend or confidante who can offer you a third person’s perspective on what is wrong and how to deal with the situation. However, be careful about what you share, as publicizing your private affair could also be disrespectful.
  5. Respect yourself and set clear boundaries. Whenever required, stand up for yourself. Let your partner know that you feel hurt by their behavior and disrespected. Understand the reason behind their behavior and work with them. If they are ready to rectify their mistakes, it is fine. Otherwise, there is no point in staying in a disrespectful marriage.
  6. If both of you have issues coming to a common ground, consult a marriage counselor. They can help create an environment where both of you can navigate the problem, communicate about the difference, and try to resolve it amicably.

Wrapping It Up

While you may love your spouse, love should not be the reason to tolerate disrespectful behavior. Respecting each other is necessary for a long-term healthy relationship. It makes you feel valued, appreciated, and safe. Such dynamics can be changed by making conscious efforts and working towards improving the relationship. However, this is possible when your partner is willing to change. If not, it is better to move on than staying stuck in an unhappy marriage.

Recommended Articles

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.