Lack Of Respect In A Relationship – Signs & How To Improve It

Learning the signs that hint at your relationships demise must just be what saves it.

Reviewed by Bayu Prihandito, Life Coach Bayu Prihandito Bayu PrihanditoLife Coach facebook_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA Gracia Odile MA linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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Being ill-treated in a relationship is one of the worst things one can think of. It can take a toll on your mental health and lower your self-esteem. So, how important is respect in a relationship? The answer is quite simple. It is one of the important pillars of a stable relationship besides love, trust, and loyalty. If either of the partners feels disrespected, it is much likely that the relationship is headed for a collapse.

The word ‘respect’ may sound too bookish for a relationship, but it is essential for a balanced and lasting journey. Therefore, to save your relationship from downfall and dissatisfaction, it is better to find a solution at the earliest. Because any delay can further exacerbate the situation, and the relationship may end up turning toxic. It can get as serious as slipping into depression and being abused by the partner physically. This article lists 13 signs that your relationship lacks respect and explores ways to tackle it. Keep reading!

How Respect Works In Relationships

How respect works in a relationship
Image: Shutterstock

The dictionary meaning of respect is ‘having a regard and admiration for someone.’ People can have respect for themselves and those around them for a multitude of reasons. It is the basic level of regard we show to another person in terms of acknowledging them. It may be based on their age, status, knowledge, temperament, and so on.

Now, you may be wondering how the idea of respect works in a relationship between two people. In a relationship, respect is what sets down the ground rules that guide the relationship to flourish. Mutual respect is something both partners consciously and unconditionally provide each other. By respecting your partner, you don’t show them love, care, trust, support, and the willingness to understand who they are as a separate individual.

Regardless of your ideals for their betterment, taking a step back and letting your partner be themselves, and embracing them as they are is also a show of respect. Adhering to their boundaries and what they have agreed upon when it comes to the relationship is respect. Being there for them in the manner they need is respect.

Respect takes many forms in a relationship, and all of them are important for your relationship’s sustenance. How? Head to the next section to find out.

Why Is Respect Important In A Relationship?

Why is respect important in a relationship
Image: Shutterstock

As mentioned above, respect is the foundation on which relationships flourish. Mutual respect is what allows both partners to grow and understand each other as independent individuals. It helps maintain boundaries and rules that every relationship must-have. When you respect the person you are in a relationship with, you care about them in the manner they require, while they can care for you the way you need.

When you don’t respect the other person, their individuality, choices, dislikes, dreams, and passion, and start to mold them into your idea of who and what they should be, respect is lost in the relationship. Instead, it becomes a game that two individuals play with themselves as well as each other — a game where one is the puppeteer and the other the marionette.

As important as respect is, people often find it missing in their relationship. Instead, they feel repeatedly disrespected and offended by their partner. Is it something common, or should you be wary of being treated this way? The answer is in the next section.

Is It Normal To Feel Disrespected In A Relationship?

Is it normal to feel disrespected in a relationship
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Everyone is entitled to respect, but it is not uncommon to find people who feel more disrespected than respected in a relationship. While it is not the norm, there are a couple of relationships where it can be seen. Unfortunately, these are the relationships that have lost the foundation of respect and instead function on disrespect. It may be something you haven’t noticed or have gotten accustomed to, but there is no denying that disrespect may exist in some relationships.

But once lost, can you gain respect back in a relationship? The answer is yes, you can. It may take some time if the relationship has been on the path of disrespect for a while. But slowly and surely, it is possible to gain respect in most relationships. Start with baby steps. Talk to each other, understand each other’s standpoint and view of life. Try to find out what motivates and drives your partner. Be open and honest with each other and make it clear if you feel disrespected. Hopefully, you will start to bring about and notice the change soon.

If you feel like you are in a relationship where respect has been lost or are not sure if you are being disrespected in a relationship, the next section is for you. Scroll down to know 13 actions and habits that point towards a lack of respect in your relationship.

13 Signs Of Lack Of Respect In A Relationship

Signs of lack of respect in a relationship
Image: Shutterstock

Respect in a relationship plays a big role in the harmony of the relationship. On the other hand, not showing and having adequate respect towards each other in the relationship may lead to mental and emotional exhaustion.

Here are 13 signs to help you find if your relationship is lacking respect:

  1. It seems like you are not being valued; there is a lack of commitment towards appointments, dates, or other important matters.
  2. They do not mind talking about your insecurities with others, nor do they mind flirting with someone else while in front of you.
  3. You have started to feel insecure about your self-worth and question if there is anything that you are good at doing.
  4. There is a sense of materialism in the relationship where one talks about the other as if they own them. It is a sure-shot sign that respect has long since left the room.
  5. There is no regard for boundaries — “you don’t like it; deal with it yourself,” “you want to do this, we will do it my way.”

According to a survey of 2,000 U.S. adults, 80% of Americans find it acceptable to tell a partner that they need personal space, 70% find it okay to communicate the need to spend time with friends without the partner, and 63% find it acceptable to express the desire to keep certain aspects of the relationship private on social media. These results highlight common attitudes toward healthy boundaries in a romantic relationship.

  1. The relationship is making you feel exhausted, tired, and bored. There is no excitement in the relationship, and the thought of spending time with them is putting you down.
  2. You have started to feel like you are being attacked in the relationship and made to feel bad about yourself.
  3. When you are in a situation where you are being pushed around, they don’t mind being the spectator or even joining the others in bullying you.
  4. Every idea you have about yourself is being thrown out the window, and instead, it seems like they have started dictating your life.
  5. They don’t mind ignoring you; they will leave you on ‘read’ for days or just act like you don’t exist even when you are right there beside them.
  6. They act upset or angry and won’t tell you why. They might give you the silent treatment or make sarcastic comments.
  7. They keep interrupting every time you try to share something. They may not let you finish what you are saying, which indicates a lack of respect for you and your thoughts.
  8. They don’t celebrate your accomplishments and triumphs. Instead, they may try to belittle you and say things that make your achievements or interests seem less important.

The above signs are not all-encompassing, and if you feel that you are being disrespected, listen to your gut. It should help to take the reins of the relationship and guide it towards mutual respect rather than abandoning it at the get-go.

Respect is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship; without it, the foundation crumbles. If not, it can lead to the end of the relationship. Learn more about what impacts disrespect can have on relationships and persons in the next section.

The Impact Of Disrespect

Couple fighting
Image: Shutterstock

Disrespect in relationships can cause serious harm, affecting both personal health and the strength of the relationship in the following ways:

  • Psychological Distress: Disrespect in relationships can lead to severe emotional repercussions, including resentment, fear, and self-doubt, escalating to mental health challenges like depression and anxiety.
  • Physical Health Decline: The stress from ongoing disrespect may cause physical symptoms such as insomnia, impairing daily performance.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Constant criticism and belittlement from a partner can severely damage an individual’s self-esteem, leaving lasting effect on their confidence and sense of self-worth.
  • Relationship Decay: Disrespect sows seeds of discontent, eroding the foundation of trust and mutual respect necessary for a healthy, supportive partnership.

Keep scrolling to know how you can learn and teach how to respect in a relationship.

How To Show Respect In A Relationship

How to show respect in a relationship
Image: Shutterstock

There is no singular way when it comes to showing respect to your partner in a relationship. There’s no direct answer to this question, but one thing that remains true is that respect is a two-way road, and both the partners have to meet in the middle.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can show respect in a creative way by decorating a jar and filling it with notes, highlighting specific instances where you felt proud of or respected by your partner. Over time, these notes will help reinforce the positive aspects of your relationship.
  1. Start by being mindful. Mindfulness is being aware of yourself and those around you. Your partner’s wishes, needs, likes, and dislikes — pay attention to who they are as a person.
  2. While practicing mindfulness in your relationship, offer support to your partner. Support who they are, who they want to be, and where they wish to see themselves.
  3. Portray trust in them and yourself. Only when you show you trust them can they trust you back and support you to the full extent.
  4. Talk. Converse about everything and anything, let your opinions be known, listen to their opinions, and find common ground.
    While these are not the only ways to show respect, they are the basic few that might help you get started towards showing mutual respect.
protip_icon Quick Tip
Learning and understanding your partner’s love language enhances mutual respect. It can be acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts, or spending quality time together.

Infographic: Respect In A Relationship

Every relationship is built on honesty and trust. Without these values, the relationship is unhealthy and falls apart easily.

These basic principles show that the relationship is grounded in mutual respect and love. We all know that love is the core of all relationships. Not obsessive love, but pure love where you both want to spend time and get to know each other. You both are willing to put aside your differences and make the relationship work.

But what about the other aspects? Check out the infographic below to learn what to do to build a respectful relationship.

respect in a relationship [infographic]
Image: Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Respect is the admiration and regard you have for someone irrespective of their age or status. While both individuals may have separate outlooks on life, accepting each other’s individuality is a sign of respect and love. Lack of respect in a relationship can lower your self-esteem and take a heavy toll on your mental health. For example, if your partner talks about your insecurities in front of others, ignores you, and does not understand your boundaries, they are being disrespectful towards you. You can talk to each other about your issues and find common ground. Remember, respect will allow the relationship and the individual to grow healthily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you love someone you do not respect?

No. Without respect, there can never be real love.

What comes first: respect or love?

Respect is the first and foremost thing you should want from someone before getting into a relationship with them.

Key Takeaways

  • Mutual respect is the foundation of a healthy relationship.
  • Lack of respect can weaken the relationship and break the self-esteem of the partner who is being disrespected.
  • If you have started feeling exhausted or insecure in your relationship, it could be a sign of a lack of respect.
  • It is important to talk it out with your partner and practice mindfulness to foster respect in your relationship.


Explore the significance of respect in relationships in this quick two-minute message. Click on this video for a quick dose of wisdom that’ll serve you well when confused about how to deal with conflicts in a relationship.

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Bayu Prihandito

Bayu PrihanditoLife Coach

Bayu Prihandito is a life coach, a certified psychology consultant, and an RYT 200 yoga teacher. He is also the founder of Life Architekture, a platform focusing on relationships, mindfulness, emotional Intelligence, and personal development. Bayu integrates his expertise to offer comprehensive and holistic guidance to his clients. His mission is to help them align their lives with their core...read full bio

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