10 Subtle Signs Of Disrespect In A Relationship

signs of disrespect in a relationship

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How can you tell when someone is disrespecting you in a relationship?

It can be hard to tell when a romantic partner is being disrespectful to you, especially when you’re kindhearted and easygoing.

However, by watching how your partner acts toward you and how you feel about their behavior, you can know if they’re not showing you the respect you deserve.

Most people recognize lying and cheating as disrespectful behavior in a relationship, but other signs of disrespect often get overlooked.

According to relationship coach Lilith Foxx, “Disrespect can manifest in various forms, from subtle microaggressions to blatant disregard for one’s feelings or boundaries.”

In this article, we look at common signs of disrespect in a relationship and how to recognize them in your love life.


Mutual respect is an integral part of a healthy romantic relationship; without it, it can be challenging to maintain a strong emotional connection with your partner.

If you suspect that your significant other is being disrespectful toward you, here’s how to know for sure:

1. They treat you anyhow they like 

Does your partner often make you feel as if you’re a child or a slave who’s meant to serve them?

Maybe they bark orders at you, shut you up when you speak your mind, and tell you to do whatever they say without questioning their intentions.

When someone is being bossy and rude to their romantic partner, it’s a clear sign of disrespect in a relationship.

A healthy love life requires empathy, equality, and autonomy to succeed in the long run.

No one has the right to dictate how you should feel or behave because you’re an adult.

The best thing anyone can do is to advise you or negotiate with you for a better outcome.

If your partner treats you as if you’re inferior to them and has no regard for your feelings, that’s a clear sign they don’t respect you.

signs of disrespect in a relationship

2. They speak to you in a condescending tone 

Another way to tell if someone is being disrespectful is to notice how they talk to you.

Does your partner speak to you in a harsh or sarcastic way?

Do they yell at you to make a point when you disagree?

Do you feel humiliated or embarrassed by your partner?

A romantic partner is supposed to make you feel like an equal, not a lesser being.

Even when they’re angry or stressed, it’s not an excuse to carry out their frustrations on you.

If your significant other constantly talks over you and verbally insults you, that’s a major sign of disrespect.

3. They call you degrading names 

When someone is mean and abusive toward you in a relationship, it’s another sign they don’t respect you.

A disrespectful person will often belittle you and put you down for making even the tiniest mistakes.

If you ever feel that you’re not good enough for your partner or can never do anything right, you may be a victim of emotional and verbal abuse.

It’s true that some couples jokingly call each other naughty names, but if you feel insulted or hurt by your partner’s words, it means they’re being disrespectful toward you.

When a romantic partner calls you names like stupid, bitch, or crazy and you feel assaulted by them, it means you’re not being respected in the relationship.

4. They raise their voice at you in public 

Being in control of one’s emotions is a sign of maturity and shows you value your relationships over winning an argument.

One major sign a person doesn’t respect you is that they’ll have frequent emotional outbursts and not care how it affects you.

Does your partner often raise their voice at you in front of other people?

Maybe you have a misunderstanding with each other, and instead of dealing with the issue maturely, they choose to shout and let others know you’re having a disagreement.

Whether in private or public, being yelled at is a huge sign that someone feels superior to you and doesn’t respect your feelings.

It can be degrading for a significant other to talk to you harshly, especially when other people are around.

If your partner repeatedly humiliates you in public, this is a clear indicator of a lack of respect.

signs of disrespect in a relationship

5. They don’t ask for your opinion when making decisions 

In a healthy, loving relationship, both partners equally share responsibility, especially when it comes to decision-making.

This means they’ll discuss at length before making large purchases, bounce ideas off each other, and look at different viewpoints before making a career move.

On the other hand, if you’re in a toxic relationship with a disrespectful partner, you’ll often feel irrelevant and invalidated.

Your partner may decide to take a loan to renovate the house or buy a new car without consulting you first.

Even if they’re the sole breadwinner, it shows trust and respect to inform a significant other about something important you’re working on, especially if it will affect them too.

A romantic partner who refuses to ask for your opinion or involve you in the decision-making process is clearly being disrespectful and devaluing you at the same time.

6. They repeatedly ignore your advice 

Does your partner often reject your suggestions or words of wisdom?

Do they ignore you when you try to have a meaningful conversation with them about something they’re doing?

Besides not asking for your opinion, if you freely give your significant other good advice and they refuse to accept it, it’s an obvious sign they don’t respect you.

When someone thinks they’re more intelligent than you, they’ll often look down on you and disregard your comments.

However, a person who places you highly and values your opinions will always take your advice seriously before making an important decision.

If your significant other always dismisses your advice, it means they don’t see you as an equal partner that they can listen to.

7. They try to control you and limit your freedom 

A respectful and loving partner knows you’re capable of making good decisions and won’t try to take away your independence.

On the other hand, someone who doesn’t respect you will repeatedly violate your privacy and personal boundaries.

For example, a disrespectful partner may tell you where to go, who to talk to, and how to behave in public.

They may also try to influence how you dress and constantly compare you to other people in a bid to change you.

Respect means honoring your partner’s choices and letting them do what’s best for them without interference.

Telling someone what to do or how to spend their time is a sign of controlling behavior, which is disrespectful.

It means you don’t trust them to make the right decisions and feel they cannot function without you.

If your significant other always tries to control your actions or restrict your movement, that’s a sign of disrespect.

signs of disrespect in a relationship

8. They criticize or mock you openly 

Does your partner undermine your achievements and make you feel small?

Do they try to put you in your place by making derogatory comments about your body or looks?

Maybe you received a bonus at work or bought a new dress you love, but when you show it to your partner, they criticize it and undermine your efforts.

Your significant other is supposed to be your biggest supporter; if they’re tearing you down instead, that’s not a good sign.

It shows a total lack of respect when your partner mocks you or makes snarky remarks about you to lessen your self-worth.

9. They refuse to apologize when they’re wrong 

One of the most subtle signs of disrespect in a relationship is when your partner avoids apologizing when they offend you.

It means they feel they’re better than you and don’t need to say sorry or take responsibility for their actions.

Healthy couples often overlook their differences and apologize to one another immediately after they do something wrong.

They’ll also make amends where necessary and try to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

If your significant other refuses to offer an apology when they’re wrong and makes silly excuses to justify their actions, it’s a clear sign they don’t respect you or value your relationship.

10. They are rude to your family and friends 

When someone respects you, they usually extend the camaraderie to your loved ones to honor you.

This doesn’t mean they’ll pretend to be nice or tolerate bad behavior from your friends or relatives.

But they’ll try to be polite when they interact with them and won’t speak to them harshly unless it’s absolutely necessary.

If your significant other despises your loved ones and often behaves rudely toward them for no reason, that’s a clear sign they don’t respect you.

A partner who regards you highly will confide in you about an unpleasant incident in your inner circle and allow you to deal with it as you see fit.

signs of disrespect in a relationship


Staying with a disrespectful partner for a long time can lead to severe anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

So what do you do when your partner treats you disrespectfully, but you still love them and want the relationship to work?

If you notice that your significant other is treating you with a lack of respect, try to stand up to them and speak your mind.

Talk to them about the ways their disrespectful behavior is affecting you mentally and emotionally.

Don’t remain silent and hope they’ll change someday. Let them know that you’re a human being with feelings and will no longer tolerate their disrespect.

If they continue to treat you with contempt, consider leaving the relationship or going for couples counseling.

You deserve to be loved, respected, and valued, so don’t let anyone treat you less.


Are you being disrespected by your romantic partner?

You may feel it’s not a big deal and continue to accept your partner’s toxic behavior.

However, blatant disrespect in a relationship can undermine trust, create emotional distance, and hinder the growth of a healthy, mutually supportive connection.

It’s normal for a disrespectful partner to become abusive over time, so it’s best to call out their bad behavior before it ruins your mental health and relationship.

Identifying the signs of disrespect and addressing them proactively is essential for nurturing a fulfilling and happy partnership.

From name-calling and refusing to apologize to not involving you in the decision-making process, it’s easy to recognize the signs of disrespect in a relationship.

When you notice that your significant other is being disrespectful toward you, communicate your feelings to them and let them know what you can’t tolerate in the relationship.

Most times, people disrespect their romantic partners because they come from dysfunctional families and have no idea what a healthy relationship should look like.

Instead of rushing to end your relationship because of a lack of respect, talk to your partner and see if you can find a middle ground that’s beneficial to both of you.


Recommended Reading:

10 Things You Should Never Tolerate In A Relationship

7 Most Important Things Every Relationship Needs

10 Signs A Partner Is Keeping Secrets In A Relationship

About The Author

Jennifer Dagi

Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life.

As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.

She strongly believes communication and intimacy are the most important ingredients for building a successful relationship.

Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.

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