7 Ways You’re Being Disrespected in a Dating Relationship

Mar 23, 2021

Disrespect flourishes when someone values their own desires above their date's. They may not be actively trying to hurt the other. Instead, the other person's feelings, freedom, or needs get trampled or ignored because of how intent their date is on having their own way. Disrespect tends to be more self-centered than malicious in nature, though that does occur also.

People in dating situations need to know that their feelings, needs, and freedom are respected. When someone is uncomfortable in a sexual situation, or is hurt by a sarcastic remark, or becomes angry with a broken promise, that is a signal that something is going on. The other person needs to take those feelings seriously. The couple needs to talk about what triggered this, and solve the problem. 

Disrespect may come out in several ways, and it usually involves some violation of freedom:

Dominating: The other person won't hear no from her date. When he disagrees, she intimidates, threatens, or rages. She is offended by her date's freedom to choose. For example, a woman may want her boyfriend to spend lots of time with her. When he tells her he'd prefer to do other things, she may disrespect his freedom by becoming angry and telling him their relationship will be jeopardized.

Withdrawal: One person pulls away when the other exercises some freedom or difference. He may isolate, sulk, or be silent. But he is passively punishing his date for her differentness. For example, a woman might want to go out with the girls on a night that her boyfriend wants to be with her. While he doesn't complain, he also doesn't call or talk to her for a while. He is showing her that he doesn't respect her freedom.

Manipulating: One person shows disrespect using subtle behaviors designed to make the other person change his mind. A woman may cry or nag to get her boyfriend to help her paint her apartment when he doesn't have the time.

Direct Violation: The person disrespects by continuing the same hurtful action, even after being asked not to. A man might chronically cancel dates at the last moment. Even though she tells him how much this bothers her, he keeps doing it.

Minimizing: One person says the other person's negative feelings are simply an overreaction.

Blaming: When, say, the man talks about the problem, the woman indicates that he himself caused the problem. For example, a man will tell his girlfriend that it hurts when she makes fun of him in public. She might respond  "If you would pay more attention to me, I wouldn't have to resort to that."

Rationalizing: The other person denies responsibility for whatever caused the problem. For example, the chronically late date excuses the hurt his girlfriend feels by saying, "I understand your feelings, but it was the freeway traffic, not me."

Respecting someone doesn't mean that you agree with them. Nor does it mean that you will comply with what they want. It means that their feelings matter because those emotions belong to a person who matters. Listen to, understand, and try to help the situation.