7 signs your partner is losing respect for you, according to psychology

The Beatles famously sang “All You Need Is Love” but I have to disagree. 

For a relationship to be healthy and go the distance, it needs not only love but also respect.

As outlined by Marty Nemko Ph.D. coach and author “Many factors contribute to a long-term relationship’s viability..But maybe the most important is mutual respect”.

Love and respect are the core ingredients for a healthy, loving relationship. Without love there’s no relationship and without respect, it has no foundation to grow and thrive.

Are you worried that your partner is losing respect for you? 

A relationship without respect is a very lonely and isolating place to be. And no one deserves to go through it.

However, it doesn’t happen overnight. Respect often fades slowly and there are telltale signs it’s happening. Knowing the signs helps you avoid more trouble later on. 

With that in mind, today, we’re diving into 7 signs your partner is losing respect for you, according to psychology. Let’s see if you recognize any of them.   

Let’s get started. 

1) They ignore your boundaries

Boundaries are the limits you set for other people. They’re the things you’re willing to accept and the things you’re just not. It’s healthy to have boundaries in all of your relationships, but they’re especially important in romantic relationships.

If someone ignores boundaries in a relationship, it’s a telling sign they have no respect for their other half. 

Signs that your partner is ignoring your boundaries include things like: 

  • You’ve had to repeat the boundary multiple times
  • You’ve said you’re uncomfortable and they don’t seem to care
  • They mock or minimize your request like it’s not important

My friend, Ellen ran into this issue with an old boyfriend. She was uncomfortable with some of the things he was doing in the bedroom and asked that he stop. But he ignored her and did them anyway saying it was no big deal. 

He was ignoring her boundaries, it was clear that he had no respect for her, so she ended things with him. 

If your partner previously respected your boundaries and now they don’t seem to bother anymore, it’s a sure sign they’re losing respect for you and a warning sign for the relationship. 

2) There’s no healthy communication during fights 

Remember in the early days, you guys weren’t very good at communicating during fights but at least you were both willing to try.

It felt like you were both committed to figuring things out and overcoming challenges together. But it’s not like that anymore

These days, there’s no healthy communication between you when you fight.

Instead, all you get from your partner is the silent treatment. Or if they do talk to you they’re full of sarcasm, defensiveness, and criticism. 

Sound familiar? 

John Gottman, psychologist and author, has studied couples for many years and he’s identified the biggest predictors of divorce are the presence of; criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. 

He calls them The Four Horsemen and notes that communicating through any of these, especially contempt is a sign of complete disrespect for your partner. 

If you’re dealing with any of these things in your relationship it’s a sign your partner is losing respect for you and your relationship could be in big trouble. 

3) They don’t have empathy for you anymore

Does your partner still show you empathy

It’s all about “putting yourself in someone else’s position and feeling what they are feeling”. It’s one of the key ways that your romantic partner shows you support. And it’s closely linked with respect.

As outlined by marriage and family therapist Andrea Brandt “Empathy can create a bridge and generate mutual respect.” She believes that empathy is the secret to a successful relationship, allowing you to respect your partner’s individuality.

If your partner isn’t showing you empathy like they used to, it suggests they’re no longer willing to put themselves in your shoes and understand life from your perspective. It could be a sign they’re losing respect for you. 

pic1923 7 signs your partner is losing respect for you, according to psychology

4) They’re no longer willing to compromise

Having respect in a relationship “means valuing your partner, accepting them for who they are, and treating them with kindness, compassion, and understanding”.

Compromise is at the very heart of respect, it helps partners to find a middle ground where conflict can be resolved.

“Compromise entails a mutual respect and regard for each other’s feelings and needs” as outlined by Claudia De Llano, licensed marriage and family therapist. 

My partner and I are big on respect in our relationship, it’s a non-negotiable for both of us. And when we have disagreements and need to compromise, even though it’s hard, we do it because we respect each other enough to meet in the middle. 

Without respect, there will be no compromise. If you notice that your partner is no longer willing to compromise it might be because they’re losing respect for you

5) They dismiss your feelings

Do you ever feel like your partner dismisses your feelings as if they don’t matter? 

You’re being vulnerable and letting your partner know how you really feel but they just shrug it off as if it’s not important or your feelings don’t count. In psychology, this is called emotional invalidation.

The opposite of this is what you’d expect in a healthy, loving, and respectful relationship. It’s where you feel seen and heard by your partner, you feel safe opening up to them because you know they’ll validate your feelings. 

“Validation tells someone that their emotions are respected.” as outlined by PsychCentral. It’s key to any healthy relationship. 

If your partner is dismissing your feelings, it’s a clear sign they’re not respecting you or your emotions anymore.

6) They’re trying to gaslight you 

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that’s all about distorting reality to the point you make someone doubt what they know to be true. The worst part is, that the gaslighter is doing this on purpose to gain the upper hand.

Is this something you’ve been experiencing recently?

As outlined by Professor of Sociology Paige Sweet Ph.D. “It’s making someone seem or feel unstable, irrational and not credible, making them feel like what they’re seeing or experiencing isn’t real, that they’re making it up, that no one else will believe them.”

Here’s the thing: gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and manipulation that is more about control than love or respect. Someone who loves and respects you would never try to make you question your sanity. 

If you think your partner is trying to gaslight you, it’s a sure sign they’ve lost respect for you and it’s a very serious situation that you need to address as quickly as possible. 

7) They’re lying to you

Have you caught your partner out in a few little lies lately? 

My work colleague who shall remain nameless lied to his wife about taking a business trip abroad for 4 days. What he really did was stayed in a local hotel, to give himself a break from the kids. 

But guess what? He forgot that she’d see the receipt on their online banking. 

Sure this is an innocent lie in that he wasn’t off cheating or anything, he was simply just taking some ‘me’ time. The fact he chose to be dishonest instead of saying he needed some time away is the problem. Lying destroys trust in a relationship. 

Lying is the ultimate disrespect in a relationship.

Lying to someone and expecting them to believe you is like telling them you think they’re naive enough to believe whatever nonsense you tell them. It’s not only hurtful and damaging to the relationship. It’s insulting to their intelligence. 

If you and your partner had an honest relationship before, where ‘honesty was the best policy’ and now you find they’re lying to you a lot, even about small things, it’s a sign they’re losing respect for you. And you may need to have a conversation before small lies turn into big ones. 

The bottom line

Relationships are never easy, there are constant ups and downs. You can get through most things but respect is a non-negotiable. It’s one of those essentials that you just have to have if you want a healthy relationship. 

If you recognize some of these signs in your partner, it might be time to have an honest conversation with them and figure out what’s best for you both moving forward.

Picture of Cat Harper

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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