“That’s So Disrespectful!”

“That’s So Disrespectful!”

By Anitra, loveisrespect youth organizer

“When you talk to other girls in front of me…”
“When you dress like you’re single…”
“You see me calling and don’t answer…”
“That’s so disrespectful!”
You’re so disrespectful!”

When speaking with people about their relationship experiences, one word I hear a lot is “disrespectful.” Disrespectful behavior can happen in any relationship, whether with someone we’re dating or a friend or family member. However, there are times when someone labels a behavior as disrespectful when it’s….not. Sometimes our ideas about what’s disrespectful are influenced by unrealistic expectations about our relationships, as well as feelings of jealousy, possessiveness or insecurity – which can all contribute to unhealthy or even abusive behavior. It’s okay to feel jealous or insecure at times (we all do!). But it’s never okay to use those feelings as excuses to control or isolate your partner.

Let’s talk about a few examples:

“When my partner flirts with other people in my face, I find that so disrespectful!”

Some people think that if their partner talks to or hangs out with certain people,  it’s “flirting” or disrespectful behavior. However, it’s important to recognize that this belief is often rooted in possessiveness, which isn’t healthy. In a healthy relationship, it’s not disrespectful for partners to talk to or be around other guys/girls/people. In fact, everyone has the right to have friendships with whoever they choose! That’s why trust, honest communication and clear, healthy boundaries are so important in a relationship. If your partner doesn’t want you talking or hanging out with someone else because they think it’s “disrespectful” to them, that’s a red flag.

“My partner is so disrespectful on social media. I see them liking people’s pictures and commenting on them all the time! They also post certain pictures, like selfies, that I don’t like.”

Social media can be a great way to engage with others, but we often hear from people who think that the way their partner acts online is “disrespectful.” They might think that liking or commenting on someone else’s pictures, or tweeting/DMing someone else, is disrespectful. However, it’s important to remember that neither partner has the right to monitor, harass or control their partner online. Just like in the first scenario we discussed, we all have the right to communicate with other people outside of our relationship. Using social media to try and control a partner is a red flag for digital abuse.

“My girlfriend sometimes dresses like she’s single, and I don’t like it. It’s disrespectful for her to wear certain things, knowing we’re in a relationship!”

Hard stop here. There’s no such thing as dressing like you’re single, or even dressing like you’re in a relationship! Everyone has the right to wear what makes them feel comfortable and happy. It’s not okay for one partner to try and control or dictate what their partner wears. Again, this belief is rooted in jealousy or insecurity. The way someone dresses is their choice, and in a healthy relationship, partners respect each other’s personal choices.

Now, let’s not get it twisted. Disrespectful behavior can happen in any relationship, but it’s important to consider a partner’s intent and the boundaries you’ve agreed to in the relationship. In a healthy relationship, there are three things you can do to make sure both partners are on the same page when it comes to what’s respectful and what’s not:

Build trust. Healthy relationships are built on trust and mutual respect. Both partners should be able to trust that their partner would not do anything to intentionally hurt the other or violate their boundaries. If one partner tries to control the other, or is acting possessive, that is not showing that they trust their partner.

Communication. A good sign of a healthy relationship is open, honest communication. Both partners should be able to safely express how they feel. If your partner is behaving in a way that you feel is disrespectful, you should be able to talk honestly with them about it. If there is a disagreement, it’s important to know how to “fight” fair.

Set Boundaries. Each partner should feel they can be upfront at all times about what makes them feel safe, happy and comfortable. Remember: a healthy boundary helps to protect and respect you – it doesn’t seek to control or harm someone else.

Do you struggle with feelings of jealousy and insecurity in your relationship? Do you feel unsafe talking openly with your partner about your boundaries? Talk to us! Call 1-866-331-9474, chat here on www.loveisrespect.org or text “loveis” to 22522.

Comment section

3 replies
  1. I’ve just come out of a relationship where I felt frightened to upset him, he turned things around so I was confused and then doubted myself. I kept repressing my anger and hurt and they were never resolved so when we tried to move forward they resurfaced in my memory. I have been prone to depression anxiety before I met him and at first it went away in theat wonderful I’m in love stage but gradually returned and I suspect he played on it as he said I was like that before he came along. He gaslighted me . Promises not kept – seemed to be buying more food than he did and if he gave me something I usually had to give him something . I stated off enjoying buying him things but began to feel resentful when he almost expected it without giving much back. He’d forget to pay for something he owed and get cross he’d sometimes say this relationship isn’t working. I kept being in denial and idmoan about other people to him but really I wanted to have it out with him. I stayed 4 years during which I ended for a year in which he tried to talk to me as he lives very near. Our paths crossed frequently. We tried again and as friends but I gave mixed messages as I still felt angry at unresolved incidences and was pretending to be friends as I couldn’t face a row and complete ending it in case I went into a deep depression. I’m sure if I didn’t have depression I would have got out of it much sooner. The inevitable has happened and we fell out he told me to f off when he was in middle of his emotional abuse putting me down when I was so frightened of this I rang his friend for support his face was like thunder but I apologised?? And calmed him and ended up buying him takeaway? I cried and had to ask him for a hug? I said I feel kicked in the guts and like killing myself and he said don’t do that. When he left calm again I was so traumatised distressed I rang and said I wanted to end it and he said ok then I told what I thought of him and how I felt that I’d hadn’t done anything wroand to f off and he said he wasn’t interested. Then I asked him for money he owed but he justified he didn’t owe me it because I owed him money for something and I hung up.He’s told his friend he’s finished with me and no doubt his friends will be hearing how difficult I was? I have reasoned with myself and trying to deal with this with careful decorum and though I feel a range of emotions I am relieved he’s gone as he was killing me mentally that I am a wreck and confused but I’m definitely not in love now only resentful but I’ll let myself recover now. I hate him and have for a while

    1. Hi jayne,

      Thanks for sharing your story with our community. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot, and we’re so sorry to hear about the abuse you’ve experienced. We definitely encourage you to seek support as you heal from the abuse. You do not have to go through this alone. A professional counselor or therapist might be a good option for you, especially as you are coping with depression and anxiety. You deserve to focus on yourself and what is best and healthiest for you. If you are in the U.S., you are welcome to call, chat or text with a loveisrespect advocate any time!

    2. I know exactly how u feel I can realate to excatley what u went through I been going through it for eleven year now and I’m finnaly getting out . It deff not easy to have someone have that way over u . It nice to know that I can relate to someone that has been through the excact same thing I been through . I’m so glad u shared this story. Thank u

Leave a Reply

Please feel free to add your comments, but be aware that this blog is a public space. Your email address is required to comment but will not be public or shared. Please note that entering a website address in the comment form will create a link to the site’s URL. We reserve the right to remove comments that do not abide by our community guidelines.

caret-downemailfacebookgoogleplusLove is Respect Heart Iconlinkedinmagnifying-glasspdfpinterestreddittumblrtwitter
Click to go back to top of page.