Disrespect in Relationships & Marriage: Signs & Behavior

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  • 0:02 What Is Disrespect?
  • 0:31 Signs of Disrespect in…
  • 2:54 Behaviors of…
  • 5:25 Severe Forms of…
  • 5:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karin Gonzalez

Karin has taught middle and high school Health and has a master's degree in social work.

Most of us desire to be respected in a relationship or marriage, but sometimes disrespect creeps in. In this lesson, you'll learn the signs and behaviors that are considered disrespectful in a relationship or marriage.

What Is Disrespect?

The definition of disrespect is, often, a lack of respect. So what is respect? Respect is defined by most dictionaries as a deep admiration for someone, but the concept of respect encompasses so much more that admiration. The essence of respect entails honoring a person's feelings and needs; it also involves taking into consideration and assigning importance to a person's desires, goals, thoughts, and behaviors. So disrespect would be the exact opposite of this.

Signs of Disrespect in Relationships

Signs of disrespect can sometimes be evident on the first date but many times don't occur until later on in the relationship. We will look at seven signs of disrespect using fictional characters and scenarios.

1.) The first sign is often a lack of regard for the other's freedom and space. After a year of dating in college, Emmy would get angry with Tom when he would spend time with his guy friends or if he was too busy to spend time with her because of school work.

2.) Another sign is a lack of respect for the other's time. Antonio consistently made his wife, Maya, late for important events, like weddings or graduation ceremonies, where it was very important to be on time. Even though Maya discussed with Antonio her desire and need to be on time, he continuously displayed a lack of regard for his wife's need.

3.) A third sign is a lack of attentiveness to the other's need for safety. Bill took Victoria for a ride on his new motorcycle on their second date. He started popping wheelies while driving at a dangerously fast speed around corners which made Victoria very uncomfortable. She continuously pleaded for Bill to stop and slow down, but he kept on.

4.) Fourth is a lack of consideration of boundaries. After three years into the relationship with Dustin, Beth looked through his phone and bedside table drawer almost on a daily basis. When Dustin looked like he was in deep thought, Beth insisted he tell her what he was thinking. Beth did not respect Dustin's right to privacy, to have his own things, even the right to not always have to share his thoughts.

5.) A need to always be right is another sign of disrespect. Harold had a large ego due to deep-seated insecurities and low self-esteem. When Harold and Martha were dating, he would not allow her to win an argument. Even if he was wrong, he would never admit he was wrong and apologize.

6.) Disrespect can also be exhibited through defensiveness. Cliff and Amy had developed a close and intimate relationship while dating, but when Cliff would attempt to give Amy constructive criticism, she would always look at it as an insult and get defensive and angry.

7.) Lastly is disrespecting need for financial security. Gerald and Lauren worked paycheck to paycheck and had established a strict budget to make sure that they were financially secure. Gerald had a shopping problem and would always buy superfluous items at the wholesale grocery. He also gambled their money playing cards with his friends, and this made Lauren very nervous.

Behaviors of Disrespect in Relationships

Let's look at nine behaviors that can be considered disrespectful in relationships and marriage:

1.) First is manipulation. Susie would often fake cry to get her way with her boyfriend, Jim. Her crying was a tactic of manipulation and was a deceitful tactic that constantly made Jim feel terrible because he felt like he had upset her.

2.) Another disrepectful behavior involves minimizing feelings. Emily would tell her boyfriend Gunther about struggles with her mother, but he would say that she was overreacting and would minimize her feelings.

3.) A third behavior involves nagging and criticism. Kristine liked her home a certain way and had a stay-at-home mom routine that she swore by, so when her husband Chris diverted from her standards, she was constantly nagging him. Kristine was not respecting Chris' way of doing things. When nagging turns into criticism of the other's character and personality (instead of just focusing on the behavior), this is considered disrespectful behavior as well.

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