Even when people are compatible and in love, miscommunications happen. Learning one another’s needs and wants is a process that sometimes takes time and patience. If you’re feeling disrespected or neglected by your boyfriend, chances are, he is doing it unknowingly. Learn how to interpret, handle and improve this behavior in a healthy and successful way.
The first thing you should do when you feel disrespected by your boyfriend is to assess the situation. What did he do or say to make you feel he doesn’t respect you? Is this out of character for him? Could it be related to stress at work or a grouchy mood? Men aren’t perfect, and like all people, they sometimes make mistakes and say or do things they don’t mean. If you caught your guy looking at another girl, for example, you might take it as a sign of disrespect, but it doesn’t automatically mean he doesn’t value you or your feelings. Something about her may have reminded him of someone, or perhaps he was comparing her to his incredibly hot girlfriend. An issue like this -- as opposed to, for example, him belittling you with verbal abuse -- is usually a matter of communication, not respect. You may be taking his behavior or actions to mean something that hasn’t even crossed his mind. If you feel it is important enough that you can’t let it go, express how you feel in a healthy and productive way.
When you feel disrespected by your boyfriend, it’s important to communicate your feelings to him in an open, non-confrontational way. If you are feeling angry or upset, take some time to cool down before approaching him. The goal is to reach an understanding, not punish him or make him pay. Don’t put the emphasis on him, as that might come off as an attack and he’ll be less likely to hear you out. Instead of focusing on what he’s done wrong, focus on how it makes you feel. For example, instead of saying, “You really hurt me when you said you doubted I would get that job,” say, “Your support is so important to me, and I felt hurt when I felt like I didn’t have it when I told you about the job.” Notice that although the message is the same -- that is, his reaction hurt your feelings -- the emphasis isn’t on what he did wrong, but what you need and expect. You are far more likely to get through to him if you can identify what hurt you and why without being accusative or shifting blame around.
In many instances, when you are able to call attention to your man’s disrespectful behavior in a rational and non-accusative way, he’ll get the message and keep your feelings in mind in the future, since the problem is usually a simple matter of him not realizing how his behavior has affected you. But sometimes, underlying issues perpetuate poor communication and cause rifts in relationships. If your boyfriend continually disrespects you or doesn’t show any effort to consider your wants and needs, you should consider couples’ counseling. Therapists can help identify the root of an underlying problem and help you both make progress toward resolving it together.
End the Relationship
It is a sad, but true, reality about life that some men and women are downright abusive and mean. Abuse can range from little things like continual down-putting to major things such as physical altercations and control. In any instance, being in a relationship with an abusive partner or one who is unwilling to consider your wants and needs is unhealthy for you. If your man repeatedly disrespects you, makes you feel neglected or seems unwilling to meet any of your needs, consider ending the relationship. Respect is foundational to any relationship and if it is lacking from yours and your man has no interest in changing that, it is in your best interest to move on.
- "Cosmopolitan": Talk So He’ll Listen (and Listen So He’ll Talk); Anna Davies; July 2011