Aretha Franklin ain’t lyin’: Relationships really are all about respect. Someone can love you like crazy, but a relationship can only last if there is a healthy dose of R-E-S-P-E-C-T mixed in.Figuring out how to tell if someone respects you is just as important as figuring out how to tell if someone is in love with you. Finding respect in a relationship can be a surprisingly tricky thing because love can so easily blind us to disrespect. When a partner treats us badly—from relatively minor episodes of disrespect, like not listening to what you have to say, to major instances of abuse—how many of us have said, “Yeah, that’s not cool, but s/he loves me so much?” We too often let love be an excuse to not treat someone well, or a reason to excuse letting someone else treat us poorly. Love and respect are sometimes connected, but always remain independent entities—and you need both to make a relationship work.
The truth is that, when love lacks respect, it’s self-serving. Disrespectful partners are concerned with how you make them feel, how you can serve them, how you reflect on them. A partner who respects you values you for you, as a full-fledged, thinking person. Someone who respects you will take joy in your independence and honor your boundaries.
Wondering if your relationship is built on respect? Here are eight signs that Aretha would approve of your love:
1. Your partner listens to you
A sign of respect is that your partner really listens to what you have to say. He or she isn’t just using the time you spend speaking as an opportunity come up with his or her next point (come on, we all know people like that); rather, your partner listens to you carefully and responds accordingly.
2. Your partner is proud of you
If your S.O. respects you, he or she is both proud of you and proud to be with you, independently of how you make him or her look. Sometimes people have partners who are proud of what their S.O.s can reflect back on to them (For example, a guy might be proud of his girlfriend because she’s hot, in turn making him look hot), but this is more about vanity than respect. Someone who truly respects you is proud of who you are as a person, full stop.
3. Your S.O. asks for your advice and takes it seriously
When your partner is going through something difficult or touchy and asks for your advice, he or she is showing that they respect you and value your opinion. They might not take your advice, but they take what you have to say under serious consideration.
4. Your partner respects your physical boundaries, and stops when you say, “Stop.”
If someone respects you, he or she will honor your wishes when it comes to your body. If you hate being tickled and your partner knows it, he or she will refrain from tickling you. If there’s something that makes you uncomfortable in bed, your partner listens when you ask to change course. No pressure, no guilt, period.
5. Your partner is honest with you
A partner who respects you will not try to shield you from uncomfortable news, nor will he or she insult your intelligence by lying about their own actions. You have a right to honesty about things that affect your life, and your partner knows that.
6. He or she doesn’t waste your time or string you along
Being constantly late, unresponsive, and unreliable are signs of disrespect. A good partner won’t make you wait around for hours when you have a date, nor will he or she ignore your texts and calls.
7. Your partner doesn’t police where you go, what you do, or with whom you hang out
If your partner doesn’t trust you (to not cheat, or lie, or do anything else that you've agreed isn't acceptable in your relationship), it’s an indication that he or she doesn’t respect your ability to make good choices and to keep your promises. A good S.O. will respect you as an independent person and will trust you to handle yourself.
8. He or she fights fair
All couples are bound to argue at one point or another. Disagreements are natural. But a good partner will treat you with respect, even when you’re raging at each other. That means no derogatory names, no striking below the belt, and no physical violence, ever. When you’re arguing, a partner who respects you will try to listen to what you have to say and understand your point of view, even when it’s really, really difficult.
Images: takasuii/Flickr; Giphy (4)