Don't overlook these small signs of disrespect.
When you're happily in love, it's so easy to miss the signs that your partner isn't exactly on the same page. While things like name-calling and cheating are obvious red flags, experts say the small things can clue you in to how in love your partner really is.
"The reason why it's so important to watch out for these seemingly small things is for the sake of kindness," Julia McCurley, professional matchmaker and founder of Something More, tells Bustle. "Kindness, along with emotional stability, is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage."
Small gestures of kindness are what make people feel cared for, understood, validated, and loved in a relationship. "Maybe you are OK with taking an Uber to the airport," McCurley says. "But if it's important for your partner to have you drive them, then you're spending $100 of your time to make them feel like a million bucks."
Although kind gestures are great and can make you feel loved, you don't want to overlook the small signs of disrespect either. So if you're curious about how your partner truly feels about you, here are some small things they likely won't do if they love you, according to relationship experts.
They Tell You When They Think Someone Else Is Attractive, Even If You Feel Uncomfortable
There's nothing wrong with finding other people attractive and talking about celebrity crushes once and a while. But if your partner actively comments on how hot your friend, their friend or the server is when they know it makes you uncomfortable, they're likely not thinking about your feelings.
If your partner’s eyes are constantly wandering, this is a sign of disrespect. As dating and relationship coach, Rosalind Sedacca, CLC, tells Bustle, “A respectful relationship encourages acceptance, forgiveness, overlooking the little things, seeing the best in your partner. Without mutual respect most relationships fall apart either slowly or quickly.” A partner who is really in love will never treat you with disrespect.
They Pick Petty Fights With You Regularly
One petty fight may not make a huge impact on your relationship. But over time, "frequent fighting can take a serious toll on your relationship," Graber says. If your partner constantly finds ways to argue with you over the smallest things, there may be a deeper reason behind it. As India Simms, licensed marriage and family therapist, previously told Bustle, “Frequent arguments can be healthy as long as you are able to find resolution,” Simms says. “If you're in a relationship and your arguments tend to hit below the belt this could be a sign to break up.”
Your Partner Forget The Details & Dates
When we're in love, it's a lot easier to remember the details about someone like the color of their eyes, the names of their siblings, or their favorite pizza toppings. But, if you’re with someone who can’t remember both small and big things, your partner might not be 100% invested. As Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor and co-founder of Double Trust Dating and Relationships, previously told Bustle, “A partner who is fully invested won’t constantly forget anniversary dates, birthdays, or the time [they are] meeting you at the movies. This also includes remembering to respond to texts. If your partner is always forgetting things that matter to you, it’s a sign you’re not a priority." This could be a sign that you’re with a partner who doesn’t pay close attention to you, and may just see the relationship as something fun for the moment.
They Air Your Issues Out In Public
You may do something that frustrates your partner, but that is no excuse for them to be putting you down in front of other people. "If you're having a dispute about something, a loving partner will discuss it with you privately, and not in front of your friends," Graber says. Regardless of how they feel, they’ll never do anything to purposely embarrass you. They’ll never make passive-aggressive social media posts either. If this is something that your partner does, there’s a good chance they’re too immature for a serious relationship.
They Criticize Your Lifestyle Choices
There’s nothing wrong with being with someone who encourages you to make healthier choices. After all, when you love someone you'll obviously want them to live a long and healthy life. But that doesn't mean anyone should be criticizing what someone eats, drinks, or does to stay healthy. Furthermore, a partner who’s really in love won’t make a habit out of picking you apart.
As Jordan Pickell, a therapist who supports individuals and couples to navigate relationships and find healing after abuse, previously told Bustle, "There’s a difference between pointing out the impact of a specific behavior and attacking you as a person. Your partner may have reasonable complaints about things you do, but [if] the criticism is constant, you are slowly worn down into feeling bad about yourself, like you can’t do anything right."
They Compare You To Other People
A partner who truly loves you won't compare you to anyone else. Even seemingly positive comparisons like, "You're way better than my ex," can be problematic. As Jonathan Bennett, relationship counselor at Double Trust Dating, previously told Bustle, “Being constantly compared to an ex can create a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. People want to be accepted and loved 'as is' in a relationship and not always feel like they have to 'measure up' to another [person] from the past." When someone’s genuinely in love, they won’t be thinking about how you measure up against other people.
They Lie To Avoid Hurting Your Feelings
When you ask your partner for their honest opinion, you should be able to know that they're telling the truth and not just what you want to hear. Even though the truth is not always easy to tell, trust is important in a loving relationship. As licensed marriage and family therapist, Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, Ed.S., previously told Bustle, lies of any kind can lead to rifts in a relationship. “Lying leads to more lying, paving the way for serious deception,” Gilchrest said. “Small lies might pave the way for bigger ones, as it unfortunately is an easy habit to develop. In a relationship, we want to be able to have openness and sharing of information, of each other's lives, both the good and the bad.”
They Keep You A Secret
Some people like to keep their relationships more private, and that’s perfectly OK. But, if your partner is keeping you completely hidden from social media or their friends and family, that could be a sign of a problem. This is especially true if knowing the people in their life is something that you want. "If you are ready [to be public] and they are not, it’s important to ask about it," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, previously told Bustle. "It may be a great chance to understand more how they feel about you and address some miscommunications... The more you push this to the side, the bigger the issue it is going to become." It isn't "needy" or unreasonable for you to want to feel like your partner is proud to be with you. Even if your partner likes to keep it fairly private online, Daniel says they should still respect your desire to be seen with you, and you both can compromise to figure out what form that will take.
They’re Too Busy If You Really Need Them
When you’re with someone who loves you, they’ll be there for you no matter what. Someone who truly cares about you and wants you to be part of their life will never be too "busy" to support you. If they keep making excuses for why they’re not showing up when you need them, it may be time to let them go. As relationship coaches Diana and Todd Mitchem previously told Bustle, "If your partner cares, they will make time. Period.” Of course, it’s important to be reasonable and respect their boundaries. But if you’re with someone who’s always busy, you may not be a priority in your partner’s life.
They Discourage You
A partner who loves you may challenge you in order to help you grow, but they'll always be your biggest cheerleader. They’ll never make you feel like your big goals are stupid or unrealistic. They’re supportive and you know in your heart that they have your back. As licensed psychologist Dr. Danielle Forshee, Psy.D., LCSW, previously told Bustle, "Having psychological and emotional support in a relationship creates cohesion between two people. It exemplifies the level of attachment, love, and care, as well as stability and predictability of the partner. When support is not present, or when support is not consistently present, it renders the relationship vulnerable to being unsuccessful."
They Say Things That Put You Down
When you're close to someone, it's easy to say something that could hurt them "out of love." But a partner who's truly in love will appreciate you for who you are. They wouldn't want you to change yourself because that's who they fell in love with. Pay attention to what your partner says during fights. If you’re with someone who resorts to name-calling, this is a relationship worth reevaluating. As Cheryl Muir, dating and relationship coach, previously told Bustle, "At best, this shows there is deep inner work to be done, if this person is willing," Muir says. "At worst, this is a sign you’re in an unhealthy connection."
Your Partner Makes You Feel Alone
One of the best aspects of being in a relationship is having a partner to do things with. But if your relationship makes you feel lonelier than ever, they may not be as in love with you as you hope. “Ballet? Paintball? Kite Surfing? A Dungeons and Dragons tournament? Count me in,” licensed clinical psychologist, David A. Songco, Psy.D., tells Bustle. “A partner who is in love views time together as a precious commodity, irregardless of the actual activity at hand. Because a loving partner recognizes that there is more to be gained in terms of knowing, learning, and experiencing things together to foster growth in the relationship.” If you’re with someone who truly cares about you, they’ll make the effort to check in with you on a regular basis and you'll never be left wondering when they're finally going to see you. In short, they'll be putting in the effort.
They Monopolize Your Time
If you're in a healthy relationship, there's room in your life for the other important people you love like your family and friends. A partner who loves you won’t try and keep you to themselves. They’ll want you to be happy both in and outside of the relationship. They might miss you when you're spending time apart, but they'll never try to make you feel bad about spending time with other people. In fact, Jacqueline Newman, New York City-based divorce and matrimonial law attorney, previously told Bustle, it’s “not normal” for someone to monopolize your time. Your partner should never restrict you from speaking or seeing friends and family.
They Make You Feel Like An Inconvenience
You deserve to be with someone who loves spending time with you. If your partner doesn’t make you feel like you truly matter to them, there’s a chance that you might not. As Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and relationship expert, previously told Bustle, “Relationships take time and commitment, and just saying you're committed doesn't cut it. You have to walk the walk and talk the talk."
Your Partner Turns Away From Arguments
No matter how in love you are, conflict is inevitable. Although fighting too much is a bad sign for a relationship, not arguing at all can also cause problems like distance or resentment. “In relationships young and old, it is easy for a partner to become conflict avoidant,” licensed clinical psychologist, David A. Songco, Psy.D., tells Bustle. “If you disagree about something with your partner or if your partner feels hurt, uneasy, or any uncomfortable emotion, a loving partner will want to talk about it and face it rather than avoid possible conflict.” A partner who loves you will always put the needs of the relationship first. They’ll want to talk through problems as they come rather than let negative feelings grow.
They Rant About Your Relationship Problems To Their Friends & Family
There’ll be times when you’re disagreeing or going through a rough patch with your partner. But someone who genuinely loves you will never trash you to their friends and family. According to Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and relationship expert, they won’t allow anyone else to do so either. “They may need to vent about something small, here and there, but overall, they will always have your back especially to friends and family,” she says. Your relationship problems will be kept between the two of you.
Experts & Sources
Julia McCurley, professional matchmaker and founder of Something More
India Simms, licensed marriage and family therapist
Dr. Danielle Forshee, Psy.D., LCSW, licensed psychologist
Dr. Joshua Klapow Ph.D., and clinical psychologist
Jordan Pickell, therapist
Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, Ed.S., licensed marriage and family therapist
Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and relationship expert
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