20 Signs Of Disrespect In Marriage: When To Draw The Line

By: Ashley Brown

Updated July 14, 2020

It is a fact of life that no marriage is perfect, but where do you draw the line? A successful marriage is built on love, respect, and communication. When you take away any one of the three, you will have strife in your marriage. A marriage may be doomed if you cannot correct the problem. However, it is important to know what all of these things mean. We probably all know what love is, as well as the importance of effective communication.

But do you know what it means to respect your spouse, and to be respected in return? There might be some surprising ways that your spouse disrespects you and your marriage that you have not considered. If you are having problems in your marriage, a lack of respect could be the ultimate root cause. Here are some signs of disrespect in marriage that could alert you that changes need to be made in your relationship.

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Signs Of Disrespect In Marriage

There are many signs of disrespect in marriage. When your marriage lacks mutual respect, it is typically doomed unless something changes. Some psychologists say that respect is more important than love when it comes to factors that affect the success of a marriage. Here are some signs that your spouse is not respectful.

#1 They Don't Make Time For You

Whether your spouse is always playing on their phone, they are spending all of their time on hobbies and activities, or they spend their time with their friends exclusively without you, if your spouse does not make time for you, they do not respect you. Your spouse should take the time to spend with you in conversation and activity alike.

#2 They Don't Tell You Things

If you frequently find out things about your spouse or their day from other people, it is a sign of disrespect in marriage. When this happens, it means that your spouse doesn't respect you enough to keep you informed on their own.

#3 They Don't Introduce You

It is natural for two people in a relationship to have their friends that do not necessarily interact with your spouse, but when you run into these friends and acquaintances, you should be introducing your spouse to them and including them in the conversation. Failing to introduce your spouse and carrying on a conversation as if they weren't there is very disrespectful.

#4 They Only Take Care Of Themselves

A good spouse that shows respect for their partner will be concerned about the needs of their partner, their family, and their household. Only having care for your own needs and desires without regard to your spouse or the household is extremely disrespectful, not just in your marriage but to your children as well.

#5 They Don't Acknowledge Your Accomplishments

When your spouse respects you, they will acknowledge and compliment you on your accomplishments, both big and small. Not acknowledging what you have accomplished in your career, your household, or in some other way, is a sign that your spouse does not respect you.

#6 They Make You Feel Less Than

A spouse that makes you feel less than desired or needed is not respecting you. While no one is perfect, you spend your time trying to make your spouse and family feel loved and cared for. When your spouse is quick to make you feel as though you are less than you should be, it is a serious sign of disrespect.

#7 They Are Derogatory

Derogatory comments either to your face or behind your back are both very disrespectful. You should never tolerate anyone talking badly about you or to you for any reason. This sign of disrespect can often cross the line into emotional abuse and gaslighting.

#8 Nothing Is Out Of Bounds

Does your spouse frequently push the boundaries of what is funny at your expense? Do they tell other people intimate details of your lives without your permission or without thought for how it will make you feel? These are clear signs of disrespect in marriage.

#9 They Hide Things from You

When you respect someone that you are in a relationship with, you must be open and honest with them at all times. If your spouse is hiding things from you, even if they don't seem to be major issues, it is a sign of disrespect. Saying that they didn't tell you because they didn't want to worry you is no less disrespectful or condescending.

#10 They Treat You As Though You Don't Matter

Does your spouse make you feel as though they wouldn't care one way or the other if you were still around tomorrow? When your spouse treats you as though they could live with or without you, and they would be happier without you, it is a sign of disrespect.

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#11 They Never Take Your Side

Part of being respectful in a marriage is standing by your spouse. If your spouse never takes your side in anything involving friends, family, career, or other situations, it is a serious sign of disrespect. This can be even worse if they openly agree with the person opposing you.

#12 Inappropriate Social Media

The boundaries you and your spouse have about what is and is not acceptable in the world of social media is between the two of you and no one else. Some lines should be drawn as to what is acceptable and appropriate. When your spouse is having conversations with social media contacts that are flirty or sexual, it is a serious sign of disrespect.

#13 They Comment Negatively On Your Appearance

Does your spouse constantly make negative remarks about your appearance? Do they make fun of your clothing choices, your hair, your weight, or some other aspect of your appearance? Not only is this very disrespectful in a marriage, but it is also plain hurtful.

#14 If They Don't Help You

Everyone struggles from time to time. Your spouse is supposed to be your best friend and the one person that you can count on when things get tough. If you hit one of those struggles and your spouse is not willing to help you, it is a serious sign of disrespect.

#15 They Aren't Polite To Your Friends And Family

While it is true that not everyone will get along with everyone else, there is a certain level of civility and politeness that is expected. If your spouse cannot be bothered to be polite to your friends and family, it is a sign that they do not respect you enough to be respectful to those you care about.

#16 They Are Unwilling To Share

Marriage is supposed to be 50/50, and that means with everything. If your spouse is always unwilling to share their things, this can be a sign of disrespect in marriage. If they have the attitude that what is theirs is theirs and that's that, you should not expect respect.

#17 They Don't Listen To You

When you have something to say to your spouse, they should be willing to listen. If your spouse will never listen to anything you have to say, or if they flat out refuse to let you speak, this is a serious sign of disrespect that you should not tolerate, and it borders on emotional abuse.

#18 They Give You The Silent Treatment

The silent treatment is a tactic used by many narcissists, and it is a clear sign of disrespect. The silent treatment is designed to make you feel abandoned, uncared for, and disposable. It is also designed to make you feel completely cut off, and when done frequently, can be a form of emotional abuse.

#19 They Ignore Your Boundaries

Everyone has boundaries. Everyone should have boundaries. Even with your spouse, you should have boundaries that you have communicated with each other for all aspects of your life. If your spouse refuses to respect your boundaries, this means that they also have no respect for you.

#20 Your Partner Refuses To Compromise Or Negotiate

Marriage is all about compromise. You have to be able to negotiate with your spouse to resolve conflicts and problems that come up in your lives and the household. If your spouse has my way or the highway attitude and refuses to discuss things with you or negotiate, this is a sign of disrespect.

Learn How To Create Healthy Boundaries
Speak To A Board-Certified Marriage Therapist Today.

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When To Draw The Line

You mustn't allow yourself to be disrespected in any way, especially the ways described above. If many of these signs are present in your marriage, it could be an indicator of an abusive relationship. Remember that abuse does not necessarily mean physical violence. You must address these issues as soon as they arise, set healthy boundaries, and expect your spouse to stick to them. Remember that you should never tolerate abuse of any kind.

Setting healthy boundaries with your spouse should be a simple matter if you can communicate with each other well and respect each other's thoughts and feelings. There are five important steps to setting healthy boundaries in a marriage. You must look at your individual needs, compare lists with your spouse, set priorities, define success, and put it in writing. If you need help communicating with your partner and need help setting boundaries with your partner, a licensed therapist can help.

When you speak to a licensed counselor, it may help you both get more fulfillment in your relationship, as well as be able to communicate better. Moreover, certain types of therapy can help you learn how to change your behaviors when interacting with each other. This can assist you in beginning to repair your relationship with your spouse.

If you aren't able to find or afford a marriage counselor in your area, there are other options. You can easily take advantage of online counseling options. Online counseling allows you to speak to a licensed therapist from the comfort and privacy of your own home. ReGain is one such online counseling platform that focuses on relationship counseling. The licensed therapists with Regain are experts in relationships and marriage, and they are available at convenient times. Here are reviews of ReGain counselors to read, from people going through similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Cori is very insightful, thoughtful and fair. It seems like she get both sides of our couples therapy. I would highly recommend her to anyone, especially couples. She has helped my wife and I improve communication, mutual respect and get through some hard times."

"Dr Diai is insightful, professional and very compassionate. She is capable of turning arguments and conflicts around and bring light to the conversation, always respecting the different points of view. My husband and I are so grateful to be assigned to her to help us through this challenging period in our lives."


There is no reason to put up with disrespect in your marriage. Once you notice the signs, you should get help from a professional counselor to fix the issues that are plaguing you. With the right tools, you can start to repair your marriage, regain respect, and learn how to move forward together.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is a Toxic Relationship Bad?

Every marriage or relationship is going to have its share of problems, but a toxic relationship is one that needs more repair than your average relationship. Sometimes, there's only one toxic person in the relationship. This person can be abusive, and no matter what you do, the relationship doesn't get any better. However, there are some times where both parties are toxic for each other.

With a toxic relationship, both needs aren't being met, which is vital in any relationship. A relationship should be about meeting each other's needs and pushing each other up. Signs of disrespect in a relationship is something you should be mindful of, and leaving the relationship should those signs show up isn't a bad move.

What Signs of Disrespect Does a Bad Privacy Policy Have?

When looking at a website, read about its privacy policy, and see the rights reserved for the site and its visitors. A bad website privacy policy will show signs of disrespect by selling your data, or having poor security, which can lead to your data being sold.

What are signs of disrespect in a marriage?

Even in a happy marriage, you and your partner will disagree now and then. That's healthy and normal. In a healthy relationship, there's no lack of respect. When you disagree or butt heads, you speak calmly and work things out. Neither of you resorts to name-calling, making threats, gaslighting, stonewalling, and so on. You might take time to cool off before you talk about what's going on, but ultimately, you work through concerns instead of letting them brew under the surface or letting microaggressions slip out due to unresolved problems. You're willing to hear your spouse's side, and they're willing to listen to yours. There's no hierarchy. You're equal. Disrespect in marriage, on the other hand, is not normal or healthy. How do you know if your spouse doesn't respect you? There are some things to look out for.

Signs of disrespect in a marriage include:

  • Emotional invalidation
  • Stonewalling or using the silent treatment
  • Inequality in terms of give-and-take
  • Controlling behavior
  • Refusal to recognize your point of view
  • Trampling your (or each other's) boundaries
  • Secret-keeping
  • Name-calling
  • Picking fights

Some signs of disrespect are subtle, whereas other signs of disrespect are overt. For example, if your spouse calls you a name that you don't like, and you say to them, "I feel hurt when you call me ___. Can you please stop?" but they laugh it off or continue calling you the name that you aren't comfortable with, they are crossing your boundaries. They might say, "you're overreacting" or "it's just a joke." This is one of the signs of disrespect; your spouse is attempting to make you feel as though you're overly sensitive, and therefore, wrong. This is called gaslighting. When someone does this, they're disrespecting you, and they aren't taking your feelings seriously. When someone respects you, they're not going to continue with the name-calling, and that's that.

How do you deal with a disrespectful husband?

First, recognize the signs of disrespect that are present in your relationship. If you haven't already, you can have a conversation with your spouse about the specific signs of disrespect you notice in your relationship. Bring up specific instances and use "I" statements when you have this conversation. For example, "I felt hurt when ___." Again, in a healthy relationship, this information will be received, and your partner will talk through it with you. That said, if you're reading this, you've likely tried to have that conversation. Things need to change. Love respect, and communication are vital in relationships. You're not crazy; the signs of disrespect you notice are real issues that need to be dealt with. The best thing to do is to seek help from a professional to deal with a disrespectful husband who won't listen or recognize the signs of disrespect that occur on his side of your partnership. A licensed counselor or therapist will serve as an objective third party. They won't be biased toward either one of you, so they'll be able to see signs of disrespect for what they are. In therapy, you'll learn communication tactics and other skills that can help you have a happy marriage. With that said, couples counseling requires investment from both people. If your husband refuses to go to counseling or work through these issues one-on-one and the disrespect continues, it may be time to leave.

What does respect look like in a marriage?

Respect requires that you understand the autonomy of another person. It's a concept that engages multiple factors to ensure that people in a relationship feel loved, heard, and able to maintain the sense that they're their own person. When it comes to love respect is necessary. Love without respect is a toxic relationship waiting to happen. Respect should always be mutual. It must exist on both sides for relationships to function.

Here are some essential components of respect in a relationship:

  • Valuing each other's autonomy and personal space
  • Listening to each other's perspectives
  • Honoring each other's needs and boundaries
  • Treating each other with kindness
  • Mutual support
  • Communication
  • Showing interest in each other's lives
  • The absence of controlling behavior

If you struggle with mutual respect in your relationship, seeing a couple's counselor or therapist can help.

How does a husband show respect to his wife?

To show respect to your wife, show interest in her life, her thoughts, and her emotions. When she speaks, listen, and be willing to work out compromises that consider both of your needs and that work for both of you. Ask how her day was, and let her know that she's appreciated. Learn her love language and make an effort to communicate. When she's upset, nervous, or pursuing something new, ask how you can best support her.

What is a man's role in a marriage?

A man's role, as well as a woman's role or a non-binary person's role, is to show mutual respect in a relationship. Every relationship is unique because every person is unique. We all come with different personality types, quirks, needs, desires, and so on. Your role in a relationship is to consider both your spouse and yourself and to work together to create a dynamic that is loving, respectful, and reciprocal. If something arises and you realize that you're doing something that makes it seem as though you don't respect your spouse, work to fix it. If your spouse says that they feel hurt by something you did, look for signs you're engaging in behavior that isn't respectful. If you don't respect someone, your marriage isn't going to be a healthy one, so even if you don't see it at first, it's important to put your pride aside and take responsibility for your actions.

How can I be a better wife and mother?

The answer to this question is very similar to the answer to, "how does a husband show respect to his wife?" When you want to show someone respect, the very best thing to do is to make it known that you value their perception and perspective. Ask your husband questions, and ask your kids questions, too. When they answer, listen carefully. Be attentive, put down your phone or any other distractions, and soak in all of the information you get. When you don't understand, ask more, and allow them to teach you something new. Engage in a conversation with your loved ones and let them know that their thoughts and feelings are of value to you.

Why are people disrespectful?

If you notice signs of disrespect in a partner, friend, family member, or someone else, you might wonder why they don't respect others or act in ways that show a lack of respect. Often, people are disrespectful due to poor self-esteem. When people show signs of disrespect toward others, they might be putting people down in attempts to lift themselves up due to their own lack of confidence. People attack others out of jealousy sometimes, but their jealousy isn't an excuse to continue the behavior. Instead, it is something they need to work through themselves so that they can maintain healthy relationships and improve their behavior. It is also possible that a person who shows signs of disrespect was raised in a family where disrespect was the norm. They might have been raised in a toxic home environment and could've adopted the traits of the people around them growing up. Again, a person in this situation must work through the issue. They may lack emotional intelligence or struggle to control their emotions and act out as a result. However, one thing is always true; you have the right to disengage from situations where you're being disrespected. You can't control other people, but you can control your response.

How do you build respect?

To build respect, engage in the behaviors affiliated with the essential components of respect in relationships such as communication, listening to your spouse, valuing their thoughts, opinions, and interests, and making an effort to show them kindness and appreciation in a way that makes them feel loved, safe, and comfortable. If you ever feel the need to bring someone down when they're happy, ask yourself why. Work through any barriers you have to showing affection or respect. Where do those things stem from? Does it happen when you're in a bad mood, or does it stem from family patterns? Do you have secretly low confidence? When you figure out what's holding you back, you can work through these roadblocks. Both individual counseling and couples counseling can help you to do this. Individual counseling can help you work through your own barriers or difficulties, whereas couples therapy is a great place to work through marriage problems collectively. There's a lot of marriage advice pertaining to love and respect out there, and it can certainly be helpful in building respect as a couple, but counseling will offer you an individualized way to approach things with an experienced professional present. Going to couples counseling shows that you're putting in the effort and that you want to change anything in a relationship that's causing undue pain. To build respect in a relationship or to heal a relationship where there was a lack of respect at one point, couples counseling can be a game-changer. You and your partner need to have the respect you deserve, and you can get there when the desire to progress is there on both sides. What is Considered Disrespectful Behavior?

Disrespectful behavior is anything that makes you feel bad. Some people feel that disrespectful behavior is found among strangers, but the truth is disrespect in a marriage can take place, and with your family unit. Those who don’t respect others fall into the same category, and it can throw up a red flag. 

Dating tips suggest that any signs that your partner is not being truthful are disrespectful behavior.

What Are the Signs of Disrespect?

Any magazine with dating tips will tell you that the signs of disprect include lying and sneaking around. However, dating tips don’t always apply to marriages or couples with children. So what are the signs of disrespect in a marriage?

Signs of disrespect include:

  • Spending time with someone who is not your spouse
  • Cheating on your partner
  • A lack of inattentiveness when someone is talking
  • Failure to take your partner’s feelings into account when you make a decision
  • Failure to acknowledge someones set boundaries
  • Failure to give someone your undivided attention
  • Someone who isn’t respectful of others religion, beliefs, and feelings

Why Do Husbands Disrespect Their Wives?

Husbands can disrespect their wives in many ways. They can spend time with someone else in an intimate way, ignore your wishes day to day, don’t respect your wishes, not pay attention to what their wife says, and many other things that are considered disrespect in a marriage.

How Do You Respect Each Other In A Marriage?

Respect in a marriage comes by following your wedding vows. While everyone may go through a situation where they disrespect their marriage, it is often something that is fairly trivial. However, if you cheat on your spouse, or have long term patterns of lying to your partner, there could become a time where you might not be able to save your relationship.

While cheating shouldn’t be tolerated, insignificant things that simply don’t have an impact on the marriage, like forgetting to call if you are running late from a meeting, is not a lack of disrespect.

What is Disrespect in a Marriage?

If your spouse continuously doesn’t call you when running late and holds you up from doing the things you need to do, that may be considered disrespect in a marriage. It is also a red flag that something more significant is going on, such as showing signs that your partner is not faithful.

Couples communicate so that they know what is happening in each other's lives; if communications stop, that is also a red flag that disrespect in a marriage is taking place.

Major signs that there is disrespect in a marriage is when your husband comes home very late at night when he gets out of work in the early evening.

Instead of being home love and admiring his wife. The biggest signs your partner is cheating on your and disrespecting you are often the hardest to come to terms with and confront. People don’t want to admit that their marriage is over, and it doesn’t matter if their spouse is cheating on them. However, at some point, most people feel that marriage means being faithful, and if your spouse is not holding up their end of the bargain, it may be time to ask for a divorce.

How Do I Stop Disrespectful Behavior?

If you are the one causing disrespectful behavior, a life coach or therapist may be able to help you change your ways.

If your boyfriend or girlfriend is being disrespectful, you can find dating tips in any of the grocery store magazines. However,  disrespect in a marriage means there are signs that your husband or wife is cheating on you, or that they lie to you often.

In order to stop the behavior, you can look at the dating tips younger folks follow. These dating tips may include:

  • Confronting the behavior
  • Giving an ultimatum
  • Talk to a therapist
  • Sit down and write down a plan with your partner that discusses the behaviors

How Do You Treat Someone Who Disrespects You?

Dating tips with tell you that when someone disrespects you, that is not someone that you should carry on a relationship. Other dating tips suggest that if you aren’t being respected when you are merely dating, you will never be respected when married.

How Do You Know When Someone Doesn’t Respect You?

Someone who doesn’t respect you will lie to you, cheat on you, and treat you poorly. Basically, any unkind behavior is a sign of a lack of respect.

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