Respect in a Relationship: It’s Everything!

respect in a relationship

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

What does it take to be happy in a romantic relationship? Although every couple is unique, I think some of the biggies are: Friendship, trust, thoughtfulness, and attraction. But there’s one thing that is perhaps the most needed, and it’s the thing that is needed to have all of the other components to stay happy and healthy. What is it? RESPECT. Respect in a relationship drives everything else!

What does Respect in a relationship mean?


1. Having respect for the person’s professional life.
2. Having respect for his or her parenting style.
3. Having respect for the way he or she takes care of him or herself—from the way they dress to they way they eat, exercise, stay healthy, and more.
4. Having respect for the way the other person treats YOU.
5. Respecting how he/she spends money.
6. Respecting how the person communicates, including handling conflict.
7. Having respect for how he/she spends their free time.


I could go on and on. While you don’t have to have immense respect for everything on this list and everything in life, I will say this about respect: the more respect you have for your partner, the happier you will be in the relationship.


Varghese Summersett Family Law Group


Why is respect so important in a relationship?


1. Respect makes you feel like you are with your best friend.


One of the wonderful things about a close friend is that you can ask your friend for advice. About anything. It can be work related, or maybe you want to ask him/her about a family situation. Anything. If you respect your partner, you will want to ask the person for advice because you know it’s going to be sound advice. If you don’t respect the person, you might not bother asking for any advice, and you might go to other people outside of your relationship. So what does that say about your relationship if you don’t respect your partner enough to go to them first?


Divorce Attorney Jason C. Tuchman


2. Respect makes sex better.


Good sex happens when you are attracted to someone, right? Physical attraction is important-especially at the beginning of a relationship, but more importantly, attraction stems from personality, thoughtfulness, the way you are treated, and so much more, including respect! I mean, how can you be attracted to someone and have good sex if you don’t respect the person? You might have good sex for a little while, but without respect, the relationship won’t get past the physical part.


3. Respect makes you proud to be with your partner.


Have you ever been in a relationship where you are out and you run into people you know, and you feel embarrassed by your partner? If so, this isn’t healthy! When you respect your partner, you feel proud to be by his/her side, and you exude how you are feeling to others.



4. Respect helps you trust your partner.


Let’s say, for example that you don’t respect the way your spouse handles money. Well, then how can you trust him/her with the family’s finances?! You can’t! Or, let’s say you don’t respect how de-motivated he/she is. He/she comes home from work every night and sits on the couch and drinks. How can you trust he/she is a good role model for your kids? You can’t. Respect bleeds into trust in this way.


Karen Covy - Live the life you truly want to live.


5. Respect causes better communication.


I hear a lot from men and women about how their spouse disrespects them. One guy once said to me, “I wish my wife would be as nice to me as she is to the Starbucks barista.” It is VITAL to a healthy romantic relationship to talk to your spouse and treat that person with respect. If you don’t, it will all fall apart. Trust me. And, if you can’t speak to your spouse with respect, then you might not respect that person.


Here are some examples: “Your mother is driving me crazy. I hate when she’s here.” This is clearly not treating your spouse with respect. Maybe the mother is awful, but that doesn’t matter. It’s his mother! A better way to say it is, “I know she’s your mother, but she makes me uncomfortable. Would you maybe consider making plans with her from time to time on your own and without me?” Another example: “All you do is sit around the house! The kids are older. You should go back to work.” Instead, try, “Finances are a little tough, and I think we could benefit by you getting a job. Is that something you would consider? Let’s talk about it.” See the difference?


6. Respect increases your self-esteem.


When someone is respectful to you, it makes you feel so great about yourself, right? So think about that when it comes to your spouse. Make the person feel important and cared about. In the morning, if you wake up first, hug him while he’s still sleeping. This makes someone feel loved and cherished. I know that’s easier to do when you respect someone, but it goes a long way!


On the flip side, when you don’t feel respected, and/or you are treated disrespectfully, your self-esteem will suffer. So, you have a few choices: A. Do nothing and continue to live like that (which I don’t recommend.) B. Get into couple’s therapy so that the issue of respect can be addressed. Or C. Leave.


Joanne Litman - Eagle Strategies LLC - Financial Solutions for Women


A statement I hear quite a bit from men and women considering divorce is, “I love my spouse, but I don’t respect him or her.” Since we know how important it is to have respect, you might try talking to your spouse. Ask yourself if you sit your spouse down and say this to him/her, (“I love you but I don’t respect you”), what will that look like? How will the person react? Can you have a productive conversation and ask the person to make changes?


Or, is it just too late? Maybe you don’t respect so much about the person, so there’s really nothing he or she can do to make you feel otherwise. You can then choose to live with it, or you can leave. It’s a personal preference and so many factors weigh into a decision like that.


Just remember this: you deserve to be treated with respect, and if you are feeling disrespected, something has to change if you want to be happy. That might mean divorce, that might mean counseling, that might be expressing your feelings to your spouse. Just do something.  Because mutual respect in a relationship is key in having a deep, meaningful connection and a happy life together.

Like this article? Check out, “3 Kinds of Love in Lasting Romantic Love”

Listen to the Divorced Girl Smiling podcast View the DGS trusted divorce professionals! Divorced Girl Smiling is now offering a private, no-cost, one-on-one phone consult

Sign up for the Divorced Girl Smiling newsletter to get articles on divorce and dating.

Sign up


    Divorced Girl Smiling welcome video
    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *