How to Respect Your Partner

Three Parts:Working as a TeamBeing ConsiderateKnowing What Not to Do

If you want to have a passionate, long-term and successful relationship, then you have to start with a baseline of mutual respect. You have to make sure that you see you and your partner as a team and that you’re considerate, honest, and compassionate as much as possible. However, nobody’s perfect, and you have to be prepared to apologize sincerely when you have made a mistake. If both you and your partner are willing to put in the effort you can have a fulfilling and respectful relationship.

Part 1
Working as a Team

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    Look at yourselves as true partners. If you want to respect your partner, then you have to be able to see yourselves as a true team together. You should think like a team in your mutual decisions and always think of your partner when you make individual decisions. You should think about you both striving toward goals that make both of you stronger instead of feeling like you have opposing needs and wants. If you truly look at yourselves as a unit, then you’ll be able to give your partner the respect that she/he deserves.
    • When you and your partner go out into the world, you should think of yourselves as a united front. Though you can’t always agree on everything, you should work on treating each other with kindness and dignity and in making decisions that help each other.
    • Though you don’t have to have all of the same thoughts, you can practice saying “We” when you’re making a decision together instead of always starting your sentences with “I…”
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    If you don’t agree with your partner, discuss the situation respectfully. You can’t always be on the same page as your partner, and that’s perfectly fine. However, when differences do arise, it’s important that you discuss them respectfully. If you say something like, “That’s a stupid idea…” or, “I can’t believe you want to do that…” then this will make your partner feel angry and defensive and won’t lead to a productive conversation. Instead, take the time to listen to your partner and to be kind as they share their opinions.[1]
    • Remember that if you start by being aggressive and angry, your partner will be much less likely to share their ideas or to compromise.
    • Instead of being condescending or mean when you don’t agree, focus on phrasing it with "I" language, such as “I understand why you would see it that way…” or, “I just don’t think that’s the most suitable option right now…” Remember that how you say things can be just as important as what you say.
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    Learn to tolerate and appreciate differences. As you move forward in your relationship, you will find that there are some ways in which you and your partner are fundamentally different. Maybe your partner is a neat freak while you’re messy; maybe you’re really social while they are more on the shy side. Though you can change a bit to suit each other, you can’t change completely, and you have to learn to accept and appreciate your differences if you want to truly respect your partner.[2]
    • Of course, if you’re super messy and your partner is a neat freak, then you’ll have to be respectful of their boundaries and keep your part of the home clean, though you may not be able to reach their standards.
    • If there are certain things about your partner that bother you that you know you won’t be able to change, such as their obsession with their dog, then you have to be respectful and learn to live with them if you want to continue a healthy relationship.
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    Acknowledge your partner’s contributions. In order to respect your partner, you have to let them know when they are doing things right. You can’t spend all of your time nagging them or being negative about all of the problems you see or you won’t be able to be happy together; whether your partner cheered you up when you were having a rough day, cooks amazing meals for you, or is always kind and attentive, take the time to truly let your partner know how much they mean to you.
    • This can mean that saying “thank you” and being specific, writing them a love note, or just taking the time to acknowledge positive behavior.
    • If you never acknowledge all of the nice things your partner does for you, then they’ll see it as a sign of disrespect because it’ll look like you’re taking them for granted.
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    Have self-respect. Respecting yourself builds the foundation for a good relationship and life in general. Treat your body with care, avoid any behavior that makes you lose respect for yourself, such as abusing alcohol or being rude to strangers, and work on being the best possible version of yourself. If you don’t have that baseline, then it can be difficult for you to respect your partner, and you may fall prey to people who don't respect you.
    • Work on caring for yourself. As a rule of thumb, ask yourself if you would treat a best friend that way, e.g. “Would I tell my best friend that she's a failure?” If not, don't say or do it to yourself. Become your own best friend.
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    Learn to compromise. Another way to respect your partner is to be able to compromise on the things you disagree about. When you’re making a decision together, the most important thing is that you both first listen to each other and make sure you understand exactly where the other person stands on the issue. Then, you should be able to discuss the pros and cons of the situation in a respectful manner and to find a resolution that can make both of you as happy as possible.
    • When it comes to compromising, you may find that it’s better to be happy than to be right. Learn how to pick your battles and decide when it’s better to let your partner get what they want; when you really want something, though, then you can ask for it.
    • When it comes to making smaller decisions, such as where to eat, you may be better off just taking turns.
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    Practice mutual accountability. If you and your partner want to respect each other, then you have to practice mutual accountability. This means more than just apologizing when you’re wrong, but being aware of all the times when you disrespect your partner, while knowing that your partner is aware of the large and small ways that she disrespects you, too. As long as you’re both self-aware and understand what it means to disrespect each other and are willing to be accountable for your actions, then you have a long and healthy relationship ahead.
    • For example, if you came home two hours late without calling when you knew your wife was excited for a date night at home, you can expect that you disrespected your partner and should be accountable for what you did.
    • For example, if your partner invited a friend to join you to an event that was supposed to be a date, then she should feel accountable for the way she disrespected you, too.
    • As long as you both have little checks and balances in your relationship and are comfortable discussing your mistakes, you’ll be headed in the right direction.

Part 2
Being Considerate

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    Apologize when you’ve made a mistake. One way to respect your partner is to apologize when you’ve truly messed up. Instead of being in denial or trying to brush it under the rug, the best thing you can do is to say you’re truly sorry and to not only say those words, but to mean them. Look your partner in the eye, put away your phone, and make it clear how much you regret what happened and how badly you want to make it up to your partner.
    • Don’t just say, “I’m sorry you feel that I…” or “I’m sorry you got so mad when I…” instead, really take responsibility for your actions and make it clear that you know you’re in the wrong.
    • Of course, actions speak louder than words. You should not only say you’re sorry, but make a real effort not to do whatever you did again.
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    Practice putting yourself in your partner’s shoes. Another way to be considerate and to show real respect to your partner is to think about where they are coming from whenever you have an argument, or just when you’re making a decision. For example, if you know her father is in the hospital, you should think about what she’s going through before starting a fight about doing the dishes. If your ex boyfriend is in town and your current boyfriend is less than pleased that you want to meet him for a drink, think about how you’d feel if he wanted to meet up with an ex.
    • Making a regular effort to think about your partner’s perspective before you start a conversation or have an argument can really help you develop more respect for your partner.
    • Trying to put yourself in another person’s shoes is a great way of showing someone respect, whether it’s your best friend or your boyfriend.
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    Take the time to truly listen to your partner. Listening is a skill that many people lack in today’s world of multi-tasking and obsession with technology. If you want to show your partner true respect, then you should make an effort to truly listen to them when they are talking to you. This doesn’t mean interrupting, offering advice when you aren’t asked, or waiting for your turn to speak, but truly taking the time to pay attention to the things your partner is saying to you and appreciating their thoughts, experiences, and ideas.
    • Put your phone away, make eye contact, and stop looking around the room to see what else is going on; give your partner your full attention when they talk to you.
    • You can practice active listening, too. You can repeat what your partner said to show that you’re really listening, making sure to put it in your own words to show that you really understand. You can say something like, “I see that you’re frustrated because your boss doesn’t appreciate you…” to show your partner you really do pay attention.
    • You don’t have to nod emphatically or say, “I know,” every two seconds to show you’re paying attention. The words you use after your partner is done talking will show that you’re listening.
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    Respect your partner’s boundaries. Everyone has their own boundaries, and if you want to truly respect your partner, then you have to know what theirs are and be willing to respect them. Maybe your partner is really private and hates it when you look through old photos of him or talk about his past in front of others; maybe she really doesn’t like it when you tease her about how she was overweight as a child. Whatever those boundaries are, you have to recognize them and be caring and respectful enough to respect them.
    • Respecting your partner’s privacy is crucial to a successful relationship. Don’t think that you have the right to snoop through your partner’s phone or computer just because you’re dating.
    • You should also respect your partner’s things. If he really doesn’t like it when you borrow his favorite watch, you have to understand that.
    • If you think your partner has a boundary you have a hard time dealing with, such as not discussing her ex-husband, have a respectful conversation about why she feels this way.
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    Encourage your partner to reach their full potential. If you want to respect your partner, then you should want only the best for them. You should be there to help your partner reach his full potential and to realize their dreams. You should be there to tell your partner she’s going to do great before a job interview, that he’s going to break his personal record during his next marathon, and that they are capable of finishing that novel they started five years ago.
    • You shouldn’t put your partner down or make them feel like they can’t reach for their dreams. If you have real reasons for why you think certain goals are not a good idea, then you should have an amicable discussion about it.
    • To have a truly successful relationship, you and your partner have to be better together than apart. You should care for your partner and encourage them to be better than they are.
    • If your partner reaching their full potential is in conflict with you reaching yours, then you shouldn’t be mean about it, but should have a discussion about what it means.
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    Be compassionate. Compassion is key when it comes to having a successful relationship and showing respect to your partner. If you really care for them, then you have to be able to show love and forgiveness for them, especially when they’re going through a hard time. You have to be able to see that they have their own struggles and that you can’t ignore their feelings just because they’re not doing exactly what you want them to do.
    • When your partner really needs you, make sure to give them love and affection. Though you can’t feel sorry or sad for them all the time and anyone’s patience has its limits, make sure you show compassion to your partner when they really need it.
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    Be honest. If you want to be considerate and to respect your partner, then you have to be honest with them above all else. Don’t be dishonest about where you went last night, and don’t do anything that would make them distrust you. Though you may not feel comfortable revealing everything about yourself and there are some things about your life you’d like to keep private, you should avoid lying to your partner’s face as much as you can. If they find out that you’ve broken their trust, it will be pretty difficult to get it back.
    • Of course, there are times when a little white lie can’t hurt. But if you get in the habit of lying to your partner, then that is showing a major lack of respect.
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    Give your partner space. Another way to respect your partner is to give them space when they need it. If your partner wants to be alone or to do their own thing for a while, it’s actually not very respectful to disregard that, hold it against them, or barge in. Everyone needs time apart and it’s healthy and normal for people in a relationship to maintain their independence; if you can’t understand why your partner would rather be alone than with you, sometimes, then you’re not being very respectful.
    • Don’t think that when your partner wants to be alone, that it has something to do with you. You have to understand that some people just need privacy to regroup and to be respectful of that boundary.
    • If their frequent alone time is becoming stressful to you, try taking them aside to talk about it. Phrase it in a non-accusatory manner, such as "I feel that we haven't been spending much time together and I really miss being with you."

Part 3
Knowing What Not to Do

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    Don’t demean your partner in public. One way to majorly disrespect your partner is to be mean or to criticize them in public, especially in front of your friends and family members. You should look at each other as a team; if you have any issues with them, you should raise them in the privacy of your own home, not in front of other people. Saying mean things to them in front of others or snapping at them in public will make them feel terrible and resent you, and it will make your friends and family uncomfortable.
    • If you do snap at your partner in public, make sure you apologize. Not everyone can keep their cool all the time.
    • Instead of calling your partner names or demeaning them in public, try casually praising them and make them feel better in front of others.
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    Don’t say terrible things about your partner to your friends. Along the same lines, you shouldn’t tell your friends and family all of your dirty secrets or complain about the fifty most annoying things your partner does. Though you can come to your loved ones for advice when you’re really struggling, if you get in the habit of bad mouthing your partner to others all the time, then it will make both them and your relationship look bad.
    • If you’re demeaning them when they aren’t not around, it shows that you don’t respect them very much.
    • Think about it: how would you feel if your partner was always saying terrible things about you to their friends? That would feel like major disrespect towards you, wouldn’t it?
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    Don’t talk about members of the opposite sex in a disrespectful manner. Another way to show your partner major disrespect is to talk about members of the opposite sex in a disrespectful manner. Okay, so we’re all human and we can’t stop appreciating other beautiful people even when we’re madly in love; that said, if you go around talking about all the “hot girls” or “cute guys” you see, then yeah, this is bound to make your partner feel bad and is a major sign of disrespect towards them. This is especially disrespectful if you do it in front of your partner and your friends; it shows that you don’t really take your relationship seriously.
    • Of course, some people are much more sensitive about this kind of thing than others, but you should still avoid it as a rule.
    • When your partner isn’t around, you shouldn’t talk about all of the hot guys or girls in your orbit in front of your friends, either. Okay, so you don’t have to completely ignore the fact that there are other attractive people on the planet, but if you keep talking about it, then your friends will think you don’t really respect your partner.
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    Don’t wait until your feelings reach a boiling point. If you really respect your partner, then you shouldn’t let your feelings fester until all you can do is start yelling at them. If something is really bothering you, then you should give your partner the basic respect of wanting to sit down and have a serious conversation about it. Don’t just wait for your partner to guess what’s bothering you or bring it up when you’re out in public or just can’t take it anymore; that’s not very respectful toward your partner or your relationship.
    • If you don’t really talk about the things that are bothering you, then you’re likely to be passive aggressive toward your partner, which is also not very respectful.
    • Even if you’re having a really busy week, you should make time to talk about something if it’s really bothering you; if your partner were angry with you, you would want to know too, wouldn’t you?
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    Don’t take your partner for granted. Remember the sweet things that they do for you, and how much you appreciate them. This helps your attitude and shows that your relationship has had a positive impact on your life. Work on making loving choices, and showing them how much you care every single day.
    • You may not even realize that you’ve been taking your partner for granted until you sit back and realize that you can’t even remember the last time you said a kind word to them or said “I love you.” Make sure that your partner knows exactly how much you care for them, no matter how busy you are.


  • Take it off your mind that you own your partner. The fact that the two of you are dating or are married,doesn't put you in charge of their lives.
  • Let not the mood you are in at the moment destroy your relationship.
  • Never ever underestimate your partner even if at times you think their reasoning is shallow.
  • When your partner hurts your feelings, wait until later when you are calm and tell them how it made you feel.
  • Love is all about perseverance and so you need to learn how to be patient.
  • Stick to your story. If you said something before, no matter how you put it, it's better to stick to it. You could rephrase your comments later when things have cooled down. Example: When I said _____, I didn't mean _____, I meant ______.
  • We learn out of experience and unless you know what you are in for, don't push it if it looks like it can't work.
  • Not everyone communicates the same. Learn how your partner communicates and it will deepen the respect between you.
  • If you feel the need to hide something from your partner, it more than likely means it's because you know it would upset or hurt them, and therefore means you shouldn't be doing it.
  • Life is way too short, so tell your partner how much you love them and never take them for granted.


  • Respect is paramount, it is not about learning anything, it is all about how you would wish to be treated. If you like to be treated with respect then it is only obvious that you do the same to your partner or any one else at large.

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