There are so many mixed emotions swirling around the need for respect and love. People are always looking for both and ending up with one or none. Why is that?
Well, for one thing, love is often given without thought, whereas respect has to be earned. How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t know why I love so and so because I don’t even like him or her?”
Then there’s the confusion between love and lust. There aren’t a lot of people who can distinguish the difference between the two in the early stages of a relationship. And even after the relationship has had time to mature, it’s still difficult to ascertain the difference between love and sex if you are still having sex with your partner.
But, respect is different. If nothing else, you can feel when someone respects you. You can feel validated by that person. It’s not just hearing pretty words because those pretty words have to be backed up by actions. It’s the actions that tell you whether you’re being respected and you can’t keep telling someone you want their respect; you have to earn it.
If your boundaries are consistently being crossed, you don’t have the respect you’re looking for. All the “I love you’s” in the world won’t diminish the lack of respect you feel when you know that someone keeps taking advantage of you.
When someone keeps undermining you or criticizing you without offering a way to fix the problem, you know that this person just wants to vent but doesn’t respect you enough to help you resolve the problem or change the status quo.
Many a criticism is said in jest or said in such subtle ways that you don’t even realize what it is. You only know that you don’t feel good about yourself but you can’t figure out why. And you can love that person deeply, yet not respect him or her or feel respected by him or her.
Are your opinions sought or do you have to keep them to yourself? Do your opinions count in your relationship or are they ignored? When you are in a relationship, one of the most sensitive aspects is the sharing of ideas and plans that involve the two of you. If only one of you is making most of the decisions that are affecting both of you, then you are not being respected, regardless of the reasons being given by your partner.
If respect matters to you more than love, walk away from someone who doesn’t show it with definitive actions. If love matters more to you than respect, at least try to feel that your love is being returned in equal measure. The important thing is that you know what you’re looking for in a relationship so that you can identify it when you feel it or notice the absence of it when it is lacking.
Connie H. Deutsch is an internationally known business consultant and personal advisor who has a keen understanding of human nature and is a natural problem-solver.a