I recently posted an article from Scott and Shannon Peck on “Dating Mistakes that Block Soulmate Possibilities” where they talk about important things to be aware of while dating. Although I am not personally in the “dating” scene I can really appreciate their “no nonsense” approach. What stood out for me the most was when they talk about not continuing with someone who does not respect you. That is common sense for dating but what about long-term relationships?

How many of us stay in relationships with significant others who disrespect us on a daily basis? When we disrespect ourselves by allowing others to disrespect us we are giving that person the message that they don’t need to show us respect.

My recent relationship ended with a big act of disrespect and betrayal that I could not overlook. If I had overlooked that act of disrespect my relationship after that would have been one act of disrespect after another. This is why so many of my clients tell me stories like “I took him back after his affair and things just got worse after that.” Why did they get worse? Because you were telling that person that you will take him back after a huge act of dishonesty and disrespect and that you will tolerate disrespect. 

I’m not saying that an affair has to be the end of the relationship for every couple. For some couples who are truly willing to do the work and look at the issues in the relationship that led the cheating partner to do what he or she did, the relationship may be not only saved but improved as a result of the affair, however when the cheating party blames you for his/her behavior and refuses to be accountable, you don’t stand a chance to have any kind of real relationship with that person. You may as well cut your losses and walk away, even if it’s difficult for you.

We have to respect ourselves enough to refuse to tolerate any acts of disrespect. Acts of disrespect might appear as someone who continues to show up late, who cannot give you a direct answer to a question or doesn’t keep commitments.

I’ve gone out to dinner with men who when the waitress came and asked us if we were ready to order the man said “Yes I’ll have the ….” Without ever looking at me and asking me if I was ready or giving me the opportunity to order first. Not that we still live in a culture of “ladies first” but there is a certain respectful attitude that you can pick up on a first date if you pay attention. If the attitude is disrespectful on the first date, why would you go on a second? To see if it improves? Remember that people are usually on their best behavior on the first date. They might be clumsy or nervous, but they will always attempt to put their best foot forward.

Many of us end up in the wrong relationships because we settle. We accept disrespectful behavior when it comes wrapped up in a pretty package with lots of flowery words. We’ve got to develop true “in sight” to look deeper into a situation and see what is beneath the pretty package. We have to keep ourselves in check and not allow loneliness or longing for attention and affection to cause us to leap too quickly. Most people will tell you that the loneliness in a bad relationship is far greater than the loneliness of being on your own. At least on your own you can spend time with friends and date those who can truly be there with you and communicate openly and honestly with you. It’s worth waiting for. 

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