By Jennifer Elizabeth Masters
Aretha Franklin said it best, “All I am askin’ for is a little respect.”
When we are giving everything to our partners, and spouses in return respect is what will keep peace, show you love your partner and help to create better sex. Without respect, our relationships can become abusive. Sarcasm, put-downs and witnessing a rolling the eyes when you speak, are all signs that you are not being respected.
What I encountered was “If you don’t respect yourself, how can I respect you?” This is the million dollar question. If we are codependent, self loathing, people pleasers and needy, these are all signs you do not respect yourself. Look within and be honest about the ways that you give without personal boundaries, neglect yourself trying to please others and do not stand up for yourself.
Being authentic, rather than attempting to be what your partner wants you to be is the first step. Be yourself. Be open about who you are, rather than afraid others won’t like you. Life is not a popularity contest. Looking for validation outside of yourself is a waste of time. If you parents never gave it to you, hire a coach like me who is an expert at resolving the past, re-patterning so that the past is no longer an issue.
Loving yourself is always part of the issue, when you are not being respected. When I was married to husband number three, I would clean, cook and make myself pretty for him when he got home. Dinner would be ready, the house cleaned, laundry done and he would criticize dinner every single night. I am an excellent cook. Dinner could be perfect, but he found something to complain about. There was never enough sex, if he had HTP (Hair-Trigger penis – my title for it) he would blame me. Everything that happened was my fault.
Blaming your partner means that you have victim mentality. Look within to find the point of origination for this victimhood. It is likely that you were molested, or abused as a child. Just because this was a pattern established in childhood, does not mean you have to live the rest of your life this way. This was part of the healing that I have done within myself. Because I respect myself, being disrespected is a rare occurrence. When it does happen, I speak up about it. (Case in point a recent visit to a veterinarian in Lancaster, California.) No one is better than another. No matter our education. All people are deserving of respect. I now recognize disrespect when it occurs. I do not allow it to continue. I have healthy boundaries.
If your spouse treats you like a child and tells you what sponge to use, or what knife to use when you are helping out in the kitchen, they do not respect you. It is time to look within. Find all the ways that you have mis-treated yourself. Look at where your boundaries fall short. If you put your relationship ahead of your own self, you need to do some inner work to love and accept yourself. Every relationship you enter into will have issues, until you begin to love accept yourself and have healthy boundaries.
Without respect, sex becomes rigid, disconnected and disassociative for the one dis-respected. To have great sex, mutual respect must be present. Here are some ways to build respect into your relationship.
- Speak up. When your partner puts you down, tell them you don’t appreciate it. Ask them to speak in an even tone, with love and respect in their voice.
- Mutual Respect is key. Your partner’s wishes and feelings have value. Diminishing another’s wishes and feelings as insignificant makes them feel less than, put down and devalued. Put downs, name calling, or condemnation have no place in a loving relationship. If it isn’t loving, it should not be said.
- Compromise. It can’t be one person’s way – or the highway all the time. This builds divorce into your relationship paradigm. You won’t be able to make it the long haul without each of you giving in once in a while. A dictatorship is not love. Abuse is not love.
- Appreciation is the number 1 complaint that I hear within marriages. Our spouses do so much for us. When was the last time you said, “Thank you, I really appreciate you.”?? Being thankful, polite and showing that you are grateful for them, will make all the difference.
- Respect each other’s privacy. Just because you are in a relationship does not mean you have to share every thought, feeling or event that occurs in your lives. Healthy relationships need space, other friendships and time apart. Spending all your waking moments together creates dependency. One person cannot possibly satisfy all your emotional needs. Spend time with your same sex friends to keep your relationship healthy and balanced.
Jennifer Elizabeth Masters is a life, sex and love coach. She is the author of Orgasm For Life. A book for the new paradigm where relationships are balanced and loving, rather than adversarial and disconnected. Her book closes the gap between men and women helping men to understand women better, and women to understand themselves and men better. It is a funny, light-hearted look at relationships sharing personal wisdom and experience that Jennifer gained in over 40 years of relationships. This is a real-life look at how to build JOY, PASSION and CONNECTION into your relationship.