Out of all the things that need to be present in a relationship to make it a good relationship I think respect is number one. Though respect in relationships isn’t just about respecting your partner, though that is important too, it is also about respecting yourself and making sure your partner treats you with respect too.
If your partner, this applies to you too by the way, doesn’t respect themselves they can’t respect you. So respect in relationships has to extend to all parties involved and each person needs to have a high level of respect for themselves as well as their partner.
So, what happens when one partner doesn’t really respect themselves? Well, in my experience (I’m not a counselor or anything, but I have seen this pattern in relationships of friends and family members) it leads to kind of a downward spiral a little like this:
1. First of all you have one person who doesn’t respect them self. They usually attract the “wrong” type of person. They usually attract someone else who is suffering from low self esteem and a lack of self respect.
2. Next you find that you have two people in a relationship who have deep seated feelings of no self worth. Even in this dynamic one person will rise to the top and become the dominant partner.
3. Since the person who is the dominant partner does not have any real self esteem they will try to artificially increase their feelings of self worth by trying to control the other person and keep the other person off balance.
This is usually done by continuing to further undermine the other persons feelings of inadequacy and their lack of self esteem.
4. The person who is feeling “picked on” (and they really are being picked on, it’s not just in their head) will either lash out at their partner thus creating a terrible dynamic of fighting all time in their relationship or they will sink down even further into their feelings of not being good enough.
5. This abusive cycle will continue until one person gets so tired of it (or bored with it) they leave. It can also escalate into more physical types of violence.
Doesn’t sound like much fun does it? Want to know how you can avoid getting sucked into this type of relationship? Well, the truth is that it is actually fairly easy and the first step is holding off getting into a relationship until you have dealt with the worst of your low self esteem issues.
The stronger you are and the more confidant you feel before you even head off to the dating pool, the more likely you will be to attract another confidant person with strong self esteem. That is the best way to ensure that the two of you have a relationship that is on equal footing.
I’m not saying that this type of relationship won’t have it’s challenges, but if you both have good self esteem you should find it easier to communicate and work things out.
The real problems come when you are each feeling bad about yourselves and then one person will always try to feel better by dominating the other.
And one other important thing to note; good self esteem does not mean “cocky” or “arrogant”. These are actually traits of someone who is very insecure and is trying desperately to hide that insecurity by over compensating.
So, to do all you can to ensure you meet the type of person that will treat you the way you deserve to be treated, take some time out and deal with your own issues before you even start dating. You may not be “perfect” but you can be much stronger and that will go a long way to ensuring that you only find respect in relationships.