Aretha Franklin had it right when she sang so powerfully about the importance of respect. For a relationship to be a healthy one, there needs to be R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Plain and simple.
If you’re not feeling respected by your significant other, in time your self-esteem will decrease and you will have compromised the most important relationship in your life – the one you have with yourself!
Moreover, for any intimate relationship to thrive, it must be built on trust. One of the key ingredients for trust is mutual respect. A relationship without trust and respect is built on quicksand.
That’s why you want to meet a partner who respects you and who you respect. Otherwise, he’s the wrong guy for you. But when you’re caught up in the excitement of a budding romance, you might not always have your “Respect Radar” turned on.
Red flags are always so vivid in the rear view mirror, aren’t they? It’s easy to look back and think, “I really should have seen this coming.” But unfortunately, Mr. Wrong doesn’t come with a warning label.
Happily, there’s a simple three step test you can use that will help you figure out if you’re dating the real deal, a man who is genuinely respectful of women.
Here’s how it works. Say you’re out on a first date. It’s going well so far. Maybe he’s bought you a fancy drink (the kind with an umbrella!), or you’re enjoying strolling through a park with him on a sunny day. The witty banter is flowing. But you’re starting to get a vibe that something feels… off.
Step One – Pay close attention to that feeling. Intuition is just a fancy word for all the information your subconscious mind is picking up that your conscious mind hasn’t had time to fully process yet. If he’s showing signs that indicate a lack of respect for you, trust your gut instinct and move on to step two to test your hypothesis.
Step Two – Find a reason to say “no” to your date in a non-confrontational way, or to casually push back. For example, if he tries to order you a second drink, tell him, “No thanks, I’m good for now.” If he makes a suggestion for something to do next, suggest a different activity. If he asks you about something personal, playfully reply that you will tell him another time. Don’t explain yourself or justify your reply. Let your friendly, but contrary, response stand on its own.
The idea here isn’t to be rude or uncooperative. You’re in the testing phase and he may turn out to be Mr. Right (or at least Mr. Right Now) after all. You’re simply setting down a boundary, calmly and cheerfully. This step may feel awkward at first, since we women are often socialized to be accommodating. So you might want to role play in advance with a friend. The more you practice, the easier it gets.
Step Three – Take note of his reaction. Does he seem irritated? Or does he take your response in stride? Does he try to guilt trip or cajole you into changing your mind? Does he try to be in control? Or does he simply smile and say something along the lines of “Sure! Sounds good to me”?
His response will tell you a lot about whether he’s wired to respect women and accept healthy boundaries. If he isn’t, then you know he’s the wrong guy for you. No need to waste your time.
Make being respected a non-negotiable and move on to find a man who will respect you, as you deserve to be, from day one. Thank you Aretha!