I have been in my fair share of relationships. In each of those relationships, things weren't always perfect. Sometimes, we would irritate each other, sometimes there would be fights and most of the time I felt like my feelings were much stronger than theirs. What remained consistent in each of my relationships, thankfully, is that they respected me.
Over my years of dating and observing relationships, the first thing I have learned is that it is very easy to love someone, but not as easy to respect them.
We can gush endlessly about significant others or crushes that we may have, but what about respect? Everyone hears stories about partners fighting and calling each other names. We may give our harshest constructive criticism to our partners and sometimes on the hardest of days we take out our bad moods on them.
But, is that respectful? Not in the slightest.
It is easy to respect people you do not love, like a boss or a peer. You let them be themselves, respect their boundaries and do not control them. But, why is it so hard for some people to bring that same energy to their romantic relationships?
Being respectful is much harder than it may seem in romantic settings, as we feel attached and controlling over what our partners say and do because that's a reflection of who we are as people. However, it is important to remember to respect your partner's individuality, feelings and boundaries even if they do not coincide with yours. You do it at the workplace and you do it at home, so it is time to bring it to your love life too.
When respect is given in any relationship the benefits are endless.
When you get respect from your partner you become confident, secure and trustworthy. When you are being respected by your significant other, everything comes with ease. Falling in love becomes easier, compromising is easier and even those nights with arguments become easier because each of you has a mutual understanding with the other.
There is no room for resentment. There is no room for hard feelings. There is no room for betrayal when respect is present.
Lastly, the hardest lesson of all is that respect is more important than love.
No matter which way you cut it, it is. This year, I have been in the healthiest relationship of my life. I have found someone who respects me, never belittles or teases me, listens to me and takes the time to understand me as a human being. I am not just his girlfriend, I am my own person.
In my other relationships, we used the word "love," pretty early on. In my current relationship, we don't use it yet.
This was initially a hard pill to swallow. In my other relationships, my significant other would always tell me they loved me, so what was different now?
This time there was enough respect between the both of us to have a meaningful conversation, we opened up and learned why we are not there yet in the relationship. He respected me enough to have that heart to heart with me and I realized then that the word "love," is not everything in a relationship like I used to make it out to be.
I take pride now in the fact that my boyfriend respects me more than any relationship prior. I am proud of the fact he is waiting to say it at a good time, not because it is what you're "supposed" to say. Most importantly, I am so proud that I have learned that even if you love someone what matters most is if they respect you. This is the one way they can see you for you, not just as a partner or part of them.
Love is nothing without respect, so don't get it twisted.