By · @ColleenOrme  ·

It’s a given, we fall in love and dismiss many a bad quality in our significant others. Heck, isn’t that the essence of love?

Who cares if she’s super organized and worries too much. And does it matter that he is moody in the morning or the loudest guy at the football game? Of course not.

These are simply individual flaws which love magically converts into subtle relationship nuances.

They could also be called a person’s ‘shelf-value.’ The good and the bad qualities that craft our uniqueness in a world which markets a vast variety of people.

However, putting up with differences is a far cry from tolerating difficult behavior.

A flaw may drive you crazy.

It may even require some negotiation but it more than likely does not influence how you feel about yourself. You may simply wish this person wasn’t as sloppy, nervous, laid-back or organized. These are emotional blemishes. We all have them and we all break out in them at various times in our relationships and lives.

These are partnership frustrations.

Difficult behavior, on the other hand, can not only make us feel frustrated, it can make us feel devalued. And it can damage our self-esteem.

Do you lack the personal boundaries necessary to ensure you are valued in love and life?

To find out, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is your partner dismissive?

  • Boundaries in Relationship that We Need to ConsiderAre you able to share your thoughts, worries, desires and dreams with the one you love?
  • Do they encourage you to tackle a new interest or job?
  • Do they ask you questions about why it is important to you?
  • Do they extend their verbal and emotional support?

This does not mean your partner has to be a devotedly hyper-listener or perfect in any manner.

It means they have the ability to be present when your life demands it. They support you beyond your hopes and dreams and in your daily life. This means they understand your major and minor stresses and acknowledge them by trying to minimize rather than dismiss them. Essentially, big or small, silly or not, they validate what is important to you.

2. Do they celebrate your success?

The one you love should be happy about your accomplishments both great and small.

They should not feel the need to minimize your achievements but instead, acknowledge and validate them. They should be proud of the job you do, either at home, volunteering or work. They should also be capable of complimenting you. Furthermore, they should have the ability to speak proudly to others about your strengths.

3. Are they collaborative?

Does your partner see you and treat you as their equal?

In order to truly value another human being, you must view them as your equal.

Is your life together a mutual collaboration or is it one-sided? Together, are daily living and future plans the demands and dreams of one or two? The person you love should want to collaborate and build one big world and not simply acquire a wingman for their own adventure.

4. Do they mock you?

Mocking the one you love is not a brand of humor though some believe it is.

Mocking a person is making fun of them whether it is serious or ‘supposedly joking.’ It is a clever way of criticizing another person. There is nothing positive about it. It is a manner of making one person feel bad in order to make another person feel better.

The one you love should have enough confidence to make you feel cherished not chuckled at.

5. Do they make you a priority?

Again, this is not hyper-vigilance, it is not perfection, it means overall you feel as though you are a priority to the one you love.

It does not mean every one of your demands should be met.

It means you realize this person is there for you. They would occasionally come home early if the need arose, take you to a doctor’s appointment or understand if you feel overwhelmed, worried or temporarily needy. It means they never make you doubt how monumental their love for you truly is – even though day to day life may often get in the way.

6. Do they need to be in control?

Does the one you love have excessive control issues?

That is, not a few areas of their life where something may be important to them.

Is your relationship controlled by all of their wants and needs rather than making your wants and needs equally as important?

Are they over-valuing themselves and under-valuing you?

7. Do they always need to be right?

Opinions and feelings require attention.

It is impossible for one person to be habitually right.

If the one you love dismisses something that has hurt you they are not valuing your pain. It is not their right to tell you what you should and shouldn’t feel. They must care you enough to seek to understand and resolve the conflict. All people have the right to possess differing viewpoints.

These issues should either fall under the category of ‘agree to disagree’ or they should be resolved. Telling someone they are continually wrong is undermining their unique value.

These questions are a general litmus test for determining your comprehensive relationship value. 

Difficult behavior is not necessarily cut and dry.

Just as we all possess imperfections, we all have the ability to behave badly. Therefore, these are not infrequent but incessant patterns of behavior which can culminate in one feeling devalued in a partnership.

We cannot change other people. We can, however, set boundaries in order to be treated in a manner which increases our self-value rather than diminishes it.


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Colleen Sheehy Orme

Colleen Sheehy Orme is a Divorce & Relationship expert. She is a national columnist for beliefnet.com a faith based, inspirational website. She writes and speaks on the topics of love, relationships, divorce, and healing. She also consults on these topics and of rebuilding your personal life and personal brand during and after divorce.

Colleen’s national column speaks with her trademark voice. It is filled with the raw vulnerability, emotion, strength, humor and inspiration she lives her life with. Her column tackles the messy side of love while still inspiring love.

She is based out of the Washington, D.C. area where she lives with her three great boys, who seem to tolerate her candid, life musings and their wild, chocolate lab ‘Hazel.’ In addition to being a national columnist, speaker and consultant, she continues to be a freelance journalist and source for various national media outlets. Colleen is also a former business columnist, marketing, PR, and digital strategy consultant.

And most importantly, she still believes in love.

You can find out more about her at www.colleensheehyorme.com and follow her national column | Please follow her Facebook and on LinkedInTwitter

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