Long-time reader Richard sent me an email posing some interesting issues about how men and women see and need love and respect differently. Here’s part of our exchange.
Richard: “Society has been focusing on “love” (which is great for women), but men have a basic need for “respect”.
“Guys know that they have to show love to successfully court a woman. Do women realize how to successfully court a man? The man needs the praises (respect) of the woman to build him up so that he can be all that he can be. Men give love to the woman, and the quid pro quo is that the woman gives respect back to the man.”
DG: “I struggled with this in my marriage. I gave my now-ex lots of acknowledgement and kudos. However, he also did lots of things I didn’t respect, but I kept my mouth shut. In our final counseling session he said I didn’t respect him. I told him there were lots of things I respected about him but a few I didn’t.
“So what does a woman do when she truthfully doesn’t respect everything her man does?”
Richard: “Love is natural to a woman [but not to a man]. Respect is not natural for the woman….
“While the woman may not respect everything her man does, she is still to treat him with respect. Just like she may not be totally lovable, but he is still to treat her with unconditional love.
“When things are working, her respect of him causes him to love her more. His love for her causes her to respect him more. Similarly, if she is disrespectful to him, he may withdraw and be unloving to her. His unloving of her causes her to be more disrespectful of him. Break the negative cycle, and the relationship can be restored. The more difficult problem is when one person is being loving/respectful, and the other is not.”
DG: “I can’t respect someone who continually acts in ways that don’t garner respect. If they are lazy, self-absorbed, unconscious or uncaring about how their behaviors negatively affect me and others, I don’t respect those acts. It doesn’t mean I will treat the person disrespectfully, but it means I won’t respect them.”
I have more questions than answers. I’m thinking that, for me, respect and love are intertwined — at least for a mate. It’s hard for me to love and want to be with someone I don’t respect.
Readers, what’s your take on love vs respect?
(P.S.: I’ve edited Richard’s comments for brevity so don’t take him to task if I’ve misrepresented his comments.)
If you want to understand more issues that may create conflicts, get your copy of Ironing Out Dating Wrinkles: Work Through Challenges Without Getting Steamed.