Dismissive Behavior in Relationships

Dismissive Behavior in Relationships blog cover

Dismissive behavior in relationships can lead to a whole array of emotions, including hurt, anger, resentment, disappointment, and frustration. It can make people feel insignificant, disrespected, and unappreciated.

Eventually, there comes a point where apathy kicks in. This usually means that the relationship is broken to such an extent that one or both parties have given up on it. It’s very hard, and often impossible, to repair a relationship once it gets to this stage.

In this blog post, we explore what dismissive behavior looks like and why it happens.

Signs of dismissive behavior in a relationship

Dismissive behavior in relationships can be hard to spot, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Here are some common signs that your partner is acting in this way.

1. They don’t prioritize you.

In a healthy relationship, both people should feel appreciated. It’s impossible for someone to feel valued if their partner never puts them first. It’s natural for all of us to have different priorities during different phases and moments in our lives, and you don’t need your partner to prioritize you every second of the day. But in order to build trust and a deep connection, you need to know that they will put you first when you truly need them. Otherwise, what’s the point?

2. They never apologize.

If your partner never says sorry, even when they clearly should, it’s a sign of dismissive behavior in relationships. An apology is a way of acknowledging that you’ve done something wrong and that you’re sorry for the pain that you’ve caused. If your partner can’t or won’t do this, it’s a form of dismissing the pain that they caused.

3. They always have to be right.

In a healthy relationship, both people actively listen to each other and value each other’s opinions. If your partner always has to be right, it means that they don’t respect what you have to say. This often comes from a place of insecurity and a fear of being inadequate. It’s impossible to have a fulfilling relationship without both parties valuing what each brings to the table. By not taking your thoughts seriously, they are dismissing your perspective and making you feel like your contribution doesn’t matter.

4. They don’t take your emotions seriously.

If your partner doesn’t take your feelings seriously, it’s a way of invalidating them, which is a sign of dismissive behavior in relationships. This can manifest in many ways, such as gaslighting, belittling your feelings, or simply ignoring them. Having our emotions validated by our loved ones is a natural human instinct, and it can be devastating to think your partner doesn’t care about how you feel.

5. They withdraw from conflict.

If your partner withdraws from conflict, it’s a way of avoiding the issue at hand and refusing to face the problem head-on. This can leave you feeling unheard, unseen, and unimportant. In a healthy relationship, both people should feel comfortable communicating their needs and wants, even if it means having difficult conversations. By withdrawing from conflict, your partner is dismissing your needs.

Reasons for dismissive behavior in a relationship

So why might a partner act in a dismissive manner? Here are the most common reasons.

1) Avoiding intimacy.

Dismissive behavior can also be a way of avoiding intimacy. If a person feels overwhelmed or uncomfortable with the intensity of their partner’s emotions, they might respond in a dismissive way to create distance. This means that they don’t have to deal with the underlying issues or feelings that create intimacy.

2) Unresolved anger.

Sometimes, dismissive behavior in relationships is a sign of unresolved anger. If a person is still holding onto unresolved anger from past experiences, they could be taking it out on their partner by being dismissive. This can be difficult to understand since the source of anger may have nothing to do with the relationship itself.

3) Fear of vulnerability.

Fear of vulnerability can also cause a person to be dismissive. They may be afraid to open up and share their true feelings, so they act in a way that pushes their partner away. Essentially, in this case, they are using dismissive behavior to create a shield and protect themselves.

4) Poor emotional regulation.

In some cases, a person might be unable to regulate their emotions or respond in an appropriate manner. In these cases, dismissive behavior in relationships might be their way of trying to make their partner go away. This is often a sign of an underlying issue that needs to be dealt with.

5) Low emotional intelligence.

Low emotional intelligence and a lack of empathy can lead to dismissive behavior. People with low emotional intelligence may not grasp the consequences of their behavior. This can lead to them responding in a dismissive manner without realizing it. While it’s not an excuse, it can be helpful to know if this is the case.

6) Insecurity.

Dismissive behavior can also be a sign of insecurity. People who are insecure in their relationships may feel like they need to act in a certain way to gain control or maintain their partner’s interest. This is usually rooted in deep-seated feelings of inadequacy.

7) Lack of connection.

They may very well understand the impacts of their behavior, but they might not care enough to step up and make things right. This could be because their interest in your relationship has faded away, and they no longer feel motivated to make an effort.

Couple arguing

8) Low standards.

Sometimes, dismissive behavior is simply a result of low standards in the relationship. Some people push the boundaries and become dismissive if they know that their partner won’t challenge them. In situations like this, they act in certain ways because they think they can get away with it.

9) Manipulation.

In some cases, dismissive behavior can be a way of attempting to gain control or power in the relationship by making their partner feel small. This type of behavior should not be tolerated, and it’s important to address it head-on.

10) Being distracted.

People can also become dismissive when they’re going through a busy period in their lives. They might not be taking the time to think about their actions and consider how they might affect you. When people are busy or low on energy, they tend to focus more on themselves than others and miss cues that they would usually pick up on.

Whatever the cause, there’s no excuse for dismissive behavior because it makes people feel small and insignificant. In addition, it can result in a toxic relationship.

Dealing with dismissive behavior

Dealing with a partner who exhibits dismissive behavior can be difficult, but it is usually possible to come back from situations like this as long as both people are prepared to put in the work.

The first step to overcoming this issue is communication: both partners need to communicate their feelings and perspectives in an open and honest way. It’s important for both parties to show respect for each other’s boundaries and for whoever is exhibiting dismissive behavior to be willing to take accountability for their actions.

It’s always important to deal with issues as they arise instead of avoiding them or sweeping them under the rug. This will stop them from building up and making things worse.

Finally, if you want to rebuild your relationship after dismissive behavior, it’s important to spend quality time together. This can help to strengthen the bond between the two of you, which will make it easier to tackle issues when they arise.

Final thoughts on dismissive behavior in relationships

If your partner is exhibiting dismissive behavior, it’s important to remember that this type of behavior is often rooted in deeper issues. So, in order to move past it, both of you (or perhaps just your partner) need to be willing to work on the root cause.

As well as communicating openly, you’ll also need a healthy dose of patience, understanding, and commitment from both sides.

In summary, dismissive behavior can be highly damaging to a relationship because it signals a lack of respect, and you can’t have a healthy relationship without mutual respect, so it’s important to address dismissive behavior as soon as possible.

If you found this blog post helpful, you might also want to read Invalidation of Feelings: Examples & Why it’s Damaging.

“Matching people using personality types is such a simple and powerful concept. So Syncd helped us find love, even in this difficult time. You’ve really changed our lives. In fact, we’re now married! Thank you.”

– Ben (INFJ) about Indy (ENFJ)

Go to store Get your personality compatibility report