Aretha Franklin once released a song about her love for a man with kisses sweeter than honey. However, the one thing that was missing from the relationship was something she felt compelled to spell out: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T."
People can love someone with all their heart, but without respect, they are left with a void impossible to fill and a broken heart nearly unable to mend. The following stories come from people who found themselves in a relationship with someone they could no longer respect. They shared their reasons on Quora. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I was on a date with a guy not too long ago. He had a decent job, came from a good family, and was definitely not broke.
He and I went to a restaurant for dinner. I think it was around 11 p.m. when the bill came and it had a small service charge on top of it. He did not offer to pay, so I paid instead and left the tip. It was fine by me, I wasn't expecting him to pay anyway.
He asked me why I left a tip when the bill already had a 5% service charge. I tried to explain to him that I was experienced in working graveyard shifts and it was tough. I think they deserved a tip for working late because I know how it feels. Before I could finish what I was saying, he went on an embarrassing, demeaning rant.
'What they're doing is quite easy!' he exclaimed. 'They just wait on customers, clean tables, and serve food. They don't deserve a tip!'
To make the situation worse, his voice was loud enough that the waiter at the next table overheard him. I was so embarrassed that I stormed out. He followed me and wondered why my mood turned sour. He thought it was because he didn't pay the bill, which infuriated me more.
Since that night, I never spoke to that person ever again. I don't have any respect left for him and I might never treat him with any amount of respect ever again. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat other people who cannot seem to meet their standards."
"I was travelling with a man I had been dating for about a year. We were staying in a quiet suburban hotel. He had been spending a lot of time in the sports bar, but that was OK with me. It was during the NBA draft and I knew he was into that.
On our last evening, I went down to get him for dinner and he was in the bar flanked by these two younger, gorgeous women. They looked like they worked there as bar waitresses. I asked him to come with me for dinner.
'No,' he replied. 'I want to stay here.'
After insisting, he came with me. He sulked in the restaurant and did not speak to me. When we got back to the room, I asked him why he was not speaking to me.
'Why don't you look like those young girls?' he replied.
He went on to say that they were better than me in all ways, they were so attractive, and they made him feel so good. He said how great it was that one of the women supported three kids (each child from a different man, I found out later) on her bar salary. My guess is that because he had been the only bar patron, that they had been building up his ego. They probably told him that he could do better than me. He was 61 years old and all the performance enhancing pills in the world were not going to help him keep up with a twenty-something.
That was that. I checked out of the hotel and left him there to get back home himself. He called, of course, and said that he was sorry, asking if I would take him back? I lost all respect for him in that moment. It was a shame that he was thinking with his libido and over inflated ego."
"My fiancée had a son who was 24 years of age at the time and still lived at home. He became an emotional wedge between us.
One night, I was informed that, while waster, he attempted to assault her. Her previous husband had passed away three years prior.
'The house was his,' he shouted, while trying to break down her bedroom door. 'You are the one that should have died.' He added that she should slice her wrists because she was useless.
He and his sister, equally as toxic at 22, were going to toss her out on the street. With the help of a lawyer, they tried to abscond the life insurance her husband had left her. She had to call the police to have him forcibly removed. She informed me as to what had occurred. I have some very stringent moral beliefs and one of them deals with violence against women. This incident was unacceptable.
The anger I felt was indescribable. I psychically wanted to beat him to a pulp. Four of my friends felt the same way when I explained what had occurred. These two offspring were 22 and 24 and my fiancée provided for their every need. They did not work and were sickeningly entitled to EVERYTHING. Her kid was well aware of my anger and avoided me. My fiancée would not tell her friends or her father what exactly had occurred. Her father could not understand my anger toward his grandchildren. Of course, since he was being lied to, what else was I to expect?
It finally reached the penultimate moment when a choice was to be made between me, who had loved and protected her from these two individuals that caused emotional strife and pain to her almost on a daily basis, and the horrid individuals that were her offspring.
'If your son had beat you that night, you would have done nothing and forgiven him, right?' I asked her.
She did not even have to think and to respond, 'Yes.'
I lost COMPLETE respect for her on SO many levels. That was essentially the end of our relationship, even though I had loved her incredibly."
"My husband and I are Indians and have been married for two years. We live in America. My husband is on a work visa and I am on a dependent visa. Since it was an arranged marriage, I live a life envied by many of my cousins, relatives, and friends, as well as all those people who do not know what I exactly go through in the name of marriage.
Being on dependent visa, as per American laws, I cannot work. I'm basically an unpaid maid now. Before my marriage, I was handling a team of 17 people in a multinational corporation. Now, I clean the house, do daily chores, cook food, take responsibility for his friends' get-togethers at our house known to me at the last moment, etc. I am not allowed to go out. He gave me a credit card just to call my family. Whenever I make any other transaction on it, he scolds me, fights me, and even beats me.
There is no love-making in our marriage. He never touches me. When I try to hug him, he pushes me hard onto the floor. When I try to kiss him, he spits on me. He had told me before we got married that he doesn't drink at all, but later, after coming to America, I learned that he is a heavy drinker. I hate lies. There are many other lies he has told, but this was the biggest because I do not like people with a drinking problem
Recently, there was a fire in our condo. When I found it in the kitchen, I ran into bedroom and called 911 for the first time. I was so frightened. I still get nightmares from it. The fire brigade came within 3-5 minutes, followed by cops. The cops told me to leave the house. I was just numb. I was having difficulty moving.
'Lady, I feel there is something bad going on,' one of the senior cops said to me after I was out of the condo. 'If you feel you can share it with me, I can help you, surely. Plus, I can arrange a ticket to your hometown.'
Then, the cop asked for my parents' number. They called my dad in an instant. I called my husband. He came after sometime.
Later, we came back to India for a formal mediation talk at which my in-laws, parents, and relatives were all present. My husband said to my parents, 'Your daughter has knowingly tried to set fire to the house.'
I have digested many of his extreme lies, but this lie of blaming me for no reason is unbearable. From that day, I lost respect for him.
I am so shaken and disturbed now. I am depressed. Still, I have to act as if I am OK in front of my parents, whom I now live with. Still, even today, I have no interest in living now. It is just for my parents' sake that I am still living."
"I was at the top of my class in the eleventh grade. In those days, I used to look cute and pretty. You could say that I was popular.
There was this guy, whom I will call 'X.' He was good looking, intelligent, and kind. We shared the same goals and ambitions. He was one of the more trustworthy and respectable guys at school. As days passed, he started giving me a lot of attention. He would text me a lot. He made me feel special. The way he used to flirt with me was so adorable, calling me beautiful at the most unexpected places and times and such other flirty things guys do.
Eventually, I gave in. I loved the way he made me feel. He would send long texts of his love, admiration, and infatuation for me. He kept saying that we were more than friends. I started falling in love with him. I was so happy that I finally found 'the guy.'
I flirted back with him too. This flirting went on for months. I thought that since this was not the Dark Ages or anything, that I would ask him out first. Lo and behold, he downright declined my proposal for a relationship. He said that he was like that with all the girls and that he did not want anything serious at that point in his life. I was heartbroken, but I respected his decision and thought that maybe I had misread his intentions.
What he did next was blatantly terrible. He shared screenshots of my confessions and my proposal to his guys' group at school. He had obviously edited the screenshots because they only contained my flirtations and confessions, not his. The screenshots spread like a wildfire, as did the news that I was a 'hussy.' In their eyes, he was this gentleman who politely rejected me. All the girls simply smirked at me. The guys mouthed, 'FLIRT' or 'CHEAP' wherever I went. I was socially isolated. I was so depressed that I got down to the last rank. Even now, years after then, I am known as a hussy amongst my peers.
He broke my trust. He didn't even respect our friendship. The fact that he is still known as this kind, respectable gentleman haunts me. He is a horrible person with a twisted mentality capable of hurting people. He is not what he seems to be. If he really was a good and responsible person, he would not have shared our personal chats in the first place. This guy destroyed my soul, my reputation, and my happiness.
A man's greatest cowardice is to awaken a woman's loving without intending to love her back."
"She and I had been together since the eleventh grade. After the initial fantasy phase gradually rubbed off, I settled down into the cozy, friendly environment a relationship provides. She, however, could not accept this calm. The exciting, breathless pace was what she liked. As a result, fights broke out between us.
Try as I may, I could not satisfy her. There would always be something more that she wanted. I tried really hard to keep her happy. I remember staying up all night talking to her after a pretty hectic day at school. I was the one who had to come up with some new topic to talk about, always. She would just say 'Hmm, hmm...' all the time.
She started to find me boring after a while. I was not entertaining her enough, she said. I was totally at a loss. Never had she inquired about my well being. She never even gave a simple 'How are you today?' It was always about her. Yet, now, it seemed like I was not putting in enough effort.
Then, the rumors started. She was seen with another guy at school, many times. I would be in class and, later, my friends and classmates would say they had seen her and the other guy alone, taking a walk, holding hands, and things like that. But, I trusted her, and I kept that trust. Young as I was, I still believed that once your trust breaks, it cannot be recovered again. I trusted her blindly and I respected her. So much. She was the ideal woman for me, the epitome of womanhood. Everything about her - her kindness, her humor, her sense of responsibility, her loyalty-everything amazed me. I would never give up on her.
That was until one day. We went for a walk in the early morning. When we had returned, her phone rang. We were walking close together when I saw the name flashing. It was that guy. I said nothing and she stepped away from me.
'Hello?' she spoke into the phone. 'Yes, I'm fine. Now? Well, right now I'm in my room. Alone. Yes, I'd like to see you too.'
I had not realized until that moment how devastating a single sentence could be to me. With that one line, everything became so clear. She was lying to him. About me. In front of me. Her boyfriend. She was cheating on her boyfriend and she was cheating on the person she had cheated on her boyfriend with. Does that make any sense? It did not to me.
All I could feel was this sharp pain. It was as silent as when you pluck a flower, but just as painful for that flower. They say emotional pain is not real pain, but the shrapnels in my chest right then was nothing less than any physical pain. All the respect and fascination I had for her crashed in a heartbeat. I could finally see her for who she was: just an ordinary person who turns wherever she finds something to benefit her.
I turned around, and started to walk. She ran after me.
'Hey, wait!' she called out to me. 'What's the matter?'
She had not realized what she had done. I didn't say anything else. I just kept walking. I walked for about four hours that day. During that time, I felt like I was in a trance. This could not be happening to me. But it had happened. The person I trusted, loved, and respected the most had, in one moment, robbed me of everything I believed in. That was the moment when I finally gave up on her."
"I once dated a guy who was a well-groomed Catholic. He went to Armenia to pay his respects to the people who were killed in the genocide. I thought he had a heart of gold. He had a good-paying job, had gotten his Master's degree, and was looking to find a suitable place to live. I dated him for six months and I thought he liked me as he told me I was 'beautiful.' Then came the day that I will dread for the rest of my life.
It was a dreary October evening, as it had been cold and rainy all day. We had finished watching The Martian at the theater. He took me to my car. I thought it was unusual as I was hungry and thought we were going to do dinner.
He looked at me and asked, 'What do you think of our relationship?'
I replied I thought things were going good between he and I.
'Well, he said, 'I think God does not want us to be together.'
I was shocked. I asked him if he liked me. He replied,
'I never fell in love with you the moment I laid eyes on you,' he said, 'God told me to be honest.'
I was now horrified. I had kissed this man many times before and I thought it was out of love.
'I'm sorry, but God wants me to find someone else,' he added.
I didn't say a word. Instead, I pushed him away from me and got into my car. I felt that he used me in a sick game or something. I had feelings for him, but he never had feelings for me.
Two years later, my ex contacted me on Facebook. He is now participating in anti-Palestine protests. He asked if I was interested in meeting him and speaking out against the 'evil Palestinian' people. He even stated that God would want the Palestinians to leave the West Bank.
I was beyond shocked. This guy was now going against the human race. I took a course in college about the founding of Israel and the struggle for Palestinians. I do think Israel and Palestine should co-exist, instead of killing each other.
I blocked him after I lost what little respect I had for him. I never want to hear anything about what 'God wants.' Every human, such as myself, has the right to not listen to or follow certain beliefs."
"I used to talk to a guy from a top-ranked medical college. I started talking to him on Instagram. He was a medical student. I was just tooo crazy about medical students. I always had huge respect for all of them and I always liked to hear them share about their college life. He learned later on, from a friend of mine, that I always wanted to date a medic.
Things started going downhill when one day he was wasted. He always had this habit of handing over his phone to his friends when he didn't want to talk. I had to listen to his friend about how 'bad' I was as a woman. I was also a joke in his friend group. EVERYTHING we talked about would be shared.
One day he asked me about my bra size, which I refused to tell, but he kept on asking about it for weeks. Once he asked it while we were on the phone. His friend was sitting right beside him, who even insisted him to ask about my waist size. Some days later, I told him that I also talked to another friend of his and said that he should learn some basic manners from him. That infuriated him so much so that he gave my number to his friends. They kept on calling me to make fun of me and the feelings that I had for their friend.
This guy also claimed to have feelings for me. This same guy also claimed to love me. I was emotionally traumatized. We stopped talking after he gave my number to his friends.
It happened because I was crazy. It happened because every time he did something wrong and left me only to come back, I would forgive him and accept him. It happened because I let him take me for granted. It happened because I let him and his friends make fun of me over and over again. It happened because I invested all my time and feelings in a wrong person.
Who did I lose respect for: medics or him? Actually, neither. I lost respect for myself.
That incident made me a person I never was. I now doubt all of my male friends. I have become more cautious about who enters my life. I realized being too good to someone is not good for you sometimes and that I need to learn to let go and learn to kick such people out of my life.
What shocked me the most was that neither he nor any of his friend had any regrets for how they treated me. Nothing affected them. There were neither tears nor words. It is really sad when you end up becoming a laughing stock for certain people you appreciated and trusted. However, I don't talk to this guy anymore and I am happy.
If you do not like a person in your life, just tell them straight away to leave you instead of making fun of them or throwing them into somebody else's mouth."
"I wandered aimlessly in college until I met a guy who gave me hope and motivated me to study hard. He would happily spend time to teach anyone who came to him for help, including myself. He even gave last minute tutoring sessions to a bunch of people on campus who would otherwise pretend that he did not exist. He did this when he could have used that time to prepare for exams himself the very next day.
He was never angry at anyone even if they slacked off and let him do all the work. Admittedly, I was one of them. I gained a lot of trust and admiration toward him, more and more each day. I confided in him more about my past. Each time I did, he would never judge me, but instead taught me, lovingly, to be a better person. For a while, he was the most kind and understanding person I had ever known.
I started changing myself, seeing how hard he worked for everyone around him. I wanted to work hard alongside him so that he would not have to bear everything alone. I came to love him, because I thought he saw me for me. He saw what an absolute child I was, but still was able to see and encourage the good in me. We started to get serious.
I managed to graduate with flying colors and land a good job in a big city because of him. Once I got into the 'real world,' life was no longer on a bed of roses. I thought I was mature enough to keep my eyes on the job, but there was so much I had to learn. Having never worked a day in my life nor be on my own, I was not quite prepared for it all. Plus, my love landed a job in a different city, so not having him at my side made it much harder.
Not only was I stressed alot, I became more emotional, negative, and consumed in my own thinking more than ever. I started drinking, smoking, going to clubs, and doing a lot of things with my peers. I never dared to say no. I strayed. I went off the rails.
Despite my lifestyle changes, I tried to keep up our relationship. I called him and texted him everyday. We visited each other every now and then. I was honest to him about everything at any give time. In time, I slowly started to get my life back on track. It wasn't much, but I was making progress. I fought back and turned down all the toxic people in my life and got myself back to focusing on work. It no longer mattered to him.
All along he had only loved an idea of me and not me. All along, he had only been tolerating my bad traits, wishing if he overlooked them that they would go away one day, but they never did. They never did because I had to stumble and fall and grow to be able to change. But, it was just too much for him. All my best conscious efforts were never good enough. He never accepted my past. He only tolerated it.
He broke up with me, telling me he never loved me during the previous year. He had only pitied me. He said that his morals were simply too high to continue to date me. I realized that all this time, I looked up to this man like he was a saint. He had only been painting me as a sinner."
"I liked a girl in my class. She was all that I could think about. Her voice, her smile even her sense of humor was perfect. I asked her out. She rejected my proposal. We stopped talking. But, one day she confessed that she started having feelings for me. Being an idiot I asked her on a date.
We fixed the date to be scheduled at a cafe at 8 p.m. I was super excited to meet her. I dressed properly and brought some flowers. I reached the cafe at 7:30 p.m. It was my first date after all. I looked desperately at my watch. I counted every minute. I just wanted the time to pass by so that I could tell her that how much I loved her. I ordered coffee in the meantime.
It was 7:59 p.m. when I looked at the entrance for her. I thought she would be on her way. I did not call her, as it would seem so desperate. I looked at the entrance again, I just wanting to see her walk in. Nothing in this world could have replaced that moment.
I waited and waited. I tried calling her at 8:30 p.m., but she didn't pick up. I waited another an hour. I ordered coffee many times. All I wanted was to see her. At least a message or call could have lightened my mood.
It was about 10 p.m. with still no sight of her when I knew that this was not the girl I liked. I never contacted her again. She tried to apologize, but once a rope is broken, it is almost impossible to mend it back into good shape. Someone who does not value another person's time and feelings stands no chance in my life."