Hello again friends! Welcome back to another edition of Dear Dating Bitch, my online advice column. Today, I’ve got a few different questions related in some way to showing – or demanding – respect in a relationship.

But, first, if you’re new to the blog, this segment is an interactive one. Readers write in with their questions or life problems anonymously and I provide some words of wisdom to (hopefully) help them out. I always LOVE doing these posts and reading your letters so keep ‘em coming!

If you’d like to submit a question to me, you can do so here. And don’t worry – it’s always anonymous.

Alright, enough of the introductions – let’s get to the advice.

Dear Dating bitch - Advice on demanding respect in a relationship
*Note: Questions may have been edited for length/clarity

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Dear Dating B: Advice on Respect in a Relationship

Q: I’ve been dating “Jack” for two months. He cancelled our date under the pretense of preparing for travel, but then I found out he actually went on a date with another woman, “Jill.” I’m not supposed to know about Jill, but I do. He’s actively pursuing her, but still texting me. Do I ask him about us? What should I do?

Jack and Jill

Dear Jack and Jill:

I’m SO curious to know how exactly you found out about this. How did you know he canceled on you to go out with Jill? On top of that, you say he’s actively pursuing her despite still being involved with you. I’ve got so many questions here!  

But, regardless of that – I think it’s fairly clear where the two of you stand, at least in his mind. And, honey, it’s not great.

The fact that he’s talking to and/or going on dates with other women is somewhat forgivable. After all, you’ve only been dating two months and you’re not exclusive. What’s not forgivable, though, is that he’s doing that with a pretty high level of disrespect.

First, he lied to you – saying he couldn’t go out on account of having to “prepare to travel” (which, by the way, is a pretty lame excuse anyway.) And second, his actual reason for canceling your date was so that he could go out on a different date.

If, after reading that last sentence, you’re still seeking advice, you’ve got a few options for what to do.

  1. Do nothing and continue dating him to see where the relationship goes (I don’t recommend this option.)
  2. Confront him about his behavior.
  3. End the relationship.

Personally, I would go with number 3. You can do this in a kind but assertive way, too:

“Jack, I think it’s best if we stop seeing each other. I’m looking for an exclusive relationship with someone who is reliable. I think we want different things.”

If you really don’t want to end it, though, then the only other viable option is to confront him about his behavior.

Remember, it’s not out of line to demand honesty and respect in a relationship.

So don’t hint around at the issue by asking vague, “What do you think about us?” type questions. Have a direct conversation with him. State the facts, and your feelings about them, openly.

“Jack, I’m aware that you canceled our date in order to go out with another woman. That was extremely hurtful to me. I need a certain level of respect in a relationship, so if you want to continue moving forward, you should know that kind of behavior is unacceptable.”

His response will tell you a lot.

Related Read: How to Have More Effective Communication in Relationships: A Guest Post

Q: An ex that I haven’t seen in years wants to meet for dinner to “catch up.” They know that I’m in a relationship, but we’ve remained on good terms. Should I ask my partner’s permission to go, or can I just go?

Dinner Date dilemma

Dear Dinner Date Dilemma:

I’m actually on good terms with several of my exes. Many of whom I’ve gotten lunch/dinner/coffee with over the years – even when I’m in a new relationship.

So, I don’t think it’s weird that your ex – whom you’ve remained friendly-ish over the years – has asked you to grab a bite to eat.

What is a little weird is that you seem convinced that this dinner date is less dinner and more date. Maybe you’ve left something out here, or maybe this is relatively new territory for you thus you’re not sure how to proceed.

So, I would say that unless you honestly feel like this ex is attempting to reconnect romantically, there’s nothing wrong with meeting up for dinner. You certainly don’t need to ask your boyfriend’s permission to meet up with a friend.

But, with that said, you do need to at least communicate with your partner. Let them know that your ex reached out to you and that you’re thinking of getting together. It’s not about asking for permission; it’s about showing enough respect in a relationship to be forthcoming.

Q: My ex and I recently broke up because she felt like things were moving too fast with us. We still talk, though, and I think there’s a good chance we could get back together in the future. Her birthday is coming up and I already got her a gift. Should I give it to her?

I was thinking of mailing it to her so it wouldn’t be as awkward. Is that a good idea?

A Gift for my Ex

Dear Gift for my Ex:

No, absolutely not! It’s not just an emphatic No, it’s an emphatic HELL NO.

Admittedly, this one isn’t really about showing respect in a relationship, it’s about showing respect to yourself. And while I think it’s admirable that you want to help her celebrate her birthday, it’s really not your place anymore.

In your letter (which, by the way, was much longer and provided more context), you mention wanting to get back together at some point – either romantically or as friends. Again, I think that’s a fine goal. But now is not the time.

The breakup just happened and you’re still feeling rather heartsick over it. Whether or not you two do reconcile remains to be seen. But I can almost guarantee that a birthday gift isn’t going to be the deciding factor.

Best case scenario – she’ll appreciate the gift, send you a thank you text, and carry on with her original plan of taking some space. Worst case scenario, the gesture will be seen as creepy or desperate.

Wish her a happy birthday on Facebook or via text if you absolutely must, but keep the gift for when/if your relationship status changes.

Related Read: Why It’s So Important to Follow “No Contact” After a Breakup

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Remember, respect is an essential part of any relationship. It’s crucial to show your partner basic consideration, and it’s equally important to demand it in return. If your partner does something that bothers you or oversteps your standards, say something! By doing so, you’re not being “difficult.” You’re being self-reliant and dignified.

What did you think of my advice this week? Let me know in the comments below!

As always, thanks for reading. And make sure to send in your questions to me here!


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  1. avatar

    100% agree about the third piece of advice (not giving the gift). I’ve done that before – you live and learn! – and it was a big mistake, not to mention a giant waste of money. I don’t think she thought it was creepy but it certainly wasn’t this big “this will fix things” moment like I anticipated. In hindsight, it was kind of crappy that she accepted it, too, but I blame myself for even doing it. Besides, you shouldn’t be trying to buy love. It’s never going to work out.

    1. avatar

      That’s a good point – any sort of big gesture should be considered a No Go unless you genuinely did something to apologize for. Otherwise, you’re trying to sell yourself to someone who’s not interested in buying

  2. avatar
    Nons Mshengu says:

    This was so fun to read! You’re so level minded, my responses to these would’ve been so different (and petty, haha) ! Was very interesting to see that people maintain healthy, friendly relationships with their exes. It could quite literally never be me.

    Thanks for the fab post!

    1. avatar

      Ha, well petty responses can be fun sometimes too!

  3. avatar

    This was so helpful! I wish I had something like this to read when i was still dating. It took me a long time and the right person to feel comfortable enough to accept respect!

    1. avatar

      I think so many people feel like that, but that’s a big part of learning

  4. avatar

    i love this post! Without respect, someone can easily walk all over you, and before you know it, it is too late! Great post!

    1. avatar

      That’s so true! It’s essential in any relationship – romantic or otherwise

  5. avatar

    Loved this post! I agree with you, respect is really an essential part of a relationship! Thanks for sharing this.

    1. avatar

      Thanks so much for reading!

  6. avatar

    I think the meeting up with the ex for dinner is a difficult one. It totally depends on the situation; if I met up with my ex for dinner it’s be absolutely no problem because my current partner an I still hang out with him (and his now fiancé). But I think it’s still just a curtesy to at least tell your partner and make sure they’re okay with it.

    1. avatar

      Yes I agree – I tend to think anytime you feel like you have to hide something from your partner, it’s probably not a good thing to be doing.

  7. avatar
    Charity says:

    This is such great advice. Thanks so much for sharing this valuable information!

    1. avatar

      Thank you for reading!

  8. avatar

    I loved reading this! Even though I’m in a relationship it was still so interesting to read your replies! Great answers 🙂

    Corinne x

    1. avatar

      Thank you so much!

  9. avatar
    Basic With Life says:

    Excellent advice, I especially like the “ It’s not about asking for permission; it’s about showing enough respect in a relationship to be forthcoming.”
    I can’t wait for your next post.

    1. avatar

      There’s such a difference between those two concepts so I’m glad you found it useful!

  10. avatar

    I love your advice, you always give such good and realistic advice. I 100% agree with everything you said. xx

    Melina | http://www.melinaelisa.com

    1. avatar

      Aww, thank you so much! It always means a lot to hear that

  11. avatar

    I like your advices and I do think that mutual respect and self respect are crucial for a deep and honest relationship. I do hope that the people will follow your advices and find them helpful !

  12. avatar

    You give quite good and level headed advice which is sometimes needed in emotional situations. I hope these people find piece and find your advice and questions helpful. Thank you for sharing your posts.


    1. avatar

      Thank you so much! I always hope so too

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30ish Lifestyle blogger, relationship "expert," and modern-day agony aunt.
Sometimes humorous, always honest.