Signs Your Boyfriend Sees You As Lesser, Not As An Equal

The foundation of any good, healthy relationship is mutual respect between both parties. However, it’s not always easy to discern if a romantic partner really means it when they say that they view you as an equal.

As in many cases, actions do speak louder than words, though. These are signs that your boyfriend sees you as lesser than him—not as an equal.

He Mansplains All The Time

man talking while showing a woman something on his iPad
Photo Credit: Pexels / cottonbro
Photo Credit: Pexels / cottonbro

It’s one thing if a guy mansplains once or twice and then apologizes when he realizes that you’re already knowledgable on a topic, but it’s another thing entirely if your boyfriend regularly takes it upon himself to act like he’s much smarter than you. It should be clear that he thinks of you as inferior to him.

He Shows Up Unannounced

man walking up to  woman with flowers hidden behind his back
Photo Credit: Pexels / vjpratama
Photo Credit: Pexels / vjpratama

It would be different if he purposely planned a surprise for you out of the blue, but it’s a much different thing if he regularly just shows up to your work or your house without any warning. It shows that he clearly has not considered your schedule or your time, believing that you’re always just available to him.

He Constantly Checks Up On You

man texting on phone
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

Picture it like this: you’re going out for a night with your friends. Your boyfriend sends a text to ask how things are going, to which you respond that “everything’s good.” It’s a perfectly fine interaction. However, he continues to check up on you every hour or so in a weirdly paternal way—as if he doesn’t trust you to take care of yourself.

He Constantly Talks Over You

man yelling into megaphone
Photo Credit: Pexels / Sora Shimazaki
Photo Credit: Pexels / Sora Shimazaki

A controlling boyfriend will frequently look for ways to overpower you, and this includes verbally. When you’re having an argument or a discussion, he’ll go out of his way to interrupt you or simply just start speaking louder over you while you’re trying to communicate your view or feelings on an issue. He really believes that his opinion and words carry more weight than yours.

He’s Condescending About Your Choices

woman looking down and biting her nails
Photo Credit: Pexels / Kat Jayne
Photo Credit: Pexels / Kat Jayne

Whenever you make a decision for yourself, from something as simple as picking out a dress or as complex as handling a professional issue, he’ll go out of his way to pick apart your choices and offer his unsolicited opinion on what you could have done better. He really just looks for ways to tell you that you’re wrong and his way of seeing things is right.

He Emphasizes His Boundaries And Disregards Yours

woman staring directly at wall
Photo Credit: Pexels / Daria Shevtsova
Photo Credit: Pexels / Daria Shevtsova

He has no problem overstepping and ignoring your boundaries, but when it comes to him, his boundaries are solid as a rock. He overemphasizes his boundaries as a way of inflating his sense of importance. For example, he gets extremely angry when you text him while he’s “busy,” but he texts you all the time when he knows you have other stuff going on.

He Mocks/Demeans Your Interests

woman looking out of car window, sad
Photo Credit: Pexels / Hadi Slash
Photo Credit: Pexels / Hadi Slash

You like watching romantic comedies, looking at astrology charts, and listening to Taylor Swift, and he has no problem going out of his way to tell you that your interests are stupid, worthless, and boring. He’ll go on to talk about how the things he likes to watch and do are much more complex and important.

He Boasts About The Things He Does For You

man walking with his arm on the shoulder of woman who is looking down/away
Photo Credit: Pexels / Trinity Kussabek
Photo Credit: Pexels / Trinity Kussabek

He does one tiny gesture and acts as if he gave you his liver. There is a high chance that he’ll bring up “everything he does for you” whenever you try to confront him about something he’s done that has bothered you or if you ask him to be more supportive. It’s a guilt tactic to manipulate you into shutting up.

He Doesn’t Take “No” For An Answer

man with serious expression on face
Photo Credit: Pexels / Nitin Khjotia
Photo Credit: Pexels / Nitin Khjotia

You will go out of your way to make it clear that you are not interested in doing something, but he simply takes your “no” as an invitation to persuade you to do it—it can be as simple as trying to make you go somewhere you don’t want to. He clearly does not respect your feelings.

He Listens To You Only So He Can Talk About Himself

man and woman arguing in park
Photo Credit: Pexels / Vera Arsic
Photo Credit: Pexels / Vera Arsic

You kind of notice that all of your conversations aren’t quite about reciprocation. In fact, he only really “listens” to you so that he can, in turn, talk about himself, his feelings, and his opinions rather than genuinely considering what you’re trying to communicate. He doesn’t think your thoughts and opinions are as valuable as his.

He Came On Too Strong At The Start

man lifting woman on beach in dramatic embrace
Photo Credit: Pexels / Ilkin Safterov
Photo Credit: Pexels / Ilkin Safterov

Coming on strong is something that has been romanticized in movies—it’s supposed to be a good thing when a guy knows what he wants and pursues it—but coming on strong early can just show that he doesn’t actually care to see how you’re reacting to him. It was always about what he wanted and not about your actual feelings.

He’s Overprotective

close up man looking at something with steely expression
Photo Credit: Pexels / Bahaa A. Shawqi
Photo Credit: Pexels / Bahaa A. Shawqi

He really does not see you as a grown adult who can take care of and manage yourself. He’s constantly inserting himself in your life and trying to “protect” you from things that might hurt you because he doesn’t trust you to act in your own best interests. It’s not sweet: it’s patronizing.

His Jokes Are Hurtful

woman looking upset while man looks in different direction
Photo Credit: Pexels / Alex Green
Photo Credit: Pexels / Alex Green

He frames some of the things he says about you as jokes, but in reality, they are insults poking at your more sensitive areas. When you tell him you’re uncomfortable or hurt by something he’s said, he acts like you’re overreacting and tells you to “lighten up.” If he’s regularly trying to put you down, it’s because he feels like he’s above you.

It All Boils Down To Respect

couple sitting on wall, only their legs and hands visible
Photo Credit: Pexels / Duong Nhân
Photo Credit: Pexels / Duong Nhân

At the end of the day, you objectively cannot have a healthy, functioning relationship with someone who doesn’t respect you and, sadly, you cannot force someone to respect you. If you find that your boyfriend is treating you like you’re his inferior, it’s time to leave him behind and move on.