How to avoid becoming a doormat in a relationship

The keys to avoid being treated disrespectfully in relationship.

How do you retain your own individuality and avoid becoming a doormat–that is, overly compliant?

This is not about how to play a game to manipulate others, but rather about how to retain your own integrity so that you can have a relationship that’s based on equality and mutual respect.

1. Be independent

To have self-respect and be respected by others, you have to be able to be independent. You have to drop any fear of living alone. It’s important that you know and that the other person senses that you are capable of living without him or her. You may love the other person very much and not want to live alone but you are capable of doing so.

2. Retain your interests and friends

While it’s important to spend enjoyable time together, don’t drop your interests, passions, or friendships outside the relationship. People who have their own interests are more attractive than those who drop everything to be with another person. It might feel good to someone’s ego briefly to have you sacrifice everything for that person, but it becomes old and dull after a short time.

3. Free choice and consideration

It’s important to come together out of free choice and desire. Retain your free will and don’t start asking for permission to do things. Partners can be considerate of each other without becoming servile.

4. Avoid harsh self-criticism.

While it’s great to be aware of your own flaws and want to improve yourself, no one wants to be around someone who is overly self-critical.

5. Don’t compare yourself

Try to retain a positive self-confident attitude about yourself. I’m not suggesting that you become narcissistic and arrogant. But it’s very unattractive if you often compare yourself to others and to feel threatened by other people in your life. Try not to voice those insecure thoughts. It’s best to avoid thinking them all together.

6. Don’t be needy

It’s natural to take care of one another to some extent in a relationship. Yet it’s important to take care of your deepest emotional needs yourself and not to become too needy and dependent on the other person.

7. Don’t parent

Resist becoming parent-like in a relationship because the other person will become childlike. That dynamic limits passion and mutuality. Don’t mother, monitor and advise the other person too much.

In summary, most of these qualities that allow a couple to sustain passion over the long-term come down to two attitudes: respect and self-respect. To enjoy a healthy love relationship where there is mutual respect, it’s important to avoid the slow drift into being taken for granted and eventually treated like a doormat. You must maintain your passions and your friendships, and avoid harsh self-criticism and comparing yourself to others.

Read “I never get to go skiing anymore. My partner doesn’t like to ski.”

One thought on “How to avoid becoming a doormat in a relationship

  1. Hannah Mayers

    I believe of all the tips listed in this article, the most outstanding are being independent and retaining your friends and interests. When we enter a relationship, we sometimes tend to be a “different” version of ourselves. Sometimes a better version, sometimes worse.

    Learning to communicate ( is very important. Being independent doesn’t mean you’ll be alone and will talk to no one but yourself. It means being able to express what you want and what you need.


    The moment you stop hearing your partner say, “Thank you,” for a nice deed, say something. Relationships are based on mutual respect, which means being kind and polite to one another. If you aren’t being appreciated for your generosity, then you are being taken for granted.

    We, women in romantic relationships, can always prevent being a “doormat.” We can do more than what our partner think we can. We just need to express ourselves and retain those who support and strike our interests.


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