Guide-Me: How To Recognize Patronizing Behavior In Relationships?

Last Update on July 18, 2023 : Published on May 20, 2023

Patronizing behavior is non-negotiable for me, or you can say a deal-breaker for me! Sadly, some people are victims of patronizing behaviors even without realizing it. When your partner makes you feel inferior as if you’re not capable of making decisions, or not worthy of anything, you might be in a relationship surrounded by patronizing behaviors!

Patronizing behavior is a form of making someone feel less knowledgeable, less capable, or less competent than the other partner. One of the common examples of patronizing behavior is the non-serious behavior of your partner against you.

While patronizing behavior is commonly seen, it’s not easy to spot it especially when you’re under the trap of it. This blog serves as a guide to recognizing patronizing behaviors in relationships and how to deal with them. So, let’s get started!

Recognizing Patronizing Behaviors In Relationships

Signs of patronizing behaviors

Let’s work on the 5 basic patronizing behaviors/patterns in relationships:

1. Undervalue

Undervaluing or assuming that you’re not worthy of respect is one of the common signs of a patronizing partner. When your partner constantly ignores your opinions or needs to be respected, they might undervalue you.  They’re not going to listen to your opinions even if you try to explain things. This is one of the extreme examples of patronizing behaviors but if you look from a different angle, there can be multiple issues related to such a behavior.

2. Interruption

Whenever I interrupt my partner, I constantly feel guilty about doing so! But a patronizing partner is habitual of interrupting their partner. While having a conversation, they will suddenly interrupt the conversation, reject their opinion, and ends the discussion by putting their opinion as a conclusion is a common example of patronizing behaviors in a relationship.

If you think you might be patronizing behavior, think about when was the last time when your partner actually confronted their feelings or allowed you to express your feelings.

3. False Assumptions

Keeping false assumptions about a partner is a common sign of a patronizing relationship. It’s quite clear to spot this sign as they will never allow you to put your opinion and automatically assume that you don’t know anything about it. In an equal relationship, the partners allow each other to put in their opinions and explore a mutual decision together. But, it’s completely the opposite in a patronizing relationship.

4. Non-Seriousness

We all know that a full-grown human is strong, knowledgeable, experienced, and capable of doing things but a patronizing partner never takes them seriously and always tries to control them. If you constantly ask yourself, why are people patronizing…it might be a better idea to understand the root cause of their behaviors before concluding anything.

5. Constant belittling

It’s always great to share experiences together and learn from each other, but when a partner constantly belittles you, the relationship stops growing, and condescending to the other partner becomes a regular habit.

They might feel like you a stupid, but you’re not, do not let their patronizing behaviors demean your goals. Scroll down to the next section to learn how to deal with patronizing behaviors in a relationship.

Step to Deal With Patronizing Relationship: Building Respect Again

1. Have an open discussion

The first step is to discuss your feelings with them, don’t snap at them, kindly ask them to have small talk. It’s important to have communication in an assertive and respectful way. If your partner welcomes or unwelcomes your gesture, you can move on to the next step.

2. Understand the root cause

The idea behind having quick communication is to express your feelings, let them speak, and understand the root cause. If they are not replying to you, it’s maybe a major red flag. But, if they are ready to talk, try to understand what they express, maybe they are struggling with something else or have some issues with your habits.

3. Re-establish the foundation of respect again

After understanding the root cause of such behavior, try to adopt positive behaviors towards each other. This step involves understanding and re-establish the lost connection between you two. You can refer to this blog to learn how to foster empathy in relationships and how to talk about your values in relationships.

4. Support your partner

It’s a fact that self-respect is an essential part of building a healthy relationship, therefore, learn to respect each other’s boundaries. Changes don’t happen overnight, support each other and learn from your mistakes.

5. Seek support

If you both struggle with some unresolved stuff, have difficulty communicating with each other or want to set healthy boundaries with each other, you can seek the help of a couples therapist. Couple therapy can help validate your feelings and gain respect in the relationship.


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I hope this blog helps you understand patronizing behaviors in relationships based on the examples of patronizing behaviors. Comment down and share your views on the same. For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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