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If you date a lot, survive several relationships, and truly take the time to reflect on your lessons from all of that, you’ll learn a few things to be true about what you need in a partner. One of those is that he believes in you. No matter how confident you are, no matter how much you trust in your capabilities and no matter how much of a boss you may be, if your significant other—the person you hold the closest—doesn’t see all of that about you, it will pick away at you. When you love somebody, you hold their opinion of you in the highest esteem, which means any doubts they have about you will affect you more than the doubts of your family, friends or coworkers. If you respect yourself, you naturally won’t be with anyone who outwardly doubts you. But not all partners are obvious about it. Does your partner subtly belittle you?

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He always distracts you from your problems

When you come home clearly upset about or consumed with an issue at work, you want to talk to your partner about it. You hope that he’ll help you brainstorm solutions or simply help you see the silver lining. But instead, he usually tries to distract you entirely by initiating sex, suggesting you watch a movie, or bringing up some fun activity. It may seem helpful, but he actually completely disregarded what you’re going through.


He implies you talk too much about work

Your partner often says you talk too much about work. But if you think about it, he actually talks about his work far more than you do, and you never tell him that he should cut back on the career chat. Apparently, there is only enough room in your relationship for a conversation about his work.






He criticizes you for menial matters

On a day when you’ve had a huge work victory and are feeling really good about yourself, your partner finds a small issue to criticize you on. Perhaps he brings up the way you dry the dishes incorrectly. If he really supported you, he wouldn’t bring up such insignificant mistakes on a day when you’re celebrating a big win.







Telling you that you can’t trust your feelings

When you feel worked up about something, or passionate about a project you’d like to dive into, your partner says things like, “You get like this every few months and you get over it” or “You should sleep on it—you’re just in a bad mood.” He is essentially implying you’re a little kid whose feelings cannot be trusted.

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Saying someone else “Knows what they’re talking about”

When you’re thinking out loud, trying to figure out how to attack a project or solve a problem, your partner suggests somebody you should ask for advice. But he tacks on a comment like, “That person actually knows what he’s talking about.” As if you don’t know what you are talking about.






Telling people about your mistakes

On double dates or at family dinners, your partner always finds the time to tell a “funny story” about an incidence in which you messed up. He tries to cover up this jab by using a loving, teasing tone, but you’ve told him many times that that incident upset you.







Calling your passion your hobby

Even though you don’t fully support yourself with your passion yet, you still plan on making a career out of it and are working very hard towards that goal. But your partner won’t call it your work. He calls it things like your “hobby” and your “little project.”







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Teasing that having a “real wife” would be nice

If someone mentions that their wife makes dinner for them or does the laundry, your partner jokes that it, “Sure would be nice if I had a real wife too.” This completely undermines everything you do, and rather than seeing the positive in your hard work, only points out the ways it makes you a bad domestic partner.





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Hinting you should change your appearance

Your partner has said things like, “If you want to be taken seriously, you should put your hair back” or “You’ll look more professional if you stop wearing bright colors.” It would be nice if your partner knew your professionalism and wisdom are so apparent that no hairdo or outfit could overshadow them.






Comparing you to somebody else

If your partner mentions how his friend’s girlfriend or wife “Always goes along with him on business trips” or “Makes time for date night twice a week” he is once again belittling what you do. You may not be the picture-perfect housewife but you don’t want to be that. So for your partner to criticize you for not being that is unfair and selfish.




Making you feel bad for your sexual needs

When a man is really uncomfortable with you being career-oriented, or simply having a life outside of him, he can start to be passive aggressive about sex. If you try to initiate it he might say things like, “Is our entire relationship about sex to you?” or “You’re never satisfied.” It’s his small way of making you feel bad for having traits he deems masculine—like a work ethic and a sex drive.




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Seeing your work as just an interruption

If you’re working on a very important project, rather than checking in to see how it’s going or if he can help, your partner just keeps asking when you’ll be done because your work is cutting into date night. In other words, once again, your work is only something that interferes with you being a good partner and nothing else.





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Barely asking about important events

When you come home from an event your partner knows was very important to you, he barely asks questions about it. When you try to talk about it, he gives short replies like, “That’s nice. The dog needs to go out.”







Answering questions for you

If friends or family ask you about your work, your partner answers for you, giving very short replies that barely do the question justice. It’s his way of curtailing the conversation.







“People depend on me”


Softly suggesting you give up

When you complain that you are under a lot of stress or unsure of how to handle a problem, your partner suggests you give up. That could be the most belittling comment of all.

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