Are you putting effort into your relationship without getting anything in return? It's common and perfectly okay for couples to experience ups and downs in their relationship. What's never okay, though, is for one person to be putting in all the effort. These kinds of relationships are frustrating and can easily take a toll on your mental health.
If this sounds familiar, you might be in a one-sided relationship.
A one-sided relationship often lacks the healthy balance required for the relationship to be stable whether that be the amount of effort, energy, communication, emotionally, or financially. One individual is working harder than the other to make things work and keep the relationship afloat, but the meaningful connection begins to dissolve because the imbalance is only sustainable for so long.
To clarify, balance does not mean everything in the relationship needs to be split equally in order to function. It means that whatever balance may look like to the relationship—it was decided by you and your partner. Loneliness, resentment, anger, and other emotions begin to surface in one-sided relationships because it was not a decision you and your partner made together. Relationships are about the give and take—compromise—and require such to function properly.
If you're not sure of the status of your relationship, keep reading. Below are ten warning signs that indicate your partnership is a one-sided one.
1. You Have to Initiate the Communication
Are you always or often the one reaching out? Do you do all the texting, calling, and date planning? If you didn't call or plan dates, would you and your partner go days without talking?
If this is the case, you're probably dealing with a one-sided relationship.
Keep in mind, some people are better at communicating than others. However, you should not be the only one putting forth the effort to stay in touch or attempt to keep the relationship alive. Furthermore, you should not have to work for time and attention from your partner. Instead, both should want to connect with one another physically and emotionally if they are interested.
If you notice the communication is primarily originating from you, this may be a red flag.
2. Your Partner Does Not Return the Favor
Is your partner often asking you to do favors for them, no matter how busy or tired you seem? Do they hesitate or flat out refuse when you ask for help in return?
It's even worse if they get upset when you have to say no to something they want.
In a healthy relationship, each partner should be willing to help the other. There shouldn't be any guilt or shaming if one person has to say no when asked for a favor.
If your partner is always asking for help but never wants to do anything for you, that's a major red flag.
3. They Choose Their Friends Over You
Do you always come second to your partner's friends? Do they go out regularly without ever inviting you along?
Everyone needs time to recharge with their friends. But, if your partner never seems to want you around when they are with others, you should be concerned. This is especially true if you ever get accused of "nagging" when you ask why an invitation is never extended to you.
It is okay to not do everything together and have time independently, though, if your partner is not willing to integrate your lives in some way, you may be experiencing a one-sided relationship.
4. You Feel Like You Are Always Apologizing
There may be times when you are at fault, but if you are the only one apologizing every time, you may need to reflect on the relationship.
If your partner is always twisting your words or making you feel guilty for expressing concerns, you're most likely in a toxic, one-sided relationship. This is a form of emotional abuse known as gaslighting, and it's never okay.
Your partner is, of course, not solely responsible for your happiness. However, they should still take your concerns seriously. Remember, you should never have to apologize or feel bad for seeking support, especially from your significant other.
5. They Ignore Your Concerns
Maybe your partner doesn't openly criticize you or downplay your concerns. However, do they stay silent when you try to talk about issues you're noticing in the relationship?
A relationship requires working as a team to communicate when there are conflicts. If your significant other ignores you when you try to express a concern, they are making it clear that they are not as invested in the relationship as you are.
6. You are Constantly Justifying Their Actions
Do you always have to explain to your family why your partner randomly didn't show up for dinner? Do you have to make up excuses for why they behaved horribly in front of your friends?
If you're always justifying your partner's actions, you might be in a one-sided relationship.
Everyone has bad days, but if your partner has more bad days than good ones, and you catch yourself creating excuses before anything has even gone wrong, you may need to take a closer look at your situation.
7. You're Always Stressed Out
Are you always worrying about your relationship and what your partner is doing? Are you desperately trying to show him or her that you love them while also bending over backward to make sure you're not annoying them?
This constant guessing game is most likely wreaking havoc on your mental health. You probably feel anxious, depressed, and emotionally exhausted most—if not all—of the time. A romantic relationship should make you feel happy. It shouldn't have you constantly feeling like you are on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
If you are with someone who makes you feel insecure and anxious, you either need to address the issues head-on or end the relationship. Your own health and well-being are too important.
8. You Don't Share or Discuss Any Goals
Are you two on the same page when it comes to your future? Do you want to get married, live together, or have kids? Does your partner actually want any of these things?
Sometimes, a one-sided relationship forms when two people start to form different goals.
It's okay to drift apart and start to prioritize different things, but you also shouldn't stay in a relationship in which you no longer have anything in common with the other person.
9. They Hide Their Bad Habits
Has your partner taken up potentially dangerous habits recently, despite knowing that you don't approve? Are they using drugs, smoking, or drinking heavily?
This kind of behavior shows a lack of consideration for you and your feelings. They should be working to foster growth, not making choices that have the potential to put a strain on the relationship.
10. There's No Intimacy
Has your partner lost interest in sex? If you are still having it at all, does it feel mundane and devoid of emotion?
What about other forms of intimacy? It is normal for partners to have sex less frequently after they've been together for a while, but do you connect in other ways? For example, does your partner ever show any physical signs of affection like cuddling or holding hands? Do you share an intellectual connection over certain books or movies?
If you and your partner are no longer intimate and they don't seem interested in trying to rekindle things, your relationship is probably a one-sided one.
How to resolve a one-sided relationship
Set aside time to communicate without distractions. The best way to establish balance is by discussing and collaborating so you can function stronger as a team. Open communication also allows for any barriers or conflicts to be unearthed and addressed.
2. Discuss goals and the future
Take some time to discuss goals for the relationship and your future. It does not mean you have to know all the answers, but it will help you both see if you are on the same page.
3. Take time to reflect and ask yourself some questions
Do you feel heard and safe with your partner? Are you both willing to try? Reflect on your relationship to determine what is healthiest for you both.
Are you in a one-sided relationship and need help with the next step?
If you're interested in working with a counselor to fix your one-sided relationship, consider booking an appointment with us today. We're here to serve everyone with online or in-person counseling sessions.
A licensed mental health professional or online counselor can assist you in developing an appropriate strategy for moving forward if you feel like you are unable to function or perform basic activities of daily living as a result of a traumatic or other stressful experience.