Healthy relationships require two people’s love, honesty, care, time, and communication. But when you are in a one-sided relationship, it feels like you are in an unbalanced relationship where your partner makes you feel like you don’t deserve their love and adoration.

In a romantic relationship, partners have to be equally invested in it to flourish, but in a one-sided alliance, your emotional investment is far greater than theirs. In addition to that, there will be an unequal distribution of household chores, finances, and, of course , effort to keep the relationship going.

Sustaining a one-sided relationship can make you miserable and drain you both physically and mentally. Whether it is communication, compatibility, or fundamental issues like commitment, being alone in a relationship is not what anyone wants.

Let’s define one-sided relationships, discuss their causes and signs.

What Is A One-Sided Relationship?

You fell in love, formed a deep connection with someone, and became emotionally invested in the relationship. Your partner also gave the same love in the beginning. You both put effort and work in the relationship to make it fulfilling.

However, as time passed by, their efforts lessened. This is not a healthy relationship because relationships thrive on balance. When you are putting it all in for the love of your life, you get the bare minimum in return.

So what happens? A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that individuals who perceive their romantic relationships as one-sided are more likely to experience negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.  What causes a good relationship at the start to turn to a one-sided relationship?

What Causes One-Sided Relationships? 

The Queen of fantasy writing, J.K. Rowling quoted in Harry Potter and the Other of the Phoenix, “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” Similarly, when your partner doesn’t convey dislike yet shows indifference and neglect toward your love and affection, it can break your heart indefinitely. 

Two people enter a relationship with their own ambitions, goals, expectations, boundaries and their own unique way of showing love. Most of the time, all these things don’t align with your partner’s ways, perspectives, and thoughts. Some couples who are compassionate manage to sail the tide by communicating and understanding each other.

However, when there is a lack of empathy and unwillingness to understand your partner’s standpoint, chaos ensues. This is one-sided relationship psychology. It just means your partner doesn’t see the relationship like you do, or aren’t sure about how to go with it.

Some other common factors that can cause an imbalance in adult romantic relationships include:

  • Past traumatic experiences
  • Family history 
  • Mental health issues
  • Insecurity 
  • Trust issues
  • Poor communication skills
  • Passive aggressive behavior 

All the above-listed things can lead to one partner taking the other for granted, not necessarily taking advantage. They will expect them to carry the entire burden of the relationship because of their inability to keep their expectations in check. This is how it becomes a one-sided relationship. You will feel unloved and unappreciated. Your partner’s behavior will leave you questioning if they even love you in the first place.

11 Signs You Are In A One-Sided Relationship 

Relationships are supposed to be mutual, with both partners contributing to it. Of course, one partner will always be ‘more’ in something and the other in something else. No relationship is perfect. But that doesn’t mean it should also be toxic. Listed below are some key signs you are in a one-sided relationship which you should never ignore:

1. You are the one making all the plans 

If you are the one who is always initiating plans and they just meet you and show their face during their free time, this is one of the major red flags they have lost interest in you. But this isn’t how it used to be in the early stages of dating. They were once very much emotionally invested in the relationship and made all the plans in the beginning.

However, now they barely lift a finger to plan dates and vacations. Every conversation, every interaction has to be initiated by YOU. Identify this sign early on in the relationship and find out how you can help them develop balance again. 

2. You are the only one to compromise 

You want to stay in and watch a movie but your partner wants to go out dancing. You compromise and give in to their demands. This is okay once in a while because without healthy compromises you won’t be able to have a happy relationship.

On the other hand, constantly compromising in a long-term relationship where you have to let go of your wishes and needs to fulfill theirs is sacrifice. This is a bad sign of an imbalanced relationship and it can negatively impact your mental health. 

3. Your partner never apologizes 

If you are the only one who is always apologizing for your mistakes, then it can create a power imbalance. But your partner never takes effort to accept accountability of their wrongdoings. This signals two things:

  • They have a fragile ego that gets threatened at the thought of being wrong and having to apologize for it 
  • They don’t care about your feelings and won’t make you feel better for hurting you 

Both of these things indicate you care more about the relationship than your partner. It’s one of the obvious one-sided relationship signs. It shows they are weak and they aren’t doing anything to make the relationship work. 

4. There is a wide communication gap 

Why am I always in one-sided relationships? If you are asking this question, then one area to be explored is communication. When you communicate better, you foster an atmosphere of trust and reliability. You solve problems better when you have good conversations with one another. Perhaps your partner is dissatisfied with the way you communicate with them. A communication gap can be a huge hindrance to a fulfilling relationship.

This could have been their breaking point and they stopped giving their 100% to the relationship. In fact, a study backs this theory. It has been found that couples who reported higher levels of communication satisfaction were more likely to report higher relationship satisfaction and commitment. 

5. You feel neglected 

In a balanced relationship, you both make each other feel loved and valued. But in your case, they never make you feel special, treasured, and loved. If you don’t even remember the last time they tried to make you happy, it’s one of the obvious signs of a one sided relationship. Neglect in a relationship can manifest as loneliness, frustration, despair and depression.

If you don’t feel heard or seen by your partner, it indicates you both are not on the same page. You doubt their intentions and wonder if you are in a secure relationship while your partner fails to develop emotional intimacy at all.

6. You have taken the financial burden of the relationship 

From paying bills to buying groceries, if all the financial obligations are all borne by you, it’s one of the bad signs you are in a one-sided relationship. You aren’t feeling loved because they act entitled to your earnings and don’t even appreciate or act grateful when you spend money on them. 

Not everyone understands this but in today’s world, partners are supposed to contribute equally. One party can’t put the entire financial burden on the other just because they are from a specific gender or because they earn slightly more. 

When asked on Reddit about such one-sidedness in relationships, a user replied, “The problem here isn’t about who pays what, the problem is that he is telling you he doesn’t feel as loved and appreciated as he needs to in the relationship and you are proving his point right by thinking you are entitled to the money he earns and you think you don’t have an attitude problem.” 

You May Also Like: Cutting Toxic People Out Of Your Life — 7 Signs And 4 Ways To Do It

7. You don’t feel like you have a meaningful connection 

Does your relationship feel very superficial? Do you look at other couples and wonder what’s missing? It’s that sense of integrity, mindfulness and emotional intimacy that make for a lasting foundation.  Your partner doesn’t share a deep bond if:

  • They don’t show their weaknesses, insecurities, and vulnerabilities 
  • It’s all about sex 
  • They say a lot of lies and half-truths 
  • They are not interesting in spending quality time with you

8. They make you feel insecure 

Feeling secure matters in adult romantic relationships. You need to feel like your partner won’t take advantage of you. They love you enough to make you feel safe in their presence. On the contrary, if they constantly make you feel insecure about your height, weight, facial features, or income, it’s one of the signs of a one-sided relationship.

The more they pinpoint your weaknesses, the more they are amplifying them. When you love someone, you adjust to their imperfections and soon fall in love with their flaws. A partner who constantly makes you feel insecure could drive you up the wall. Your mental health may deteriorate if you don’t take any action right away. 

9. Their love is conditional 

You please them, they will show love. It’s as if a dog is getting a treat from the pet owner when they fetch something. That’s exactly how degrading it is to be with someone whose love is conditional. To paint you a broader picture, conditional love is when your partner loves you for how you look on a certain evening or what you did to make them happy, such as cooking for them or buying an expensive gift.

In a balanced relationship, there are no strings attached and your partner will always make you feel worthy of their love. True love holds no conditions.

10. They show little interest in your life 

From trivial things like what you had for lunch to big things like how you tackle your workload, you do not share anything with your partner. Possibly, they don’t as well. Your goals and dreams don’t matter to them. They won’t bother asking if you had a good or bad day. It does not matter.

Some glaring signs your partner has zero interest in your life include:

  • They have stopped being curious about your likes and dislikes
  • They don’t question the little changes
  • They aren’t interested in texting you back
  • They aren’t interested in meeting your friends and family

11. They guilt-trip you for not doing enough 

After doing everything you can to make them happy, they will blame you for not doing enough. They will make sure they keep you on your toes all the time. Guilt-tripping one person in a relationship is the ultimate relationship killer.

What’s more is that this can seriously damage your mental well-being. A study has found that inappropriate and excessive guilt tripping was associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

In a one-sided relationship

What To Do If You Are In A One-Sided Relationship — Fix It Or Walk Away? 

If one person is feeling like they are stuck in a one-sided relationship, they have two options: a) fix it or b) throw it all away and get out of it. Is it as simple as it sounds? Definitely not. 

Fixing A One-Sided Relationship

Loving someone who doesn’t love you in return is like trying to fly with a broken wing. You have invested so much into this relationship that it feels delinquent to walk away without trying even once.Moreover, there is always hope that your partner responds to your concerns in a positive way. Here is how you can try to fix the relationship:

1. Communicate

When one person is withdrawing from the conversation, it falls on the other person to loop them in again. Talk to your partner and find out what’s bothering them. Let them know that all relationships have problems but that doesn’t mean you will treat those issues like your child.

Treat them like guests. They arrived. Now you have to take care of this issue and then, they can finally leave your house. Try to make your feelings sound familiar to them by using “I” statements and avoid using hyperbolic words like “always” and “never”. 

2. Talk about expectations

Why am I always in one-sided relationships? Probably because your expectations are way too high to be met by anyone. Or it could also be the other way around. Perhaps your partner has sky-high expectations and you aren’t able to fulfill them. An honest conversation on where your relationship conflicts arise from would be a good move. Here are some tips on how you and your partner can manage expectations in a relationship:

  • Be realistic about wants and needs
  • Don’t compare your relationship with other relationships
  • Try to understand each other’s limitations and capabilities 
  • Show each other respect and practice compassion 

3. Establish boundaries with them 

One person can’t cross your boundaries even if you love them and have given them the authority to hurt you. They simply can’t cross the boundaries you have created. If you haven’t established clear mental, physical, intellectual, financial, and spiritual boundaries with your partner, it’s high time you do so. Make it known that these boundaries are non-negotiable and have to be respected. 

4. Remind them it hurts and practice self-care

How much hurt and neglect can one person take? Not a lot. If you are always gloomy and your partner’s actions have caused a lot of anxiousness, it’s time you tell them it hurts. Tell how you feel when they don’t prioritize you. Don’t show them what you’ve done for them.

And the one thing you should start right now is to practice self-love and self-care. Stay in touch with your friends and family. Spend time with yourself. It is not hard to make yourself happy!

5. Offer help

If nothing helps, say you are here to help and you aren’t going anywhere. Try to find balance by becoming their rock and show them you can find the light at the end of the tunnel as a couple. If their lack of confidence and self-esteem is the problem, then perhaps a professional can help. You can’t be with a partner who makes you feel bad about yourself all the time. They need to get help. 

When Is It Time To End A One-Sided Relationship? 

You have given your all but one person can only do so much to sustain the relationship. Dealing with a one-sided relationship on everyday basis when you have invested all of you in it isn’t easy. But why should a relationship be difficult? Here are some signs it’s time to end a one-sided relationship:

  1. Stonewalling: Stonewalling is a silent yet powerful tool used to control the other person by withholding communication. It’s time to deal with a one-sided relationship by ending it once and for all when one person stonewalls you to the point where you feel like you don’t exist
  1. Gaslighting: Gaslighting is an abusive tool used to cause severe emotional damage to a romantic partner. If one person starts making excuses for their shortcomings in the relationship and makes you question your reality, it’s time to end a one-sided relationship. Always stay in touch with your friends and family to make sure you don’t fall for their manipulation tricks
  1. Infidelity: When one partner refuses to put effort into the relationship, there are chances of them putting in these efforts somewhere else. Any type of infidelity is bad including physical, financial, and emotional. If you find out they have betrayed you, it’s time to let them go. You have had enough and they can’t take your feelings and love for granted
  1. Refusal to seek help: Willingness to seek professional help and get better for the sake of you and the relationship shows that they still care about you and want to save this union. However, if they are blatantly refusing to get better, it means you are dealing with a stubborn soul. They think they are perfect and will never be ready to sort out relationship issues
  1. They don’t mend their ways: Even after showing them all the one-sided relationship signs they’ve displayed over time, they need to mend their ways. But if your partner continues to make you feel loved despite pointing it out several times, it’s time you stop wasting your energy. You might as well move on and find someone else who takes effort and shows all the good signs of a partner

Relationships are all about ups and downs. You feel loved one day and the other you feel like your partner doesn’t even know you. Your partner’s behavior should only bother you when their one-sidedness is recurring on a daily basis and makes you question your self-worth. You are in a situation where you know you are putting in more effort and yet not happy and satisfied. What’s the point?

If you’ve given your all and even that isn’t enough for your partner, it’s time you end a one-sided relationship and make self-love your first priority.