It’s not every time you get to easily identify a one-sided relationship. Sometimes, it is shrouded in uncertainty and doubt as to whether the love and efforts from the partners are balanced from both sides. A one-sided relationship is one where dedication and commitment seem to come from only the two partners.
Finding yourself in a one-sided relationship is one of the most catastrophic situations you can ever be in. It often doesn’t end well and even after the relationship finally breaks, the partner on the giving side would have been very exhausted from the one-sidedness. Hence, the need to learn to identify the clear signs that you might be in a one-sided relationship and quit as early as possible.
As opposed to a one-sided relationship, a balanced relationship is when the two partners love themselves equally and are both committed to making the relationship work. This is the kind of relationship that lasts and ends well in a union ever after. But while this is true, it can sometimes be difficult to know a one-sided relationship, particularly if you are quite inexperienced in relationships.
Here, you will see the clear signs that you may be in a one-sided relationship and what to do after that.
Why you must identify and avoid one-sided relationships
I have slightly touched on some of the consequences of a one-sided relationship and why you should learn to identify one and avoid it as early as possible. Let’s briefly talk about the consequences of a one-sided relationship again.
1. Emotional exhaustion
A one-sided relationship can make you feel emotionally drained if you are one who is putting more effort into the relationship. A one-sided relationship does not give you the opportunity to vent your emotions like the other person, while you are the one who is constantly putting up with their excesses just to make things work.
2. Lack of happiness and satisfaction
A relationship is meant to meet the emotional needs of both partners involved. A one-sided relationship deprives one partner of happiness and satisfaction in the relationship.
3. Low self-esteem
The more you are made to believe that you alone need to do all the work in the relationship, you may begin to feel like you are not valued or appreciated, and this can affect your self-esteem.
4. Resentment and eventual breakup
A breakup is inevitable in a one-sided relationship. It’s only a matter of “when”. A one-sided relationship may make the person who is investing more into the relationship may begin to feel resentful towards the other person. If unchecked, this naturally leads to a breakup.
16 clear signs you are in a one-sided relationship
When it feels difficult to identify if you are in a one-sided relationship or not, these signs should help you understand better what it is to be in a one-sided relationship and when to know if you are one.
1. Nothing happens if you do nothing
If you have consistently noticed that you are the only one who makes plans in the relationship, it’s a clear sign that your relationship is one-sided. They never ask to see you, they never make plans for date nights, and they do not feel a need for reconciliation when you are in a conflict. If these are true, you are definitely in a one-sided relationship even if you still don’t think so.
2. You are the only one who starts a conversation
Whether online on WhatsApp or offline when you meet each other, being the only one who initiates a conversation simply means they are not fully invested in you and the relationship. What that tells you is that “I am not interested in you; you are the one interested in me”. The sign that you may be in a one-sided relationship gets even clearer if you notice that your partner freely begins conversations with other people but would never do so with you.
3. They don’t make effort to reply to your calls or text
A clear sign that someone loves you is that they make effort to communicate with you, and if you happen to call them first, they are under pressure to answer your call even at the strangest possible hour. But if they accidentally miss the call, or were unavailable to answer it, they would call you as soon as they have the time.
If by any means, they don’t reciprocate this need to communicate with you or even make you feel that you are being a nuisance doing so, that’s a clear sign that you are in a one-sided relationship. What you do next depends on you. Read on!
4. They prefer their friend’s company to yours
It is quite understandable that your partner may also need to be with friends sometimes. They also form part of their social group, but when someone is fully invested in you, you suddenly take priority over other people in their social group. A big problem arises when your supposed partner still compares you with the rest and makes you compete for attention with their friends.
If you observe that they would choose their friends’ company over yours, confront them politely about this attitude and watch out for their response. If they harshly make it clear to you that you take equal priority in their life with their friends, then you are probably not as important as you think you are. You are likely in a one-sided relationship.
5. Little offenses escalate very quickly
When someone loves you dearly and is invested in the relationship with you, they don’t make rash decisions that can negatively affect the relationship. Maybe you did something wrong, or you offended them, but this is often not enough to result in big irreconcilable fights. If you fight more than you are happy together, and you probably have to be the one to call for a truce each time, you are most likely in a one-sided relationship.
6. You don’t feel secure
If you are in a one-sided relationship with your partner, they don’t give you the sense of security you need in the relationship. You are still scared you might lose them, or that something would happen to the relationship. A sense of security is how you feel when you can get over your normal feelings of jealousy in the relationship. Even if you are normally the insecure type, someone who truly loves would make you extremely confident in them and the relationship.
7. You feel alone even when they are with you
Relationships don’t automatically remove boredom and loneliness. The individuals in the relationship are the ones who do so. If your partner makes you feel distant even when you are very close to them, there is a likelihood that you are in a one-sided relationship. The implication of this is that you don’t get their attention unless you make the first move. But if someone is in a balanced relationship with you, they connect with you on a deeper level, they feel when you are lonely, and make effort to make you feel loved.
8. They show happiness with other people
Even if your partner doesn’t want to outrightly let you know that you are the one who gives them the greatest happiness, you can easily sense it in them. From the way they smile around you, their gestures, and even their angry or frowned faces still have this romantic feel to them. That’s the kind of happiness a balanced relationship, or at least, a relationship with someone who loves you brings.
In a one-sided relationship, their source of happiness is somewhere else. This raises the question, “what are they doing with you?”. If you see that they are happier somewhere else, you should evaluate the causes and proffer solutions to them, especially if your partner has not always been so.
9. You are the only one who contributes
Bills do not necessarily have to be shared by both partners. It is often the man’s responsibility to handle most bills, but how you know a balanced partner is that irrespective of the circumstances, they would find some ways to contribute financially and otherwise to the relationship.
10. They don’t talk much about the future
The “future talks” have a way of telling us about our partner’s commitment in every relationship. Talks about the future consolidate the love both partners share with each other, and the fondness grows deeper. If your partner does not talk about the future with you or brushes it aside when you raise issues about your future together, it could simply point to the fact that they don’t see a future with you. Such people are often one-sided in the relationship and would not contribute any special thing to make it work.
11. You always go out of your way for them but they don’t
It takes two to tango. It also takes two hands to thoroughly wash the hands. Every relationship requires the efforts of both parties to make it work but when only one person is doing all the work, that becomes a major problem. If you find that you are the only one willing to please your partner, to listen to his wants, desires, and complaints, but they don’t do the same for you, the relationship is obviously one-sided. In such cases, they remain indifferent about their mistakes, and would never compromise to work things out or pay attention to their own needs. My dear, you are in the relationship alone.
12. They never initiate romantic contacts
One-sidedness could play out as a lack of sexual tension. If your partner never initiates hugs, or intimate body contact, even after these many months of being together, something could be wrong. They might just not be interested in a relationship with you, or not anymore.
13. You are the only one who apologizes
You don’t always have to be wrong to apologize, but an apology is required from you when you are wrong. Anyone who is interested in keeping a relationship would listen to the other person when they complain about their wrongs and tender a genuine apology to them. If you are the only one making the efforts for reconciliation by way of apologies, the relationship is obviously one-sided.
Sometimes, some people are habitually unable to apologize. If you are one, you need to learn how to apologize for both when you are wrong and when you are not. Things become worse when your partner perceives that they are the only one who apologizes in the relationship.
14. You feel like things are getting cold in the relationship
Every relationship experiences ups and downs but partners who are committed to each other work hard to make it work. While this is normal for every relationship, one-sidedness amplifies it to even greater magnitudes. A one-sided relationship exhausts you so much that you don’t have any fire left. The truth is, you alone cannot sustain the relationship. It always takes two to tango.
15. They would “never” identify with you on social media
Social media is neither a real validation for commitment in a relationship, nor is it a guarantee that things will work out in the end. Anything can happen, and anyone can post anyone. Because of these, many people choose not to post pictures of or with their significant other on social media. This is reasonable and understandable, but it is not always a case of “never”.
“Never” means they would not post you even if the whole world would collapse on them if they don’t. They may have someone else they are more committed to, and sharing your picture publicly might jeopardize what they share with that other person. Whether it is against your will or not, anyone would compromise to identify with someone they love on social media.
Root Causes of One-Sided Relationships
A one-sided relationship could be first noticed ab-initio from the start, or it could start getting formed in the course of the relationship. It is important to identify one-sided relationships that start during the early phase of the relationship, as it may point out that they are not interested in you. If one-sidedness starts developing during the relationship, something must have precipitated it.
Here are some root causes of one-sided relationships and how to prevent them.
Past experiences of betrayal of trust or abuse can lead to the one-sidedness of a relationship. Someone whose trust was grossly betrayed in a previous relationship may be forced to invest less into the relationship to avoid a repeat experience. On the other side, being in a previous abusive relationship might condition someone to satisfy their new partner’s needs at the end of theirs.
Poor communication creates a barrier between partners even when they are closest to each other. In communication, distance is not really a barrier, and proximity does not guarantee that there will be good communication. Good communication results when both partners are willing to listen to each other every time and learn to understand each other more deeply. Poor communication can make one partner pull away causing one-sidedness in the relationship.
Also, as you will see, communication is still one great tool to repair a damaged or one-sided relationship. You can now imagine the eventual outcome of a relationship that lacks good communication.
Insecurity in a relationship can also stem from previous experiences, and it can become something one party cannot control easily. Insecurity then makes that party consciously or subconsciously put too much in an attempt to keep the relationship. This can make the other person hold the brakes in their own contributions, and tip the scales to an unbalanced relationship, resulting in a one-sided relationship.
The partners might have different expectations from the relationship. One may see the relationship as a casual one while the other may take it very seriously. This imbalance in expectation automatically makes the relationship very steeply one-sided. It is important you fully understand the full intent of a potential partner before you get committed to a relationship with them.
Fear of conflicts
Conflicts are an integral part of every relationship, but some people fear conflicts so much that they don’t want to ever set eyes on one. These people would avoid conflict at all costs, even if it means having to sacrifice their own needs, or always being on the giving end. This can lead to a one-sided relationship.
Everyone experiences stressors that may keep one from putting their best into the relationship. These might include financial stress, emotional stress, mental health issues, or stress at work. These can veer your attention from your partner particularly if you are focusing so much on the problems.
Sometimes, these stressors may make one partner start exhibiting passive-aggressive behaviors where they intentionally create burdens for their partner or transfer their problems to them in an unhealthy way. It is important to always recognize that your partner is there to support you through hard times, not to become a dumping basket for issues that may overwhelm you.
Can you fix a one-sided relationship?
Yes, a one-sided relationship can be fixed provided it is caught early enough, as far as both partners are on the same page in terms of fixing the one-sidedness. It starts by identifying the signs that the relationship may be one-sided, and if it is, then find out the root causes and address them together.
Shortly in the next section, we will see how to specific measures to fix a one-sided relationship and create or restore balance to the relationship.
How to fix a one-sided relationship
Without wasting much time, let’s see specific measures to fix a one-sided relationship.
1. Prevent one-sidedness before it develops
Prevention is the first level of treatment, and in the case of one-sidedness in a relationship, it is important to lay emphasis on it. By prevention, the following tips will be useful;
- Understand the intent or expectation of your potential partner before you enter a committed relationship with them.
- Allow them to contribute.
- Be free and expressive. Avoid hiding yourself or your capabilities for fear of conflicts.
- Discuss with your partner when they are just beginning to act strangely.
2. Communicate with your partner
Communication, as you saw, had a role to play in preventing one-sidedness but in this case, you need to discuss it with your partner. Open up to them about your concerns and observations, and how you are getting exhausted because they are not contributing to the relationship. You would also find out if there are any precipitating stressors that may be responsible, and work ways to help them go through it.
3. Patiently wait for them to change
After making your partner know your worries and concerns in the relationship, you might need to wait patiently for them to effect full change to a desirable state. It might also take some time before they are able to fully handle the issues bothering their personal life.
In some cases, the behavior of one-sidedness may be part of their inherent attitude. This would take a longer time to change as it may have become a habit. However, you know the minimum changes you can accept and what you can never put up with.
4. Study them and their response carefully
For an early relationship, you need to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. When discussing your concerns regarding their one-sidedness in their relationship with them, carefully observe them and the response they give. It can say a lot about what they want, whether they are willing to make things work, and if they are committed to the make things work. From as early as possible, you need someone who is in the same boat as you.
5. Work together in partnership
It is easy to feel uninterested in putting your best into the relationship anymore. It feels like payback time when you just fold your hands and watch them change. This is, however, not a very healthy approach if the relationship must work out. To prevent it in the first place, you must keep things balanced by allowing your partner to do some of the work.
After one-sidedness has set in, and you have discussed it with your partner, you need to continue to collaborate with them to work things out. With time, balance will be restored and one-sidedness eliminated.
6. See a therapist
Sometimes when it is getting too hard, or when your partner is finding it extremely hard to work on the issues on the ground, you might need to consult a therapist together, who would walk your partner through recovery and restoration of balance in your relationship.
7. Know when to call it quits
The most important denominator in being able to fix a one-sided relationship is the commitment of the partner to resolve all the issues. If your partner is not determined to be with you, there is nothing you can do to change it. But if they have always wanted to be with you, you can be sure that this is just a temporary setback.
If your partner makes it obvious that they are not willing to invest in the relationship, you should be getting ready to leave. Either way, kindly bear with them if they are willing to change, or plan to kindly end up the relationship if the reverse is true.
It is common to find a beautiful relationship to turn into a one-sided one, but when it does, it does not mean the end. It is possible to fix a one-sided relationship, and this begins with first identifying the signs that your relationship might be getting one-sided, and then working ways to restore balance in your relationship with your partner. I have deeply explored these in this post.
A one-sided relationship can be very exhausting, thus, there is a need to diagnose it early, identify the root causes, and adopt strategic measures to fix the issues.
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