Love can be…well, complicated.
It’s easy to get caught up in a relationship and fail to realize when your needs are being neglected.
Welcome to the one-sided relationship.
In other words, when you’re giving 80% to your partner and you’re only getting 20% in return.
Are you consistently investing more time, energy, and effort into your relationship than your partner?
Are you in it by yourself?
If you can check off two or three of the items listed below, then it’s probably time to reevaluate your relationship.
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13 Signs That Your Relationship is One-Sided
1. You Have to Justify Their Behavior to Family & Friends
Like why they didn’t do anything special for your birthday.
Or why they didn’t show up for family dinner.
Or why they got mad over something so small.
You constantly feel like you’re making excuses for why your significant other treats you and other people the way they do.
You have to reassure your loved ones that it’s a healthy relationship, despite all the glaring signs.
You tell yourself:
The positive outweighs the negative.
They didn’t mean it like that.
They really WANT to change.
They’re just going through a rough patch right now.
Are you trying to convince yourself that this relationship is right for you?
Do you have to tell your friends and family that even though they don’t always see it, your partner really cares about you?
When the relationship is wrong, it’s usually obvious to the people who know you the best.
Listen to them.
“You’ve gotta know when it’s time to turn the page.”
– Tori Amos
2. You Initiate Most of the Communication
When you mention a concern, is their first response is to act annoyed?
Or they “Just don’t feel like talking about that right now” or maybe “Communication is not really my thing”
Your partner should be willing to hear you out so they can help make things work.
I think we’ve all known someone who wasn’t the best communicator.
But as long as they were at least making the effort – we cut them a little slack.
The problem comes when you find yourself to be the only one initiating. You text, call and put forth the most effort in communication.
If you don’t, you feel like you won’t hear from them all day – or worse – several days.
Communication is such an important part of a relationship. And when you’re the only one doing it, it’s a sign that you’re more invested than they are.
3. They Don’t Make an Effort With Your Friends & Family
Even though you’re together, your friends and family don’t really know who your partner is.
You might hear:
Where’s Adam? We haven’t seen him in a while.
How’s Ashley doing? Tell her we’d like to see her sometime!
If you ask your partner to join you, do they always seem to have an excuse?
Or do they go and act annoyed and stand-offish?
Often times, this happens when your partner has struggled with their own family issues.
So they basically create their own “family of choice” – friends and coworkers – and they don’t feel the need to hang out with other people.
And here’s the thing:
Some people are very family-oriented and others aren’t.
You want to be as understanding as you can about their situation. Find out why they are the way they are.
Is your family hard to handle?
Do your friends come across as judgmental?
Seek to be understanding first. And if those issues are there, then handle them on your side.
But if there are no issues that you know of, and they simply, “just don’t feel like it,” then it could be a sign of a larger issue.
Compromise exists and this is a perfect time to employ it.
But if they don’t, they’re probably not as invested in you.
“Letting go means coming to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.”
– Steve Maraboli
4. You Have to Fix Relationship Issues Alone
If there’s ever a right time to ask yourself:
Am I in this by myself?
It’s with this one. A healthy relationship is a two-way street. Give and take. Balance.
Relationships take work. But don’t try to make the wrong relationship right.
It won’t work, and it’ll leave you feeling emotionally and physically drained.
And when that happens, it can cause you to stop talking about your problems altogether.
Because you know you’ll be the only one working to fix them anyway, so what’s the point?
And if you feel this way, then I’m here to tell you, your relationship is one-sided.
So instead of trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole, you need to work on finding a better fit.
5. You Think Twice Before Talking to Them
Maybe they’re busy or they’re focused on something else.
No big deal, you’ll just call them to check in.
And then when you do, you feel like you’re interrupting them.
They make it seem like they’re too busy and they don’t like being disturbed.
So now you’re left feeling guilty.
If this is happening more often than not, then it’s probably creating distance. You feel it.
You don’t want to feel like you’re disturbing anyone, so you start thinking twice before calling.
I want you to pull yourself back. You don’t have to play games, but take notice if you feel like it’s a behavior trend.
“I mean, if the relationship can’t survive the long term, why on earth would it be worth my time and energy for the short term?”
– Nicholas Sparks
6. You’re Excluded From Their Future Plans
When you’re thinking about the future, you think in terms of “we” and “us.”
But when your partner envisions their future, it’s always about “me” and “I.”
It’s true that actions mean more than words, but words are pretty damn powerful too.
Here’s what they’re telling you:
I’m enjoying where we’re at right now, so let’s focus on the present.
Let’s not worry about defining the relationship. It’s too much pressure.
These are the excuses you hear when they don’t want you to know that you’re not on the same page.
Sure, they don’t want to commit…but that doesn’t mean they want you to kick them out of your life immediately.
They think you’ll move on if you realize that you’re on two different pages.
So for as long as they can, they try to keep you in the dark.
And as long as you’re clueless about your future, then they don’t have to admit you don’t have one.
7. You Make Too Many Sacrifices
Every relationship requires some sacrifice.
But if you’re regularly canceling girl’s night, fun events, or things you’ve had planned for weeks – it can backfire.
Making too many sacrifices (when it’s not reciprocated) can leave you feeling inauthentic and unhappy.
And your partner doesn’t benefit either: they can sense your true feelings even when you try to hide them.
These things add up.
A research study found that the more people suppress their own needs for their relationship, the more depressed they tend to be.
But when are sacrifices a good thing?
When you’re significant other provides you with strong emotional support.
Here’s the deal:
Emotional support means encouragement, listening, and showing you they care.
So when you feel supported in your relationship – it changes the nature of sacrifice.
You might not mind canceling girl’s night to be with him, because it’s reciprocated.
But if you’re not feeling supported then I would question whether or not they’re investing in you.
“It was strange, really. A couple months ago, I had thought I couldn’t live without him. Apparently, I could.”
– Gabrielle Zevin
8. It’s Gotta Be Their Way
Their restaurants. Their shows. Their schedule. Their everything.
An emotionally immature person expects you to do everything their way. A controlling person does too.
But here’s the problem:
Unhealthy and controlling patterns aren’t always obvious.
Many of us visualize controlling behavior as someone who is openly berating, physically aggressive, or constantly makes threats or gives ultimatums.
We picture someone who tries to tell their partner what to do and how to act.
That’s only one side of the story. The red flags we ignore are the ones that aren’t so obvious.
Here’s what I mean:
- They try to isolate you from your friends and family
- Chronic criticism – even over the ‘small’ things
- They keep score in the relationship
- They use guilt as a tool
- They make you so tired of arguing that you relent
Do you recognize your partner in any of these?
9. You’re Stuck Playing Second
Do you ever feel like you’re left out and uninvited?
Are plans made and you’re asked as an afterthought?
I had a friend go through this with her ex-boyfriend.
She thought it was weird that her boyfriend never invited her to hang out with his friends (both male and female friends).
So one time, her boyfriend was talking to her about his plans to hang out with his friends.
A group of them were going out to eat, and he asked her which restaurant she thought the whole group would enjoy.
So she gave him some suggestions and waited for him to invite her.
Except he didn’t.
Then she asked him, “What would you think of me coming along?”
His response was, “You know, I didn’t even think about that.”
And this had become a pattern in their relationship.
It started creating a lot of tension. He would say things like, “I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal”
Or come up with some reason why he didn’t think to invite her.
This was a clear sign that he wasn’t ready for a relationship.
She needed her own friends. And she needed to be out of that relationship.
10. They Disregard Your Likes and Dislikes
When your S.O. doesn’t take an initiative to make you happy, it can mean there’s a lack of investment.
You don’t love watching Monday night football.
He doesn’t love your favorite TV show.
But you compromise because what’s important to them, is important to you.
That’s how we show interest in our relationship.
And if you’re looking for signs that they’re not invested, then your relationship might already be on the fritz.
“It’s far better to be alone, than to be in bad company.”
– George Washington
11. You’re Stuck Apologizing
…and you’re not really sure what you did wrong.
Have you ever just apologized in an argument to stop it from getting worse?
This strategy might be helpful from time to time, but don’t feel forced to say sorry for things you shouldn’t be sorry for.
If you do, it could mean you’re feeling defeated – which is very common in one-sided relationships.
You give in easily just so you can “keep the peace.”
In this situation, the worst case scenario is having a partner that’s mastered the art of guilt tripping.
They make you feel bad for things you shouldn’t. Like mentioning something that’s been on your mind or getting emotional.
For example, maybe you mention to him that you feel like he doesn’t put forth an effort.
Instead of reassuring you, he just argues that you’re ‘nagging’ or ‘trying to start a fight’
That doesn’t address the issues. It just makes you feel bad for bringing them up.
12. You Constantly Fear a Break-Up
Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells because you never know how they’ll respond?
You don’t want to say the wrong thing.
Or you worry that you’re not enough for them.
Every disagreement leaves you wondering, “Is this it?”
It should be – because they’re not right for you.
“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.”
– Tony Robbins
13. You Try to Change Them
We’ve all heard it before:
You can’t change anyone else. And you shouldn’t want to.
Sure, you can suggest ways to improve. But if you’re really unhappy with certain habits and behavior, then it’ll leave both of you feeling frustrated and unhappy.
It’s only a matter of time before you start resenting each other and creating a toxic relationship.
One-sided relationships can go on for a while (longer than they should) but they’re not sustainable forever.
They’re the kind of relationships where you look back and ask:
WTF was I thinking?
Things to do When Your Relationship is One-Sided
Acknowledge and understand your true feelings
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable talking to your partner because you know how they’ll respond.
So the most important thing is to understand how you truly feel and acknowledge when it’s time to leave.
Have a Heart to Heart
Express how you feel and know that if they care then they’ll listen.
Focus on solving one problem at a time
Don’t make the relationship mistake of bringing up several issues at once.
Not only is that discouraging, but it can cause your partner to shut down.
Working through problems takes time, so focus on issues one by one.
Put yourself first
Know when you’re dealing with issues that you can work through together.
But also know when you deserve someone better.
Thanks for reading.
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