A one-sided relationship can be defined as a relationship that lacks balance and equitable reciprocity. A relationship that lacks balance or equitable reciprocity may look like one person investing more time, energy, effort, emotional or financial support than the other.

If this sounds exhausting, it’s because it is—physically, mentally, and spiritually. A relationship should feel like a safe harbor to play, relax, and weather the storm together. A one-sided relationship doesn’t enrich your life significantly because the construct doesn’t consistently promote meaningful connection and constructive conflict.

It becomes overwhelming and tiring for the self-sacrificing partner to manage the relationship on their own when it should be a responsibility shared by both parties to nurture and move the relationship along.

If you’ve ever been a part of a one-sided relationship, it’s likely you’re keenly aware of the intense loneliness that can exist. They could physically be in the room sitting right next to you, but you can still feel alone because you’re not being emotionally seen and taken care of. Even though you’re committed to your significant other, there’s a fundamental difference between being selfless in love and loving someone who takes it all in without giving you anything meaningful in return.


  1. They aren’t there for you like you are there for them.

You notice that you do things for them, but you can’t say they always do the same thing for you. If you find yourself having to accommodate all of their needs instead of experiencing a flow of compromise, it’s a red flag sign of a one-sided relationship. Take note if they’re only in contact when they want something, but they aren’t accessible to you in times of similar need.

  1. You’re the only one who puts work into the relationship.

Establishing closeness or connection feels exclusively like your responsibility instead of a shared one. If you do try to bring up the disproportionate effort contributed to the relationship, they may minimize or downplay it as if your experience is exaggerated or false.

  1. You’re insecure and feel like you aren’t enough.

You keep trying your hardest, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Over time, you begin to question your worth and believe that your needs aren’t important enough to bring up. After all, if you were good enough, wouldn’t they want to make you happy? Your mind can spin in circles wondering why they aren’t putting in the same amount of effort.

  1. You make excuses for their behavior.

They’re always having a bad day or going through a rough patch. It seems like an act of benevolence and love to continually justify your significant other’s actions, but it could also mean that you’re avoiding the truth and enabling them. You’re seeing your partner for their “potential” rather than seeing them as they are.

  1. There are more negative than positive emotions when you think about them.

The relationship is plagued with the presence of blame and self-blame rather than healthy anger and guilt—which is meant to hold the appropriate parties accountable. There’s a heightened, ongoing experience of anxiety, guilt, shame, and resentment.

  1. You’re always the one apologizing.

One person is overly empathetic in considering their emotions and needs whereas the other person is overly apathetic and indifferent to others’ experiences. To reduce stress in the relationship, you may find yourself apologizing more just to end the arguments—even if you did nothing wrong. Over time, you can tell there’s a clear power inequity with how you hold space for each other.
Are you experiencing a one sided relationship? Share your experience with us. This lesson continue tomorrow.

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