If you have experienced a one-sided relationship, you may have experienced the deep feelings of loneliness that come with it. Despite being physically present, your emotional needs are not being met.
Although you may be fully committed to your partner, it is important to distinguish between being selfless in love and being in a relationship where your partner only takes without giving anything meaningful in return.
In the following sections, we will discuss the characteristics of a one-sided relationship, the signs that you may be in one, the potential causes of such relationships, and other relevant information.
Understanding One-Sided Relationships
According to Mychelle Williams, M.A., LPC, a one-sided relationship is characterized by a lack of balance and equitable reciprocity. When one partner invests significantly more time, energy, effort, emotional or financial support than the other, the relationship becomes imbalanced. This type of relationship can be emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausting and doesn't promote meaningful connection or constructive conflict. A relationship should be a shared responsibility, but in a one-sided relationship, it becomes overwhelming for one partner to manage the relationship alone.
One-Sided Relationship Warning Signs
1. Unreciprocated Support
If you notice that you are always there for your partner, but they are not always there for you, it's a sign of a one-sided relationship. According to Williams, if you find yourself accommodating all their needs without experiencing a flow of compromise, it's a red flag. Also, if your partner is only available when they want something but inaccessible when you need them, it's another warning sign.
2. Unequal Effort
In a one-sided relationship, establishing closeness or connection feels like the responsibility of one partner instead of both parties. Williams says that if you bring up the issue of disproportionate effort, your partner may downplay it or make it seem like your experience is exaggerated or false.
If you constantly try to make the relationship work, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, you may begin to question your worth. You may believe that your needs are not important enough, which can lead to feelings of insecurity. If your partner doesn't put in the same amount of effort, you may wonder why they don't love you enough.
4. Excusing Negative Behavior
If you continually make excuses for your partner's behavior, it could be a sign that you are enabling them. You may be seeing your partner for their potential rather than who they are, and this can prevent you from acknowledging the truth about the relationship.
5. Negative Emotions
According to Joanne B. Kim, LMFT, if you experience more negative than positive emotions when you think about your partner, it's a sign of a one-sided relationship. In such a relationship, blame and self-blame are present instead of healthy anger and guilt, leading to anxiety, guilt, shame, and resentment.
6. Apologizing more than your partner
According to Kim, in some relationships, one partner is overly empathetic while the other is indifferent to the other's emotions and needs. As a result, you may find yourself apologizing more often to end arguments, even if you did nothing wrong. This power imbalance can cause stress and strain in the relationship over time.
7. Walking on eggshells
Certain topics are avoided because you fear upsetting your partner. Even when you do bring up issues, your partner may not reciprocate in a way that makes you feel understood. This leaves you feeling unacknowledged and may lead you to prioritize interactions where you feel loved, even if it means sacrificing your own needs. Conversations are kept superficial to avoid conflict, and you may feel like you can't express your opinions.
8. Uncertainty about your partner's feelings
Lack of transparency in communication can leave you overthinking your partner's behavior and feelings towards you. You may dismiss your own feelings in favor of speculating on your partner's. This guessing game can make it difficult to ground your emotions in reality and understand where your partner truly stands.
9. You're the only one addressing problems
In some relationships, one partner is always bringing up issues while the other avoids them. The pursuer is the one who initiates conversations, while the withdrawer waits for the pursuer to solve problems and becomes defensive when confronted. This imbalance can cause tension and resentment over time.
10. Relying on friends for relationship advice
While seeking a second opinion can be beneficial, constantly turning to friends instead of discussing issues with your partner is not a good sign. Your partner is the one who can solve problems and provide validation. Avoiding direct communication can make it difficult to build trust and intimacy in the relationship.
11. Difficulty setting boundaries
Establishing boundaries is important for a healthy relationship. If your partner becomes angry or defensive when you set boundaries, it's not a sign that you're in the wrong. Boundaries are necessary to reduce conflict and anxiety. It's important to stand firm in your boundaries and communicate them clearly to your partner.
12. Differing priorities
When partners have different priorities, it can lead to feelings of neglect and frustration. For example, one partner may want to take the relationship to the next level, while the other is more interested in going out. This lack of alignment can make it feel like you're both living separate lives without overlap. Prioritizing individual needs over the relationship's well-being can cause resentment.
13. Attempting to change your partner
Hinting or manipulating your partner to change their behavior is not a healthy approach. People can only change if they want to, and forcing them to do so can cause harm. It's important to accept your partner for who they are and work on communication and compromise in the relationship.
14. Hiding aspects of the relationship
Feeling uncomfortable sharing certain aspects of your relationship with loved ones is a red flag. If you're concerned about your partner's treatment of you, it's important to address it with them and seek support from trusted friends and family.
15. Stagnancy in the relationship
One-sided relationships can be stagnant and lack development. Accommodating and avoiding discomfort instead of having difficult conversations can hinder progress and leave you feeling stuck. This can affect your self-esteem and other areas of your life, and it's important to address the issues in the relationship to move forward.
How to Repair Unbalanced Relationships
According to Williams, moving on from a one-sided relationship may be challenging because it's likely that no clear conversation was ever had regarding expectations and boundaries. Nevertheless, the situation can be rectified with dedication, introspection, transparent communication, and possibly professional support.
Below are recommendations from Williams on how to shift the relationship to a healthier state and alter the dynamics so that both individuals feel equally valued and comprehended:
1. Confront Your Avoidance by Asking Yourself Tough Questions
Be honest about what your partner is like. Are they like this with their other partners? Are they only for you and your partner? Does your partner listen well? Can they take what you say?
2. Evaluate Your Personal Boundaries and Deal-Breakers
Think about what you bring to the relationship and what you can do to keep it going while still taking care of your own time, feelings, and resources. To do this, you need to set clear limits on what you can and can't accept, and then stick to them without giving ultimatums, which don't work.
3. Schedule Regular Time to Share and Listen
Set aside time to talk about your new limits and your feelings. It's important to be clear about your goals to make sure they line up with your limits.
4. Communicate Transparently and Consistently
Effective talks need to be open and ongoing, with both partners being completely honest about their needs, the reality of the relationship, and the agreements that have been made. Finding balance requires thinking about what could go wrong and working together to figure out what can be done. Using this information, decide how long you are willing to stay in this job if it doesn't meet your needs.
One-Sided Relationships and Infidelity
Cheating is a common issue in many romantic relationships. However, studies have found that individuals in one-sided relationships are more likely to engage in infidelity than those in more balanced relationships. One study found that individuals who felt more invested in their relationship were less likely to cheat, while those who felt less invested were more likely to cheat. Another study found that individuals who felt their partner was less committed to the relationship were more likely to cheat.
So, if you suspect that you are in a one-sided relationship and your partner might be cheating , you should take action to address the imbalance. iFindCheaters offers an easy way to check if your partner is faithful, giving you the peace of mind you deserve. With our constantly growing list of sites, you'll have all the information you need to make informed decisions about your relationship. Put an end to the second-guessing and self-doubt that has been plaguing your relationship, and instead, take charge right now to learn the truth.
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While it's a good idea to be aware of one-sided relationships, focusing too much on the signs can cause unnecessary worry and paranoia. Looking for an unpopular opinion? Jennifer Pearson, a psychology coach, has something to say about one-sided relationships: "Relationships are complicated, and what seems unfair might just need open communication and understanding. If you think there are imbalances in a relationship, jumping to conclusions about cheating may make things worse instead of better. Rather than suspicion and distrust, it's better to give understanding and a desire to work through problems together."