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How to Recognize (and Deal With) A One Sided Relationship

In a balanced relationship, both partners recognize the importance of compromise and understand it’s all about give and take. Unfortunately, there are times when one person invests less time, effort, and emotions into a relationship than their partner – also known as a one sided relationship.  Essentially, one person is totally invested and doing all the work, while the other person is sort of just…hanging around.

These are some signs you might be in a one sided relationship:

  • Your partner’s calendar takes priority over you
  • You’re constantly making excuses for your partner, since they always fall short
  • You’re feeling insecure about how committed your partner actually is
  • You’re in charge of all the relationship responsibilities – big and small – and your partner doesn’t seem interested in helping

While we are mostly talking about romantic relationships here, it’s totally possible for a platonic relationship to also be one sided. Whether the relationship is romantic or platonic, the signs of a one sided relationship will be pretty similar, and one person will feel unappreciated and undervalued.

So, what can you do about it? Here are 5 tips for dealing with a one sided relationship:

1. Ask the Important Questions

And by important, we mean tough! One sided relationships feel, well…bad. Never knowing where you stand or how committed your partner is can create a lot of anxiety and self-doubt. If you’re still unsure if your relationship is truly one sided, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I fulfilled in this relationship?
  • Do I feel comfortable around my partner?
  • Do my partner and I make equal amounts of sacrifice to make the relationship work?
  • Do I feel supported by my partner?

Be sure to answer them honestly! You might not like the results, but they’re essential for determining whether you want to improve the balance or call it quits.

2. Have a Conversation

If you realize you’re in a one sided relationship, it’s time to address it with your partner. It’s possible that they simply aren’t very self-aware and didn’t realize how their behaviors affected the relationship. Other times, the detached person might act that way for a reason, whether it’s a past relationship or their personal attachment style. The worst-case scenario is that you are on completely different pages about what level to take the relationship.

No matter the reason, it’s important to let them know how the relationship makes you feel and discuss how to move forward. Maybe you can work on balance, or maybe it’s time to say goodbye – having a conversation can help you decide.

3. Create Boundaries

A lot of the time, one-sided relationships occur with a partner who is unable to establish and uphold healthy boundaries. Creating boundaries about communication and expectations can help you lay out ground rules for your relationship that help you feel respected and supported by your partner.

For example, people-pleasers tend to ignore their own needs to focus on the needs of others. This has the potential to set a precedent early on that their needs don’t matter as much, leading to a lack of balance in the relationship. It’s important to stand up for yourself and learn when to say no – it establishes healthy boundaries and ensures your needs are met.

4. Work On Growth

Even when you’re in a relationship, it’s necessary to focus on self-growth and self-care. (Which is where healthy boundaries come into play!)  Doing so helps you focus inward and discover what makes you happy and what your relationship deal-breakers are. Whether your idea of self-care is exercise, journaling, therapy, or meditation, make sure you’re taking the time to do it often! It will help you better communicate what you need from the relationship and determine whether you’re with the right partner.

5. Walk Away From the Relationship

If you’ve addressed any issues with your partner and they are refusing to compromise or change their ways, it might be time to break things off. As hard as that may be, you need to prioritize your happiness! Staying in a toxic relationship can wear down your emotional and physical well-being. One sided relationships where you’re left feeling unfulfilled aren’t worth the emotional turmoil, right?

Learning how to recognize a one sided relationship and whether it’s time to move on is easier said than done, but it’s so important. If you are able to restore balance with your partner, great! On the other hand, if things just don’t feel right, or if you are feeling stressed, anxious, or guilty most of the time because of your relationship, then it’s probably time to walk away. At the end of the day, you know what’s best for you and your happiness, and that’s what matters most.

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