If you find yourself constantly giving and your partner never seems to give back, you might be in a one-sided relationship. It’s not always easy to spot the signs, but if you’re constantly questioning your value in the relationship or feel like you’re the only one putting in the effort, chances are it’s not as balanced as it should be. We’ll discuss some of the common signs below.
Understanding relationships is the key to having successful ones. Read our in-depth guide to learn all about the different types of relationships, attachment styles, and how you can make them work for you.
What is a one-sided relationship?
A one-sided relationship is when one person is more invested in the relationship than the other person. This can be a difficult situation to be in because you may feel like you are doing all of the work and not getting anything back in return.
In a committed relationship, it can be difficult to accept when our partner is no longer reciprocating the love and affection we feel for them. We may try harder to convince them of our love or spend more time with them in the hopes that things will change. However, if the other person is not interested in changing the relationship, it will only result in heartache for the person trying to make it work.
A healthy relationship should be balanced, with both people putting in equal effort. If you find yourself constantly giving and not getting anything back, it may be time to reconsider the relationship. In a balanced relationship, both people feel loved and appreciated. If you are not getting those feelings from your partner, it’s time to have a serious conversation with your partner.
12 Signs you’re in a one-sided relationship
Here are some warning signs that your relationship might be one-sided:
1. You always make an effort, and they never do.
If you’re always the one initiating contact, planning dates, and making an effort to keep things going, there’s a good chance your partner isn’t as invested in the relationship as you are. This can be really frustrating and discouraging, especially if you’re spending a lot of time and energy on something that’s not reciprocated.
If this is the case, it’s important to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling and see if they’re willing to make more of an effort.
2. You always initiate communication, and they only respond sporadically.
If you’re always the one initiating communication and your partner only responds sporadically, it’s a sign that your relationship is one-sided. This can be very frustrating, as you may feel like you’re constantly making all the effort while your partner does nothing.
It can be difficult to maintain a healthy relationship when one person is doing all the work. If this is the case in your relationship, it’s time to have a talk with your partner and figure out why they’re not contributing equally. If they can’t or won’t change their behavior, it may be time to move on.
3. They come to you for emotional support but never give it back.
If you find yourself always being the one who is giving emotional support to your partner, and they never return the favor, then it’s a bad sign. A healthy relationship should be reciprocal, with both partners sharing the responsibility of supporting each other emotionally.
If your partner only ever relies on you for emotional support, and never gives anything back, then this is a clear sign that they are taking advantage of your goodwill and that the relationship is not healthy.
If you are in this type of relationship, it is important to have a conversation with your partner about your expectations and set some boundaries. You deserve to be in a relationship where you feel supported emotionally and not taken advantage of.
4. They always have an excuse for why they can’t reciprocate your love or time.
If your partner always has an excuse for why they can’t reciprocate your love or time, it can be a sign that they are not interested in continuing the relationship. This can be very frustrating, as it may feel like you’re doing all the work while they do nothing.
If your partner never seems to have the time for you, or always has an excuse for why they can’t reciprocate your love, it’s time to have a serious talk with them.
Let them know that you need more from the relationship than what they are currently giving. If they can’t or won’t change their behavior, then it may be time to move on.
5. They’re always canceling plans or being too busy to see you.
If your partner is always canceling plans or being too busy to see you, this is a sign that they’re not interested in investing in the relationship. This can be really damaging to your mental health, as it can make you feel like you’re not worth their time. It’s important to remember that you are worthy of love and attention and that you don’t deserve to be treated this way.
6. They make you feel like you’re always begging for their attention.
If you find yourself always trying to get their attention and constantly feel like you’re not good enough for them, then it’s likely you’re in an imbalanced relationship. A healthy relationship should make you feel loved and wanted, not like you’re always chasing after someone who doesn’t even seem to care. If this is how you feel.
7. You’re never really sure where you stand with them.
If you find yourself always wondering where you stand with your partner, whether they love you or not, then it might be a tell-tale sign that your relationship is one-sided. If your partner can’t seem to make up their mind about how they feel, it can be really frustrating and confusing.
You shouldn’t have to constantly wonder if your partner loves you or not - if they do, they’ll make it clear. If they can’t seem to do that, then it might be time to move on.
8. They constantly change the rules of your relationship.
If you and your partner are constantly fighting about the rules of your relationship, it might be a sign that things are one-sided. If your partner always gets their way, they may not be interested in compromising or having an equal partnership.
This can be a major red flag in any relationship. If you’re feeling like you’re walking on eggshells all the time, it might be time to reconsider your relationship.
In abusive relationships, the abuser will often change the rules to keep their partner off balance and under their thumb. If your partner is always changing the terms of your relationship, it might be time to get out before it gets too dangerous.
9. They don’t seem to want anything serious with you.
If your partner is always pushing for things to stay casual, it might be a sign that they don’t see you as anything serious. If they’re not interested in committing to you or taking the relationship to the next level, there might be a problem.
This can be especially true if your partner is always talking about how they’re “not ready for a relationship.” If your partner is never interested in anything serious, it might be time to move on. If they don’t want to be with you, they’re not worth your time.
Don’t waste another day being someone’s second choice. Find someone who wants to be with you and treat you the way you deserve to be treated.
10. They never want to do anything new or exciting.
If your partner is always vetoing every new idea you have, it might be a sign that they’re not interested in anything new. If they’re not willing to do anything outside of their comfort zone, they may be too afraid to try something new. This can be a major red flag in any relationship.
If your partner never wants to do anything new, it might be time to move on. If they’re not willing to explore new things with you, they’re not worth your time. Find someone who wants to share new experiences with you and grow together. You deserve someone who is excited to be by your side, no matter what life throws your way.
11. They dismiss your feelings and don’t take them seriously.
If your partner is always dismissing your feelings and doesn’t take them seriously, it might be a sign that they don’t care about you. If they’re not interested in hearing what you have to say, they may not be interested in you at all. This can be a major red flag in any relationship.
If your partner dismisses your feelings, it might be time to move on. If they’re not interested in hearing what you have to say, they’re not worth your time. Find someone who wants to listen to you and take your feelings seriously. You deserve someone who will respect you and your feelings.
12. You’ve completely given up on it ever being mutual.
When you’ve stopped fighting and simply accept that the relationship will always be one-sided, this is a clear sign that you’re in a one-sided relationship. If you’re not happy with the way things are, it’s time to move on. Don’t waste your time and energy on something that won’t make you happy in the long run.
If you’re noticing any of these signs in your relationship, it’s time for a change. A one-sided relationship is never going to make you happy in the long run. If your partner can’t or won’t change their ways, find someone new who wants to be with you and is interested in having a mutual, equal relationship. You deserve nothing less.
Secrets to a healthy relationship: Books every couple should read
It's no secret that a healthy relationship is key in a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship. This list of books about healthy relationships will help you learn how to communicate better, resolve conflict, and deepen your connection. From classic self-help books to more modern reads, these titles will give you the tools you need to build a strong and healthy relationship.
- Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
- Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of Every Healthy Relationship
- Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs: A Relationship Workbook for Couples
- Infidelity Recovery Workbook for Couples: Tools and Exercises to Rebuild Your Relationship
- Healthy Me, Healthy Us: Your Relationships Are Only as Strong as You Are