What Is a One-Sided Relationship?
Sometimes love can feel like you’ve met your other half — but what if your partner doesn’t seem to think that they’ve met theirs in you? Are you giving more than half? If you are noticing an imbalance in one of your relationships, you are not alone. Many relationships can become unfair when one partner makes an effort while the other sits on the sidelines.
Simply put, a one-sided relationship is a dynamic that occurs when one person puts the majority of their energy, time, and resources into a relationship while their partner consciously or subconsciously takes advantage of the situation and contributes less.
Of course, special circumstances can sometimes create situations where one partner must do more than the other. While it’s okay for this to happen occasionally, usually during a crisis or other emergency, it is not sustainable or healthy for such an imbalance to last long-term. Often, the partner who is giving more will feel a deep sense of loneliness or emotional abandonment. As their physical and mental tasks add up, their own emotional needs continue to go unmet, adding to their stress.
Who Does a One-Sided Relationship Affect?
A one-sided relationship affects both parties, but the person who’s taking on more of the work generally experiences the effects more quickly and acutely, leading them to feel depleted and trapped while their partner seems to be oblivious. Sometimes one-sided relationships are truly a product of selfishness on one party’s part, or they can be the result of the people involved being on different pages about how serious a romance is. However, in some circumstances, it’s worth noting that a history of trauma can also contribute to the formation of a one-sided relationship.
For instance, someone with a lot of unresolved trauma can sometimes feel insecure and codependently give too much of themselves to someone because they’re afraid of losing their partner. On the flip side, trauma can also make it easy to become overwhelmed when confronted with responsibility, and this can make it tempting to depend too much on a significant other for support, not realizing that doing it too much can be overwhelming.
4 Clues That You’re in One-Sided Relationship
Regardless of the cause, being in a one-sided relationship can lead to resentment, and it generally makes it difficult for the people involved to maintain a sense of intimacy or connection. This creates an unsustainable and ultimately unhealthy dynamic for everyone involved. Luckily, keeping an eye out for some key signs of a one-sided relationship can help you fix or leave your situation before the effects get truly toxic.
1. You Have a Hard Time Setting Boundaries
Healthy boundaries are key to maintaining a balanced relationship. A boundary is not a rule or a control tactic; it is a threshold for (often unwanted) behaviors, and for letting people know how you will react if that line is crossed. These boundaries can be for small and big issues alike. For instance, you can let your partner know that if they do not put their dirty clothes in the hamper, you will not be washing them. Or, in a more serious situation, you could let your partner know that if they don’t make you a priority in their life, you may consider leaving the relationship. If you do set boundaries but your partner does not listen to or care about them, this suggests that you’re more invested in them than they are in you. Respect for each other’s boundaries is an important part of any balanced relationship, and it can and should be a deal-breaker.
2. You Do Most of the Planning
Do you feel like you’re responsible for most of the scheduling in your relationship? These plans can be mundane, like scheduling all the medical appointments or managing all the bills, but this doesn’t just apply to bookkeeping. Even pleasant tasks can be exhausting when you are handling them all on your own. Fun dinners or even vacations can become less enjoyable when your partner refuses to help schedule activities as a couple.
3. You Always Take the Blame
Blaming yourself for your partner’s inadequacies is a telltale sign of a one-sided relationship. If you find yourself constantly being the first to apologize, or if you find yourself apologizing for things that you shouldn’t (like vocalizing your needs), take a step back. Allow your partner to take responsibility for their part when things go wrong.
4. You Feel Like Your Partner’s Parent
If you are contributing more than your fair share to your relationship or home life, you may at times find yourself feeling more like your significant other’s parent than their equal partner. This can be a financial, emotional, or work-related imbalance. Your relationship is almost certainly one-sided if you find yourself running the household solo, doing the majority of the chores, and/or singlehandedly replenishing household supplies and food, without your partner assuming any other responsibilities to balance it out. They should be your teammate, not your child.
How To Handle a One-Sided Relationship
The first step in fixing a one-sided relationship is to identify that you are in one. The above signs are a great starting point, though be sure to reflect on your relationship and consider not just those imbalances but any others that may come to mind. Then acknowledge your feelings about this problem: If you are spending more energy, time, or money than your partner with no reciprocation, you have a right to feel frustrated.
Once you have come to terms with all this, it’s time to figure out how you’ll proceed. Think about the reasons why your relationship is the way it is. Did it start out so imbalanced, or did responsibility slowly get scraped onto your plate little by little?
Without making excuses for your partner, think about how they might react when confronted with this revelation. It is up to you to decide if you think that this is fixable or if it is time to walk away. Communication and change can only happen when both parties fully commit to improving themselves and their situation.
Try To Restore Balance
The good news is that there are ways to save your relationship and balance out your dynamic. Mutually agreeing to take stuff off your partner’s plate (or give them stuff from yours) can help you distribute your responsibilities more evenly, and it shows that you are both emotionally invested in not just the relationship but each other’s wellbeing. It’s important that you’re able to talk to each other and share your feelings without judgment for this to work.
If you need help deciphering your own personal situation or navigating the next steps of your relationship, a professional Love Psychic can give you advice and guidance on overcoming the challenges presented by a one-sided relationship.
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