Are you the only one always investing time, effort and energy into keeping your relationship afloat? A relationship coach tells you about the potential red flags of a one-sided relationship.
All relationships are a fine balance of give and take. Although healthy relationships can look different for different people based on their individual needs, every such relationship is built on mutual trust, communication and intimacy. A one-sided relationship on the other hand has a skewed balance. It is where one-half of the couple invests more time and effort and does most of the heavy lifting to make the relationship work. In such a relationship, one partner would make the most number of compromises, and have to sacrifice their own needs for keeping the relationship afloat.
“Relationships are not easy,” says Shahzeen Shivdasani, relationship expert and the author of Love, Lust and Lemons. “When you are seeing someone casually, it’s possible they will take time to open up to you. Sometimes people who have been hurt in past relationships want to guard themselves from fully investing in a new relationship. In a long-term relationship, this might show up as reluctance to take part in healthy communication about your expectations from the relationship.”
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Being in a one-sided relationship can make you feel unappreciated. It can cause stress and anxiety, when you are trying to please your partner at all times and sacrificing your own happiness for their sake. But it can also be hard to spot the signs of a one-sided relationship when you care about your partner.
Should you attempt to fix things? “I think everything deserves effort and communication,” advises Shahzeen. “Communicate with your partner, as it’s important to understand where both of you are coming from rather than jumping to your own conclusions.” But ultimately, a relationship is something that should make you feel happy and emotionally fulfilled. If you recognise any of the red flags mentioned below, and your partner is unwilling to make an effort or actively work on changing their behaviour, it might be time to think about walking out.
1. You have different expectations from your relationship.
Every relationship has its expectations, and it is possible that one person is simply not “all in”. You might be prioritising your relationship and spending time, energy and finances on it, yet your partner could be averse to the idea of commitment to the future of your relationship. “It could look like this: you are talking about the future, and the dreams you have for your relationship, and are excited and open about it, but they are quiet or unenthusiastic,” says Shahzeen.
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2. You take all the initiatives and do all the work.
If you find yourself taking the initiative to plan every date, do every chore, and pay every bill, with no reciprocation, it can be a possible red flag. While some people might find it harder than others to initiate affection and intimacy, if you feel like you are constantly begging for attention and time from your partner, you might want to take a deeper look into your relationship.
3. You apologise when you are not at fault.
Conflict is common in every relationship, but how you navigate the conflict can determine the longevity of your relationship. If you end up apologising for things that are not your fault in order to avoid conflict, or end up saying sorry after every single fight whereas your partner refuses to take any responsibility, it is likely that your relationship is not two-sided.
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4. They do not let you in their personal life.
“Some people might have a hard time opening up, and that’s okay,” says Shahzeen. “But if they are not letting you into their personal life, even after things get serious, it could point to their level of commitment. Have they introduced you to your family and friends? Are they taking you to job parties? How much of their life are they sharing with you? These are some indicators that they might not be as invested as you are.”
5. You feel insecure in your relationship.
When your partner is unable to show or express their commitment, or seem disinterested, it can make you constantly second-guess your relationship and yourself. If you are consumed with thoughts about how to make yourself more likeable to your partner because you are unsure about their feelings, and trying to meet unrealistic expectations in order to make them stay, it can become emotionally exhausting.
6. You are the only one making compromises.
Compromising is an important aspect for the sustainability of a relationship. “Compromises means meeting your partner halfway,” says Shahzeen. “Sometimes you have to prioritise your partner’s needs, and sacrifice your own. But if they are not reciprocating in a similar way, and you are the only one who ends up unhappy every time, it can become an unhealthy pattern.”
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7. You have to constantly make excuses for their behaviour.
Did your partner forget your birthday, and you let it slide with no apology? Are they only spending time with their friends, and giving no attention to your needs, even when you communicate about it? Do you try to justify their indifference and behaviour to your friends and family? All of these can indicate that you are part of a one-sided relationship.
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