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Signs & How to Fix it — Talkspace

Signs of a One-Sided Relationship

Wanting your relationship to feel balanced is normal, and feeling like things are occasionally lopsided is all too common. Sometimes it can be hard to see your relationship clearly when you’re in the thick of things. That’s why knowing some of the signs that may suggest your relationship is one-sided can be helpful. 

“Healthy relationships aren’t necessarily perfect, but clearly they’re a bit more balanced when both persons feel heard and supported. Oftentimes, in one-sided relationships, there’s a breakdown in communication, while fundamentally, one person makes more of an effort in initiating and maintaining the dialogue. If it feels like a burden to do most of the ‘work’ to stay and be in touch with your partner, it’s ok to share how you feel in order to make known that you need a bit more support than you’re getting.”

Talkspace therapist Elizabeth Keohan, LCSW-C, LICSW, LCSW

1. You don’t feel a strong, deep, meaningful connection

A hallmark of a one-sided relationship is a lack of a deep connection between partners. If you feel more like roommates than soulmates, there’s likely a problem. 

Revitalize your relationship by making an effort to spend time together. Admittedly, this can be difficult with the hustle and bustle of most people’s busy lives these days. However, nurturing a deep and meaningful connection is essential to long-term happiness in any relationship.

2. You feel exhausted by the relationship

One-sided relationships are taxing, both emotionally and physically. If you find yourself feeling relieved when your partner or spouse has to go out of town or work late, you might have a one-sided relationship. Part of the feeling of exhaustion can come from emotional tension and resentment that often builds when a relationship is unfair.

3. You are the only one who ever apologizes

Conflict is a natural, normal part of any relationship. However, in healthy relationships, the person who causes the conflict will own up to their actions and apologize to make things right. If you find that you are always apologizing — regardless of who was at fault — just to restore peace, you may be in a one-sided relationship. You can’t be the one who’s wrong all the time, right? 

4. You’re the only one who sacrifices or gives

Another sign of a one way relationship is feeling like you’re the only one who sacrifices to make your relationship work. Are you the one who moved, quit your job, pays more than half of the common expenses, or makes all the large purchases in the relationship? If the answer is yes, it might be time to reassess. 

5. You make all the plans

Not everyone is a planner or decision maker. However, if it’s always you who has to decide what you’re going to do, where you’re going on vacation, or how you’re going to spend or save your money, you may be quite a bit more invested in your relationship than your partner or spouse is. 

Part of being in a partnership is having a partner — don’t take everything on yourself. It’s not fair, and eventually, you’ll end up resenting all the burden that’s on you.  

6. You make a lot of excuses for your partner’s behavior

Another one of the signs of a one-sided relationship is making excuses (to yourself or others) for your partner’s behavior. Do you repeatedly say that your partner is too tired, works too hard, or has too much on their mind? You should think about making a change in the dynamics of your relationship if so. You don’t have to excuse their behavior, and you certainly don’t need to spend time defending it. 

7. You are the “big decision maker”

Some people are just better at making decisions than others. However, no one wants to have to make all of the big decisions. If your partner’s go-to response is “it doesn’t matter,” it’s OK to sit down and tell them that yes, it DOES matter. Even though getting to a place where you share in the decision-making can take some work, ultimately, it can bring you closer as a couple.

8. Financial contributions are uneven (and usually not in your favor)

When one person puts in significantly more money than the other in a relationship, it can cause things to feel uneven. It’s important to have healthy communication and a mutually agreed-upon financial plan. If the same partner’s responsible for the majority of the financial obligations, it can become problematic. 

If you’re on the paying end, you might begin to feel taken advantage of. The grass isn’t always greener, since even the “non-payer” in this scenario can take a hit to their self-esteem. Sometimes it’s just a reality you must deal with in a relationship — one person might make more money. You might not be able to change that, but you can be sure to discuss finances openly and honestly, so both of you feel confident and secure in your financial roles. 

9. You often feel insecure in the relationship 

Insecurity in relationships can cause one partner to want to do everything in their power to be needed by the other. It can also be a result of an uneven relationship. If you’re not connecting or communicating, it can be easy to feel insecure. When your partner’s constantly insecure, it can breed feelings of resentment and distrust. 

10. Your communication isn’t great

Good communication is essential to any healthy relationship. If you’ve gotten into the habit of barely talking, or worse, not listening to each other, it’s easy to see how your relationship got off track. Make a conscious effort to set aside time to talk about your day. Maybe you need to turn off the TV in the evening or take an after-dinner walk together.  

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