11 signs you’re in a one sided relationship (and don’t even realize it)

It’s not easy to tell if you’re in a one-sided relationship— especially if you’re not sure what real intimacy looks like.

What if they’re just naturally cold and distant? 

Or what if you’re just expecting a lot from them, and it’s YOU who has a problem?

And hey, there’s no such thing as a 50-50 relationship, right?

It’s time to take a hard look at your relationship to see things more clearly. That way you can still save your relationship (or at the very least, least yourself).

To help you along, here are 14 clear signs you’re in a one-sided relationship.

1) They say “I love you” but that’s all!

They say “I love you” often…but that’s pretty much all they give you. 

And they don’t even say it in a sincere way—sometimes, they just mumble!

It’s hard to see that there’s a problem in your relationship when you’re still being fed with bread crumbs.

Here’s an exercise: Try to imagine removing the crumbs—imagine that they stop saying “I love you”—do you still feel loved?

If not, then you might be in a one-sided relationship.

2) You make all the plans

Dates? Vacations? What you’ll have for dinner? The movie you’ll watch?

You plan it all!

You’re the one who’s putting in 90% of the work. It’s not because you’re the controlling type, it’s because if you don’t do it, nothing will happen.

And you know it’s not because they’re lazy either. They’re always excited to make plans for themself and for their friends!

3) You initiate all the important convos

You’re the one who always says “We need to talk” and “Is there something you want to tell me?”

Because if you don’t initiate, they won’t bother at all. They’d just act like everything is fine even if there’s something obviously not right.

Do they just hate confrontation? Maybe.

But here’s the thing: Someone who’s in love with you could not bear not talking to you about important things. 

This is an more obvious red flag if they can’t talk to you about the good stuff either—like if you both want to move in, if you should adopt a pet, etc.

4) You’ve become clingy

You’ve slowly become the needy partner, and you’re not like this before you met them! 

And them? They remain cool AF. In fact they’re too cool they might as well be single. 

Well, you’re probably “clingy” because they’re very distant. Of course if you want a healthy relationship, you’d want intimacy.

That’s why if they don’t message you for two days straight, you’d ask them if there’s something wrong. It’s normal!

Or when they leave the table right after dinner, you ask them to stay a bit longer to talk. Again, normal!

There’s nothing wrong with you. 

You’re not clingy. You’re just in a one-sided relationship.

5) You get jealous of the other people in their life

They’re affectionate towards others. And this makes you jealous because they’re not like this to you.

They look their friends in the eye when they talk, but their eyes wander when they’re talking with you.

They give their colleagues presents, but they can’t even give you one on your birthday!

You’re not crazy. 

Your jealousy is justified because if they can do it to others, why can’t they do it to you—the one who’s supposed to be the most important person in their life?

6) You feel like you’re giving them unconditional love

For some reason, you feel like you’re some generous Mother Teresa in your relationship.

Are you doing most of the hard work?

Do you think you’re making a lot of sacrifices? 

Has your views on love changed from being “give and take” to just “give and give”?

Well, that’s probably because you’re in a one-sided relationship and you’re just trying hard to make it work.

7) You justify their behavior

They’re not communicative? You blame it on their “traumatic” childhood.

They find it hard to commit? You blame it on their ex who cheated on them.

And when they become unloving to you? You blame the fact that they didn’t receive the right kind of love from their parents and guardians.

You’ve become a master at finding a “valid reason” for their bad behavior. 

You know what this is? It’s not “true love”, it’s called DENIAL.

8) You constantly worry that you’re a burden

You’d rather ask help from your friends and family than from your partner. 

For some reason, you just feel uncomfortable doing it—it just feels like you’re bothering them too much if you ask a simple favor.

Well, you probably feel this way because they’ve been giving you these “Don’t bother me” vibes!

If you really want to find out if you’re important to them, here’s what you have to do. Ask them a big favor… and see how they’ll react. 

If they’ll sigh and grumble, then that’s your answer.

9) They’re too rigid with their boundaries 

They take “No means no” very seriously. 

So if you beg them to watch a concert with you and they don’t want to go, they’ll tell you off. They’ll lecture you that you have to learn how to respect boundaries.

They won’t even be apologetic about it. They won’t even pretend they’ll think about it.

And you know what’s funny? 

They’re one-sided with this, too. 

They don’t care about your boundaries. They always pressure you and guilt-trip you into things so you’ll do exactly what they like. 

10) You start to question your worth

If they often reject you, ignore you, and don’t give you the attention that you deserve…of course your self-esteem will be greatly affected.

Little by little, day by day, you’ll start to believe that you don’t deserve love. And you’ll start to believe there’s something wrong with you, too.

You’ll think “Well, I’m kinda boring so I understand if they won’t like to hang out with me.”

Or “Well, it’s not really their fault if they’d get annoyed at me. I’m an annoying person!”

Because you want your relationship so bad, you’re willing to admit that YOU are the problem. That way, there’s still hope. After all, you can still change yourself for them.

11) You’re always the “bigger person”

You’re the mature one, the patient one, the understanding one. All the damn time.

Meanwhile, they’re the complete opposite.

When they lash out at you for asking too many questions, you inhale and count to ten…then you do your best to be as kind and empathetic as possible.

Let me tell you this: You’re not being the “bigger person” if this happens all the time, you’re being a doormat

You think you’re being mature and loving for putting up with them, but you’re actually just scared they’d leave you.

12) You have a need to impress them

You put in the effort to impress them in every way possible.

You don’t usually cook, but now you’re learning how to cook their favorite dish so you can surprise them.

You don’t usually wear lipstick but then you heard them say they find red lipstick very sexy, so you buy one.

You want to work on your savings, your hobbies, your home decorating, your fitness…not for yourself, but for them.

Maybe it’s poor self-esteem, maybe it’s because you’re not getting the love you deserve and you want to win it by making them realize you’re worth it.

13) You’re the one always waiting

You’re the one waiting for their messages, their calls, their gifts, their invitation to move in together…their proposal.

But it seems like they’ve completely forgotten these things.

And again, it’s not because you’re needy. 

It’s probably because you’ve been promised these things at the beginning and now they’re not following through. They won’t even talk about it.

14) You feel like they’re settling

Your relationship is not full of passion, and this sucks because you know they’re the passionate type.

They once told you about the grand romantic gestures they did for their past loves—the love letters, the mixtapes, the songs they composed.

And so you can’t help but wonder “Why can they do those things to them, but not to me?”

It seems like they’re cool being with you but they’re not so into you. And if you notice all the other signs in this list, you’re probably right.

What to do

It sucks when you finally realize that you’re in a one-sided relationship.

But don’t let this affect you to the core. You are worthy of love and it’s not your fault that they’re not capable of love.

So what should you do now?

First, ask yourself if you think you can work this out with them. 

Communicate and tell them honestly what you think, what you want from a relationship, and what they can do to make you happy. 

Who knows, they probably do love you but they’re the avoidant-attachment type. In that case, work on increasing your intimacy.

If that doesn’t work out and you’re still unhappy, the best thing to do is let go. 

There are 7 billion people on the planet. I’m sure you can find someone better—someone who won’t make you want to read this article twice.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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