7 signs you’re in a one-sided relationship, even if your partner says they love you

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I’m very much a proponent of the “actions speak louder than words” philosophy, especially when it comes to relationships. 

After all, anyone can blurt out “I love you,” when it suits them. 

It’s the behavior behind these words that ultimately decide whether they’re meaningful or not. 

Nobody wants to be in a one-sided relationship. I think we all deserve better than that. 

So if you suspect you’re in one, it’s time to delve a little deeper. 

In this article, I’ll run you through the typical signs of a one-sided relationship. 

Once you gain clarity, you can take action. Your mental health is at stake. 

Let’s get to it! 

1) There’s an imbalance in effort

Successful relationships aren’t about the occasional romantic gesture–they’re about consistent effort, about the small things. 

So if you seem to be the only one doing the work, the one planning regular date nights, taking care of the household chores, and always paying the shared bills, then things are clearly lop-sided. 

Sure, maybe your partner is going through something, perhaps they’re in a financial crisis or struggling mentally, in which case you should definitely give them a break. 

But you should know your limits too, or risk them taking advantage

I remember once being involved with a person who refused to pay for her share of the utility bills–but later that day would go on shopping sprees for makeup and clothes. 

Don’t be a pushover. 

If you do feel they’re being a little too dependent on you, then you have to put your foot down before things get out of hand. 

In a relationship, you want a co-pilot, not a passenger. You want an equal, not a liability. 

2) You’re always the one initiating interactions 

As established, relationships take effort. 

Ask yourself, are you the one consistently reaching out and making first contact? Do you initiate every interaction and conversation? 

When a companion isn’t making any effort, you’re likely dealing with an entitled, self-absorbed person. 

The best relationships are about compromise, about give and take. 

When one person is giving far more than the other, this isn’t healthy–and if you consistently allow it, you’re only perpetuating and enabling negative behaviors. 

It may be uncomfortable to accept, but at this point, a change needs to be made. 

Your dignity is a core component of your humanity, don’t let others trample on it. 

2) You only communicate on their terms 

My ex used to spill her heart out to me. 

She’d go on lengthy monologues about her deepest feelings, her trials and tribulations, and her childhood traumas.

Initially, I thought it was wonderful and rare that she was able to open up and communicate with me so freely.

I felt it was a great sign for the future of our relationship. 

The conclusion was premature. 

When it was my turn to share, she would respond with such a high level of blatant disinterest, that I would feel hurt and disrespected. 

Sometimes, she’d give a sardonic nod or thumbs up as she scrolled through TikTok. 

Other times, when she was in the mood, she’d regale me with a monosyllabic response, before invariably turning her attention back to her iPhone. 

It quickly dawned on me that our relationship wasn’t quite the open forum I thought it was, and hoped it to be. 

Her priority was social media, not genuine romance. 

I went from admiring her communicative spirit to resenting her for being self-centered–quite a turn of events. 

This brings me to my next point… 

3) They often act self-centered 

When you’re self-centered, and allow this energy to infect your relationship, this doesn’t bode well for your chances as a couple. 

Either drastic changes are made or your partner will remain unhappy and unfulfilled. 

The self-centered partner shows very minimal interest in your hobbies, interests, or passions, and often dismisses or belittles them–only throwing you a bone when they’re in an exceptionally upbeat mood. 

My sister’s ex would make her watch his favorite show or YouTuber with him for hours on end, sulking like a petulant six-year-old if she requested a break. 

Yet he would never reciprocate the favor when she suggested they partake in her interests for a change. 

He would conjure up creative excuses or flat-out refuse her. 

It took her some time to realize it, but the latter was just a microcosm of the double standard constantly at play in their relationship. 

If this sounds familiar, you know what to do: either call them out, hoping for the best, or walk away, dignity still intact.

4) They don’t support you

Your partner should be your rock, a force that continually empowers you to chase your dreams and realize your best self. 

So, if you can afford them this luxury, yet they can’t do the same for you, then something is certainly off. 

Maybe you’ve voiced your desire to open a business, did they respond with enthusiasm or did they scoff and act dismissively of those aspirations? 

Or perhaps, you’re going through a personal struggle, and instead of reassuring you that they have your back, they go out and party all night. 

If these examples give you deja vu, then I hate to break it to you: you’re probably in a one-sided relationship. 

You best make a move, or further unhealthy feelings are likely to manifest–feelings that will eventually eat away at you. 

5) There’s an absence of quality time

Just because you’re constantly around each other doesn’t mean you’re actually spending time together. 

You can be together for years without actually spending quality time.

The thing about quality time is that it requires effort. 

So if your partner rarely pursues shared activities you can bond over, instead only wanting to hang out on their terms, this sort of defeats the purpose of being in a relationship. 

Chances are, you’ve essentially been demoted to a glorified flatmate, at best. 

As a result, you’ll likely feel emotionally neglected, almost as if you’re an afterthought. 

You should always know where you stand in a relationship. 

If you’re not getting that, then it’s time to seriously rethink things. 

6) You’re always the one who has to apologize

Fights in relationships are as inevitable as death or tax season.

It’s how we fight that will ultimately decide the fate of things. 

When the dust settles, do you and your partner patch things up in a healthy and constructive manner, both acknowledging your respective faults and points to improve on? 

Are you both able to swallow your pride to achieve the shared goal of salvaging your bond? 

If you answered affirmatively to both, then you’re likely in quite a healthy relationship. Keep going strong.

However, if you find yourself having to frequently apologize before your partner gives you the light of day (even when you’re not at fault), you may just be in a one-sided relationship. 

Let’s go back to my tumultuous past relationship. 

My ex and I would get into some heated arguments. 

And typically, in order to mend things, I’d end up having to apologize incessantly, witnessing any remaining self-respect dwindle in the process. 

Sometimes, she’d clearly be in the wrong and yet manipulated me into thinking it was my fault–and hence, I’d plead for forgiveness. 

Other times, I would be aware that she was in the wrong, but to fix things in a timely fashion, I’d say sorry anyway. 

If I didn’t apologize, she wouldn’t budge, and the mutual feelings of resentment would carry on indefinitely. 

I remember I’d tell myself, “It’s not your fault, you’re not crazy. Just say sorry so we can be happy.” 

Older and wiser, I cringe to think of my past self in these situations; I also cannot help but blame myself for enabling her bad behaviors. 

Live and learn. 

Final thoughts 

I know that the contents of this article might sound painful. But not all is lost. 

If you love your partner, then you should still give your relationship a shot.

If you let your partner walk all over you and perpetuate the one-sided dynamic, while they’re mostly at fault, you too are complicit, in a way. 

As you may have heard in the past, communication is the foundation of any functioning union. So if you aren’t talking, then this has to change. 

Maybe your partner is too caught up in their ways, they need you to provide them with the clarity to correct themselves. 

So reach out, set boundaries, and start standing up for yourself. 

And if you have thoroughly expressed your concerns and they react with defensiveness or anger, then consider it time to walk out the door.

Life is too short to stay in miserable, inequitable relationships. 

Once you fully come to this realization, you’ll never look back.

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