8 warning signs that you’re in a one-sided relationship

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In a healthy relationship, you view each other as equals. 

You might have different roles and responsibilities, and you’ll definitely bring different things to the relationship. But there should be a balance in both power and how much you’re contributing.

So, what does it look like if you’re in a relationship that’s out of balance?

It’s probably characterized by one person holding more power than the other, or perhaps one person is putting in a lot more work and contributing more than the other.

When there’s no balance, bad things can happen. One person often feels used or underappreciated, while the other feels entitled.

You’d better believe that this can lead to resentment and even the total disintegration of a relationship.

So here are eight warning signs that you’re in a one-sided relationship to help you see where you’re at and consider what you’re going to do about it.

1) You feel exhausted

If you feel constantly wiped out by the relationship, that’s probably because it’s one-sided.

Like in so many couples out there, you’re putting in more than your share of the effort to make things smooth and happy between you, while your partner seems to do no work at all.

Not only is this frustrating, it can really grind you down. It can feel like you are the only one who cares, and that’s definitely not a great place to find yourself in.

If you’re the only one doing the heavy lifting while your partner won’t even lift a finger, things are definitely lopsided and out of balance.

2) You’re the only one who makes sacrifices

One big warning sign that you’re in a one-sided relationship is that it involves one person making sacrifices and the other making none.

In order for relationships to work, compromise is almost always necessary. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to come to agreements and compromises so that both of you get what you want without having to give very much up, or maybe nothing at all.

But for most relationships, sacrifices may be necessary.

If they only come from one side, though, things aren’t going to feel fair an even.

I was in this situation once with an ex

Though it’s hard for me to believe now, I moved across the country to be with her. I left my job and moved to a new city where I hardly knew anyone because that’s where she needed to be for her work.

I struggled to find work and make new friends, while for her, it was business as usual. Well, that was my choice, right?

But I soon found myself making more sacrifices. She was a total homebody and always wanted me to stay in with her when I wanted to go out to try to build friendships.

There were more things, but all the sacrifices were coming from my side, and I started to resent that and the fact that she never made any changes to accommodate me.

If this is how things feel in your relationship, trust me, things are definitely out of balance.

3) Your partner never apologizes

You do, but they seem to be perfect.

They’re never wrong, and it’s never their fault.

Instead, you always find yourself being the one to say sorry after conflicts arise. But honestly, is it always your fault?

It might seem impossible because it is.

No one is perfect, so even though you might have reason to apologize often, your partner will certainly need to shoulder the blame at times as well.

If they don’t, they’re probably not treating you fairly or with respect, and your relationship isn’t equal and balanced.

4) You put in more money and take out less

How’s your relationship balance when it comes to finances? 

Do you put in more than your share while your partner takes out more than theirs?

Is it the other way around?

Or are things different?

It’s not unusual for one partner to make more than the other, but it’s pretty unusual if the person making less is taking more out of the couple’s finances.

What that usually represents is something the scientific community calls “mooching.”

There are always reasons why partners can help each other with money, but we’re talking about patterns here. If one partner is totally mooching off the other, I think there’s definitely a problem.

5) You feel insecure in the relationship

Feelings of insecurity can be a sign of a power imbalance within a relationship.

You might feel like you don’t have a lot of say or much power in the relationship while your partner is really the one behind the wheel.

They might act in a non-committal way or, worse, actively make you feel like your position is insecure.

They might go so far as to tell you that they’re thinking of leaving or finding someone new.

This is bound to make you feel insecure and let you see clearly that your relationship isn’t balanced.

Or if the other person doesn’t seem to be putting anything into the relationship or making any effort, you might feel something completely different. You may feel like you don’t know where you stand because they don’t seem all that committed or interested.

And that’s a terrible feeling to have to live with.

6) One of you makes all the decisions

Making decisions isn’t easy. 

It takes a lot of thought and energy to make big choices, and if you have to do it all by yourself, it can be exhausting.

If you have a partner who consistently lets you make all the hard decisions on your own, your relationship is probably quite one-sided.

These might be decisions about major purchases, where to live, how to solve problems, or even about issues with the relationship. No matter what they’re about, your partner gives almost no input, leaving you to do all the work.

On the other hand, you might find that your partner makes all the decisions in your relationship and doesn’t let you have any input at all.

This can make you feel controlled and impotent.

A real balance is only found when you can both give input, weigh options, and come to conclusions together.

7) It’s always you who initiates big conversations

When it’s time to talk about money, it’s always you who has to bring it up.

Need to talk about big decisions relating to kids or pets? You again.

Shouldn’t you talk about what’s happening in your relationship? Guess what – it’ll be you who has to bring it up.

That’s because it’s always you who has to initiate these important talks, and your partner will happily let things linger otherwise.

If this frustration sounds exactly like what’s going on in your relationship, remember that it may be that you have different communication styles.

But it could also be a big sign that things aren’t balanced in your relationship.

8) You make excuses for them

Do you find yourself always having to excuse your partner’s behavior?

You might be late all the time because of them, and you’re the one making the apologies. Or it could be that they forget to do important things and you have to be the one to explain to others.

Or to yourself.

Making excuses for their behavior puts you in a strange position.

It usually means that they haven’t done their share or lived up to their responsibilities, but you’re the one doing the work of making excuses.

This means you’re doing even more work!

What can you do if you find yourself in a one-sided relationship?

If you recognize these eight warning signs that you’re in a one-sided relationship, how can you re-balance things?

The first step is to figure out which way the scales are leaning.

Is this an imbalance of power, and you feel like you don’t have any?

Or is it an imbalance in effort, and you’re putting in way more than your share?

By isolating what’s out of balance, you can then look for a way to re-balance things. You might feel you need more of a voice in the relationship, or you might think your partner needs to do more work.

The next step is to talk about it. Remember that this is your perspective, and your partner may not share it. Your partner might even feel that the balance is tipped in the opposite direction.

It’s also important not to come at your partner with a list of demands and make them feel attacked. It’s much more effective to focus on yourself and say, “This is how I feel,” and “This is what I’d like to see more of.” 

By sharing your feelings and being open, you may be able to shift things back so they’re balanced. But you may also find that no change is forthcoming, and you might have to consider leaving the relationship instead to find something more equal.

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