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30 Signs of a One-Sided Relationship & How to Fix It Before It Ends

A one sided relationship will never bring joy. You’ll be taken for granted, and you’ll simply give and give. Learn the signs of a one-sided relationship.  

signs of a one-sided relationship

Do you have a sick feeling in your stomach because you know you’re being cheated out of a good deal? If you don’t see much effort from your partner, it could be you’re seeing the signs of a one-sided relationship. If you’re not 100% sure, look closely at the signs. They’ll help you see the light.

Of course, it could be that you’re simply doing too much for them. We all want to do our best for our partner but that doesn’t mean giving absolutely everything, whether materially or emotionally.

There should be an equal amount of give and take to make sure that the relationship remains balanced at all times.

[Read: 19 signs of a taker in a relationship – Are you a giver or a taker?]

Love is wonderful when it’s true on both sides

Love is a beautiful thing. It comes in, washes over you, clouds your judgment, and gives you happiness. It can build over time, but it can also degrade if you aren’t careful.

Stoking the fires is half the battle, the other half being far more complicated: accepting that your partner’s feelings are out of your hands. You can’t do much more than be yourself, and finding someone who will love you for the rest of your life isn’t as easy as you might expect.

Perhaps that is why we stay in terrible relationships: while our hearts fall out of love, our minds continue to chant the things we need to “hear” in order to keep trying to keep the relationship alive. Quickly, though, you may find yourself blowing ashes around, rather than caring for a fire. It isn’t fair to you or your partner to be together out of comfort and familiarity. [Read: 25 traits of an unhappy relationship and the lies you tell yourself]

At some point, the levee breaks, and you find yourself alone–really alone—and realizing that has been the case for a long time, even while in the relationship. You can’t see the signs of a one-sided relationship because you’re too far in it.

To avoid this pain, it is best to face the truth of your situation sooner rather than later. Don’t wake up six years later, only to regret the time wasted in a one-sided romance.

Be honest as you run through these signs, and pinpoint whether your partner, or even you, meets these characteristics and signs of a one-sided relationship. [Read: 28 truths about feeling alone in a relationship and how to fix it ASAP]

The one-sided relationship – What makes it so bad and toxic?

You might think that the word ‘toxic’ is a little strong when talking about an unbalanced relationship. After all, nobody is cheating, manipulating, or lying. But, it can be just as bad in other ways.

A one-sided relationship means that one person is not getting their needs met, while the other has more than what they need. Perhaps the partner who has it all simply doesn’t realize what’s going on. Or, it could be that they’re very aware and don’t want things to change because that would mean they miss out. [Read: 20 worrying signs you are being taken advantage of in a relationship]

When you don’t have your needs met, you begin to suffer. You feel unloved, lacking in confidence, taken for granted, and you begin to resent your partner.

Of course, it doesn’t matter that perhaps you’re the one doing knowingly doing all the giving. The fact that your partner doesn’t do the same makes you resentful.

In the end, when someone feels taken for granted of, there will always be resentment or an argument. Even if that doesn’t happen, rarely so, then the person who isn’t getting their needs met will feel lower and lower. In the end, they’ll start to believe that their needs don’t matter at all. [Read: Martyr complex – How to recognize the signs of martyr syndrome in yourself]

What causes one-sided relationships?

Many different things can cause a relationship to be out of balance.

It can be that the person giving their all is lacking in self-confidence, causing them to overcompensate. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience in the past and they’re desperate for history not to repeat itself. It could also be that the partner who is getting everything their own way is manipulating the situation for their own benefit.

Of course, it may simply be that it’s a pattern both partners have fallen into. If nobody speaks up, the same situation is simply going to continue. That’s why it’s vital to wake up and realize that you’re in a one-sided relationship before too much time passes.

Then, you can address the situation and try to create a more balanced environment. Failure to do so will simply lead to you feeling taken for granted and perhaps the relationship coming to an end. [Read: Why people take you for granted – 16 signs and firm ways to stop them]

The most obvious signs of a one-sided relationship to know if you both need to change

Love is a two-way street, so if you see these signs of a one-sided relationship, it’s time to make it right.

1. They know very little about your life

Crazy, right? You’re dating them, and they don’t seem to have the faintest idea of what’s happening in your everyday life.

They’ll tell you that they forgot to ask or that they’ve been too busy to inquire, or they’ll flip it on you and call you needy. But it is what it is and the fact is, they don’t care what’s happening to you. [Read: 20 signs of a lack of empathy that show they don’t really care what you think]

2. Your gestures aren’t reciprocated

Maybe you bought tickets to see their favorite sports team as a surprise or made them a romantic dinner at home. These gestures are a beautiful way to show that you care.

But when was the last time they did anything for you? Now when you think about it, they haven’t gone out of their way at all to show you that they care. That’s a red flag right there. [Read: Know the characteristics of a healthy relationship so you can end the shitty ones]

3. You make all the plans

It doesn’t matter if your partner is new in town or naturally a horrible planner, the point is, they don’t lift a finger to make any effort in changing that.

You’re the one who needs to make dinner reservations, you’re the one who always contacts them first.

Sure, you love them, but you’re feeling like you’re a caretaker because they’re not doing much to keep this relationship going. It’s one of the key signs of a one-sided relationship that’s heading for failure.

4. Your partner isn’t there

One of the clearest signs of a one-sided relationship is just how they never seem to be around when you need them. The whole point of a relationship is to be there as each other’s support, and each other’s right hand.

But they are always unavailable when you’re going through tough times or even happy times. They don’t listen to what you have to say and when you’re around them, you feel lonely instead of complete. [Read: 28 revealing truths about why you feel alone in a relationship]

5. Issues go untouched

Every relationship has its own problems, but if you love each other, you both work on fixing those issues. You may have talked to your partner, expressing your feelings about certain things that go on in the relationship, but they’re not putting in any effort to change their behavior and improve things.

Instead, they find that you’re nagging and annoying rather than taking the issues seriously.

6. Your friends and family have talked to you

They don’t like your partner. Now, everyone has their own personal reasons for disliking someone. But if your entire group of friends and family are shaking their heads at this relationship, there is probably a valid reason why.

If they’re telling you that they aren’t treating you with respect, well, it’s probably true. They’re seeing the relationship from an outside perspective, so they’re noticing things you’re too blind to see. [Read: 34 big relationship red flags most people ignore early in love]

7. They pick their friends over you

And the crowd goes silent. Ah, yes, this is always an issue for people in one-sided relationships. Your partner gladly chooses their friends over you on any occasion.

Of course, it’s normal to spend time with your friends. However, your partner will ditch dinner plans, doesn’t invite you, and ignores you when you ask to spend time with them.

This is because you’re not a priority, their friends are. Out of all the signs of a one-sided relationship, many people ignore this one and pretend it’s down to something else – it’s not. They have their priorities all wrong.

8. The relationship just doesn’t feel right

At the end of the day, when you’re next to them in bed, it doesn’t feel like you’re in a happy and healthy relationship. You’ve seen happy couples and in comparison, you can’t say that your relationship is similar.

If you feel it in your gut, it’s because your body is trying to tell you something. That something is “you can do better” and “please ditch their ass.” Emptiness isn’t a feeling you should be experiencing with your partner. [Read: Should you trust your gut? How to choose to listen or ignore it]

9. You’re always apologizing

Even when, deep down you know that you didn’t do anything wrong. You say sorry just to keep the peace, but instead, you prevent them from taking responsibility for their actions.

Your partner is the master of guilt-tripping, and they have no problem trying to make you feel bad. If you have to apologize for everything, that’s a sign of a bad relationship. [Read: Guilt-tripping – What it is and how to respond to it]

10. You’re walking on eggshells

Okay, not in the literal sense, but you feel that everything you say or do will bring up a negative reaction. So, instead of feeling comfortable and yourself, you’re uptight and stressed, trying to make sure that you don’t anger your partner or start a small argument.

This negative behavior from your partner is because they’re not committed to you and are frustrated by dealing with your emotions. [Read: 15 signs you’re walking on eggshells and totally unhappy in love]

11. It’s obvious they don’t care about you

We know it’s harsh, but it’s really that simple. They don’t care about you at all. The sad thing, is you’ve felt this before when you’re around them, but chose to ignore it.

However, the feeling never goes away, it just floats in and out of your mind. They don’t care about you and that’s really all it is. So dump their ass because it’s not going to change.

12. You’re no longer happy

At the beginning of the relationship, everything was great. You loved spending time with your partner. But now, you’re no longer happy being by their side. This is a huge sign of a one-sided relationship.

First, the relationship is done. Second, the relationship isn’t healthy. If you’re not happy, move on. It’s that simple.

13. Your partner is comfortable with routine

When you ask to change things up, like maybe go out to eat rather than stay in for the millionth time, they may grunt or protest. When you suggest something new in bed, they may take it personally.

In essence, things tend to be the same on a daily basis—with no room allotted for change. That’s one of the signs of a one-sided relationship because they want everything their own way and don’t care if you’re happy or not as long as they’re getting what they need. [Read: 25 couple activities that’ll make both of you feel loved and closer]

14. You’re the only one wanting change

Not surprisingly, after reading number one, things get stale really quick. You might know what to expect, and even consider it a comfort zone at first, until things just… grow dull.

If you want romance, you have to plan for it yourself, and even when you two do go out, your partner might not be as open during the occasion as you’d like.

15. Social situations are filled with minimal effort on their part

This means that if you both get invited to your friend’s party, your partner will show up, but keep a distance from those important to you—and everyone else.

They will probably be quiet, speak when spoken to, but overall, not put in the effort required to get to know anyone, or spark conversation. It’s a one-sided relationship because they’re not interested in getting to know anyone in your circle. It’s all about theirs.

16. They keep you away from important people

If they have friends or family members that they consider important, but keep you away from them, that’s a red flag.

A loving partner will encourage you to meet these people, and spend time with them. They will rejoice at the thought of you befriending their friends. If this isn’t the case, and you’re kept away, something is wrong. It’s probably that it’s totally one-sided and they’re not investing the same amount of time in you.

17. You have to ask for favors or small things

You have to request them for every single gesture, and even then, they may feel like you’re magging them.

You have to ask for a drink of water, let alone flowers, or all of those small things that add up to a big picture. It can be hot cocoa, a cup of coffee, or maybe even just car keys. Maybe a kiss before work, or a phone call saying they’re on their way home.

These are things that are taken for granted until they go missing. Then we notice their absence. If you’ve noticed the absence, your partner isn’t doing the small things anymore, and you may have a problem. [Read: 16 non-sexual touches that keep couples connected and loved]

18. You feel generally taken for granted

Do you come home with their favorite food, only to get a monotone “thanks”? Your gestures going unnoticed and taken for granted hurt a lot, but your partner doesn’t seem to understand any of it.

When you bring it up, you feel like you’re nagging, and they either roll their eyes, or complain about all the small things you do that make you inadequate. This is one of the key signs of a one-sided relationship and a huge red flag that should tell you things need to change.

19. One-sided openness

Maybe you find yourself telling your partner about your day, pending projects, friend drama, family updates, and more. Maybe you’re open to talking about concerns, or issues in your relationship.

But… does your partner do all of these same things? If they just nod along while scrolling through their social media feed, and then don’t bother keeping the conversation going, that’s yet another of the signs of a one-sided relationship.

20. Sweet words are hard to come by

Saying “I love you,” is easy to do when it’s been done during the entire course of the relationship, but sometimes that’s all it is: three simple words that you’ve grown accustomed to saying, with no associated feelings.

If your partner isn’t actively being sweet, commenting on something attractive about you as a person, or anything of the sort, then you might be stuck in a one-sided deal. [Read: 15 reasons why people get bored with their relationship]

21. They often say one thing and do another

They say they will do one thing, but usually do the opposite. Remember opposite day at school? Think along those lines for a minute. Honestly, can you expect the opposite of what they say at least a good 80% of the time? Do you prepare for that outcome, just to be safe?

A good example is this: does your partner constantly say they love spending time with you, but spend most of their free time with friends? Or say that they are in love with you, but treat you poorly and constantly scan the room for attractive would-be partners? Their words don’t match their actions and everything is one-sided. [Read: Why do men look at other women? 21 reasons you MUST know]

22. They develop bad habits, with little regard for you

It could be drugs, smoking, drinking, or actively spending money you don’t have. It can be anything that strains your relationship and makes it hard to keep the peace. If your partner loves you, they will sacrifice these habits, and be inspired to improve themselves.

You should inspire each other, always. If this is not the case, and you realize they’re making poor choices, and hiding them from you so as to avoid the drama, then you’re not as important to them as you might think. [Read: 17 signs of a lack of respect in a relationship that reveal a lack of love]

23. There’s no motivation to change

Again, a good couple inspires each other. Maybe one partner is creative and productive, and inspires the laid-back other one to get off the couch. Maybe one is intellectual and wise, and it makes their partner want to pick up a book or two. This is what a good couple does: encourage the other to improve, without demanding it.

You’re both into each other, you accept each other as you are, but you both improve for the other and for yourselves. If this isn’t the case at all, or seems too good to be true, then your partner isn’t motivated to change. You don’t inspire them enough, and it’s not your fault; it’s theirs, for being blind. [Read: How to change for your partner without compromising or losing yourself]

24. They’re not interested in solving problems

You both argue, yell, and annoy each other to no end. Perhaps one of you tries to calm down, or stay calm, but the arguing still occurs. Now, arguments are surprisingly healthy for a relationship, and encouraged, but there’s a rule: it’s how you argue.

A healthy couple will argue with the intention of having a discussion. Things might get tense for a minute, but eventually, both parties know to say sorry and sit down and figure things out.

An unhealthy and one-sided relationship, however, is marked by angry shouting matches with the sole intention of winning the argument, and not fixing the problem. [Read: 9 signs you subconsciously want to end the relationship]

25. Plans never leave the planning stage *and it’s normally you planning*

You have been talking about buying a house for three years now, but there’s no indication of it happening. You have been talking about taking a vacation to that one spot you both want to make memories in, but when you bring forth more information on it, your partner makes an excuse to stay home.

Basically, plans are just ‘pie in the sky’ ideas that are always mentioned ‘one day’ and it’s normally you doing the planning. Your partner simply never commits to helping you make these plans a reality.

26. You have no common end goals

You want to live together, get married, and own a dog and a cat. Your partner wants to live in an apartment, with no pets, and doesn’t even want to think of marriage because everything seems fine for now. Two different playing fields.

Two people in love will actively go out of their way to make sure they’re on the same page, and growing together. It’s one of the signs of a one-sided relationship when you simply don’t even attempt to meet in the middle.

27. You sense you’re growing apart

If you’ve reached this part of the feature and seem to be heading toward a downward spiral, then… you might be growing apart.

In fact, chances are it’s already happened. Many one-sided relationships usually end because one partner has sucked the life out of the other and they have nothing left to give. [Read: Are we falling out of love or are we just in a rut in life?]

28. You bring out the worst in each other

Think honestly about this one simple question: do you feel at your best with your partner, or do you seem to feel at your best when they’re not around?

One-sided relationships tend to drain the life out of you and if you feel happier when you’re out by yourself, there’s a pretty strong sign that something isn’t right.

29. There’s broken trust

By now, the bad habits have been covered, as well as the common end goals. If things seem dire, it’s safe to assume there’s broken trust. You might feel like you can’t rely on your partner, and like there’s no reason to trust them, because when you do, you’re always let down.

Broken trust is a major issue. You can fix it if you’re both keen on fixing it. Sadly, if only one of you actively tries to repair it, it will never work. [Read: Putting too much effort into the relationship – Where to draw the line?]

30. You can’t remember the last time you were genuinely happy

This is the biggest test of all. You could be with the perfect person, but it all boils down to you. Are you happy with yourself? Do you have self-love?

Without that, there’s no way to love the other person. Now, if you do have self-love, but aren’t happy, and it’s due to your relationship, then you need to leave.

If, by the end of this list, you realize that you are in a dead, one-sided relationship, you have to understand one thing: there is nothing you can do. Two people in love will communicate, actively try to make each other happy, and focus on growing together, not apart. [Read: 20 hard signs it’s time for you to throw in the towel and walk away from the relationship]

What should you do if your relationship is one sided?

If you truly believe that your relationship is one-sided and you’re doing too much giving. Pull it back. Simply don’t do as much as you would normally. Start prioritizing your own needs and recognize that you are just as important as your partner. [Read: How to fix a one-sided relationship before it ends in failure]

Sit down and have a conversation with your partner. Explain how you feel. Remember, it’s entirely possible that they don’t realize there’s a problem.

If they’re defensive about it, however, you have to understand that the unbalanced nature of your relationship actually works for them. In that case, it’s time to set boundaries and stick to them.

If that doesn’t work? Well, you have to ask yourself whether the relationship is worth it if you’re always second best and being used as a doormat.

[Read: What steps do you need to take to tell your partner you are unhappy?]

After looking at these signs of a one-sided relationship, are you in one? If so, it’s time you did something about it.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...