What to Do About One-Sided Relationships

In Advice and Encouragement, Dating, Relationships by Debra Fileta70 Comments

When I turned 30 this week, I wrote a post about some lessons I’ve learned over the past decade.  One of those lessons was to say no to one-way friendships.

But later in the week as I was reading through my True Love Dates emails, I noticed a similar trend.  Young men and women were reaching out with questions rooted in the same concept, but concerning their love life.  One email I received from a young lady went something like this…

I’ve been involved in this relationship for 5 years, and I’m starting to come to terms with reality that it isn’t much of a relationship at all.  I’ve been committed to him, but he hasn’t committed to me. 

One-Way Relationships: though they may be titled many different things within the world of counseling and psychology, that’s pretty much the easiest way to describe them. 

Like other relationships, one-way relationships consist of two people, except in one-way relationships only one person is doing the work.  It’s an unfortunate problem that even more unfortunately occurs far too often. 

The man who has been saying he loves you for years, but is never willing to commit…

The woman who avoids emotional intimacy by investing everything in her life and career and neglecting to invest in her relationship…

The guy who’s been calling, texting, and emailing you for months- but face to face acts like you don’t exist…

The girlfriend who keeps saying she’s done with all the other guys, but can never seem to keep those doors closed…

The boyfriend who wants to keep taking physically, but giving nothing back emotionally…

I could list a hundred examples, and I’m sure you could too.  But the bottom line about one-way relationships like the above, is that they are relationships in which one person always seems to be doing all the giving– the forgiving, the forgetting, the ignoring, the working through– while the other person seems to be doing all the taking.  

But the interesting thing about one-way relationships, is that no matter who is doing the giving or taking, it always takes two people to keep them going. 

One way relationships are always fueled by two people…which tells you something.

It tells you that behind every one-way relationship, there is another person who is giving too much, and expecting too little. A person who continues to make excuses.  A person who continues to see the relationship for what it could be, rather than what it actually is. 

If you’re stuck in a one-way dating relationship, you’ve got to dig deep and really ask yourself why?  Why is it that you allow for this kind of interaction to be a part of your life?  Why don’t you believe that you deserve better?  What are you afraid of?  What continues to fuel your desire to remain in a relationship that gives you so little, when you could open yourself up to receiving so much more? 

Remember, you have the power to teach people how they can and can’t treat you.  Maybe it’s time for some changes to happen.  Maybe it’s time to start living out the truth that you deserve God’s best for your life and relationships, and nothing less. 

Maybe, it’s time to say no, once and for all, to one-way relationships.  If not now, then when? 

**This article is written specifically for those in a dating relationship.  Advice and encouragement would be different concerning those in a marriage relationship.

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!

Comments

  1. What an eye opener. This is the first bit of info on the internet that actually made sense. I found my wife kissing my best friend and wondered what I had done wrong. In simplistic terms, I have been in a one sided relationship for too long, over 24 years.

    The info has helped me see this. Why I was so blind not to see it before is beyond me. Perhaps love is truly blind.

    It is time I confronted my wife once and for all. Putting aside the betrayal of my former best friend, no wife who was truly in love with their partner could betray them in such a way.

    I am not what you could call a man’s man, but I do think I am a decent partner who has worked so many long hours to try and do the best I can. After watching them kissing, I was subjected to lies upon lies. My wife says it was a mistake, but this info has made me realise it is a mistake because no other man would be so stupid as to let a woman take advantage.

    1. It is sad and unfortunate that your wife kissed your friend you clearly do not deserve that. But 24 years is a long time. And I want to believe she has some redeeming qualities. So perhaps you could have a talk with her and tell her how you feel and ask her what is lacking in you or in your marriage that gave room for such betrayal. Going forward you could also both see a professional marriage therapist. Call me old fashioned but I believe a good marriage is worth working out and fighting for. It’s not about right and wrong but about growing together in love and unity. All the best.

  2. @ Paul: I totally agree with what you said in your comment. I can’t entirely relate (as I’ve never been in a 24 year relationship, nor am I married) but its something that makes sense to me when I read it. You shouldn’t be going through that, you should be in better hands with someone else. You deserve someone who doesn’t cheat and loves you for you.

    I’m in a relationship where I feel its one-sided when my partner doesn’t see eye to eye when it comes to trust. I always put him first for everything, even down to the smallest of situations. But when I don’t see something I feel that’s important to me being reciprocated, it gets me very upset and makes me wonder, ‘why should I do the same, if he doesn’t do it for me”? Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried telling him. But it takes so much work in order for him to process that. Only until I actually do what he does to me, does he realize how ‘ill’ the situation can be and even then he still has a difficulties trying to make me feel like I’m also in this relationship. This is unfair. I feel used. I feel like I’m at my wits ends … and yet why can’t I leave the relationship? Am I secretly a sucker who enjoys being abused and hurt many times over? Is this even healthy? No, its not. I wish I can stop it, but I feel like no one else in the world would ever suit me if I let this relationship go. I pity myself. I wish I can give myself more self -respect that that. I really have to let this go, even if its going to rip my heart to shreds. I know it, but I’m giving myself excuses even though I know its going to waste my time and end in disappointment.

    1. What you have put has taken the words right out of my mouth yet I’m sat here now still trying to make excuses for him. I wish I knew what to do. I feel like I’m the bad one in this but I’ve never actually done anything wrong. I’ve forgiven abd forgot so many times and now I’m starting to wonder why I bothered. I do so much for him even after all his mistakes and he struggles to wash a plate whilst I’m working all day. I feel more like his mum.

    2. Risa, you are me, only with a different name. Givin you posted in 2013, Can you tell me what eventually happened? I read your story and was amazed at how similar our stories and feelings are. I need help. I too give so much and receive so little when it comes to emotional support. I think my fiancé is cheating on me because every time I walk past the study I can see him quickly clicking off some screen in the reflection of a picture hanging in the hall, so I know not only does he allow me to generally feel like I’m a idiot with my feelings, but now he’s hiding something from me. He’s a WoW fanatic ( Every, single, night) We spend no time together, and when I say something, I’m the worst person in the world. We’ve been together for 14 years, never married because he doesn’t want to ( I do) he bought me a fake engagement ring to (I think) shut me up. I put up with everything and really do love him. Why do I give so much for so little? What did you do?

      1. Hi i do believe I am involved in a one sided relationship but, want to get some advice. So we have been together for 1yr and 6mths both 37 both work m-f live 10 no kids for either of us. (he has never been involved a long term relationship longest it has been is 6mths. So we see each other 3 nights a week, i have been asking for more time with him but every time I do it causes a major fight and he claims that he feels like i think that he doesn’t do enough for me and he does but I simply want more times with him meaning staying the night and when i say that it is not always for the physical reason it is because I enjoy his company. He gets fustrated, so he finally compromised not happy about it gave me 1 extra night a month (and he of course brings it back up like look at what i did for you). He counts the number of nights he has stayed at my house. So i have a long weekend coming up and won’t see him for 5 days because we don’t see each other until Thursday night anf I won’t get back until Monday so I asked him if he would see me the Tuesday night and had a fit. I would think any normal boyfriend or girlfriend would want to see there boyfriend or girlfriend after a few days of my not seeing them. It is weird to me and unsettling. So that is an issue, another issue is he shows no public displays of affection and when i did hold his arm he told me that i wrinkled his shirt, all i am asking for is a hand hold, and if I want to cuddle in private i have to initiate that he has cuddled me but he does it when it is good for him. I iniate all forms of texts and phone calls. I feel like it is one sided and a little bit controlling. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

        1. I Know Exactly How It Feels To Be in A One Sided Relationship
          I Felt Like I Was the only One fighting To make thing work I compromise I forgave him even though it wasn’t my fault
          Every time I seen him I was giving him something I cooked I washed his clothes
          He stopped coming over my house he stopped calling and texting
          He wanted me to live his life but at the same time didn’t want me a part of it either
          He made me feel like I was a horrible person
          Like all I wanted to do was argue when all I wanted was the truth
          We stopped having sex he became more disrespectful he didn’t care about my feelings
          He hung up the phone on me a lot
          He told me that I get on his nerves BC I ask him to many questions
          He turned off his ringer to his phone
          He wouldn’t let me touch his phone
          But he always had mines and letting me know who called and texted me
          His mom never liked me but he did at one point and it’s like she has prayed her son to start hating me BC he treats me so bad
          I always contact him when we haven’t talked for days but he always say you stop calling me
          I gave him my heart and I even committed to him for him to tell me a year later that he don’t want to be in a relationship right now
          That broke my heart I have wasted so much time and invested so much time in this relationship for him to tell me this BS
          My biggest fear is now he is going to find someone else who he truly loves and give her all the love that I deserve
          I am so disappointed , upset, angry, and Broken-hearted

          1. Dear Broken. Bless you girl. I think we were seeing the same guy. It’s going to hurt, but you have to dump him. Mine acted the same way. Pulled away from me all of the time. I literally had to ask for affection. He never initiated sex. I even suspected that he might be gay. One of our mutual friends thought he was. He lived with a roommate and I was invited to his home once in three years. When his roommate was out of town. I got nosey one day and found him on Facebook, then ran into him at our local gym. I introduced myself, he had no idea that his roommate had a girlfriend in three years! He even asked me if I was the woman who answered the phone the night before. Anyway after I casually mentioned it to my ex that I had finally met his roommate, he started making stupid excuses as to why he couldn’t come over. Also had made dumb excuses as to why we couldn’t get married. There were many other signs that I ignored with blind love. But gir,l life is too short. It killed me to let him go about three weeks ago, but we deserve better. Dump his sorry selfish ass!

      2. Omg I hope if he hasn’t committed and changed things by now that you are out of this trap and unhealthy relationship!

  3. It’s a care givers nature to provide love and respect for those we have a relationship with. However, this is not true for all people who cannot give the same. They don’t take care of themselves and/or incapable of loving deeply in return. If you think about it, the ‘taker’ is doing exactly what we’ve enabled them to be; by making everything available to them, whether emotional, financial or physical and while receiving very little in return.

    I fell for a one-sided relationship for 3 years, out of loneliness & I never considered it to be solid, nor convenient so I would never commit. This person had another female relationship concurrently to the one we had. Therefore, I decided to end our relationship the other day after getting a text message from the ‘other woman’. You see he gave her my number some time back (WHO DOES THIS?). He drank too much, smoked and was basically unhealthy both physically and mentally. This person has been with some successful/powerful women in his past, who like me have probably heard all of the ‘charming talk’ no action. If he was any good he wouldn’t still be available 13 years later, right?? We care givers are rescuers and these schleps are looking for people like us they can turn their charm on in order to live an easier life. Cheaters are thieves… failures to their partner(s). Once a cheater, always a cheater for they will always look for that opportunity to manipulate their next victim and not feel any consequences as a result because they are on the next hunt.

    I want the same qualitative lifestyle from someone that I would be able to provide to them. I want to be treated with respect, reciprocation, love, growth and have an idealistic friendship. I want a person who wants to do his very best for me. Providing a less than qualitative lifestyle shows laziness & lack of love and ambition to succeed in anything. These poor quality people want it all but lack the ambition to make it happen, therefore they are not worthy of an equal ‘partnership’.

  4. Pingback: 4 Reasons NOT to be Friends with Benefits | True Love Dates

    1. Brilliantly said Virginia. I’ve just faced the end of my relationship with my fiance and, through the hearbreak and soul searching, I am beginning to realise that I was in a one way relationship and I hadn’t truly admitted to it. I’ve done it before and didn’t realise that I was doing it again!

  5. Similar to the author, I’m turning 30 this year. Now with the rise of social media, it’s easy for us to “check in” on guys we’ve dated or liked before. So, I… dropped in on their profiles. Nothing much to say about them except I find something in common among these guys I’d dated, had feelings for and still seeing; I invested my heart and soul so deeply that none of them actually did anything like that for me.

    I have a guy or two who I don’t have feelings for and did for me (rare cases) but they are doing it because of themselves, not because they want me for me.

    I just don’t know what to do anymore.

    1. I am in a relationship where my partner said she thinks I’m with her because I’m lonely… I have to say that was one of the most hurtful things I have ever been told. I don’t think you will ever know how someone is thinking but if you take a step back from what you want the other person’s intentions become clear. I seriously agree with you because I don’t know what to do…… I just want to quit all together. I’m just exhausted from trying.

  6. People who tolerate one-sided relationships do so because they are emotional starved for affection and dread the desolation of breaking up and being totally alone. It hurts too much to be by themselves so they hang on for dear life regardless of the huge cost on their emotional health and self-esteem.
    SOLUTION?
    They need to bite the bullet, break up with the dead end parasitic partner and learn to be alone. It is not easy but it absolutely essential.
    Spend time with yourself and get to know who you are and what you really want in life and in a relationship.
    Build your self esteem by learning to say NO to neglect and say yes only to being treated properly.
    Deliberately decide that you would rather be alone indefinitely, than put up with a draining one-way or abusive relationship.
    WHY?
    Because you are worth it!

    1. UDUAK – Wow!! I relate with your “emotionally starved for affection” (and affirmation, attention, etc.) description. I stayed in with her because she filled some deep neediness in me. It does hurt to be alone mid-life dealing with the consequences of my past (and recent) choices. I hung on but am paying the price currently. Ours wasn’t one-sided, I gave financially, emotionally, physically, etc. She gave financially, moral support, etc. But it seemed like there was an undercurrent in it all that it was all about her not US. I know I need to “get a life” and move on, work on my career, finances, etc. figuring out what I “really want in life and in a relationship”.

      I’m not so sure my relationship with her was very one-sided, but we did seem to be different in some very subtle ways. I think we both have some addictive tendencies (relationship/love addiction, alcohol/tobacco, etc.) too.

      I’m moving forward, working on me, preparing myself to be the best I can

  7. Unfortunately its true about one sided friendships – they suck the life out of you. You come across a charmer who makes you feel like caring for them. However in the end all you do is care and all thye do is take. There is no reciprocal feeling. I have nothing to gain from this but have allowed myself to go through this frustrating experience for a year, but when you confront them they cannot see any issues with their behaviour or provide a myriad of excuses for their actions. Sometimes its best to leave such people to their own resources and take care of number 1. It maynot be easy but it has to be done.

  8. Important stuff, Debra. Thanks for helping people identify unhealthy behaviors!

    Will be sharing this post with the Future Marriage University (FMU) community!

  9. very well put forth, Debra. This does help..I myself have been in a relationship for over 7 years..on-off types..it was good for initial 1year but then she started loosing interest like getting bored ..at that moment i accepted to go ahead and thought it to be minor fluctuation..but then she started taking me for granted and started ignoring me..i still kept accepting it for another one year..this moment i was like trying to hold her..assume things to be fine when they were not..she started telling me open lies..finally we broke up.she blocked me..i also lost interest gradually..forcing myself to hate her..then after a long gap of 2 long years..she pings me and was like “you are the only one..marry me etc etc..i have been following you”..I cudnt ignore her at this moment(I wish I had..i had control then)..i thought she wuld have understood her mistake….we started meeting again as friends..and more gradually..
    she was like..marry me marry me..for 1year..but i was cautious and bit afraid..though i was hell attracted to her..after observing her for 1yr I decided to say her Yes for marriage..THAT moment she ditched again and i was trapped! then on she was unreachable..unavailable..i kept trying..she came back whenever she felt like and left again..said whatever came to her mind-“I have never loved u..i come only because you want me too..you don’t have self-respect”..all this ignorance and insecurity over a long period of time started draining my confidence, composure..everything!! but she had no reply..”its your problem”..I was hell frustrated and requested her to never come back..stop exploiting me!.. she said ok fine..i also wana tell you one thing “I had a boyfriend for 1yr in between”..I feel shattered and soo foolish and used..now she is marrying another guy. lols

  10. By another guy i mean a new guy..I know i can not accept her now..but feel wasted..I was completely committed to her, planned up everything as per her even when she said don’t…and in 10-20 days she is like..i never loved you..I am absolutely in love with new guy i m marrying to!..I was obsessed.

  11. im in a boring one sided relationship, where my girlfriend just want things to be done her way only. she talks when she wants, does things when she wants, im just bored, any tip or advice for me

  12. Debra, I’m wondering how this applies to those of us who are dating a single parent… I’ve been seeing a man for three months now. We live thirty minutes apart. The first month we were both invested, he made to time see me, and vice versa, we texted and had phone dates on the weeks we couldn’t see each other face to face. Since then there’s been a shift. He has a young son and is trying to focus on him. I love that he’s so invested in his son, but at what point should I move on if I feel like I’m constantly putting more effort into our relationship and getting nothing back?

  13. Oh, Man! Did I ever have to read this!!! I am in tears now! This is me right now, and it hurts so much! It truly does. I am used to be alone and finally, finally, I let my guard down and fooled around and fell head over heels in love; I have never felt like this in all my 40 plus years! Is it supposed to hurt? His actions just seemed so one sided to me. He got sick this week and I have been losing sleep and crying over him and praying and he finds out he is okay and I told him how I felt on his answering machine to make him feel better; this man has been acting like a royal jerk today!!! I let my guard all the way down today and I feel so, so let down! I find this article and now I cannot stop crying! This is me! In a nutshell…this is me!!! My heart is so broken right now, I just hate that I let my feelings be known! I am tired of crying so, I am going to just give it to the Lord! Gotta stop crying though!!! It will stop soon!

  14. She was a very good friend of mine…since six years. But in the last two years, we are facing many problems when I told that I love her. She does not want a relationship. I do. I never wanted friendship. She always did. She does not want to lose me either. Neither do I. We are not able to find a way out for this. Please help us.

  15. What a revelation of ones life, and one has been thinking. how do I define this kind of relationship, which somehow gets difficult to break. I have been is such a relationship for two years now, and in the process I have been a giver, emotionally, financially and materially. two cars are in his hands and he is not paying a cent towards them. Whenever I want to come out of the relationship he will sweet-talk me for that moment and I will fall into the same old trap. its so draining, but what really give me a challenge is how I feel about him, he simply intoxicate me, whenever we hug I don’t feel him, its like we just become one, no barriers ,we make a maddening love ,well it could be twice a month. I don’t stay with him he is a single parent of four. still praying for a miracle to find a way of slipping away if it all.

    1. Author

      I know what you’re saying, Adzi- but not everything that feels good is good for us. This is less about a “miracle” and more about a “choice”- choosing God’s best for your life, and walking toward that. It’s not easy and I don’t say that lightly, but moving out of draining relationships and into relationships that are fulfilling and mutually responsive is part of a better story God has for your life. The more you believe you are worth better, the easier it will be to move forward. I pray that God fills you with His truth about who you are and how much you are loved by Him. Thank you for your honest story! I appreciate you sharing your heart.

    1. Author

      Jo, you’re totally not alone. I think this can be the hardest part of relationships for some people. Our past can have a huge impact on who we believe we are, and we have to realize that so much of our identity is rooted in what people have said and done- instead of what GOD has said and done. Learning to love ourselves starts with believing that He loves us!!!!!!! I wish I could say more, but if you’re interested check out chapter 2 & 3 of True Love Dates about getting rid of the false labels and identifying with God’s truth!!

  16. Hello Debra,

    Since i started following your posts, i have made tremendous progress in my relationship, and i bless God for you. I had all the signs i was in a wrong relationship but finally had the courage to trust in God and break it off after 5 years.
    I currently met a young man i am attracted to about a month ago but i just want to take it slow, how ever i keep wondering how fast is fast. I always wonder how long does it take to get to know one is ready to start a committed relationship after.
    Please respond, thanks.

    1. Author

      Wow, what an amazing story!! I’m so glad to hear it. Have you had a chance to read True Love Dates about moving through emotional and physical boundaries? I would check chapter 7, 8, as well as chapter 10 about the seasons! Lots of good info there regarding your questions. I’m so happy to hear your story.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing, I can’t tell you how much I needed this!!

  18. I have been in a one sided relationship for a few months now, and I’m not stupid, I’m going to dump her. I have confronted her about it but she says I’m demanding and needy, that’s what they all say when you confront them. One thing that I have leaned I’m life is to trust your instincts like a 4 year old. If someone is dating you and they don’t text you, or call you and you always have to be the one who initiates conversations, don’t fool yourself, they do not love you. Love yourself enough to leave them and find someone who will love you. It will be hard at first but you will look back one day and be proud and glad that you did it for yourself, and they will look back and think you loved yourself too much to be treated like you are nothing. Thank you.

  19. I stumbled yet upon another inspiring website that keeps my head screwed on straight. i often hear the phrase, “you teach someone how to treat you”. How do you teach someone you won’t accept certain behaviors without leaving everytime. It seems that method would create a real roller coaster relationship. I was in a relationship that lasted 14 years largely because I loved and forgave. He did treat me well at times, and like crap at times. How much imperfection is reasonable to tolerate? But mainly how do you “change” a person to treating you better without major drama and break-ups?
    On another subject. A reader stated “once a cheater, always a cheater”. Maybe in the case of habitual sex addicts or the like. But some people cheat only one time in their life. So that statement is not always true, I am living proof of that. So I know.

  20. I am in a one sided relationship. Or I was, I don’t really know. She’s broken up with me twice already and I’ve been stupid enough to let her control me so far. Now, I am only 16, and she is 18, and we’ve only been dating for two months, so I can see how you could judge me. Go ahead and judge. But I have invested so many hours, days of my own time for her. I’d been battling her depression, doing everything I can to help her. She doesn’t realize how much I have given up for her. She even recently came clean to me about ‘doing things’ with one of my best friends while we were separated. She begged me to take her back, saying how awful she felt. I was stupid enough to take her back. I guess maybe I’m just afraid of losing her because I don’t want to be alone and I love her with all my heart. But I have been so blind as to what she’s doing with me. She’s playing games with me. I am nothing but her toy. It is the worst feeling in the world, the absolute worst, to know that someone you love so much is just throwing you around like that. Especially when they had told you countless times before that they love you. But you just know that can’t be true. Someone who loves you would never, EVER, under any circumstances, do this to you. If you’re on this page, we all know why you’re here. You aren’t alone, we all know it hurts. It hurts a lot, and my only advice to you, although I am probably much younger than you, is to cut and run while you have the chance. And I know that can be the hardest thing you may ever do, because of the way you feel, but believe me. It’s for the best. I’m still trying to work up the strength to just completely end things between her and I. I can’t even explain how hard it is. It sucks. I know. I feel your pain. Just hang in there, and think to yourself, “Why am I doing this? What is it that’s making me stay with her? Besides the fact that I love her, what does she have that I need so much, why am I staying with her?” And be honest with yourself when you answer that. Really, think about it. Like I said, it’s the worst pain in the world and the hardest thing to do. But it’s either you do it now, or you live with that until either she/he breaks things off with you, or you get sick and tired of living like that and put a gun to your head. Please. Do not let that happen. I’m telling you right now before this goes on any more. There is a way out of this. You just need to stop to re-evaluate your relationship. Things can be better for you. So just think about what I said. We’ll all be here at some point in our lives. It’s all learning experiences. Try to take the initiative to make things better for yourself.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this if you did, though I doubt very many people will. But if you want to talk about this particular subject, you can email me at tony_kamar99@yahoo.com I would be glad to help you out. Like I said, hang in there. We will all make it out okay (:

  21. Hi Debra I have a few questions,
    First off I’m only 17 and about to end my junior year in high school. I don’t know how you feel about dating that young or whatever but hopefully you can still help me. So for over a year now I’ve been dating a guy who is an amazing person. Our relationship has always been great but just the last couple of months though he has not been texting or calling and seems less interested in spending time at school. I asked him about it and he said he did not find it important to talk outside of school and that those conversations often took a lot of effort. I know he did not always feel this way. After saying those things he said we should talk about it later but hasn’t brought it up again or changed in any way. So i suppose I am suddenly in a one-sided relationship. But your article did not help much. Here’s answers to your questions

    Why is it that you allow for this kind of interaction to be a part of your life?
    I didn’t. He was the one who pursued me for about a year before we dated and in the beginning I felt he cared more deeply about our relationship than I did. He used to be so sweet and always want my attention and to know how I was and then out of the blue that ended. I don’t know what the next step is.

    Why don’t you believe that you deserve better?
    Looking around at the other guys my age I’m not sure how I attracted one so great. I never deserved him

    What are you afraid of?
    I have no idea what is going on in his head. Which is scary because I don’t know how to respond to his lack of effort in the relationship

    What continues to fuel your desire to remain in a relationship that gives you so little, when you could open yourself up to receiving so much more?
    I love him. And the past two years he has given so much. How do I know if this is a bump in the road or time to end things?

  22. Wow for the fist time in my whole life felt like this article was talking directly to me.. but it’s not easy.. am married to a military guy, when he comes home dinner it’s ready. After diner he goes to sleep all day to wake up at 8 and go back to sleep at 9pm; the only time he kept awake was when we got a tv home he stood up till 9:20pm. We got distant to each other since everytime we argue he doesn’t care to fix the problem.. I have address the problem with him and he has admitted that he takes me for granted yet doesn’t do anything about it.. he doesn’t communicate it’s our main problem and am getting tired of always thinking how to fix. Because I don’t want us to stay mad; The truth it’s not me we argue for the same issue and he doesn’t care to fix them. Leaving him it’s the last thing I want to. But he doesn’t seem to want us, even though he says he doesn’t want to loose me.

  23. I don’t know what to do my boyfriend sees our relationship as one sided. I want to be with him tomorrow would be a year. Its easier to pour my feelings out into the open with him but he always tells me I only care about myself. Also have terrible mood swings and I hate that it gets in the way of our relationship. It hurts to see him hurt. What should I do?

  24. I am with someone I have known over 40 years. High school sweethearts, went our own ways 25 years. Reconnected in 2001,best friends, talking about anything and everything ,did a couple of trips together, never slept together but hugged and kissed. In 2013 we actually became a couple in a relationship, very passionate,loving. As time has gone on, the affection ,intimacy, sex, has slowly gone,as it does sometimes. My concern is I moved in with him 10 months ago, sex is almost non existing, he does not reach out for me it is mostly initiated by me! He does not cuddle with me in bed anymore. He just had sex with me for the first time in 6 months. He has not touched me in 6 months,what used to be is gone! I feel like the best friend and roommate. . I have shared this with him many times. He does not see all I feel and see. Then comes back to say ” I get and understand what you are saying, let’s talk and fix
    this. ” Nothing ever happens or changes.. I am very hurt, resentful, not feeling the love I use to. I joke about having my own bedroom and sleeping there cause I sleep alone most of the time anyway as he stays up half the night watching TV and sleeping on the couch. It hurts! I am making an appointment with a counselor cause I don’t know how to feel. . It shouldn’t matter that he has been a single person for 15 + years .. you still need to show affection for the person you love, especially if you want it in return.! It’s the daily things ,just little things that make us feel loved. I am a very affectionate person, but have really become cold and less affectionate and loving because of this relationship that is unemotional, non-affectionate, loss of communication. We used to talk for hours and hours! None of what he said do I see. I have loved this man since I was 17.. honestly. I cry every day. I feel like I’m not important at all… he is a doer,maybe his way of saying that he loves me and shows affection. .?

  25. So I’ve been in this relationship with my girlfriend for let’s say about a month now, I feel like we’re in a one sided relationship.

    I’m always the one that texts her first, she won’t start a conversation if I don’t start one with her first.

    Even when we’re together in lunch together in school there’s this silence every time a conversation ends

    I feel like I can fix this, I don’t want to give up on her, but reading this article, I might just give up than fixing this

  26. My partner and I have been together for going on 6 years now, and has cheated on me three times that Iknow of. I find myself always taking them back and trying to work through things and for a while they seem to work and then everything fall back apart now I find my partner is insensitive,Lack of Caring About Me, Argumentative, Angery, Shows Lack of Loving Acts or Words
    I feel I am No Longer Someone Special or Important And their is No Sex . I love my partner and was willing to do what ever I had to make it work.. I feel like im in the wrong for wanting to give up. I dont know what to do

    1. Me too, I have no idea what I’m doing. I think my partner of 14 yrs is having some sort of online affair. He has a history of doing this with his past wife and fiancé. I love so much and expect so little in return in the past. But now I want love, respect and at least some attention. How confusing is it all? I became so distraught the I am now on anti depressants and feeling like I have given up. I feel second rate, he laughs at me when we are in the shops and I get along with the ‘check out chick’ like what I have to say is ridiculous. EVERYONE, other than him,likes my personality, I can speak to anyone with confidence so long as he is not around. He has an ability to drain me of any confidence. I love the good times, but sadly, they are few and far between. When he is in a good mood, He is an amazing person to be around, but this doesn’t last very long. Sex too, is very infrequent,any affection is started by me. I don’t know how to help you or me. We are too loving and accepting even if it is at our expense. I can’t find help anywhere (all my friends and family are in qld and im in nsw) so if you’ve discovered a way to make your life better……..please share. I would really appreciate it.

  27. Ive been married for 6 years
    we had alot in common, we loved rock/metal.
    we had both come from bad homes and relationships
    and we both didint have family that gave a shit bout us.

    I helped her out of her deep depression and anxiety, i showed her many joys of life.
    we had a party kind of relationship for the first 2 years. we were loyal and was never tempted,
    always honest with eachother. things was at their best but ( From day one i have been doing everything.)

    every date we had id plan out, how much for the meal, how much for the bus
    would we make it on time etc. which was fine at first, but when we lived together.
    i came to realize that without me, everything would fall apart.’ every paycheck i have to sperate among the bills we gotta pay etc, i always have to call n make payment arrangments. she never dose ever. i ask her to help me “Hun can u please clean up the kitchen a bit?” she says ” Ok, i will in a bit” days go by untill i end up doing it. she always has and excuse for anytime i ask her to help with important stuff. and when we argue about it she shuts off to me and cries, i have to talk to her like a child almost, just to get a point across, its been this way for almost 2 years now.
    I’ve tried talking to her in the nicest way possible, i clean the house, do the errans, manage our finacial situation, and i try my best to listen and care for her. but i feel so un happy and un appreciated, i love her so much. but i feel things are never gonna change

  28. i dated a guy in 2011,i loved him with my all but he never care about me, he does not call or text and no support of any kind. he broke up with me in 2012 with the reason that, the parents never wanted him to marry from my tribe.i went through hell for so long. i tried dating but it non of my dates work because my for boyfriend was still occupying my heart. He came back for reconciliation and because of the fear that i might not be able to luv any man like i have loved him, i accepted him back after series of explanations.he told me that he lied and that the parents were not against my tribe and that he promise to be a better person.it is a year now since we reconcile and his attitude is not getting any better.he told me that if i do not call him then he will not call,no financial or emotional support,he does not care a bit about me and i am dying inside.i complain and he told that is him,i can not change him and that i have two options, either to accept him the way he is or leave his life.i feel emotionally abused but my heart is so glued to this guy that i at times get scared that i might not be able to do anything without him in my life.please help me else my brains are exploding. thank u.

  29. Omg I know this but I guess I needed to read it. I hate I’m always the giver. My relationships always take from me and here I go again. Says he loves me and wants a future with me but he is there and I am here yet I’m the one doing all the work even in conversation. If I don’t bring us up, or moving together or our future it never comes up. It hurts to realize I’m in this yet again but I know what I need to do. Why is it hard to do it? I know what I deserve and I love who I am as a person. I’m not insecure. But I guess I love hard and I have big faith. I could say that is my weakness. I always hope… And I shouldn’t. I can’t just break up with him but I can stop doing all the work. If a man really wants to be with you, live with you, have a life with you, he will make it happen…. Especially if he knows you are ready. Ugh! Men!!!!!! I feel after this relationship, if we don’t make it, I’m done trying. You can only start over so many times and Ladies, pay attention………. Don’t get your heart involved until your mind, body and his actions tell you he had earned your love and respect for him!

  30. I’m always the giver, too. I always give a lot in the beginning, and end up getting dumped in less than a year. This has been going on since I was 26 and had my first love, and now I’m 41 and was dumped a few months ago by yet another jerk. I don’t believe any man has ever loved me, nor do I believe that any of them ever will. I seem to be a jerk magnet, when what I want more than anything is to be loved by a guy who will give back and commit to a relationship just as much as I do. But it never happens. I’m always alone, because no one has ever been sincere with me. The last guy used me for sex and as an emotional dump for his loneliness issues–until someone better came along and then he married her within a couple of months and told me to get lost! What’s more, I really cannot believe I deserve any better; I’m not attractive and there is definitely something wrong with me if I can’t attract a better class of men than what I get. I’m having to painfully accept the fact that I will be alone forever; I’m not even willing to try anymore. Never will I allow myself to hurt like this again.

  31. Its hard i cant make someone to love me until i love myself. I feel you. I’m so soft and humble too and my husband took advantage of
    me for that.

  32. This is mind blowing.
    I can’t thank you enough Debra.
    Enough of the one sidedness to my relationship.

  33. I’ve been in a one-sided relationship for not very long (8 months). But In this short of time he were able to hurt me in any way you can imagine. And I couldn’t see clear. He cheated. I broke up with him, but he got me back. He said he’ll change but he treated me like I’m not allowed to express my feelings. He told me I was selfish to make him listen to my feelings, when I felt hurt by him. He could only see through his eyes. And he made me jealous on purpose.
    I never felt like THE ONLY ONE for him. And I think both must feel that way in a relationship. It still hurts but I finally got it and broke up. It was the best choice I could make.

  34. I have been in a one sided relationship for 11 months, we hit it off perfectly, then 3 months into relationship he bought a house. It has been 8 months and he hasnt asked me over. I took him to Las Vegas for his birthday 2 weeks ago, he texts me but doesnt iniatiate us spending time together. He avoids my calls or texts when i start to push for better

  35. Im a boy 23 years old and I think our relationship right now is one sided. Im in a relationship for almost 4 years. She was perfect when we met. I gave all possible efforts and love a boyfriend can give to her girl. Our relationship for me is awesome. We laughed together and cried together. But now, I tried to be strong and understand her in every situation but I failed. I did not stop putting an effort in our relationship but right now, I want to feel some efforts from her. I want to feel that she will do anything just for me. That i need also some efforts from her.

  36. thando

    im dating an older guy than me.its been 3 years now .i love him so much but i think its a one sided relationship.we live in the same area but we dont see each other often.that hurts me because i want to spend more time with him.i tried to put some sence to him but he says he likes spending time alone.if it happens that we are together he hardly talks he is only nice when we make love .no cuddling nothing.i dont think he loves me .we dont even go out .it is so hurting and draining me .sometimes i want to quit but i love him deeply

    please help me

  37. Please look up Narcissist . All those terrible traits could be a Personality Disorder that only gets worse. Check it out, then get out. I wasted 30 years of my life.

  38. Excellent article on one way relationships. However more focus needs to be given to those who are the greatest victims, Men. I liken the situation to a doctor in the ER who has a patient with multiple serious medical problems. The doctor must decide which ones are the most serious. In terms of one way relationships men are by far more victimized. Just ask yourself what does society require as to who is to be the first one to initiate a relationship? Answer Men i.e. Can I buy you a drink, Can I have the next dance with you etc. etc. Though there are times when the woman is the victim, if we do not concentrate on helping men first there will not be any men left to be givers to women. Anthony in LA

  39. It’s funny because I’ve been in a relationship for about 11 years worth this guy and it seems like there has only been about a handfull of times that I can truly say thatI’ve been happy… an yes there a children involved which makes me even sadder however I’ve noticed that I’m the one who is always forgiving or forgetting something that is done to me I also noticed that even though I do this he always is causing problems I’m so frustrated with the whole relationship it makes me not want to even continue our relationship he’s never wrong he’s always mr right at the same time my daughter is getting older and I’m starting to feel like I’m not setting a good example for what they should want in a man … when I tried to talk to him he don’t want to hear me but if he wants to talk I’m to listen and if I don’t it is a Huge fight ….. at this point I don’t know own what to.do but I feel like he should go at.the same time he is one of those if u want me out call the cops or call ur family type of dude…. I feel like I have put up with enough of the nonsense an it is time for me an mine to get what god wants to give us……but I don’t know how to do this at all

  40. In response to your comment. Dont give up on your own happiness. You do deserve it. Take a step back, breathe. Get your pride back. Get what you want. Take it. Scrape it out. Do whatever it takes. You are not ugly. You are not unwanted. If you need proof, we will run an experiment. Confidence is sexy and you should consider rebuilding and rediscovering yours. You are a good person, and a winner and you arent letting losers deprive you of what your heart desires. You are amazing and you won’t settle.

  41. Actually if you can delete the above lengthy comment and just give everyone who is hurting my Love and Prayers I’d be grateful❤️ Thank you so much!

  42. i feel like my man is the most amazing guy i have ever had a relationship with. we have been togethor for 19months, whenever we are in person – he treats me well with 100% attention, devotion, passion and great gentleman manners. when i talk or ask him things he listens kindly without jumping to self defence or to make me bow to him, (which i have found to be rare amongst men i have dated so far in my life).so when we arent togethor, which can be anywhere from 1/2 weeks to 6 weeks as we live 3.5 hrs distance from each other- , so opininons please – if knowing the above info – does lack of phone calls from him stretch to a week and currently a week and a half, (*a minor few texts sent) – does this constitute a one sided relationship? or just a lack of patience on my behalf? i really miss him and want to talk regularly with him. not expecting every five min of every day, just five min call every 3-4 days at least(will take more if given of course) i have had the courage to ask him my needs a couple of days ago and he seemed pleasantly obliging, but yet to see in action. so fingers crossed/wish me luck, because the latter four days of the week and a half had reached my threshhold = total meltdown, missing him and feeling shutout of his life! made me feel onesided that i love him more than he must love me. its a horrible feeling

  43. I love this Article,thanks so much. I am in love with someone but he changed,he believes that every girl that comes to him is because of his money. For real I love him but I have to let go now even after the whole respect and been submissive. It hurts

  44. This has recently been the subject of the matter, and I feel horrible that my lover insists that the relationship is one sided. I have tried countless times to change to what he wants me to be but it’s made me feel much more horrible than it has to and I feel devastated. I love him and all but he’s been accusing me lately about all the things he doesn’t like that I do and I’ve never done that to him. It’s been over a year in the relationship and I’ve tried to care for him, I tell him that I’m here for him but then it’s just not what he expects. He feels he puts all the effort and everything he can into it but I’m also doing my part. Am I really doing bad at changing that it just comes to a relationship dying?

  45. My first relationship has just ended and it was one sided relationship. I was friend with the guy for a year then he found the opportunity of taking my virginity. I was in love with him but he told me that he is not interested in relationship so it didn’t go on but we still stayed close friends because we were in the same squad. Of course I was still in love with him and one night we were in Italy trip and I got drunk and we had sex again and I was hopeful this time. We continued for months but it was never a fully relationship. It was full of uncertainties. I really loved him. Summer break happened. He never messaged me except for replying some of my messages. But I didn’t make a big deal out of it so when we came back, it started all over again. He told me that he always liked me and he is loyal to me. He thinks that I am an amazing girl. He was staying over my place. We were going on dates. Things started to get really good until he had to go back to his country because he failed on his exams but temporally. His mood changed and he started acting weird again. He would sometimes act like I do not exist. He would try to stay away from me in public. And the he left to his country. He wasn’t talking to me. He didn’t even reply my messages. At the end I clearly told him that I thought we were more than just physical and he was the one who told me to communicate more because we both don’t like talking about our feelings. His answer was truly heart breaking. He said he was drunk when he told me he really like me and all the other stuff. And he said he doesn’t want any romantic relationship with anyone. I got hurt. I was giving all the care to this relationship anyway but I always thought he actually feels because he would be so nice to me when we were alone. So I ended right away. I said he is too afraid of love that he would rather be miserable. I’m crying every night because I still love him but I can’t be with him becaus he is not afraid of hurting me whereas I would do everything not to hurt him. He’ll be back soon but I have to stay strong not to let him into my life again.

  46. I’m struggling with the same issues in my relationship with my man soon to be x I had to go on this website to read and understand why I have put up with so much bs, I always have made him 1st and make sure all his needs are met when all he does is tell me that I owe him and that I’m the selfesh one he even pays his kids moms half portion of rent stating that its his kids rent and takes them groceries when. He doesnt do this at home, how blind ive been him telling me I’m the devil and that my truck belongs to him for everything he’s done for me, when I say what has he done for me I now have opened my eyes to see that he is selfesh and have to end this relationship no matter how much it hurts for my children and me.. Please give me advice, thanks

  47. I was in this same boat for 18 years. I compromised and totally lost myself. I had two beautiful children so I stayed longer in the marriage but he cheated and got caught and I kicked him out. He never came back to talk to me about it, he is just gone, he has stayed out of my and the kids lives. Just like that, it broke and still breaks my heart. So by his actions the marriage is over. It is the hardest experience and emotional pain I have ever felt and am going thru but in reading this I think I am worth more and to be valued is my gift from God and I shouldn’t have to downgrade myself or settle. I had this dream where all my husband, soon the be ex, gave me was apples, sometimes half eaten. I loved the apples but then asked him for an orange. I told him where to find the orange, how to grow them or buy them and how to give them. He refused and said this is what I have take it or leave it, then I woke up. I realize that if one person is giving and one person is taking it is one sided but what if you ask for something different and they can not give it or refuse? I see how that is another form of one-sidedness too. He didn’t choose to try or maybe is just incapable of it. It’s sad that I believed working at a marriage is worth it all with someone who does not believe the same. I see how I was doing all the work and when I stepped into the light and said I deserve equally what I give or i would like something different, he bounced out without looking back. I guess this is my writing on the wall, my sign that this ending is right. Right?

  48. I am in 12 year relationship and had always been in love and committed to him for all of those years without question. I asked him when we would marry several times a year, with the same vague response every time, along with the question of when we would have kids, same response there too. Me longing for marriage and a family and constantly dodging questions of when the big day would happen. I felt so unwanted at times. I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t marriage materiAl, I felt so ugly and below standard. It wasn’t until I got so upset after asking him about marriage this last time when he said he was already planning to get a ring this week, that he got irritated that I asked him, not knowing of his plans; or believing them, that he started telling me (loudly) because he asked me to let the dogs out and I waited ten minutes. He came out of the room irate sayin: I don’t do anything!I don’t help him, I don’t clean, he takes care of me basically. Keep in mind our house is always tidy, we have no kids, dog fur here and there, but we have a rumba. I helped him pay off our mortgage and helped him get his current job where I work. After this argument, I left to my sisters. He pleaded me to come back and I eventually did. He seems to have become more attentive and loving and now( never had before) calls me beautiful, but I can still see his old side sometimes, and his lack of respect for things that I do for him. Bottom line he annoys me a lot quicker than before because I’m just not able to pretend I’m okay with the things I would put up with before no matter how small. Should I stay or should I go is constant in my mind. I love him but am I making the right decision?

  49. For Anthony…

    I understand that men initiate. They are born hunters though fail to realise that there some women who are too. We all too often let the man ‘lead’ his actions, his intentions his thoughts..we accept this as the norm and our complacency lends us to become secondary to his needs. I am strong minded, compassionate, faithful and want a man to see me for who and what I am not some princess he can pick up and drop at a moments notice. I guess being a victim in any situation is not a choice, it’s a deep seated past that will be there always if no root cause analysis us looked at. Yes I’ve been hurt we all have its not nice..we cry, we ponder we make ourselves crazy with it. What I think and feel is we all know when our true soul reflection is there. It will happen. When you get a twinge of “this doesn’t feel right”..then your inner self is telling you to steer clear. It’s only our ego from past hurts that keeps us going to ‘fix’ it. Fix ourselves first..become strong, have fun and laughs…if he or she is not right for us..we are wasting our energy and love of ourselves to find the true one that will compliment us. Yes it’s hard I know that only too well. I’ll find him one day but I’m not frantically doing myself a diservice in the process. Why if someone is hurting us do we want to hurt ourselves even more.

  50. I’ve found that I’m so full of love to give but my boyfriend of 9 yrs isn’t very affectionate.. we were good friends for almost 2 yrs before we got hot & heavy and he was always loving, thoughtful and affectionate… then just about a yrs ago he decided to join a motorcycle club and things are Definitely not the same.. this lack of affection from him and the fact that I no longer feel like a priority to him has made me grow cold… but I still can’t picture my life without him in it.. men wonder why women grow cold and emotionless… most of the time it’s due to lack of passion and loving intimacy.. to be honest.. I no longer feel like I’m a lovable person. I’ve become prudish and I feel as if anything he tells me is B.S. If I left due to his lack of affection he wouldn’t care.. he’d have no sleepless nights, no guilt, no shame and all around wouldn’t give a damn.. but still.. I stay.. hoping he’ll put more effort. Hoping I’m still worth the effort

  51. Hi. I have been with a man going on 9 yrs. Starting late 40s. Living together 8. Our life was very good. Lots of time spent together. Some ups and downs with his drama outside is us but got through it. He sold his condo and we lived in his motorhome for awhile. Best quality time we had even when both working full time. He cooks 99%. We always shared house chores and outside landscaping etc. Were a team in the kitchen dinner breakfast and lunch (weekends for breakfast and lunch. We lived playing music and watching movies and just sitting outside by the fire with wine. We took many road trips north of us to find the perfect property and house to buy. We found it and were happy and best friends. He asked me to marry him. After buying the house and doing major reconstruction he started changing. He is no longer my best friend now in the last two years. He states all the time he has no time but he makes time for friends neighbors and church and himself. He is a slob and doesn’t work with me. He is a politics addick and nasty/negative. We agree on things with the house or example where to build chicken coop and he does the complete opposite. He does and gets what he wants now. Like he’s the king of the castle. Mind you I put $30k down and have paid off almost the $50k MTG and he put down $110k. We both have paid for upgrades – me slighter then him. Things that are important to me fly to the wind now. He is mean, and cuts me down in any way he can find. Upon force I moved into the other bedroom when he demanded that I remove his stuff from our closet and put it in the other bedroom for him stay. Not! I moved my stuff. Recently he said he’s not happy and we need to sell. Like I’m not happy? After an incident and litterally texted him he has a problem and needs to get checked out, or he’s turning into his father with aging and I wasn’t going to submis to it like he said his mother did, he came back with I need to get counselling for both of us. I try and tried to work things out and talk but he gets defensive and walks away. I suggest taking 1 hr per week no TV no news no phone etc to sit down and have talks. Re-route schedule. Answer is no. Get counselling. Is it that this man is a controlling freak and is only good when things go his way and if so why now after buying this house together. Is it now a one sided relationship now and why. Or is it that he feels he’s being told what to do and that is a big fat no no with him. I have learned a little history. Mind you I took off the ring several months ago. The TV and negative news and negative radio talk shows run his life. Its those and neighbors and things he wants to do that he now lives for. He has changed so bad toward me I told his son (age 28) I think he has a brain tumor affecting his personality. He is draining the life out of me. The house on 40 acres in the country was my lifetime dream and took me 52 years to get to. My heart bleads to feel its all going away. What should I do.

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