One-Sided Relationships: Signs, Causes, And Ways To Fix Them

Written by Harini Natarajan

One-sided relationships may seem like a thing of the virtual world, but they are a reality. They could be a toxic relationship to be in and cause heartaches to both the parties in the relationship. They can leave the couple in unrest and may even affect their physical and psychological health.

But how can you know if you are in a one-sided relationship? How can you fix one such relationship to protect yourself from any mental agony? Here, we bring to you everything you need to know about one-sided relationships – their causes, their signs, and how you can fix one such relationship. Keep reading.

What Is A One-Sided Relationship?

A one-sided relationship, as the name suggests, is a relationship where you are the only one trying to make it work. You do not see any reciprocation from the other person. It is not a healthy relationship. It may leave you with a heartbreak, self-doubt, and insecurity. As a wise person once said, relationships are worth fighting for, but you can’t be the only one fighting.

What Causes A One-Sided Relationship?

One-sided relationships can have a number of causes. Differences in communication styles between partners, family histories, distress due to past relationships, or even incompatibilities between partners can cause one-sided relationships.

The first step to fixing a one-sided relationship is knowing that you are in one. The following signs can help.

15 Signs Of A One-Sided Relationship

1. You feel like you are always there for them, but they are never there for you

Parties, celebrations, or any event from your partner’s connections – you are always there. But you always find your partner absent. Apart from social situations, you also are there for your partner when you are down in the dumps. But you don’t see the same from the other end. They don’t seem to care.

2. You’re the only one who invests time and effort in the relationship

You give your time, emotions, energy, and other resources to the relationship. But the other person does not spend enough time to cater to your interests or feelings. They don’t seem to be interested in improving the relationship in any way.

3. You don’t feel secure and have started doubting yourself

You start to wonder if it all were your fault. You wonder if you should have done something (or shouldn’t have done something). Such thoughts have become a common occurrence for you. You have also started to second guess your actions as you never feel secure in the relationship.

4. You have started to give excuses for them to people around you

You want to introduce your partner to the people close to you. But they don’t show up, and you start giving excuses for them. While such excuses for their behavior are leverage to your partner, they don’t even seem to acknowledge.

5. When you think about it, you only experience more negative feelings than pleasant emotions

Look back at your relationship and count the number of times you felt distressed and emotionally exhausted versus the number of times you felt happy, loved, and satisfied. This act of introspection can tell volumes about your relationship.

6. You feel like it’s your fault even if it isn’t

You have started to blame yourself and find faults within you. They also tend to blame you while, in reality, it is not your fault.

7. You are too cautious while talking to them

You start your conversations keeping their temper in mind. You are extremely cautious not to say the wrong thing.

8. You are never able to predict their mood

You never know what to say or do. You may think they want something, but they’ll only prove you wrong. You may think they’re in the mood to joke and laugh, but you will only discover that they want to instead sit alone and lament.

9. You are the one who always mentions the problems in the relationship

You are the one trying to untie the infinite amounts of knots in the relationship, each and every time. And as you seem to untie one, a few more appear, and you end up even more tangled up than before. But your partner has no interest in helping you out.

10. You discuss problems with others rather than with your partner

You would rather sit with a family member or friend than with your partner to discuss how to solve your relationship issues. Because you know that discussing such issues with your partner gets you nowhere.

11. Establishing boundaries sets them off

Boundaries in any relationship are important. They ensure that the relationship is mutually respectful and healthy. But your partner has started breaking them or is throwing tantrums when boundaries are established. You don’t feel quite respected in the relationship.

12. You cannot agree with each other when it comes to important things

You both are at each other’s throats when important decisions are to be made. Neither of you are ready to back off, nor do you show any signs of trying to understand the other.

13. You think you have the power to change or control them

You think you can get them to change. You think you can just force them to be in a manner that you like. You constantly are making attempts to change them. But they seem to only ignore you.

14. Your relationship is either hidden or sugar-coated from your loved ones

You have started to talk about your relationship with your friends and family. You have started to over-sell it as the most perfect relationship in existence. You aren’t honest about your relationship.

15. The relationship has reached a stalemate

The relationship seems to be going nowhere. Neither you nor your partner feels happy with each other. While you may want to try keep your partner happy, they don’t seem to reciprocate. Such behavior also starts affecting the relationship you have with yourself.

These are the signs of a one-sided relationship. Yes, such a relationship is hurtful and can even turn toxic. But fret not – as there are ways to fix it.

How To Fix A One-Sided Relationship

While it may seem hopeless, that’s not always the case. You can fix a one-sided relationship, though that requires a lot of effort.

1. Face reality and ask the right questions.

First and foremost, accept the reality and face it head on. There’s no point denying the problem when it seems tempting to just assume that it doesn’t exist. Accept that there is an issue and decide to acknowledge it.

2. Find out what your deal breakers are through a relationship efficacy scale.

Find an inventory/scale that measures relationship efficacy (one that is legit) and look at the problems that could be arising from your side. If possible, get your partner to try it out as well.

3. Take time to sit and discuss the issues, and be open while discussing.

Take time and sit down to discuss the issues you both are facing. Be open and lay all the cards on the table. Don’t hide anything. It’s your relationship and your life, and you must take it by the reins.

4. Understand that communication is key

This point cannot be stressed enough. Communication is the key that would unlock the answers to your issues. Open communication alone can change your circumstances in a manner that benefits the both of you.

Ways To Deal With A One-Sided Relationship

Nobody wants to be in a one-sided relationship. But you just happen to be on the wrong side of the fence at times. What do you do then? How do you deal with it?

1. Do some introspection

Sit down by yourself and do some soul searching. You’ll most probably find an answer within yourself.

2. Identify the issue

Realize what the problem is. Make sure you know the exact issue and spell it out to your partner.

3. Create a relationship journal by keeping track of your interactions.

Start a diary. Maintain a daily record of your relationship. This will show you the flow of your relationship.

4. Do not arrive at any conclusion through text messages

Never use text messages as a way to decide what happens with your relationship.

5. Understand that your partner can get defensive when you express your discontent

Understand that your partner can get defensive and even shut off when you start to discuss the issues with them. But keep at it. Be calm, but firm, Slowly, but surely, you’re bound to make sense to them.

6. Determine whether your partner is willing to change

You must speak out when their behavior is hurting you or them. You must understand whether they are ready to change. If they are, then it is obvious that they definitely value your opinion. If not, well, that is a sign.

7. Concentrate on a single issue at a time

Don’t rant off about all the issues in your relationship. Take it one step at a time.

8. Regain your concept of self

Get your joy and your sense of self-worth back when it’s not your fault.

9. Decide on a course of action

Decide on where to go and what to do next. Make a plan and stick to it.

10. Seek assistance

Seek help when you think you don’t know what to do next. Reach out to your friends, family, or a professional helper.

11. Practice forgiveness and letting go

Forgiveness is a gift you give to both yourself and your partner. Learn to forgive and let go of the past to make way for the present.

Red Flags To Watch Out For

Here are the most common red flags to look out for. Keep an eye out for them and take measures right at the beginning.

  1. You’re the only one trying to keep the relationship going.
  2. Your partner’s priorities are way different from yours.
  3. You’re stuck making excuses for them all the time.
  4. Your partner seems to solely control the relationship.

While it is possible to fix a one-sided relationship, you also must know when to end it.

When To End A One-Sided Relationship

It is time to end a one-sided relationship when you’re the only one putting in the effort and doing all the emotional, mental, and physical work to make the relationship work. You know you are only exhausting your resources into fixing the relationship, but to no avail. A bridge is built from both sides, and you can’t be the only one building it forever.


While there’s a lot of information here, do take it with a grain of salt. Not everyone’s relationship is one-sided. Even if yours is, try to communicate more often and just chill with each other. Sometimes being there for each other easily fixes problems. Remember that if the feelings are mutual, the effort will be equal.

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As Chief Editor, Harini sets the tone and editorial direction for StyleCraze to deliver engaging, interesting, and authentic content revolving around women's health, wellness, and beauty. She has over 14 years of experience in content writing and editing for online media. She specializes in the areas of Beauty, Lifestyle, and Health & Wellness and is proficient in Medical Sciences (Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Biochemistry). Her background in Biomedical Engineering helps her decode and interpret the finer nuances of scientific research for her team. Harini is a certified bibliophile and a closet poet. She also loves dancing and traveling to offbeat destinations.