7 Red Flags of a One-Sided Relationship


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Great relationships aren’t about give and take, they’re about give and give.

We’ve ALL been in a relationship at one point where we put in more effort than our partner. Loved them more. Cared for them more. Gave more of ourselves…and didn’t want to admit it for far too long.

Maybe we didn’t even realize it until the relationship ended, or until we met someone who matched our efforts.

Or maybe we did see it, but we turned a blind eye.

Whether you want to avoid another experience like this, or you’re trying to figure out if this is the space you’re in now, here are 7 red flags that your relationship is dangerously one-sided:

1: You’re always the one who’s apologizing.

Part of living a life of integrity is admitting when you’re wrong – which ALL of us are sometimes, especially when it comes to relationships.

When we enter into a relationship, we’re taking on the responsibility of someone else’s wellbeing in our lives, and that requires an elevated standard of conduct that benefits not just ourselves, but the person that we love.

When we fall short in this area, admitting it and fixing it is how we move things forward.

If your partner never takes responsibility for their own actions or always finds a way to place the blame on you, it’s a clear sign that you’re willing to invest at levels that they are not.

2: You’re always the one making plans.

It’s easy for relationships to get stale over time if we don’t keep the excitement alive. Date nights, weekend adventures, even just cooking something new at home and sharing in the experience…

When we’re with someone we’re excited about, we want to live a full life alongside of them. Explore, discover, spread our wings…

If you think back on the past few months of your relationship and you realize that without the plans you suggest, there would just be blank space, it’s a red flag that they are just passively along for the ride, and a passive partner is not a passionate partner.

3: You’re not considered in their life decisions.

Great relationships aren’t about “me,” they’re about “we.”

Building a life alongside someone means that you’re taking them into consideration when making decisions that affect both of you. If your partner is living their life as if they’re still single, they’re keeping you at an emotional arm’s length.

4: You compromise for them, but not vice-versa.

Time and time again I’ve seen relationships where one of the partners is only happy if everything is going their way. Their friends, their family, their home town…but once they have to compromise for you, the sh*t hits the fan.

The key to compromise is that it’s a two-way street. Otherwise, it’s just you sacrificing everything for them without reciprocation.

Someone who actually cares about you will be flexible to accommodate YOUR wants and needs as well.

5: You keep getting bumped for “other plans.”

Of course it’s important that both partners in a relationship have their own passions, friends, and pursuits. But – being pushed down the list of priorities time and time again starts to make you wonder where exactly you fall on it.

For any relationship to have a shot at lasting in the long term, both people in it need to prioritize each other consistently. Otherwise it’s a breeding ground for resentment and jealousy.

That leads us to the next point…

6: You’re not included in certain parts of their life.

So…it’s been a few months and you’ve still not met their family? Friends? Work pals?

…why might that be?

When you’re serious about integrating someone into your life, that includes all aspects of it. Not only that, they should be PROUD to introduce you to the people they’re closest to once you’ve established that the relationship is moving in a serious direction.

If they’re keeping you from certain parts of their life, they may only be half in and keeping the door open for an easy escape.

Relationships aren’t part time commitments. Either you’re in, or you’re out.

7: They get complacent.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: The romance in a relationship shouldn’t fade after the “honeymoon phase.” In fact, it should increase as your partner becomes a larger and more important part of your life.

If you’re still putting in effort to do the small things for them, be romantic, look good for them on date night, tell them how grateful you are for them…but they’ve stopped trying because they “got you,” the writing is on the wall: They’re taking you for granted.

Getting into a relationship doesn’t mean that you stop trying just because someone has committed themselves to you. In fact, that’s when the real work begins.

That’s when you KEEP showing up for them. That’s when you KEEP their trust. That’s when you EARN their love every day.

If you’re spotting these red flags in your relationship, have a conversation about it. Tell your partner how you feel. Give them a chance to change their actions.

And if they don’t appreciate you, go find someone who will. Life is too short to settle for anything less.

James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach.

Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 38 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.

James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.

1 Comment

  1. Lonstermash Mash on March 17, 2021 at 12:25 am

    100%, and when I have seen these signs with a relationship, I address them (which usually doesn’t work) and bail if they do not improve. I’ll never forget, I was dating someone exclusively 10 years ago (so she was 40, and I was 41), and she felt that it would be much too soon to meet each other’s parents until we had been dating for at least 4 months. To each his own, I guess, but I felt that was a bit too long (I’m more of a 2 to 3 month guy if things are going extremely well, and we’re seeing each other multiple days each week and are exclusive).

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