One-sided Relationship

One-sided Relationship

You may find in a relationship that feels one-sided and your partner doesn’t seem to be as invested into making it work as you are. So, What are your options?

A healthy relationship involves both partners putting in the time and effort to resolve problems and make the most out of their relationship. However, when one partner is unwilling to dedicate the necessary amount of time and energy to a relationship it becomes one-sided. In this case, the other partner is left to deal with all the problems, as well as an unwilling partner. Such relationship can quickly take a toll on the person that is making all the effort and leave them struggling in a situation that is progressively toxic. A one-sided relationship is unhealthy and dysfunctional.

In this article, you will learn What it means to be in a one-sided relationship, the common signs that you are in one and what you can do to get out of it.

What Is a One-sided Relationship?

First, let’s have a look at what One-sided means according to the Merriam-webster dictionary:

1a: (1): having one side prominent : LOPSIDED

(2): having or occurring on one side only

b: limited to one side: PARTIAL

a One-sided interpretation


The only healthy relationship that is One-sided is a relationship with yourself.

A One-sided relationship is unhealthy and the longer it lasts the higher the likelihood it becomes toxic.

Characteristics of a One-sided Relationship

A One-sided relationship can manifest as:

  • One-sided communication
  • Unilateral decision making
  • Not considering the other person

Being in a One-sided Relationship

When you are in a One-sided relationship you struggle to sort out all the problems by yourself. As well as lacking the connection you expect from having a romantic relationship. As a result you may find yourself feeling lonely and frustrated.

The feeling of loneliness comes from the lack of companionship and frustration that comes from you making an effort to do something about it. But, you cannot do it on your own.

The difficulty of a One-sided relationship is that while you keep trying to improve your relationship, nothing seems to make any difference. Which, in turn is frustrating.

What Causes a One-sided Relationship?

A One-sided relationship comes as a result of one partner losing interest in their relationship. The reasons for this lack of interest can be the result of:

  • Arguments
  • Bad communication
  • Misunderstandings
  • Unresolved problems
  • Lack of sex
  • Lack of emotional intimacy
  • Feelings change
  • Nagging
  • Personal goals no longer align
  • Relationship goals are no longer the same
  • Not knowing how to handle their disagreements

Effects of a One-sided Relationship

One-sided relationships can turn into a struggle and lead to many issues to the partner that is still making the effort.

One-sided Relationship Problems

  • It keeps you away from your goals
  • Makes your life miserable
  • You are unsatisfied and unhappy
  • You feel alone, ignored, misunderstood, not cared for, not valued, lost and confused.
  • You are stressed and anxious
  • Your self-esteem goes down

One-sided Sexless Relationship

A one-sided sexless relationship is when one partner doesn’t want to have sex, leaving the other partner with unfulfilled needs. The question is why one partner doesn’t want to have sex.

One-sided Conversation in a Relationship

A one-sided conversation happens when there is a lack of understanding and a lack of interest. e.g. Topics that one person wants to discuss are not something that the other partner wants to talk about.

Signs of a One-sided Relationship

Signs of a One-sided Relationship

  • Feeling emotionally disconnected from your partner
  • Having constant conflicts and arguments
  • Boredom
  • Preference to be with other people rather than your partner. It can be going out with friends or being with someone else romantically

Red Flags of a One-sided Relationship

When a one sided relationship has last a long time, it can be hard to fix. Why would your partner wouldn’t want to spend time with you?

  • Your partner lost interest on being with you
  • Your partner wants to be with someone else
  • Your partner perceives you as too nagging
  • Your partner perceives you as too needy
  • Your partner considers you are too argumentative
  • Your partner is bored in your relationship

How to Fix a One-sided Relationship

  1. Identify why your partner doesn’t want to be with you or talk to you.
  2. Identify what is representing the One-sidedness:
  • Lack of communication
  • Lack of interest to do things together
  • Lack of involvement to solve your issues
  • Lack of sexual interest,
  • Lack of interest to make decisions together

Once, you identify how this One-sided relationship manifest, then you can have a better idea on how to deal with it.

For example, if the One-sided relationship manifest as lack of interest, you can try to make your relationship more exciting.

If this avoidance is cause by constant arguments. By finding the way to improve your communication and resolve your problems and build understanding.

If your sex life is boring try to find the way to spice things up.

If the reason for not wanting to be together is that you or your partner no longer have romantic feelings for one another, consider ending your relationship. At least romantically, as you can still remain friends.

What to do when a relationship is One-sided?

Depending on the reason for the One-sidedness maybe you can just address that aspect of your relationship. Go through every aspect of your relationship to see if there’s a specific area you need to address.

You can attempt to fix your One-sided relationship. But, the minimum requirement is that your partner is willing to work with you and save this relationship. If it’s only one partner who is doing the work to fix it, it just won’t work.

When your partner is unwilling to make any effort to fix your relationship, your only option is to end it.

Ending a One-sided Relationship

A person in a One-sided relationship needs to ask themselves why are they continuing a relationship where they are the only participants.

So, if you find yourself in a One-sided relationship, you need to ask yourself, What is preventing you from ending such relationship?

Leaving a One-sided Relationship

Leaving a relationship is not an easy task emotionally. But, when it’s only you in a relationship trying to make it work. You can hardly call it a relationship.

There’s no point to staying in a relationship where you are the only participant. Staying in a One-sided relationship can be damaging to your personal well-being and self-esteem.

If your partner doesn’t value you and choose to stay with them, in doing so, you are also not valuing yourself. If you find yourself in a One-sided relationship reflect on your self-image and ask yourself if you deserve better.

When to End a One-sided Relationship?

It’s time to end a One-sided relationship when the romantic feelings have faded away. Or when your partner wants to be with you, but is not ready to make an effort to resolve your problems. The latter one is harder to end the relationship as there’s still some chemistry between you. So, one thing you can do is approach it objectively, rather than emotionally.

But, everything else can be fixed, provided both of you are ready to make the effort to make it work.

If you have been together for a long time, you or your partner may start to loose appreciation. As a result the relationship can become boring for both of you. In this case, it’s possible that one of you is more tolerant or committed to be in a relationship no matter what. While your partner may not be willing to do that.

A one sided relationship is possible to fixed if it is a matter to bring some excitement to your relationship or having some personal space. In this example, you still have romantic feelings for each other and want to be together.

How to End a One-sided Relationship?

  1. Recognise that you are in a One-sided relationship, you can use the signs mentioned in this article to help you.
  2. Identify the aspect of your relationship that is One-sided
  3. Try to understand how your relationship came to that
  4. Talk to your partner to see if they are willing to work with you, hear you out, recognise your feelings and address the issues.
  5. Provided your partner is willing to work with you, see if the problems you have are something it can be fixed.
  6. If you are not sure on how to fix your relationship, consider getting professional help.

Moving on from a One-sided Relationship

You may decide to leave your relationship because it had become One-sided and there’s nothing you can do to fix it. In this case, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on your relationship to see how it got to the point of being one sided and what part you played in it.

It is also great to keep the communication open with your partner to ask them for a constructive feedback to ask them their point of view. This can give you an idea how you and your behaviour are perceived by a romantic partner.

Knowing these things will show you the areas of yourself that you could improve and avoid making the same mistakes, so you can have a healthier future relationships.


A One-sided relationship doesn’t happen overnight, it develops gradually over time. This can make it difficult to identify the point when it is only one partner interested in the relationship.

You know it’s time to pay attention and take an action to create a change when you feel lonely, unhappy, miserable and frustrated in your relationship.

To avoid finding yourself in a One-sided relationship that cannot longer be fixed try to work on your communication, express yourselves and hear each other out and address the issues as soon as they arise.

You can only fix a One-sided relationship if you and your partner are willing to work together. Otherwise, it is unhealthy to continue in such relationship.

Getting Help with a One-sided Relationship

Tips on How to Deal with a One-sided Relationship

  • Avoid a relationship where only you are interested
  • If you find yourself in a One-sided relationship try to deal with it as soon as possible
  • Talk to your partner to see if they are willing to fix your relationship or if it’s time to end it and move on

If you don’t know how to deal with a One-sided relationship and need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my relationship one-sided?

Your relationship is one-sided if your partner is avoiding spending time with you, isn’t contributing to your relationship and isn’t making an effort to fix the problems in your relationship.

What happens when a relationship is one-sided?

It becomes unhealthy for your personal development and well-being and as a relationship.

How to handle a one-sided relationship?

Talk to your partner to express your concerns and see if they are still interested to continue with this relationship and being with you. If they are try to identify the problems to find the solutions. If they are not, then just end your relationship and move on.

Can a one-sided relationship be fixed?

A one-side relationship can be fixed provided you and your partner still have romantic feelings for each other and are prepared to dedicate time and effort to address your concerns and fix the problems.

Can a one-sided relationship work?

One-sided relationships are unhealthy because it devalues the person that is trying to make it work, for whom it is a struggle. A one-sided relationship doesn’t work as it is no much of a relationship if only one partner is interested on being together.

Can one-sided open relationship work?

Generally it doesn’t work because it is not a balanced relationship. The only way a one-sided open relationship work is if only one partner has the need to see other people while their partner has no problem with that. As long as there is an agreement that fulfils everyone’s needs without creating problems is ok.

Is a one sided relationship toxic?

A one-sided relationship is dysfunctional and unhealthy. If it continues unresolved for a long time it can become toxic.

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