Are you tired of doing all the work in your relationship? These tips on how to fix a one sided relationship will help you create respect and equality in your life.
This post was inspired by a reader’s comment. On When to Leave a Relationship Kyle says, “I have been in a relationship for six months. This is a short relationship, however, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I feel like our relationship is completely one sided. I feel like I am making all of the effort, and he makes very minimal effort. Everything is at his convenience. We see, talk, and text each other when he wants to. When we are together, he is on his phone. He constantly snaps at me for little things. I’ll text him and he’ll go hours without responding. We only do things he wants to do. I constantly feel like I am walking on eggshells around him. He is also a pathological liar! I went six years being single, and a one sided relationship is not what I signed up for. I love him, and I would love for this relationship to work. Can you help me fix this one sided relationship or should I just give up?”
Below are four steps for fixing a relationship that isn’t balanced or equal. First, though, what advice have you already received about how to fix your relationship? We often seek advice for situations that we already know how to handle…but we don’t want to face the truth. I welcome your big and little thoughts in the comments section below.
How to Fix a One Sided Relationship
I can’t give you the magic formula for finding balance in a one sided relationship – because there isn’t one! Every relationship is different. Every person is different. But, if you can discover the reasons and the root causes of your one sided relationship, then you will be one step closer to fixing it.
Equality and respect are values that need to be learned and applied by the person who isn’t carrying his weight in the relationship. Finding balance in a one sided relationship is hard work for both partners.
The most important question is: Is your boyfriend or husband ready to commit to a healthier relationship? Is he willing to see how your relationship is one sided and what he can do to help fix it? If he’s not, then there isn’t much you can do. You can’t fix a one sided relationship by yourself. He has to be willing to hear your perspective and work towards making healthy changes in his life.
1. Get your feelings sorted out
What emotions are you struggling with? How do you feel about being in a one sided relationship? Go beyond “mad” and “taken advantage of.”
Maybe you feel scared, sad, disappointed, frustrated, or insecure. Maybe you’re anxious about talking to your boyfriend about fixing your relationship because you already know how he’ll respond. Maybe you feel confused because you don’t know when to end a relationship.
The first step to is to get clear and specific about your feelings. The more in touch you are with how you feel, the better you can communicate your feelings. If you don’t know how you feel about being the girlfriend or wife who does all the work, then get quiet. Take time to get in touch with your feelings. Take time to listen to the still small voice, and follow its guidance on how to fix a one sided relationship.
The best way to get clear on how you feel and why you want to fix your relationship, you are ready to talk to your partner.
2. Tell your partner about how it feels to be in a one sided relationship
One of my friends was once very upset because she and her husband had a terrible weekend. He was withdrawn and uncommunicative because of issues at work, and she spend the weekend doing everything: childcare, grocery shopping, housework, etc.
She was afraid to tell him how angry, frustrated, and hurt she felt. But when she did talk to him about finding balance in their marriage even when he is stressed about work, he surprised her by apologizing. That was over a year ago, and they’ve never had the same problem.
Learning how to fix a one sided relationship is rarely that easy, but it does show the potential power of talking calmly and rationally to your boyfriend or husband. Of course, it helps if he is actually committed to your relationship! If your boyfriend or husband is a narcissist, then he won’t care how you feel about being in a one sided relationship.
If you know your partner wouldn’t respond the way my friend’s husband did, you might want to read How to Fix a Codependent Relationship. It’s possible that you and your partner have developed ways of interacting that aren’t healthy.
3. When you talk to your partner, stay focused on one problem at a time
“When you sit down to discuss a complaint with your partner, stick to one criticism per discussion,” writes Harriet Lerner in Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up. “Don’t tag on past infractions even when it’s relevant. Avoid getting into side issues.”
What is a specific problem in your relationship that is created by the one sided nature your partner? For instance, perhaps he never calls, texts, or reaches out to you. Maybe you’re always the one who is trying to contact him. If you decide to talk about this specific problem, then stick to this one problem.
Stay focused on the issue at hand even when he “counterattacks” by bringing up a problem or criticism he has with you. This may be more difficult than it sounds. “Both in love and in work it requires considerable motivation, self-observation, and practice to keep a conversation focused on one issue at a time, with an eye toward creative problem solving,” writes Lerner in Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up.
4. Find ways to blossom in your life
The easiest tip on how to fix a one sided relationship is to grow yourself. Don’t let your partner be the focus of your life. You are creative, smart, beautiful, and strong! You deserve better than to be in a one sided relationship that makes you unhappy and insecure. Take a healthy interest in your own life and self. Who are you, where are you going, why are you here, and what do you want to do with your life? What are you passionate about? Who do you love spending time with?
If you’re in a one sided relationship, you aren’t blossoming. You aren’t flourishing. Your boyfriend or husband is using you….and you’re letting him. You have the power to choose whether or not you want to stay with him. You have the power to take charge – not necessarily of fixing this one sided relationship, but of finding balance in your own life.
Love is out there…but you need to respect yourself enough to wait for the right man. Don’t settle for someone who can’t give you what you need. May you find strength and courage to see your partner and relationship clearly and objectively. I pray for wisdom and guidance. May you see yourself the way God sees you: a valuable, beautiful, kind, compassionate, loving woman who deserves to be treated with respect and love.
Help for Fixing One Sided Relationships
In Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy: Why Women Settle for One-Sided Relationships, Jill Weber describes how women get trapped in relationships that are one-sided and lack emotional intimacy. When this happens, women routinely blame themselves instead of realizing they should blame their romantic strategy. This book will show you how to break the cycle of one sided relationships. You’ll learn how to create a mutually fulfilling relationship – and then you won’t have to search for help on how to fix one sided relationships anymore.
Is your partner overly arrogant? Does he often come across as grandiose, “above others,” self-absorbed, and highly conceited? If he shows an extreme lack of empathy or exhibits an inflated sense of entitlement, he may be a narcissist. In Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, Wendy Terrie Behary describes how to move past his defenses using compassionate, empathetic communication. You’ll learn how narcissists view the world, how to navigate their coping styles, and why, oftentimes, it’s sad and lonely being a narcissist. Narcissists are often in one sided relationships because they don’t know how to share, communicate, or empathize with their partners.
What is one “feeling” word that describes how you feel about fixing your relationship? Tell me below. You can write more than a word if you’d like. Sometimes it’s helpful to bundle all your feelings into a word and share how you feel. While I can’t offer advice, I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience of learning how to fix a one sided relationship. Writing often brings clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings of missing him.
And remember that your partner isn’t your source of joy, peace, or love. “Poor is the soul whose pleasure depends upon the permission of another,” said Madonna. When you find the true source of joy and peace, you will be able to see clearly how to fix any one sided relationship you encounter.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.