Do you feel like your relationship is not exactly what you would call balanced?
I hate to say it, but if you feel like it’s one-sided, it probably is.
What is happening?
Shouldn’t relationships be like partnerships, balanced and equal, with both people contributing fully?
But in reality, many relationships are much more like law firms with junior and senior partners doing different amounts of work and receiving different amounts of credit.
Is yours one of them?
It can be difficult to know for sure. Maybe you have a distorted view of who contributes what to the relationship.
To help you figure it out, here are eight subtle but important signs that your relationship is one-sided.
1) Your partner has veto power
I really hope that your relationship is nothing like that of the UN Security Council, with so much disagreement and hardly any results.
But a sign that your relationship is one-sided is if your partner has veto power, just like the Big 5 members do.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand politics.
What I mean is that your partner always has the power to block your ideas and actions or cancel things you want to do.
Imagine you want to go out, but your partner wants to stay in.
If you always choose to stay inside, they have veto power.
What if you had to choose whose family to visit for Christmas?
If they are allowed to make the choice, they again have more power than you in the relationship.
For healthy relationships, these choices must be made together with respect for each other’s needs and preferences. Sometimes you choose to do things separately, so you can both do what you want.
But in an unbalanced relationship, one person is in charge and the other has to go along with everything.
2) Money is a problem
Well, let’s face it, money is almost always an issue in relationships!
People are constantly arguing about what to spend money on and how much things should cost.
But if you have a real financial imbalance in your relationship, it could indicate a general imbalance.
HAS financial imbalance happens when one person brings most or all of the money into the relationship and controls much more of the finances than the other partner.
Many relationships have one partner who goes out and works, while the other does unpaid housework and childcare. But in these cases, finances can still be shared and decisions made together.
If that’s not the case and the breadwinning partner uses the old excuse of “paying the expenses to be the boss,” then they are trying to gain power over their partner by exerting financial control.
Another situation that indicates an unbalanced relationship is when one partner works to support the other who is just lounging around.
Obviously this feels really bad for the person being sponged off. They often resent the other partner, who seems to live a relaxed life while having to work hard every day.
3) You should always start conversations
If there is a big financial issue to talk about, who should get the other person to talk about it?
If you have problems in your relationship, are you the only one who brings them up and tries to talk them out?
This really makes things feel one-sided, doesn’t it?
It gives the impression that the other person is not as interested in solving problems or working together in the way that partners should.
The fact is that many people are poor communicators and may not be deliberately avoiding you or keeping quiet on purpose.
But unfortunately this has the same effect on you.
You then have to do all the communication work, and that can be both tiring and disappointing. And it can feel really unbalanced and unfair.
4) They never apologize
Your partner, I mean.
No matter what happens, you are always the one who has to swallow your pride and say you’re sorry first.
And usually they don’t even say sorry after you say it first.
Could it be that they are always right and never do anything for which they need to apologize?
This may be a subtle sign, but it is significant because it speaks to the lack of power balance in the relationship, and perhaps also empathy.
Look, of course, you should only apologize if you actually did or said something wrong that caused a problem or hurt the other person. But if they hurt you and don’t apologize, they don’t think they’re wrong, or that they have the right to do what they want.
And who wants one partner who feels entitled to it, to insult them whenever they want?
5) You’re exhausted
Isn’t it strange that you always feel completely swept away by the relationship, while your partner seems perfectly fine?
Heck, they may even feel energized while you feel exhausted.
Some people can be real energy vampires who have an excessive need for attention and validation from others. It is so much work that all the people around them become extremely tired.
But they feel energetic, especially because they feed off the energy of others.
I was once in a long-term relationship with an energy vampire, long before I knew what they were.
My girlfriend needed all my attention and more than I could even give. Without it, she was a very negative person who never wanted to go out or do anything. But when she got a lot of attention from me and others, she was bright and cheerful, while we felt exhausted.
Now your partner may not be an energy vampire, but he can still carry you out.
You may put a lot of work into the relationship to keep the relationship happy and your life generally running smoothly. But your partner barely lifts a finger.
But in both situations, you do all the giving, and they do all the giving, and it turns out to be about the same.
6) You make all the sacrifices
Unless you’re talking about metaphorically driving a stake through the heart of an energy vampire, we’re looking at a different kind of sacrifice here.
I mean, of course, that you give up things you want to do or things you enjoy, and your partner doesn’t.
These could be the activities you have always loved to do. Maybe you’ve been playing rugby for years, but your partner wants you to stop because the schedule conflicts with something he/she wants to do.
Or maybe your partner doesn’t want you to see certain friends he or she doesn’t like. You may agree to appease them, but then they don’t do anything similar in return.
This sounds a lot more like a controlling relationship than a healthy partnership, doesn’t it?
And that’s a sign that things really are one-sided.
7) Someone makes all the big decisions
Everyone has their own decision-making style.
Take me and my partner for example.
She is very quick and confident in her decisions, while I tend to weigh a lot of options and research details. She thinks I’m overthinking it a bit, and I think she’s impulsive.
However, when we make decisions together, we score quite well. She helps me speed things up, and I help her think about invisible factors to consider.
We work quite well together, I’m happy to decision of your relationship are always made by one person, there is something not so healthy going on.
If you feel forced to make all the decisions because your partner is avoiding them, you can definitely feel like this is unfair. You will get all the pressure and possibly blame if you make the wrong choice.
On the other hand, you might have a partner who never gives you any input and makes big, important decisions without you.
This is also unfair and crooked because your power is taken away from you. This again shows that your partner wants to be in control rather than sharing responsibilities equally.
8) They didn’t make an effort
After all these specific signs of a one-sided relationship, this one is a little broader.
But if this is the case in your relationship, you get the gist.
If you feel like your partner really doesn’t bring anything to the table, it can be frustrating and feel unfair.
Do you find yourself caring for them and not receiving that care in return?
Then it’s more than likely that you’re doing all the work, and they’re simply not achieving their goal.
These eight subtle but important signs that your relationship is one-sided can be painful once you actually see them and see what they are doing to you.
If you become powerless or coerced too much, you may want to reassess whether you really want to stay in this relationship.
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