In a healthy relationship, you might turn to your partner for comfort and guidance when something comes up that you can’t handle alone.
Yet relationships can’t thrive without balance. If one partner regularly provides most of the financial or emotional support, you might have a one-sided, or unbalanced, relationship.
It’s disheartening to put effort into showing up for a partner who doesn’t seem to have a similar investment in the relationship. Beyond causing frustration, one-sided relationships can sour your affection and negatively affect your mental health.
Every relationship is unique, and partners might, from time to time, experience personal difficulties that affect their ability to contribute equally to the relationship – and that’s OK.
That’s pretty understandable. You prioritize the relationship and make a dedicated effort to communicate, spend quality time together, and help out when needed. If they fail to put in an equal effort, you might start to wonder if they really care about you at all.
Alternatively, they might show plenty of affection but seem disinterested in discussing future plans, like moving in together or planning next year’s vacation. This can leave you with the sense they prefer to keep one foot out the door.
Granted, some people are more demonstrative than others, but it’s generally not a great sign when you feel uncertain of their feelings. This insecurity can shake your faith in your partner and fuel anxiety and conflict.
You freely talk about your frustration with your best friend after an argument or your joy and satisfaction after your boss singles out your work for praise. Your partner, on the other hand, shares next to nothing, no matter what happens in their life.
Maybe you’ve noticed they’re a great listener. They never cut in or divert your story to their own experiences. At the same time, however, they rarely offer anecdotes of their own.
When you struggle to communicate, you might feel as if you don’t know them all that well. This can also make for unproductive conflict. You want to get to the heart of the problem and talk through it, but they just brush the issue off with “It’s fine” or “Don’t worry.”
In the end, although you want to achieve more authentic communication, you may find it harder and harder to open up since they never reciprocate.
Maybe you have fun in the moment, but the lack of deep emotional connection leaves you feeling lonely, even a little empty, afterward. You might find yourself dissecting your encounters, worrying over their lack of engagement, or wondering what you did to upset them.
Time spent with loved ones should energize and fulfill you more often than not. Feeling drained, stressed, or dissatisfied after seeing your partner can suggest an unbalanced relationship, one where they make little effort to help meet your emotional needs.
Planning trips or dates, picking up food for dinner, checking in when you haven’t talked in a few days, initiating sex – it may seem as if the relationship would collapse entirely if you stopped working to sustain it.
Perhaps when you mention this, your partner offers some excuse or looks at you blankly. Maybe they agree to try harder but soon return to their usual habits.
After a job loss or other financial difficulty, a partner with financial resources might offer to help out temporarily. There’s nothing wrong with that. Knowing you have someone who cares enough to help out in times of need is an important relationship benefit.
It’s a different story, however, when you end up paying for bills, groceries, gas, and vacations without a prior arrangement, and your partner never makes a move to chip in. This typically doesn’t represent a healthy relationship dynamic, and it can leave you feeling used and unappreciated.