Is your relationship one sided?

Friday, June 3rd, 2022 06:30 | By
Love birds. PHOTO/Courtesy

It’s a Monday morning and Salma Rajab, a Mombasa-based banker is preparing to get to work in time. While having breakfast, she checks her phone and gets three messages from Dan.

They read: “Good morning beautiful. I hope you slept well. Have a beautiful day.” “Gosh! Three days later! I texted on Friday and he is just responding on Monday morning.

Are people really that busy on weekends?” she mutters to herself and proceeds to call.

Red flags

This was not the first time he was doing this. They have been talking for about three months and she is tired of keeping track of their awful communication records. But what to do? She really likes him and would like things to work out.

It is easy to tell when you are outside the picture that this is basically a one-sided relationship. One person invests more than the other, and the end result is emotional, physical and financial strain.

A message being returned three days later, with no apologies or explanations? What if she had been worried sick about his safety. How draining would that be? Tracey Ishmael, a Nairobi-based businesswoman, intimates that she has also been in a one-way relationship. In this case, she was the villain.

“We were dating for a while, he was a nice guy. but then I realised I just hated everything about him, his calls and messages. I would respond with an emoji or just a single word, and he would request we meet, but I always had a reason not to meet him. He would tell me all the sweet nothings, but I felt zero,” shares Tracey.

A normal healthy relationship whether just friendship or intimate involves a give and take. A one-sided relationship on the other hand has more uncertainty and boils down to one person doing more of the heavy lifting — emotionally, physically and mentally.

As psychologist Tracy Nyaguthii shares, there are many red flags in a one-sided relationship. “Healthy romantic relationships are ideally characterised by equal commitment, trust and honesty between individuals. There is mutual respect and equal effort applied in working towards their needs.

“Partners know where they stand in the relationship. In a one-sided relationship, one person puts all their effort into the relationship and does not get the same effort in return,” shares the expert.

As she adds, in a romantic relationship, a one-sided commitment could look like one person initiating most of the communication, one person planning the activities, or taking care of the duties that should be shared equally.

Your significant other could be physically in the room sitting right next to you, yet you feel alone because you’re not being emotionally seen and taken care of. Even though you are committed to your significant other, there’s a fundamental difference between being selfless in love and loving someone who takes it all in without giving you anything meaningful in return.

The problem is when two people come together, they each carry desires, expectations, and boundaries... and when any of those are mismatched or not clearly defined, chaos tends to ensue. When the other person doesn’t seem to care or doesn’t put in much effort, it leaves you doubting their intentions, commitment, and investment in the relationship.

She shares how a one-sided relationship can be draining. It is exhausting when one person does all the work in the relationship. The lack of equal reciprocity can lead to resentment, stress, anxiety, insomnia and even depression. Thus, a one-sided relationship is toxic.

“Romantic relationships are diverse; there is no particular standard because people are different in terms of their personalities, thought processes, way of life and more. Being in a relationship with a selfish or toxic partner leads to an imbalanced relationship.

There are certain signs that individuals in a relationship need to look out for to know whether they are in a one-sided relationship. If the relationship makes you feel exhausted, there is no meaningful connection in the relationship, one partner is initiating most of the communication and activities in the relationship, your concerns are ignored in the relationship, your priorities are different, and you make excuses for them for not showing up in the relationship, all these are red flags that you need to look out for,” she says.

Why people stay

Is it not just ideal that one avoids entering a relationship they are not fully vested in? True, but a lot of people still find themselves all caught in the snares. Why? The answer to that is life stressors, people could be having their own personal issues that cause them not to give their best in the relationship.

Incompatibility, poor communication skills and trauma from past experiences are just, but a few reasons. An imbalance in expectations — for example, thinking that your partner should act a certain way — can also lead to an imbalance in a relationship.

Factors such as home environment, family history and what kind of relationship models one had growing up can also affect how you relate to others as adults. The psychologist advises though, that there are still ways that could help restore balance in a relationship.

“If both partners are still interested in the relationship, it is important for the couple to talk about their issues and also check on compatibility. See a therapist help you deal with issues in the relationship. If a partner does not change within a set period of time, it is time to move on,” she advises

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