Does your love feel one-sided?

Recognising the flags and signs of a one-sided relationship is crucial to avoid the negative impacts on you that come with a one-sided relationship.


When you're the only one putting in effort, you may feel lonely, resentful, insecure, and exhausted. Some signs to watch out for include a lack of support from your partner, feeling inadequate, and being the only one working on the relationship. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship and decide whether it's worth saving or moving on.

It's important to acknowledge that being in a one-sided relationship can be incredibly difficult and can have an impact on your emotional well-being and be detrimental to your mental health. Feeling hurt, frustrated and sad is okay when your efforts and feelings are not reciprocated.

Prolonged, one-sided relationships can erode your self-worth, and it's natural to start questioning your value and worthiness. It's normal to resent the other person for not putting in as much effort or taking advantage of our efforts.

Over time, a one-sided relationship can lead to a loss of trust and connection, and maintaining a positive relationship with your partner can be challenging. It's also understandable if you neglect your values and identity to please your partner.

It's essential to recognise that this conflict creates stress and can lead to physical side effects, including anxiety, difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance, irritability, and feeling internally keyed up. Additionally, even though you may be committed to your significant other, feeling lonely in a relationship can be incredibly difficult.

It is essential when feeling drained to look after our own mental health. Below, I have created some suggestions of how you can best do this. 

Tips for good mental health

1. Reframe unhelpful thoughts

How you think, feel, and behave is interconnected. It is essential to recognise your negative thought patterns and take positive steps to think about things differently.

2. Be present

Living in the present moment can help you gain a better perspective and reduce anxiety and stress.

3. Get good sleep

Establishing a consistent sleep routine and avoiding becoming a 3 am worrier can help you feel more rested and energised.

4. Connect with others

Building a support system can provide a sense of belonging and keep feelings of isolation to a minimum. Talk to friends, family, or professionals who can offer guidance and support.

5. Live a healthy life

Regularly integrating physical activity and a healthy diet into your routine can significantly impact your anxiety levels. Exercise will help boost your mood, and a healthy, fresh diet provides the necessary nutrients for your body to function correctly.

6. Do something for yourself

Taking time to relax and do things you enjoy can help improve your mood and well-being. Self-care and finding your true self are essential for maintaining good mental health.

7. Write a letter to the future you

Reflect on your current feelings and write a letter to your future self. This exercise can help you gain perspective, set goals, and stay motivated.

Do not suppress your emotions

Suppressing emotions can have a significant and harmful physical impact on your body. Continuously repressing emotions can lead to anxiety, depression, and other stress-related illnesses. Seeking professional help is always beneficial if you're struggling with these issues.

Remember that it's a sign of real strength, and not weakness, to seek help. You are not alone; there are resources and people like myself who can help. You boost your self-worth once you begin taking care of your mental health.

The benefits of setting boundaries

Setting boundaries in a one-sided relationship is crucial for maintaining self-respect and emotional health. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Communicate clearly

Explain the essential boundaries to the other person simply and focus on you. If you're comfortable with something, express it clearly and assertively.

2. Establish clear boundaries

Discuss what is acceptable and off-limits in the relationship. These boundaries should reflect your needs, expectations, and limits.

3. Pay attention to your tone of voice

Communicating your boundaries with kindness and firmness is essential. This shows that you respect yourself and expect others to do the same.

4. Don't expect others to read your mind

Be explicit about what's acceptable to you and set your boundaries. If your partner is left to guess at what they may be, they can repeatedly do something you aren't comfortable with, causing you to become increasingly resentful.

5. Be willing to say "No"

It's okay to refuse requests or obligations that cross your boundaries. Saying "no" is a way of respecting and caring for yourself.

6. Enforce your boundaries

Once you've set your boundaries, stick to them. If someone crosses your boundaries, let them know, and consider distancing yourself from them if they continue to disrespect them.

Setting your boundaries is a sign of self-respect and is crucial for your well-being. If you're struggling with setting boundaries in a one-sided relationship, seeking professional help is okay. You're not alone, and some resources and people can help.

Discovering help

Anxiety counselling support is an online resource available for those suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, GAD, social anxiety, perfectionism, PTSD, and other symptoms. I provide personalised strategies to aid your healing process, employing methods of CBT and DBT to equip and reregulate both body and mind.

Based in London, I offer therapy online across the UK from the comfort of your home. With a developed knowledge of anxiety and trauma, I have supported individuals and corporations in London since 2015.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London W6 & E14
Written by David Pender, MBACP, Integrative Psychotherapy | Anxiety Specialist
London W6 & E14

David S. Pender is a qualified BACP therapist who provides counselling and psychotherapy services to adults throughout London & the UK. He has extensive experience in dealing with problems related to anxiety, trauma, chronic stress, social anxiety, panic attacks, generalised anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Free discovery calls

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