7 Signs of One-Sided (Codependent) Relationships

By Michelle Farris, Licensed Psychotherapist.

Codependent relationships are one-sided relationships where one person does most of the giving. This creates an unhealthy dependency. You end up doing all the heavy lifting, while the other person is always receiving. If this is you, you’re not alone. This article is meant for you. 

A codependent relationship can happen with a romantic partner, a family member or even a friend. These relationships impact how you feel about yourself. In most instances the relationship becomes addictive as the codependent person depends on the other person for validation, love and support. 

In this article you will learn how to recognize one-sided love so you can begin to change this pattern and make healthier choices. For each sign of codependency, you will also learn its counterpart; the healthy behavior you’ll want to strive towards in your recovery. 

1. You are putting way more time and energy into the relationship than they are.

In codependent relationships you’re putting your heart and soul into the relationships and the other person simply isn’t. You prioritize their needs above yours and you pride yourself on responding quickly to their needs. When they don’t respond as quickly, you may start to panic. 

The time and energy you put into this relationship shows – but unfortunately, it’s not reciprocated.

In codependent or one-sided relationships, it’s important to assess what’s working and what isn’t. Ask yourself; how much energy are you putting into the relationship compared to the other person? Give it a percentage. This will show you how much you may need to pull back. 

Healthy behavior: Take that energy you are putting towards everyone else and redirect it towards yourself.

2. You feel like you’re chasing the other person

In codependent relationships you want to spend all of your time with your loved one. You are the one initiating contact and find yourself waiting for a response. When they don’t respond, you fear they don’t love you anymore. It feels like you are chasing them to be with you and it feels awful. 

It’s like you are giving yourself away but you can’t stop – you are in this relationship all by yourself.

Healthy behavior: When you feel compelled to reach out – find other activities or forms of support to increase your emotional independence.

3. Your feelings don’t matter in the relationship.

Instead of feeling loved and respected you feel like your needs don’t matter to the other person. You are drawn to people with problems because you feel helpful. You may even feel guilty because their problems seem so big that you don’t share about what’s happening for you anymore. As a result, the relationship becomes more and more one-sided.

Healthy behavior: Start sharing about your own life to see if they can support you, if not, you need to lower your expectations.

4. The relationship revolves around one person’s needs. 

Another sign of codependent or one-sided love is when one person’s needs dominate the relationship. 

A narcissistic relationship is a good example of one-sided love. The narcissistic person can’t tolerate their partner having their own needs or opinions because they always need to be right. The narcissistic person needs to be the center of attention all of the time. 

Another example of a codependent, one-sided relationship is when the codependent person tries to fix, change or rescue the alcoholic. The relationship revolves around getting them sober while neglecting themselves in the process. Over time, this becomes increasingly chaotic and you feel more and more powerless over the addiction.

Healthy behavior: Start detaching from the abusive behavior and consider attending Al-Anon for additional support.

5. You feel like you’re losing yourself in the relationship.

In one-sided relationships you become overly focused on others and start to lose yourself. Your identity gets wrapped up in the relationship and what you can do for the other person instead of living your own life. 

Codependent relationships have a major impact on self-esteem because the codependent people come to rely on others to make them happy or to give them validation. When you struggle with codependency, you may start to go against your own values in order to be liked.

Healthy behavior: Focus on creating more balance in the relationship and use that time to befriend yourself.

6. You are relying too much on them for support and validation.

In one-sided relationships you become too dependent on them for love, support and validation. Over time this creates more self-doubt as your self-esteem gets based on their love and approval instead of your own. 

You may also find that you are seeking them out instead of developing other relationships. In narcissistic relationships social isolation is a common tactic to maintain control over the other person. The alcoholic often tries to make you feel guilty for leaving them.

Healthy Behavior: Learn how to validate yourself and develop more relationships to decrease the dependency.

7. You’re not setting boundaries because you don’t want to rock the boat.

In one sided love there is an unhealthy dependency where you sacrifice yourself for the sake of the relationship. You find yourself not wanting to set boundaries for fear of upsetting or displeasing them.

Healthy behavior: You start setting boundaries even if they are small, like not offering to help, staying quiet instead of volunteering yourself. These are baby boundaries.

Final Thoughts

Relationship recovery is going from relationships that don’t serve you to learning how to create relationships that work. Uncovering codependent patterns such as one-sided relationships is the first step in changing them. 

As you begin to recover from codependency, focus on changing yourself instead of trying to get others to change along with you. By looking at what we can change, our relationships start to heal and THAT is recovery!

By Michelle Farris, Relationship Therapist. Get her FREE Relationship Checklists to help you assess the health of your relationships. https://counselingrecovery.lpages.co/relationship-checklist/

1 Response

  1. thank you for this! I have been needing this for a VERY VERY long time.

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