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January 10, 2023

Why do we experience one-sided relationships?

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.

While on social media, I came across a video clip of a small kitten, interacting with its human guardian. The little fluffball was sitting on the floor, about a foot away from its human. It mewed and insisted on getting attention. The human being, responded, by patting their hands on the bed, signaling to the feline, “Come on up here.”

The kitten responded back, tapping its feet and mewing. It looked like the sentiment was, “No, you come over here.”

Who knows how long this exchange went on like this? But it made me think of the one-sided nature of back-and-forth relationships.

Many of us have encountered such a creature. They have the similar telltale traits. The relationship is usually frustrating, with us feeling like we are the ones doing all the work, all the giving, while “they” are doing all of the taking, choosing to never even “meet us halfway.”

If we look at this kitten mewing, “No, you come here,” we can see a pattern emerging.

The rules were established from the start.

From the beginning, in the one-sided individual we’re dealing with, it was already decided how things would go. One way. Their terms. No exceptions.

Sometimes, that’s a case of us being vulnerable children, at the mercy of the adults who have authority over us, like parents.

Sometimes, it’s friendships or romantic relationships we engage in as adults. We over give and overextend ourselves with time, energy, money, and commitment.

Whatever the relationship is, it was determined to be this way, in their minds, from the start. They decided they would dictate the terms; we would obediently follow those terms.

It is a great set up for them.

The same thing, unfortunately, cannot be said for us.

There is no negotiation.

Usually, in a one-sided relationship, there, inevitably, comes a point in which we voice our displeasure.

We complain.

We vocalize how we feel this situation is not working for us. It is too stressful, too expensive.

And it is usually here where we encounter the blowback, the unpleasant, angry response from our one-sided party. They may counter with how we are “selfish,” “too needy,” “immature,” and “unreasonable” for challenging the terms of a relationship that works great for them.

Like the kitten in the video, they assert, “no, you come here.”

They cannot compromise. They are not interested in doing for us what we regularly do for them. To them, that seems imbalanced, disordered, and even abusive.

They don’t see mutual reciprocity.

They only see their way of doing things in this relationship with us, or they are being harmed and used by us when we “get our way.”

There is no change.

They have black and white thinking. There is no room for shades of grey.

Those grey shades are the realities of both parties in the relationship taking turns giving and receiving.

The one-sided focused person is not interested in “taking turns.”

That can be threatening to them. They may fear losing control of the relationship. Their fragile sense of self and ego may be jeopardized with the humility that accompanies serving someone else. They may be threatened by the concept of simply doing something they don’t want to do, which is a part of any relationship at certain times.

They don’t want change.

They don’t want to change.

They don’t want us to change.

They are not interested in change, because, in their minds, it is of no benefit to them. It is only to their detriment.

And, often, it is here where we need to face an inevitable conclusion…

There can be more than a “one- way” relationship for us. It just may not be with this “one-sided” person.

The writing may be on the wall. This one-sided relationship with a certain person will not change. They will not compromise. They will not cooperate.

Therefore, knowing this, what is our next move? We can choose any number of things regarding this one-sided situation, like…

We can end it…

We can accept these unfair and frustrating dynamics for what they are…

We can devote our time, our attention, and our love to another person who will reciprocate in a mutually satisfying and fulfilling way…

We deserve people in our lives who respond with give-and-take attitudes. We deserve someone who responds to our “come here, please” request.

We deserve someone who will respond, “I’m here.”

Copyright © 2023 by Sheryle Cruse

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