How To Know When A One-Sided Relationship Becomes Toxic

You're in a relationship with someone that ticks all the right boxes. You're happy for the most part, except you don't feel like you're good enough so you're constantly insecure. The other person's calendar is more important than yours. You make all your joint plans because the other person's too busy. Saying "I'm sorry" has become a regular habit because you feel like you're always wrong. And in spite of all that, the other person (particularly if that "other" is a romantic partner), keeps telling you you want too much. If it all sounds familiar, you probably already know this, but chances are you're in a one-sided relationship (via The Oprah Magazine).

A one-sided relationship is what happens when one person puts in more time, energy, and resources into the relationship than their partner might. "Sometimes one person 'carries' the relationship for a period of time, such as when a partner is ill or things aren't going well," Kelly Campbell, associate professor of psychology and human development at California State University, San Bernardino says (via My Domaine). "But, in order for a relationship to be healthy and satisfying, it takes effort from both people. One person can't carry the burden over an extended period." 

One-sided relationships don't just happen in a romantic or family relationship either. They can happen between friends or in work-related relationships between colleagues and within an organization too (via Inc).

When does a relationship turn toxic?

Relationships don't make us happy all the time (trust us, we've been there). But when being with the other person is consistently unpleasant and draining, and when the bad moments outweigh the positive ones, then the relationship is probably not one you want to be involved in. California-based psychology expert Lilian Glass describes a toxic relationship (via Time) as "any relationship [between people who] don't support each other, where there's conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there's competition, where there's disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness." 

The signs that you're in a toxic relationship can sneak up on you. Glass says that if your romantic relationship is turning toxic, one simple sign comes from your state of being. If seeing a happy couple makes you feel envious, your own relationship doesn't (as Marie Kondo puts it, "spark joy") and instead keeps you feeling sad, angry, and like you've sold out,  it may be time for a change, because studies in publications like Psychology Today have shown that toxic relationships can take a massive toll on your health, and that price is just too high.