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unhealthy relationship types

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Yesterday, we posed a question to help you discover whether you’re doing all of the work in your relationship. Today, we’re going to dive into why that might be the case if you are.

Social relationships – those with friends and romantic partners – are meant to enrich one’s life. A person’s desire to be social and have intimate relationships comes from a long-standing, evolutionary trend through which those with these types of relationships stood the greatest chance at survival. And those with the greatest chance of survival went onto have children, hence, passing on that genetic disposition to look for intimate relationships. It’s in our blood to want friends and lovers. But relationships are much more complicated today than they were hundreds of years ago.

Today, to be supportive of a friend or partner involves many behaviors and obligations. It’s complicated. You want a partner who supports your career goals and encourages personal growth. You want a partner who is protective of you without being possessive. Striking all of those intricate balances isn’t easy. And, perhaps for that reason, recognizing friends and partners who are good for us is also more complicated. That could be why many individuals find themselves in one-sided relationships; they have that ever-so-human need to be loved and share love, but execute misguided attempts in getting it. One-sided relationships are, one could argue, worse than having no relationships because they drain one of emotional resources. We spoke with Jordan Madison (IG: @therapyismyjam), licensed clinical marriage and family therapist, and creator of Therapy Is My J.A.M LLC, about why people get into one-sided relationships.

Jordan Madison, clinical therapist

Source: Duane Lyken, D’Anthony Photography / Duane Lyken of D’Anthony Photography

What is a one-sided relationship?

One-sided relationships exist in different degrees of intensity. Some are so extreme that they veer towards a type of dependency, with one individual structuring their entire life around serving the needs of the other in order to receive what they believe to be love. At other times, signs could be more subtle such as only one individual upholding their commitments, no matter what, while the other only does so when it’s convenient, or nothing more appealing comes up. Overall, if you feel that you uplift someone else and make their life better, while they seem to only take from you the relationship may be one-sided.

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