The One-Sided Relationship

A new favorite song of mine is Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”

As a woman who has been hurt in the past by men who took the gift of my heart and crushed it in a cruel grip of rejection the song speaks to a an intensity I remember feeling. Yet as I was belting it at the top of my lungs driving around town yesterday, it dawned on me that I couldn’t really even put a face to the situation.

All those men who had rejected me and left me bitter and crushed simply don’t matter anymore, and if I’m honest I can say they shouldn’t have mattered then. Of all the men I’ve loved those that mattered were those who loved me in return, real honest-to-goodness relationships. There may have been pain and disappointment but in the end our relationships were fully realized.

In short, we *did* have it all, if only for a time.

The “what-ifs” tended to apply to those who were NOT fully realized relationships. Mostly they were one-sided, where I loved more than was loved, and expected things based on what I wanted… rather than what I could have.

I can tell you from experience those types of one-sided relationships are destined to fail, and destined to break your heart. Because of that there’s only so much blame you can lay in the lap of your intended.

If you walk knowingly and willingly into a door, is it the door’s fault you got a headache?

Any relationship you’re having with someone that isn’t fully and enthusiastically returned is a recipe for disaster. If you’re making it up as you go along, filling in the blanks and repairing all the holes, then you’re not really in a relationship. And you know it. Deep down you know it. Which is why you have to cling to all the excuses that try to refute one simple truth: He’s just not that into you.

Or, at the very least, not as into you as you are into him.

This pretty much includes anyone who keeps you as an option even when you’ve made them a priority, (i.e. married lovers and players.)

I’ve seen a similar scenario play out with certain friends, who are loved more than they can or want to love in return. It begins with hope and ends with resentment, but both sides of the coin are fueled by the desires of one person, rather than fed off of a mutual give and take of a two-party relationship.

At first, these misguided individuals harbor a fantasy that they are more important than anyone else in the life of the object of their affection. This may or may not be fueled by the actions of their intended, but more likely than not – at least from what I’ve seen – it isn’t. Often they are given a droplet of kindness and want to imagine an ocean of love, and spend entirely too much of their time “reading” between the lines because that person cannot or will not tell them what they want to hear.

Long story short, if you’re constantly flopping back and forth between “does he” or “doesn’t he” – he doesn’t.

We women over-analyze anything to begin with, but true indicators of interest don’t volley between yes and no to wild extremes. You may think he’s thinking about you or he wants to see you and connect with you, but if he has blocked all communication and has to put a restraining order in place… the answer is no. Relationships are reciprocated. Period.

But a few read too much into simple gestures, or in some cases create entire scenarios that are completely fabricated out of the need for this connection with the person they desire. They see things that are not there, read more into a hug or a kind word. They fill in the blanks of silence and absence with what they want to be there, rather than get to know the real person.

And they can’t know the real person because there is no interest on that person’s part for a deeper, more intimate connection. All the interest is decidedly going in one direction. And the worst part it, it’s going to a person they imagine in their mind.

Just as the object of their desire has no real desire to get to know them, they have no real interest in the truth thoughts and feelings of their intended.

It simply doesn’t fit within the fantasies that cast an unknowing party into these kinds of one-sided relationships that are doomed to fail.

But fantasies can only take you so far. Eventually the thought of a touch will no longer satisfy like the feeling of someone’s hand on your skin. Longing seeks to be satisfied eventually, and a made-up lover cannot embrace you or kiss you the way you want to be held or kissed.

It’s only a matter of time they will want that unknowing individual to fulfill their fantasies. Lines have blurred between what’s real and what they want to be real so much that they end up acting on their delusions. They will need something that can never be real to become real, but on their terms for their own reasons. They will want their intended to be the person they’ve imagined, and love them as much as they have fantasized. And when it doesn’t is where the real fun begins. They will try to act on these unrealistic expectations and ultimately drive away the real person who has no investment in a one-sided relationship built mostly without their cooperation or consent.

Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if someone you barely knew and weren’t really interested in decided you were “The One” – and pinned all their hopes and dreams and happiness on your reciprocating an emotion that simply isn’t there?

You would slam the door decisively in their faces, often for their own good.

There is no doubt that it hurts to be on the receiving end of this rejection. It hurts a damn lot. It’s not easy to realize that what you want you cannot have no matter how much you want to will it into existence. But a relationship isn’t about what you want; it’s about what two people want *for each other.*

Without that person’s consent or involvement, quite simply there is no relationship.

Loving someone else is easy. Having that love returned is a freaking miracle.

The problem with that is that these individuals don’t really need someone’s consent or involvement to fabricate the real emotions of a relationship. They fell in love without you, they’ll stay in love without you. And they’ll do it to the bitter end because for whatever reason they need the connection, whether real or imagined, to fill some hole they haven’t found a healthy way to fill otherwise.

Therefore those whose affection has been, in their minds, spurned will hold onto that pain as a way of holding onto that connection that is totally one-sided.

It is easier to direct your energy and time toward the object of your interest – who may quite safely stay at arm’s length – than to work on yourself or your “real” relationships. There’s a part of you that cannot truly connect with those in your life who love you, so you need to chase after these phantoms. You get something either out of the longing or the heartache, but that’s entirely within YOU to figure out.

The only way to heal is to let go.

And I speak from very real experience in this matter. It’s very easy to fall in love with the someone you want somebody to be, and easier still to be hurt by the reality of who they are.

In the end though, our heartbreak is our own responsibility.

Nobody owes you love, no matter how much you love them. Nobody owes you a relationship, no matter how badly you want to be connected. Look inside to the only person whose affection/attention you CAN control, and start there.

Love yourself to fullness first, so that you may truly fully love and be loved in return.


2 thoughts on “The One-Sided Relationship

  1. This is an amazing article; which has honed in on alot of things i am currently going through with my significant other. It has certainly helped me come to some decisions about our difficult situation. Thank you.

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