What About A One-Sided Relationship?

Chris Grace - June 27, 2017

I feel like I have heard it all — "relationships are a two-way street," "both people need to be in it to win it," and "it's not healthy to be in a one-sided relationship." What do you suggest in a relationship where only one person wants to change and grow to work out the relationship while the other is complacent? How do you cope with it or try to make it thrive? 

One-Sided Relationship

Dear One-Sided Relationship,

Relationships are strongly dependent on both people being willing to grow and learn and invest and care for each other. By not putting in effort, or if one-sided, then you need to consider ending the investment in the relationship in order to not get hurt. It is doubtful such a person will change, and there is much research showing that marriage to a person who is already showing these unhealthy traits will not change them, i.e., make them more giving, kind, etc.

Chris Grace

Christopher Grace serves as the director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships and teaches psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology. He and his wife, Alisa, speak regularly to married couples, churches, singles and college students on the topic of relationships, dating and marriage. Grace earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Colorado State University.


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