Are you in a one-sided relationship? Read this from our relationships expert!

I’m a therapist, and a couple of years ago I met with Rosie. Rosie was 22 and had just come out of a 5-year relationship. Her partner had moved out while she was away on a course. Rosie was devastated – and came to me pretty depressed and anxious. She had also started cutting herself to cope. So we began to talk about her relationship.

When she started talking, Rosie realised that the relationship had been one-sided all along. She had been the one to say I love you first. She was the one making plans for the future. She was the one always making a special effort and putting her partner first. So why had she stayed? Rosie is intelligent, kind and lovely. Why did she stick with a relationship that was so bad for her?

To understand, we need to go back to Rosie’s childhood. Our blueprint for relationships is hard-wired in our brains before we’re five years old. If we experience love and care, we will associate all people with love and care. But if we experience fear and uncertainty, we will associate all people with these emotions. And this can start a pattern for future relationships. It affects how we see ourselves, and it affects what we’ll put up with.

So how did Rosie see herself? She thought she was unlovable, and her blueprint told her people were unpredictable. Imagine that for a moment. How do you behave in a relationship if you think you’re unlovable? I guess you might stay with a partner even if he’s less committed. I guess you may put up with nasty comments or cheating. You may even put up with abuse.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Once we understand our blueprint and our truth, we can change things. Rosie worked hard in therapy to understand why she had got stuck in an unhealthy relationship. She faced her early memories and purposefully changed how her brain worked. Rosie started to see herself differently, and this set new foundations for her relationships.

Have you ever felt like your relationship is one-sided? Then it might be worth looking at your own blueprint and your own truth. Everyone deserves a healthy, equally committed relationship.

Kerry Ashton-Shaw

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