What exactly is an uneven relationship? It’s basically when more is expected from one person than the other person is willing to give in return. It’s a powerplay, in a sense, but mostly it’s an unhealthy thing in any relationship whether it’s romantic, friendship, familial or business.
It can be really draining to a person and a relationship when one person has an expectation of being treated like royalty while getting angry about being asked to return the favor. It’s predatory and to the person on the low end of the relationship it becomes draining both physically and emotionally. You feel disillusioned (at best) and endlessly used (at worst).
Now don’t get me wrong, there are often times when a relationship goes through rough patches and temporarily one person will pull more weight than the other. I’m not talking about normal ups and downs or bumps in the road when one person must step up emotionally or physically until the other person is back on their game. I’m talking about a pervasive pattern of “all for me” and “none for you”.
Here’s an example from my past. I was in a relationship with someone that had a lot of emotional needs. He required a lot of support, lots of listening to his issues/problems and tons of love and understanding. I gave it without reservation. I was there doing all I could to be a supportive girlfriend. You do these things when you are in love. After a while, I started to notice a pattern. His problems and needs were important to him but when I needed a shoulder, I was often ignored or overlooked. When he did attempt to be there for me, he’d lose his temper if I took too long expressing my pain or my needs. He would get angry, lash out and tell me I was too emotionally needy and that I needed to stop demanding more than he could give me. He made me feel deeply ashamed for asking him for anything. It hurt, a lot. It hurt worse when he would ignore me but be there for his friends and acquaintances. He would be the first person to volunteer to help others through their problems but when it came to me and my pain…he was absent. I didn’t understand why he could be so kind and understanding with people he barely knew and so heartless to me. After a while, I became absent emotionally and the relationship just crumbled.
You can’t be with someone who expects to be treated and worshiped like a King/Queen but then treats you like “the help”. It’s bad and if you have that dynamic, you should walk away, if you can. Things are unlikely to change once it’s a pattern. Patterns become habits and habits are often impossible to break. Once your relationship becomes entrenched in this pattern everything you loved about this person starts to slowly die and if you can’t reach them and make them understand what they are doing to you…your relationship will die.
If you are with someone who truly loves you, you will be able to reach them. The most important thing then becomes – did you reach them before your love died? If you did, you will save your relationship. If you didn’t, you will just prolong the inevitable and cause more pain and suffering along the way. You can’t be afraid to put the work into your relationship, if the love is strong then it’s worth every effort you can muster to repair it. You also should not be afraid to pull the plug. Don’t allow feelings like fear of being alone or fear of the unknown prevent you from doing what’s necessary for survival.
Like Kenny Rogers said,
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done