You know what’s the worst feeling in the world? Giving your heart, body, and mind into the relationship and not getting anything back. Being all in for somebody who is just halfway there or not there at all. Wasting your time wondering where you stand and if they still care for you. Being somebody’s option while they are your priority.

One-sidedness can really be exhausting. You feel like you are hitting a brick wall by trying to keep your relationship going and you are not getting anything in return. It’s frustrating, painful and you have to do something about it.

I know a lot of people would advise to simply end the relationship and move on with your life. At times, that’s all you can do. But if you still think there is a chance to salvage your relationship, ending it should be the last item on your list. There are things that can help you put your relationship back on the right track.

So how to fix a one-sided relationship?
For starters, it’s important to determine the signs of a one-sided relationship. When you get to the cause, it’s easier to fix the problem.

1. All the initiative comes from you

You are the one who usually texts or calls first. The last date you were on was your idea. You suggested and organized your last activity and you are the one making most of the plans while he is unwilling to lift his little finger. You keep making plans just so you two could spend some time alone, but he seems clueless.

It’s not just that he does not plan. There are simpler things at stake, too. Making a phone call or texting just to check on you wouldn’t cross his mind. Sure he responds when you text, but it’s never right away. It always takes him a few hours or in worse cases, days. The bottom line is when it comes to anything in your relationship, you are the initiator and he is just a passive participant.

2. You are low on his list of priorities

You have this feeling that everything and everyone comes before you. While you would drop everything to be with him, you realize that he is only spending time with you when he has nothing more interesting to do.

It’s ok that he spends his time pursuing his interests or hanging out with friends, but what’s not ok is canceling plans last minute to make that happen. He should keep his promises and come when he said he would. He is hurting you and you are letting him treat you like an option while he is your priority.

3. He is downright selfish

He can talk about something that happened to him for hours, but he can’t spare a minute to listen to what you have to say. He never asks you how you are doing or how your day went. When you speak, he uses the phrase: “You never told me that” way too often because he wasn’t really paying attention and he forgot all about it.

His needs come first and he likes things being that way. He is used to you being at his beck and call and he’s taking you for granted. He doesn’t care what you feel like doing because he always insists on you doing what he wants. His selfishness can also extend to the bedroom and he will consider his pleasure only, not doing anything to satisfy you.

4. You feel the need to justify his actions to your friends and family

He never shows up where he is supposed to or if he does, he is always late. You feel embarrassed and alone at family gatherings or get together with friends. You are always a phone call away when he needs you and you don’t even know if he is going to pick up when you call him.

Your loved ones often warn you that he is not treating you right and that you shouldn’t allow it. But you keep justifying him and his actions by saying things like: “he is just having a tough time right now, he is stressed, overworked, underslept” and the list goes on. But ask yourself: Are you justifying him to them or to yourself? Maybe you are just scared to face that you are in a one-sided relationship.

5. You are the only one apologizing

When you two fight, you are always the one who has to come to him and patch things up. He is never the one to blame and he would never come to you to say he is sorry and take responsibility for his actions. That’s why you are the one who ends up apologizing for everything, for the things you have and haven’t done.

He always twists the situation to benefit himself. He says that something in your behavior led him to act like that; you provoked him and therefore, all this commotion was your fault. If he is guilt tripping you in this way, you are definitely in a one-sided relationship.

6. He doesn’t even bother to communicate

You can’t remember when was the last time you had an open and honest conversation because he never has time for that. If you want to discuss something, he replies briefly and does his best to avoid the situation.

If he doesn’t like what you have to say, he won’t hesitate to give you the silent treatment. He might ignore your texts and phone calls for days and then call you out of the blue, acting like nothing has happened and completely ignoring everything you have to say.

7. His words are empty

When you come to him saying that you believe that everything comes from your end, that you feel like you are the only one investing and making an effort, that you feel neglected, underappreciated, unloved and taken for granted, he will act surprised and clueless to everything you just said.

Some of the things he might say is that everything is ok, that you have nothing to worry about or that you are blowing things out of proportion. The other things will be that he had no idea you felt that way and that he will do everything to make things better and to treat you better. However, he will stay as he is and do nothing because he is really unaware of the problem or doesn’t care enough to make an effort and make things work.

Now that we have seen some of the most common signs, the question still remains, “How to fix a one-sided relationship?” Well, you need to know that it won’t be easy but there are some effective ways that can help you:

1. Your partner has to be willing to work on your relationship

One-sidedness is what got you into this mess to begin with. A relationship can turn for the better only if both of you are willing to acknowledge that you have a problem. If you are still the only one investing and fighting for your relationship to survive, it will lead you nowhere.

Both of you have to be willing to make the necessary changes, put in effort and invest equally in your relationship. Relationships are two-way streets and they require reciprocity. That’s why to leave the one-sidedness, you have to talk openly to your partner, make sure that you are on the same page and that you are both willing to do what it takes for things to work out.

2. Be straightforward when you talk to your partner

After you established that you both want your love to survive and this is just a bad patch—not a bad relationship—you have to keep talking. Don’t beat around the bush. Be open and honest. Tell him everything that’s bothering you and make him see that everything is coming from you and he is not an active participant in your relationship.

Tell him how you feel and what you think you should do to make the necessary changes. The most important thing here is that communication goes both ways. Listen to what he has to say. Maybe there are things you are doing that are hurting him. Keep an open mind and an open heart.

Remember: if you are both involved, if you care for each other, if you really listen to one another, this is just a rough period you will overcome together.

3. Make sure that there are actions not just words

After you talk things through with your partner, you have to take a good look if he is doing what he promised he will do. You came to an agreement that both of you are in this mess together and you agreed to do your best and actually work on your relationship.

His efforts have to match yours, otherwise it’s all in vain. If you see that things are not working, talk to him again and explain why you have no other choice but to leave. You have done your part and he couldn’t stick to his, so he has really left you no other choice. If he cared, he would keep making an effort to stay in your life all the rest are excuses, especially at this point.

4. Talk to your true friends

Sometimes you need someone outside the relationship to hear you out. You need a true friend with whom to unwind and tell everything that’s bothering you. These friends can offer some new perspectives or some new insights into your relationship. This is not the same as someone meddling in your relationship. This is a sort of therapy.

You have the chance to unwind and you have an opportunity to see your relationship through somebody else’s eyes. Sometimes we are too close to see things clearly and our friend’s words can make us come to some new conclusions and some new courses of action that can turn the one-sided relationship into a balanced and healthy one. Important to remember here is that our friends can only give us advice and while it can be good, it can also be totally off base. So listen closely to what your friend has to say, but be the one making the final decision.

5. Don’t discard counseling so easily

A lot of people dread counseling because they are scared to admit that they might need some outside help. But not finding help is the worst thing you can do when all of your other attempts at saving your relationship aren’t working. Going to counseling can be a very positive thing, especially if you are married and/or have children together.

Relationship counselors have the knowledge and the experience, so not only can you learn a lot from them, but they can also guide you in the right direction. They are strangers and it’s a lot easier talking to strangers and letting everything out in the open than it is talking to someone you know.

If you can manage to persuade your partner to go to counseling, you’ve already made progress because you see he is willing to do whatever it takes to make the relationship last.

6. Make him miss you by focusing on yourself

As odd as it may sound, the best way to make things function again is by redirecting your focus from your relationship onto yourself. Make some distance and give your relationship some time to breathe. Engage in some new activities. Find new interests to pursue. Socialize more.

It’s not running away from your relationship problems. It’s actually solving them in a quiet way. If you are the only one making plans, calling and being too available when he calls, you will stop that pattern. By taking few steps back, you will allow him to make some steps forward, or better said, towards you.

If he wants to see you, he will have to make an effort. If he wants to talk to you, he will have to be the one to call. He has gotten used to you being the one taking the initiative. Give him room to be the one who goes after you for a change.

7. Take a risk – It’s all or nothing!

The thing is, when you are in a one-sided relationship, you are already alone. So by leaving, you to have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Sometimes people don’t know what they have until they lose it. Gather up all of your courage and walk away from anyone who doesn’t respect you and doesn’t care enough to make you happy.

If he comes after you, you still have a chance to make things work. Distance made him realize what he had in his hands all along and didn’t know how to appreciate. He saw that life without you isn’t the same and he wants to make it up to you.

However, if he doesn’t come after you when you leave, you to have nothing else left to do. As much as it pains you, you will see soon enough that it was for the best. You were already the only giving side in your relationship and you lost nothing. You just gave yourself an opportunity to move on to something better by letting him go.

Besides the obvious question, “How to fix a one-sided relationship?” there is one more that is closely intertwined and that’s, “Is your relationship worth fixing?” That’s one more major thing to think about. Sometimes we are so fixated on fixing things that are broken beyond repair and we will only end up hurting ourselves more by insisting on things working out.

Try to gain a clear view of our relationship. Put your feelings aside and see if your partner is worth more effort than you gave him. Is he a good man? Does he show any signs of toxic behavior? Trust your gut—don’t ignore that inner voice telling you it’s time to walk away from him.

On the other hand, if your partner is a good man that just got lost somewhere along the way and forget about the fact that he has to be the one investing in the relationship too, following some of these steps—especially the first three—will come as a wake-up call to him. He will realize that he has made a mistake and that he has to work hard to keep you in his life. If he wakes up and starts doing things to show he loves you and he cares for you, there is no doubt about it.

Regardless of the final outcome, the important thing is that you have tried, so you won’t have any regrets in the future. If you have done your best to make things work and the other side hasn’t responded, it’s their loss, not yours. You will at least know that you aren’t where you are meant to be and you will give yourself another chance.

You will rebuild your life and start over. No matter how hard it might seem it will be even harder if you stay in something one-sided. The one-sided relationship will emotionally drain you, hurt and crush you, and it will inevitably end at some point.

Love is worth fighting for, but you can’t be the only one putting up the fight. Relationships are built for two. All the emotions, investments, efforts and sacrifices, have to be mutual or they are worthless. A relationship can’t survive without reciprocity and that is the only truth.