Have you ever felt trapped in a relationship, be it romantic or business relationship, where you do all the listening but you are never listened to? Your opinion never matters. In fact, you are a person of no vocal consequence! I have been in such a relationship.
In my previous job, I had a boss whose words were law. He never sought opinions. Board meetings were for dishing out instructions and not for deliberations. If you wanted to suggest ways of improving the business, he would ask you how many contracts you brought to the company. He failed to realize that sometimes, new contracts are less important than maintaining old business relationships. He was running a one-way relationship with us. He was the business owner. We managed his business the exact ways he instructed. When his all-insufficient wisdom failed him, he would be quick to pass the buck. We never took him serious. Whenever we went to secure contracts, we were more interested in discovering vacant positions in our client’s organization than in securing the contract for a boss that did things the same way but expected different results.
I had a girlfriend whom I cherished very much. She was like a sister to me. She was a year younger than me. Whenever she wanted to visit me, I was available. I always created time for her. Whenever I shopped, I would always think of something nice to give her. All my classmates, open and secret admirers, friends and family members knew her. I didn’t know much of her friends. It didn’t matter. The only time I needed her and wanted her, she was not there. She didn’t give any good excuse. She was running a one-way relationship with me.
My friend’s boo runs a one-way relationship with her. He wants her to be what he wants but he makes no extra efforts to be what she wants. If he disapproves of any of her girlfriends, he will tell her to stop being friends with the person. The reason may be as silly as “I called her thrice and she didn’t answer me well. If she is not interested in being my friend, then she can’t be your friend. I am sorry but that’s final. You must sack her or make us friends”.
See me see friendship by force o. My friend is the carefree type who does not necessarily flirt but who may not reject a free ride in a Porsche Cayenne on a sunny day in Abuja. Mr Guy does not believe that there is no bedroom business between a man and a woman who are not related. If my friend introduces a male to him as her friend, he concludes they must be sleeping together or must have had sex in the past.
This guy demands the truth but cannot handle the truth. He has girls that are his friends whom he claims he is not sleeping with. My friend cannot discuss that because his answer is always “I am the man and we are in Africa”. My friend prefers to take personal decisions about her life herself. She does not see the pleasure at constantly telling a boyfriend her activities all the time. How does her taking an evening stroll or going for a swim deplete the ozone layer, for Mr Guy to be aware of? She wonders. Mr Guy does not reciprocate this same favour but he must know what she is doing at every point in time and must approve of such activities before they are carried out. Initially, this type of behavior from Mr Guy showed love and care, but with time, it became annoying. It is even more annoying to her because their relationship is not altar-bound.
Like other relationships, one-way relationships consist of two people but one person only is doing the work. In one- way relationships, you constantly have to adjust your own expectations and behavior to meet your partner’s standards. It is an unfortunate problem that occurs more often than we realize.
The man who has been saying he loves you for years, but is never willing to commit.
The woman who avoids emotional intimacy by investing everything in her life and career and neglecting to invest in her relationship.
The friend who’s been calling, texting, and emailing you for months- but face to face acts like you don’t exist.
The lover who wants to keep taking physically, but giving nothing back emotionally.
The parent who expects you to listen, but never gives you the opportunity to express your emotions, fears and concerns.
The friend whose secrets you keep but who suddenly develops mouth diarrhea with yours.
A lot of persons are not aware that they are running a one-way relationship. If you are at the receiving end of a one-way relationship, it is always better to talk about it with your partner. If you are at the giving end, never ever assume that you know everything about the other person. Every time you listen to someone, you are confirming that they are worthy of being heard. They are worth your time and attention. It lets them know that you are interested in them and want to know more about them. No matter how long you have known someone, you will never know every inner thought, wish or desire.
I found a way to handle my former boss and we became friends. It was not easy to work with that narcissist but I succeeded. Before I left, he always listened to my opinions and suggestions. He didn’t change generally. He changed for me and made my job easier and more professional.
When I find myself in a one-way romantic relationship, I try to talk about it with my partner. If I see no change after a set time, I bury the relationship. I bury it in a good casket, not the type used to bury Salvador Cerinza in El Cuerpo del Deseo (Second Chance). No wonder he couldn’t rest in peace. I deserve better and better I will get.
How do you handle one-way relationships? How do you manage when you are with someone who is always hogging the conversation?
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Arne9001