Just celebrated Valentine’s Day? Whether or not you’ve just started going out or you’ve been dating for a while, here’s a relationship health check for all the lovers out there!
Do you feel extremely uneasy when your partner is away and isn’t spending time with you? Do you unintentionally seem controlling over your partner’s life? Do you have an irrational fear of losing them to someone else? If those are applicable in your relationship, you might be emotionally dependent on your partner.
Let’s find out your emotional dependence in a relationship and what you can do about it!
There are three types of dependence in relationships. If you’re emotionally independent, you typically prefer to manage your emotions alone and tend to ignore support from others including your partner’s. You recognise your emotions, are able to work and do things on your own, and have your own core values to live by. You prefer to do most things on your own and are pretty much independent most of the time.
A healthy type of relationship is where both partners are emotionally interdependent and that’s the sweet spot. This means that you’re self-sufficient and able to live on your own but you still desire closeness with your partner. You don’t single them out of your decisions, neither do you rely everything on them. You love spending time with them but you also take time away to work on your personal interests. More importantly, you’re open to one another and can communicate your needs well.
Then, we have emotional dependence. This is where you rely on your partner on almost every emotional need without even trying to manage it yourself first. Whether it’s completing assignments or having lunch, you need to do everything with them and are pretty much unable to ‘move’ around by yourself. You also heavily rely on your partner to make decisions most of the time. This can quickly become unhealthy as your partner may feel burdened and have to carry the weight of the relationship.
How can emotional dependency affect yourrelationship? It creates conflict between partners when self-doubt and insecurity constantly intervene in normal conversations.
For example, you might ask:
“Do you even care about me?”
“Do you really want to spend time with me?”
“Are you sure I look good in this outfit?”
The fixation, constant fear and need for reassurance may also cause emotional distress and eventually creates stress for both sides and strain the relationship. It’s important to address this issue before it becomes toxic to the relationship.
So how do you know if you’re emotionally dependent? Let’s check whether you’re in the dependency zone with these few signs.
- You feel anxious and empty when you’re alone.
You may find the need to text them repeatedly, seeking reassurance that they still care for you. This may stem from having low self-esteem and self-confidence.
- You harbour feelings of jealousy and possessiveness over your partner. You’re easily jealous especially if your partner has plans with others instead of you as you fear their feelings for you might change. This may lead to you being possessive of their time and wanting to control how and with whom they spend it.
- You believe that you’ll be unhappy without them. You might believe that your relationship is your top priority and anything or anyone else doesn’t matter because life is meaningless without them.
- You’re unable to leave them eventhough they mistreat you for fear of being alone.
- Your self-worth is dependent on your partner
- You’d miss out on plans just to be with them
So, how does one fix this before your relationship takes a toll on both of you?
Emotional dependency is usually caused by having poor self-esteem or self-worth. Therefore, it’s important to be honest about your feelings and actions. If you think you may be experiencing this, take some time to reflect on your behaviour throughout the relationship on your own. You could start journalling your thoughts, meditate, or simply spend time in nature.
To break emotional dependency, you should also learn about your patterns and triggers that make you feel the need to be dependent on your partner. Setting boundaries for yourself is a good way to improve the relationship as you set limits to things that you don’t feel comfortable with.
For example, you might not feel comfortable going to certain places and your partner deserves to know that. This helps to respect yourself by putting your needs first and your partner should understand.
Therapy can be considered if you don’t know how to overcome them. This is because trained professionals can guide you through the healing and recovery of the relationship. Different personalities require different solutions to improve, they can help you to find balance in the relationship.
These days, multiple platforms provide online therapy such as Betterhelp and Talkspace. Besides that, you and your partner can also try out couple’s therapy. This allows your partner to assist you throughout the process which can help to strengthen the relationship too.
Emotional dependency is nothing to be ashamed of as there are many ways to overcome it. You must remember to be patient with your progress and believe that things will slowly get better. Kahlil Gibran in ‘The Prophet`’ wrote, ‘Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love; Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.’ Let this quote remind you to strive for a healthy relationship.
Vanessa Chan is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Business at Taylor's University. She is also the Assistant Editorial Director of Taylor’s AKPK.
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