If you instantly fall in love without really knowing a person, if you can’t stop thinking about someone, if your mood depends entirely on whether your love interest called you today, then you are prone to unhealthy emotional dependence. It is usually a trait of people who don’t have enough love for themselves and feel the need to seek it from the outside. It turns into a vicious circle of toxic relationships, but, fortunately, there is a way out of it.
Emotionally dependent people put their partner on a pedestal and build their whole lives around them. They try to either completely control their partner, or they play the role of the victim while they actually derive pleasure from their own suffering.
Psychotherapist Darlene Lancer writes that true love and emotional dependence are different things and it’s crucial to learn how to tell them apart.
1. You can’t just say, “No.”
Can you say no to your partner? You don’t have to always accept everything your partner offers. Don’t hesitate to refuse invitations to events that aren’t of interest to you, events that don’t fit your schedule, or requests that you feel are inappropriate. There’s no reason to agree to something you don’t want to do just because you don’t want to offend your partner or because you don’t think your partner will understand your reasons for feeling a certain way. Don’t lose yourself to please another person because, in the end, it won’t be appreciated.
2. You justify your partner’s terrible behavior.
3. You can’t stand it when your partner isn’t around.
It’s quite common to want to spend all of your time with your partner. But it’s important to acknowledge the fact that time spent apart is also valuable. Remember that there are things you can (and sometimes even have to) do on your own. Leave some healthy space between you and your partner if you don’t want to feel like you’re smothering each other.
Try not to concentrate on negative thoughts like, “What if they’re with someone else?!” Because it’s quite possible that your partner is busy. It could be that they’re hanging out with a friend or someone from work, but that’s something that they should neither hide nor ask permission for. Your anxiety won’t change the situation for the better and will definitely only make it worse. Don’t fill all of your free time with thoughts of your partner. Focus on your own responsibilities and things that make you happy and this will lead to your partner being more interested in you.
4. You feel incredibly jealous over every little thing.
Unfortunate experiences in the past or the fear or loneliness shouldn’t affect your present. Do the reasons for your jealousy really exist or are they just in your imagination? It’s possible that excessive feelings of jealousy can put you at risk of losing your partner not because of someone else, but because of you. Nobody can withstand constant distrust and no one wants to have to reassure you of their love.
There’s another side to the issue of jealousy: there may be an actual reason to be jealous, but instead of hearing the desired, “I’m sorry. I didn’t think it would hurt you. It won’t happen again…” you keep hearing the same phrase in an agitated tone, “It doesn’t mean anything.” If you find yourself dismissing this and convincing yourself and others that your relationship is strong and healthy but you’re plagued with fears and doubts, then you may need to reconsider some aspects of your relationship.
5. You unreservedly trust the opinion of your partner.
If you suddenly catch yourself doing something you never would’ve done before just because your partner pressured you into it, then this is a bad sign. Replacing your beliefs with those of your partner means that you’re losing a significant part of yourself and you’re not being true to who you are. It’s OK to adjust your beliefs if that’s how you actually feel, but it’s not a good sign if you find yourself blindly agreeing to everything your partner wants you to agree to.
You risk becoming your partner’s shadow and this will not only lead to a series of health issues, but it will cause your partner to lose interest in you.
6. You turn a blind eye to alarming signals.
Pay attention to any feelings, doubts, and suspicions you may have. If something about your partner’s behavior is disturbing to you, don’t hesitate to address the issue right away. Don’t hope that your partner will change on their own. It should be enough to say it once to someone who values you in order for that person to start making an effort to improve the situation.
Don’t feel the need to justify your partner’s actions against you by his childhood traumas, his situation at work, or issues that he’s experiencing in his family. There’s no need to be your partner’s savior. If you’re constantly finding yourself playing the role of the victim in your relationship, you need to figure out why.