Do you constantly feel like you need your partner to be happy? Do you find yourself relying on them for your emotional well-being? If so, you may be emotionally dependent.
Many people mistake emotional dependence for love. They believe that needing someone to survive is a sign of true love, but it’s a sign of insecurity and an unhealthy relationship dynamic. In this article, we will discuss 18 signs that indicate you may be emotionally dependent on your partner rather than truly in love.
You Have Difficulty Making Decisions Without Consulting Your Partner
Whether deciding what to have for dinner or making major life choices, you always turn to your partner for guidance. You struggle to trust your own judgment and rely on their approval. This behavior is more than just seeking advice; it’s an over-reliance on your partner’s opinion. It can lead to a loss of self-identity and personal growth. It can also lead to feelings of helplessness and a lack of confidence when you’re left to make decisions on your own.
You Feel Anxious When Your Partner Is Not Around
You constantly worry about them and fear something bad will happen if they are not with you. This anxious attachment to your partner can impede your ability to function independently, leaving you in constant panic when they’re out of sight. This is not a sign of love but rather a manifestation of emotional dependency. A healthy relationship allows for individuals to maintain their independence and personal space without constantly feeling the need for reassurance.
You Have a Hard Time Being Alone
Without your partner by your side, you feel lost and don’t know what to do with yourself. This persistent unease and inability to enjoy solitude is a clear sign of emotional dependence. You should feel comfortable and content spending time alone without fearing loneliness. It’s crucial to find happiness within yourself and not solely depend on your partner for emotional fulfillment. Enjoying your own company without feeling isolated or empty is fundamental to a healthy emotional state.
You Depend on Your Partner for Your Self-Worth
Your self-esteem is tied to how your partner treats you and their validation of you. This reliance on external approval for your self-worth is a strong indication of emotional dependency. True self-worth should come from within and not be dictated by another’s opinion or treatment of you. This is a sign that you’re placing too much emphasis on your relationship as a source of identity and self-esteem, which is unhealthy and unsustainable in the long term.
You Feel Incomplete Without Your Partner
You believe that your life would be meaningless without them. This is more than just missing someone – a profound sense of emptiness and a belief that you are not whole unless you’re with your partner. It’s a misconception that another person can ‘complete’ you. In a healthy relationship, both individuals are already complete and complement one another rather than relying on each other for personal completeness.
You Constantly Need Reassurance From Your Partner
Whether it’s about your appearance, abilities, or the state of your relationship, you always seek validation from your partner. This constant need for reassurance often stems from deep-seated insecurities and self-doubt. If not addressed, it can put a strain on your relationship as your partner may feel overwhelmed by the pressure to maintain your emotional well-being. It’s important to cultivate self-assurance and confidence from within rather than being excessively reliant on external validation.
You Have a Hard Time Setting Boundaries
You struggle to assert yourself and often give in to your partner’s demands, even if it goes against your own wishes. This can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration as your needs and desires are continually sidelined. Establishing healthy boundaries is crucial in maintaining respect and equality in a relationship, and it’s a sign of emotional dependency if you cannot advocate for your personal boundaries.
You Feel Jealous and Possessive Towards Your Partner
You are overly protective of your partner and get jealous easily, often resulting in controlling behavior. This jealousy doesn’t stem from love but from the fear of losing your partner, which you perceive as threatening your emotional security. You may find yourself constantly checking on them, scrutinizing their interactions with others, or feeling threatened by anyone who comes close to them. This is a clear sign of emotional dependence, as it indicates a lack of trust and an unhealthy attachment rooted in fear and insecurity rather than genuine love.
You Prioritize Your Partner’s Needs Over Your Own
You continually put your partner’s wants and desires above yours to the extent that it negatively impacts your own well-being. This could manifest in you giving up activities you love to spend time with them, constantly adjusting your schedule to fit theirs, or neglecting your own emotional and physical needs to cater to theirs. While compromise is essential in any relationship, sacrificing your needs and desires regularly can be a sign of emotional dependence, as it shows an imbalance in the relationship where your happiness is overly tied to your partner’s feelings and needs.
You Feel Responsible for Your Partner’s Emotions
You constantly monitor their mood and try to fix any negative feelings they may have. It’s important to understand that this is a sign of codependency rather than love. In a healthy relationship, each individual is responsible for managing their own emotions. If you frequently step in to “save the day” or alleviate your partner’s stress or sadness, it’s a sign that you’re carrying emotional burdens that aren’t yours to bear. This behavior fosters an unhealthy dynamic where your emotional well-being heavily relies on your partner’s emotional state.
You Constantly Seek Approval From Your Partner’s Friends and Family
You want to be accepted by your loved ones and often go out of your way to please them. You might find yourself overly stressed about what they think of you, and you may even change your behavior or opinions to match those of your partner’s circle. This constant need for validation indicates an emotional dependency, with your self-esteem largely hinging on their approval rather than an authentic expression of who you are in the relationship.
You Feel Lost in Relationships Without Your Partner
You feel empty and unsure of yourself when you’re not in a relationship. This feeling of disorientation and aimlessness often stems from an over-reliance on your partner for emotional validation and security. It’s as if your sense of identity is intertwined with theirs, and without them, you struggle to understand who you are or what you want. This is a clear indication of emotional dependence, where your sense of self-worth is overly tied to the presence of a significant other in your life.
You Are Afraid of Losing Your Partner
The thought of your partner leaving you terrifies you and causes extreme anxiety. This fear often manifests as clinginess, jealousy, or obsessive behaviors as you constantly worry about maintaining your partner’s affection. You may find yourself constantly seeking reassurances of their love or altering your behavior to prevent conflicts, which can also be emotionally exhausting. It’s critical to realize that a healthy relationship is based on mutual trust and independence, not fear and insecurity.
You Have a Strong Fear of Abandonment
You worry that your partner will leave you for someone else and may act clingy or possessive as a result. This fear often leads to a constant need for reassurance and validation, creating a highly imbalanced relationship dynamic. Your happiness and peace hinge on your partner’s actions and words, which is a clear sign of emotional dependence. In healthy relationships, partners trust and respect each other’s autonomy without constantly fearing being left alone.
You Struggle With Self-Esteem Issues
Your sense of self-worth heavily relies on your partner’s validation and approval. This dependence often stems from a lack of self-esteem and a deep-seated belief that you are not good enough on your own. Consequently, every compliment, gesture, or affirmation from your partner significantly lifts your spirits, while any criticism or negative feedback can be devastating. This emotional rollercoaster is a hallmark of emotional dependence, and it often prevents you from developing a stable, independent sense of self-worth.
You Have a Hard Time Expressing Your True Feelings to Your Partner
You fear conflict and always try to keep the peace, even if it means suppressing your own emotions. This fear of expressing your true feelings can lead to a build-up of resentment and frustration over time, damaging both yourself and your relationship. It’s a clear sign of emotional dependence when the fear of your partner’s reaction dictates your emotional expression rather than a genuine, open dialog about your feelings. In a healthy relationship, both parties should feel safe and comfortable expressing their true feelings without fear of reprisal or rejection.
You Constantly Compare Your Relationship to Others
You feel pressure to have the perfect relationship and may become envious of others who seem happier. This could manifest in a constant need to portray an ideal image of your relationship on social media, leading you to hide any conflicts or issues. This comparison game fuels your insecurity and adds unnecessary strain to your relationship. It’s a sign of emotional dependence when you’re more focused on how your relationship looks to others than on how it feels to you.
You Stay In Toxic or Unhealthy Relationships Because You Can’t Bear to Be Alone
You may tolerate mistreatment or stay in a relationship that no longer makes you happy because the thought of being alone is too scary. This could mean enduring emotional or even physical abuse, regularly feeling disrespected, or constantly having your needs and feelings dismissed. You might also find yourself justifying their behavior or making excuses for them to others and to yourself. That’s not love but a sign of emotional dependence, where the fear of loneliness trumps your own well-being.
It’s important to recognize these signs of emotional dependency and not mistake them for true love. True love involves mutual support, trust, and autonomy within the relationship. If you exhibit many of these signs, it might be a good idea to take a step back and assess your feelings and the dynamic of your relationship.
It’s okay to be independent and prioritize yourself in a relationship – it doesn’t make you any less in love. Take care of yourself first and foremost, and let love come naturally. So, learn to identify these signs early on, and work towards building a healthy, equal, and loving relationship with your partner.
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